Monday, April 25, 2011

Review: "Power of the Poppy" by Kenaz Filan

The first thing I noticed upon cracking open the beautiful cover of Power of the Poppy is how tediously researched it is. From archaeological reports to the Islamic drug trade, the history discussed in this work is phenomenal. You don't have to be a credited scholar to enjoy this book nor do you have to be a user. Power of the Poppy is for both the studied and the curious.

After an extensive read on the history of the poppy, the reader is brought into the world of its substances. From Heroin to Fentanyl, these drugs are explained well and presented in a comprehensive study which is both historical and practical. The author also has a keen sense of humor in several areas of the book which is a refreshing thing for such a touchy subject. 

There is also a rather large sliver of the book about famous users of the poppy. From DJ Screw to Lane Staley, several people (whom you might not expect) are profiled in the book and presented in what I think is an effort to transport the reader into the life of an opiate user.

And if you think this book is just a history lesson, you're wrong. The author takes the time to talk about the cultivation of the poppy plant, the different ways to implement it in your life, avoiding addiction, and even contains a section on staying clean once you're lucky enough to make the first step. Whether you're completely new to poppies or an opiate tolerant reader, there is something that will spark the interest of anyone in this book.

It is excellent and I highly applaud Kenaz Filan for writing it. I recommend it to anyone wishing to form a relationship with Poppy, or even just to have a different type of read.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Horses with Elephant Ears

Recently I've begun to refresh myself on the Golden Dawn material which I delved deeply into when I first attained an interest in magick. I neglected it for a long time often irritably but I must accept the fact that it is a system that has worked rather well for me and clicks just as good. So I've been researching things I had forgotten (like the middle pillar ritual) and coming across studies I've yet to pursue. On a google frenzy I came across a site called Ritual Magick, a vendor that sells  a lot of beautiful Golden Dawn tools and ritual clothing. Of course I won't be paying the price but others with paychecks might as for me I must make things myself.

This actually brings a curiosity to my mind: How many others have studied and/or practiced this magickal system. If so what were your results and was it significant in your life? I'd like some feedback if anyone even actually reads this blog.

I've pretty much dedicated my life to studying magick and spirituality in general so I feel like intensely studying the Golden Dawn (who were a very influential order) is a very good stepping stone. Sure it's the cliche' of the community but it certainly holds a lot for the seeker, abundance being something I always appreciate.

This is really all I have to write about for now, but I'll think of something  for the next post.


Friday, April 15, 2011

The DMT vs. Alcohol Debate

It's been a little while since I've posted so I thought that I would ramble for a bit. Firstly, I've been researching the origins of the cult of Umbanda and have also been painting a boutey for Legba. Now onto the stuff that I'm writing this post about.

I have noticed an increased amount of ignorance towards psychoactives from many of the people in my age group (late teens). I can understand that they feel the need to not partake in the recreational use of drugs but i do not understand why they feel the need to over-exaggerate them. For example, I was on the phone with a friend of mine tonight and we got into it about alcohol and psychedelics (particularly DMT). She is a fan of alcohol and I am not. When I explained DMT to her she went on raving about how she would never do it. I told her that she need not say never to something that she cannot promise. I then brought up the fact that Alcohol is in the top 2 for the most deaths by substance abuse. This got a paused response but still irritated me. Not to mention DMT is a chemical your body produces every night naturally so you can dream...

What I really don't understand is why the "oven burn" lesson wasn't applied here. If you touch a burning stove you'll never do it again- unless you're a normal person with normal masochistic tendencies. I think this applies to many things such as alcohol, depression, etc. At least I know that if I touch the flaming stove of Dimethytryptamine that I won't end up on the side of the road begging passing people for a .40

Now I don't mean to come off as "righteous" or "All knowing" but instead what I am trying to pass on through words is that human perception is highly limited, especially when that human has yet to open up to the perception of others. To others who have a higher perception.


Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Scar That Always Bleeds- Tribute to First Love

(WARNING: This post is very different from my others and contains much inspiration from a darker perspective. It is of course not mean to be taken literally.)

The finest blend of sulfur rests in her mouth
She is made of both silver and gold
Maiden of anemia with foul intention
The woman not young nor old

Through thickets of thorn and bestial rage
Limping one- leggeds return to their grave
Surreal it is to be alive
When death feels the same

She is a sillhouette in satin, a fiend of my defense
Shadowed by intrigue with fatal intent
She bats her eyes unto animated things
I feel rest's call when I hear her sing

Oh how exotic she is beneath funeral shroud
A non-existent death whereever we're found
I dream of her immeasurable passion
Her secrets unbound

The skeleton of lust has become once again
Speaking by action to bring forth the end
She is cadaverous and cold
Her winds are of razors
To die with her mystery so subtle yet bold

The path to her love is through serpents and worms
A cold corpse I am without regret or care
Her roads are forsaken yet more secrets to learn

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Like My Coffee with Sugar

So yesterday was rather good. I recieved two books that I had been anticipating greatly: Power of the Poppy- Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Ally by Kenaz Filan and Palo Mayombe- The Garden of Blood and Bones by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold. A review for Kenaz's book will be posted very soon. On top of that I had plenty of good experiences and was in a better mood than usual. I hope today will be the same as I would like to go out into town with my friend (whom I like to refer to as my brother) for a day of fun and relaxation.

I have been working pretty hard on my book and am on the third draft of the manuscript. I am pondering whether to completely make the book myself or to go through for self-publishing options. The book itself is a tome of magickal practice according to my own workings and experiences.

I also experienced "shadowing" today. Its a light form of possession and happened when I was near Legba's altar. It was very intense and a little shocking but totally opened up my eyes. Never doubt yourself because your spirits might decide to make their presence very clear.

On top of all of this I am trying to write as much as I can and am hoping to submit a few things to various publishers who are asking for submissions. So if any of you need submissions for a book on Afro-Caribbean tradition or just general magick please contact me with details! I'm not a Houngan but i do know quite a bit about Haitian Vodou and even some other traditions.

I've also been quite interested in the medicinal and practical use of Antispasmodics and the qualities of Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Thats all for now but until then have a safe travel no matter where you are going and much luck in life!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Monotony the Tree- Shakti Inspired Piece

Sustained from the drops of the leaves- I lay beneath the oldest tree
Its branches twisted and smelling of rot; I know its name
Monotony the Tree; Gnarled and boring
Take the ties of three- the Knot of my epiphany
Monotony the Tree;

Harlequin I am when I wield my tongue; The sword of my Speech 
The verbal next to none. Dear Monotony the Tree, what have we become?
Simple Sultans of Subtlety? Or a vast majority? 
Of the things we have undone.

The roots of what is tall and lame; is far above raged or tame
For the blooming rose-red sister tree; forms with the Monotony
I watched in awe as thee; Entangled themselves next to me.
Alas comes the earth itself, a hermaphroditic entity. 
Monotony the Tree

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Other Parts of Me

I've noticed that the majority of my posts have been primarily about Haitian Vodou. This is what I intended for sure, but I wonder if it paints a different picture than it should. So I feel I must say that Haitian Vodou is not my only calling.

I have practiced (and still know) much of the "Golden Dawn" approach to ceremonial magick. That helped me immensely and has proved to be the launching point of my interests. I am (and was since the beginning) extremely interested in the many aspects of Hinduism. My interests in Hinduism were particularly around Shakti and a sect of Hinduism called "Aghora". For those of you that are not familiar with the sect, I will post a number of great videos about the subject:

The last three videos:

For people reading with Dial-Up: I'm sorry.

Anyway, Hinduism has always intrigued me and I have read a nice bit of literature on it. I've consulted my birth chart for my ishta devta (similar to the met tet in Vodou) and studied the gods that were near me. The only reason I have not pursued a Guru is because 1. I do not know where or how to go about finding one, and 2. It's just not time yet. I'm sure later down my path I'll have an opportunity.

Another thing that I am deeply interested in is the Traditional Ophidian Witchcraft and the Cultus Sabbati. I respect and am in awe of Mr. Chumbley very much and am currently studying his Azoetia. My interest in Traditional Witchcraft came from the Cain (Qayin) tradition at first and grew into a full interest in its many traditions. I'm also a decent (I can't complement myself) energy worker and artist (this relates to my magickal practice a lot.)

These are just things that are not related to the Afro-Caribbean traditions, but there are more things in the African traditions that I am drawn to than Vodou. An Afro-Brazillian tradition known as Quimbanda (Kimbanda, Kiumbanda,..,)is of a real interest to me even though I do not know a lot about it (yet). So, the point of this post was to open anyone who is reading up to all of the things I have going on in this nifty little head of mine.

April 1st, 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Damballah- The Great White Serpent

Papa Damballah is a very pure spirit of the Rada nasyon (nation) of lwa. He has a very cool demeanor and his energies are said to refresh and purify. He is always around the color white and does not like anything black to touch his things. He does not smoke or drink and therefore no one is permitted to smoke until after Damballah and Ezili Freda are saluted. Since Damballah is a serpent, his horses (the participants Damballah decides to possess) will slither around on the floor and even swim.

Damballah is generally called on for protection and to "cool" things (such as calming down a rival, etc.). He is served a white egg on a white plate of flour. When in possession, Damballah eats the egg without using any of his limbs like the Egg eating snake. 

Damballah has a wife Ayido Wedo who is envisioned as a rainbow (depicted as a rainbow colored serpent). She is represented by Santa Dominidora while Damballah is syncretized with St. Patrick, though some say this is the Petro aspect and his Rada aspect is represented by Moses.

Damballah's color is of course white: pure white. It is extremely important that you keep anything "hot" or negative away from Damballah's altar and that it is very clean. Never let any food offering decompose on his altar either. He does not like those things very much. Damballah's day is of course St. Patrick's day and can be served on Thursday- the day for all of the Rada lwa. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Announcements for April, 2011

A few announcements for the next few months. Firstly, I have been working very hard on a book of emotional ordeal centered philosophy and magickal practice called "Abyssos". The book is going to be self pressed and binded by yours truly. Its not confirmed yet but chances of it being bound in dark blue leather with a golden stamp of the Trident-Ourorboros sigil is highly likely. 

As for the blog itself, expect posts on Damballah, spirit of Vodou known as the Great White Serpent, and posts about Legba, Keeper of the Crossroads.

Eventually I will be working on book project which will contain many prayers, poems, artwork, etc. for a few of the Rada lwa (specifically Legba and Damballah). I also hope to write some articles about Santeria and Gauchito Gil (Argentinian folk saint). 


Ogou: Lwa of Iron & War

 (Above: the veve of Ogou Feray)
In Haitian Vodou, Ogou is the Lwa of war, iron, battles, and is also a lover of the ladies. Ogou is actually a family name for a large number of spirits who fall into the Nago nation of lwa. Most of these lwa are connected to warfare and have positions in the military. The most popular Ogou is Ogou Feray, who is the husband of Metres Ezili Freda (lwa of love and beauty, sister to Ezili Danto).

Ogou is a hot spirit. By this I mean that he can be more fierce than the calmer lwa and from what I hear can and will yell quite loudly. He is associated with the colors red and blue (the colors of the Haitian flag). He is given cigars, machetes, rum, and red scarves. Even though Ogou is in the Nago nation of spirits he is  served in the Petro rite. This is where it gets really confusing. Many lwa of the Nago nation are served as Petro but some are served as Rada. It doesn't take much effort to prove to someone that there are many spirits in the Nago nation. Houngan Hector from even reports that there are many Ogous that come from family lineages. Which just adds more to this immense nasyon.

Since Ogou is married to Ezili Freda he is also married to her sister, Ezili Danto. There is a longstanding feud between Freda and Danto, so many Vodousiants put Ogou Feray between their altars in order to cool the energies. Ogou loves women and even proposes during fets (ceremonies). Ogou is syncretized with St. George, as this image depicts a soldier on a white horse.

An altar to Ogou could consist of a table covered in red and blue, a bottle of rum, a large machete, cigars, red scarves, railroad spikes (iron), and hearty foods as offerings. Ogou is a very protective lwa and has proven to be an invaluable ally to many.


The Frustrated Generation- A Tribute to Humor

This post is about the rebellious tendencies of adolescents who are raised in an closed minded and aggressive atmosphere. No specifications will be made for the sake of keeping the involved anonymous.

I'm from a town where Christianity is as routine as morning coffee. This is a place of fundamental ideas and many of the denizens tend to go with the "easiest route" in life. Quite obviously I do not fit in this misshapen puzzle whatsoever. The fact that I was being accused by the Baptist church of what they deemed "heresy" was nonetheless irritating. This motivated me to respond in a wide array of somewhat humorous antics in very bad taste. 

When I was at my home I would be mellow, polite and loving. But when I went into the public I liked to display the appearance of being "crazy" and the shenanigans that took place insinuated that much more. If I wasn't falling to the ground in a wide eared grin in front of horrified Sunday school kids, I was staging cunninglus with one of my best friends (who also happens to be male). This scared the shit out of practically everyone and burnt many bridges.

I did it simply out of frustration. If it wouldn't have been for the constant harassment of who I was and what I believed in by others this would've never happend. But of course if it hadn't I wouldn't have grown as much as I did from the experience. After all of this was said and done I can remember thinking to myself "I just got wisdom from rejecting everything" which in turn pointed me towards a deep interest in philosophy, which poked my mind in the direction it needed to go.

After doing all of this I have matured greatly. I have paid more attention to self-hygeine than I once did and have gotten much more intelligent. I know  this may not sound so profound when written, but when experienced- acting like an idiot can lead to a fruitful enlightenment. In the names of Sam Kennison, George Carlin and Bill Hicks- Comedy saves lives!

Vodou Structure and Curious Idiots

An enormous amount of attention has reached the beautiful religion of Haitian Vodou from curious people. I am not against this as I am a white male who serves the Lwa and accept all others. However certain people that seek out Vodou do it in a manner that is both disrespectful and dangerous. 

One particular thing that happens a lot is that these people forget the structure of Vodou. In Haitian Vodou you are to go to Legba, give him offerings and ask him to open the door for you before you do anything. Without Legba's permission, you can't go far in the religion. Instead these people go straight to (insert spirit here) and wonder why they've gotten no results. Considering the spirits that many try to get in contact with, they should be glad they got no answer.

Another thing is that many of these folks approach Vodou are not comfortable with the idea that the Lwa are real beings that can affect our life in both positive and negative ways. They don't like to accept the fact that if they approach the spirits they might decide to talk back (or teach them a lesson). Instead they label them as "Archetypes", throw some words they learned out of a book into the mix, have a bad experience (because of the disrespect) and then go around saying that the Lwa are demons or something similar. Now this is not to say that none of the spirits in Vodou are wrathful, they are but if approached with commonsense and respect it would cause less problems.

 Then there are people who like to use Vodou as a "money maker" idea. They craft bottles "for the Lwa" and make dolls (most of the time stuffed only with cotton...where's the magick in that??) then sell them to people who think they are getting real spiritual items. Its in bad taste for sure, but it does happen and they do tend to get away with it. 

If the individuals who are curious about Haitian Vodou would just study hard and approach the Lwa sincerely they would have little to no problems with the spirits. But they don't, instead many decide that the Lwa don't expect anything in return for what they do for others and that the Lwa "can't harm them". This is just one of  those things that angers me and while I know it won't change anytime soon I can at least give one last statement:

Vodou is a very beautiful thing, but it is as real as your heartbeat. If you have a sincere respect for the spirits and the tradition Vodou is a life changing thing.

Vodou Links: