I think I need to add some clarity to my previous post on the Lwa.
First off, They do not appear to physical manifestation. Not in the traditional sense. There is no magic circle, no billowing clouds of special incense and no brandishing a sword or athame (a knife for the uninitiated...).
When They do manifest, They do it within the rarefied arena of a fet. Now I must state here that in my own opinion, honest or otherwise, I feel there's been an overload of "riding with the Lwas" out there. Between Aspecting, Overshadowing, Possession, Channeling, Trance and the old stand-by "The Devil made me do it!", its no wonder no one takes credit for doing it THEMSELVES. Whatever happened to plain old inspiration? Where have all the Muses gone? Do we really need to channel Beings from the Pleiades or Moonchildren or Dogon Deities to actually be effective in the world? Really?
The Lwa (Thank Bondye) are not beings to be channeled. Nor are They beings to called down for a ride. In fact, if you know anything about Vodou, the person who holds the Lwa is not seen as special at all. You are the vessel of the Lwa and nothing else, period. And I have seen some brilliant vessels who were total asshats in life. What was that line from Amadeus by Salieri -- "You choose for your instrument a boastful, lustful, smutty infantile boy..." There ya go - who says God doesn't have a sense of humor.
The Lwa arrive in soft ways. They speak in dreams, allegories and paradoxes. They love paradox, they are the kings of Paradox country. They can (and often do ) hold opposing ideas as truth. Just look at Their so-called forms. LaSiren is a siren, a sorceress and a wife; she also half fish, half human. And we all agree to it, as if mermaids are the norm. Bossou is half bull, half man and we honor and revere him for his strength and his willingness to help get the job done. We just fetted Agwe, a man who is called a Shell of the Sea and yet captains a ship that is not a ship but might just be a Jin of Islamic stories. It's sheer madness, the kind of story you'd see on Spongebob Square Pants, and yet we all agree vigorously when asked if this is so. I think our rum has been spiked with acid.
How do we know the Lwa? Because we recognize the truth They carry. It's not the form of Siren that draws us in - it's that she owns true love. Don't we all want true love? Of course we do, and so we all agree that if this half human, half fish can offer it to us, then by George she's a woman who is also a fish. Or a fish who is also a woman. Wait, let me have another sip of the Koolaid, it'll make more sense later.
Ezili owns Unrequited Love. She cries over the imperfect world she is bound to be a part of. That is because She is separated from the Godhead. Knowing what perfection is (God) and seeing that the world cannot meet that standard, She cried pitilessly for us. (You really think a spirit that can move through time and space wants expensive clothing and perfume, etc? Have another sip of the Koolaid...)
Each Lwa is a part of the Godhead, and so each one carries a truth, given to Them at the beginning of time. And so if you want to SEE the Lwa, then look for the TRUTH They carry in the world.
The person who takes care of any and everyone, has endless amounts of energy, often wears metal jewelry and is quick of temper is probably walking with Ogoun (the warrior.)
The individual who can juggle ten projects, is a writer, a speaker or engages folks in long evenings of brilliant conversation might just be a Legba (the communicator.)
The man or woman who is a drama queen, loves to get dressed, smells great and is always coiffed to a T is probably walking with Ezili. But She can also manifest as the person who can command a room with a stern look, have people fall to her feet to do Her bidding, and carries the kind of charisma that most of us dream about.
The Lwa are their own "person" as it were. To mire Them down in trivial actions (Ezili likes perfume, Ogoun is always angry) is to deny the breadth of Their presence, the magnanimity of Their gifts and the omnipresence of Their blessings.
Truth is the universal language of this sphere we live in and on. When it's seen or heard or spoken, everyone within earshot is in agreement, on the same page at the same time. And that's because it resonates within ourselves. Like calls to Like. We all carry these truths within, which is why we can agree on it without. And the Lwa embody these truths. They are the universal language of God and She doesn't make mistakes, trust me on that one. So here, do this:
Next time you are in a store or on the street, look at the people around you. Put on your Vodou glasses, as it were and look at the world through the Lens of the Lwa. See if you can't suss out the truths as they surround you. And let that little old man lead you across the street. Smile at the cop as you cross the street. Offer a sniff of your perfume to the young dandy in the next cubicle. By doing so, you are engaging with the truth around you. Or the Lwa, if you prefer to see them that way. It's all the same and it's all good.
And watch as They turn to you as well. Remember, the reason I became a Mambo is because when I called to the Lwa - They responded. They will for you, too. Without the Koolaid.