Thursday, December 24, 2015

The boveda & The tableau espirituale: Part 1 Purpose

The white table practice or mesa blanca is so called for the white table cloth upon the altar used in misa or seance but also at home upon the ancestor altar or boveda in espiritismo or spiritualism. In Sanse, the tableau espirituale or spiritualist table differs from the Cuban boveda in that we also include other dead and spirit guides beyond just our current bloodline ancestors or family dead.

Before I began this path, I wanted nothing really to do with the dead, since they pestered me so as a youth, as well as being somewhat disconnected from my family and family history. I learned its better to be protected as a medium, because the dead will take notice of you whether or not you look for them. To a lot of people ancestral veneration does not seem very glamorous or high level, but it is very foundational in African traditions, as well as traditionally in most indigenous cultures. This connection has purposely been targeted to weaken the family and social structure of community, yet it provides independence, through cultural spiritual power, guidance and strength.

This altar is a sacred space, religious or not, a place of  contemplation, peace, power and stability. The difference is in institutional vs experiential home churches and lived personal daily living aspects and concerns. The official catholic church did not always approve of previous local practices, and certain groups of unsanctioned dead. The white table therefore became a place also to honor those unsanctioned or sanctioned, and placed hierarchy those personally chosen such as folk heroes and freedom fighters. Cuban 19th century criollos with Santeria after war for independence had a lot of dead plus previous customs that had this need, as well as the rest of the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico and South America. Or you can say around the world where experienced colonization, and in Europe reinvigorated after the Victorian age because of the amount of dead in World War 1.

Our relationship with spirits can be strengthened or weakened by our actions. Colonization, socialization and dominant or popular culture has attributed to our losses of our cultural connections, and the methods to do so such as teaching stories, original language, songs, ancestral record, sacred dances, knowledge of ancestral spirits and gods. We outright may ignore them and deny them and our common heritage and like energies. They need us as much as we can rely on them. They help us to be grounded, address social concerns, and have a spiritual home and family, without them we are lost without anchor or guidance of compass at sea.

Some of the authors spirit court and tableau espirituale:

I will address the guides and the other dead at another time, as the initial focus is of the ancestors.
Part of them remains, their personality, to help us even if their soul has incarnated. The dead are intermediate spirits, such as saints between us and other or higher spirits. As well our ancestors are gatekeeper or permissive spirits to others. The current family line going back generations unknown to beginning of mankind (antepasados), as well as our bloodlines from past lives (difuntos). We can pass this tradition down to the next generation in hope they will assist, communicate and remember us when we have passed from this realm and we, continue to watch over them.These spirit links or chains (cadenas) make us stronger and resistant to being controlled and tell us the truth. Their altar is a microcosm of your life. It can absorb shock of negative energies  and protect you. It can help you feel peace and relief.

Common colloquialisms is without them we are nothing, we stand on their shoulders, we walk the roads they walked, they are in our blood. The ancestors stand behind us or encircle us, whereas our main spirit guide leads from the front or the right side, and other dead and guides on the left of us. They are our first and last defense. They are more invested in and interested in us than most other spirits, and our potential for offspring and possible reincarnation through,but not always along family lines.

  Problems in our lives or misfortune is potentially seen as a need for balance and to appease these spirits. Not all our ancestors are positive influences or agree with each other or our life choices. We can communicate with them and make peace with them, so we are both best served. Sometimes they are so problematic and not ready to be in our lives, therefore we only include loving ancestors and those willing to be a helpful positive influence in our lives to our spiritual or ancestral table. 

As we work with only good and helping ancestors, with their positive influences and advices, being a good person with shared values, such as family pride and respect will help you align with them and what they would wish for you to become. Show them that you respect them, and ask their permission and blessings. They may have very different ideas about what they think you should be doing, such as occupation or religion. Of course we have free will and choice to live our own lives, however some religions and cultures might have been in direct opposition to your cultural group. In ancient or more recent times they may have warred with each other or slaughtered your people, and may be viewed as betrayal. Perspective on the other side is much less limited to ours, however just because our dead have passed doesn't mean that they are now perfect or know everything. Some may have such strong or bigoted opinions or beliefs as they did in life, whereas others may have seen the errors of their ways.

This is especially a problem with fundamentalist Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, who may believe that regardless of your race you should not follow an African or indigenous tradition or religion. You can have factions of ancestors and dead disagreeing with each other and this can play out on the stage of your life and altar. Some ancestors, feeling dishonoured, uncared for, are in need, or betrayed may then very well place obstacles in your path, problems in your life and misfortune. This concept is called osogbo misfortune in the Yoruban cultures, that the ancestors are displeased. However obstacles and difficulties are learning experiences and  may be a way of revelation and freeing oneself from religious burdens placed upon us, possibly since birth.

 We can help those troubled ancestors in another way without having them make problems until they are ready to be in our life. Spirits suffering can be alleviated and help their progression and elevation. Ask God for their elevation and relief, to gain more light and empowerment through intentions and use of prayer. The feeling on your altar should be one of peace, or something is wrong. Assistance, guidance and direction is strongly suggested. Questions about the welfare, or whether or not to include dead family members who died violently or suicide should be approached after one year of resting, with a qualified spiritualist. The dead are generally given a period of one year of rest regardless of situation before approaching.

The white table is seen as a meeting place or conference hall in our homes and life. You can preface your call to your dead as only helpful elevated ancestors are welcome, willing to make a positive difference in your life, yet support our free will and life choices.

Protections: ask them to close the doors to danger of the street, accident and violence, disease, sorcery, ask them to protect your mind, body and spirit, ask them to keep people with bad intentions away from you.
Blessings: ask them for improved and new opportunities in employment and finances, harmony in relations, ancestral issues to be resolved, traumas and problems affecting you or your family line can be healed to make us stronger, ask them to guide you towards the appropriate spiritual teacher, and for good people to come into your life.

 The altar can also be used as a place of spiritual cleansing, and I will address this at another time.

The white candles give spirits in darkness and who are lost the ability to be guided and to see, as well as energy, warmth and light. When you hear EVPs the dead often say I’m cold, I’m hungry, and this table will meet their needs, as well as orient them if they are lost or trapped somewhere. I will teach you how to read the water glass and candle which will indicate their requests.

A fresh water glass full of spiritual fluids presence and blessings

Next blog post Part 2: How to set up the altar
Part 3 How to address and basic guide to work the altar
Part  4 Cleansings
White bath
 Part 5 how to read the candles and water glasses

Friday, December 4, 2015

Azabache jet protection collares necklace

This is a prepared and charged necklace I made for a friend overseas in Europe, included in a folk spiritist care package with his prepared spirit guide doll, as it is hard to buy botanica items there. Sometimes this kind of jewelry is made for the new initiate for protection, and also worn in more fancy commercial versions as jewelry with gold and coral for protection instead of peony. New born babies in Puerto Rico are often adorned with it for protection and against the evil eye: mal de ojo. This is made of red and black peony seeds which look like a evil eye symbol as they are red with a black dot. 

When assembled a jet pendant is attached which comes in different symbols: hand of protection which is most common, heart, cross, or saint medals etc. The type of charm selected can reflect the person's main spirit guide. It is called and known as azabache in spanish and at botanicas. The evil eye is negative energy that people who are completely unaware of the occult can still put on a person with giving dirty looks, judgment, jealousy etc. The spiritual necklace is not worn in the bathroom or during sexual activity.

They can be charged with spirits and are washed in certain indgredients such as herbs, fruits, spiritual colognes, cascarilla eggshell or chalk or waters solution. This preparation can be any number of ingredients, but following certain principles, what spirits are used, spiritism, prayer, songs, and divination of the medium. They can be helpful in connecting to the protection of the main spirit guide: the centinela, while protecting against malevolent dead. The main ingredients I used for this time was japanese incense, a mandarin, spiritual help cologne, cascarilla, water, and holy water, smells amazing!

We do not use too many semi-precious crystals in the folk and african diasporic traditions, mostly regular stones like river rocks, or for prosperity or an add on. However Jet is really an ancient plant with mystical properties going back to europe. It is a type of fossilized coal from trees millions of years old which combined with water. Fossils such as ammonite are used for spirits of the dead and time passed as bone, so it is no wonder it is popular in folk spiritism.

They supposedly used jet during the inquisition to diagnose witchcraft. In the Victorian area it was used as funerary, mourning jewelry or rosaries. This was the time when spiritism became popular of the seances. Most jet comes from Britain and Turkey when sourced by the romans, and has been found as pre roman artifacts. A example of Roman-era jet jewelry on the British Isles was discovered in 1901 in the grave of a high-class mixed-race woman who lived in 4th century York.  This is the so-called “Ivory Bangle Lady” is named for the bracelet made of elephant ivory (probably North African) and Whitby jet (from the North of Yorkshire) found in her grave.  This woman embodies the mixing of cultures and traditions through empire and expansion that have taken place for centuries and millennia. Amber and Jet necklaces are worn by the high priest class in British traditional witchcraft.

Jet becomes magnetized with static when rubbed with silk like amber. It has many properties, the primary one being protection. it can absorb negative energies, and should be cleansed periodically with smudging and sunlight. Like all spiritual jewelry, if it breaks you should leave it where it falls if outside the home or outside. If it falls inside quickly scoop it into the garbage, dispose of this away from the home if possible after washing your hands. If you find african tradition seed bead necklaces such as some of the priests wear, chip crystal necklaces, evil eye, crosses, jewelry etc in a place, such as on a lawn, do not touch it, because it has broken some negative condition.

Protection, particularly against sickness and violence is an attribute of jet. It is also used for clairvoyance, and for the psychic, as it purifies the vibration of the information coming in. Jet is used to remove energetic attachments, particularly those from other people, and it sloughs away negative energies. This makes it a particularly good choice for assisting in clearing. Jet is a stone kind to people in difficulty and fear and has a very calming effect. Jet also eases anxiety and depression, calming anxious or fearful thinking.

Most jet is imitation, as it is becoming a rare stone. I was showed a trick from my Tata, that if you rub it on a piece of paper it should leave a black smudge if genuine.  This pendant is soft jet made with fresh water. Water is very important in the african traditions, and is of blessing of drinkable “sweet waters” such as of the river, slightly different than the hard jet with the removing bitterness of salt water.

Jet is related to saturn as it is black and related to earth, making this a grounding stone.

Peony is related to the moon, protects against magic, and spirits as well as positive aspects. It is an agent of exorcism, spiritual protection, stops misfortune, uncrosses and healing, and a success herb. The seed represents potential and has slightly different properties than flower or root.

These two planetary realms of the moon and saturn/earth are the closest to earth and what gives form and filters into manifestation, and therefore can protect against the earthbound, astral spirits and malevolent dead.

Stay safe and do your spiritual cleansings often!
Until next time,
Sancista Siete Encruzhiladas

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pennies from heaven: gifts from spirit

Feathers and pennies are a well known sign around the world as spirit communication and gifting. Usually there is more meaning attached around the circumstances, such as the date.

This is two of my most recent gifts acquired from spirits.

I gave service to my indian spirits we call in the spanish way indios, spirit guides, as well as I honor my native ancestry. An offering was given of cooked corn, a wineglass of water, beer, cigar, and a green candle. Prayers of protection were recited, along with ones of peace, and acknowledging the people’s struggles, strength and courage. We prayed for particular people that needed to be liberated from negativity in their life. We perceptible got the message that they had left through the cracked front door and spread out to complete our request, and that we were heard.

The next day as I took out the recycling out the back door, I saw a weathered $10 bill against the left side of the door by the wall. There is a bar beside us, a block away, but that is no matter if someone drunk coming come down the alley could not have dropped it under the influence of not only alcohol but spirits. We needed the money at the time for groceries in between paychecks, but we still bought the indios more corn to give thanks.

The second story is that I have been keeping a statue of St Lazarus on the floor of my white table, which is like a boveda ancestral altar but also includes spirit guides. He is on the left near the congo section that I share with my husband. I originally bought the statue to use for the Lwa Sobo and Bade, twin goat humans who rule over wind and rain, crops in terms of drought, priesthood, warriors, misfortune, disease and healing. The statue is used to represent them as the brown and white dogs, however other saints can also be used for them, such as St Roque but perhaps that stronger represents Papa Sobo of the pair.

But that was not to be. My one congo warrior spirit came out of need and ritual calling before I was initiated, and confirmed by my Padrino who was puzzled at the spirit's presence in my cuadro, which is your spiritual frame or entourage that you are generally born with. Since I am part of a house with several traditions, and my husband is a Palero, I am around the congo based tradition of Palo Mayombe frequently. The spirits know me and although I cannot work with their Mpungo, I have had my life path reading and follow up in which Kobayende is likely my father, who is like the other religions spirits of Omulu or Babalu aye, or Bade/Badgessy or Sakpata, Heviosso. However their similarities they do of course have differences. They are of varying degrees of aggressiveness. Kobayende or Kaviunga is king of the cemetery but not the underworld. Bade unfairly is blamed for diseases, etc, but is only a messenger of ancestors who are mispleased, and in partnership with his brother, whose name Sobo or Sogbo is similar to this yoruban concept of osogbo, the spirits of misfortune, but magick and healings are also called sogbos by him.

In my second reading I was told to put the bitter melon herb around him for healing, as I was suffering an illness at the time. I keep a basket of beans to him as an offering and for cleansing , in which dollar bills go for health and protection, on a purple crown royal bag, tied with a yellow ribbon. The saint colors are yellow and purple, and white is a cooling peaceful color. I have not made his covering yet, a purple and gold beaded cape, with burlap on the inside. St Lazarus and some of these spirits likes to be covered, such as straw hat which flows over the body. So I have just tied whim with a white bandana, and given offerings of white wine, etc and have consecrated the statue. Palo does not regularly use saints for the spirits, especially if more african based, but I am an outsider. It is for my congo spirit to work with who I call Damien as a nickname. Damien does not have a statue yet, as I have a picture in my mind, but he does have a congo spear replica as his place marker.

Kobayende can protect you against the dead and disease, which is important for me as a spiritist and a healer. 

You can see in the picture his statue cracked in my backpack around his feet as I travelled back from Florida, from visiting my godparents. One of Kaviunga's epitaphs is "he who moves the earth". As Sobo represents lightening, these twins are also associated with the Lwa Agaou of earthquakes. I superglued it when I got home about 6 months ago and prepared some items in the perfectly made cavity, but now I see it has come undone, perhaps from the cold?

One day I noticed that a dried herb which was on the bookshelf about 3 ft away was in the basket. I asked if my husband put it there and he sworn he had not. Oh well, I thought maybe the overhead fan or a draft from the front door moved it. The herb is a yellow flower top called everlasting life. It was intended to make an oil designed for necromancy, as life to the dead.

About a week later, my husband found a feather tied with the yellow ribbon in the basket. I had noticed already that the ribbon around the basket seemed to be missing, but thought maybe it had slipped or moved under the items, from being moved, as it is in an area we keep supplies under in a cramped space. He mentioned it to me, and I said, I did not do it.

The feather has some blood or dark sticky substance on it, and could have come from a sacrificed rooster, the cardboard box with the Palero’s tools is often used to transport to and from ritual place he is using, the feather could have come unattached from items being fed and then placed back in its place. We have bags of feathers for item construction such as from turkeys, roosters, guinea hen, and parrots, but none like this one. The feather is not “perfect” crafting quality, it is black or dark brown with a brown stripe, and none of the roosters used had that color marking as far as we could tell.

The knot on on the quill is tied in such a way that is very strange. A sort of doubled over slip knot, but tied so tight it cannot move. One section is shorter than the other but able to be tied into a necklace to slip over the head. We both have no detailed knowledge on ways of knot tying.

This is something I could not ignore. I have seen and experienced some crazy and physical, tangible spirit contact, but nothing so solid, lasting and “real”.

Because we routinely work with the dead, avoiding the bad ones in the house, this anomaly made me concerned. I do not want random dead in my house, so I asked my husband to consult his shells for me. Everything else in our life seemed to be ok. Kobayende did not do it, but he directed it to be done, likely using a disincarnated human, and I was to wear this feather at certain times.

I gave him a small offering in order to thank him and do some bibliomancy with my congo, and as a prayer offering. The page that came up was to give thanks for a special favor obtained. "I would be unworthy to attribute them to casualty of happening or to my own merit....and to make out of it something against benevolency". I also consulted the Allan Kardec book of selected prayers for a sick person and up came the passage; I am hope: "I play with the breeze.....words which will console them.....I am with you when you are poor and sick".

Do I dare see a face?
When things like this happen they are to be taken seriously, and a good rapport with your guiding spirits, as faith that they will help you, and to follow their advices for their effort, so we may continue to receive their blessings.

Blessings to all, light and clarity,
Benediciones, luz y claridad para usted.

Sancista Siete Encruzilhadas