Monday, May 4, 2015

The Reading for May - Ogoun Batala

Following the lightning fast choices presented by Ogoun Shango along with the shifting movement and instability of LaSiren’s influence in April, this month brings Ogoun Batala’s cool energy to the forefront.

According to the encyclopedia of Haitian spirits, Batala is derived from Grand Obatala and is perceived by the Haitians as a power for independence.  He shares his name but nothing else with the Yoruban Orisha Obatala. Instead, Ogoun Batala is an example of how new Lwa are born into the Vodou pantheon. 

In Haitian Vodou, he is regarded as the premiere warrior, such as a general.  He is served with all his Ogoun brothers under the Petro and Nago segments of service.  Batala is also considered a bokor, the magical priest who works with both hands. This is a fitting talent, as Ogoun Batala is said to be Meji or doubled. He is syncretized with St. Phillip, the apostle.  This particular saint is often depicted holding a plate with two fish and standing in front of a crowd.  According to the gospel of Mark, Phillip was present in Galilee when Jesus performed the miracle of two fish and fives loaves of bread. Phillip is then nuanced as the saint who can “double” things, a veiled reference to the magical ability of multiplication and to Batala’s talent for the same.

In Haitian Vodou, Batala is the cool, level headed Ogoun. He is the strategist. His ability to see into all areas of conflict allows him to lay in a course of action to determine outcomes that are favorable to the petitioner.  Like his Yoruban counterpart, Batala is served with white clothing and white foods.  However, he does take a red bull as an offering. And his magical talents can help you as well. Buy two lottery tickets this month and leave them on your altar with an offering of a white rose for Obatala.  As a Meji, he can double your offering, if he likes!

As you balance your work life with your pleasure, call on Batala to lend his considerable ease of leadership to help stabilize the craziness that may have permeated your life the last month. Batala offers his organization and leadership skills to you, helping to make the transition from movement to stability easier. Wear white, light a white candle and give thanks for Batala’s calming energy.

The Shadow of May is Mange Mo, the ritual of feeding of the Dead. For Americans, this act is nearly none existent.  But in Haiti, feeding the dead occurs not just in November during Fet Ghede but all year round.  Done regularly, feeding is said to keep the good family close by while keeping the bad relatives away from the living.

This propitiation is said to satisfy the Dead, who are then in a position to the help the living.  If you have an Ancestor altar, place food and drink there for your beloved dead. By keeping them close, happy and loved, you will add their protective ashe to Batala's power this month. A little bite off your plate at night and a sip of coffee will suffice. If you want to be traditional, then strong, cold coffee and white bread will be the correct offering. The offering of white foods such as bread, rice pudding, white cake or cookies is also appropriate for Batala as well.

Be consistent, and do this offering each Monday of this month especially.  Monday is the day of the Ancestors.  An offering of food and drink for your Ancestors, as well as an offering of white for Obatala should help you fine tune your work and your life this month.

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