Sunday, January 31, 2016

How to cleanse spirtually self before, after misa or tableau espirituale Part 4

The altar can be used for spiritually cleansing the self with florida water or smudged the self with incense, a cigar or sage, among other cleansings.  The cigar is placed lit end in mouth to jet smoke over a person, or waved over self, this can also be used with a fan.

 I also like to use the cross motion, as well as a back and forth motion dragged down to the ground. If the altar flowers or water glasses is used to cleanse the self it is not used further in a spiritual bath, or done instead into a bowl of bluing water on the ground. You can cross yourself with the flowers before setting them down which is a form of cleansing and bonding, or hold the food plate to your head lips and abdomen to add your energy. Cigar smoke can be blown over any offerings. Flowers can be crossed over the self or dragged lightly across the body and thrown in the river to also carry bad energies away from yourself.

A white egg can be kept on the altar or an altar to a spirit for at least 10 minutes, then passed over the body and rubbed like soap, pulled away from the body on heavy patches, and in a circular motion around and on areas of illness and the head. I do from the head down. This can be cracked in a spare clear glass of water and looked at for clues. This is a more South American or Mexican form of cleansing or limpia. The yolk should sink, it should not smell like the most awful smell ever. There should be no blood. These are all negative signs that more cleansing, divination and remedy is needed to make sure everything has been removed. If you just crack the egg white without the yolk in the glass it is more of a divination with or without a cleansing, more detailed information can be gleaned about many questions such as sources of injury and negative energy.  dot or circle can indicate the evil eye. I will then flush it down the toilet and throw some salt in afterwards and close the lid and say something like, "never to return".

A piece of bread can even be used, and rubbed and passed the same way, like soap. This is the thrown outside away from the house, where a messenger animal can possibly take care of it and help you as well. A handful of dry beans can be used, passed over the body for health, and thrown at hospital grounds, or a place such as the crossroads or the cemetery gate with an offering to the healing spirits.

A fire safe bowl such as a stone mortar or coconut shell can be used to cleanse using lit florida water which is extremely flammable. It can be passed carefully over a person, crossed or stepped over, as well as the same movement done with the perfume water cleansing with bluing/florida water. Using the fire bowl method I like to set my machete beside it to cut any attachments. Homemade florida water and rum or even everclear is not as flammable as the high proof alcohol base of lanman and murray brand florida water for this purpose. See video for passing movements used to cleanse self. Energy can be scooped off a person and tapped on the rim of a water glass to dispose of it. It is then dumped away from the home. When cleansing or healing another person it is wise to be cleansed first yourself, and then after your work is done.

 Fire cleanse:

 water glass:

You can kick a coconut through your front door through all rooms including any closets and out the back door if possible, then down the street. It is probably better as a non initiate to use a broom, and do not pick it up with your hands once you have dropped it. A broom represents cleanliness, is an extension of the user and moves energy, and can be used with prepared floor sweeps such as herbs or powders.

Coconut is white inside and is viewed as a pure substance inside. As it is white is represents purity, and is a food served to ancestors and represents peace.  The coconut can be used as a representation of a person's head, which is the microcosm that includes a persons spirits and universal conciousness. Coconut milk alone or in a spiritual bath can add clarity, or quiet down the head and decrease anxiety. Baths do not need to be rinsed off after your normal shower. Coconuts are often placed at front and/or back doors to collect bad energy so it does not enter the house. They can be set on the floor during misa to also collect any bad energy. A whole coconut can be used in various ways such as passing over the body, and can be set on fire after or down the street.

 Video of coconut cleansing:

Cleansing before espiritismo work and misa

I keep a clear glass or white bowl with water and laundry bluing on the floor central to the right for the indios and to repel any negative spirits. You can find this made by squares as reckitts, or laundry bluing liquids such as mrs stewarts, bluette or blue balls in a hoodoo supplier. Although if using to bathe, I recommend the laundry formulas as the other may include toxic metals. Sometimes I will add  different combinations of florida water, oils, petals, perfumes, holy water or cascarilla to it as well. I also like violeta or violet cologne sprayed on the white table or when a person is anxious or agitated by spirits. This is sold for perfuming babies after their bath in many botanica or hispanic stores and is very calming to spirits as well. There are many formulas and uses of spiritual colognes.

Here is a video i made how to do spiritual pass into the bowl of bluing usually kept on the floor in front to the side of a mesa blanca, or on a small table, etc or at the entrance for people before misa or working the white table and head wrapping. You do not have to do the shaking motion. The motion is third eye, over head on the back of neck arms crossed over front of neck down both arms to bowl.

 Another example:
These passes can also be done over running water in a sink in an emergency.

There are many recipes, webpages and books dedicated to making a spiritual bath. Rue and hyssop are also popular cleansing agents.

Psalms 51:7 - Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 I use essential oils as well as fresh bitter herbs. Lavender is popular for cleansing, coming from the french word to wash, lave. Dry herbs lack as much life plant spirit energy, but a bath tea or floor wash can be made and strained. They can be purchased, charged and prescribed from a practitioner who can make one for your more powerful with their energy and spirits and with better ingredients than commercially bought bottles. It is better to learn this skill from a godparent, to learn about plants and their spirits.  Pray over them, to your spirits, sing, or recite psalms. Save the other half for after your work, which you can cover with a white cloth. Make sure to concentrate on your work and keep your thoughts focused. Florida water can be used for both good and bad spirits so you will need to focus on purification and your prayers.  This is why some use Pompeya instead but I am partial to Florida water myself. Cascarilla, white ingredients are said to be one handed, or positive only for the most part.

There are certain principles and ways followed to apply and make them in different traditions, to different spirits and reasons. One such principle is not mixing the sweet with the bitter, or flower and fruit with leaf. Bitter herbs removing herbs do not mix with flowers or sweet ingredients like fruit or honey, but basil is sweet and blessing.

Once initiated or if very connected and not infested with negative dead, there are certain plants you do not want to put on the head such as espanta muerte or chasing the dead, known as false daisy as it may chase your main spirit guide away, if but for a time. As well as the popular road opening herb abre camino or road opener for new opportunities and proper communication should not be placed on the head after initiation as the spirits have been formally placed. The head must be properly refreshed and kept sweet for your spirits.

If you are unsure pour your bath's neck down with the bitter or feet to neck to increase with sweet, much like anointing a candle. Many of the baths can be used as floor wash for protection, money, love, a peaceful home, to attract certain spirit influences, or for many uses. Singing, praying and music helps break up unwanted energies and move in and charge the positive ones.A cycle of baths usually are to do a bitter, then sweet then the white sensitive bath for mediumship and clarity. One may be prescribed for you or your situation in a reading from a priest/ess if that is the appropriate remedy. Certain baths can be made under or with certain spirits of the practitioner. You will find that one spirit or guide will be very useful for constructing certain items such as oils or baths in your cuadro, which can be inspired and constructed via mediumship.

A bundle of fresh herbs with cleansing properties such as romerillo a type of daisy growing wild in florida, rue or rosemary etc, can be used as a broom to remove energy on a person or the floor, then burned after. This is useful at the end of misa, especially if there was any disruptive spirits. A bundle can be used to asperge perfumed waters.

Be very careful of used objects, such as antiques, auctions, used tarot cards etc,  sale of deceased persons belongings or thrift stores as they may contain other peoples energy or spirits. Do not buy haunted dolls, objects, or spirit dolls made by unpracticed individuals or noninitiates. At most of the best of times it will be an empty shell. Be aware of mirrors as they can be doors or enchanted. Even when buying carven artworks or statues discern if there is any attachments, and get help if it does not seem peaceable to find a pact or solution. Cleanse divinatory tools often with smudge of at least 3 herbs, or a cigar, or any items in question.

Simple Ancestral bath:

A simple ancestral bath to cleanse yourself, increase your communication with them
boost psychism with your spirits guides as well as protect you:

Clear bubbly water from your ancestor altar, replace water on altar immediately.
white rum,
cascarilla chalk,
florida water and you can add coconut water or coconut milk. 

I sometimes add one more item in here, but it is used for specific reasons not to be divulged.

The white items such as cascarilla is added to the water as it prevents negative spirits and is calming, you can add a few white flower petals if you have not also cleansed yourself with the flowers. 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, 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. In the beginning when there is too much spiritual contact or when people have been working with too many different systems and spirits, a straight coconut milk rinse can be used before bed. 

Some people put cascarilla powder on their sheets, and go as far to dress in white use white sheets towels and headwrap. Very calming. Cascarilla is a spiritual layer of protection, I have seen some practitioners use all over their face. We use it to mark susceptible people and children from intense or unwanted spirit influence, such as during misa or in the cemetery. It can be used as protections in many ways, such as crosses marked on the body, on the feet, the wrists, back of neck, abdomen or forehead. 

Cascarilla can be used for positive spirits to mark boundaries and symbols such as veves, although we have other specific mixes to use to draw them. We may keep a chunk of it on the altar (if you feel it does not muffle connection), or a bowl of crushed white eggshells. You can attempt to make your own out off a mix of finely ground white eggshells, white flour and water, holy water, florida water optional, and then dried after compacting in small paper condiment cups or wrapped tightly in saran wrap. If you buy it prepared you must pray over the chalk.

I do not recommend you use salt on your altar or around or even salt the food to your spirits as it repels the dead and can trap them. In an infestation it can be used as part of a floor sweep out the door and disposed out of the home. Ammonia or bleach can be used on the walls if there is a really bad problem, but can affect the paint. No good spiritist will work alone for larger spiritual problems, I recommend you get help if you have a persistent problem. Sage alone will not solve a serious problem. I recommend that all altars are taken down cleansed and reset. Bleach is used to cleanse the house and has a mundane and spiritual cleansing effect, as spirits can manipulate germ or virus to create disease.

An emergency spirit bath can be made with salt and lemons, scrubbing a cut lemon or lime halves over the body, until you can get help from a practiced individual. Citrus is acidic or has a cutting effect, such as in cooking with fats or richness. It is also a common household cleansing agent along with pine, a protective agent against the dead is to use pine tar on window sills, and a holy tree. You can buy hoodoo preparations of this or pine tar soap. these plants have helping spirits and properties, such as many herbs are shown to be antibacterial, and as natural remedies and medicines. There exists even dragons blood or florida water soaps. African black soap is also a nice protective agent and is sacred to Oshun.

Internally cleanses can be done, for good health or if one believes they have ingested something that an enemy has prepared or a negative spirit has gotten into, or affected the body or health. Coffee is a cleansing but also a cursing agent. In my tradition we have a dominican drink of the arawak speaking and Taino peoples called mamajuana. This is a rum based infusion of several roots and herbs, and offered to our Taino spirits. We prepare it specially, but commercial kits and bottles can be bought or imported. Some of the ingredients are known for cleansing the gut and liver area and is anticancer.

Cleansing is very important in Sanse, it is said to be a water tradition for many reasons. It is the number one way to deflect over 90 percent of negative spirits, energies, bad luck or curses and spiritual problems, especially in opening up yourself and dealing with spirits. If you are spiritually clean it repels negativity much more easily along with the help of your spirits. You should do these cleansings if you are around crime ridden areas, illness, jails, hospitals, death or cemeteries on occasion or as an occupation. There is no excuse for not doing it, it should be done frequently as a active spiritist, before and after misa,or working with especially unknown dead and cemetery work, for healing or energy work on people, and minimum once a week.

People who do dirty work aka destructive black magick need to do these cleansings before and after, which is not mentioned very often in spell books, who repeat each other and often leave out important information. People who do ill work unjustified to others will get spiritually dirty hands, and the proverb is “one hand cleanses the other” means being spiritually clean will be difficult for them, and lose some protections from their good spirits as we ignore their advices. That we help each other. We must have faith our spirits will protect us if well served and maintained and as we ask them, they might even go dole out their own justice for us. Cleansings and protection work is the best way, except for extreme cases in my opinion. Curses is not the tradition of Sanse or the religion of Ocha. 

Thankyou for stopping by,
Sancista Siete Encruzhiladas

Saturday, January 30, 2016

How to approach and open the tableau espirituale Part 3

When approaching the altar we knock on the door 3 times if in an enclosed room, but in my experience they like the family living room and to protect the front door.

To approach and open the altar:
Otherwise we make the sign of the cross with our right hand from our head drawn down our body to where our hand naturally falls then tap the left shoulder drawing our hand across our chest to touch the right shoulder.  Other christian sects go right to left. Then knock on the table 3 times with our arms crossed and knock with our middle knuckles. Some just knock 3 times with one hand or on the altar room door. Some touch the altar with their first two fingers to show respect with both hands.
 Ring the bell in the sign of the cross as a summoning for offerings or communication, or in notification before bed, when leaving the house, or on return for protection and acknowledgement. 

Light the candles which have been previously cleansed and anointed, and then give them a minute of silence before proceeding.
Some people kiss the two index or pointer and middle fingers on the right hand, touch the ground then point up to the sky. This acknowledges love to the ancestors from the ground to the most high god. Another variation is kiss touch heart and up to sky to just acknowledge god. This kiss and then pointing to the sky is sometimes done after crossing oneself in prayer. The middle knuckle and finger is the highest point of the hand and has significance spiritually, as does the right, “ good”, blessing, clean, hand. The spirits for the most part live in and come through a mirror, (sometimes literally as well) world to our own, so that is why we cross our arms in part to join them and join a same hand to same hand. Left to left etc in union when facing them. The higher spirits are also a mirror to us, the creole word miwa is a double meaning for look but also mirror, the looking glass, used in crossing the arms for the congo and Voudou salute. 

Use the concept of god first and address god in prayer in indigenous way or the our father and hail mary, some also do a glory be.

 You can use any prayer to call your good helpful ancestors, here is an example:
Call to ancestor prayer
In the name of the most high god I give this water and this candle to my ancestors (you can recite names, surnames or say known and unknown if you have no clue), the blood of my blood that they may receive light and progress. I offer this candle as a beacon of hope that all my ancestors should draw near. As my dead have been a light for me in my darkness may this be a light for them in theirs.

If you know the names of your spirit guides you can call them too here, or just say “good spirits of my spiritual frame I call you who manage and are responsible for my guidance, spiritual progress and elevation. I call you to be present to partake and communicate at this table".

You can use the bell and ring it for each ancestor and spirit guide called to give notice, and break up negative energy.

The cross is placed on the table when not active, but after the time of approach can be placed inside the main glass feet first, as the living or resurrected one.

You can then listen in silence or meditate to music, recite prayers, talk to your spirits and confide in them as if they were your friend standing beside you in life, do divinations or your cleansings as needed. I usually cleanse myself with florida water on approach first into a bowl of bluing water with a mixture of florida water, cascarilla and sometimes holy water. See the next part 4 where I talk more about cleansings.

With the glasses you can tap one and ask for guides and ancestor help on a matter or touch with your index  (pointer) and forefingers together (middle) with your request gives them a gentle poke or nudge.

I hope that this helps many people,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The boveda & The tableau espirituale: Part 2 How to set up the white table

What you will see at a misa, which translates from spanish to mean mass, in a folk seance, is:
 a simple clean white tablecloth on a small table covering the legs that touches the floor. On this table is usually placed a water glass (tap water only) with a metal crucifix inserted, white flowers and white candles along with Allan Kardec's book of selected prayers.

A very simple boveda ancestral altar at home, is like the misa table, which likely also contains pictures and items belonging to loved passed family members. In Sanse they can be a bit more elaborate as we add ours spirit guides, non bloodline dead and more correctly call it a tableau espirituale: a spiritual table.

While one cannot be instructed to hold a misa as a solitary or  untrained community, basic steps can be taken at a home practice.

The white table must be kept uncluttered and as absolutely clean as possible, the water refreshed at least once a week, and when they get cloudy or dirty, whenever flowers begin to wilt they are removed. The table cloth should be laundered at least once to twice a month, or when it begins to get dirty with wax and ash. Monday is the usual day to attend your altar, but as long as you remember once a week. It is not for people who cannot maintain this responsibility. It is a "golden door to the abyss" as I have read, and guidance is recommended, but if you can follow these guidelines you should be OK. Please read part 1 if you have not already.

It usually is kept in a front or a back room, avoid the bedroom as you want restful sleep, or place a screen in front of it as no business, loud conversations, or eating is done in front of it, nudity or sex. You can also cover it with a white sheet.

A closet is not ideal as it is unsafe to have clothing close to candles burning. It is good if you can have sunlight upon it and not in a dark forgotten place.

The table should not be used, it should be new or from a family member only. The table is cleansed mundanely, both sides and leg with soapy water, and then spiritually with a cologne or rum and smudge such as I use a cigar and florida water on the surface and under the table. A prayer of cleansing and consecration ie dedication is done over the table before the cloth is placed. You can make this up or use the prayer provided. You can bless the table with a gently water cleansed basil leaf bunch by dragging a cross upon the table. You can also mark the 4 corners in this manner if desired.

I wrote this prayer formula, but you can use one from another source which meets the criteria of cleansing and dedication of the altar to specified spirits:
I dedicate this altar to *(the most high god, el santismo), my good helping ancestors and my spiritual guides responsible for my spiritual elevation and progress to be a meeting place of power and peace. I call your names *( ….. or known and unknown) (ancestors who are a positive influence in my life, who guide yet support my choices, and guides known and unknown) to bless and guard this table and myself. I purify this table with (holy smoke of the messenger tobaku, and floral essence, the power of basil etc). I ask for your blessings. I honor, listen, and give thanks for your assistance, light and wisdom. Speak and guide me, I call you always.

*(can say great spirit, papa Bonnye as in my branch of voudou or Bon Dye, the congo: Nsambi, Papa Bon Dios, Toponderosa, father sky and mother earth, whoever you see as the ultimate divine source God and is your spiritual path)
*(list all known keep a book and ask your family members for history and research, you can call them when you do your ancestral prayer. You can keep a list of names or just surnames on the altar if you wish).

Originally the african ancestral altar as far as is remembered to be taught is a stick of the dead, called a palo de muerto, or baston de muerto in Sanse, egun (of the dead proper) stick or bakulu stick depending on african religion. You can get one prepared by an initiate, as they are usually sacrificed over in Palo or Santeria/Ocha/Lucumi. In Lucumi they also have a terracotta or clay roof tile that can be recieved as part of the egun. Sometimes a pile of rocks or a smooth ovoid river rock was used with or without the stick upon an earthen floor or outside where water or libations could be poured upon the ground and a boundary marked with cascarilla chalk.  This would be tapped 9 times on the earth to waken or notify the dead to get their attention. I know in Haiti they sometimes use a stone altar called a Pe along with a water glass. Since people started living in cities they would keep the staff in bathrooms, along with marigolds. The pipes were believed to lead into the earth, and so as well clogged pipes is to be avoided or cleansed as possibly malignant or stagnant energies of the dead. Some will dispose of the altar water outside upon the ground, but down the drain is personally acceptable to me as well.

Symbols of items, and other items which can be placed

The one water glass with cold tap water below the brim: All, spirit, god, the great spirit. Your ancestors will have to share this cup, until your spirit court and guides be investigated in a misa. You could use 3 cups one for maternal one for paternal ancestors and one for God and other spirits. Then you will dedicate the other number of cups to classes, commissions or specific cultural lines of dead that you have, including ancestors of past lives. You need to lift this cup up and dedicate it to "God", and all your good, helping ancestors, willing to support your life choices, and be a positive, healthy influence in your life. The cup must be dedicated, because it is a portal, a vessel like a body for them, and not for random spirits. The number of cups used besides the main one which is the largest usually, will depend on your tradition. We use 9 small and one big, as I was taught to count the glasses around the big one. The number may indicate a particular misterio such as an Orisha you or the group is under if practiced the Cuban way. You will use these other glasses for communication and when you know your spirit court.

The other cups can be placed in different patterns to indicate to the spirits your spiritual needs such as defense or elevation. The one cup or rest position is of peace and a normal defense. Water represents life, juxtaposed with the realm or sea of the dead, and the bubbles within as presence as spiritual gasses or fluids. The water purifies, cools them, and quenches their thirst. You may see the water drastically evaporate even not in the summer months as they drink. I will do a blog post on how to read the water glass and candles in an upcoming post. In this glass a sprig of basil, ceiba, mint, or rosemary or choice of fresh herb can be placed, but the water will likely need cleansing more frequently. The glass should be clear, round, with or without a stem, with no markings or etchings on it.

When the METAL crucifix is within it is the active or ON position when you are working or just need their added presence. You may otherwise place this beside or balanced on the top of the glass. It represents light, life, protection, the intersection of matter and spirit, the world tree and as the poto mitan, axis mundi or palo majeur as the dead come up the roots, the 4 directions or winds, an as an antennae for frequency.

The flowers are fresh and give life. Blessings are conveyed within the petals, if used before wilting in a spiritual bath. Yellow flowers may be acceptable, but preferably white. You can use these for cleansing, or cross them over your body before setting them down. If you cleanse yourself with the flowers or watercup, you should not use it for a spiritual bath later.

White candle: energy like the food which is given. Heat, warmth, elevation in terms of spiritual expansion and progress and light to help them see in darkness and guide their way to the table. It should be placed near the main water glass, and you may place more than one.

The food should also be dedicated to your ancestors welcome to the table or a specific dead. So no hungry random ghosts to eat at your table. Do not give them too much alcohol or food, once a week is enough. In the beginning you may feel candles or food are needed more frequently to help them elevate and progress to a steady place and relationship with you. People usually place this on the floor in front of the altar or on a chair beside. Food can be made the sign of the cross over your body before setting it down, or hold it up to your head or lips, heart then abdomen first.

You can give them tobacco if they smoked, make sure there is a lighter or matches, and you can light cigars, and blow it over food offerings or items to cleanse. Many keep a clean ashtray. You may give them money as a form of energetic currency they can use, which exponentially is worth more on the other side. You can spray the table with perfume, especially healing balms or as a calming influence such as with rose or violet. Florida water is used but you should be aware it can be two handed and manifest both good and bad thoughts ass well as being highly flammable. Pompeya lotion is a more positive and feminine cologne, but I prefer the smell of florida water. Holy water is often kept, but I have a secret procurement. This should not be bought, but can be obtained via donation at a catholic church font.

A bell with help to alert them and raise and break up stagnant energies, this is rung in a cross to open the table or just to notify and balance the energies with a participant under spiritual influence. I will address how to open and work the table next post.

A bowl of blue water is often kept on the floor in a white or clear bowl. This is tap water with laundry bluing such as liquid mrs stewarts brand, bluette, reckitts squares or hoodoo blueballs. Added to this is what suits your psychic fancy at the time, usually a cologne. You can also add white flower petals, cascarilla, holy water, essential oils. Cascarilla represents the white clay layer in Africa representing ancestors, also called efun or pemba. This clean good smelling bowl repels negative dead spirits which rise from the floor. Sometimes a candle is placed therein, as it is protected and designated for good spirits.This bowl of water is often prepared before misa for cleansing participants, or for spiritually cleansing yourself, which you should do in some manner at least once a week on approach.

Do not approach the altar when in a bad mood or swear in front of it as they are a mirror for us, and will attract like spirits and color their manifestations. You can of course confide in them your difficulties and speak as they were there as in life, ask for help, clarity and guidance.

A divinatory item which is cleansed frequently can be used here. This is not used as a crutch but as an addition to mediumship, felt often in the body or other "psychic" senses.

Jewelry you intend to wear, to have their influence upon it as a charged protection such as a cross necklace, evil eye or hamsa, azabache etc

Sharing the altar is only recommended in a family situation or when a couple is good as or married. There must be kept flowers to divide the two sides , along with other items such as the tools in the middle and both responsible for maintaining their side as well as refreshing the table or it will provoke fights in the house. The feeling on the table should be one of peace.

Things NOT to put on it:
Dark colors: black and brown are associated with the more earthbound malevolent dead. Some people also have taboo against red due to the hot or aggressive nature it implies. Keep mostly everything white. Some gold preferably or silver is also acceptable. Try to dress in loose white clothing with shoes off or at least a white shirt when approaching.
Dead or dried flowers
Do not leave food more than 24 hours, drinks can stay a bit longer
Do not give rotten food or anything you would not personally eat, unless it is a type of food preference a specific family member ate in life that you just do not like.
Salt: personal opinion is that it repels dead, or keeps their vibrations lower "trap" unless used for infestation in a house, do not worry about occurring  sodium in products but do not add more to food.
Do not place spellwork here, or anything of negative witchcraft or sorcery as it will impede their and your spiritual progress, being linked. The ancestors are not used for this. You can write petitions or on a novena candle for blessings.
Anyone living lest they join the dead early
Anyone dead known to cause you problems in life, who was/is troubled, including victims of violence and suicides, as well as quasi intentional drug overdoses. These cases should be handled with guidance and investigated by someone who is trained to navigate the situation.
Anyone who has not been dead longer than a year. Usually the guideline is to give them their spiritual sendoff and elevation, then give a period of rest.
Cages: I know this sounds funny but I saw someone untrained do it because they thought the closed birdcage looked pretty. This goes against liberation and progress principles as a symbol.
Anything that does not serve a specific function or need to be there, purer, cleaner, simpler the better
NO gods, no loases/Lwa Orisha, no Ghede, no saints or too many religious items. The religious items used have a metaphoric or dual purpose, and not all your ancestors or dead were christian going back to the beginning of the human race. IF saints are used we only use very specific ones as a principle of light or for very specific reasons such as St Claire or saints coded as a representation of the centinela, the main spirit guide. A rosary, a bible usually placed face down is OK, as they can be dedicated to a specific family member, or such as I have a spirit guided who is a nun who takes these, and are used in ceremony or as a symbol of prayer. Prayer books are OK.
Clutter: simple and clean as possible will promote clarity.
An initiated Sancista will also place around their spirit guides and paraphernalia with the other water glasses, although one who is only an espiritista will generally keep the dolls or statues separate as in the Cuban way. The Cuban way also keeps separate any dead who is not of your immediate bloodline, but in Sanse we allow passed friends, or other personal venerated dead such as passed spiritual teachers to be placed in a specific organizational method.

We will often pin 9 different colored panuelos, bandanas or cloths to the front edge, as the number and spectrum of classes of the dead spirit guides we acknowledge.

You may also see a monstrance, which can be of several designs, representing the sun or light, catholic transmutation of spiritual alchemy or enlightened flesh. Mine has a cup, the bread wafer Eucharist light/earth/body descending into it, and a solar halo around it, and is golden in color. The monstrance is not necessary. Some do not add a cross but critics say there will be a lack of light.

If there are any questions or if I have left anything out please comment or send me a message.

Next blog posts Part 3: How to approach or open and basic guide to work the altar
Part 4 How to read the water glass and novena candle
Part 5 How to do a basic ancestor bath to connect to them and spiritual cleansing

Monday, January 25, 2016

The spirit guides & commissions

Spirit guides are discovered usually in person through seance sessions or folk spiritist misa or misa investigation with several experienced mediums. One can at times see a guide standing next to a person, or be able to communicate with them using cards to start to look into your spirit court, called a cuadro in spanish or your spiritual frame energetic makeup. This can take some time to shape up, but the main ones should come across first or as directed by your main spirit guide, called the centinela or guardian. This spirit is the gatekeeper and boss of the rest of your court. This is not the guardian angel that is the title we use for a person's head spirit higher misterio such as a Lwa. We can have negative or positive links to spirits called cadenas or chains. Spirit guides are contracted to help us for their own elevation and are elevated spirits free from the need to incarnate. We may have past lives links to them, but they are most not likely ancestors, but may have ancestral connections. Spirit lines and court are not by your current race, but this may also be reflected in some of your spirits.

The spirit guides are not angels. They are not folk saints, or anyone who died that you knew in life.
 You may have some idea of who they are, but the way to work this tradition is to be open minded about how you are read, or you can be wrong about the spirits who are your main guides. Not everyone will have a certain class of spirits or commission, and the spirits can be in more than one class but will settle or identify where they want to be identified or placed, such as if they are mixed occupations or races. For example you may think you have a madama spirit, but maybe she really is a conga. Do not be overly attached to the spirits you think or want to have, because it will make you strongest to work your spiritual frame which can be weakened by not working on this relationship. They are all individual dead humans and people will not have the same one. We say that there are 21 commissions of spirits as it is an important number, along with 3,7 and 9 in the diaspora. But really there are infinite types and courts of spirits, but these are the most common in puerto rican espiritismo.

1) Shamans, brujos/witches, herb workers/curanderos/conjurerers, spirit and spiritual workers
A broad category which can encompass many cultures, usually denotes an indigenous knowledge such as the indian or indios from several tribes, but not always. The spiritualists. Responsible for mediumship, herbal knowledge and healing, visions, dreams, omens, magic.

2) Gypsy commission: Romani people, gyspy jews, spanish gypsy, eastern european. Gypsies travel around a lot and may be any number of nationality therefore. Known for assisting card readers, divination such as skrying or palm reading, dance, music, flirtation and glamour. Have their own systems of folk magic. May have interest in horse training as they had caravans.

3) Madamas: known incorrectly as one being La madama, these were the house caretakers and mammies who took care of the children, and were house servants or slaves. They could be cooks, or have indigenous knowledge of herbs for healing when the family was sick. They may still practice their african religion in the forest at night. They range from a mixed creole to very black color, but technically a caucasian spirit can still be a madama. A male madamo can be a butler, stable keeper, garden or groundskeeper etc. This is a very popular commission and I will do a separate entry about them at another time. Again not everyone has one and they do not belong to Santeria or Hoodoo. Can have public or partial names such as Negra Thomasa or Negro Jose.

Taken from the occult consultancy blog

4) Pirates and Mariners, Sailors, Vikings, Fisherman, Buccaneers. Pirates and Vikings are very aggressive for the most part and may include criminal behavior. I have heard of one wild west outlaw identify as a land pirate. May identify with or served under famous names. Can be like robin hood figures or freedom fighters. Associated with the mysteries of the seas, lost souls and abundance.

5) Indians, Native Americans, Caribbean indigenous, South American Indigenous, First Nations Tribes, Aboriginal. Chiefs and Chieftess
Puerto Rican Taino Tribe and Arawak speaking peoples are very important here. Local spirits of the land where you are born or live. Usually referring to pre-columbian people in the new world. Patience, peace, warfare, justice, knowledge of their ways, tracking or searching. Work with animals, plants such as tobacco.

6) Orientals and Asians
Chinese, Japanese, etc Samurai, Buddhists, Shinto, Daoists, Tibetans, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal tea and energy workers, meditation, i-ching divination, Mathematics, Astrology, Martial arts. Generally happy and peace loving good for luck, money and business, love. Love citrus oranges type fruits.

7) Arabians
Work with Djinn, Astrology, Mathematics, elementals, ceremonial magic, Muslims, Persians, Middle eastern philosophy. They work oil lamps.

8) Medicas, Doctors, Leaf doctors, curanderos, Healers, Nurses, Paramedics, surgeons, Herbal teas, cures. May include faith healers, nuns, knights hospitalliers, midwives

9) Congos, Palero/as, Myomberos, Angolan Sorcerors or witches, royal Lisa heritage and/or slaves. Went to many areas in the new world such as Hispanola or Brazil. Pa Jose, Pa and Ma Francisco and Francisca, but they may also fit in africana commision. Francisca does not like to work without her husband kept by her side. A Madama may be a congo, but not every congo is a madama. They work necromancy, black magick and breaking negative conditions, protections, healing. They love to work and can be very loud and firey, thus easy to hear like the madamas.

10) Saints, Santos
More common if you are Catholic and this can be named in confirmation, or practice modern Hoodoo, but not necessarily. The are canonized elevated dead. Some see saints on the level of Lwa, and keep them on the divisional table instead. They may also be folk saints, which depending on their tradition, energy makeup (example the dead San Simon or Santisma Muerte) and request may be kept on the ground or on a separate place on their own. They belong to another culture other than Sanse or Puerto Rico but can come through spiritism. (Example Venezuelan Jose Gregorio Hernandez The Doctor is more of a Medica). The saints can be contacted by anybody but the relationship differs to you as a personal spirit. They may be associated with a birth date or occupation.

11) Hindu
Vedic, may practice Hinduism and be polytheist and have their own religion and these gods.

12) Angels
Same relationship as saint. Many are confused as angels and saints can be used as the face or cover for other spirits. And people may think they have or work with these other indigenous spirits but using the saint or angel image are actually just working with the saint or angel, or a random dead who takes the function or deceives. Catholic voudouisants will honor the guardian angels on their feast dates.

13) Slaves, Esclavos
Negro Felipe, Negro Jose can possibly fit in this category.
They identify more with their capture or abuse and struggle and can be freedom fighters and liberators or chain evil. They represent courage, patience, and the ability to overcome obstacles and sacrifice.They can come across aggressive, at least at first. They can be any race.

14) Children or infants
May have died at a young age. May have adult intelligence. They may like parent figures and can be mischievous but also protective. Work with higher misteries like nino de atocha, Legba, Marassa, nino divino, the promised sun child. When people have children spirits they seem to have more than one or can attract other playmates.

15) Anima Solas
Lonely earthbound or purgatorial souls, can be good, neutral or evil. Need to be assisted and elevated. Useful or necessary. Juan minero, trapped miners, tommy knockers. Desperate and willing to do anything. Usually given nothing more than water and candles to help them with light and quench their suffering and thirst, while purifying and cleansing. They may have to be dealt with separately than your white table in the beginning. They can be cooled with glasses of ice, and holy water.

16) Liberators and Freedom fighters
Military, Militia, Academics, people who took a stand. Founding fathers, justice, fight for rights and against false imprisonment such as good judges, pro bono lawyers or liberate from disease.

17) Vagabonds and Bohemians
Writers,scribes, musicians, artists, librarians, teachers, poets, free spirits, hippies. Can help with inspiration.

18) Heroes and Leaders
Cultural heroes, folk lore legendary myths and heroes. Military figures, may be famous or historical figures or tied to past events. Aid in battle, courage, justice, liberation. Lead movements or spiritual groups.

19) Africanas
West africans, voudouisants, houngans, mambos, papa boko and mama mambos. Yorubans who work with Orisha and Ifa or lucumi, santero/as and babalwo. A general category which does not include congo for the most part. They may show characteristic or use the same colors of their misterios they worked with still as in life.

20) Elementals
We view them as earth and land spirits, indigenous, under Baron Samedi, ceremonial magic, the fae, can be either gender, genderless or have different vast forms. They are associated with the 4 winds, 4 directions or corners or coasts of a place or a map and the cross.

21) Juans and Marias, a varied commision. Tobacco workers such as Juan del Tobacco, and can work for court cases. A very general list as slaves were given christian names. Juan Indio, Juan Negro cross many commissions. They are teachers who kept secret their lineages and cultural ways. I have not had much contact with them but some may be creole part spaniards and like crossroads spirits.

Another common commission are the priests, monks and nuns monejas
They help with mystic christianity, revelation, prophecy, prayer, protection, cleansing and working with the bible. They are usually though not always more european based or spanish.They are stern, spartan, watchful, and do not work "pagan ways", but can be more open minded than you would think.They may be difficult to placate or try to block your other spirits, and usually must give them rosaries and/or a bible, holy water.

Spanish spirits such as the Hispanola line are seen sometimes as flamenco dancers. Many confuse these with gypsies.

Each commission and individual has their own color combination such as the candle or bandana used, or may wear the color of a higher spirit they serve as emmisaries or messangers and priest/esses.
Each commission has general offerings they like in common, but as they are individual dead humans they will direct you to the items they want that they like or need to work for you.

A water glass on the boveda is dedicated to them, or one is placed nearby for them. Some may sit on the white table, other on either side, usually the congos to the left, and indios to the right are kept seperate. Some such as the madamas and africanas may desire a wicker or branch chair to sit on beside the table. Food is usually placed on the floor or on these chairs. As discussed in setting up the ancestral altar, the Cubans keep a seperate tableau espiritual for the guides than the ancestors.

We do not venerate to pray to the guides. There are prayers and songs but these are used for evocation and for asking for protection and guidance. They are respected and given honor but not worshipped. We can ask them to pray for us and pray to higher spirits or god for their elevation and assistance. Other people can give thanks to your spirits such as in your household but not on a continued basis as they have their own guides to pay attention to that will better benefit them.

Their dolls or statues are prepared as the spirit desires. For example La madama may want a cloth doll or a particular ceramic statue prepared. An indian may want a ceramic statue or carved from wood. They are packed with secret recipe mysteries or small pot beside them. Their desires are made known through spiritualism and sessions. A connection is forged by in the relationship working with them and in the crowning ceremony in espiritismo.

Most of this information comes from my godparents teachings and personal experiences. However the public list of commission builds on the list from Sancista Brujo Luis blog, even though our Sance has slighty different rama which you will find house to house.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The dead can feed off the living

Recently I have seen some pretty irresponsible "blood magic" in which individuals give their own blood to various spirits such as the random dead.

In one of these public cases their apprentice suffered organ failure and left as one of the reasons. In another case the person practicing hoodoo and supposedly Haitian family Voudou lineage doesn't believe that the dead can decrease your life force, but published conversations with their neopagan friend stating how they are an energy vampire feeding off others, and church functions. As well this person who works with the general dead had situations where a spirit held down their husband in bed. In another case, a well practiced individual does this responsibly with Goetic spirits and has a way to seal this connection off involved in contracts. So what is the mechanism for attack besides a malevolent dead slapping, tripping or scratching a person directly or just influencing their mind? If we believe a living human can take others energy why cannot the disincarnate.

It is generally well documented how ghosts can physically manifest and attack the living. Rarely deaths are attributed besides manipulating the victim. Some people claim they have white hairs at a young age from ghost fright. It is also a widely held belief that ghosts can feed off of negative energy or emotions and thus provoke fear in the individual. It has been evident that ghosts can use electrical equipment, or batteries as a power source to grow stronger and use this energy to manifest or communicate. So the dead can also use neutral or positive forms of energy such as a candle, or an excited crowd at the stadium.

While this post is not about blood offering, animals are given in african traditions and I have never seen or heard of people otherwise using their own blood. I have seen a video of a man who sung to a chicken in West Africa and it died as the spirit was taken. Personally I know that there is a song sung in Palo for the spirits to come and take the rooster without having to cut it in sacrifice over the nganga spiritual cauldren, also called a prenda. Pets that inadvertently touch it have been known to occasionally die. This is a taking of life and thus life force.When blood or food is offered to spirits, they eat the energy of it, not physically unless in physical mediumship of the body of the practitioner, but I have seen water glasses appear as if they have been drank from. The community then may eat the animal that was sacrificed if it has not been used for cleansing a person.The spirit does not necessarily drink blood like water, but the life energy on it, such as bringing life to or raising the dead.

Voudou is not for cursing as it is a religion of light, but there does exist an african practice of what can be considered folk magic of sending out the dead: known as envoi mort, expidition expedite to the Haitians. This can be done for any number of reasons both positive such as healing, somewhat neutral such as information gathering or negative. This is usually done under one of the Barons of the ghede, the more congo sorcery based Bokor traditions, the nfumbe in Palo or working with the anima sola or intraquil dead.

Taken from the bohemian blog

Oya/Yansa with Chango

As afro spiritualism such as Espiritismo combines the foundation of Kardecian euro spiritism, there are shared philosophies. It is believed that the soul can seperate from the personality. The spirit if earthbound is desperate and needs an energy source to maintain itself or face dissolution, and is unlikely to receive veneration. The energy field or peri-spirit envelope of the medium is used or some borrowed or siphoned by the dead to better come through and be able to communicate made up of spiritual fluids from the universal fluids of which the ghost and incarnate is made up from. Mediumship can be an exhaustive practice such as very active dreams or physical trance mediumship aka"possession". There is a saying of 3 drops of blood, that some of your life is taken by this practice. Healing hand passes also work on the principle of magnetism and adding or removing energy on ones body.

 Marefun Shango

Some people, especially physically active projective men have an abundance of virile magical life force or what they call in the Yoruban traditions "ashe" and may not notice this slow drain or as it becomes replaced or as some have an energy work practice of a way of storing and raising it in their spiritual bodies. Keeping the central channel strong, clean and centered or balanced also affords one some protection, as part of many cultures energy practices. The young, elderly, household animals or sick are thus more vulnerable.This could be partially why there are some taboos against working with certain spirits while woman are menstruating as the blood is attractive, a ready source, and prolonged bleeding or pain can result.

When one is said to have a spirit attachment what then is the mechanism of attack? Ill health is said to result from attacks such as diagnosable or especially undiagnosed or unimproved medical conditions as the underlying problem. The teeth have to be properly cared for, such as using good oral health care and coconut pulling to prevent this opening via cavities and gum bleeding. The teeth are symbolic as a mechanism of defense, and the ability of an organism to take in sustenance, feeding or nutrition for life. Any conditions such as mental problems can result or be aggravated impacting daily life.

The intestines or gallbladder and liver area may show signs of attack. The visceral organs of sacrificed animals were removed and divined as a seat of spirit after sacrifice by the Babylonians, Grecoromans, and Britons by reading the messages, energies and conditions. The Chinese also view this as an area symptomatic of spiritual attack. It is known to the Vedics as the solar plexus and point of distribution of life and spiritual energy. The Nahuatl in MesoAmerica view this energy as solar and linked to the parts of the soul, temperature and heat, life force in the blood, disease, aging and death called tonalli which resides and is divided into several areas of the body, such as the crown of the head, the heart and blood, the liver, and every living thing as well as ritual objects. Nicholas Frisvold on his blog serpent shed states, "and ihiyotl, the life force, resides in the liver, and is very much the province of La Negra", referring to an aspect of La Santisma Muerte. As the victim loses the ability to sustain themself, they lose energy, are lethargic, and further lose the ability to defend themself if the disease state and vampirism progresses. It can be difficult, especially for the lay person to remove a serious spiritual attachment.

The "aura" or energy shield around a person can indicate vitality, energy type and health of a person by those who have clairvoyance or the sight. It can be developed and strong, or weak. We actually have layers of energy bodies, but most people have heard of the astral body or dream body. This moon area is corresponded to the genital area. Although the dead are not strictly astral, some of them can hang out in the lower realm of it. Some cultures do associate the moon with the dead, as it is the heavenly representation at night, the opposite of life; the sun by day.

Sleep paralysis might just be part of a abnormal process of the sleep state. However many report presence of an entity or entities or implied malevolent spiritual source such as shadow people. This has been mythologically associated with succubus and incubus or witches sitting on the chest. It is viewed as spiritual attack and domination. The spirits can also feed off of sexual energy. Poltergeist activity is enhanced around sensitive people, repressed negativity, and teenagers when their hormones and sexual energy is potent and they are still relatively open and undeveloped. Life and life force is undeniably linked to sexual energy. The shape-shifting astral or dream attack can be symbolized as a bat, a vampiric, night flying creature. Some may say, these are not necessarily living or dead humans, but there is little spiritual difference. The dead can change their appearance at will. What some call demons are just different classes of spirits, including the dead who are misunderstood or angry, appearing and acting daemonic.

Some people have felt cold or hot energy spots or chills in the environment, and attribute this commonly to presence of the dead. Spirits actually show up as hot spots using heat readings of ghost hunting equipment. Like when you put on your jacket too long before going out in the winter, or coming out of a hot shower, the surrounding temperature feels colder than it is. The ghosts draw off energy and it feels cold as you lose energy like condensation of water of the outside of a cold glass in warmer ambient temperature like swamp coolers. When you feel hot or agitated the spirit is actually even more very close to you and overlapping your energy fluids and body.

When there is ritual tattoo, scarification or cutting, it impacts the spiritual body as a marking. There needs to be an opening or a carving or hollowing out of a space for something to be placed within. And such is also true on crowning or when the head is opened and then closed for spirit placement in initiations. The Yorubans have this Orisha and concept of the head and consciousness as Ori as a seat of luck and guidance, also connected to divination of the kola nut Obi. Later some people changed this to the coconut shell rounds instead.

By creating an open wound or cut upon the body, and then inviting and opening oneself up to the malevolent dead, disastrous consequences can result. Some people want to give their blood to their ancestors, but are often not informed to cleanse and dedicate the space to only the good elevated ones. Connecting to the ancestors I suppose can be done someway with blood safely, but as a continual practice of offering, I personally feel it is inappropriate. There needs to be a trained way to close the door to the random unelevated dead, and their access to you. Banishing pentagrams are seen as an astral practice as I was taught in ceremonial magick, and thus ineffective against the dead.

Malevolent dead can masquerade as other spirits, and even advanced mediums can be wrong. Giving your own blood to spirits is a European idea in terms of pacts, and would as offerings also historically sacrifice animals. Human blood is not given to the Lwa in Voudou, or our spiritually evolved disincarnate spirit guides in spiritualism or Espiritismo, such as La madama commission group of spirits. Traditions where this was possibly practiced in the past have now taken vows against this or evolved to now take animals or plant substances as sacrifice. I cannot speak for Palo Mayombe, but if this is done it is likely the very very extremely minuscule small minority, such as sporadically seen in South America with drug lords and not a standard practice. Like dogs that have to be put down once they have killed and tasted human blood uncommanded, why do you want to look like a tasty cheeseburger to the spirits? We bear responsibility to our spirits as well as ourself for elevation. In spiritualism we believe negative spirits are suffering and need charity and compassion as well as a firm hand and personal boundaries.

Intranquil dead, anima solas"lonely souls", zombie astral, or earthbound spirits can be increasingly demanding and cause harm to you and people around you, and working with them at all is very dangerous unless you are highly trained to work with them. They are the dead who likely died in violence or suicide, or cannot move on due to perceived wrongs or willful placement. Most highly trained people who do this will not do this work in their home lest they become a haunted person or have items or their house contaminated. Novices who dabble in such dirty work or neopagan authors who put out superficial information do not even know or teach how to cleanse themselves or teach safety about the cemetery or necromancy for prevention around these acts. Being baptised or initiated in these african traditions, and having the head sealed and connected to higher spirits affords us a measure of protection, or an understanding with the dead. We still take precautions and have our good spirits as protection. Some people are born or have anima solas in their spiritual court or frame that aren't necessarily evil, but they must be assisted and dealt with.

Note: I am not a Palera nor an initiate in the Lucumi faiths, I am trying to illustrate the spiritualist viewpoint, specifically afro spiritualism of Espiritismo and Sanse using my interpretations of these cultural expressions, so please ask a priest/ess in those aforementioned traditions for more religion specific questions or clarifications.

Until next time,