Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Where & How do the Lwa appear?

Where do they live and where do they come from?

Where do the Lwa live? Do they all live under the sea in Vilokan with met Agwe? I asked my Padrino. It seemed to be related to Afrique Ginen, the mystical homeland across the waters where the ancestors live, since the rada or elder Lwa are referred to as Ginen, the original west African Lwa from where Voudou originated.
Non, they come down from the sky, they live everywhere and in everything. He answered

This made sense to me from the animistic perspective, and as the Lwa are real beings, but also personified natural forces. Some have domain of the rivers, the others the ocean, the cemetary, the forest, the crossroads, the wind, thunder and lightening, some may find homes inside a stone.

You may see them in your dreams, they may appear african, or as the saint face. You may see them briefly as the corner of your eye. You may go to a ritual and see them communicate through their horses. You may see them manifested in the causal environment through natural forces, media, symbols, synchronicity or appearance of animals such as an uncanny timed specific colored butterfly or a specific type of dog. You may see them in waterglasses or candlewax.

What do they look like?

Ah that is why they are mystery. Do they truely look like the saint? no. Do they look like a normal human? no. Do they look like a snake? sometimes. Do all simbi, snake spirits look like a snake? no. They can look like very human animals such as the Lwa Sobo and Bade who can look like giant goats.

What do natural or cosmic force creational force look like? Although I do not believe that Voudou can be approached through ceremonial magick or gnosticism at all, there is personal revelation inside the religion.
What is color, spectrum, vibration as it pertains to the celestial? Light, refraction, fractals.

Dhamballa and Aida Wedo the creational Lwa
The trinity, of source, polarity, giving rise to rays of emanations.

There is a reason we use 7 colors of panuelo, bandana or fabric, for our 7 chief Lwa in Sanse
Sancista 7 crossroad

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The language of the fan: abebe & el abanico

There are records of fans from egypt, and likely used even before, made of plant, "fan" leaves or feathers, and were in Greece then Rome. Hand fans first arrived into Europe in the 15th century from Asia and became popular in the 16th century, especially in Spain and France into the Victorian era into the 1920's.

It was used as a shade against the aggressive hot sun. In Asia they were used to denote different rank, class, and around coronation and marriage. It was also used in the military as a way of sending signals on the field of battle, as well as a defensive weapon and stage or dance performances. They later came to the Americas, as could be seen in church in the south, or in stuffy theaters and opera houses. Several fan styles were common and many different and precious materials were used to create them. They may be painted with meaning such as symbols, scenery, folklore, mythology or words.

 Hand fans serve as a tool for cooling, for communication, art, social status and fashion. It is an instrument of privacy, modesty or choice revealing, grace, mystery, flirtation, and secrecy.

Known as an abebe from african ethiopian for the fan or kings insignia, or the spanish abanico, the female Orisha are often given fans, which they may ask for, that usually features feathers or made out of their respective wood or metal. The are usually flat fixed open, as the older type, and not the folding type. I have also seen fans made to Obatala as he is sometimes pictured as the saint our lady of mercy, and is associated with calm, clouds, coolness, and stories link him to the breath of life and air. Fans are also common to Oshun and Yemaya. Oshun, her metal mirror can also be translated as a metal fan, but is also partial to peacock fans, depending.

Yemaya, fans ocean waves, and winds that fill the boats sails
fan made to Obatala by marthapatriciavazquez on ebay

The fan represents beauty, adornment, status as royalty who are fanned, luxury and riches, femininity of ruffles and lace. They may be used to cool or please a spirit, or when one gets spiritually hot, or to fan away negativity. They were also used to keep insects or bad smells away, which could be associated with illness and bad spirits.The fanning movement is waves, and transmits energy of their spectrum much like a whirled or waved colored bandana, fula or panuelo can be used as a ceremonial or ritual object. The word fan comes from latin vannus related to ventilate or ventus, ventos the winds, related to the sky which brings messages or increases energy current, as in fanning the flames. Feathers are a likely symbol to fan or open ones wings, and the connotation of bird to spirit.
                                          hand fan veils

The gypsy and hispaniola spirits in Sanse love their hand fans, and these as well will be made in their specific or personal colors. The female Lwa can be given them as gifts, or may ask for a fan that should be given in their color. The gypsies as well like them to be perfumed, with their scent offering.

Indio spirits may like a smudge fan or feather for cleansing with samhuerio such as tobacco, sweetgrass braids, sage or can be used with incense.

The fan can be used to talk in code, as there are 5 sets of 5 letters, it could be tapped the first time to alert you to the set, and then the taps the second time could be counted to get the letter in the sets position. Example the letter D would be one tap for the first set, then four taps for the letter position.

The spirits may not necessarily follow this old code, but if you pay attention some meanings may still be apparent, especially in Sanse since the spirits of the dead will be the ones present more often, who may retain this cultural knowledge, and since communication is largely nonverbal even among the incarnated in body language.
The main gestures and their respective meanings that together configured what it was known as “the language of the hand fan” that may still be relevant:

Generally left is no, right is yes, and then the body part used is tapped when necessary.

To hold it to the left ear.
I want you to leave me alone. do not want to hear, do not tell
 To let slide it on the forehead or open and close it
You have changed. change of the mind

To throw the fan or hold it closed in front.
hate or dislike, no affection

To let slide it on the eyes or left.
Go away, please. do not want to see you
right eye
I want to see you
To touch the edge of the hand fan with the fingers.
I want to talk to you.
To hold it on the right cheek.
To hold it on the left cheek.
To leave it hanging.
continue relationship
To fan slowly open in front.
I am married.
To fan quickly open in front.
I am engaged.
To hold it opened, covering the mouth.
I am single.
To semiclose it in the right and on the left.
I cant.
open 3/4 
maybe interested
To open it slowly.
Wait for me.
To open the hand fan with the left hand.
Come and talk to me.
Tap right hand closed
write me

The list can get quite extensive, but gives you an idea

Sancista 7 crossroads
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Monday, August 8, 2016

Metrisili the spirit of sorrow, purity, riches, and relationships

Can anyone just do a love spell with Erzulie Freda? Someone asked me, referring to some wiccan spellbook.

While Metrisili is not Freda, they are both generally cool spirits, and share some of the same attributes, being both of the Ezili family of Lwa spirits. I view spirits such as these as cousins as they come from different branches of Voudou, Metrisili being our Dominican and Puertorican Sanse counterpart. Ezili Freda is much more femme fatale and coquette, whereas Metrisili is a more frigid, quiet, or serious, reserved and stately. Both Queens in their own right, but not the same spirit. They are spirits of the sweet waters, and river, whose blessings can flow into our lives. But rivers can swell, upset women vengeful, especially with too much bitter tears causing destruction. The mermaid or snake-women, such as La Sirene or Diosa del Mar, Filomena or Philomenez, are also seen as sister Ezilis, as well as the many other Ezilis and Anaisa's as part of the Metresa division. Metres Ezili or Metresa Ezili is a chief Sanse, over most female spirits in our tradition.

Firstly, initiates do not need to use the veve everytime. We either have the spirit or we don't, and this connection is inside us as initiates, as our spirit point, pwen or point of access and license, and other objects. The Lwa are not chosen, and at least not initially as we work with our 7 chief Lwa, spirits of the house (of which she is one in our lineage), and any personal Lwa first as a newly made priest-esses. Our veve we do have is passed down by lineage, among other practices, and my veve for Metrisili, or several other Lwa I have inherited are not publicly available anywhere, although they may have similarity, such as in her case the heart symbol and can be create or manipulated. If we did use say a veve from a book or the internet, we have songs, know how to make her lamp, or gestures and ways to manage Lwa, and for them to know our lineage.
An example but not the veve I use.

So I bet you can guess the answer to the question posed at the beginning of this entry, is likely NO.

Let me further explain why and about this Misterio.

The Ezili are not love goddesses, well for the most part as they have been popularly portrayed.
We do not just go to Ezili to do love work, or say Ogun to get a job as any Lwa is able to do anything for you in reason, they will just put their spin or flavor on it. We all need love, we all need currency, and so do the Lwa. Yes they do have their specialties, but it is not a pantheon as such to be worked this way necessarily, as what you have in your court and lineage is what you have.  If we have 10 requests we do not necessarily go to 10 different Lwa. Yes if we have both those Lwa it makes sense to ask them for those things that they are more responsible for. Relationships can be built based on purity of intent, but this also may never happen with her as an outsider. She is not some archetypal Aphrodite.

Erzulie Freda is a highly sought after, but difficult lady to please. She is desired because as a spirit of purity she can break any black magick, as well as provide financial luck. She is used to luxury, so a candle and some convenience store chocolates are probably not just be enough with your spell or even what suits her fancy. She does not have to work. She has her choice of suitors.

Everything must be immaculately clean, including the practitioner and clothing set aside with her wash basin. She likes things sweet and well perfumed. She likes flowers, pink soda, champagne, cakes, jewlery, makeup, vanity items such as a mirror, fan as many female spirits do. Her altar or area is prepared the best as possible as a throne. Metrisli does not like strong liquor smells, bad thoughts, or tobacco smoke, violence, or swear words and loud noises. Her day is Thursday and she likes to be beside her husband Ogun Balendjo, as San Santiago, San Jacques Majeur. We mostly use pink and white, but her colors are baby pink, blue and white.Whereas Erzulie Freda may take a VirginaSlim cigarette, or other Ezilis a menthol or rarely has been reported to Metresili. Metresili does not like the dead because as she has said "they smell bad', as some may be unclean, they also make fun of her airs and seeming frivolity, such as the Ghede do with their jokes, and act improper.

She is a spirit of value and worth, whether it is family or gold, and social standing. Her loyalty is worth more than gold. Secondly she does not take kindly to most females or straight up ignore them. It is rarer that she will select females to concern herself with. Its not that she dislikes other females per se, as she is often around her other Ezilis. She is often misunderstood, and dislikes this and how women can treat each other. She dislikes how sometimes women have lower social standing, through degradation, and seeks to remedy this for herself. For this reason she is pictures as caucasian or mulatto/creole, to reflect how western society has in the past viewed standards of beauty, and as womens color translates to social standing in areas of european imperialism as intersected with the african slave trade in the new world.

She prefers men, and gay men. So why do women think they can ask a rival for help with a man, she may claim for her own, or just like to flirt with herself instead for fun? Perhaps she understands disappointment of unrealistic hopes and dreams and heartbreak of castles built in the clouds more than love, also being the spirit of tragic love. It is for that reason she is syncretized with the dolorosa, weeping for her son and humanity and a dagger in her heart. In her manifestation with her horses, she may start happy, on the happiest occasions, but will decline into tears. Maybe she will take an interest in your man, since you introduced him.

I am lucky to find myself in her favor, but Metrisili has her challenges, and is a more difficult Lwa to bring down, even as my met tet.

The problem for a women is if Erzulie takes an interest or is the man who is the object of your affection's head spirit. This is because this rada Lwa, although they are largely kindly if they are present, can cause you the reverse of what the good things in your life is to get attention or let themselves be known if they are not paid attention to. She may demand maraj, a Lwa marriage of certain men, in which certain days and a separate bed is maintained just for them. She can create love problems for a man, or with his human mate, when she is jealous over him. Which can be often. She holds marriage, a social contract, in high standing and will alert wives she is on good terms with to their husbands infidelity. Mande yo, tell me, haha. She is my confidante. It is not likely she will break a marriage up for you.

She can be a very wonderful and beneficial spirit to have no doubt. But there is a lack of cultural understanding for one to think she is one to approach just with a love spell, especially with your first introduction to her is a lack of decorum, she will likely not judge weak dedication well.

<3Sancista Siete Encruzhiladas

Friday, August 5, 2016

Just judge & the 7 african powers

 Alot of people think the 7 african powers are the Orisha but they are not. The confusion came from the saint image of Jesus crucified with an array of saints around him. It did not come from the yoruba faiths that work with the Orisha neither, it came from puertorican espiritismo. People saw these products in the botanica and decided to use them without cultural context, and bad information was spread. You will also see the statues used as 7 madamas or 7 congos as a group of guides, sort of like a package of spirits. The original image likely came from someone in espiritismo to honor their own 7 african guides.

The Orisha religions do not have this concept of the 7 african powers of being "the most important" or prevalent Orisha at all out of a pantheon of hundreds, of some who will be more personally concerned with you than others. The Orisha are all received in ritual and pots anyways, or are in your court and not to be used as a group or pick and choose either. The beginning rituals in Ocha, usually is to receive the 4 guerreros or warriors for your own personal growth and care: Elegguá, Ogún, Ochossi and Osun. This does not make you an initiate until you make kariocha with your personal Orisha.

The 7 african powers are spirit guides, dead elevated humans, just like the madamas, or la madama, not everyone has one of these commissions in their spiritual court or cuadro that makes up your spiritual frame.
Therefore there is no reason to be petitioning them or honoring them without this knowledge, as it will weaken your spiritual connection with the guides you actually do have. Despite people making products and writing books that are not in these traditions since the 1980's.

They represent different african tribes, of dead, that one may have, and one will usually take the lead and come through a reading in Ocha or a misa (seance) in espiritismo. No one person will have the same guide that comes through this category. Dr E, a spiritualist, santero and hoodoo doctor identified them as coming from Yoruba, Congo, Takua, Kissi, Calabari, Arara, and Mandika tribes. Within the diloggun oracle’s corpus of information, the Seven African Powers are heavily referenced in the odu Edigbere (7-8). Interestingly, this odu also speaks about the importance of the drum as a tool to call down the Orishas and it also speaks about the power of Congolese magic within the religion of Palo. (however beyond that one cannot comment on Palo or ones spirits within that religion unless being a priest of Palo, but the dead are the dead). It speaks of working with the dead in context of being around the person, which santerismo, palo and espiritismo would be a path open to them being associated with strong dead.
If a person were to receive the odu 7-8, it would indicate that they have the Seven African Powers in their court of spirit guides and it would be up to them to seek an Espiritista to determine who they are, what their names are. 
Copied from http://santeriachurch.org/the-seven-african-powers/

I do disagree when he says anyone can approach them because we all have dead. Yes we all have dead, but it is appropriate within these traditions and for safety to go to misa, and work with your dead you actually have first. Its not to say you will have these at all, so its pointless. Can you call forth a dead from each tribe? I suppose, at your own risk with varying results. Would this then be guides as used in the originating culture, or the 7 african powers, no. It would just be working with the dead. And they are usually not ancestors, and guides are mostly contracted and present since birth. The best thing would be to enquire before a misa, or get a investigation or reading.
Elekes or Orisha necklaces hanging in a botanica, for the priests of Ocha to sacrifice and prepare over with specific leaves. Note on the second left: 7 potencias or powers. Many in Ocha also practice espiritismo and if they do both may call it Santerismo, especially in New York. In Sanse we do not do animal sacrifice, but may rarely participate in the need to have it. Our necklaces are prepared differently. In the Maria Lionza sect in Venezuela, they use 3 different races in figures of the Indio, African and Eurasian to represent the hereditary and ancestral cultures and of mankind as the 3 powers or potencias, a spiritist tradition, also of the dead. In Sanse you may also see this used, even though they are specific spirits, to represent the 3 groups.

The 7 african tribes are usually worked with a 7 color candle, and a 7 different color striped or patched cloth. For us in Sanse and puertorican espiritismo, 7 is the number of the higher spirits such as Lwa, enlightenment, the auric field light spectrum, and the celestial energies of planets. In my tradition we do not use the 7 bead pattern of 7 colors necklace. We do use a multicolored necklace from the more congo lineage, as we have palo pracitioners in our house. The multicolor also represent all your personal dead including ancestors, necessary spirits of the dead and guides, not just if you have these 7 african powers in our house. This would be called the egun and the egungun associated with the multicolor dress outfit in the yoruban faiths. This is why Oya the Orisha of the cemetary gate is associated with the multicolor skirt, the colors of the wind and dead, besides her brown-red-purple burgundy and the multicolor stripe skirt of the Palera. 9 is moreso associated with the dead and her number. And we use 9 color bandanas on our white table to the dead, 7 on the divisional table to the Lwa. I have seen one lineage use the 7 color 7 bead necklace sequence for the misterios or Jefe Lwa that a emmisario or messanger dead of the Lwa, but we personally do not do this, and have our own way of making a bead necklace for a misterio, but this is not traditional, nor receiving an eleke as they do with Orisha. In Haiti some hounfort do have necklaces which belong to the temple with a specific number of beads to represent all the misterio for the Mambo or Houngan, or made for a Hounsi if it is known the misterio they are under.
                                                       Oya –by Susan Matthews
Egun dancing masks, Benin, by Susan Carlslund

The just judge image is used for folk magic such as hoodoo in justice or court case work, usually in a multiple odd number of novena candles. The just judge is Jesus in the protestant tradition, or Yaweh as they are not polytheist as the judge of mankind, or at least the judaic followers. But it is also a mystic glyph of the sun who is the roman glyph of sol invictus, invincible (winning), and of the bay laurel crown (corona from the sun) of success and victory. Jesus's death signified victory over death as soul everlasting, as well as the justice of a new deal over old testament and Mosiac law. As lady justice has been blinded, many turn to court case work to get a fair trial, for forgiveness, against enemies (as the old guard god of vengence), protection from enemies, or a positive legal outcome. Psalm 94 is sometimes used.

This image and story contains many secrets held within the magical qaballah and hermeticism, and of the numbers, 7, 8 and the dead and solar mysteries.

Of course there are many different Jesus images, as there are fewer than the assorted Mary's used to represent the higher misterios of the Lwa and Orisha. The crucified Jesus may be use to represent Ogun of war and blacksmith god of making the nails and sacrifice, justice and progress,or Olofi incarnated god, the thorn crowned as power of god as mars, the one of good hope or esperanza as Torolisa the bull Lwa, and the sacred heart as Gran Solier sun Lwa.

The 7 saints usually picture around this is:
  • Saint John the Baptist.
  • Virgin of Regla.
  • Saint John the Baptist.
  • Saint Martin of Porres.
  • Saint Joseph of Arimathea
  • Jesus Christ on the Cross.
  • Lady of Mercy.
  • Saint Barbara.
  • Lady of Charity of Cobre
  •  The saints are not the Orisha, Lwa, nor the dead guides in question, and saints are used as such in a religious or catholic folk witchcraft, or modern hoodoo sense. As the saints were also not originally in hoodoo, added in since the 1970's. Just Judge, Jesus was used in the protestant sect.
There are many prayers you can use for the just judge. This prayer is from the book:
 New Revised Helping Yourself With Selected Prayers:

Oh Just and Holy Judge, Blessed Son of the Virgin Mary, let my body be calm and my blood be washed so that wherever I may go, the hands of my Lord Jesus Christ be in front of me. That of St. Andrew before and after me. St. Peter's in the back and the middle. Those of the Virgin Mary, that my enemies may come and go with eyes but without seeing me, with arms but without hurting me, and that justice may not apprehend me. That my body be covered with the cloth that covered Jesus Christ's body, that I may not be hurt, or dead, or incarcerated. Oh Virgin Mary, this prayer I say for good or evil that my enemies hold against me. If any sentence be in this day against me, let it be revoked by the blessings of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen

During spiritualist misas, just judge prayers and chantry or mass for the souls of the dead are done to the just judge and especially around the day of the dead, after funerals for their benefit, and souls in purgatory.

 I hope that this clears up the issue and should not discourage you, but encourage you to find out who your spirit guides are, inform your practice, and further your learning. Use this information to evaluate correct resources and teachers, who should actually be in the tradition you are learning about.

Sancista +++++++