Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The voodoo that I do

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What happens when the banks don't even want to exp...":

Glad to hear that.

This may not be the point of this blog at all, but if you've a mind to, I'd love to read posts which explain your faith a little.

Of course its appropriate, I just get railed on everytime I bring it up.

Yoruba Cosmology...it's the root of Voodoo, Santeria, Macumba, Candomble, etc.

The first thing you have to understand about YC is that its not a written tradition. Its an oral tenet which means there is no Yoruba Bible, or written laws. That's a little hard for most Western cultures to grasp, but this oral tradition has been passed down successfully through at least as many generations as Christianity.

The tenet of YC is called Ashe.

What is Ashe? I can't define it because its infinite. But I can talk around it and my favorite way to describe it is to reference the second law of thermodynamics: Everything moves from a state of order to chaos....entropy. Start there, but a more simple explanation would be movement....everything is moving.

There's a difference between hearing those words and understanding those words....or becoming more aware of those words.

I was explaining this to a young, bombastic, Christian girl one night who replied, "That's what you believe...well that's stupid...it's obvious everything is moving." To which I replied, "Thank you....in other words you're telling me what I believe is true." I didn't bother asking her to explain that whole trinity thing, where 1 is 3 and 3 is 1.

Christians and the Western mind have a hard time grasping the concept because they've been brought up to worship order, not chaos. They've been taught to believe in a static, motionless, singularity.

As a Christian, or Jew or Muslim (children of Yahweh), when you go to worship your "No God but God" you go to a stone edifice and recite prayers and passages which haven't changed for 100's of years. The whole point is to strive for order.

You practice Voodoo wherever you are...because Ashe is all around you and it's certainly not static. To write the tenet in a book would be futile.

That's not to say that Christianity and YC are mutually exclusive, in fact in most of the diaspora religions, the two have been acculturated. How did they reconcile the paradox of the two tenets? Well, it is a thing of beauty but suffice to say its a manifestation of why New Orleans is the only American city to celebrate death....somewhere in the mindset of this city lies your answer, but I wouldn't suggest you search too hard, hence you'll never find it. A paradox isn't meant to be reconciled, if you don't believe me read the definition.

The awareness of Ashe is called Itutu and the color which is associated with it is always blue. The closest translation of Itutu would be a kind of "mystical coolness". You can have a little Itutu or you can have a lot. A good Western philosophy which matches this awareness would be "Shit happens." There are things in life you can control and things in life you can't control. If you spend your life fretting over those things you can't control, you will be a most miserable person. If you live your life calm and centered, like the eye in the hurricane, you live with Itutu...or the Blues.

The gods in the YC pantheon are called Orisha (plural and singular tense). One of the things about the Orisha which differs drastically from Western dogma is that the Orisha are not a vertical hierarchy, it's more horizontal. All of the Orisha depend on each other to maintain balance, and while there is "an Orisha on high", Oludamare, he is completely dependent upon the other Orisha as they are him. It's a very symbiotic interplay between the Yoruba gods, somewhat like the Greek pantheon, but Oludamare is not supreme in the magnitude that Zeus was an overlord.

Most of the Orisha were actually human at one point and because of some act of Itutu, they became deified. In relation to archetypes, each Orisha's ascension represents some...parable, if you will....of the human experience.

For example, Oshun, the goddess of the river and fertility...young, beautiful, nubile....became deified when she saved the world from a drought. All the other Orisha used their power in an attempt to pacify Oludumare and bring rain, yet not even the strongest of them, Chango, Ogun, Olifi, etc. could bring balance back to the world and end the drought. Oshun asked if she could try and she was scoffed at by the Orisha. She was unyielding in her determination and finally the Orisha capitulated and gave her a shot. She was then transformed into a beautiful peacock so she could reach the heavens in her attempt to pacify Oludamare.

She took off and flew directly towards the sun, the only way to get to Oludamare. As she approached the sun, the intense heat began to burn off her feathers, but she refused to stop. The sun became so intense that it burned her entire body and she became a horrible, ugly , burnt vulture....but she kept going. Oludamare, was so moved at her unyielding intent, he began to cry and the rains began to fall from the heavens thus ending the drought. For this act, she was deified.

A graphic representation of Oshun. Her color is always yellow and she draws her power from the river. I actually think New Orleans is her city, incidentally.

Oshun was unwavering in the face of chaos...even total destruction. Her intent was so strong, that she was willing to sacrifice her beauty and body to achieve her goal and restore balance to her community...that's Itutu...fearless in the face of chaos or destruction.

Ogun, the god of iron, technology, weapons, etc., was deified for committing suicide out of angst. So there are some really interesting twists in these archetypes which you don't normally see in Western culture.

There is a wonderful story of Oshun and Ogun, in which Oshun mesmerizes Ogun with her beauty and draws him back into the working world after he decides to hide out in the forest. Ogun is always at odds with himself, being a master of technology but having a Luddite heart. This is an animated film based on that story (but warning, this is only half the story and I can't find a conclusion):



The introduction of Catholicism to YC was a total boon...they now had all these wonderful stories of Saints to blend within their existing framework. Its important to understand that YC is not an exclusive religion...you don't have to choose to believe in Ashe....you are subject to it regardless of whether or not you're aware of it.

The most interesting thing to me about YC is how much the tenet has influenced American culture without us even knowing it. I've touched on a lot of those things in past posts, but if I went out on limb (and I seem to be more than willing to do that as of late) I could say that what made America's culture distinct, particularly music, was the diaspora influence of Yoruba Cosmology.

If we look at the history of American music and move backwards from Hip-Hop to Rock and Roll to Blues, and then even further back to the African slaves farming the Mississippi Delta...YC is there. Because it is an oral tradition, early African Americans didn't need books to pass on the tenet...they simply sang their tradition.

Ever wonder why "the Blues" is called the blues? Remember what the color associated with Itutu is?

There were, of course, many physical ritualistic aspects which survived as well.

Ever see a white tire buried half way in someone's front yard in the Southern states?

Ever see bottles hanging from trees?

If you go into some African American barber shops in the Deep South the barber will scoop up a customer's hair trimmings and give them back in an envelope before they leave. The Yoruba tenet believes that actual body matter like hair, or fingernails, (even feces) can be used against them to create spells. That's one reason why barbers hold such significance in the African American culture...some people believe they are trusting their lives with them every time they get their hair cut.

So overall, if you ask me what I believe in....I would say the second law of thermodynamics, or what Stephen Hawkings called the "The First Arrow of Time." To me, the Yoruba tenet and its archetypes help me stay aware of that belief.

Ashe.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I asked. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Black people with super powers? Ummm, sure, if you say so. Ogun was one lazy dude. A God with bling. Coincidentally my word verification was "mulati."

Don't worry, the hell you are going to is described in Christian texts, where we pass down the word in books to people who can actually read. It's important so our our God doesn't get distorted from Deity to a lazy bastard walkin' the stairs in his crib, going to sleep cause he be tired; while babies try to push they skatebodes, but they ain't going no where.

Oh, BTW, you're an idiot.

Dambala said...

So Dallas, let me get this right.

First you tell me you'll see me in court.

Then you say I deserve death threats.

Then you question how much time I spend on this blog.

Then you ask me if I've accepted Jesus Christ.

Now you come on and make racist comments.

If I'm an idiot, what does that make you for logging into this blog multiple times a day? A pathetic idiot?

As for your mythology...it seems more asinine than most. Did you know your God created the Sun on the third day? How the fuck does that happen? I really hope your rapture comes true...I would love it if something came down and swept you fucking idiots off the planet. Maybe the rest of us could get on with our lives without being tormented by you fear driven, paranoid asswipes.

But you're right, I am an idiot. I'm an idiot for even engaging you. Do us a both a favor and go troll NOLA.com's comment section...you'll find more of your Bubbakin' dipshit friends over there than here.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'm back again with more questions.

I love the idea of Itutu as "mystical coolness", and your translation, "shit happens".

It is true that we have to learn what we can change and what we can't change. The world is pretty chaotic, and that's a fact.

But some of us, we try to change things. You've been trying to change things yourself, Dambala.

How do we be mystically cool when someone wants to cut us out of the world because they are afraid of what we are (gays, Jews, interracial people, people protesting an economic or health system that is killing them, etc.), or of what we are saying about them?

You've faced lawsuits and death threats just this quarter, and you've ranted about those intolerant to interracial marriage and gay rights, not to mention dirty city deals, so you must have some idea.

(Sometimes you are a little intolerant of my faith, but that's OK. Sometimes, so am I.)

How does struggle to name and change unjust conditions fit into this idea of accepting what is?

People struggled pretty hard to end slavery, and while there is still slavery, one particular form of it that was terrible did end (didn't it?).

Some countries have managed to give gay people full rights.

Women can vote and wear jeans and shit now; amazingly, most of Louisiana and most of the USA thought the JP who wouldn't conduct an interracial marriage was a crazy monster.

Accepting that things change is not a passive thing; people have to decide that something is un-cool, mystically or non- mystically un-cool, and they get upset and hurt trying to change it.

So how does this idea of acceptance of what is interact with the idea of getting upset about an injustice or a bad thing and working to shift the whole culture?

How do people walking your path understand the role of your spiritual practices in trying to create or sustain social change?

Christians are knocked for centuries of advising women to accept the husband who is beating them, for telling slaves to accept their slave state, and so on. (What would the YC person do in those situations?)

Christians are also knocked for radically creating social change via pogrom and genocide.

Christians have traditionally justified both change, and putting up with the situation, as the "Christian" thing to do, depending on what the 'big dogs' of the particular local scene thought was to their advantage.

On the other hand, we can all think of people such as Archbishop Romero, or Episcopalian Archbishop Desmond Tutu who fought Aparthied, or Dr. King, whose understanding of what to uproot and what to let flower was quite different.

They, too, were for accepting some things and fighting, even dying, to change others, but they had different understandings of what to keep, and what to release.

(I just noticed that I named an African, and African American, and a Latin American from a country with a strong Yoruban culture as my "good Christians". Was I raised in your faith without being aware of this?)

How does your faith balance this acceptance of what is, with the need to make decisions that shape what is or will be?

Let me know if these questions get annoying.

When they do, if they haven't already, I might ask you for a book reference or two, and let you get back to your past time of frying Ray Nagin's friends like eggs.

Dambala said...

oh yeah and as far as the bling...the last time I read Revelations,javascript:void(0) your God is supposed to return wearing a blingy-ass crown on a big white Horse. Funny how an omnipotent God needs to ride a horse...and wear a crown.

And some crazy ass talking lamppost's are gonna be there...or something like that, right?

Are you still waiting for that to happen, Godot?

Anonymous said...

Hey lemming, stop fixating on me and answer the other poster's comments. God, you're pathetic.

Dambala said...

I must not have explained myself very well. The tenet you are describing is more closely associated with Buddhism than Ashe. Buddhism requires one to relinquish desire in order to acheive Nirvana. YC doesn't.

If you notice I said there are some things in life you can control and some things in life you can't...Itutu is the ability to let those things you can't control pass by you and not get "stuck".

Let me give you another example. Most people think the Blues lyrics are about "feeling bad" when in truth, if you read the majority of blues, and even Rock for that matter, it's about overcoming the challenges in life...the chaos.

"How do we be mystically cool when someone wants to cut us out of the world because they are afraid of what we are (gays, Jews, interracial people, people protesting an economic or health system that is killing them, etc.), or of what we are saying about them?"

Itutu doesn't mean withdrawal...once again there are things you can control and things you can't. You fight back but you also realize that you may be tilting windmills. If you get to the point where you proceed without fear of failure...Like Oshun flying into the sun...that's when mountains are moved and that's Itutu.

"(Sometimes you are a little intolerant of my faith, but that's OK. Sometimes, so am I.)"

I apologize for that. I actually dig J.C. I just have no tolerance for intolerance, i.e. Dallas commenter above.

"How does struggle to name and change unjust conditions fit into this idea of accepting what is?"

So once again, you're confusing Buddhism with YC. The recognition of Ashe is not accepting what is....it's understanding that the world is moving and there are some things you simply can't control. But there are some things you can...and by all means...go for it...just "stay cool" through the turmoil.

- Christians are knocked for centuries of advising women to accept the husband who is beating them, for telling slaves to accept their slave state, and so on. (What would the YC person do in those situations?)

They would go Oya on the tyrant's ass. Once again...this isn't a passive tenet.

- How does your faith balance this acceptance of what is, with the need to make decisions that shape what is or will be?

You are the dreamer and the dream.

You referenced Dr. King, who I think had tremendous Itutu. I often wonder how he held the course against such a massive undertaking, he surely recognized he would never see his dream realized in his own life, yet he refused to yield.

Then I read a quote of his which went a long way to answering that question:

"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

He recognized there were elements of life which he could not control but he was unrelenting in his effort to make that bend. That is Itutu...to me.

As for books, my favorite is Robert Farris Thompson's "Flash of the Spirit."

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dambala. And thanks for the book recommendation.

When you wrote about Dr. King having Itutu, it sounded like Itutu could be another way of describing what a Christian would call real faith.

It might take me a while to track down the book.

How do you guys know which Orisha you need to ask for help, and why do some of you develop a stronger relationship with one than with another?

Is there really some kind of conflict between different aspects of Erzulie, or between Yemaya and Oshun?

How do you navigate through a faith where the Gods might get into conflict with one another or embody radically different solutions or approaches to a problem?

Dallas, we seem to be taking short breaks from computer work in the same way. I think you're a strange one for coming to a blog you don't like.

It is funny to read the back and forth about lazy good for nothing Gods and talking lamp posts. I hope neither of you is taking it too seriously or getting really upset.

Dambala, if you were omnipotent, wouldn't there be some days when you wanted to bust out with a crown and a horse? Let God be fancy if he wants to be fancy. Or plain, if a crown and a horse is the Master of the Universe's idea of wearing sweats at home.

Thanks for being a good teacher. Sorry to people who are bored. I've been sent to a book now, so that was my last set of YC questions for now.

Anonymous said...

Atta boy.

Dambala said...

- How do you guys know which Orisha you need to ask for help, and why do some of you develop a stronger relationship with one than with another?

Many ways, it's something you would need to discover for yourself.

- Is there really some kind of conflict between different aspects of Erzulie, or between Yemaya and Oshun?

How do you navigate through a faith where the Gods might get into conflict with one another or embody radically different solutions or approaches to a problem?


Of course there is conflict, there always is. Aren't there always multiple ways to approach a problem? Look at the Orisha as a toolbox...sometimes you need a hammer, sometimes you need a magnet, sometimes you need to cut shit in half with a saw. The important thing with the Orisha is to recognize the multitude of emotions and personality traits in the human condition...and recognize how to attain Itutu in that multitude.

Just for the record...I'm not evangelizing Voodoo here. I dig it and that's my gig...if you like it then jump in, if you don't...it's all good.

As for Dallas, just ignore him...he has a hidden agenda and still hasn't realized I know who he is.

Dambala said...

BTW, Dallas...congratulations..you're up to over 129 unique visits..you're my biggest fan:

ppp-70-251-6-251.dsl.rcsntx.swbell.net (At&t Internet Services) [Edit Label]

Texas, Dallas, United States, 129 returning visits

oysterboy said...

Anonymous 2, geez where do we begin?

The definition of ignorance is "a state in which one lacks knowledge, is unaware of something or chooses to subjectively ignore information"

The great thing is that ultimately ignorance is annulled by truth, perhaps because those who are oppressed by ignorance have more at stake in any relevant struggle. Dambala's reference to MLK Jr.'s sentiment expresses that idea beautifully:
"The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice."

History has proven that concept time and again. In some ways I'd rather hear blatant ignorance and bigotry being voiced loudly in the public forum, as it tends to speed up the causes of progress. Expressing one's superiority (whether it's in the context of race/ethnicity, religion, sexual preference or socioeconomic level) over a group or individual defines oppression, and it's the charge of decent human beings to call it out whenever they see it. Silence in the face of oppression is at best complacent, and generally more damaging than the original deed.

I had an experience on a recent visit to Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. While visiting Casa Branca, the oldest and most prominent "Candomble house" in the city,
http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casa_Branca_do_Engenho_Velho

... we delivered a message for a good friend to Mae Tata, the spiritual leader of the house. When this wonderful woman came into the room, it was obvious that she was a great person and she exuded a palpable positive energy, the kind that doesn't permit room for malice. She graciously greeted us as friends. I handed her the message, telling her who it was from, she said "ah, it's from Iemanj√°." That is, our friend's Orisha is Iemanj√°, and she embodies her daily. The general concept of god in man shouldn't be foreign to Christians, who might recognize a saying like "have you taken Jesus into your heart?" Don't get me wrong, Candomble/YC isn't at all like Christianity, and the fact that Catholic iconography has become an element in it has nothing to do with a mixing of dogma. In fact, it was primarily a way for African slaves to practice their ancient religions in the face of their oppressors.

Finally Anonymous 2, I grew up the son of a preacher, and have studied Christianity of many different flavors, including investigating Christian mysticism. I've spent my entire life reading, observing and struggling to understand the perspective of the world's other great religions and belief systems. Have you considered finding out more about your own religion before you take on others'? It's fairly obvious that you haven't really pondered the significance of the sound bytes you're regurgitating. Now, when you make un-informed, ignorant assertions and attacks about/on someone else's beliefs (as you have) you're just another oppressor, and you will lose. Eventually history, justice and humanity will prevail.

Please just do mankind a favor and remain as vocal as you are.

Anonymous said...

Oysterboy, please excuse my ignorance and forgive me if I gave offense.

Did you notice that I asked for books to read? My intention was to learn, not to offend.

Your post was informative and the story was beautiful. Thank you. If you have recommendations of learning resources related to any faith, please do share them if that isn't irritating for others.

It is tricky to be profound or to convey all one knows and experiences of one's faith in a blog comment, too. Sorry for bringing out your prickles. It wasn't my intent to hurt or insult you.

Anonymous said...

Oh, sorry oysterboy-- when you talked about ignorance, you weren't talking to me. Oops.

lil'oya said...

Oshun is very, very sad about the state of affairs in New Orleans.

oysterboy said...

Anonymous 1, You're right ... I wasn't addressing you, but I appreciated your post as well :-}>

Anonymous said...

It's the third law of thermodynamics that will REALLY blow your mind...

Anonymous said...

:) thanks, Oysterboy.

ma'am, more about Oshun would be nice to hear.

Dambala, I'm not sure your assessment of Christianity as something all about order and static worship inside buildings is quite apt. It's not wrong, but it is a slightly limited veiw.

The wonderful Irish monastic tradition of being out in the natural world, its earlier desert forebearers, and for me most importantly the tradition of the pilgrimage, are central to my understanding of my own faith.

Jesus walked.

The Jews wandered in the wilderness. Islam involves a lot of ritualized walking, too. The pictures of all the people walking in that sacred way at Mecca are awesome.

If you think of it, the rosary is a kind of portable "walk", a life-path walk you can put in your pocket and "walk" and pray in the times and places when you can't walk physically. There is the ancient and wonderful practice of walking the labyrinth, now a firm part of Christian culture, and the practice of walking the stations of the cross.

The walk down the altar, the funeral procession or second line: all these walks are about sharing and witnessing that a journey from one state to another is happening, that energy is moving.

Repetition is a way to enter a trance state. Many are reviving traditions of liturgical dance within the Christian tradition, and Jews and (Sufi) Muslims never lost these sacred dances.

I've never thought of these religions as static. The Bible is a crazy mash up of a book, a bizarre omnibus. Poetry, geneology, and some weird and wild stories, earthy, violent, funny and brave. I love that it is a living Word.


(As a teenager, I read Revelations while on acid. I would not go as far as to recommend doing that, but it was an unforgetable experience. WHY I did that, I'll never know. Teenagers are crazy.)

These faiths, too, have their roots in nomadic cultures, in refugee experiences, and for centuries, they, too were oral cultures, which is another reason for the repetitions in the prayers.

America is an amazing, complex, troubled and fantastic idea and country, a nation unlike any other. And some fuckwits are kind of wrecking it right now. I'd say the same thing about Christianity.

Dambala said...

damn...i don't know who you are but you're blowing my mind.

its funny because when I was writing this I was about to spin the Irish (Celtic) culture out of the whole European framework and i deleted the paragraph because I was wondering off into a tangent.

You're points are right on....and very insightful.

But my argument would be that Yahweh was the only God to declare himself a singularity. He was the only God who defined himself. And I think that has lead to a lot of misery because his children think he can actually be known.

But damn...that was really good stuff. And the thesis:

America is an amazing, complex, troubled and fantastic idea and country, a nation unlike any other. And some fuckwits are kind of wrecking it right now. I'd say the same thing about Christianity.

fuck yeah. I've never hated J.C....I just can't stand his fan club.

"an amazing, complex, troubled, and fantastic idea...."

damn that's golden. good stuff.

Dambala said...

wandering off...sic

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words.

I'm not sure what to make of Yaweh's insistance on being seen as the one and only God, while also crowing that he's better than the other Gods. (What, you're the one and only God, but there are other Gods you fight with? WTF, Dude?)

If he is so freaking omnipotent, aren't those other Gods just aspects of the universal energy that is Yaweh?

I also don't get how, if Adam and Eve were the first people and they had a couple of sons, those sons then managed to go over the next hill and find wives for themselves. (Huh?)

Ask that in a Sunday school class and see how much trouble you get into. I was only four, and boy, did that ever set the tone for my life long relationship to authoritarian structures!

To this day no one has been able to iron out that little wrinkle for me. But I don't care any more. That kind of detail, like the "very naughty figs" (which I think is maybe just a bad traslation) amuses me, and does not detract from my way of practicing.

(Coping with pedophile priests and the ongoing opression of women in the Church is harder.)

These are old, old stories. Not every thing makes sense to us at first glance. Some old Jewish guy sitting around a campfire telling stories didn't really have to think through the "continuity" isues the way those of us who live in an era of "extra features" options on our DVDs might.

I remember that St. Paul was a human being who may have had a broken heart when I read some of the crap he says about women, and as I like lots about him, I just treat him the way I'd treat a beloved uncle who has his quirks.

On slavery, he was speaking to a certain time and place, and there are ways of reading him that help you see the wise heart of what he was trying to express. He does tell slaves to take any opportunity to leave bondage.

Doubt and questioning and even thinking some things about your faith are kind of silly is not only acceptable, but a welcomed and essential aspect of faith, I think. Jesus did not shun Thomas for his questions or doubt.

As I've gone on with my life, many of the rules or commandments or perspectives I used to roll my eyes at clicked into place and seemed like really good advice.

Some things I still think are odd or not cool, and I handle that by:

A)leaving those injunctions to the side until something happens to make me see the wisdom of them,

or,

B)by following the rule I don't understand, given that so many of the things I once didn't get now seem sensible to me.

I do both. And I pray for understanding.

I am really enjoying your posts about YC. I'd be happy to read more of them.

I said I would not ask more questions, but now I'm going to.

If you know you need some ritual to shift a situation, how do you proceed next?

Do you get to invent the ritual yourself, do you go to a priest or priestess, or to your congregation?

What do you make of the people who advertize that they will perform 'powerful voodoo rituals' to bring back lost lovers, etc.?

Not too many people are posting on this thread, so I hope continuing it isn't bugging anyone. It will just end when it ends, I guess.

Dambala said...

- If you know you need some ritual to shift a situation, how do you proceed next?

Do you get to invent the ritual yourself, do you go to a priest or priestess, or to your congregation?


I don't believe it's necessary and I don't really like the "initiation" context many people push.

Having said that...there is a protocol. You must pay homage to Papa Legba first, before you do anything. Legba is the gaurdian of the crossroads and the gateway to the Orisha...you must respect him first. Failure to do this can result in some serious consequences.

I always tell people the best way to start is with an altar and understand what goes on the altar. Things which are meaningful to you should only go there.

My first altar was to Ogun and I would fill it with crashed Hard drives, broken cameras, etc. Things which meant a lot to me at one time, but things which Ogun claimed.

To me, the altar is the most important aspect of the religion because it provides a very real physical and orthorpraxic vessel to attain Itutu and come to know the Orisha.

You don't even have to start the altar to a specific Orisha...just start it but make sure you pay homage to Legba first...go to a crossroads and offer a glass of rum..you can even do this on the altar itself and I would encourage that.

and overall...yes you can invent the ritual yourself...but make sure you pay respect to Legba.

- What do you make of the people who advertize that they will perform 'powerful voodoo rituals' to bring back lost lovers, etc.?

They are the dreamer and the dream. It's what you want it to be.

Anonymous said...

My faith asks me not to worship others, and I'm cool with that.

My way of thinking about it is that once you are married, of course you still notice sexy and attractive people, and you have those "clicks" with people that might have or could have led to something developing.

It is OK to pursue friendships, or to increase understanding of different paths.

But by getting married, you accepted certain restraints so that you could make a space for the full flowering of something else.

You accepted a concentrating of your energy, a focus, you don't scatter it all over the place.

It is totally fine to talk, or even flirt or dance, with a person not your spouse, or to go to a wedding or a funeral or a service in a different faith tradition, but you'll know it if you start crossing that line, and if you don't know it, with luck your spouse or some sing of the spirit moving in your life will tell you.

I won't be setting up an altar myself, as it would violate my understanding of the covenant bond I feel I have established by confirming a Christian faith.

I'm sure it could be a powerful thing to do, but no matter how awesome it is, it isn't my "husband/wife", you know?

For me, honouring the commitment I made to my own faith helps to increase what you might describe as my "itutu".

But it is interesting to see the differences and the similarities between the spiritual paths.

And I think that the idea of "mystical coolness" is such an interesting one, I'll see if thinking of faith itself as "mystical coolness", and trying to embody that energy, actually helps me to be a better Christian in practice.

I could use the help.

I loved hearing about how intuitive and imaginative your first altar was.

Your way of describing what you did and how it was meaningful to the development of your relationship with Ogun is interesting.

Thank you for explaining the Papa Legba protocol, too.

I guess when I track down that book I'll find out the story about why he is gatekeeper.

Here is another tradition where using an alcoholic beverage or a potential intoxicant of some sort is part of the ritual.

Did your anthropological studies give you insight into this?

Is it true that Oshun likes honey? Why? (Well, who doesn't like honey, really?)

Is Oshun a doctor figure, a healer? Honey is a powerful medicine, used as a dressing on wounds for millenia.

Is she associated with it because she got so badly burned? Honey is what my mother always put on our cuts and burns. Jews eat it at New Year "for a sweet year".

Are kids encouraged to construct their own altars and to have this playful and imaginative relationship with the Orishas?

coldspaghetti said...

This was absolutely wonderful. So, so informative. Thank you thank you for taking the time to write it.

Dambala said...

thucka thucka

Anonymous said...

Great blog - interesting and informative. I have a general interest in Voudou, have been learning about it for a while from various sources. This was a different, more personal perspective on the Spirit Forces themselves. I look forward to reading more here. I am very familiar with other religions as well - including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc. I see no point in focusing on the divisions - nor do I believe in "Hell" ;) I'm more interested in learning about spirituality's common ground and what draws humanity together. There is enough fighting and war in the world already - hatred doesn't need our help.

Sophmom said...

I know you know how much I love these posts, but you have no idea how much I needed this one today. I'm surprised I missed it when you first posted but so glad I found it today. Thanks, darlin'. You too, anon.

Sophmom said...

I know you know how much I love these posts, but you have no idea how much I needed this one today. I'm surprised I missed it when you first posted but so glad I found it today. Thanks, darlin'. You too, anon.