Thursday, February 14, 2013
My Vodou Lenten Mediation - Day Two of Forty.
I sung for Legba, and then Hountor, asking that he be with us, the drums and Jim's hands. The energy was clearly present in my body. I touched the drum heads, and they were vibrating all by themselves. I must admit, this was a thrilling moment as I have been having one of my wandering the dark times lately.
Having spent a full year working hard, celebrating fets, leading marriages, teaching, performing acts of grace (like Lave Tets) and solving client issues, I am still left wondering if I am doing this right. After all, no one told me how to do all this. Yes, I learned the Reglemen of Vodou, but the rest? All that I have spent 28 years figuring out on my own.
It's not like I haven't had good teachers, I have. It's just that they had many, many other people to be concerned about. It is the downside I suppose, to being a part of a large organization. I was in the Servants of the Light, an occult school located on the isle of Jersey, in England. My teacher wasn't exactly a hands-on leader. She is a brilliant occultist. There were lots of lectures on esoteric topics both exotic and strange. Plenty of far out esoteric rituals and dramatic initiations. But actually getting down to "leading" a group? Zilch. Probably because she didn't actually 'lead' a group. She was a teacher, a leader of knowledge and the mind, not the body and soul.
That's where Mambo Shakmah comes into the picture. She did lead a group - a fantastic collection of men and women who were superb at ritual, commanding in ceremony and who supported Mambo Shakmah by following her lead in all that she did. From Shakmah, I learned the arts of leadership, commanding spirits, directing a group in wondrous ritual and combining it all to make Magick occur in conformity with Will. Shakmah was the real deal.
But Shakmah is gone. I am alone in my temple. My congregation is far across the globe (okay, country). And I sit, singing by myself, to the altar that is dark at the moment. The Lwa are resting. One small light remains in front of Legba's place, between the drums.
I tip rum onto the floor and ask Legba to open the door for me. And I invite Hountor to come forth and sit with me.
The drum heads continue to vibrate beneath my hands. I lay down a small, steady beat. Nothing as glorious as James can do - he is the master. I am not even a student. I am a false player, a n'er do well in the world of drums. But I can do this one beat. I learned it from Babatunde Olatunji. He called it his walking beat. I play; the drums respond. I play a bit more (I don't want to wake Don or the dogs). The drums vibrate and I can hear the bell tone Jim dislikes about these new heads. I smile - the drums are singing to me.
I sit with my hands on the drums, feeling the heads vibrate, feeling Hountor as He plays through the heads, until He departs, leaving me with just the scent of rum and the ringing in my ears. I dogwe to the altars, leave one candle lit and head back upstairs. It's time for bed.