Archive for the Sekhmet Category

Beautiful new card deck and an online class

Posted in Art, Divination, Psychic, Religion, Ritual, Sekhmet, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2013 by cheshirecatman

For me, feelings of depression or stagnancy are signs that my spirit is malnourished. One of the ways I deal with this is by finding new things to learn.

Nefer Khepri’s Egyptian Lenormand Deck

My friend Nefer Khepri has just created and published her Egyptian Lenormand card deck. These beautiful cards feature original art hand drawn by Nefer herself using channeled images and colors traditional to the Egyptians. Nefer serves several Egyptian deities in her practice (including my beloved Sekhmet) and has a PhD in Latin American Studies (Mayan Iconography and Epigraphy). She has run her Magickal Musings business since 1998.

The deck is priced reasonably at $33.15 (Price includes  shipping, a clear protective case and an attractive satin draw string bag. Shipping is slightly more for addresses outside the U.S.). The deck can be used with the traditional Lenormand meanings and spreads, but Nefer has included some additional cards and interpretations unique to her deck. The deck is in limited supply and I don’t know if there will be a second printing or not. The last time I heard, it was nearing 50 percent sold out.

Sosyete du Marche Four Circles Online Class

The wonderful Mambo Pat and Sosyete du Marche have begun offering online Vodou lessons (click the link above). These classes include links to exclusive online video and a forum where you can discuss class material. While classes are not a substitute for attending services or working with a house  in person, there are still many things a solitary person can do to serve the lwa and I think this is a valuable resource for those who do not live near a sosyete. Even though I have a local group, I am planning to sign up for the class anyway because I know there is more I can learn (plus I love Sosyete du Marche, as I’ve said before on this blog). Class begins May 15 and the price is $150, which includes access to the videos and copies of Mambo Pat’s book “Serving the Spirits: The Religion of Haitian Vodou” and her CD “La Priye Ginen: The Prayer of Africa.”

Happy learning! Ayibobo!

Reminiscing on a lion painting

Posted in Art, Sekhmet with tags , , , , on September 27, 2012 by cheshirecatman

My girlfriend Anne is an accomplished artist in her own right. When we first met around 1990, she was showing her animal paintings at coffee houses and restaurants around Seattle. A couple of years later she became a serious sculptor, although she continued to paint regularly.

She painted the piece above maybe a decade ago. It’s small, measuring about 12” x 9” and was most likely created for some show or other. I immediately fell in love with it when she showed it to me. A friend of hers complained that the lion “looked too human,” but that was one of the things I liked best about it. He doesn’t look human to me, per se, but he does appear lost in contemplation.

I liked the painting so much that she ended up giving it to me, and it hangs on the wall of my studio as I write this. I’ve long been overly fond of cats, but leopards and jaguars tended to be my favorite. However, after reading books by Linda Tucker and Murry Hope and catching glimpses of Sekhmet during meditations, this painting takes on new meaning and I gain a deeper appreciation of the piece, my girlfriend and whatever mysteries inspired her to paint it in colors sacred to the goddess herself.

Inspiration and gratitude

Posted in Legba, Religion, Sekhmet with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2012 by cheshirecatman

I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, feeling tired and unmotivated. I haven’t been sculpting much. On Monday, however, I felt like a weight was being lifted from my shoulders. Now I feel lighter and more positive than I have in months. There could be several reasons why this is.

On Sunday night I sent a large (for me) donation to the Global White Lion Protection Trust. This was part of an agreement I made with Sekhmet some months back; if she helped me to get my art out there and make sales, then a percentage of those sales would be dedicated to her. And I could not think of a better way to do that than by donating to organizations that work to save big cats from extinction. There are several groups that I like, but I decided to go with Linda Tucker’s white lion group this time around. I read her amazing book “The Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sun God” shortly after Sekhmet first made contact. Reading the book and listening to the goddess resulted in a significant shift in some of my beliefs. Perhaps the goddess is pleased with the donation and has gifted me with creative fire. (I have a new bust of her in progress, which I’ll post photos of at some point down the road.)

On Monday I made my usual offering to Legba, and realized that my body tells me when he is present. I seem to respond to spirit in physical ways; in this case with a slight pressure in my head (which is much preferable to past arm pain and upset stomach, to be sure).

I’ve been feeling grateful. There are many things I don’t have, but I have a steady day job, my art work, and my basic needs are met. I have a girlfriend who is amazingly accepting of my various unconventional beliefs and who is a diehard animal lover. I live with some wonderful furballs and I have more than adequate food and shelter.

Also recently, I’ve removed some negative influences from my life, with no regrets. It needed to be done. I spend time online to learn, network and have fun, and some sites were causing more aggravation than fun.

The positive feeling is one of hope, as if I have a bit more control over my life than I felt I had before. This feeling is now reflected in my eating habits; I’ve gained some weight over the winter, and am inspired now to take better care of myself. I ate lighter quantities yesterday with very little effort, and had energy to sculpt last night.

So now that I have more energy, my next task is to revise another post that I’ve had in progress for about a month now 😉

And so it continues…. (art and spell results)

Posted in Art, Sekhmet with tags , , , on May 10, 2012 by cheshirecatman

Today out of nowhere one of my Facebook friends commissioned three werewolf sculptures. I usually sell these on consignment at our mutual friend’s local shop, but because these are being purchased directly from me, I was able to offer her a discount. So it was win-win all around, as Sekhmet sends more work my way. I have not forgotten my promise to her to set aside 10 percent of each sale to save the big cats, and soon I should have enough to send out. I will have to decide which organization to send it to.

For much of last week and through the weekend I was in a cranky mood and around that time a friend asked me to do a protection spell for her. We agreed that I would petition Sekhmet. What is interesting is that as the candle burned down, my crankiness went away; an unexpected benefit to candle magick. I am not sure if it was cathartic or if that cranky energy was channeled into the spell itself.

I’ve been slacking off a bit on sculpting for the past few days, but will have to get back in gear this weekend as I cannot afford to get behind. I now have 3 commissions to work on this month as well as a touch up and a repair. It’s like having a part time job working for myself, and that’s the best kind.

Artwork, service and spell results

Posted in Art, Baron Samedi, Ghede, Maman Brigitte, Sekhmet with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2012 by cheshirecatman

One of the ways I serve the lwa and the goddess is through my artwork. For a recent show, I tried my hand at creating busts instead of my usual full body pieces. I am pleased with the results, and apparently others were too, as all three of these pieces sold within a few days. I’ve sculpted both Sekhmet and Papa Ghede before, but this was my first portrayal of Maman Brigitte. Anne sold four of her paintings during the art show reception, which was very cool as she has not shown her work for a while.

I was also happy to learn that both Ghede busts were purchased by a fellow Vodouisant who will likely place them on his Ghede altar.

A humorous followup to some prosperity candle work I did with Sekhmet about a month ago: A  couple of the people in my spell group reported some nice financial windfalls and I was wondering why my spellwork seems to be more effective for others rather than for myself. Anne and I have been struggling a bit financially and I was hit pretty hard with a major dental bill early in March. We won’t get paid for our art show sales  until mid-May. So a few days ago at dinner I was complaining a bit about my spell results (which was not cool of me in light of the art sales). After dinner, when I went online to check my email messages, I was surprised to see a PayPal notification that a friend of mine had prepaid for a commission that I haven’t even started yet.

I laughed but also felt a little sheepish. I need to be patient, and also appreciate what I have already received. I also have this feeling that any money I receive will be through my own efforts, and not some random windfall. This is not a bad thing, though, as money is a strong motivator to keep me producing artwork. This doesn’t fit the romantic stereotype of the emotionally driven artist, but it’s the truth.


Norwescon and themes of three

Posted in Animals, Art, lwas, Movies and Media, Sekhmet, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2012 by cheshirecatman

Art table at Norwescon 35

Last weekend I was at Norwescon participating in the art show and attending panels. It was exhausting and a lot of fun. Among the highlights for me was the panel on race and popular media, moderated by Sheye Anne Blaze and featuring author Dennis R. Upkins. Mr. Upkins slipped in a barb about the film “Avatar” before I even had a chance to mention anything, and it was so gratifying to hear from others who share my views on the film (which you can read here). I don’t hate the movie or believe that James Cameron had any bad intentions, but when I watch it there are always things that bother me about the film even though I love the lush visuals.

I made three sales this year, and two of the pieces went to auction (a first for me!). I can’t help but think the goddess Sekhmet had her hand in this, possibly due in part to some candle work recently performed with her. One of the pieces that sold was a standing figure of the goddess herself, and the other two were domestic black cats. Granted, I had no shortage of cats on my table, but still, only the feline pieces sold.

Two years ago, I sold three Vodou-related pieces at the same convention, after requesting the favor of the lwa.

True to my promise to her, a portion of profits will be set aside for donation to big cat causes, to be donated periodically to a responsible non-profit organization (there are several I like, including the Snow Leopard Trust and the White Lion Protection Trust). The goddess likes us to create and display her image, so I have another piece started for her to display at my next show.

Gifts to and from Spirit

Posted in Art, Ghede, La Sirene, Legba, Sekhmet, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 11, 2012 by cheshirecatman

This post was originally conceived as “Gifts of 2011” (I did this last year), but it’s now over a month into the New Year, and it felt a little late for that. Plus some gifts came after the end of 2011, and I want to include them in this post.

It was a good year for Papa Legba, I think. He received some very nice swag for his altar, courtesy of myself and two other wonderful Vodouisants (and friends), Slinky and Snow. Slinky knew I had been admiring her new altar tiles, so for Yule she gifted me with one for Legba, along with another one of her wonderful 7-day lwa candles. (She sells these at Edge of the Circle Books, call them to check on available stock.)

Around the end of the year, I also purchased a couple of items for Legba from my friend Snow in New Orleans. I fell in love with both her key charm and this lovely votive that she made to honor him.

She included a bonus in one of my orders: this very cool antique key (which Legba picked out himself) that I sometimes wear as a pendant on Mondays. Snow also gifted me with a message from both Legba and the Gede. The message was personal and I can’t post it here, but suffice it to say that it addressed something that had been bothering me and really put my mind at ease.

In December I scheduled another session with Tracy Ann, my animal communicator friend. I will post about that separately once I type up the notes.

Last Tuesday I did some candle work for some friends, and a couple of interesting things happened. I petitioned La Sirene for “Alicia” and asked her to make an offering to the mermaid lwa. Alicia chose to offer La Sirene one of her favorite crystals which was a light blue color. When she went to toss it into the water, La Sirene actually appeared to her! I thought this was very cool, and a sign that her petition was well received.

I also did some healing work with Sekhmet on Tuesday and had several candles lit on her altar. The candles were reflecting off her statue and everything looked really beautiful. I asked Sekhmet if I could photograph her altar (to show my friend and for this blog), and when I turned to pick up the camera it was nowhere to be found. I spent a fair amount of time searching for it, but it was gone. So I guess her answer was a definite “no” and I won’t be posting those photos.

Before I left for work the next morning, I snuffed the candles. Wednesday evening, when I went to relight them, I glanced down and there was the camera, just sitting on the floor about five feet away from the altar. I was surprised and then amused. I had been kneeling in that area of the floor the night before while I’d been searching for the camera, and if I’d somehow managed to overlook it, I likely would have stepped on it, knelt on it or kicked it by accident.

This reminded me a lot of the time when my copy of Mama Lola went missing, only to reappear days later in the same location.

The candle work left me feeling very energized and a bit giddy.

Working with the spirits is never boring. And while some people might find these types of incidents frightening or aggravating, I view them as evidence that the powers that be are nearby and do indeed hear us.

More comments on Rigaud and a must-read blog post

Posted in Animals, Legba, Religion, Sekhmet, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by cheshirecatman

I  am preparing to do some spellwork tomorrow. I haven’t done spellwork with Sekhmet before, and had pondered the idea of pairing her with  Legba for this effort. After discussing it with a friend, I decided against it for now, at least until I’ve worked with her more.

So today I am reading Rigaud’s book on the bus and come across his list of lwa/animal correlations. I find that Legba is correlated with white sheep and lions.

Riguad also writes that “Quebiesou is an ancient Legba.” I originally read about Quebieso (also spelled Hervioso) in Sharon Caulder’s book “The Mark of Voodoo” and then proceeded to be nearly struck by lightning. Twice.

Again I am reminded why my gods are my gods and I receive a few more glimpses of a larger picture. And I’m thinking that Legba and Sekhmet may be compatible in future endeavors.

I am feeling excited and a little anxious about my spellwork tomorrow and, as if on cue, I come across a wonderful and thought-provoking article on The Witch of Forest Grove’s blog. I highly recommend reading it:  Fear and Doubt

Revisiting Milo Rigaud’s “Secrets of Voodoo”

Posted in Damballah, Legba, lwas, Sekhmet, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 4, 2011 by cheshirecatman

I first read Milo Rigaud’s “Secrets of Voodoo” around late 2008/early 2009 when I first started down this path. It was maybe the third book on Vodou that I read and, in retrospect, I don’t think I was ready for it. At the time it seemed dry, difficult to understand and full of strange terminology that I was never going to remember. Rigaud was born in Port au Prince, Haiti, and first published the book in 1953.

What a difference a few years makes.

I finished my third Murry Hope book earlier this week (“The Sirius Connection”) and was trying to decide what to read next. At first I picked up Kenaz Filan’s “Vodou Money Magic” and then remembered that I am starting a candle magick workshop and did not feel like working on spells while also reading a book on magic. My brain craves variety. So instead I opted for Rigaud’s book. I’d had the urge to review it earlier this year, and now seemed like a good time.

I reread the first chapter on Tuesday, and the writing no longer seemed dry or difficult to understand, even though many of the Haitian words are spelled differently than what I am used to seeing these days. What I found really interesting is that I am seeing some connections between aspects of Vodou and Egyptian deities/symbolism. I am gaining a deeper personal understanding that both of my religious paths (Vodou and Sekhmet/Egyptian) are indeed harmonious (at least for me).

For example, Rigaud says that Vodou is rooted in solar worship. (It’s also interesting to note that, in Vodou services, when we salute the four directions we are not saluting any particular deities or elementals. We are acknowledging the path of the sun.) He described Legba, my main lwa, as a solar prototype, and Sekhmet is a solar deity as well. (And this is ironic, me being a night person. But this could refer to the cosmic influence of Sirius and/or our sun.) Rigaud says that Legba’s color is gold (associated with the sun), while other sources state they are red and white. Sekhmet is also associated with gold and red.

The symbolism of the poteau mitan, which is the center post in the peristyle (a Vodou temple, more or less) is  familiar. The post is decorated from floor to ceiling with a spiral design representing the two serpent lwa, Damballah and Ayida Wedo. The image of two serpents spiraling around a post is very similar to the Caduceus, a symbol of the Egyptian god Thoth. Equally interesting is his translation of Rada as “the royal rite of the sun.” I could not help but wonder if the terminology is related to the Egyptian sun god Ra.

I will likely have more comments as I continue rereading.

Messages via blogs and emails

Posted in lwas, Religion, Sekhmet, Vodou with tags , , , , , , on November 25, 2011 by cheshirecatman

Many spiritual people I know (and some I don’t know personally) like to say that there are no accidents. For example, if I randomly pick up a book at a shop and decide to buy it, then I was meant to buy that book and to get something out of it. I am not sure that this is always true, but I have noticed a theme I keep running across lately in my reading materials. I am being told to listen to spirit and intuition.

Recently, a fellow Vodouisant in New Orleans who goes by Shadow commented on one of my posts here, which prompted me to check out his blog, Shadows in the Graveyard. And I have to say, I’ve really really been enjoying it. I went back and read it from the beginning,  and can relate to his closeness with death. That may sound morbid, but it’s not entirely. In Vodou, the Ghede are, at times, the most amusing of the lwa. Also, it was the death of a beloved feline friend that steered me towards the path of Vodou. So death can lead to necessary change and renewal.

While I was reading Shadow’s blog, I was flattered to discover he had added my site to his links (and you can also find his link on my homepage as well), and happy to see we both have links to The Witch of Forest Grove, another excellent blog. I also became curious about Shadow’s wife, and started reading her blog, Swamp Witchery, and quickly got hooked to that as well. I’m not quite finished reading all of her posts yet, but I am up to last October. The author, Snow, is very knowledgeable about magick (both Vodou and Pagan) and herbs and, to top it off, she writes really well. I love all three of these blogs, and the fact that all three authors are not afraid of what some refer to as the left-hand path. (I don’t really think of it that way, and don’t necessarily think the authors do either, but I digress.) One of the reasons Wicca was not comfortable for me was that I am simply not a white lighty kind of guy. While I prefer to be positive and love doing healing work, I am very aware of the darker side of life and acknowledge there are times when darker magick is necessary. Vodou and the multi-faceted lwa were a much better fit for me, as is Sekhmet, who has both healing and destructive aspects to her.

One of Snow’s posts in particular sticks in my mind, Deities: Trust your instinct, in which she talks about trusting your own instincts and relationships with your deities/lwa/spirits regardless if someone else tells you that you’re wrong.

During some recent email correspondence with a friend, the topic of tradition vs personal practices came up more than once, and we both feel the need to find a balance between what is comfortable/workable for us and honoring tradition. While I think it is important to learn traditional ways (especially early in one’s studies), there does come a time when you rely less on book learning and tradition and work directly with the spirits. This is the point I am at now, not just in Vodou but also in my relationship with Sekhmet. While I will continue to read and learn about traditions, it is time to listen directly to deity and intuition. This is particularly true for Sekhmet, as it is proving very difficult to know which sources on Egyptian traditions are accurate.

The trick is, as usual, managing my time. Some major lifestyle changes are needed, which includes the paring down of superfluous interests and their accompanying physical accoutrements (meaning I have too much stuff).