Monday, January 25, 2016

Death and LIfe: Ghede in the Gate

Honor tout moun -
I wrote this posting last week, just before the storm. Its been a painful week for me but I want to share. Even personal pain must be set aside when you are a working priest; others need your support and strength. I will cry in private later on.
They are predicting snowmegaddon this weekend, just in time for our Legba fet. The Gatekeeper must have some big news if he is buttoning me into the house for two days. I have been acting as an uber mambo since December 31 - Petro bathes, Bon Chans (luck) baths, three day ancestor elevation.  Students are busy with the Four Circles class. Clients are coming out of the wood work. Woy - travay, travay-yo!

Life is a continuous spiral, a Fibonacci graphic meant to be lived and explored.  Each passing day my duties and spiritual connections increase. Most are wonderful experiences, the kind of affirmation that makes me glad for becoming a  priest all those years ago. Others? Well, those are the not so good kind; the type where you must step aside internally inorder to function externally. No one ever taught me how to do this - maybe its a survivor mechanism, I don't know. What I do know is, it still hurts even when I can't show my emotions.

I had devastating news arrive last week - a very close friend lost her husband in a freak accident in Jamaica the first week of the year. He was a Ghede child, born one day after me - November 3rd. I feel those of us born in the time of the Ghedes walk closer to death than most. But that doesn't mean it's any easier to do the work.  Two years ago, I officiated at the memorial service for her mother -- interestingly in a blizzard. When the call came late on Saturday night, I thought OMG, its her father. Never did I think it would be her husband "D".

I officiated at the marriage of D and my friend.  They lived here in Pennsylvania for many years, but island-born people have a pull to the waters of their homeland that cannot be denied. Three years ago D moved back, and my friend began plan a life there with him. They bought a house. They opened a bar with music. D rapped in a rich baritone colored with island flavors and cut a couple records that were well received. My friend set up a boutique that carried jewelry, doing hair for the tourist ladies. It was all going so well, until D stepped off the curb last Monday and was run down by a tour bus. Game over.

D's birth was heralded by a magical, mystical character known to me only as Brudda.  D later explained that Brudda was a real life Obeah healer from Kingston, Jamaica. When Brudda got a look at D's mom he predicted that the baby would be born "special." D arrived a week earlier with a caul on his face.  That set him up for many things - but mostly danger. On an island where magic and spirituality go hand in hand, a baby with a caul is of special note. Whether D rose to fulfill his potential we will never know. Even my friend didn't know much about that part of D's life.  When I left for Haiti to become mambo, D was over the moon.  Finally he had a friend here in the states he could talk to about things that were "other." But it wasn't enough. His life was really good here; busy with my friend, her family, myself and Papa Don.  But, somehow it wasn't enough and the call to come home was greater than all of us together. So he returned to the island and now, there is a hole where he once stood,

"Help the people," D would say. "Brudda always said the real work is to help the people." D said I helped to make his dream come true when I married him to my friend. They have been a part of my life for so long, they feel like family.  I don't know what happened last week in Jamaica, but I will help my friend mourn and together we will pick up the pieces, and begin again. We have good reason to do so because D left behind more than just my friend; he left a daughter. A little bit of himself for us to love and cherish. I will be traveling to Kingston soon to help my friend bring home her husband and her child. And together with her family, we will make magic for a tiny Italian-Jamaican girl who looks like her daddy and laughs like her mom. This Godmother is very happy that there is yet another ti-fey to add to our growing sosyete.  And I am going keep my word to D, to help, however I can. I have to -- he and Brudda are both watching me now. Ayibobo.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Mercury Retrograde kinda Month

Respect tout moun! Bonne Anne! Happy New Year everyone!

It is a Mercury Retrograde kind of month.  The Trickster planet goes Retrograde today until the 25th. Lucky us.  Leave time for travel, look over contracts twice and be careful of what you say, how you say it and when you do. Whew, a lot of work. Retrograde time periods are its all about the "R" words - Review, Renew, Refresh and Release.  Here's how this month is shaping up for me.

We do Three Kings magic at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve.  Don carries money, food and fuel over the threshold to bring prosperity, abundance and wealth into our lives for the entire year. I've written about this ritual here - and its still not too late to do this. You have until the Epiphany to bring the RICHES of the Three Kings into your life.

We also do a tradition Ancestor Elevation on December 31, January 1 and 2nd. Elevating your Ancestors helps move them forward in their spiritual amelioration which means you as well.  Its a sweet ritual that only takes a few minutes to do, but feels so lovely and REFRESHES the your entire  lineage with its uplifting prayers.

On January 1, I got a call from an old friend who I hadn't spoken to in a while. We got to RENEW our friendship while comparing notes on what had transpired in our lives to date.  We REMARKED on making more of an effort stay in touch with one another. Another long lost pal also appeared and gave me love, so I was feeling very elated by all the touchie-feelie stuff happening. I take all of this as a good sign for me that the year was stepping off on the RIGHT foot.

I also began 2016 by appearing on TV. The Travel Channel hosts a show called Dead Files Revisited. I filmed it last April and it finally aired this past weekend. As I REVIEWED my work my first thought "was not too shabby, but my Kreyol could use some attention." I also thought it interesting that they used the RITUAL part extensively - my final interview was kind of janky due to the Spirits playing with the camera and deleting the batteries repeatedly. Even the cameraman was thoroughly exasperated by the end, saying he wasn't sure any of it would be useful, since the camera kept shutting itself off throughout the interview - oops, sorry about that!

And finally, I RELEASED some things that I needed to, in order to make peace with the changes in my life that I have had going on. Yes, even this mambo is not protected from the wear and tear of life, though I am not one to speak about my personal issues. But you will see a change if you know me - less hair, less weight. My health had taken a hit last year - a serious bone bruise in October, a torn ligament, and a major IBS flare up that resulted in my hair beginning to fall out. I do listen when the universe speaks, so I made some tough choices.  I RELEASED (cut off) my beautiful dreadlocks to give my head a chance to heal. I've made a RADICAL change in my diet, so my belly would start to  heal. And we are selling (getting RID off) this big house with all its issues, and moving down into something more manageable. Its time for a change.

Spirit is showing me that I am on the RIGHT track. We have new students in our Four Circle class (RENEWED interest), the house is getting painted (REFRESHED) and the REALTOR is coming by next week to offer advice on any final touch ups we need to get done. It's all good.

And I am REMINDED by Spirit that balance is important. I cannot go hiving off like I used to and expect to get anything accomplished. I intended to approach this year in a more focused manner, with the desire to finish projects, renew relationships and settle into a stable groove. As I am REMINDED by Legba, I must keep my eyes on the prize. Whenever I waiver, is when I become lost. Not this year.

So bring on the retrograde. I was born during a Mercury Retrograde, which makes me very empowered during these times. I RELISH the R words and so should you.  They will make you ROBUST and give you the RESOLVE to go forward with your plans. My best REGARDS!