Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sunflower: petals of light

In Espiritismo Cordon in Cuba, they use a native american statue, besides a sunflower to represent the Indio commission. Just like a light bulb is sometimes hung over San Hilarion as a principle of guiding light to bring the spirits on their white table.

          Emblematic of the sun is the sunflower. It is also associated with the elevated Lwa Gran Solier, Soleil, Soley or Grand/Big Sun). Under Gran Solier many emmisarios work with spiritualists, the dead who were former spiritualists now help us in Sanse and Puerto-Rican Espiritismo. There are several Saint images as aspects, as each Lwa family such as the Soley's represent several spirits in the same division.  The image of the crowned Jesus is used as the "great power" related to the crucified justice, and thorns of Mars and warrior aspect, and as the justice card of the tarot runs between the sun and mars in qaballah or the tree of life.... like the energy of St George (the Oguns), and the Lwa Beli Belcan (used as St Michael) his sword is said to be off a ray of the sun or like lightening.
Note: if your flowers have thorns you must remove them before giving to the spirits or on the boveda.
One image for Gran Soley is also used on the yellow cover of Kardec's selected prayers we use: Ecce Homo "the man".

The sun's rays are cleansing, and correspond with life force, ache,and the ability to transport "souls" or spirits to manifest and to elevate. Much like the Gran Chemin or "big road" called in Haitian Vodou before Legba.

The sunflowers is used as a symbol of many European spiritualist churches since the 1890's and represents truth and constancy (loyalty, dedication, faith, enduring qualities), along with the bright color yellow since ancient times.

It symbolizes the good spirits and the progress of man:

A seed is placed in the earth, nurtured, watered from the heavens and co-ultivated at times by mankind. The sunflower faces the east when the sun rises, and then to the west with the progress of the sun during the day. As likens to the progress of souls from birth to death in the watery twilight of the west with the ancestors.

As the flower "turns" it represents the various paths, caminos, vueltas, faces, or presentations a visiting spirit can manifest such as the "ave" "gira" or dove turns of the holy spirit, ad the spiraling dance movements. In spanish the sunflower is called girasol or sun turner.

As it faces east it is as a salute to the rebirth and regeneration of incarnated souls and gives acknowledgment to the Great Spirit.
As the petals open of the flower, it represents unfolding of our spiritual gifts and growth.
Many cultures see the sun as the visible face of God. The sun is the heart and solar plexus region, as the personification of Jesus is light, truth and charity/love.
This is why the holy day was changed from Saturday (Saturn of restriction, material, and death) to Sunday.

The solar seasonal celebrations or sabbats are widely comparative: the invincible sun or sol Invictus is reborn at the winter solstice, and returns to earth in the Spring Equinox to bring new life at Easter.
For example: Greek Hellenist doctrine of the solar logos, and early Christian symbolism depicted Christ as the Spiritual Sun, illumination source of order, harmony, healing and spiritual insight, and borrowed older depictions of enlightenment and spiritual power of crowns/ coronas of halo and rays of lights. We also have the magician Solomon, as symbolized as the magi in the enter of the circle, and the astrological symbol of the center of our universe, the generative projective sun. This is the wand and the pillar in the peristyle, of power that runs through every human to be activated.

Like a man the sunflower grows stooped with age, and can grow the height of a man.
The main stalk often has 7 branches with 12 leaves, a celestial and solar number.
(As Gran Solier is our Chief of the 7 Jefe Lwa in Sanse pantheon).
And 7 being the days of the week and classical planets, 12 of the solar cycle months.
And these branches often produce 3 flowers per stalk as the number of formation, the persons spiritual frame or cuadro (spirits that make up your entourage of guides etc) and the trinity.
Each flower has 52 golden petals for the weeks of the year, breaking down again to 7 (5+2).
In the center are generally 365 seeds representing our solar calender year.
Some of their centers grow in a spiral, fractal way, which generates all creation.

Flowers are said to be an earth element, but it has roots, a channel/stalk, and aerial parts.
There is Odu that some explain as that flowers are to the dead and not the Orisha.
The petals of the flowers on the boveda are used in spiritual baths as it is gentle and replenishing to our aura or spiritual fluids/energy body. The petals are like a cats whiskers and increase our sensitivity to spiritual transmissions. Some call our spiritual gifts "lights".
Usually white flowers are placed for the dead, or yellow flowers are used for light, but different colors have symbolism.
A multi-color bouquet is used for all your dead.
Carnations are used for strength and are affordable and popular for this reason.

"Scattering petals in an instant" Is a translation of one of the songs or prayers for evocation.It explains the love/charity or mercy the spirit is showing by guiding us or coming down to do work for us. Flowers are associated with love, friendship and reunion, as thrown in weddings and the Indian Holi festival as brotherhood and offerings. Flowers and sweet smells are attractive to the spirits. In the resurgance era of european spiritualism, spirits were reported to actually manifest flowers or rain down petals onto the seance table.
                                                  from blog natividad del mar

A crown of flowers, and its petals are therefore very important in the Espiritismo tradition during crowning and baptism.

In another canto or song for the misa, The song for Christo says "regando flores" or roughly watering flowers: showering down or raining flowers.
In a song for the gypsy it says as translated "give me a flower with a goodbye".

                                                      Sancista 7 Crossroads

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Charity is one of the highest principles held in Espiritismo of hope, faith and charity.
They are given prose in Allan Kardec's book of selected prayers and have interaction. They are both masonic and christian principles. They are symbolized by the heart, anchor and cross, as well as the 3 marias ( tres marias) or graces/muses as virtues.

This symbol put together, some use as a symbol of Sanse. The cross is of a man and the world tree, the earth and sun or faith. The heart is central of the sun or solar plexus and heart and light. The anchor is of hope,what keeps us grounded, and has the lunar and watery symbol. As in the tarot card the star, these are guiding principles linked to destiny. The hebrew letter to the star tarot card is translated as"hook", because man or souls are viewed as fishes. Such as in the bible the disciple and fisherman Peter/Simon became the fisher of man and the rock or foundation of the church as the first pope. The spiritual forces always seek towards man just as much as we look for guidance and light. As a seafaring people, they would navigate by the light of the sun and the north pole star. They even had an early navigational device known as the cross staff.

Charity means love of your fellow man like philanthropy, but many people think of it as donation to institutions, and charitable work,
Is there a higher tenet than love?
It is said that God is love.
Charity is also action, of charitable words, not speaking bad of others in gossip and undeservedly.
Of loving and helping each other.

Caridad de Cobre, the Lady of Charity
Many people think that Oshun, syncretized with the saint image of Lady of Charity or the yellow Caridad de Cobre is charity, but this is not so. Oshun is known for love, happiness, sensuality, riches, and luxury as well as foresight.The Saint of Charity is the patron of Cuba, and some use the blue one also or both colors, but that means something different in our lineage. The yellow one can also be used for the Lwa Cachita Tumbo but some use an Indian woman, whereas the blue can be used for La Sirene or Yemaya, but they also use the saint image La Diosa del Mar (goddess of the sea). We understand the saint is not the Mysterio Orisha or Lwa. One of the paths of Oshun is a chieftess, more of a native Caribbean woman. Cachita Tumbo is like Oshun as a river spirit, but many also mistake her for the female Lwa Anaisa Pye, whose name means little yellow or golden flower. She also has a path of a native woman.

The tale of how this saint came to be is very interesting. The men in the boat represent the three races which mixed and became Cuban: European, African and Indian or mixed ethnicity. The men were out harvesting salt, and were caught in a storm off the Caribbean island. Fearing for their lives they began to pray. Then the little statue on a board with the epitaph "Lady of Charity" washed towards them, and they brought it ashore. Thus Charity became linked with Faith, and is a deeper theme explored in the Prayer of the Shipwrecked. And also the Prayer of the lighthouse as the guiding light to both incarnated and disincarnated souls, The lighthouse is a metaphor for our centinela or main spirit guide, to guide us, and usher in other spirits.

In Chief Miguel Sague's book Canoa or "canoe" he tells of a slightly different version of lore, with more of the native or Taino history. Whether or not this is myth, of visions, or dreams in the telling, the cultural meaning comes through clearly. The statue is a replacement to safely hide the spirits of the land before colonization; of an earth and river creatrix: Atabey and Atabeira. Like the Taino Cemi spirits in stone, this statue mysteriously moves places, and reappears eventually back at the little chapel on top of a copper mine. Cobre in spanish means copper, and as many people lost their lives in the mine, she was looking out for them and guiding them with her light.

Saint Sophia or wisdom is told as their mother, Sophia is "Gods wife" as Wisdom herself the Ama or Asherah. From which we get the word philosophy, or the love of knowledge and study. Some see her as a Magdelene, rumored wife to Jesus. Gnostics hold Sophia as the creator of the world and is a saturnine principle of the number 3 and like Granne Erzulie or Santa Anna mother of Mary and used for the Lwa Anaisa Pye. Each of the Mary's also can be linked to the Lwa of the Erzulie family whose emblem is the heart; as Mary Salome, Mary Jacobe and Mary Magdelene as Ezili Dayila. Salome and Jacobe are also linked to the gypsy commision of guides through Santa Sara and the dance of the 7 veils by Salome in the bible. This also hearkens to Venusian deities whose number is 7 and of love, sexuality and nature, of temple proxies of Aphrodite and Ishtar. The metal of Venus is copper, and she holds the lights of the 7 well as the sun/son in the constellation Virgo the Virgin harvest Queen pictured as holding a shaft of wheat or babe.
These are saint images which preserved original peoples knowledge.

Who is Charity?
So who is charity actually?
It is a very celestial divine spirit or power, very close to God.
This principle or force is personified, but so elevated they never come into physical mediumship.
The light of love or mercy guides spirits towards us to "hacer caridad" do charity or intervene in our human problems and suffering. These words are found often in evoking guides and the dead of a spirit court " to come to the earth and do charity". For example a song to a congo translates as "congo, little congo, congo of truth, I call you to the earth to make charity".

Also to the Lwa "gracias misercordia" means thank you for the mercy. Because they show us help and a kindness, we need to have gratitude, and to give charity to receive the blessings of the spirits.

Many higher spirits such as saints, like you to give to a charity in gratitude as an offering of thanks. For example if St Jude helped you, a donation to St Jude's Children's hospital is common. Also in first world nations, we are somewhat removed from the conditions in the very countries and areas that our traditions may come from that we enter such as Haiti, Cuba and Africa and their people.
If we take or receive than we must give back. We are one, one love.

Charity in Espiritismo
Clarity is synonymous with Light in this tradition, the ability to see truth and clairvoyance. When we think of light we think of the color white or yellow. Light "helps" spirits to see or "gives" lights the way. One misa canto or song lyrics are as translated "a great clarity.... the cloak of Mama light" to guide the dead towards us,
and then goes into singing of the dancing of Cachita, dance dance Cachita la Caridad.

In the name of charity, most centros of Espiritsmo try to have public misa once a month. By charity it is not actually "free" as attendees are expected to bring needed materials such as food, flowers, novena candles, cigar, rum, a small donation if possible to do the work. The energy, work, and time expended by the mediums are donated, along with any additional materials. Private misa are of charge.

Some budding espiritist said, " I don't get anything out of it" by doing the monthly charity. HA! delayed gratification. Get it right, its not about spells and commanding the dead to do your bidding.You cannot do Espiritismo without Charity. True, alot of energy is expended and it is not appreciated by other people at times the effort required. It may take several days to recover, even by the participants at times.

We are doing a service to the community. As priests we are to serve, not always be self serving. On the other hand some people do not want to exchange and only take. This upsets the order and balance of things, it is not good to put oneself at a debt. Euro mediums are more mentalists in modern times it seems, and say it is not to charge for their gifts, because they are God given and do not want to misuse it. And when money is involved this is a possibility.
This is true of being God given, however we use more materials in our folk spiritism. Physical mediumship is very draining, especially in the beginning, or you have not been brought up this way to exercise and expand the energy body over time.

What people do not purchase, they often take for granted, or in increase not listen. However our spirits will tell us when to do charity as far as spiritual work, or take on a couple of cases per month. Charity starts at home in the community, and also cannot be expected over the internet. In the old days, and still to this day to some extent barter is accepted, in the form of food, livestock, rum, cigars etc.

The charity given is also to the spirits, in our offerings and in our elevation work of light and progress in our sessions. Also to the elevation work and crossing over or rescue mediumship of earthbound or purgatorial spirits. Noted is the concept of water in African traditions, of the ocean of the dead, the congo kalunga. The cemetary is known as the small sea or little kalunga.

We venerate and give offerings to our Lwa, and is known as "sevis" Lwa, Ginen or serving the Lwa aka Voodoo. Many people do not know what Vodou is and think they are spirits to do our bidding or spells. Remember we are their horses, they "own" our heads as the master or "met tet" and guardian angel. We have access but we do not own them. We serve. And as priests we are the conduits of these higher forces.

Charity also can be done on our terms. "Beggars cannot be choosers" is an old saying. Rules are also still rules, and are there for safety. If we turn someone away from misa, especially for repeatedly not following requirements, or due to the safety needed, that is the head medium and godparents perogative and needs to be respected. We are the ones who have the responsibility and wisdom.
Spirits also have to get in line, and play by our rules, or we run the risk of spiritual problems.
Some need tough love. But we always attempt to help and educate them first.

                                                   Sancista Siete Encruzhiladas

By a side note, many stores such as grocery chains (in the USA) allow you to link a charity to your store loyalty card so check their websites. Also if you shop through Amazon smile link in your same account it will donate to your linked charity. Just by shopping I donated around $400 last year this way alone. It would have been more but I sometimes shop through ebates to save money when applicable online. 
Please do this it takes little effort at no cost to you.

Monday, April 3, 2017

White Bath: Connection to Ancestors and Guides

I already wrote about this when I wrote about cascarilla (ground eggshell or chalk), the color white, and cleansings, but I thought I would just do a short entry. A version of this I also wrote about for guardian angel work.  It is based on the Yoruban rogacion de cabeza or kobori eleda(feeding the head, Ori) but through espiritismo criollo. 

 You will need to pray over the mixture for your guides and ancestors. To the following add "good water" from your water cup on the boveda which is full of bubbles and you have the feeling of peace and purity. 

Cocoa butter, cascarilla, coconut water (traditionally fresh but I use coconut milk), holy water or rain water, a bit of honey, white flower petals from your boveda. A small splash of white rum or florida water can also be added. Flower petals from your boveda if you have them.

This is done on the head after lighting a white candle and a normal shower and not rinsed or towelled too much off. This can be done for an odd number of days sometimes after an odd number of days of doing a bitter herb wash neck down to remove negative energies. 

You will then dress in white with headwrap overnight and can use white bedding with cascarilla or a white clean towel, sleeping alone and avoiding violent movies, sexual activity, violent video games, spiritual work, arguments or spicy food anything to heat you up for 24 hours. The bath will give you peace or energy and done in the evening you will not go out after dark. The purpose of this is to clear your connection to your guides and through contamination of the spiritual fluids on your boveda to your head or conciousness

The white items are added also as clearing. If you cannot afford it or are desperate then just use the glass of water alone. Pour this over your head after showering, then towel off gently not too much, no need to rinse. Do this for a minimum of once a week for at least 3 weeks and replace the water glass right away, but you can do it 3 times a week or days in a row.

                                                                         Sancista 7 crossroads

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spiritual Development: Desarrollo

These are some things put together but if you can thing of other ways to develop please comment.

Prayer at Boveda
Prayer and songs to your ancestors and guides to their presence.
Prayer is the most important offering because it elevates our spirits so they can better help us spiritually progress.
Giving and using cigars smoke also helps our communication as a messanger spirit.
We use prayers and bibliomancy of psalms and Allan Kardec's book of selected prayers.
Spontaneous words that are felt from the heart are also more effective than bland reading.
By following good suggestions and what the spirit require this reinforces our relationship and communication.
You might want to read my other entry on why your spirits are silent.
Some of them could take a couple years to even show themselves in some way, and the most important is faith, over thinking materially.

Keeping the boveda clean and giving your spirits candles, gives spiritual light and clarity, as the faculties or psychic sense all begin with the word "Clair" or clear. ex Clairaudience is clear hearing.

For that reason certain saint orations like to Saint Clare or Lucy (lucid/light) can be used. St Clare is associated with the Monstrance (of spiritual alchemy and enlightenment) and the ability to lead spirits to us through light.

With Santa Clara just the white of a white egg can be put into a water glass to clear up the frame, and messages can be seen inside. This can be placed in the middle of 3 white novena candles with the point facing up. This mimics the eye of God and the form of the spiritual frame. Tata Oriate advises a similar way of placing a whole white egg in the middle of the candles in his book.

The white egg adds clarity, but a whole brown one can be used to remove negativity in the frame, or the lighting of sulphur novenas and elevation work and prayers for 9 days. Putting the white egg is different as it adds clarity but similar to a cleansing egg limpa con huevo. Messages can be seen in the glass.

Developing is a slow and consistent process, it needs to be a routine well practiced. Just because we know how to do it mentally, does not mean anything until we make it a practice.

Eyewashes with prepared herbal water and scrying helps clairvoyance.
When people ask how to open the third eye I also recommend detox of clean diet, water and personal care products. Certain herbs can also assist.

White bath rogacion to cleanse your head actually adds spiritual connection, usually done after bitter herb removing bath neck down for an odd number of days each.

Routine spiritual cleanings help a clear connection and with fresh flower petals to add back energy to your spiritual field and sensitivity. There are many ways to spiritually cleanse besides spiritual baths.

Dirty house, self and altar can attract unwanted dark spirits, who can cause spiritual and life blocks to our evolution. These will then have to be dealt with in misa or ceremony with persistent cases in person. Dark spirits can be sent by witchcraft, given access by our own bad actions or faults, or by unconsciously picking them up. The environmental factors can impact the internal.

Work on Divination
Everyones gifts are different or suited to different tools, and some abilities are slower to unfold
For example some at the boveda have inspired writing sessions or automatic writing.
Dream work
waterglass at bedside, etc

Solar work: 
for cleansing and higher spirits and light, of spiritualism. Linked to ashe, life force.
System of energy work and manipulation whether qigong, reiki or yoga
Lunar work and natures rhythms, subconscious and shadow work.
These two areas must be balanced and harmonious together. They are the gateway beyond self control and knowing of personal thought and emotion to higher celestial or planetary energy and polarity.

The cross and monstrance on the boveda indicate this union and light as some also displayed eucharist communion wafer as a church icon.

Going to Misa Espirituale

In the presence of strong spiritual fluids, and can practice mediumship and add light to yourself and your spiritual court.
More experienced mediums can help investigate and confirm your guides, as well as work on ancestral and spiritual issues.
Here you can develop your gifts by practice with others.
Misa can be held to your spirits,or if Catholic can pay them to do mass for the dead.
It is good to attend many misa in your spiritual house, and as well if you cannot afford private misa.
Safely at misa you can work on mounting spirits or physical mediumship.
This development and connection is given firm foundation on baptism and crowning the dead: 
Misa Coronation.
This crowning also protects the medium from unwanted spirit mounting.
During misa the godchild will demonstrate development, 
and have misa investigation into the spiritual frame.

For those that have no misa near them, a priest with alot of ashe or development can come pray at your white table with a small suggested payment or derecho of $21 to add light.

Moral Progress
Key to Spiritual development is dependant on personal progress.
Our guides and ancestors see our efforts to improve our personality and right action.
We then: Merit power and cooperation by beings who see this.
But these powers that are given by certain spirits that have the power to do this,do not give this to anyone, but they prove the integrity and moral and spiritual integrity of the person, and if they see that person can handle a power. Because they will freeze it, they do not give more, or in other cases they withdraw the gift or power that they gave to that person, that for a misuse of that power. Power unfolds and goes to those more responsible with its usage. God gave our gifts and can take them away.
The Principal Guide, the important thing is to be aware of our connection with them. To invoke, but always asking for the blessing of (God), so that every work we do is for good and successful, with the guidance and assistance of our spiritual guide, to ask him to reveal his name, either through a dream, a vision, or that he comes down and directly, or message through another spirit.
We must have humility and give gratitude and acknowledgment of the good spirits and God and not take personal credit for mediumship abilities.

Spiritual Reward or Suffering
Osogbos (diseases, accidents, calamities, untimely death, misfortunes etc.) happen to those who abuse their power and faculties. 
Some suffering is expected as a human condition, as a result of reincarnation.
Our ancestors may allow suffering to happen or create these problems because they are displeased. We are their representatives on earth, and are linked to them spiritually. When we are living in accordance with our good ancestors, we are in spiritual flow and receive their blessings. They are permissive gateway spirits. Ask for their forgiveness and for not listening to their good advices with an offering. 

Even if someone deserves ill doing and you to serve justice, ask yourself if you would rather receive a higher reward. I found this true, we are tested due to our medium ability as a duty of service and for our moral betterment according to Kardec. As I continually resist bad or commit to the correct path, the more I am shown curses, and therefore the way to remove or protect the self.

Egun helps us to deal with the contradictions, injustices and imperfections that exist within life itself. When we are weak, they help us to tap into our strength and through them we ask that God hears and grants our requests so that we can walk the correct path of our earthly lives towards our destiny. We need our messengers and allies to help us, as the way of progress is to decrease our suffering and ignorance.

Throw mud get muddy I say. There is great protection in living the right life and in spiritual purity and cleansing all the time to keep any negative energy off, is easier to keep negative energy off as the number one way to prevent spiritual problems. The Yorubans believe in thought projection as a magical action, but that it cannot affect a good person. Or at least not as easily.

                                                           Sancista 7 crossroads

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dhamballah: the cosmic snake & creation

Dhamballah's feast or fet date is March 17th the day syncretized with St. Patrick. His colors are white or green, a very ancient, wise, calm, beneficent Lwa, associated with creation, rain, peace, wisdom, destiny, fertility, prosperity and luck. His offerings and area are kept really clean, usually are white and sweet, and he takes no alcohol. A common offering are depending on lineage white foul, almond syrup (orgeat), pompeya lotion perfume,white cakes and a white washed egg on a bed of white flour.

In honor of his day I decided to tell the story of Vodou creation.

The first version was taken from " By The Kingdom of This World ",by Alejo Carpentier:

Long ago, the serpent spirit Danbala created the world. He used his 7,000 coils to form the stars and the planets in the heavens and to shape the hills and valleys on earth. He used lightning bolts to forge metals and make the sacred rocks and stones. When he shed his skin he created all the waters on the earth. And when the sun showed through mist settling on the plants and trees a rainbow was born. Her name was Ayida Wedo.”(the rainbow snake)

I would like to share a similar oral mystery story passed down from a Houngan to our family:
Houngan Steve M has become Ghede to our local group, as well as in other temples, at least one other American Haitian temple I am aware of where his asson sits. I never got to meet him but his influence and his teachings continues to this day.

Dhamballah lay surrounding around the earth holding it together. He began to stir turn and twist the movements made mountains and valleys as he uncoiled it became shaped. He saw something in the sky which may have been the face of Bondye or a great star. He went into the sky and waters dripped off the body, he opened his mouth and it began to pour upon the earth. When he did that, the sun reflected off the waters and he saw Aida Wedo the rainbow serpent. They fell in love and intertwined. Aida Wedo coming up to meet him, and him coming down to earth began all creation.

He carried the Lwa from the sky and she up from earth carries the dead as they rise on the world tree or temple pillar. In some stories he carried the ancestors on his back as the waves when the slaves came from Africa to Haiti instead of the story with the ship Immamou and Captain Agwe.

In the first story 7 is the celestial number of spectrum and planets of the universe. It mirrors the biblical story of creation in 7 days. Blacksmith spirits in several cultures are associated with creation, metals and magic. Water and Fire creates alchemical steam or air and the rainbow.

Some people see Aida Wedo and Dhamballah as the same entity in one, such as the hermetic beings or the mind which contains both polarities. They are viewed slightly different in Africa than Haiti. The 2 snakes also is similar to the healing rod of the Greek god Aesculapius and the mercurial wand. Seen in the medical symbol. Mercury being of air, the mind, magic, communication and sexuality.
Coils also bring to mind the spiral energy of DNA, and sacred geometry of creation. The snake movement of constricting and loosening is like formation of the universe and star systems. The movement of undulating, back and forth is like energy wavelength. The coils or spirals are like sacred geometry the Fibonacci sequence and divine ratio.

Some use Martha the Dominator for Aida Wedo or Mami Wata, a pantheon of snake like spirits or for La Sirene. But we use that for a river snake Lwa Lubana. We use the saint image Mary of (divine) grace for Aida Wedo the rainbow snake, Some use the Lady of Immaculate Conception image.
Sometimes she is pictured standing on a new moon or rainbow instead.
She is credited with holding up the world. The words, ma, material, matter, mother being interconnected. Snakes are images of ancient ancestors.

The rainbow snake also is a theme for creation with Australian Aboriginals, but also in central America the Quetzalcoatl "twins" solar multicolored feathered snake so these ideas are pre-christian. From Greece the image of the snake and egg oomphalos represented the navel or center of the world and communication with the gods, the pythoness divinitory oracle of Delphi. In Ireland serpent mounds were burial sites of the fae and ancestors.

It is not hard to see the procreation knowledge of sperm and ova, potentiality and seed, 1 and 0 binary creation.

Da or Dhamballah is associated with destiny, the star and godhead father of all, before Haiti he was the supreme Deity of life in some areas in West Africa, besides Sakpata or Heviosso who became the Orisha Babaluaye or the Lwa Bade of disease, healing and the dead who some identified as "God" where there was no word equivalent for such, although in Vodou we are monotheists, and the Lwa are high elevated mysteries and not gods and goddesses. Therefore Dhamballah in the new world is a creational Lwa, but that God is the ultimate mystery.

Snakes remain as the bridge between and identified both with earth and the celestial or spiritual. The spanish word culebra and culev or culeb mean both "snake" and "covering", the snake skin that covers the material world.

Ayahuascha a visionary plant, sees the rope vine as a snake, related to DNA and illusions or maya, spiritual axis ladder, light to be able to see the world in a "shamanic" way, beyond the veil or covering; in which they are taught many things. An Ayahuasquero and Tabaquero, says that snakes are the mother of the plants which explains why they see snakes when using the plant teacher, and that the vine is the mother of tobacco. This also explains tobacco's properties being able to draw and communicate with spirits.
RE: The cosmic serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge by Jeremy Narby. The plant mixture contains DMT which has been dubbed "the spirit molecule", present at birth, death and during dreams, hypnogogic and other "hallucinations" written about by R Strassman.

In the bible it brings to mind Acts 9:18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized...He had the scales or veil removed and he regained his sight and ability to see the truth and was initiated into the mystery.

***Sancista Siete Encruzhiladas****

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The baston de muerto: staff of the dead and ancestors

The original indigenous ways that people honored their ancestors and worked with their dead was not through the white table boveda, tableau espirituale. The white cloth table is from the seance traditions of European mediums in spiritualism, which crossed with folk traditions in the 1900's in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Originally libations were poured upon the dirt ground. But since in many apartments and temples not being on ground level, people began to modify. Libations were then poured into a bucket, where they could pour outside after, or a few drops of water poured onto a clay tile (teja) in Yoruba faiths in the new world if it is prescribed by your reading. This was kept with an egun shrine near pipes leading to the ground such as in the bathroom or kitchen, usually with marigolds, flor de muerto: flower of the dead. Or was also kept outside by the back door and yard area.

This is also where a Baston de muerto can be placed, and can be indicated that you need to work with the dead this way through your readings, and which type of stick needed for example one or two faces, a skull, or snake can be featured. If the Orisha Oya is suspected to be close to a person, it may be recommended to get a stick or set up a boveda in a certain way. Oya or Yansa is a warrioress of the cemetary gate related to the dead, and not death the reaper herself, but she is related to how death, Iku got brought to earth out of compassion, because of suffering, starvation and disease. The stick again is indicated in a reading, and may be relate to the mysteries of earth and Oddudwa.

Other names in different traditions for this stick of the dead is Bakulu stick in Palo or Kumangongo. The stick must be taken from nature in a certain way.

The palo or baton de muerto: Opa or igi egun, pagugu, aumba, although Yoruban faith will add things to this altar like 9 bundles sticks of flor mar pacifico (hibiscus) with a red ribbon and approach their dead a different way than the Palero, Vodouisant or Espirista. The egun stick for eggungun, was the ancestral altar axis mundi, tree, between our world and the worlds of the spirits.
                                                                       From auctions609 store

 It is used for ancestral dead or other dead in the frame mostly and not spirit guides approached through spiritualism who are more elevated. In Yoruban spirituality, egun are the collective dead who are from different sources or types, such as some serve as guardians of a place. The egungun are technically the ancestors as far as I understand.

The dead are very important for many reasons, and without them there is no Orisha, the saying Iku Loba Ocha, the dead gave birth to the Orisha explains cosmology and from the Odu stories.
                                                artwork by Marietjie Henning

The staff represents the creative generative power of the dead, and as a phallic wand you will see the Ghede Lwa Baron dance with of life and death. It is like a family tree. The wand is like the body of Dhamballa, as Moses turned his staff into a snake. It is generative and spiritual fire of the Ace of wands.

In Puertorican Vudu, the staff of the dead is linked to base of the poteau or poto mitan or palo majeur (pillar, Ceiba world tree of the peristyle, caye, badji or hounfor), Papa Loko, and Papa Legba's cane (from us to the Lwa). I keep mine against my boveda, or by Legba's cane at the front door. Likewise we may use a sacred tree for our repository and tie 7 ribbons on it for the 7 Jefe Lwa Misterios of Sanse.

In espiritismo or Sanse: The stick can be placed as an "outside" shrine, or boveda "astral", such as against a strong tree which can serve as your spirit repository. Astral doesn't mean in spanish what we think of in ceremonial magick as a lunar realm. It means outside in nature, or without a physical body. This area is usually marked and consecrated with a border of cascarilla chalk with 9 dashes or arrows. There can be kept ovoid river stones which are special repositories, otanes. To here you can place the items you normally would as a boveda such as white flowers and candles, multicolor bouquet, a sunflower, food offerings such as sweets, coffee, pork, fish, rice, stew, cigars, water, rum overnight.


The staff is tapped 9 times upon the ground to evoke and give notice, of vibrations to the ground where the dead of the world are connected, while giving orations and prayers.
Some in Ocha have taboo on what a woman can do around egun, such as they did not wear the costume according to pataki stories, they can have the stick but some do not strike the ground with it. The stick also banishes negativity, and some place bells apon the lengthy (almost to the ground) 9 colored ribbons or cloth strips tied at the top to ward off misfortune (osogbo). Some do not place the bells stating it scares off egun. Some also just place one red ribbon to mark the staff is empowered by the dead. Can be multicolor beaded. The colored ribbons represent the egun dance dress costume, and as the number of the dead. The stick is straight, true as possible, and can be made of different or a specific type of woods.
Iku is the spirit of death itself
Not everyone should have this stick, which needs to be taken seriously. It will also be revealed to you if you are a medium, or have a spiritual court which deals more with the dead. You should have already begun a regular practice to attending to your ancestors.
                                                              army of darkness

However, you do not need to be initiated to get this stick, if you have guidance from a priest. The top can be drilled into, to pack the secrets into it and then sealed by a priest in Lucumi or Palo faiths. The stick is washed with different herbs and preperations, dedicated, consecrated, fed (animal blood in Ocha and Palo) and prayed over. In Sanse, I do this with various herbs, washing, colognes, and epo (red palm oil) with a service to the dead.

 I have also received my Bakulu ancestor necklace from my godfather, a Palero. In Sanse we also use a multi-color glass or crystal seed bead necklace consecrated to the dead of your court.
We do not use the 7/7 pattern unless you have the 7 african powers as guides or are an initiate of Sanse for Los 7 Jefe Lwa in our house.
These items are sacred and must be cared for. The necklaces are not worn during sleep, in the water, nor during sexual activity, or out at the club, and should be kept in a special place, preferably wrapped in a white satin or silk panel of cloth and put away.

If you would like either of these items, then you can contact our temple and start a consultation and rapport.

                  A qualified Santero, Palero or Espiritsta can make you a Baston de muerto.
                  We currently offer these items to the Bakulu or your spiritual court: ancestors and dead.
Whatever your tradition you receive the stick in, influences where and how you will serve your dead, because these religions have a different group of ancestors spiritually. So a Bakulu stick is not placed at the Boveda.
                  The staff can be used in misa, or in working the boveda in Espiritismo,
                  and marks the officiant in rites to the dead.

                               Sancista 7


Monday, March 6, 2017

Veve are Lineage

Veve are used for many actions.
They are used as a mouth or portal to accept feeding the Lwa. They are a portal through which forces can move, activated by the priest, their tools, and pwen/point/license/access given in initiation or through bloodline and given foundation. The closest english word I could come to is "attunement", alignment and agreement/oath. The spirits within African traditions are ancestors or ancestral spirits that followed a people, a tribe's culture and their land. Through joining a temple you are adopted into their lineage, along with any connections that you have which were somewhat broken (if you do not have an unbroken family line) and can be repaired. Usually temples are a gathering of families or run by family.

Veve and pwen are lineage, from lineages. A pwen also can be held by many things. Veve are passed down in the family and/or through temple lineages for the spirits that are served locally. The Lwa recognize these Veve as signatures, and recognize the priest because we also have these same spirits. My Veve belong to my lineage and I have never seen them publicly. They do have some similarity to other Veve of the same Lwa that other people have.

 If you are using a Veve off the internet or in a book, you are approaching the Lwa through or tapping into someone else's lineage. The Lwa will also expect you to greet them a certain way with songs and the tcha tcha, shekere or asson received by priests or passed down by families. This will notify them of who you are children of if you are branched farther from same roots. It can be thought of as a calling card, signature, or telephone number. Some Veve are created for artistic and not spiritual purposes or value. If you do not use a lineage Veve properly, this may upset some Lwa, or they will not answer.

 You also must be careful, a Veve for Dhamballah I saw on the internet was actually for his Petro version.

Some Lwa do not have Veve. Veve are not the only way we can work with Lwa, since the pwen, access is internal. Therefore we also have no absolute need of statues, representations and images. They help to manifest the energy of the Loases which flow internally through us in physical mediumship.

Veve were created in the new world, there were none in Africa. They probably created by Congo influence, indigenous Taino pictograms, and perhaps some European alchemist grimoires and sigils.
Taken from Miguel Sague, from Caney Circle

Public Veve for a type of Marassa Lwa: twins give rise to a third: triplets Petro or child born after
Some of the Veve for the drums also have a tri-medicine wheel motif

taken from palomontenegro

Technically as we salute the 4 directions, this is around the pillar in the temple as center. 
Where spirit and matter interact.

Congo cosmogram, Palo firma/petipemba for the 4 winds and a Lucero. Lucero is the Mpungo similar to the Lwa Legba or the Orisha Ellegua. The cross symbol is prechristain across many cultures. To the Congolisa the cross symbolized Nzambi, God, as well as the earth/universe.
Public Veve for Public Legba

Masonic Symbol: square and compass
Public Ayizan Veve

Public Erzulie Freda Veve

The same symbol can be seen on other veve such as to the loases of various Oguns, Sobo  Bade and Ghede & more

There is a Veve called Milokan (thousands/ mil of camps) which feeds or can call all the Lwa.
 It is a mega Veve in which individual Veve can be seen together. 
This is so no one is left out and has hurt feelings, it is more economical in terms of time, and it can be used to search a solution, or a persons spirits.

Veve have a sense of balance and imbalance that can created for a reason.They can be changed in the moment for specific energy needed.

Veve can be drawn in several materials such as ground corn, and other substances I will not discuss and sometimes for specific Lwa. I have never seen certain substances we also use mentioned in public. There has been some others mentioned in public such as wood ash. brick dust, gunpowder and wheat flour. The substances used are depending on the purpose of ritual and the Lwa being called. They can be traced in the dirt or sand with a stick or informally they can also be drawn in chalk but not traditionally. They are made by bending at the waist and pouring the material, not by kneeling or sitting. They can be danced over, and are usually scrubbed or washed over after the ritual is over.
                                           From Enchanting Scores

Veve have symbols that can be read, and contain usually the crossroads of Papa Legba, the Lwa spirit who for the most part, opens the way to the other rada Lwa. The veve also may contain other images such as tools, weapons, stars, points, crosses, and initials. There are points on the Veve on which certain items are placed such as plates of food, sacrificed animals in other lineages, candles and other things.

Different African tribes and people mixed in the new world to create different traditions and lineages, in Vodou we are predominately west African in spiritual heritage. Therefore we each have our own spirits, and ways of working with them. We do not use the firmas or petipembas from Palo which is Cuban and Congo based, nor do we use the ponto riscado as in Quimbanda in Brazil. Lucumi does have some symbols but they are also very different.

I hope this has helped your understanding of Vodou & Veve lineage!