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.