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.

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