Thursday, November 8, 2012

November is Ayizan

Where Loko Atissou is seen as the father of all kanzo initiates, Ayizan is said to be the Mother of the Kanzos. Elevated ancestors who were at one time living persons, Loko and Ayizan now lend their stories and their ashe to the servitors of Vodou.

Ayizan Velekete is her full name, and she is often envisioned as a very old woman, with an apron that has deep pockets.  Ayizan is a root Lwa, bringing the mysteries of life and death to us here in the Marketplace.  The Yoruba tradition refers to the earthy plane as the Marketplace, so it is fitting that Ayizan is the one who brings traverses this realm, bringing forth new life and new initiates, replenishing the “servitors” of the human race with her holy children.

Ayzian’s veve is comprise of her initials, the “A” and the “V” intersecting across each other.  The veve is sometimes further decorated with stars and whirls to imitate the royal palm frond, shredded and worn by every initiate of Vodou.  The Royal Palm tree is her sacred repository. This particular species grows very straight and tall in Haiti. The palm frond is not opened – during the chire ayzian (tearing ayzian), the frond is symbolically stripped by initiates until it resembles a huge ostrich feather, fluffy and full of Ayizan’s ashe.  It is then run around the temple, sweeping the poto, the drums and everyone in its path, before being placed within the holy djevo.  The palm is both Ayzian and her energy. Ayizan is seen as the spiritual energy that tears into the djevo during the Chire Ayizan, purifying it for the hunyos (the spirit children), who will birth into Mambos and Houngans.

This month, we’ve seen the tearing action of Ayizan take place. The last hurricane of the season tore into NYC and Long Island with a fury, ripping apart homes, tearing up the beaches and stripping down the long neglected, the barriers and the older neighborhoods that were falling down.  Ayizan’s actions, however damaging, are also cleansing.  She clears with a fury to help birth something new.  When Kanzo candidates lay down in the djevo, they give up their old names for new ones, their old lives for new behaviors, their old identities for new vocations.  It can feel like a spiritual hurricane has taken over and stripped away everything you thought you knew, to make room for something fresh and interesting.

But as one steps into the dawn of the Batem, one can see new potentials and new horizons.  Even for the folks in NY, this past week heralds a new beginning.  What did they figure out that they didn’t need?  What did they give up that was old, for a new way of doing? Everyone will gain something new from all the destruction.

What has changed for you this month? As the cleansing action of Ayizan metaphysically strips you down, you will find renewed strength.  Give up something old for something new – now is the time to clean closets, vacuum the car, start a new habit to better yourself. Don’t wait for Ayzian to strip it away, because that’s what she does. She rips open the reality of your world, allowing new thoughts, new ideas, new actions to take place.  The best recourse is to relax, allow the process to unfold and don’t fight it.  We are also under the final Mercury Retrograde this month. So along with all this discourse is the mercurial actions of reviewing, renewing, reflecting.  Go easy on yourselves this month, and allow all the spiritual winds to blow over you. By December, it’ll all be settled and done!

Keep a clean white cloth on your personal altar.  Find some dirt from a marketplace and put it in a small container, like a woven basket.  Place palm leaves and water on the altar as a symbol of Ayzian’s presence. Give thanks for your gifts and bend with the changes that are coming. They are all good and you will be doubly blessed by their actions. Ayibobo.

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