Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Vodou Meditation for Maundy Thursday

Mi di twa pater, twa ave Maria --

Today is Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin mandatum and means to declare or state with purpose. It's the root of the word "mandate". Today is the Catholic observation of the Last Supper. At this dinner, the Christ is said to have commanded his Apostles to "Love One Another." As a Vodou adept, I find great meaning and depth is this statement.

We function in the sosyete as a family. As such, there is the usual squabbling and pouting. But there is also great love. I have heard members defend one another over things big and small. I have heard  laughter, confession, compassion and sympathy. But what I always hear is Love. Despite our differences, we have learned to find commonalities and risen above the rest.

When the Christ made this statement, he wasn't commanding a full on orgy. He was saying that through Love, you can find compassion, forgiveness, devotion, communion. Love is the great believer, the totally level playing field upon which we can scrabble and scamper, and still find one another through the dust and dirt we stir up.

Love is the what the great Lwa have for us. I am sure there are times when your Met Tet is just shaking their head and calling for a tall glass of rum on ice. But most of the time, I know They have great love.

If you've been reading this blog, then you know I am devoted to our small pack of loving dogs. Two large poodles and little shih tzu. They rough and tumble all over the house. I am not a dog owner who believes in separating my animals from my life. The dogs have full command of every room, surface and piece of furniture. And it delights me to no end, to watch their antics. I can spend hours just sitting with a cup of coffee and laughing as they chase one another around the dining room table, up the front staircase to the bedroom. There, I hear the bang-boom-crash of their feet as they run over the bed, down the hallway and then down the back staircase. Their sheer joy in life is worth every moment of calamity and every bit of dirt they leave behind.

I feel that's how the Lwa think of us. Like crazy-assed toddlers who whirl and twirl out of control, only to veer wildly back on track, before derailing somewhere down the line. And They do it because They love us. Unconditionally. Unequivocally. Without prejudice and with deep compassion and interest. Like me with my dogs, I can picture the Lwa sitting and watching the human condition, laughing at our choices, empathizing with others and delighting in all it's craziness.

We give the Lwa things we think They want - food stuffs, candles, incense. But the Lwa simply want us. They want Love, Empathy, Devotion -- just like us.

If we truly believe the adage of "As above, so below," then the Lwa are us, just a few steps further along the path. They do not own the world. They each own their own Truth as it were -- Ogoun owns bravery and strength.  Erzulie owns unrequitted Love.  Simbi owns wisdom and intelligence. Azaka owns food, harvest and hunger. And Legba owns the ability to see, hear, touch, feel and understand all these things. When we Love the Lwa and fully engage with Them, we get to share a bit of Their truth. Like a sip of nectar, it nourishes our soul.

The Lwas were commanded as well. When They came into existence, God commanded Them to Love us unconditionally. And so They do. They simply want us to return the favor in kind. Not much to ask, really.

On this Maundy Thursday, I said my prayers before the altars, and closed all the lights. I put out the candles, I covered the altars. I will resurrect them again on Easter Sunday. But for now, I accept and obey the command of Love. I love the Lwa enough to give them a break. And I look forward to working with Them again in the future.

Mi di twa Pater, two Ave Maria....

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