Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Your Dead at Fet Ghede

Fet Ghede is just a short week away, and I thought you'd enjoy getting some additional information relating to the holiday.

Fet Ghede is a more than just a weekend celebration. In Haiti, the holiday is celebrated for the entire month of November. Families take care of graves and family plots; the demembre or family land is celebrated with song, food and drink; and the dead get to party with the living in close proximity. I have heard it said that the dead speak out of thin air in Haiti, and I totally believe it. When you think about the number of deaths the island has witnessed -- 350,000 Africans dying annually for 100 years; the multiple wars fought by the Europeans - Spanish, French, English, Polish; and the countless Native peoples who died at the hands of the Spanish -- to say the island is haunted is an under statement of epic proportions. In fact, death is the number one guiding principle of Haiti. It colors everything in life from holidays and national celebrations to family gatherings and worship services. It's no wonder the number one saying in Haiti is "After God, the ancestors..." meaning, the dead.

But Fet Ghede is also a time of joy. It is a reminder that life is short, and death is just a passage into another realm. The dead do not depart so much as stand and observe from a different vantage point. I recently wrote an essay on the life of land in Haiti. In it, I shared the philosophy of the Dogon people who work daily with their ancestors. If they need to access the dead, they simply go to where they were buried and through body trance, download whatever information they are looking for. The Dead are seen as an endless repository of information that can be called upon at a moment's notice. That same practice is held at the core of Vodou work. One doesn't go asking stray Lwa for answers -- you go to your Dead, your personal Ghedes, to find what you need.

This week was a particularly rough one for us. Don's pacemaker was making noises - yes, his chest was making the sound of an ambulance siren. And to top that off, he was rear ended at a stop sign by someone who was texting. I stood at the ancestor altar, made my offering of frankincense and coffee and requested that this nonsense stop now. The result - the pacemaker just needed to be reset in person at the hospital (more on that later), the fenderbender was a minor scrape and we're back on track again.

And that is the other clue to Fet Ghede. The Ghede are always personal -- sometimes, too much so.  I know we get all caught up in the gyrations and silliness of the party, but the Ghede are something of a rare opportunity to check in on your family. They are truthsayers - the Ghede never lie and why should they? They don't care about your feelings, or if you will be put off by what they say. They are DEAD and refreshingly so. So when you come upon a Ghede willing to focus on you or your question (and that's the real challenge) you will get an honest to goodness answer. It might not be what you want to hear, but by God, it'll be what you need to!

Our Ghedes are great fortune tellers -- I am never sure of what they are saying or willing to say. Yes, they tell the truth, but they also like to play games. So the truth might come wrapped in a paradox or an enigma for you to work out. They do that since everyone is listening. They will happily share the details of your sex life (they love sex and all its proclivities), but they will couch the delicate answer to a private question so that only you will get the answer. They love being the center of attention -- they often are -- but they do take care to give someone the answer they deserve when asked a painful question.

Ghede are also lost souls. They are the forgotten ones, the dead who have never had the rites of consecration to help them cross the waters. Again, how many billions of people died and are in the soil of Haiti? How many native Taino, Carib and Arawak people died at the hands of the Spanish and are in the soil of Haiti? All those who died at the hands of abuse, tropical disease and overwork on the plantations? How many foreign soldiers, merchants, trades people from the same causes? How many children? All these souls are in the soil of Haiti. And all of them are Ghede. Think about that for a moment.

I have to sit back and wonder at the people I know who feel they can call upon Ghede to do work for them. Ghede is word with many meanings - it means the dead literally in Kreyol. It means a specific soul - Papa Ghede or Ghede Nibo. Or Ghede John LaKwa. And it can mean plural as in many dead souls -- The Ghede. Given the knowledge that these souls died under horrific circumstance, what makes someone think they can command this soul to do anything? From a magical stand point, it's hubris at best to think you can command the Dead. They are Dead, and they answer only to God. Do consider that when calling upon anyone who has crossed the veil.

The Dead are very willing to work with you, provided they are YOUR Dead and not a stray Ghede. There are many souls wandering the earth all the time. In Vodou, we believe that you have a specific amount of time on Earth as an incarnate being. Let's say you and God decide you should be here for 180 years. Now, I did not say you would be alive for those 180 years, did I?  I said you'd be here, meaning earthbound for 180.  You end up dying young at 40.. But your ticket back is punched at 180, so you need to stay around for another 140 years. It's those 140 years that are the most important. Why? because on the otherside, you have knowledge, what we call Konesans in Vodou. You have access to all the Dead who have ever crossed -- all their knowledge, experience and training. Their answers and observations. And your family has it too, through you. Each successive generation, your kin, can call upon you for help, inspiration, answers, knowledge, faith, love. The dead are not gone -- they have simply moved to another level. And it is there, that you gain your greatest champion, you strongest protector, your perfect teacher. It is your beloved dead who can filter the answers of the universe down to you for the asking. But we never seem to ask, do we?

And so the dead wander aimlessly, waiting to be engaged, waiting to be asked. And for all those souls in Haiti, who asks? Who engages with them? Who puts them to work? No one, and so they are stuck between here and there, waiting for the proverbial bus to go home. Those who are related to you have a vested interest in you. They are the 'safe' ghede, those ones you can count on to actually be of service to you. The others less so - they are not related. Some maybe angry about being forgotten, others may be demented by their long stay or by the circumstance of their death. The dead are not so different from the living -- they mirror the human condition quite well. And that is why one chooses family over strangers, blood over water.

And that is why I always say feed your Dead on Fet Ghede / Samhain / Day of the Dead or however you choose to call this holiday season.  There is a reason for these days being so strongly celebrated. The egregore of this time is ancient and powerful. Engage with it, wade into the energy of it and feel it's potential for change. That energy stream is the most dynamic when it is fed by your own bloodline. To stand in another stream unrelated to you, is to reduce the amount of potential that is available for yourself and your family. So dive on in and celebrate the day.

After all, for this one day, it really is all about you!

Kwa! Kwa sen bo!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

New Knowledge paper in the Sosyete du Marche library

I've uploaded a new essay to the SdM library. I love to write here, but the sosyete's coffer's need replenishing as well. So for an expanded essay on Fet Ghede, please go here:

Fet Ghede in Haiti

And to read what I wrote a couple years back, check out this blog here:

A Time for Healing

Fet Ghede is certainly big enough to encompass allt he writing one could offer. So enjoy, and be ready for some new offerings as well!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Enochian Rituals and Spirits that Haunt Us

Sorry for the quiet - I was practicing for a recital I participated in this weekend. The Maestro of the sosyete was engaging a bunch of friends to play music and sing with him. How could I refuse? We had a great time, but I had to put on my "A" game -- this was the real deal for me personally. There's a big difference between singing in my basement and then going on a stage in front of people. James said I did good, so that's all that counts for me -- but I think I did sound good. I am determined to keep up the "shedding" as James calls it.

I have been reading Crowley's The Vision and the Voice this past couple days. I had had a conversation with a friend in NOLA last month, regarding angels, the Nephilium and work of conjuring spirits. She highly recommended both Dr. Dee's transcripts, as well as Crowley's piece.  I am finding them to be very interesting as well. One of the reasons people are told to stay away 
from Enochian, is that it is very Apocalyptic in tone and wording.  Supposedly, if you do the invocations correctly, you could bring about the Apocalypse. I am not so sure I agree with that conclusion. The wording is archaic and definitely Elizabethan in nature. The two magicians who both scryed and conversed with the angels were very devote men of a Christian nature. So, it's no wonder to me that the verses are heavily tinged with Christian iconography and tone.  Likewise the Crowley material. It heavily features his version of the Book of the Law, including the Crowned Horus and other assorted characters from the Equinox.

Why am I reading this? Well, there is a faint Nephilium connection, but that is really only of interest to me. No, what I wanted to share with you is the timeless fascination we humans have for the spirit world, and the lengths we go to, to have interaction with it. That, and since we just passed the anniversary of 9/11, the human race's continuing fascination for the Apocalypse itself.

Spirits among Us
If any American City could be considered Apocalyptic, it's got to be New Orleans.  Apocalypse means "to uncover" and that's exactly what New Orleans does, on a daily basis.  With two devastating fires to it's record, and continual fighting over it's borders, New Orleans is truly the best example of being "uncovered". Founded in 1600s by the Spanish, sold to the French and eventually taken by the British and turned into American, this town is a true Babylon on the water. Along with the many make-overs, there came many dead and where there are dead, there are spirits - on just about every corner. The continual digging uncovers new history, new buildings, new graves. I think you could say New Orleans is always uncovering something. And that doesn't just mean uncovering archaeological stuff.  How about 'uncovering' corruption in the police department in the 70s?  'Uncovering' corruption in the mayor's office in the 80s?  'Uncovering' the potential of the CBD, the gambling industry, the casinos, the lake front - the list is endless. So, if we agree that apocalypse means to uncover, then NOLA wins by a landslide!

The Apocalypse doesn't end there either. Along with uncovering, comes the sister word, revelation - meaning revealing. Hmmm....well, let's look at the popular medium of TV for example. A cursory glance at the local offerings show that this revealing of spirits has moved into contemporary society. This fall's TV run features Sleepy Hallow "revealing" the four horse men of the apocalypse; Gotham "revealing" the underbelly of the city; and many other shows revealing secrets, new characters and dire plot twists. I am surprised there is no show called Revealing -- but that might not be revealing enough I suppose. We are also in the month of October, with Fet Ghede just around the corner. As the hauntings, Halloween parties and horror films arrive, Samhain approaches: the veil thins out and we're bound to have even more spiritual dalliances throughout the fall. More uncovering, more revealing - of what, I am not sure, but I am more than open to the event when it happens.

Enochian for Beginners - and We're all Beginners
Enochian is not child's play -  as in, let's call up Zoz today and see what he/she/It's been doing lately! The powers that rule beyond the borders of our world are not to be toyed with lightly. If the manuscripts are to be believed (and I don't see why not) they offer a glimpse into another space and time that is vast and endless. They offer proof of life beyond this mortal coil, and to that end, they have worth alone. Evidence of the great beyond. But more importantly, Enochian scholars all agree that the calls invoke a major power to create change on a global scale.  The word Apocalypse is a Greek word meaning to uncover. Again, it has grown to have many meanings - end of times, destruction, down with the old order of the world and up with a new, more invigorating one. But I don't think it means total destruction, as in thermonuclear war.

Perhaps, it's like the end of the movie War Games. The computer, Joshua, playing games with the lead character, demonstrates what total annihilation looks like, but it's a simulation, not genuine. Perhaps, this is a warning. "Here's what could happen if you all don't start behaving like rational adults."

Or, it's real, but in another way. The oungan has an interesting theory. If all we know about Egypt can only be traced back 5,000 years, then what happened before then?  Why is there no evidence of anything - language, rituals, nothing? Could they have had their own apocalypse and moved on? Not in a bad way, but transcended, as we keep seeing in so many books and movies today. Is this a trace memory from then? A past life memory, perhaps? Maybe they "uncover" a great truth, they had a revelation, something "revealed" to them, and they took the bait and left this world, for another level of existence.

Language is the Key to It All
I can't say for sure, but the reason I am rambling here is that language carries it's own nuances - you must be willing and able to look at things from many view points, to find the kernel truth in a story. I believe that truths or "revelations" come about when we need them to. I am not so sure that this one is the destructive, annihilating version we've all been primed to think of. Perhaps, the great Ones feel the time has come to re-think our approaches to life and each other. They are making available the method for doing so. There are 49 calls or Keys to Enochian, but only 48 exist in this world. Dr. Dee never got the Prime Key, as it is known. The going argument is that when the right person performs all the calls, the 49th will be given to them for their efforts. This person is sometimes referred to as the AntiChrist. I don't believe that. After all, the mere title  ANTI-Christ equates this with a Christian view point. I think the whole thing is way bigger than just this one view point, however documented it may be. (**and may I just remind folks how many permutations the Bible has been through, and how easily transposed, left out and mixed up the story can become over all that time?)

No, let me put forth here my own theory - that the Apocalypse is not the end of the world, just the end of our perceptions right now. There are many folks working Enochian magic today. The Golden Dawn utilized it on a regular basis. The general consensus among the knowledgeable is that their inner teachings were derived from the inner planes, and guess what they used to dial up the Masters of the Universe? Yes, Enochian. Some also say that Crowley was the Anti-Christ. Wishful thinking on his part, I'm sure. Others believe that by performing the Calls as he did in 1909, Crowley opened the gate to the other side and permitted some of the great beasts to come into this world, bringing about the World Wars (remember our four horsemen - War, Pestilence, Famine and Death). Well, maybe. But there were many great wars before those two, and lots of Famine, Death and Pestilence to be found, so I don't agree with that theory, either. Just good press for Uncle Al, that's all.

No, I don't think we've done the "Great Apocalypse" just yet. I think we still need a lot of work and a lot of will power before the great Angels of the Aires come down and change things for the better. The Tibetan Monks say that the only gate Spirit has into this world is through us - that the angels need us to do their work in this world. If that's so, then the apocalypse is within ourselves. The Revelation will be realizing our own Divine Natures, and the great changes that are predicted will happen to us 
on a personal level, not global. Well, global, in that we will all change dramatically. 

Perhaps, this is the chance to focus and make the world change in accordance to our will. Love under Will. Climate change, global economies and monetary confusion all point to a unified vision of the future. And like any change, this one is fraught with stress, anger and the desire to just get it done. Perhaps, this is the way all change is perceived. I can't be the only person who wakes up, reads the news and thinks the world is ending. But then, I see the children of my godkids and feel if they felt secure enough to bring a new life into the world, surely they saw the potential good that the world still has to offer. And I give thanks for that little piece of peace.

My prayers right now are for Oliver, Lily, Zack, Stephen, Zahara, Zahir, Xavier, Khalaya, Ali, Devon, DJ and soon to be Cyrus. If they are the future of our world, then it is bright indeed. Love you all my sweethearts. And so do your spirits.

Your Loving GodMambo

Friday, October 3, 2014

Jaws as an Exploration of the Triune Nature of Man

From a magical standpoint, the year is halved. We're fast approaching Samhain, and yet the days seem longer, the nights too short (or my back is aching earlier) and there's nothing to watch on TV. I want to be doing lots of magical stuff, but then just when I think I should go do something constructive like laundry, the universe hands me a sign and says "See, we were paying attention."  So last night, I tuned into E!  Behind the Scenes and was reminded how close we walk in both worlds (this one and the astral).  Bring on "The Making of 'Jaws' the Movie".  Now before you go snorting and rolling your eyes, listen to this.

Jaws was filmed in six months off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. The mechanical shark was a problem child par excellence. From the moment it arrived on the Vineyard, it didn't work or only worked occasionally. This meant Spielberg had to shoot around the scenes that included the shark. The writer re-wrote the script daily, because once the shark arrived, it never consistently worked from moment to moment. And as I so well know, in film time really is money. So, they began to make up stuff so they could keep shooting without the shark. It was the old gag of "Let's show the shark, by not showing the shark". They even asked John William to make sure his score for the film had a "voice" for the shark, because no one was going to glimpse it until you had viewed three quarters of the film.

So what happens? Hollywood, in all of its brilliance, gives the film four Academy awards for editing, sound, musical score and production (despite the overruns) but nothing to Spielberg who figured out how to save everyone's butt by not showing the shark. But if you look through your occult glasses, what do we see?

How about inner knowledge of the astral planes, defined by not the presence of something but the absence of evidence - a true example of bringing the unknown to the known. Spielberg gave the world (in 1974) its first astral entity, manifested through the eyes and mind of the Sheriff on the vineyard, played by Roy Schneider. For in the beginning of the film, no one but Schneider even believes there's a shark. It takes the Sheriff going out to sea (plumbing the depths of his subconscious) to bring the creature to the surface of the water (manifestation) before anyone really takes him seriously. And then, the only people to actually see this manifestation are the other two men on the ship - his alter egos, as it were.

Why, if you look a little deeper, the triune nature of the Deity were in play.  You had the Youth, played by Richard Dreyfuss, the marine biologist and specialist in sharks. You have the Father played by Schneider – his character even has three little boys, a repeat motif throughout the production.  And finally, you have the Sage played by Robert Shaw.  The three figures go to sea.  The Sea is often a metaphor for intuition. This time sea becomes a visual metaphor for "seeing" - finding themselves or a deeper meaning to themselves. On the sea, the shark devours the Sage (knowledge returning to the primal waters), as the Youth flees (inexperience) and the Father saves the day by destroying the beast (conquering his fears). The fierce some beast never even makes it to shore.  It slowly dies in the aeonic waters of return (the astral) and sinks back to its other realm, awaiting rebirth in Jaws II.

Gosh, I felt like I had just watched a Grecian tragedy played out in modern terms! The production weirdly echoed the themes of the movie - three men at the helm of the project - Spielberg (Youth), Zanuk (Father) and Brown (Sage). Youth fleeing the project's formal storyboarding in favor of his own design. The Father taking them out to sea, literally to film each day, to avoid the phone calls and harassment from the studio in California. The Sage being devoured by the production costs and overruns. Art imitating life as it were.

And the shark? What ever happened to that cranking piece of machinery?  Well, he's guarding a junkyard in southern California, strung up unceremoniously over the gate, limp, rotted and ruined. A mighty lousy ending for a manifested entity. But then, perhaps, that's how we've always treated our gods - hunt them down, demand proof of their existence and then - when they actually do show up, we blow them to pieces, and string them up like cheap souvenirs of a by gone time.

Yep, art imitating life. So raise the popcorn and pass the Nietzsche, please. (And be grateful you don't live with me).

Much Love, The Existentialist Mambo