Archive for the Spirits Category

Highlights of a conversation with a medium

Posted in Animal communication, Animals, Dreams, lwas, Psychic, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2013 by cheshirecatman

I’ve been sitting on this post for just over two and a half weeks. It’s tricky to write about messages from the guides and the Lwa. I have to decide what to share and what to keep private. While I like to record my experiences here, some things cannot be shared for privacy or practical reasons. But I’ll share what I can…

This session took place on August 11th.

Early in the session, the Lwa came through. My medium, Tracy, is not a Vodouisant so she was not sure of all of their identities. I was able to identify one, but not the others. I will refrain from naming the one I did identify for practical reasons. While they offered words of encouragement, some of their advice also had to do with protecting myself.  And the one identified said I could go to him/her for protection, so I think it best if s/he remains unknown for now.

They told me that a lot of the work I’ve been doing over the past few years has been paying off. Much of this work has been aimed toward removing my psychic blocks so that I could be better attuned to them, the ancestors, my guides and deities. They said it’s been easier for the spirits to get through and that the energy has been flowing more freely in both directions. This made me very happy, as I’ve invested a fair amount of time and money to resolve my issues. For this, I can expect a higher amplitude of energetic exchange.  They did advise me to pay attention to grounding, as it’s easy for me to take off in my head. When they said this, I immediately thought of someone I know who lives very much in the spiritual realm. The downside is that she rarely seems fully present in this one. I was told that I am not supposed to take off too much as I might not return. My body would be here, but my brain wouldn’t be. (Tracy was shown Alzheimer’s as an example.) It would take away from me.

I was also cautioned that someone is “coming at me.” I have not been aware of any attacks really, but I credit that mostly to the Lwa and my other guides rather than to any super ability on my part. Having a Lave Tet certainly didn’t hurt either.

One of the things that touched me the most is that they told me there is an integrity around my relationship with them. This was gratifying to hear, because I try very hard to maintain my objectivity (without overdoing it, which can be my downfall) and to accept experiences without embellishing them with my own desires. They also told me that my altar does not need to get bigger (audible sigh of relief here, as I am currently trying to figure out where to relocate the Ghede and still have not resolved the issue). Another moving and surprising thing they told me is that in some fashion I’ve helped to “pull those that transition into it (Vodou).” They made a comment that some who have transitioned are part of the group now. I like thinking that friends who have crossed over in recent years could be attending future fets. It brings me much comfort.

Random info from other guides: They said it’s getting easier for me to maneuver around/through/in (I think they were referring here to the astral planes). I am good at paying attention, even past the “whoa” moments (meaning even when something incredible happens, I keep some presence of mind to notice details). I was advised to pay attention to the foods I eat; I should eat more greens, which I’d already been thinking about. If I understood correctly, greens can assist in spiritual development. They told me when I need to ground myself I can eat meat (they advised white meats rather than red). “Eating greens will help your mind. Eating meat helps the body. You are doing a good job of staying away from bad things.” I haven’t felt that I’ve been doing that great of a job on maintaining a healthy diet, but I am grateful for the encouragement.

And now for the stupid question, which I mentioned in a previous post. I asked them if I get to leave soon. And yes, I meant death. I’m not suicidal but I sometimes get very worn down and tired, and eager to cross over to the other side. Plus I’ve been thinking about death a lot recently due to the loss of a friend and another friend’s serious illness.

The answer was a firm no, as apparently I chose this life and am in it “for the long haul.” I have mixed feelings about this (I am, at times, the king of mixed feelings). However, they are telling me to move past this latest bout of obsessing. And now that I know I’ll be here for a while, I feel free to make some long range plans.

Overall, the guides and the Lwa are satisfied with the work I’ve been doing for them. And then they said, “If you are having to work on anything, it’s keeping the human bullshit away. Work on protection.” That got a laugh out of me.

I got to say hello to my beloved Puck (for new readers, Puck was my feline companion of nearly 15 years). He is still around, keeping an eye on me, as there is lots of activity. Last year I had a dream about my mother (who crossed over in the 80’s) driving my Siamese cat Snowman and I to a vet. In the dream another cat was at the vet’s office. Although the cat appeared to be an Oriental shorthair or Burmese rather than a Rex like Puck, I’ve been wondering if perhaps the cat was actually Puck, so I asked him.  Puck confirmed that he was there.

Then I said hello to Snowman, who crossed over earlier this year. Tracy said he was laughing as he greeted me, and said he is walking with me. Ever the one to seek confirmation even when I already know the answers, I asked him to identify the man in the last dream I had with Snowman in it. Cats don’t play the sorts of mental games that we play, so he simply responded with, “You know him.” Again, I had to laugh.

As I mentioned before in this post, I’ve been puzzled as to why the pain of losing Puck lessened a great deal after Snowman crossed over.  I’ve been mourning Puck pretty intensely for five entire years and Snowman’s passing hit me hard as well. You would think I would be feeling doubly horrible. But no, after I went through the initial grief of losing Snowman, the aching pain I carried in my solar plexus for Puck began to fade. So I took advantage of this opportunity to ask Snowman about that.

He said he realized he could do more for me out of his body. He has more malleability now. He said he “worked on” me. The idea of Snowman as healer doesn’t surprise me. He was always a wise cat, and tireless in providing me support.

Following the conversation with Snowman, I asked Tracy some questions about my current feline companion Luna and our dog Stella. I asked about my mother, and Tracy saw an image of her watching over me, smiling, and welcoming me to talk to her more.

After these sessions with Tracy, I always feel uplifted and have lots to think about. This time was no exception.

“Real Voodoo” — A review

Posted in Haiti, lwas, Ogoun, Possession, Religion, Ritual, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2012 by cheshirecatman

Yesterday I received my copy of “Real Voodoo,” a documentary on Haitian Vodou by Canadian director Sandra Whiteley. I was eager to watch it so, in spite of a busy day of work, sculpting and miscellaneous chores, I decided to stay up later than usual and popped the DVD into my Blu-ray player.

This film runs about 52 minutes and was not exactly what I expected. Unlike two previous documentaries I’ve viewed (A&E’s “Voodoo Rituals” and the History Channel’s “Voodoo Secrets”), Whiteley’s film doesn’t follow an academic format. Instead, it has a more personal feel, as though we are visiting the people of Haiti along with her. It is worth noting that Haiti is personal for Whiteley; it’s the homeland of her husband Jaffa (who is a Vodouisant and featured in the film along with his hauntingly beautiful music).

“Real Voodoo” does not include quite as much ritual footage as Richard Stanley’s 2002 documentary “The White Darkness;” however, this film also lacks the annoying self-promotion present in the Stanley film. Whiteley’s narrative serves to add chronological structure to her footage, and she states at the film’s opening that she is no expert.

She does interview experts, however, including Houngan Max Beauvoir, Wade Davis (ethnobotanist and author of “The Serpent and the Rainbow”) and, most prominently, Mambo La Belle Deesse Jr., co-founder of La Sosyete La Belle Deesse Dereale, whose commentary provides a great deal of insight into Vodou beliefs and practices.

The Vodou interviews and footage are interspersed with those of evangelical Christian missionaries working in Haiti. At first I found this pretty annoying, as they expressed grossly inaccurate (and predictable) opinions of Vodouisants as devil worshipers and displayed their appalling lack of compassion by echoing Pat Robinson’s “earthquake-as-punishment-for-making-a-pact-with-the-devil” comments. But later I realized that Whiteley was making a point, which she does by contrasting these comments to those of the Haitians (both Christian and Vodouisant). It’s doubtful that Christianity can ever drive Vodou out of Haiti. A mambo named Mireille has a son (he looked about 13 years old) who is a student at a Catholic school; when asked how he felt about his mother being a mambo, he expressed great pride in the healing work she performed.

Ironically, it is the missionaries who come off as superstitious. One of them, a man named Bobby Boyer,  describes at length how, on his second day in Haiti, he found a Bible facedown on the floor. It was open to Jeremiah Chapter 19. He then quotes the passage about God proclaiming He will bring evil on this place because the people worshipped other gods, suggesting that God sent the earthquake to tell the Vodou spirits to leave. In contrast, Whiteley’s Haitian friend Nancy (who is also Christian) simply accepted the earthquake as a natural force.

Other post-earthquake problems were manmade. Some Christian leaders blamed the 2010  cholera outbreak on Vodou, when in fact it was caused by U.N. soldiers dumping human waste into a river. This unethical scapegoating led to the brutal lynchings of 45 Vodou priests.

One would think that most Vodouisants would hate missionaries, but this was not the case. At one point  early in the film, Whiteley asks a houngan what he thinks about missionaries. Expecting anger or bitterness, his answer surprised her. The houngan appreciated their presence and acknowledged their importance to the future of Haiti’s children.  This, I felt, clearly demonstrated the pragmatic side of Vodouisants—contrary to being blinded by superstition, they are very cognizant of the world around them and the very real problems they face.

“Real Voodoo” is a glimpse into the lives of real Vodouisants as well as a snapshot of post-earthquake Haiti and the recovery work that still needs to be done. I definitely recommend this film and will be adding it to the Bibliography/Filmography page.

Empathy for the gods

Posted in lwas, Spirit Guides with tags , , , on June 22, 2012 by cheshirecatman

Sometimes it’s humorous when we recognize ourselves in others. And sometimes it’s irritating.

Once I entered into my 30’s, these moments of recognition happened more often. Someone would be getting on my nerves, and my inner voice would be complaining about how whiny, apathetic, negative, inconsiderate, etc. they were. And then, a while later, I would recall an incident when someone told me (either directly or indirectly) that I was whiny, apathetic, negative, inconsiderate, etc.

For the past few months, I’ve felt  frustrated as I’ve tried to connect an artist friend with a shop owner friend about an art show. And each time I ask either one of them if they’ve called the other one yet, the answer is always no, with a variety of excuses/reasons.

Now, I know I am not always the most on-the-ball person. I get tired and have a tendency to procrastinate. So this made me wonder how often my gods, guides and lwa have prompted me to do something and I made them wait. I imagine they got pretty frustrated. After a while, they may have even thrown up their hands in despair and decided to drop whatever they were attempting to help me with.

I do not want them to do that, as I need their help. This is just another reason to continue my efforts to take better care of my health, which will give me more energy to stay motivated. It’s difficult sometimes in our culture of mass distraction and overstimulation to find time and energy for spiritual and creative work, but it can be done. For me, it will be an ongoing process of priorities, organization and elimination of things that are no longer relevant to my life.

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.

Beautiful little messenger

Posted in Animals, Spirits with tags , , on December 12, 2011 by cheshirecatman

A week ago Saturday, Anne and I were walking our dog Stella alongside a busy street. I was walking ahead of them a ways when I saw a colorful shape on the road. When I realized what it was, I was surprised and dismayed. The tiny still form was a beautiful hummingbird.

I bent down and carefully lifted the nearly weightless creature. He laid unmoving, his body slightly curled up. Although I could not see any visible injuries, he did not appear to be breathing, nor did he struggle as I carried him. I did not have a plastic bag with me or anything else to safely carry him in, so I emptied out one of my jacket pockets and gently laid him in there. Then Anne and I stopped at the grocery store, one of us shopping while the other waited outside with Stella. Then we walked through a nearby park and went home.

When I removed him from my  pocket, I was surprised to see that his body had straightened out and his eyes were open. Were they open or closed before? I wasn’t sure. He still wasn’t moving at all (other than possibly his eyes). So I went upstairs and emptied out an old wooden recipe box to use as a bed for him. We did not have any nectar on hand, but Anne thought we could see if he would drink some soy milk. We poured a tiny amount in a bottle cap, and I held it near his tongue for a while. And slowly, almost imperceptibly, the liquid began vanishing.

Then he closed his eyes. So he was alive, but very weak. He made no attempt to fly or struggle. I laid him down in his box with the cap nearby, and placed him in our spare bathroom where he could have some peace and quiet. It seemed unlikely that he would recover, but at least he could have a peaceful passing without fear of being stepped on or found by another animal.

He died sometime in the next couple of hours, although his body remained flexible which made me cautious about assuming him dead. Eventually his eyes became sunken into his skull, although his feathers remained as vibrant as ever.

I was undecided about what to do with his body. I thought of trying to preserve it, but did not think I would be able to really preserve the beauty he possessed in life. Many beautiful things are temporary. We enjoy them for a little while and then learn to let go.

I thought about at least preserving his wings, but could not bring myself to cut him in any way. It just felt wrong. Still undecided about what to do with him, I placed his body in a sandwich bag and put him in the fridge. I knew I wanted to at least keep his bones, but was not sure how to go about that. After reading up on bone preservation online and talking with a few friends, I decided I would bury him. Anne purchased some potting soil a few months ago. All I needed to do was find a pot.

After searching in the garage, despairing of finding one, and resigning myself to wait until I went shopping again, I noticed the plant pot we have in the kitchen that we use as an odds ‘n ends holder. I am so accustomed to seeing it as an odds ‘n ends holder that it did not register in my brain that it was a plant pot, and the perfect size. So yesterday I buried him.

The lovely Snow of Swamp Witchery suggested I wrap the body in cheesecloth before burial to keep the bones together. As I laid him to rest, I noticed there was an angel design on the pot. I never realized it was there. I can’t remember where we got the pot and don’t remember receiving any plants for gifts. However we got it, the design seemed appropriate.

I did not have any fresh flowers on hand (Anne is allergic). It felt kind of strange to leave the soil bare, so I placed some cowrie shells and a fabric rose on top.

He is now resting on a quiet shelf in the garage. I’d like to place the pot outside, but we live in a condo with a shared yard and I worry that children or animals will mess with it and possibly damage the bones. I am not sure when I will bring the bones up. I guess when the time feels right. I am also not sure yet what I will do with his bones.

Why did this little bird cross my path? This is the second hummingbird we’ve encountered since coming to this neighborhood. The first one appeared to us shortly after we bought the place, when our realtor brought us by to check on some work that was being done before we moved in.  Hummingbirds always make me think about Marie, Anne’s stepmother who crossed over a couple of years ago.

I had been thinking about Marie off and on recently, probably due to the holidays. She really enjoyed the festivities. Perhaps the little bird was a sign from her in some way. They are so alike—tiny, beautiful and fleeting.

Some thoughts on spirits, guides and totems

Posted in Animals, Spirit Guides, Therianthropy with tags , , on November 28, 2011 by cheshirecatman

Due to a user name snafu, my friend Angel and I had not talked for months. We finally found each other in chat over the weekend and the conversation was, as usual, fascinating and filled with instances of sharing the same thoughts (we are almost like twins that way, even though we are not related in this life).

As she is an experienced energy worker, I wanted her opinion on something. When I express gratitude to deities/lwa/spirits, I have a natural tendency to intentionally direct energy out through my hands. I’d also noticed the sensation of energy flowing upwards from what feel like small openings (the energy equivalent of pores?) along the tops of my shoulders and the back of my neck.

Angel’s take on this was not what I expected. She thought the sensation was the result of an exchange of energy between myself and a spirit guide. To support me, this guide stands behind me and puts his hands on my shoulders. She described him as tall and noble, with long dark hair and a Native American feel. He has a two-part name beginning with a ‘sh’ sound. I am not sure who this spirit is, but I like the idea of his presence and support (I can use all the support I can get). Also, I forgot to save the chat text and am writing this from memory, so I hope Angel will feel free to comment and point out any errors I may have made.

The same day another friend of mine was posting multiple photos of her totem animal (one of the big cats) on Facebook.  This got me thinking. I’ve never done much exploration into whether or not I have a totem animal. I suppose I never felt a need to. Popular parlance seems to view totems as animal spirit guides. Which got me thinking again. If my essence is animal, and I don’t have totem animals, does that make my bipedal spirit guides my totem humans? Yes, I am being a little facetious. But only a little.

From Wikipedia:

A totem is a stipulated ancestor of a group of people, such as a family, clan, group, lineage, or tribe.[1]

Totems support larger groups than the individual person. In kinship and descent, if the apical ancestor of a clan is nonhuman, it is called a totem. Normally this belief is accompanied by a totemic myth.

Although the term is of Ojibwe origin in North America, totemistic beliefs are not limited to Native Americans. Similar totem-like beliefs have been historically present in societies throughout much of the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, and the Arctic polar region.

In modern times, some single individuals, not otherwise involved in the practice of a tribal religion, have chosen to adopt a personal spirit animal helper, which has special meaning to them, and may refer to this as a totem. This non-traditional usage of the term is prevalent in the New Age movement, and the mythopoetic men’s movement.

If this is accurate, then a totem would be ancestral. Then I would say my totem would have to be one of the large cats. Except that I likely would not call them a totem. I’d call them an ancestor.

 

Lost pendant and synchronicity

Posted in Sekhmet, Spirits with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2011 by cheshirecatman

The more I open myself up to the idea of synchronicity, the more I am aware of it in my life.

Earlier this week one of my pendants went missing. It’s a simple tiger’s eye stone with a metal loop embedded in it. Attached to the embedded loop is a small, secure keychain-type loop. To the keychain loop was attached a strong cord, knotted on one end.

Prior to using this strong cord, I had the pendant on a soft leather cord with a clasp. A couple of months ago the cord finally wore through, which is not uncommon with that type of leather cord. After that I switched to using an adjustable black cord, which came undone several times over the past month. I would lean over and see the pendant on the ground at my feet. One time someone found it at work and returned it to me. At that point I switched to the simple non-adjustable knotted cord.

This is not any old pendant. It houses a servitor that was created by someone I know. A servitor is an entity/energy golem/thought form that has been created by someone and programmed with certain abilities and purposes. I purchased this one a few years ago as protection against psychic attacks and energy siphoning. The servitor  has a name and takes the form of a large feline, but I won’t describe him more than that so as not to forewarn or forearm anyone who may wish me harm. But he has served me well, although in the past few months it’s felt like he was trying to get away from me.

I wasn’t happy when the pendant went missing this week. What was odd is that when I removed the leather cord, it was not torn or unknotted. It was intact. Only the pendant was missing.

Normally I am very bothered when I lose things, but this week I’ve just felt calm about it. As fond as I am of the pendant and its resident spirit, I’ve recently gained more confidence in my own shielding abilities and the various resources, friends and spirits available for help. I could not help but wonder if losing the pendant was an indication that I no longer needed to rely on the servitor.

Adding to the synchronicity, just last night I was at Gargoyles Statuary and the owner, a good friend of mine, pulls out a beautiful Sekhmet pendant that she found for me.  It is real silver and surprisingly affordable. How could I say no? I had the feeling that one cat was stepping into the background while the goddess was exerting her influence in the foreground.

Today I accepted the loss of the servitor calmly, and was in the process of stripping the bed to wash my sheets when, low and behold, there was the pendant. I was glad to find it but didn’t feel particularly relieved. I still welcome the added protection of its resident spirit, but I think he will not have to work so hard from here on out.