Friday, May 24, 2013

Writing, Writing, Writing

I have been tapped by Jeff  Anderson of the ABC-Clio press to contribute to the Voodoo Encyclopedia. I will be working on dictionary terms for Haitian Vodou and offering an interview for the resources section. I am very excited about this. It is a chance to get the correct word out on Vodou, as well as get some good press for the house. Ayibobo!

Also on the writing front, my essay for the compilation in It's a Mystery: Esotericism and Gnosis in African American Spirituality is also coming in for editing. That book should go to press this summer (I hope).

It seems just as I think I am gaining some space, the Lwa say, "Oh, you have down time? Let me fill that in for you!" That's ok, it's all good. I look forward to the work and the writing.

On my own front, the next book Sevis Lwa is nearly completed. I hope to polish it off on vacation in June so my editor can sink her teeth into it. Yeah, I know - what vacation? But I'd rather write by the beach, than in my studio in the rain any day!

Later my loves ~ the Lwa are calling and I must create while I have the time. I will post pictures this week. The work is taking another turn (as expected).

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My great escape to Philly

This past weekend, my goddaughter went to the Punk Rock flea market in Philadelphia. It sounded so interesting, I begged the Houngan to take me to it. Never one to deny me anything, he drove me down despite a raging back ache, and allowed me a couple hours of glorious bliss, wandering through the stalls and digging through heaps of things. Although it was fun, I did not find anything I could use for the Lwa. Lots of old clothing, tee shirts and posters. There was a few cool things - one woman was making night lights from old magic lantern slides. Got a great one of Egypt and another of the Half Moon sailing ship from the East Indian Trading Company. Collected lots of business cards, spent some time networking with a couple artists. Drooled over purses and belts, but kept my promise not to spend money we did not have. I was really just looking for eye candy, to help juice the creative machine. It was well worth the trip.

We are now two weeks into our first Online class, and it appears to be going well.  There's been some light discussion, but mostly I think folks are just reading and absorbing all the material. There's a lot to comprehend. I sent out two books, three cds of music and I post a weekly essay for them to read. Suffice it to say, there's much to think about.

On the art front, my muses are barking. Not just whispering - no, they are far more hoarse from all the yelling of late. I've been buried in course work, so the art has suffered. But I managed to find some very cool bottles at the thrift store yesterday. And thanks to a neighbor with a pretty serious drinking problem, I have four fancy whiskey bottles I picked up in my yard last week.  My cattle horns arrived, so I think my next project will be for Bosou. I'll keep ya all posted.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Serving the Spirits

We served Azaka and Danbala this past weekend. A very sweet and on point fet. I felt different this time. We sang our way through the Priye, and then we began the reglemen with Kriye Bode. I could feel a painful hit in my chest. Something big wanted in NOW -- and I had forty minutes of music to work through first. It's always a tussle with the Lwa. They want what they want, when they want it, and it can leave me breathless -- literally -- until their demand is met.

I pushed through until I felt Danbala drop beside me and Mambo C slithered to the floor in full possession. This time, I was the one under the sheet with Papa Danbala. I am always stunned - despite having the tambor playing at my back and six hounsi singing overhead, the space beneath was quiet and cool. Danbala hissed softly, and pressed against me. I offered him water, then called for his child to come under the cover.

J leaned down and pressed his forehead against Danbala's. I felt the shudder move through the chwal's body, as Danbala's energy leaped through to J. He held his position, allowing Danbala to move ever so slightly forward and press his head more firmly against J's. They held that position for a time, then I could feel the shift. Danbala moved back, J stepped out and almost instantly, Mambo C returned.

We took a break, then returned to the remainder of the Rada section, landing on Azaka's song cycle. I thought folks knew these, but I found myself singing solo, with the group humming along. I saluted the altars and returned to the pe, the pain in my chest taking my breath away again. 'Not now" I thought, as I returned to my position by James and the drums. As I turned to stand, the room tilted fiercely left, and I found myself slammed into the wall. Waving off the hounsi, I tried to move into the room, the pain making me gasp, and my balance off totally. I teetered around the poto, trying to move off the drums, but they had me, I was hooked, the floor dropped away and I was....gone.

I regained my reality later, sitting amongst the food and produce, a straw hat on my head, and the congregation looking oddly out of sorts. The pain so present before, had dissipated, leaving behind an odd feeling of pressure that also left quickly. Azaka apparently had much to say to folks, and not exactly what they were expecting. So be it. It is not my place to question Spirit. If the pain in my chest was any example of the size of what was coming, then Azaka had a real quest to fulfill, and one mambo's discomfort wasn't about to stop him.

I always feel good when I have been used up as a vessel. I feel as if my purpose has been realized and I am satiated in ways that I can't always put into words. People seemed happy. The night was tight and on point. Although it was a shorter night than usual (only four hours), we packed a lot of things into the evening. Perhaps, this is a better way for it to be. Those with a long commute can make it home safely, and those who chose to stay are not exhausted beyond helping clean up the temple. We are on hiatus now, until July. The OnLine class begins tomorrow, and new students arrive in June. It's going to be a busy summer - just as Azaka predicted.

I give thanks to the Lwa for their generosity and unending gifts. Their words always inspire and give me  hope. Ayibobo. Alaso. Amen.