Archive for Spirits

Colorful dreams and a second Snowman visitation

Posted in Animals, Dreams with tags , , , , on February 4, 2013 by cheshirecatman

Last night I had another visitation from my late Siamese cat Snowman. I call it a visitation because, even though it happened while I was dreaming, the look and feel of the dream was extremely vivid, complete with tactile sensation (which many of my dreams do not have). I was also aware in the dream that I was not seeing him with my physical eyes, but with the third eye.

In the ‘dream,’ I was lying in bed and saw him standing on the floor to my left. I sat up and leaned down to pet him, I scratched his chin and ran my hand along his back. I was delighted to feel that his fur was sleek and soft; it had gotten so scruffy during his illness. He plopped down on his side and I saw that his body was lean and muscular; none of his legs were swollen or misshapen. Then he went under the bed and vanished. After I woke up I was not sure if this visit had occurred when I was asleep or awake, but after giving it some thought I am guessing I was asleep.

In a later part of the dream I am in bed again, but my room is huge and contains 4 televisions of various sizes. I leave my room and go outside (apparently on my way to another ‘home.’) Once I am outside I realize I forgot to bring some things from my room, but after trying fruitlessly to return to the condo and also failing to find an office building that I needed to go to, I decided to continue on my way to my second home. At this point I realized I was dreaming, so there was no need to waste time going back to where I’d already been.

I am in a huge city, and interested in seeing the sights.  I am walking, floating, and flying along. At one point, I was waiting at a busy intersection and a gigantic (about the size of a small car) blue hand is making its way across a concrete island in the middle of the street. Also standing in a crowd of people was none other than the Incredible Hulk.

I have really no idea what most of this means, but am just glad to be able to see Snowman again and stroke his fur, and know he is doing well.

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Haunted by cats

Posted in Animals, Ghosts with tags , , , on February 2, 2013 by cheshirecatman

I was lying in bed one night last week, about to drift off to sleep, when I felt a cat jump onto my stomach. Those of you with cats know the feeling, it is a distinct sensation.

I thought it was Luna, but when I opened my eyes and started to sit up, I found she was in her usual spot on my legs and under the quilt.

I whispered a warm hello to Snowman, and laid back down.

I don’t have tactile or visual experiences with ghosts very often. It’s interesting that the most powerful experiences involve cats. I guess it validates that I am very much an animal person.

2013 begins: a fet, a farewell and renewal

Posted in Animals, Legba, lwas, Ogoun, Possession, Religion, Ritual, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2013 by cheshirecatman

I apologize to my regular readers for not posting for a while. I have some catching up to do, so this will be a lengthier post which I have divided into sections. The content should explain my absence.

2012 ends with a blah

I will  preface this section by saying I haven’t been really sick in about two years, which is amazing for me as I am susceptible to all kinds of lung-related problems (to which I credit allergies, a past bout of pneumonia and being a former smoker). During the fall and winter I was becoming really unmotivated with sculpting, feeling tired, overworked and generally blah. At one point I asked Legba to help me overcome my lack of motivation and I realize that, in retrospect, perhaps that was not such a bright idea.

Keep in mind that one of Legba’s aspects is that of Trickster. Consider this account from Houngan Hector’s website:

Legba is a trickster too! He has been known to play quite a number of tricks on people, some nice and some not so nice! I know a woman, who after doing a service to Legba for money, got into a terrible car accident, broke two of her legs, and then got her money – from the insurance company! She is alive and well now, but that definitely wasn’t the way she wanted to obtain the money! (This is another reason why one should serve the Lwa under the guidance of a Houngan or Mambo)

So, after making my rather whiny request I came down with a light cold about a week before Christmas. The girlfriend (Anne) had already had it, and it had run its course pretty quickly with her. I hoped for the same, and by Christmas eve when we attended a celebration at her mother’s house, I felt almost normal. All was good.

And then suddenly it worsened. I ran a fever, developed a  hacking cough, and got so ill I went to the doctor the day after New Year’s. I got antibiotics and almost was well again a week later when I developed a sore throat and went through the entire cycle again (although of shorter duration as I appear to be on the upswing again, let’s hope it lasts). During this very annoying and exhausting illness, I was forced over and over again to sleep and rest, as it seemed to be the only thing that helped. Rest, even though I have major art deadlines looming in March and April. Even when I wanted to work, coughing made detail work difficult and the fever left me very tired.

However, I am now cured of my lack of motivation. Be careful what you ask for. Plus it probably helps to be more specific.

A farewell

During my unmotivated fall and sickly winter, my Siamese cat Snowman became increasingly ill. He suffered from severe weight loss over the summer and had been to the vet in the fall and diagnosed with cancer. He was an old, independent and proud cat, and I did not want to put him through surgery that would likely not cure him at his age (over 17). So we treated his symptoms and waited.

He was treated with antibiotics, anti nausea meds and Vitamin B injections, and eventually he gained weight and some of his strength back. But as the holidays came and went, his abdomen became weirdly bloated and one of his front paws swelled up (apparently in cats, cancer metastasizes in legs). So I made an appointment with a vet who does house calls to assist him on his way. She was very gentle and compassionate with him, and he went amid love, much petting and tears from myself and Anne, and his favorite salmon treats.

The bill for helping him cross over at home was not cheap, but I have no regrets. It’s the least I could do for a friend who, like Puck, saw me through many difficult years. And, unlike Puck, Snowman was often stuck in the “second banana” role, as he was not as silly or attention-getting as Puck or my remaining cat Luna. What I realize, now that he is gone, is that I did not love him any less than them. He was my rock.

An amazing fet

The evening before Snowman’s crossing, I attended a small fet at a friend’s house. There were around a dozen of us there and, in spite of a late start and a mishap (a painting on the altar fell, resulting in some spilled water and broken glass) the energy was incredible. It may have been the best fet I’ve been to locally (the one I attended in Philly at Sosyete du Marche was also incredible).

Papa Ogoun made an appearance and actually claimed one participant as his daughter. Another Vodouisant announced abruptly that she needed to go outside (I would find out later that she had no memory of what she did out there). I made it a point during this fet to worry less about what was going on around me and instead focused more on the drumbeats and sending energy to the lwa. I was able to let go of more of my self consciousness thanks to a couple of shots of rum during the break. The fet ended with a couple of baths, one for letting go and one for luck.

So the baths were brought out and the presiding mambo took hers first. Then I had mine, and stepped aside. I remember my friend Slinky going up for her first bath and making a comment about all her hair. Then I briefly blanked out. Then I remember “Renee” going up for her bath. Again I blanked out. The part that was odd to me was when I opened my eyes and saw Renee getting up from her bath. I was really, really confused for a minute. I thought Renee was Slinky, and it took me a bit to figure out what was going on. Then I wasn’t sure if Slinky had the bath and was squinting at her to see if her hair was wet. Now, I often daydream and can go into light trances fairly easily, but am never this confused when I come out of them.

I didn’t think much about my confusion until later, when Slinky and I were comparing notes. Slinky mentioned (and I vaguely remembered) that someone remarked about “a roomful of half possessed people.” Slinky said she felt a bit different too. She felt a shift in her dance style, and also felt tipsy until after taking the baths, after which she felt very alert. At the time she wrote it off to just being tired, as she had not slept much the night before. And for the record, she drank only one small shot of rum during the break, not enough to be tipsy. I remember coming fully alert after the baths as well. Slinky also told me that she seems to remember seeing me wearing a straw hat and either khaki or olive-colored clothing, or there being someone dressed like that standing near me. (All of us were dressed in red and white.)

I feel very blessed to be at this particular fet and also grateful for the lave tet I had last year.

Final thoughts

The high of the fet followed by the pain of losing Snowman was quite a contrast, but the nasty cold/flu thing I had was in some ways a blessing. Much of the time I felt so rotten physically that I was mostly focused on taking care of my health and was somewhat distracted from fully mourning. It helps that I don’t view death as the end, just a transition and temporary separation. I think Snowman is hanging around because I have not felt the awful gaping hole in my solar plexus that I felt when I lost Puck.

Losing Puck marked a milestone in my life, as wanting to commune with the dead was part of what led me into Vodou (as well as Legba showing up during a chat with Puck on the other side). Now Snowman’s departure seems to be heralding more change. This recent illness (and perhaps the bath) not only has cured me of my lack of motivation but also seems to have cured me of my death wish. I usually obsess over death on a daily basis; it doesn’t always relate to depression, it’s just a matter of habit. I’ve been so focused on getting well so I can work on projects that I seem to have broken the habit. At the moment, I am just enjoying small things: being able to taste my food, sleep through the night without coughing to the point of back pain, and having a healthy young cat on my lap. These are wonderful gifts.

Ayibobo.

Gifts to and from Spirit

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beautiful little messenger

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lost pendant and synchronicity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More altar upgrades and interdimensional conversations

Posted in Animals, Divination, Dreams, Erzulie, Legba, lwas, Meditation, Ogoun, Psychic, Religion, Ritual, Sekhmet, Spirit Guides, Spirits, Vodou with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2011 by cheshirecatman

Last Thursday I stopped in at Gargoyles Statuary to pick up my new Sekhmet statue. On Friday, a Sekhmet pendant I ordered off of Amazon (at a very reasonable price I might add) arrived in the mail. This morning I purified both of them and placed them on Sekhmet’s shrine, infusing them with the intention of aligning my energies with hers.

Sekhmet altar

Sekhmet's new statue from Gargoyles Statuary

Sekhmet closeup

A closeup of the wonderful detailing. A droplet of water is visible on her solar disk from the purification ritual.

(Note: If anyone wants one of these, there was another statue in stock at Gargoyles as of Thursday.)

Needless to say, I LOVE this new statue. The sculpt of her face and the texturing of her clothing and throne are quite beautiful.

This morning was also my last session of the Intuitive Bootcamp with Shannon Knight. I am sad the classes are over, but at the same time I am looking forward to working with these new tools and strengthening my skills. This session was all about communicating with guides and the angelic realm.

When the session began, I told Shannon about an inspiration I’d had earlier in the week. I’ve been wanting to work more closely with the lwa (and now, Sekhmet as well) and I know that I need a lot more practice with some of the techniques I’ve learned during the bootcamp. So I thought that I could involve the lwa and Sekhmet as I hone my skills with these techniques. For example, since Sekhmet appears frequently when I clear my 6th chakra (corresponding to the third eye), then I can work with her when I practice divination techniques. When balancing my male and female energies, I can work with Ogoun and Freda. When focusing on past lives, I can work with the Gede and the ancestors. Legba can help me communicate with my guides. And so on. As I explained this to Shannon, she said that the spirits around me became excited, as if saying, “We’re here and we’re ready!” This made me happy.

After a brief opening prayer and some basic grounding and energy clearing, Shannon guided me to connect to what she calls “the God of your heart,” or the supreme being. I was able to ask any question I wanted, so I asked for clarification on the sci-fi disguised dream I’d had recently. I still felt that the dream held spiritual significance in spite of its fanciful imagery. So I presented this question and waited, and almost immediately some pretty wild images began playing across my mind.

I saw a pyramid with the eye of Horus design (this seemed like it was a key to something), and then saw a ship floating through space, but it wasn’t your usual science fiction ship. This ship had ancient designs all over it. Like old seafaring vessels, this ship had a masthead–the face of a regal lion, possibly Sekhmet herself, in shining gold and black. (Comparisons to “Stargate” crossed my mind, but let me say here I am not a fan of the movie and cannot get into the series.) The ship was massive.

My view switched to the interior of the ship, which had spacious triangular corridors with many people walking around inside. Some of these people did not appear to be human, but had animal heads instead, much like the depictions of ancient gods you see in old Egyptian art. It was not clear whether these were costumes they were wearing or their actual bodies. During the entire time that I was viewing this ship, I was aware of a very powerful energy weighing down on me. It had an almost audible hum and reminded me of the feeling I’ve had when I’ve been inside electrical plants and stood near large generators.

All of my spiritual mentors keep telling me to accept what I see, and it’s this acceptance that enables me to move past the psychic block I’ve had for years. However, I know these images seem strange and I do not claim to fully understand them. Are they symbolic or literal? Personally, I suspect a bit of both, as can be the case with spiritual visions. More on this later.

Next I got to call upon the archangels, who are a group of beings I’ve never worked with before. These are not the angels of holiday cards, but powerful beings capable of both help and destruction, like the lwa. It’s not too surprising that some Vodou practitioners use images of the archangels to represent various lwa. This was an interesting experience and I found their energy to be very protective and strong. The archangels do not seem to require much from you in return, other than acknowledgement and gratitude, which is different from the lwa. However, serving the lwa in the physical realm (giving them offerings, performing rituals, etc.) is part of what I love in Vodou. I find the physical actions function as constant reminders of our connection with them. I don’t necessarily prefer one way or the other, and plan to work again with the archangels and of course to continue serving the lwa.

We moved on to the ascended masters, and Shannon asked me if there was any particular master that I felt drawn to. I decided to talk with my Zimbate healing guide, a spirit I’ll refer to as “A.” When I first learned his name, I did a Google search and found that it might be Hawaiian in origin, but I wasn’t sure. Today I wanted to know more about him, and as I thought that I saw images of what might be pre-Columbian art and then a spotted cat which could have been a jaguar or leopard. Then I got other, vaguer images of him wearing outfits that could be either Hawaiian or Central American in origin; I wasn’t sure. Shannon thought he felt more Hawaiian, but then there aren’t any jaguars in Hawaii. Then again, perhaps the cat was a leopard and he showed me that just to indicate that he was talking to me.  He also showed me a metal bell and I heard a ringing sound that made me think of Tibetan singing bowls. Tracy Ann had mentioned to me before that I should be working with sound. Another area to explore.

Lastly, Shannon helped me connect to my spirit guide. She asked me if I’d had contact with my guide before, and I did not think so (at least not consciously). I asked her if she thought we had one guide or many, and her beliefs were similar to those of Sylvia Browne: We each have a main spirit guide assigned to work with us before we are incarnated. We can have other guides as well that work with us at various times (such as healing guides, creative muses and such), but our main guide is with us always. So naturally I was very interested in meeting this person.

I was not sure at first whether it was a man or a woman, but then the image clarified into a slim, slightly androgynous young man, seemingly of Indian origin (this is Indian as from India, not Native American). This made me smile, as I love the music, art, dance, food, mythology and spirituality of India. As I got a better look at him, I saw that he had long black hair in a braid down his back and possibly a mustache. I asked him his name and got something that was similar to “Alan” but wasn’t Alan. At one point he changed briefly into Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god, and then back into himself again. Remember earlier when I mentioned that spiritual seeing can be both literal and symbolic? Shannon thought that perhaps his changing into Ganesha was to validate that yes, he was indeed from India. This made sense to me, rather than thinking he actually was Ganesha.

I asked him to show me my life’s purpose, and he showed me an aerial view of a lush beautiful rainforest. When I asked for clarification, the view remained the same. I think this is because part of me consciously knew the answer to the question.

I’ve been feeling a pull to do more for ecological preservation. This pull originates in my desire to save the big cats from extinction, and was intensified by reading Linda Tucker’s “Mystery of the White Lions: Children of the Sun God.” However, saving any part of nature is part of a larger picture of saving the planet and ourselves. Mainstream industrial culture seems to be suffering from a sort of self-destructive mental illness that will be terminal unless more people wake up and stop allowing such wide scale destruction to continue.

I am not sure yet how I can help, but for now I will take baby steps, beginning with awareness in where my money goes and where my votes go. The rest I will have to figure out as I go along, with the help of the lwa, the spirits and the deities.