Thursday, March 17, 2016

White ritual clothing, coconuts and cascarilla in the diaspora

Ritual Clothes

We dress in white at ceremony, or at least a white shirt and avoid brown or black. Sometimes the godparents will indicate a different color combination is acceptable, depending on spirits worked with at the voudou services. 

Bring your own white head wrap. head wraps are your responsibility: a cut pillow case, sheet or tshirt is not that hard to acquire which should cover your head completely. Do not share hats or head wraps because with the magical principle of contamination or sympathetic magic upon your luck and conciousness. Some people even bring their own hair combs to the hairdresser.  This seat of conciousness, or the concept of the head is the whole person and conciousness known to the Yorubans as Ori: the seat of luck and guidance. The head wrap filters energies and discourages but does not prevent possession, more so tying the waist with a white wrap which may be marked with white cascarilla chalk, and from other people's who are present energy. 

Wear white: no excuses as a godchild, initiate, or after you have attended a few misas it will be seen as disrespectful if you do not. Some people will refuse you entrance regardless. Brown and black are denser, earthen, heavy colors of vibrations, so lower unevolved spirits and earthbound entities match this as well as rogue elementals. Associated more with malevolent and violent spirits, and criminal elements as well as black magick. Black is not evil per se, but a color of restriction, blockages and resistance as per the planetary vibrations of saturn, or binah and the heavy metal of lead. Black is an absorbing and attracting color that can trap energy and attachments, whereas white is a reflective higher vibration of light, purity and spirit source, as well as the color of good ancestors. Think of wearing black on a hot day, versus being blinded by snow. 

Like attracts like, and gothic images, skulls etc, can attract darker, random, or more vampiric entities. Take a shower at minimum before you come, it is a good idea to do your own spiritual bath before and save half for after as do the espiritistas and sancistas hosting the misa. Be responsible for the energies you bring.

Neophytes, or witchy newcomers may think that black makes them feel oh so magickal and spooky, when really it is the color of the beginner from ceremonial magic which created wicca. It is the robe color of tau/tav theta T as the robe looks like a looped ankh or a T cross as was the original cross, which is of the darkest earth and lower astral of the lowest initiatory degree of the earth grade in term of planetary ascendance. Depending on degree or function. if organized and in these black lodges, they will were red, white or other colored robes. The druids highest order wore white, as does the "hidden ascended masters" of Mathers. This is only to explain to the western audience. This symbolized darkness and ignorance, as well as the physical body. The sign of Osirus slain, sun set. It is also associated with the tarot card the world which leads to the lunar sphere of the 32nd path on the tree of life which we travel in magic, dreams and death as we are loosened from our physical container.

 the judaic symbol of earth malkuth of which the black section leads to the dark roots of madness the qlippoth, evil tree of death. The other three sections lead to the higher planetary realms of our universe 3 rays of light to the white sphere of limitless godhead keter.

To help the spirits influence, do not wear tight clothing, or belts. Shoes are often taken off so the soles of the feet are upon the ground, or loosened, as rubber soles have an insulating effect.
Photo taken from national geographic in Haiti

Brazilian Candomble practioners, photo taken from brasse travel

It is traditional for women to wear long white skirts during initiation and as practitioners. You must wear white pants or leggings underneath. The dress code is modesty: no cleavage, belly or butts hanging out. White shirts are long sleeve or covering the shoulders completely. They can be simple white tshirts. I have found it comfortable especially during the week of initiation to wear white sports bras underneath. We wear white for a week during the Sanse initiation, but this time frame may take longer as when they pass the first espiritista ceremonies. It is also recommended to buy a white towel, and if possible white sheets and pillow case. Some of these clothes are ruined during the week of Sanse initiation so it is recommended that you save your nicer ruffled skirts for later. I recommend that women wear white skirts and men white pants during initation. But I do not mind personally if women wear white  cotton pants or men want to wear skirts at most services, even if it is not traditional. Some sects of Ocha make the new initiate wear white for an entire year. Our espiritista ceremonies take a minimum of 3 to 4 days depending on the candidate, may take longer if there are other issues present. You will want enough clothing to keep clean and comfortable for that time.

The coconut 

 The inside of a coconut is white and represents purity and the head, as it falls from the top of the tree. Coconut water or milk refreshes the head for better or purer contact with good spirits, as does the concept of head sweetening and certain spiritual baths. This area is also one of the parts of the body protected if one goes into the cemetary. Some people when they drive by will even do a prayer and put their hand flat on the top of the head as a hat or closed door: keep out! Coconuts are often used in cleansings or a spiritual barrier at entrances to the home, or as an energy filter in ritual, then kicked down the street or back door. The coconut is used to represent Obi, an Orisha in Lucumi faiths. Obatala is also associated with the head and the color white.
Cascarilla spiritual chalk

White is the color also associated with the ancestral dead, the dead such as bones, the spirit, spiritual light, clarity, peace and purity. The ghede will chalk or ash their face, supposedly in part as protection from the sun.

Warding agents such as camphor or cascarilla eggshell chalk also called efun or pemba may be present. Efun was originally a white clay layer in the earth of Africa. The chalk is made now of white flour binding agent and ground white eggshells and water, but may have other additives if homemade, or commercially by botanicas such as with florida water. Some make it with ground snail shell in the spiral cylinders. This chalk can be used as powder. White generally is viewed as having positive use, although cascarilla is a spiritual layer against both positive and negative energies, such as intense contact.

The chalk is used as a protective barrier at times as well by chalking the face in spiritual battle, or marking crosses on wrists, bottom of the feet, forehead etc on energy centers, where energy tends to accumulate and spirits pull or enter. The chalk is also for marking positive barriers and sigils or rarely veves for the Lwa. Although ground corn meal, white flour and other substances are usually the powder traditionally used to draw veve. I will use it more in espiritismo for making crosses, marking coconuts and barriers in terms of symbol making.

A congo symbol taken from blog amoretmortem, although these invoking symbols can be used for good or bad

Cascarilla is a positive agent only, as some tools can be two handed, meaning can call or work both positive and negative in magic or spirit. For example florida or kanaga water or lotion cologne, coffee, charcoal and brick dust is said to be two handed. White ash on a cigar is a clean positive sign in reading cigars, whereas black burning and chunks falling off is negative energy. Likewise we will usually use white rum. But I prefer dark spiced or flavored rum to drink mix :)

 Baby powder, flour and cascarilla is generally seen as positive and white in color. For that reason cascarilla is made with only white egg shells. It is nice to keep a dish of ground white egg shells or cascarilla on the altar. As well it can be added along with choice of perfume such as hyssop to spiritual baths or to the bluing water bowl on the floor in front of the white table, or used to cleanse misa attendees and/or yourself at your boveda.

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