Archive for the Therianthropy Category

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.


Rada fet and exploding roses

Posted in Azaka, Damballah, Divination, Erzulie, Ghosts, Legba, lwas, Possession, Psychic, Religion, Ritual, Sekhmet, Spirit Guides, Spirits, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2011 by cheshirecatman

(First of all, I apologize for the sensationalistic title—I couldn’t resist. The “exploding roses” refers to an energy exercise. Nobody blew up roses at the fet.)

Rada fet for Bossou and Azaka

Last night’s fet was quite interesting for me personally, both in terms of new experiences and things I witnessed. I think I’ve come a long way since last year’s Rada fet.  At that time, my head was more closed and the identity of my met tet was still a mystery to me.

Slinky picked me up at 5. During the car ride, she mentioned that she ran across a chicken not far from her home. She’d had the thought of picking it up and bringing it along to the fet, but then thought the better of it (tongue-in-cheek here). The fowl probably belonged to somebody, and would be missed.

Slinky and I arrived early to help with setup (around 5:40). There was a game going on at Qwest Field, near the fet’s location, so traffic was a mess. We ended up having to pay for parking, but that was okay. The plus side is that there were a lot of people around, so Slinky’s car was less likely to be broken into.

The altar turned out quite nice, I thought. The table was covered with banana leaves, with a satiny red tablecloth on the left half for Bossou and a blue kerchief on the right for Azaka. On Azaka’s side of the table were a framed portrait of St. Isidore and a 7-day candle with his image. Bossou’s half held red candles, a portrait of the Triple Ray Christ, a set of bull horns and a triple-horned figure made from fabric and decorated with sequins. The Bossou side was a bit fuller than Azaka’s, due to Bossou being Mambo C’s met tet. She did her best to make both sides equal (and Azaka ended up with a LOT of offerings before the evening ended), but it’s understandable that she would have more altar items for the lwa who rules her head.

Houngan D brought a spirit “box” that was under construction. He makes several of these a year and sells some of them. Last year I saw one that was a cube with round openings on 5 sides. Small statues were placed in each of the four interior corners representing various lwa. It was very beautiful. The one I saw last night was no less beautiful. It was a ruby-red transparent vase with graceful curves. An image of the Mater Dolorosa was affixed to one side, representing Erzulie Freda. When I looked at the vase from the opposite side, I could see the image through the glass. Setting inside the mouth of the vase was a huge faceted glass diamond.

It was nice being there early. I also got to talk to Mambo C’s boyfriend a bit; he’s an interesting guy, experienced in other magickal paths. He is also Jaxob’s (the tarot reader I met at Norwescon’s psychic fair) mentor. Jaxob also showed up early, and we hugged like old friends. Mambo C drafted her boyfriend, Slinky, another regular attendee and me to participate in the salutes portion of the ceremony, which we rehearsed before everyone arrived.

Between 6:15 and 6:45 more people began to show up. Among them was Ash, who I met at last winter’s Fet Gede (our mutual friend Greg brought him). I thought it was very cool that he came back, even though Greg did not attend. Ash is a tall youngish (mid-twenties to early thirties somewhere, I am guessing) man with a sincere smile and an appealing openness about him. We got to talk for a bit. I found out that Ash attended the March fet, the one that Slinky and I missed. Vodou is Ash’s only spiritual path at the moment. Up until last Sunday I would have said the same for myself, but then Sekhmet appeared (which I wrote about in a recent post). Another very cool thing is that Ash reads this blog (yay)! He was wondering if it was mine, and I confirmed that it was.

The service began with the drawing of the veves and the reciting of the priyes (a prayer in song for the saints and the lwa, sung at the beginning of fets). Lyric sheets were handed out, which was very helpful for the call and response segments of the priyes. As a result, the lyrics were much less garbled than at the previous fet. More guests arrived, including T who has been at most of the fets I’ve  attended. She has African ancestry and, although relatively new to Haitian Vodou, is experienced in another African-based faith (I think Yoruba but am not sure).

We moved on to the salutes that we had practiced earlier, which were led by Mambo C and V (a Hounsi). They would salute the four directions, the doorway, the altar and the drums, and then the four of us (Slinky, me, Mambo C’s boyfriend and the other regular), carrying lit white candles, would perform some simple steps and turns with Mambo C and V. During the drum salute, the four of us set our candles down in front of the drums.

Then the songs, drumming and dancing began in earnest. During one of the Legba segments, Mambo C felt Legba coming into her head. She surprised me by grabbing my head and pulling our faces together with enough force that it was actually a bit painful when our heads connected. I found this amusing though–I figured a child of Bossou is not going to be super gentle when butting heads. And I thought afterwards about the phrase, “no pain, no gain.” In this case it was very literal. (V also stomped on my foot accidentally when dancing, and it was kind of painful as well.) When I asked Mambo C about the head thing later, I found out that she was trying to pass Legba into my head. It didn’t quite happen this time.

As the fet continued, Houngan D proceeded to pull various people aside and either walk them around the circle or deposit them outside the circle where they either sat down, lay down or went up to the altar. Among the people he pulled out during the evening were various regulars, Ash and a few of the new attendees). For the first time in a service, he pulled me aside, and brought our heads together in the center of the circle. He splashed an herbal mixture on my head and then took me over to the altar, telling me that I have Azaka. As you may remember from an older post, Houngan D thought that Azaka might be my met tet. I am not sure if I feel Azaka is with me or not, but it is entirely possible. Mambo C told me later that when one has Legba as met tet, one can have a lot of lwa walking with you. (And now I’m worrying over limited shrine space *grins*.) But I have not forgotten my bee sting last year, and the subsequent research I did that revealed that bees are associated with Azaka.

There were a fair number of possessions throughout the evening. Not surprisingly, Mambo C became possessed by Bossou, and proceeded to lift at least three people, including Ash, who is a lot taller than her. V and her friend also became possessed during the evening, although I am not sure by whom. Houngan D was possessed by Damballah, who I believe is his met tet. There were a few times through the night when several people were in various states of possession at the same time.

T became possessed by Erzulie. I find T’s possessions interesting because they are not the same as those of other attendees. I remember her possession at my first Fet Gede, when she sat frozen with her arms in an almost dance-like pose. Last night I saw her holding Houngan D’s Freda vase and staring down into it. Shortly after that, she sat in a chair, her arms frozen in the gesture of a woman brushing her hair while looking in a mirror. (Afterwards, when T, Mambo C, Slinky and I were talking, T said she was surprised that, prior to possession, the lower half of her body felt frozen. This actually sounds very similar to some of the possessions that Maya Deren talks about in her book Divine Horsemen.  When she became possessed, Deren describes how one of her feet became rooted to the ground.)

Prior to attending the fet, I’d been curious how the chakra and energy work I’d been doing with Angel and Shannon would affect me during the ceremonies. Last night I did notice that my head felt more open than ever before. Early in the evening, a mental image of a small glowing donut-shaped ring popped into my mind, which I thought might represent my crown chakra. Throughout the evening, I was aware of this ring, which changed color from vibrant orange to mixed blue and green, to purple and black, to solid black, then to orange again.

Near the end of the service, during a dance for Azaka, some of the more spacious dancers (by spacious, I mean that their style of movements requires a lot of room) were going wild. I got sandwiched between two of them, where I could not move forward or backward without getting struck. This aggravated a shift in me (in therianthropy, a “shift” is when one’s personality, energy body, consciousness or spirit form changes into one’s animal form). This is the first such shift I’ve had at a fet, and it felt a little weird. I continued to dance for a bit, while my thoughts became less word-oriented (I tend to think in words, being a writer) and changed into a very visual, sensory and present-moment sort of consciousness). I left the dance circle and stood on the sidelines while the beat of the drums pulsed within my being and watched the spinning moving forms of the dancers as through they were primates with puzzling habits. I’ve playfully coined this feeling “leopard-head” because it felt mostly that my head had shifted and not so much the rest of me.

The drums at last subsided and Mambo C came over to check on me. I told her I was fine, but I felt a little funky as though I might get sick to my stomach later. (I never did get sick. This seems to be a somewhat normal reaction for me to strong doses of energy.)

One thing I always wonder about at the end of these local fets is why the lwa don’t interact with the congregation more. It seems to me that, along with accepting their offerings, they would want to take advantage of a flesh-and-blood body to communicate with those who serve them. Most of the possessions I’ve seen so far mainly involve the individual, with the lwa and that individual receiving most of the benefits. Possessed people flail about, lie down, laugh or, as was the case last night, eat. (We had about three Azakas eating food from the altar near the end of the fet. None of them spoke to the congregation, to my knowledge.) Slinky thought that perhaps our services are not strong or skilled enough yet to bring forth that powerful of a possession. And that made sense to me.


This morning was my second session of the Intuitive Bootcamp with Shannon Knight. She taught me how to visualize roses and use them for healing and divination. It was a lot of fun and, surprisingly, came fairly easily to me (I say surprisingly because most things energy-related have not come easily to me in the past). The “exploding” part is visualized as part of an energy releasing process.

I also told Shannon about Sekhmet’s appearance during last week’s session, and she mentioned that I have Egyptian energy about me, and that the guides (not sure if this was from hers or mine) told her that I was skilled at manipulating energy in past lives.

On a funny sidenote, I was reading an article recently. It said that the more intelligent a person was, the more likely they were to believe bullshit. I didn’t totally agree with the article here–although I can see how an intelligent person might fall for a scam because they are too cocky to do their homework, I would not consider belief in the paranormal or ghosts as “bullshit” (at least not in all cases).

Many of my intelligent friends believe in ghosts or the paranormal, but not because they’re gullible. Their intelligence means that they are curious about things and their research helps them to understand unusual phenomena. And sometimes they believe because of personal experience. Plus, if believing in the supernatural means you’re gullible, then everyone with any type of spiritual faith can be defined as gullible, including Ghandi, the Buddha and Mother Teresa. Which would be insulting if it weren’t such a silly assumption.

So, on that note, so long for now from yours truly, the gullible author 😛

More thoughts on Sekhmet

Posted in African culture, Agassou, Animals, Art, Legba, lwas, Meditation, Ogoun, Psychic, Religion, Sekhmet, Spirits, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2011 by cheshirecatman
Sekhmet shrine

My small bookshelf shrine for Sekhmet. The print is by artist Jeffrey I. Shaw.

I am amazed at how good of a “fit” Sekhmet is for me, and also incredulous that I never saw that before. I’m guessing the reasons were that I was too spiritually closed due to energy blockages and past depression, and also that my tendency to over-intellectualize everything got in the way. As a Wiccan, I felt free to pick and choose my deities, and I was enamored of Bastet and Anubis (and more recently Agassou), and for some strange reason did not feel compelled to serve Sekhmet. Although that is in some ways regrettable and embarrassing at this moment, it is also validating. It makes me less likely to dismiss her recent appearance as wishful thinking.

Sekhmet is associated with healing, creativity, destruction and blood. She is known as an avenger of wrongs. I am an artist whose work sometimes portrays “dark” characters and blood. I am an avid horror movie fan, obsessed with exploring our fears and the darker regions of the human soul. Some people have told me I have a very spiteful streak. I’ve toned this down over the years, but I don’t forget past wrongs, whether the wrongs were committed against me, those I love, or the innocent and helpless (no, Michael Vick, your public remorse is not convincing). I have an equally strong compassionate streak and am interested in various areas of the healing arts. In some ways Sekhmet reminds me of Ogoun Balindjo, whom I have in my Rada shrine–another entity who can be fiercely destructive or healing.

Thinking about Sekhmet and reading Linda Tucker’s book about the white lions is helping me to attune to her energy, which I believe I can feel coursing through me, particularly in my spine (which is where I tend to feel Ogoun as well).

Even though it was not my intent to diversify my faith at this time, perhaps the division between the entities is, to some degree, an artificial and intellectual construct in my own mind. I still feel that Legba had a hand in this, opening my head to Sekhmet. And, like Legba, Sekhmet’s roots are in Africa so, although they belong to different belief systems, they both are tied to the homeland of my theriotype (the leopard).

And on the topic of therians, I had to smile when I ran across the word “therianthropic” on page 20 of Tucker’s book. The author was discussing cave paintings and how therianthropic half-human, half-animal images represented shamans who were deeply connected with the land and its non-human residents. She thought the depictions might symbolize a shaman’s part human, part animal consciousness (as good a definition of therianthropy as any, I think). Mambo C has told me I likely have shamanic ancestors, and Shannon told me my energy is deeply rooted in the earth. One of the beliefs of the Shangaan people of Africa is that if you kill the white lions you kill the earth. I’ve long felt that I would lose the will to live if the day came when most of the wild creatures are gone (especially the big cats) and the world’s sole inhabitants are humans.

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to start donating regularly to big cat causes (and I’ve mostly kept to this, save for a month and a half when I was barely keeping afloat financially). I’d planned to petition the lwa Agassou for his help with this cause, even though I have little information on him compared to many of the other lwa. I suspect that Sekhmet is offering her help in this area, for which I am very grateful. I plan to postpone setting up Agassou’s shrine for now, and focus on Sekhmet along with the lwa who currently have shrines in my home and the ancestors.

Back in March Puck told me that things would start moving much faster soon, and that there were surprises in store. The lesson? Always listen to Puck.

Orbs, chakras and walk-ins

Posted in Art, Legba, Psychic, Therianthropy, Walk-ins with tags , , , , , , , , on April 17, 2011 by cheshirecatman

The past two days have been quite interesting for me. Before I tell you about them, I should mention here that I have suspected for quite some time (since around 1978) that I am a walk-in. Now, when someone mentions walk-ins to me, my immediate reaction is to roll up my eyes and brace myself to hear some wild New Agey claims about special missions to save humanity and such. Let me assure you that this is not the case with me, which is why I often never tell people about this belief. I don’t feel that I have any higher mission, at least not any more than anyone else on the planet does. Usually I feel more like, “What the f*ck am I doing here?” But more on this later.

My sculptures are currently in an art show at a local shop, along with the work of Slinky and another artist. The reception was Friday evening. Both my girlfriend Anne and the shop’s owner took photos of all the artists. The shop owner commented that whenever she photographed me, orbs turned up in the pictures.

Personally, I don’t get that excited about orbs in photographs. My own digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix that is several years old now, often captures what looks like an orb but in reality is probably a lens flare due to less-than-ideal camera design. So when the shop owner showed me one of her photos with an orb floating in front of Anne, I didn’t think much about it.

However, I did find it interesting that more orbs appeared in photos taken with Slinky’s camera. I do not know if they are an effect of the light in the store or something more, but someone commented that they could see how spirits would inhabit that store. The owner is a Witch, and the store has a lot of Pagan-oriented merchandise. And last year, the owner told me that one of my sculptures seemed to topple to the floor for no apparent reason. So for me the question of orbs remains open-ended.

I mentioned in my previous post that I had met a new spiritual teacher/mentor, and I was hoping she could help me work through some energy blockage issues. I mentioned this in passing to my friend Angel, and she generously offered to try to help me with the blockages. She spent about three hours working with me (long distance) last night and, although she is aware of my therian and walk-in beliefs, some of her discoveries took both of us by surprise.

At the start of the session, she asked what I wanted her help with, and I explained that I’ve long felt that my energies and connections to the other side were blocked. She told me to relax while she connected to my energies. As she did so, I felt a mild ache in my right arm.

Angel found my energy to be quite charged, “almost electrical in a way.” She said it felt like it crackled as she moved through it, almost like an electrified fence, and connecting with it was like grabbing a charged wire, although not painful. This electricity was forming a sort of barrier that was caging me in. After tracing the problem back to its source, she concluded that my spirit was not meshing with the energy signature of  my body. This collision of the two energies was what caused the electrified barrier.

She was even more surprised that my chakras did not align. At first I was not sure what she meant, but she quickly explained that she could see images of  both my main energy body and my physical body and the chakras did not overlay exactly. Apparently my spirit has a slightly different chakra layout, which we both found very interesting. My solar plexus, crown and third eye chakras were all noticeably higher than they should be, because my spirit body is, in her words, “much larger than your body,” more expansive. She wondered if the solar plexus misalignment caused me stomach problems and I admitted that I did in fact have regular stomach problems (which I refer to jokingly as “cat stomach,” meaning I throw up frequently compared to other healthy people).

Note: This was one of the few instances when my therian and walk-in beliefs have received anything remotely resembling validation, and I admit I felt both grateful and relieved. It’s difficult to go through life wondering on a daily basis whether or not you’re playing with a full deck. I am not sure if the differences in my spirit body are due to being an animal in a former life, or due to being a larger human in another former life.

Although she could not make my chakras align exactly (due to the difference in spirit and physical body sizes), she was able to connect them so they would function better together. As she worked her way up my body, the ache left my arms and they felt light and she noted that the electric crackling had almost stopped. When she got up to my third eye chakra, she told me it had a very different liquid feel to it.

Angel also told me that when she connected my spirit body to my physical body, she saw my eyes glow bright red…not in an alarming way, but more like I could fully see now. She asked me if the red made sense to me. While it doesn’t right now, I expect it might make sense later on, so I am recording it here.

Things were even weirder when she worked on my crown chakra. In Angel’s words: “Most people have one conduit connecting them to the universal energies…you have multiple conduits…I get the sense that in your spirit form and your original made sense and worked..but it does not sync well with your current body…its like you had very different primal type links, each operating in its own way.”

She explained that the multiple conduits could make spiritual reception confusing, and I thought it might be a bit like trying to listen to several radio stations at the same time.

As she proceeded to the final realignment,  she had to improvise (but she loves a good challenge): “Well…its like this…one conduit from your body and multiple from your energy body..I’m trying to figure out the best way to handle this…and keep it intact yet more cohesive…I found the largest and main conduit, and am changing the vibrations of the thinner ones to kind of meld them together into one.”

Angel managed to get my energy running well, which I credit to her experience as an energy worker. She is curious to see how things progress for me now, and commented that “You have the key, now you just have to unlock the door.” Of course, that made me think of Legba.

It will be interesting to see what happens as I work with the new mentor and attend future fets. Stay tuned….

Note: If you’ve found this post interesting, you might enjoy reading Angel’s description of our session:

Channeling one’s inner Ogoun, plus signs from Puck

Posted in Animal communication, Animals, Art, lwas, Ogoun, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , on August 3, 2010 by cheshirecatman

I just returned from a sci fi convention in Western Washington. We rode up with a couple of friends and spent some time with another friend who lives over there, whom I’ll call Phoebe. At one point during the weekend, Phoebe and our friends were talking about my girlfriend Anne and I in our absence, and their general opinion of us is that we are gentle people who do really disturbing art. I found this amusing.

Amusing, because they are correct—our art is disturbing. Mine is full of monsters, blood and suggested violence. Anne’s art exposes the ugly underbelly of society’s rejected people. I was also amused because I am very aware of my darker side—the side that is aggressive, ruthless and has potential for violence. I am Therian, after all, but this is also a very human trait, of course.

There was some terrific art at the convention. On Thursday evening I spotted a relief that took my breath away: a realistically sculpted tiger head wearing steampunk gear. This doesn’t happen often, as the art scene (particularly the Seattle gallery scene) is full of conceptual crap by people whose work suggests that they don’t know how to draw. The tiger affected me deeply as an artist—it made me see my shortcomings and want to improve. I wanted to bid on the piece but there was no bid tag posted.

I returned to the art show on Saturday afternoon. Hardly anyone was bidding on anything. When I went over to visit the tiger, I was delighted to find a bid tag. The minimum bid was a mere $48 for an amazing piece of art. Of course I had to bid. I also bid on some jewelry for a friend and a print. I knew bidding closed at noon the following day, so I made a mental note to return before then and check on my bids.

Sunday morning I arrived at the art show around 11:30. Much to my dismay, there were higher bids on all three items that I had bid on (evidently I have good taste), including the wonderful tiger relief. It had been bid up to $60. I placed an additional bid on it for $65, just to ensure that it would go to auction and I would have another shot at it.

My friend Phoebe knew the other bidder, whom I’ll call “Mac,” and said she would talk to her about backing down and letting me have it. I shrugged, but thought it would be nice if I didn’t have to go to the auction. Phoebe came back a short time later saying that she tried, but had no luck. Apparently Mac was buying it for her daughter, who was sitting outside the art area and heard Phoebe and I talking. The daughter commented that she had fallen in love with the tiger and that I did not have a chance [to get the tiger] against two Macs.

Phoebe pulled me aside and suggested I at least go to the auction and bid on the tiger, to not let them have it cheaply. I was disappointed, but also  irritated by the daughter’s assumption that I did not have a chance. I hate assumptions, and am not sure why she thought that. Perhaps it was because I was quiet and not throwing a fit. Or maybe because I look Asian (nice, quiet, submissive Asian stereotypes, blah). Or perhaps she assumed that I’m a starving artist and would not be able to bid very high. (I have a day job. I’m not rich, but I’m not starving either.) Or perhaps she simply misread my reaction to what she said. I heard later that mother Mac told her daughter, “Don’t worry, we’ll get it.”

Their combined cockiness irked me. And it aggravated my latent competitive streak. I used to be an avid eBayer, after all, and master of the snipe attack.

In the hour that remained before the auction, I mentally calculated how high I could afford to bid. Phoebe told me that the Macs had money; that the mother had recently been promoted and gotten a raise, and had previously paid $200 at an auction. I was not sure exactly how high I was willing to go (and would change my mind several times during the hour), but the more I thought about it, the more irritated I felt and the more I wanted that beautiful tiger. I knew I would bid at least up to $150 (the after auction price of the piece, if no one had bid on it), but felt ready to go over $300 if necessary. I felt my cold calculating side take over, or what I now think of as channeling my inner Ogoun. Ogoun is the lwa of war, weapons and the battlefield, among other things.

The auction began late and I sat through over an hour of bidding before they brought out the tiger. I even refrained from bidding on two of the other items I wanted, in order to save funds for that tiger. By the time it was brought out, I was starting to get anxious. The auctioneer read off the title of the piece, and then read my last bid as the starting point. Immediately Mac Sr. upped the ante to $75.

From then on the auction was a succession of quick bids between me and Senior Mac–$80, $85, $90, $100. $110, $120, $130, $140. When Sr. Mac bid $150, there was a finality in her voice as though she knew she had won. Wrong. I bid $160, steeling myself to go past the $200 mark. But then, much to my surprise, Mac Sr. fell silent.

Phoebe was surprised as well. I heard her mutter, “What?”

$160 going once. $160 going twice. Sold! To yours truly. I couldn’t suppress a victorious “YESSSS!”

$160 was only $10 over the regular asking price for this wonderful piece. If I commissioned the artist to make another one, I’d have to pay for shipping from Colorado. So overall, I felt I got a good deal. I plan to hang the tiger near my art table for inspiration. As I sat through the rest of the auction, I felt energy suddenly leave my spine, which then felt a bit sore and stiff. Almost as though Ogoun were leaving me for now. Silently I thanked him for his help. I shall have to find him a nice offering.

Afterward I ran into Sr. Mac at the payment counter. She took it all in stride, but mentioned that her daughter was a bit upset. I didn’t gloat, but I wasn’t sorry for the daughter either. I felt she needed to learn a few things: 1) Don’t get cocky; 2) Know your enemy or at least don’t underestimate them; and 3) Don’t bait someone. If she had played her cards differently, played on my sympathies and perhaps said how her heart was set on the piece and it reminded her of a favorite character from a book or some such, perhaps I would not have tried as hard to win it. But again, I’m not sorry. I LOVE my tiger.

For some reason, since returning from the con, I keep thinking about Puck. I miss him so much, even though it’s been more than two years since he crossed over. I used to hold him, and he would place a paw on each of my cheeks and lick my face.

Luna, my young Devon, usually does not do anything like that, but last night it seemed as though she knew how I was feeling. I was lying on the bed, and she climbed onto my chest and licked my face.

Then today, at work, my Windows Messenger ID suddenly changed itself into one that includes Puck’s name. Obviously I must have changed it a while ago, but for some reason the online version of Messenger has been displaying one of my other aliases for months. Now suddenly this morning, I see Puck’s name. I think he knew that I needed to feel his presence.

Two contenders

Posted in Agwe, Divination, La Sirene, lwas, Mermaids, Ogoun, Religion, Spirit Guides, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2010 by cheshirecatman

I am still unsure of my met tet, but at the moment have narrowed it down to two strong possibilities: Agwe and Ogoun. This will not come as a surprise to my regular readers as I’ve mentioned them before. As I reflect on this throughout the day, I constantly flipflop between these two. In the last tarot reading I did for myself, an Agwe card crossed over an Ogoun card in position one of the Celtic Cross layout–Agwe countering or “blocking” Ogoun. Either one could be the met tet; both are powerful influences at work. Both are associated with thunder and lightning, so either one could be responsible for my close encounter last December. (An interesting side note is that encounter happened on December 18, birthday of both Keith Richards and Brad Pitt, both of whom are under the sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter. More on this later.)

There is no doubt that I have a nasty aggressive side to my nature, and being Therian makes my relationships with people strained at times. I am also highly empathic by nature, which counterpoints my antisocial tendencies in a way that sometimes strikes me as highly ironic. These traits I would categorize under Ogoun’s influence.

Yet there are some interesting correlations between Agwe and myself. I’ve listed some of the more interesting ones below. These could “just” be coincidences; however, a good medium friend of mine often comments that, in her experience, there are no coincidences.

  • Agwe is sovereign of the seas. My birth sign is Pisces.
  • Part of my full name includes a reference to water.
  • His colors are blue and white. I’ve had dreams where the color aqua blue is highly significant. I also have one spirit guide who announces his presence with the color royal blue.
  • Agwe is said to live in his ship by day and descend into his watery realm by night. I am nocturnal by nature.
  • He is the protector of sailors and fishermen. My mother’s people were traditional hunters and fishermen.
  • His wife is La Sirene the mermaid, his cousin is her sister La Balene, the whale. I sculpt mermaids and, as a child, had a lot of dreams about whales and living in an oceanic world.

I was discussing this via email with Mambo C today, and she wrote: “I’ve seen a possession by Agwe accompanied by actual thunder – kind of reminds me of a very Jupiter energy.” I did some quick online reading about Jupiter and found this page. I’ve quoted a few paragraphs below, with the text that resonated for me in bold:

The sign that Jupiter rules, Sagittarius, is the explorer. On one level, Sagittarius is described as being very good at business and administration. Another level is the freedom of Sagittarius, exploring new lands, cultures and adventures. A cliché phrase associated with it is “don’t fence me in.” On the highest level Sagittarius represents the spiritual explorer, delving into new thoughts, beliefs, philosophies and religions. They are able to take in so many points of view and experiences because the power of Jupiter is working to expand consciousness. In the older systems of astrology, before the discovery of the outer planets, Jupiter ruled both Sagittarius and the sign of Pisces, the energy of the artist and mystic. So not only is it associated with the fire and light of Sagittarius and the sun, but the mystical waters to be explored by Pisces.

Colors associated with Jupiter are blue and purple. Many relate the power of Jupiter to the power spiritual sight and spiritual light. The brow chakra, or Anja, is the energetic center of the body, usually portrayed as indigo or purple. The third eye is not the only place where the energy of Jupiter can be found. In medical astrology, Jupiter rules the liver, since it is the largest planet and the liver is one of the largest organs. Metaphysicians note that liver problems are often created through unresolved anger. When one is in the expanded consciousness of Jupiter, anger can be resolved. Only when you are blocked to the expanded consciousness of Jupiter do you hold anger over the long term. Jupiter rules many of the liver herbs, such as dandelion.

The gods of Jupiter are the sky gods and storm fathers. Jupiter himself is a Roman god of thunder and lightning, highly identified with the Greek Zeus, the leader of the Olympians. Although a third generation deity, he leads his brothers and sisters in victory against the Titans and creatures that roam the world, ushering in a new age. Though Zeus in later myths is painted in an unflattering sexist tone to the modern reader, the ideal of this godform is the wise and guiding king. To the Sumerians, Marduk led the fight against the dragon creature Tiamat, creating the world and a new age. In Egypt, the god Amen-Ra, the embodiment of Ra as ruler on Earth and often depicted as a pharaoh figure, is the Jupiter archetype. Unlike the Greeks, the Egyptians saw the Sun as supreme and elder, giving sway to other figures, such as Amen-Ra. Tarranis of the Continental Celts, relates to Zeus, as being a strong storm god and heavenly figure. Modern Celtic practitioners also look to the good father god of the Tuatha De Dana, the Dagda as a Jupiter figure. His cauldron is ever abundant and none leave it hungry, representing the power of abundance and nurturance in Jupiter energy. In Norse myth, the all father and tribal leader is Odin, though many associated Odin with Mercury images, because he is the magician and traveler. Thor, on the other hand, the God of Storm and Lightning, is strongly linked with Jupiter magic. In fact, the day of Jupiter, Thursday, originates from Thor’s Day. Magic involving the power of Jupiter is strong when done on Thursday.

I am seriously considering asking Mambo Racine of the Roots Without End Society to do a met tet reading for me. Now, some people are skeptical about the accuracy of distance readings, but  for people who are skilled working with energies, distance does not seem to present a problem.

In the meantime, I’ve narrowed my list down to two “contenders” and am at peace with that for now. Regardless of who my met tet is, I am grateful to have both Ogoun and Agwe walking with me, and will continue to serve them as I progress in Vodou.

Conversations with the other side

Posted in Agwe, Animal communication, Animals, Divination, Dreams, Ghosts, Legba, lwas, Ogoun, Psychic, Religion, Sacred Geometry, Spirit Guides, Spirits, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2010 by cheshirecatman

The Buckland deck

Earlier this month I had a session with my friend and animal communicator/medium Tracy Ann. These sessions with Tracy are always interesting, enlightening and a lot of fun, except for when they dealt with Puck’s illness. (A note for my regular readers: I previously referred to Tracy as “Mary” in keeping with this blog’s anonymity policy. However, I have since received permission to use her real name and post her link on this site. I have gone back and changed all instances of “Mary” to Tracy, but if anyone finds a post I missed, please let me know.)

Some of this session dealt with the interactions between my two  living cats and some of their minor health issues, which I’ll skip over here.

Puck, my Devon Rex who crossed over in 2008, said that our upcoming move (from a tiny apartment to a spacious condo) will be good for both Anne and me. He suggested I perform a cleansing ritual on myself prior to moving; I think this is an excellent idea. The ritual will be to let go of old behaviors and patterns and to welcome new beginnings. His suggestion was to write them out on paper, then burn the paper and pour the ashes into a stream or a creek.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the subject of sacred geometry came up. Luna, my young living Devon Rex, mentioned that she likes a pyramid-shaped thing that you can see through. The only thing I could think of was a paperweight that Anne brought home from her mother’s house recently. It’s made of clear green glass, and is stepped like the pyramids in Central America. I am not sure if that’s what she was referring to, however, because when I showed it to her later she did not seem terribly interested. (Or maybe she’s just being a cat, heh.)

Luna also said that she and I see things in a similar childlike way. The example Tracy used was “like seeing a flower for the first time.” At first that did not make sense to me, as I tend to be rather cynical. But then after a moment it made sense. It might relate to being Therian, and refer to the way I see humans from a nonhuman point of view. From that perspective, one’s outlook would be childlike. I am often puzzled by human behavior. I understand it well enough from a left-brained analytical perspective, but my right-brained instinctive side says, “What the f*ck?”

One of Anne’s ancestors came through, a large man with a thick mustache.  He was originally from the British Isles. Anne has been doing geneology research for the past year, and when I told her the description she was quickly able to match it up to  a relative who fought in the Civil War.

Marie also came through, mostly with personal messages for Anne’s mother. I had to smile when Tracy commented that Marie is  a very clear communicator. In life, she’d taught classes at a local university for a while and was often a speaker at workshops.

As my regular readers know, I’ve been puzzling over the identity of my met tet for months. I have ideas who it might be, but am never quite sure. So in closing I thought I’d have Tracy take a peek.

The first spirit she described as short and busy. He likes to play tricks on me, but also can take himself seriously. If he were to play a prank and I didn’t get it, he might get pissy—sometimes he rides a fine line between being funny and being an ass. Tracy thought about Coyote and his wisdom/folly. I thought about Legba; Coyote is sometimes thought of as his Native counterpart. Tracy also got an image of Pan, another trickster.

The second spirit she felt was associated with thunder–in her mind she heard “Thor.” Thor is often mentioned as a Norse counterpart to Ogoun.

I have noticed that Legba and Ogoun turn up a lot in my personal tarot readings; although as I’ve mentioned before, that could be because of the particular deck that I use (the Buckland deck). The Sunday after my session with Tracy, I did a reading for myself and Ogoun turned up immediately in the first card of the Celtic Cross layout, which indicates the forces around you. This card shows a man sharpening a twig into what I assume is a spear, and very much seems to represent Ogoun.

What was interesting is that the second card was the Knight of Chivs. This card closely resembles a figure that appeared in a past dream and in a vision, both relating to water. Along with the blue and white of the card, I can’t help but think of Agwe.

The second card crosses over the first, representing obstacles. I am thinking that if Ogoun is my met tet, that Agwe is also close by for balance. I remember the subject of balance came up in Mama Lola. The author, having married Ogoun the fiery warrior, must also marry the cool serpent Damballah for balance. I know that I have a bit of a temper, and am grateful for Agwe’s presence to keep it under control.

More thoughts on Ogoun

Posted in African culture, lwas, Ogoun, Religion, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2010 by cheshirecatman

I’ve been reading Karen McCarthy Brown’s book “Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn.” Part religious study, part biography, this book was repeatedly recommended to me and I can see why. It’s a vibrant and entertaining read, and I’m learning a surprising amount just in the descriptions of the rituals and altars. I love this book.

It has a really good chapter about Ogou (alternate spelling of Ogoun, you find spelling variations a lot in Vodou), which I read with great interest since Ogou is one of the lwa who walks with me and possibly my met tet. There are many Ogou. What I like and find interesting about the Ogou lwa are that none of them are all good or all evil. Their characters are well-rounded. McCarthy writes:

Vodou spirits, unlike the Catholic saints whose names they borrow, are characters defined by contradiction . . . The wholeness of the spirits–their ability to contain conflicting emotions and to model opposing ways of being in the world–gives Vodou its integrity as a religion.

Ogou straddles the Rada and Petwo nachons (or nations of lwa). While the Rada lwa tend to be dependable, cooler headed and patient (their power lies in their wisdom), the Petwo lwa are hot-tempered and volatile (their power is their ability to make things happen). In his original Yoruba incarnation, Ogou was associated with ironsmithing and was the protector of hunters and clearer of forest paths. (I found that passage interesting due to my therian side being a predatory cat. It also brought to mind my friend Angie’s vision that I wrote about back in August–see “Doubt, rationalization and unexpected conduits.” The setting of her vision was a forest path.)

In the book, internationally known Nigerian scholar Wande Abimbola describes what Ogou is like in Africa:

…in my country, it is a little different. Ogou has his own priests. And Ogou is not just a soldier. He is the one who clears the way. He opens a path through the forest, you know.

Ogou also works with iron . . .  Ogou is important because he teaches us how to handle the modern world–arms, machines, trucks, all that. Without Ogou, we could forget that the things man creates can turn on him, even destroy him.

In her book, Brown says that the personality of the met tet and that of the devotee tend to coincide. So, for example, someone with Ogou as a met tet is expected to be brave, assertive, loyal, etc. All Ogous tend to be quick to anger, but deal with their anger in different ways–some punish, others withdraw. Brown also notes that diagnosing someone’s met tet is more than a surface labeling of personality types, and that it often works at a deeper level where it zeroes in on significant latent characteristics. This happened to Brown; she was told by more than one houngan and mambo that Ogou was her met tet, even though that did not match her own image of herself.

This made me think back on my reading with Mambo C. She saw Ogou in the cards, but mentioned casually that she didn’t think he was my met tet. I can easily see how anyone who did not know me really well would think this. When I meet people for the first time, I am quiet, polite, and slow to engage in conversation. I’ve also been told by more than one person that I give off a calming, soothing energy. However, when I really lose my temper (which, thankfully, is not often), a contrasting side emerges, one that is aggressive, sharp-tongued, calculating, spiteful and difficult to control. Sometimes when minor things make me impatient, this side partially emerges, and people sense that and back off. Some of them even seem a little afraid of this side, which is humorous because I am far from being a physically imposing person.

Mambo C told me that my path in Vodou might be a difficult one. If this is true, then I am grateful to have Ogou with me, whether or not he is my met tet. I could really use some path-clearing.

Unraveling the mysteries of personal lwa and the blue dress

Posted in Art, Divination, Dreams, La Sirene, lwas, Religion, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by cheshirecatman

Last Sunday I went to Mambo C’s house for a met tet reading. For those of you new to Vodou, a person’s met tet is the “master of their head,” a sort of Vodou guardian spirit. At any given time, a number of lwas may be with a person, but the met tet is the one you are born with.

Prior to my reading, the mambo had to finish up an interview with a student from out of town. The student had arrived 90 minutes late, so the interview ran late as well. As it turned out, we had only a very brief time to do my reading. The tarot cards had been laid out and Mambo C had barely begun reading them when Houngan D arrived. She had not gotten a clear impression of who my met tet was, although she had identified three lwa who were around me.

We discussed the reading a little with Houngan D, and he suggested I try working with Azaka, the lwa of agriculture. Houngan D asked me if my family had been farmers. I had to reply that they were not, as far as I knew. However, I never knew my father’s family (the Chinese side), so it’s possible some of them might have been farmers. I thought about Azaka, and did not have strong feelings one way or the other. Mambo C and I  never did get back to the cards that day, but she left them laid out on her dining room table and told me to give her a call later.

By the time we resumed the reading on Monday via telephone, Mambo C had carefully gone over the cards. While she was still not sure about my met tet, she did provide me with some interesting information.

La Sirene was very prominent in the reading, although the mambo did not think she was my met tet. However, this made me very happy, as it meant that La Sirene acknowledged my service to her. Erzulie was also present, although a little less prominently.  Also very prominent in the reading was Ogoun, the warrior lwa. The reading indicated some conflict between masculine and feminine energies, possibly related to the relationship with and between my parents. I found it interesting that the mambo saw this in the cards, as I grew up raised by a strong single mother with few positive male role models around, and certainly none who were around for any significant amount of time. She thought that the Ogoun energy manifested in the skill involved in sculpting, and the Erzulie/La Sirene energies manifested in my artistic abilities. She also thought that Agwe might be indicated, as he is married to both Erzulie and La Sirene. Both Ogoun and Agwe are associated with thunder and lightning, which reminded me of my close encounter with lightning back in December. On one website, Ogoun was associated with solitary predators, including panthers. Erzulie in her darker aspect (Erzulie Red Eyes) was also associated with big cats, which appeals to the therian in me.

She advised me to set up additional shrines for Erzulie, Ogoun and Agwe, so during the week I bought more candles and tried to find items to represent the new lwa in their shrines.

Mambo C mentioned that the Queen of Cups in the Rider Waite tarot deck represents Erzulie well. She is also commonly associated with Mater Dolorosa, a lovely white Mary wearing pearls and gold with a sword thrust into her heart. While killing time before meeting a friend on Wednesday, I stopped by Edge of the Circle Books and found a prayer card of Santa Barbara that I thought would work quite well. Saint Barbara is holding a cup and has a sword, although it isn’t piercing her heart. Her gown is white and her cloak is pinkish red (Erzulie’s color are white and pink).


While the guy was ringing up my card and candles, I looked down through the glass of the counter and my eyes fell on a cool metal pendant of Ogoun. The pendant was made of pewter and is basically a full body relief depicting the lwa as a modern soldier. It appealed to me both for its interpretation of Ogoun and for the artistic quality of the piece. Also, it seemed appropriate that his avatar be made of metal, as he is the lwa of iron. Of course I had to buy it.

That left me with the task of finding a representation for Agwe. Usually he is depicted by images of boats, but sea creatures can be used, as well as Saint Ulrich. I was having trouble finding an image or item that resonated for me. One sculpture that I saw in Pike Place Market of an Inuit man with a walrus face would have worked very well, but at $245 was out of the question. Finally, on Thursday, my girlfriend and I were at a gift shop in Belltown that sold a variety of well-sculpted plastic sea creatures. After pondering various dolphins, sharks, whales and a walrus, I settled on a small but highly detailed sea turtle with an appropriately intense expression and eyes that were nearly solid white, which gave him a mysterious otherworldly appeal. I will place some boat images behind him in his shrine.

So my plan is to set up these additional shrines today, serve these lwa, and hopefully at some point my met tet will identify itself.

Mambo C’s reading also indicated that my path into Vodou would not be a simple one, but instead full of twists and turns. And my thoughts to that were, “Ah. Just like the rest of my life.” Oh well. Sometimes when things come too easily, we appreciate them less.

Lastly, I’ve recently had some insights and ideas about the visitor in the blue dress that appeared to me twice, once on a bus ride and another time during meditation. On the bus ride, my impression of her was of an adult Native American, Latina or mulatto woman with long dark hair. In the meditation vision she appeared as a very dark skinned young African girl. I suspect this was La Sirene because of the similarity of the dress (both times it was blue with a repeated white pattern–blue and white, La Sirene’s colors). On one website I saw artwork of her with dual aspects, represented as two mermaids, one light skinned, one dark. This contrasts her benevolent and more dangerous aspects. The adult woman I saw had some maternal airs about her and may have been La Sirene’s protective, gentler aspect. I think the child represents La Sirene in her darker aspect, but “darker” in this sense would refer to the subconscious desires and instincts of the soul, or the part of the soul that is more spontaneous, unrestrained and childlike.

So with that, I take my leave to continue down my twisty turny path.

Doubt, rationalization and unexpected conduits

Posted in Animal communication, Art, Dreams, Ghosts, La Sirene, Legba, Mermaids, Psychic, Religion, Spirits, Therianthropy, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2009 by cheshirecatman

The realization that I was called by Legba, even before understanding who he is or what that meant, has made me feel happy and confident about this path. (Thank you, Legba.) It has also made me excited to work with other lwa. Some doubt has crept in along with the excitement, and I am not sure if this is a bad thing or a good thing. Possibly it’s a little of both.

Back when I suffered from severe depression, my decision making was very impaired. Depending on how I felt at that moment, I was either stupidly impulsive or so overrun with doubt that I could not make a decision at all. These tendencies only added to my problems, leading me to do things that I later regretted.

Although I am no longer depressed, I still have those tendencies within me; they’re just much better controlled by a more objective point of view and my sometimes domineering rational side. I have a great respect and fondness for my rational side, as it keeps me out of trouble. However, it does sometimes make spiritual work more difficult.

At this time, there are about three lwas that I either feel drawn to serve or am interested in approaching. Generally, though, I’ve learned that the lwa choose us and not the other way around, although one can approach them and hope for a response. My problem is that I am having trouble distinguishing if I am being called to these lwas, or if I am simply attracted to them for other reasons. Initially I had my doubts with Legba too, until I reviewed my notes from last year (see previous blog entry).

I was trying to figure this out and leaning towards approaching two of these lwa last week. During a late night chat with an online friend (I will refer to her as Angie here), I received some much needed (if a little confusing at times) advice. What follows is a partial transcript of the conversation, which appears here with her permission. Very little has been changed except for our names  and the removal of information that was unnecessary.

In order for this conversation to make sense, I also need to mention here that I am Therian, or someone who believes I am part animal, in a nonphysical sense. The expalanations for this vary from person to person, but in my case I believe that I lived as a medium-sized solitary solid-colored tropical cat in a previous life. (Interested readers should google “therian” or “therianthropy” for more information. There are a lot of sites and forums out there.) This is hardly a new idea, and different cultures have different ways to describe this belief. My friend Angie is also Therian.

So, moving along:

cheshirecatman: I’m considering approaching two more lwas, but am starting to second guess myself like always. i annoy me

angie: i tell you what: find a nice shadowy spot which gives you a good view on the trail, and when they pass, pounce!

cheshirecatman: ooh, bad idea. you are going to get me into trouble

angie: *giggles*

cheshirecatman: i can’t tell if i’m meant to approach them or if i’m just choosing to or if it even matters.  i’m pleased with what’s happened with legba, but am unsure of everything else

angie: see, if you do the hiding in shadows and pouncing thing, then if they come by you’ll know it’s right

cheshirecatman: that’s actually kind of correct except the hiding part

angie: but you’re a cat. that’s what you do!

cheshirecatman: yeah

angie: they’ll know

cheshirecatman: that’s an interesting point

cheshirecatman: but they see me coming too far in advance i think. like, 16 months

angie: that why you need a good spot, where you can hide properly….

angie: a dang, that’s too long, yeah

cheshirecatman: i’m thinking i can approach them, and they can respond or not. if not, then that’s that. if they do, then yay

angie: you mean, not hiding in bushes, but sitting out in the path? is not good idea, sit too long in path

cheshirecatman: more like leaving them an offering and see if they like it

angie: many things come along path

cheshirecatman: i’m kind of thinking of two lwa that seem right, but i don’t know if they’ll think the same of me

angie: *shakes her head in confusion* damn, i hate when that happens

cheshirecatman: generally in vodou the lwa choose you. not the other way around. but i can’t tell if an attraction to these two means anything other than an attraction on my part

angie: …from “i tell you what” until “many things come along path”

angie: that was only kind of me. take it as you wish, because i don’t understand that

cheshirecatman: *looking back at previous text*

angie: i was mentally in a damn jungle

cheshirecatman: ok so this is interesting…by kind of you, do you mean as in shift type stuff or like possession or channeling?

angie: i don’t know. almost like shifting. but not really. and when i shift deeply i speak differently, and my fingers claw up

angie: and there were no freaking jungles where i came from, much less big black cats, and things wandering paths

cheshirecatman: interesting

angie: there was a strong impression that there were things coming along the path which were almost human, and other things which were not human at all

cheshirecatman: hmmm

angie: i mean, not human, but, not … physical? earthly?

cheshirecatman: i am almost translating that (looking over notes) that I should stop second guessing because i might end up with something i don’t want

cheshirecatman: that would make sense though, if they’re lwa, they’re not physical in the earthly sense

angie: … reading of it is, wait in the right place. watch. don’t wait in the path. wait next to the path.

cheshirecatman: not sure what the path vs the right place is though

angie: very very important

cheshirecatman: so do you get these kinds of impressions often?

angie: it means, not where everybody and thing coming by will walk right over you.

sometimes. not often.

I knew that Angie was good at sensing energies, but did not know that she could be a conduit for messages from the other side. I was a little surprised, but also glad for the advice, which seemed to indicate that I should step back a little bit and not rush things. The skeptical person might wonder how I know that this is in fact a message from the other side and not just someone’s tired rambling? My answer would be that, in this type of phenomena, it’s very difficult to provide hard proof, especially when the message is of a personal nature. At this point in time, I just rely on my own judgment. I take into account not only the content of the information /advice provided, but also how the information comes through and the character of the person who is the conduit. This is the first time this has happened while chatting with Angie, and she has never ever claimed to be a medium. I’d also like to add that most people possess some ability to receive these types of messages, whether that ability manifests in dreams, visions or “gut feelings.”

Regardless of where the information came from, it still is good advice, given the impulsive side of my nature.

I’ve stepped back some, but am still thinking about one of the three lwas I feel drawn to. I am trying to be objective when examining past dreams and occurrences for meanings. I am also trying not to over-rationalize, as both Puck (my cat helper on the other side) and another friend have told me to “listen to my gut.”

The lwa in question is La Sirene (meaning “the siren” or “the mermaid”). She can be helpful to creative people, including artists. I’ll say here that I have sculpted a few mermaids over the years, but that alone does not mean anything in particular, as a lot of  people like mermaids. A color that is strongly associated with her is blue green, which brings to mind the striking color of the water in my dream described in my previous blog post. The color of the dress of a spirit who sat down next to me on the bus was blue (although I’m not sure of the precise shade), with white flowers. Granted, I am not saying an association with color is necessarily enough to go on, but I have had spirits communicate with me using specific colors before.

I found this information on her at I am not sure how accurate this description is, but it brings to mind again the water in my dream and its rejuvenating effects. I have indeed been feeling “overstretched” for the past few years and am in the process of focusing on what’s important to me and letting go of the rest.

La Siren is considered to be the “Mother of the Fish”. She shares this title with Yemaya of Santeria, whose names also mean “Mother whose Children are the Fish.  In both cases, the inner meaning is that since she is the mother of the world, her children are too numerous to count – not unlike the fish who inhabit her domain of the sea. Modern science has shown that life actually began in the oceans of the world.  And, as a fetus, we swim for nine months in our mother’s belly. So, the stretch to calling the Ocean our Mother is not all that big – a large body of salt water, rolling and moving with the tides. Not unlike being rocked in the womb of our mother. And, just as early life evolved out of the oceans, we too must change from little fish-like fetuses into human beings at birth.  We come from the waters and manifest ourselves into the reality of our world. This can be seen as an allegory of LaSiren, who brings her initiates knowledge from beneath her watery domain, helping them manifest their desires.

LaSiren is beautiful, but she also very powerful! It is said that if you fall under her spell, she will steal you away to her underwater kingdom. Here, she will keep you for a time (some stories say 7 days, other say 7 years). When you return, you are given the ability to perform feats of magic and divination. It’s said those who have spent time in her watery domain return lighter in color, because they have gone beneath the waters.

LaSiren represents the ability to nurture and  nourish yourself. To replenish your energies and to take time out for yourself. Her ceaseless motion  of waves and tides lends you endless energy. This can be a boon, but a burden, for others may see you as one who can perform miracles!  If you are hearing the siren call of LaSiren, stop and ask yourself this –  who or what is it that is taking all your time and energy? Whose problems are you trying to fix at the expense of your own vital energy? And why are you trying to fix them? LaSiren is calling to you, to remind you that you are in charge of your own destiny, not the destiny of others. She is inviting you to take the plunge into her cool dark depths, to find the answers within yourself. But that can only be accomplished if you are willing to let go of the mundane world around you and plumb your own inner seas of consciousness and talents. LaSiren invites us to dance with her, in an endless round of  ebb and flow, the give and take of life.

I am still questioning my interpretations of all this, and continue fluctuating between listening to my head or trusting my gut. More thought and research are required on my part. I will revisit this subject later.

angie: you mean, not hiding in bushes, but sitting out in the path?

angie: is not good idea, sit too long in path