|Lodge Walker with DAN 1999 Kirkridge Initiation Weekend|
I was a third degree Gardnerian and a consecrated Last Walker of the Village Tradition, both from Dolores Ashocroft-Nowicki, herself a high muckety-muck over in England. I was also a Magus in the Servants of the Light School of England that she ran. Big time occultist, that was me.
Not now. Well, I shouldn't say "was" -- you can't ever toss off an initiation. It's there, no changing things now. Sorry. Should have thought twice before saying yes. That's ok, I am still very proud of all of it. But - that little nagging voice kept telling me this wasn't really my path.
Oh, I had "cheated" here and there. Attended a Gnostic Mass (shocking!) Sat in for two rounds of Shamanic training with Michael Harner (infidelity!) Did a two week drum intensive with Babatunde Olatunji (sweet...) But I always came back to the herd, to the safety of the SoL and Dolores' knee.
Then it happened. I was hit one day by the glorious idea that there was something else out there, and by God, I was gonna find it. I was using this new tool called the Web to speak to a person about Haiti, and Vodou and she made me an offer I couldn't refuse -- come on down and I'll kanzo you. Kanzo! The Holy Grail of Vodou! How could I not.
Well - here's how - sick parents, job that was 80% travel; a husband, a house, coven and a magical lodge. But the Lwa keep tickling me, keeping me up all night, surfing the World Wide Web (where do you think the 'www' in all those urls came from?) And every site I hit upon was Vodou, Haiti, Afro-Caribbean faiths, Voodoo, hoodoo, Port au Prince. I was hooked, drugged, high on the idea of traveling to a Third World country, and laying down on a dirt floor. I was in.
And so I get what my young friend is experiencing. Please don't get me wrong - there were repercussions. The coven/lodge divided over this. There was fall out. Some folks supported us and they are still here with us. But others left, feeling betrayed and let down. I asked them why should I keep doing something I don't feel called to do, just because you want a place to pray on Saturday nights? Why don't you do it yourselves? There was no answer - just recrimination. So be it.
The Lwa took it all away - the job, the coven, the lodge. We found ourselves adrift, alone and so we clung to one another, went to Haiti and laid down on that dirt floor. Eight days later, we got up and we've never regretted it -- not even for one minute. The work has been fulfilling, the joy electric and the Lwa delightful to be with. I couldn't be happier.
If I had stayed the course, I might not have continued the work in any capacity. I was tired. I was distraught over my lack of faith in what I was doing. I had doubts. Big ones. Now, here today, with my new faith and my courage, I have never had doubts -- even when things got tough (and they surely did for a time). But that is in the past. I am here, ayibobo. The work is good, the satisfaction palatable and I am happier than I have ever been.
Do what makes you happy. Dolores was my first and only initiator for years. I wouldn't change that for the world. The teachings she gave me were profound, even if they didn't fit my life after a time. But I've never been one to throw out the baby with the bath water. Her sage advice still gets me through the day at times. But one piece was truly epic and I use it always. "Forget what others say about you," she'd advise. "It's none of your business what other people say about you." And she's right. I follow my spirits. "Keep your eyes on the prize" is what I am told daily by the Lwa.
Ayibobo Papa. I put my foot on the path and I've never looked back. I offer this same thing to my friend, if she happens to read this. You'll be much happier, M, trust me on that one. Kenbe La sweetheart - stay strong and have faith. The spirits never desert us, they just take us where we need to go.