Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 January Reading - Action de Gras

This month, Papa Legba pulled 12 cards from the Vodou deck and gave us His insights. Here is January's card:

Action de Gras translates as an “act of grace.”  This month we will all have to make an act of grace to receive the blessing of the card. 

 I find myself doing more phone therapy than anything else this month for people.  There have been many conversations relating to personal issues, relationship situations and monetary troubles.  I try to be the voice of calm reason, offering assurances, prayers and a hot meal if necessary.  Despite the proliferation A real priest doesn’t just read cards, make pwen and pour bathes. They listen without judgment, offers suggestions and advice, cooks, cleans, wipes up and keeps the peace. An act of grace can be something as simple as remembering what your Mom taught you - if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all. Easier said than done, I know, but that one effort may save you a whole lot of trouble later.

We don't need to create major events to have acts of grace. Pick up your neighbor's newspaper and toss it on the porch so they don't have to walk out in this cold. Call your elders - blood, initiatory and next door, to check on them. Sometimes, a simple phone call is a life line for a lonely elder. There's much to be said for packing your husband lunch, making a favorite dinner or just sitting and listening over a cup of coffee. I believe the simple gestures are the ones with the most power.

Remember this when the challenges arise this month and act with grace, so your efforts are an offering to the Lwa.  Speak the “A Nou Papa Ginen-a” prayer each night, to remind yourself of where the blessings come from, and to make it an offering to spirit. You will glad you did.

When I read, I always check the shadow of the month - the card that rules opposite. January's shadow is Legba Atibon:  The Opener.  Legba is the exalted shadow of January, helping ensure that the blessing you deserve from making your act of grace will come to you.  He will also open the way for you to understand what act you should make.  If you are facing a decision about something, an offering of coffee or tobacco to Legba can help ease the way to clarity and understanding.

Stay small this month - Mercury will be going retrograde next week. We are in his pre-shadow at the moment, so there's a lot going on. And by the looks, phone calls and emails, it is going to be a doosy. Just remember Retrograde is about the "R" words - reflect, review, renew, re-doing, re-applying, repair or research things. And ask Legba for help on all of it. Set red candles in the evening, and place a cup of strong black coffee.  When things really go topsy-turvy, set tobacco there as well.  Legba will get you through without issue.

And remember to love people unconditionally.  Love will always win the day, the moment or the week every time - so be generous to a fault, kind till it kills you and patient like a mountain.  Whatever you are dealing with, it won't last forever. Kenbe la folks!

Love, Honor and Respect,

Monday, January 12, 2015

2015 Four Circles Year One, Class One

Bon Swa tout moun - we are starting our fifth year of the Four Circles this week. If you have not joined, you can do so right at the top of the year. With 240 minutes of protected video, a private chat group and of course, the amazing members of Sosyete du Marche, you can kick start the New Year with us.

Click on the Four Circles at SdM, Inc. to join - we will be accepting student sup to the end of this month. Mesi anpil for looking!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2015 - A Year of Pilgrimages

Happy New Year y'all. It's been a long time since I wrote. I have had lots of deadlines and things to finish. In between I tried to keep a clear head and refresh myself.  I indulged in something over the holidays that has gotten me inspired to do something similar here on home turf.

Recently, PBS hosted a program called Sacred Journeys. The host Bruce Feiler, reported on six major pilgrimages - Jerusalem in Israel, The Hajj in Saudia Arabia, Shikoku in Japan, Lourdes in France, Kumbh Mela in India and Osun-Osogbo in West Africa. They were amazing, stirring and moving reports. Less travel log and more spiritual seeker material. I highly recommend them -- you can stream them here on

This got me thinking - in six days, I will be a Mambo Asogwe for a dozen years. Yes, for more than a decade, I have held the asson, held fets, written a book, designed a tarot and hosted kanzos. I need something to get me through the next 12 years, something to inspire me to even greater heights. Well, at least get me through this year's schedule of fets and services.

When the PBS program aired, I watched with deep longing and a little teary eyed, as the pilgrims climbed the hills of Japan and waded into the Ganges. What could I do from this little corner of the world? I'd love to travel to any of the above destinations, the budget is just not there right now. The houmfort is like a ship that needs 24/7 maintenance. That's what happens when you live in a 100 year old house: it needs attention. Constantly. When a weekend comes around, it means fixing, patching, painting, shoring up, tearing down or nailing together. Last weekend, we didn't do any of this, and the Oungan and I kept waiting for something to give. Or break. Or creak, crack and groan. Thankfully, none of that happened, but it will. You can bet on it.

So I thought maybe I could find a way to do a pilgrimage here. Maybe a month of them or even better yet, a year of pilgrimages. I will seek out the magical, mystical locations that are around this area. I will keep to no more than a four hour drive. That will get me as far north as NYC (so I can pilgrimage to the Dendur Temple at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.) It'll get me south to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and west to the Shrine of St. Anthony in Pittsburgh. Along the way, I'll blog about the places I go and what I get out of my journeys.

Bruce Feiler, the NY Times writer who hosted the program, says there are six stages that characterize every pilgrimage.

 It begins with the Call to finding meaning in this crazy world. Then there is Separation from the familiar. The Journey is the meat of the trip; actually traveling to the place you want to visit. Contemplation marks the way you go into the sacred place. Encounter is what happens when you are there. And finally, the Return where you try to hang onto some of the numinous quality you encountered.

I remember my first pilgrimage to Haiti's Sodo falls. We hit every point on the above list. I was compelled to visit, even though we were rushing to get in everything I wanted to do on a 6 day itinerary. Even our host was aghast, but she got us there. The Separation from the familiar was made very clear when she packed three rolls of toilet tissue for us. The Journey was not for the faint of heart or body. We had to make a back breaking ride to the foot of the mountains, then climb Goat Mountain to the village of Sodo. Once on top, we had to wade through the Artibonite River, climb down a very steep, narrow path and  pass over a rickety set of stairs before entering the grotto of the falls themselves.  But our reward was the icy electric kiss of the water in 100 degree heat. It was very much a sacred journey. I sat in Contemplation for an hour, letting the water pound down on me, clearing my head and taking my breath away. Returning to Port au Prince, I carried four liters of the water home (yup, back up the path, through the river and down the mountain. I was also younger...), to use in Lave Tets and in our Danbala basin. I have half a liter left. It's time to return.

I don't know if I can find anything like that here, but I am willing to try. I need to try, actually, And I'll keep you posted on how I do. Ayibobo.