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,