Friday, March 9, 2012

Voodoo Chile

Marie Laveau
Back in November I mentioned that I got a reading from Mama Lola in New Orleans. I have been hesitant to discuss the subject of that reading, as usually that sort of thing should be kept private. Since it concerns my spirituality which I explore in this blog, and will alter the way I practice my sorcery I will disclose a bit. When I touched down on NOLA my first order of business after checking into my hotel was to visit the tomb of Marie Laveau to ask a favor of her. I had been exploring my draw to Vodou and the Loa privately for a while, which included a successful petition of Baron Samedi . I asked the Voodoo Queen to guide me a teacher or some way to know if I am really meant to serve the loa. Later that day I found myself at Voodoo Authentica in the French Quarter. This was actually not my original destination, but my got told me to turn right on Dumaine instead of left and there was the shop so I ventured inside.

I walked around for a bit, and while the shop has some great items, nothing really spoke to me. Then I noticed someone giving readings in a side room. Since there Voodoo Fest had already past Halloween weekend, at first I thought "It can't be". But sure enough after talking with the clerk I confirmed that it was indeed Mama Lola doing readings. Having read her book "Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn", I couldn't pass uo the opportunity to meet her. So I made an appointment, went to my original destination which was the Voodoo Museum, and then returned to the shop not knowing what to expect. I expected her to ask me what my question was or something to that effect. This wasn't the case at all. After shuffling the cards, and having me cut them, she laid them out, took one look at me and with a smile on her face said "You are a Vodou Priest". We then had a long conversation about initiation, and serving the spirits. It was also great to hear many of the stories from her book in person.

Papa Legba Veve
Now, Mama Lola being Haitian, her assertion is that at some point I would have to take the Asson (become and initiated priest), that is what's customary for someone with the spirits that walk with the way I have them. Believe me this is something that I am certainly considering, and have told Papa Legba that is this is what the loa want, then make the way open for that to happen. That being said, I have always been drawn to Voodoo as it is practiced in New Orleans, which to my knowledge does not have an initiatory structure and is not very big on orthodoxy. Also I have ancestors that have loved in both Louisiana and Mississippi, but as far as I know there is no connection to Haiti in my line. So for the time being I am doing my best to serve the spirits in my own personal and respectful way. I wouldn't call myself a Voodoo worker just yet, let alone a "Priest". To me that title carries quite a bit of significance and responsibility which will take me some time to understand rather I take the Asson, or learn to serve the spirits the way they do in NOLA.

As I said, with time this will impact and change the way I practice sorcery. However I am not looking to Voodoo as just another form of magic, or the Loa as just another set of spirits to call upon to do work. I am talking about  embracing a religion that happens to have a magico-religious aspect. First and foremost it is a religion with healing as it's primary function. I actually have not called upon the Loa for my own gain at all since I started exploring this relationship. The only ritual I have done was for a loved one to aid in healing. Seemed fitting to me. I have been getting frustrated lately when I see people online talking about getting initiated as if it is a way to just ramp their magic and that is all. One gentlemen that I spoke with online called it "the big leagues" in regards to sorcery. When I asked him if he also planned on embracing this  as his religion after being initiated his response was, "I suppose so". You suppose so? You never hear of someone becoming Catholic clergy simply so their prayers will have more power, but they have no plans on serving the church in any way. I could rant about this all day, and originally planned on making this blog a rant about just that. But honestly to each their own. The Loa will sort those kind of people out in the end. I will continue to explore this path, and see where it takes me.