Epiphany: the Meaning of Blue

•January 11, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Epiphany was yesterday, January 6th. I grew up Baptist and had no real conception of Epiphany or the place of the three magi who sought out the Christ child and brought gifts for this manifestation of divinity made mortal. Vodou changed that, and the meaning and manifestation of the feast of the three magi associated with the word ‘epiphany’ has taken on meaning.

The story goes that the three kings (changed to fit liturgical standards from magi, which is a practitioner of magic and probably had to do with the prophecy that a child would be born, etc) followed a star to find the divine made manifest in mortal form, bringing aromatic and important gifts. Once there, they realized that the prophecy was indeed fulfilled by this tiny baby and recognized that something significant had happened.

In vodou, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany are Petwo timesof year. The manifestation of the divine in human form is an extremely ‘hot’ spiritual act, and that moment of the full seating of a spirit in a mortal body is full of fire. The images associated with this season–Mary overseeing a baby in the manger, a child Christ, the three magi–are deeply tied to out Petwo spirits. In particular, the image of the three magi holding gifts represents the Simbi, a family of spirits who collectively hold many secrets of the wanga priests tie, of the fey and bwa that make up some of the contents of such, and who stir and heat the baths. They are by and large master magicians, and the three magi speak to that, as well as speak to the diversity of the Simbi, since the magi are often pictured as having distinct backgrounds. The culmination of the season is fete Twa Wa, or Epiphany, when the bath for the New Year is made and, in houses that hold a fete Twa Wa, the spirits themselves make the bath. A good luck bath can only be made by a priest (and mine is pretty bitchin’), but a bath made by the spirits known for hot, fiery work? Y-E-S.

For me, this has been a season of revelation, both in life change and internal realizations. One day into the season of advent, I started a new job that lets me use all my skills and experience in my field thus far. Just before Christmas, I signed on to a new apartment that is my first stable, long-term housing since just before I left for kanzo. Big stuff for me, delivered right from the hands of my spirits.

Internally, I have really been considering and realizing the idea and meaning of ‘epiphany’: revealing of a sudden intuitive realization. The lightbulb moments. Sitting back in your chair after you read a piece of research that connects dots you hadn’t considered before. Thunderstruck moments of knowing.

I did a novena leading up to jou de Twa Rwa, and part of that novena was revisiting the epiphany that my emergence from the djevo was. The world had really changed for me, and I saw (and contiue to see) things very differently than I did prior to kanzo. For me, part of being a priest is keeping my feet in that particular epiphany and keeping it up front as a key foundational piece of my priestwork.

It’s hard to explain if you aren’t in the middle of it. I had a related conversation with a good friend recently who is an old school traditional witch. She has been one of few people in my life who have had a front row uncensored seat to vodou unfolding in my life. She was the first person to see me once I got back to the US after kanzo, and she has been utterly unsurprised as to how things have unfolded.

We were talking about how hard it is to explain what happens with spirits whom you have deep and abiding relationships with and how real and in-this-world they are. She related it to the relative lack of advanced traditional witchcraft books or written resources: at some point a) you must experience it to fully understand it, b) the spirits must teach you how to do the work and be in these relationships, and c) it looks utterly ridiculous written down because it makes no sense to most people who are not living it in their own way right beside you.

She’s pretty on target. It is incredibly frustrating in some ways to write about those epiphanies and have them make sense to anyone else. Sometimes words fail the experience because how do you describe what shakes your foundations and changes your understanding of who you are and what you mean in this world?

Epiphany.

This season, it has been about the bonds between myself and my spirits. We talk a lot about how ceremony solidifies something and there is cemented truth there–unless you seek to ruin the work put on you as part of ceremonies and/or break agreements you make, those spirits are with you forever.

The rest of it, though, is based on how you show up and what you do. Attitude means something, as do intentions. How you live your life and conduct yourself influences how you approach your spirits. What sacrifices you make to do what is asked of you, and what lengths you are willing to go to. All of this balls up into the stretchy rubber band of your relationships.

When I arrived in Haiti for kanzo, my mother and I sat in her house and had a long conversation about what my life had been before I left the United States and what was possible going forward. She looked me in the eye and told me that my sacrifices of basically everything–job, home, car, most of my belongings–would not be in vain, as long as I did the work that I was there to do. My spirits backed that up and told me that my sacrifice was my foundation, in a lot of ways, and that as long as I kept up front my oaths and promises, I would always be taken care of. When I did maryaj, they made the same promises in exchange for my promises–my rings will always be the physical reminder of the spirits who love me and walk next to me each day.

That has been the epiphany I keep re-living: they love me and are with me a-l-w-a-y-s, even in situations that seem completely unrelated to vodou because they are MY spirits. They love me enough to show up and show me where the danger is. They love me enough to show up and slip money in my pocket. They love me enough to explain things in ways that make sense to me. They love me enough to teach me and teach me and teach me. They love me enough to be patient.

It sounds simple, but it’s absolutely mindblowing and, over and over, it says ‘this shit is for real’. That, no matter how deep your faith and what you have seen, is always an epiphany of it’s own. This particular revolution of realization shakes your bone marrow. You can go through kanzo and suffer with your sacrifices and receive the support of your spirits there (because you expect it there), but when they show up in a dream on a Tuesday night when you’re curled up on the couch or the floor or on a borrowed mattress in your terribly worn out jammie pants that you keep because they are the most comfy thing ever and tell you that they will always love you and always protect you?

It shakes things up in the best mind-blowing way. You understand things differently and you don’t understand how you don’t look different for it. The color blue is no longer a flat hue, but is deep and rich and technicolor and you intrinsically know what that means and how it spins around you. Things can never be the same, ever, and your internal revolution cycle revs just a tiny bit faster.

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Blessed are the least of us.

•December 24, 2017 • 1 Comment

As previously mentioned, I started a new job recently. It was a much awaited, much prayed for opportunity that my spirits delivered to me, and it was exactly what I have needed and been looking for. It is a great resume builder and a career maker in it’s own way, and it is absolutely the hardest job I have ever had to date.

I joke that, in my field, I am basically a managerial repo man. Things not going as they should? Is shit REAL fucked up? Time to hire Bonkira, who can take your professional pile of shit and make it into something functional! In six months, you will have a brand new shiny program that works, one way or another!

It didn’t really surprise me that I got hired into an absolute disaster, it was just impressive as to how much of a disaster it actually was/is. My first day at one of my sites, a client almost died in the bathroom and I met them officially when they woke up while I was doing CPR on them. A couple days later, a client threatened to beat the shit out of me if he saw me again, and necessitated three different police escorts off the property. I reviewed files and found progress notes written on the back of envelopes and clients who had not seen a case manager in six months or more. The stance of my boss has been ‘I know it’s a disaster. Do whatever you think it will take to fix it. Tell me what you need’.

So I have.

Once my clients realized I was there, they started trickling in to see me. My first intake was a newly out trans person who was afraid they would not be welcome. A fiftysomething ex-con wandered in and wanted to talk, and I taught them a new word (’genderqueer’), which they loved and immediately defined themselves as. A young gay person came in and cried because their father hung up the phone on them, again, when they called to see if they could come home for Christmas. Through tears, they said they liked the case manager onsite just fine, but ‘there’s just some things you can’t say to a straight man’.

My spirits bring me to where I am needed. When the third LGBTQ client showed up in my office in one day, I started praying: I don’t know what you all have in mind for me here, but I know they need me. Help me do it right.

This past Monday, Gede met me in my office: I arrived and all I could feel was the Dead Man. I sat down to go through a weekend’s worth of email and messages, and he was at my elbow. Where’s my stuff? You need to get me some stuff for here. At least a prayer card. Get a prayer card NOW.

Together, with me grumbling that I had shit to do, we made a makeshift prayer card: a fresh-from-the-internet saint picture with a favorite prayer for the Dead man written on the back taped to the side of my monitor.

Good, he said, and let me be.

That afternoon, I received a transfer of a client from the second site I manage: an elderly man with an end-stage terminal illness. He walked in with death on his shoulder and, once settled into his room, I cut a side eye to Gede: He can’t die just yet, he just got here AND IT IS ONLY MY SECOND WEEK.

He didn’t die that day (and hasn’t yet), but the Dead Man so forcefully close made me nervous….and he didn’t fail me. The next day, I walked in to find out that another client has passed away while Gede was ensconced in my office. He stares at me from my computer habit and reminds me why I am where I am.

The spirits send me to their people, every time. They tell me, on no uncertain terms, that my clients–the homeless, the substance using, the mentally ill, the formerly incarcerated–are their people, and I am to take care of them to the best of my ability.

It is hard work, but it is not a hard job. How can I not care for and love those I see the spark of my spirits inside? How could I possibly turn away those that are held up by my husbands and my spirits as holy in their humanity and their need? What else is a priest for if not to serve the people?

That’s the trick–that is what being a priest is. We are created to bring the spirits to the parts of the world and to the people who need them most. That is all of it, long and short. That’s the gig, and it doesn’t require magic or stuff or All The Knowledge. It requires the ability to show up and engage the heart and do the damn work, even when it sucks or is scary or is done with no acknowledgement or thanks. It doesn’t rely on what we think the tools of a priest out in the world are, and, in a lot of ways, it does not center on us–we are the tool and the spirits are the force behind us. It is little and small, and that can be hard to swallow.

The more I know my spirits, the easier everything is to swallow, honestly. I am grateful for the small things. I am grateful for being a well-honed tool in this particular area, and I am happy they feel that they have a tool they can put to use. I know that these opportunities for service to my spirits are also opportunities to go deeper into my relationships with them. There’s that whole idea of coming to know God while in the foxhole, and my office has been pretty foxhole-like lately.

In many ways, this job is different. Mostly, it is different because I am different–I am not nearly the same person I was pre-kanzo, when I was last hired to work in an environment that resembled my current setting. My patience is different, and how I see my clients is different. It is not hard to find the spirits within them and to see the spark of the divine in their souls. They are a blessing, in all of their brokenness, as the spirits have been a blessing to me in all of my own brokenness.

All of this while, in the vodou world, we enter the hottest part of the year. The divine stands ready to be made flesh, an intensely and undeniably Petwo act, and epiphany is coming–the realization that this manifestation is in fact divine. It is a powerful, powerful thing that happens over and over in the work of vodou; our spirits arrive and we recognize that they are of Ginen. They arrive for us because we need them, to serve as much as they are served. Those of us who have gone under the water and risen from Ginen in turn are expected to emulate that sacred service as best as we can, because we cannot have a gift without seeking to give it to others.

And here we are. I will bathe soon and send away the gunk from the last year so that I may welcome the bright new year with luck and prosperity. I will make soup and give my spirits soup and eat some soup myself. There will be prayers–always prayers–and, when I settle into my new home in the next couple weeks, I will bless my home with the heat and light of this time of year, that it may carry me through when times get dark.

Blessed are the least of us, who show us who we are in the places no one sees.

Breathing Underwater

•November 11, 2017 • 2 Comments

This is an important and poignant time of year for me. A handful of years ago, fresh out of a relationship and not really sure where I was going in life, I took an old friend who I had recently come back into contact with up on his invitation to attend a Haitian vodou ceremony at his initiatory mother’s house. I had almost no personal interest in vodou beyond a general ‘I have never seen this before, might as well expand my horizons and learn how other people live’.

I attended, and the ceremony held no great awakening for me. It was good to expanding understanding of what other people did and it was fascinating to watch, but it wasn’t for me. I went to leave after the fete had ended with the sun rising, and found myself face-to-face with the Dead Man still in the head of the priestess in charge. I have been with you for a long time, he said with a serious look on his face. It’s about time you came to see me, and I’m happy that you’re here. Will you come and see me again?

When faced with what looks like a polite invitation from a spirit, it is best to answer with equal politeness. Of course, I said. It would be my pleasure.

I left knowing that I had been backed into a corner. Gede is invited to every ceremony which meant that, if I were going to honor my promise, I needed to keep showing up. The Dead Man plays the game better than most, but despite my continual attendance at ceremonies that year, I was resolute that I was just there to observe. I had no desire to practice and I did everything in my power to ignore my dreams and not lift a finger in the direction of developing a practice.

The following fet Gede, I found myself in front of the same Dead Man. He looked me in the eye and gently read me out for ignoring him for the previous year. Until you get right with me, you have nothing. I left that party feeling a bit like hamburger–this was the same fete maryaj had vigorously been proposed at–and arrived back to my apartment to find the door and surrounding wall covered with moths. Like, a blanket of moths. I stood there counting until I got to 100, and then I gave up and went to bed knowing that Gede was not fucking around.

I got right with him quick and what happened after was really the blossoming of one of the most beautiful relationships I have ever hoped to have. The Dead Man (and a few Dead Ladies) has become my staunchest advocate, my closest friend-consort, and a devoted parent. At every turn, I find him. On every corner, he waits for me. In every moment, I can hear his dry-as-a-bone cackle, if I listen.

As I got closer to kanzo, he was there more and more. He kept me out of the grave before I got in the djevo, and helped secure the funds to make sure it was not an impossible task. He kept me laughing–one of my fondest dreams is Gede showing up as a recently-dead Prince in the Purple Rain outfit on a purple motorcycle, asking me if I wanted to go for a ride–and kept me moving when I otherwise was hoping I would just be struck dead before I failed to get to Haiti.

After kanzo, he visited in a dream, appearing at a picnic that he attended in a perfect three piece suit complete with matching bowler hat and cane. You were a pain in the ass to get in the djevo, he said, eyeing my newly re-born self, but that’s all over now!

I owe him everything.

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It is transcendent to have your existence completely resting in the hands of your spirits. There are these moments of paralyzing fear that pop up and then melt away into the calmness that only comes when you know that the only way out is through their maneuverings. Divine providence provides a terrible sort of reassurance, but it is freeing in its own way. Everything I have comes from them, and they will continue to provide because none of my sacrifices have ever proven to be in vain.

There’s a lot in the air for me. After two years of continuous upheaval and a complete nuclear destruction of my life in pursuit of a life, I am working to put puzzle pieces into place. It’s not easy. In fact, it is one of the harder things I have done, probably second only to pushing the big red button that brought about my own personal apocalypse pre-kanzo. I walked from a career-defining job because the lwa said to,and recovering from that professionally is a challenge, especially in a specialized field. The job market is rough because a fascist three-yearold holds the highest office in the country, and funding is being hoarded in case he eliminates an entire branch of social services. It’s tough, but no one every promised me easy. I trust you, I tell them. I trust you because I have always trusted you, and you have never led me astray. Tell me what to do next.

We have a plan, they whisper back. Don’t worry.

The vigilant waiting is hard.

Sometimes I give in to the gnawing of the tiny gremlins. Everything is awful, they say, and you are drowning. When it is like that, I look back to who brought me to the door of the djevo and flung me inside, who has never left me without comfort, even when comfort took the form of painful truth.

Are you there, Dead Man? It’s me, Bonkira.

Under the big rock, he says with a toothy grin. It’s me!

The touch of death can be tender and gentle, like the care of a lover who finds you on the floor at 3AM because your boss is an asshole, the bills are too many, and that sushi was bad. I pray, and he fills me with grace and blessings. The suffering does not go on forever, he reminds me. You asked for big things and that takes time. He stands over me with calm patience, and lets me use him like a ladder, clawing at his suit to leverage myself up. You can’t know how much you don’t see right now.

It is human to feel terror beside the knowledge that everything will be fine and that you have the biggest insurance policy that money cannot buy. He knows humanity, and still has the taste of it in his mouth. He knows suffering, and can share it.

I don’t know what comes next, I tell him. Sometimes I am wobbly like a toddler with brand new legs. What do I do, beloved? Show me the way out.

The dead have answers for days. An answer to suit every occasion. An answer that matches every hat and comes with it’s own pair of broken sunglasses. An answer that opens every door, and answer that can turn the key in the lock and close off everything. An answer to make you scream and an answer to make you moan and an answer to make you laugh.

This is who I am, he says, and shows me things. This is how you love me.

Upcoming opportunity: All Soul’s Novena

•October 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

On October 25th, I begin a novena for All Soul’s Day. A novena is a 9 day series of prayers for a cause or particular divinity, and my novena for All Soul’s Day is for the dead of all sorts. I couldn’t find a prayer format that I liked, so I wrote my own last year and updated it this year (and I’ll post it closer to the beginning of the novena if you want to pray along with me).

This year, I am offering the opportunity to have your beloved dead or dead that you want prayers offered on behalf included. There’s no charge or anything, you just have to speak up.

These are the designations for each night of my novena:

Day 1: the newly deceased (anyone who passed in the past year)

Day 2: the unnamed dead (anyone who died without their identity being known, who died without a name, or who was buried without any identifier)

Day 3: the forgotten dead (those who died and have been forgotten by their loved ones or who no longer have any living family and friends, and whose names have been lost to time)

Day 4: the martyred dead: those who died at the hands of colonialism–people who died while enslaved, as a result of being colonized, or from the effects of colonialism

Day 5: the martyred dead: those who have died at the hands of police and state-sanctioned murder (particularly people of color murdered as a result of a racist police state)

Day 6: the martyred dead: those who have died as a result of hate crimes focused on sexuality and/or gender identity

Day 7: the ancestral dead (family of origin, family of adoption, family of choice–I will absolutely pray for your family members)

Day 8: the lineage dead (those dead who are part of a spiritual lineage or are of spiritual significance)

Day 9: all souls who have passed

If you would like the names of your beloved dead or dead that you would like remembered, all you need to do is let me know their name and what day I should pray for them on. You can submit their name anonymously to me over on Tumblr and submit as many names as you feel need to be prayed for. If you aren’t sure what category may suit them best, I can help you figure it out or they can be included in the last night of prayers, which is for all souls who have passed.

You don’t need to follow any particular belief system (or have any beliefs at all) to participate, and I don’t confer anything onto the dead in a religious sense–I only offer a blessing for their peace and evolution in whatever afterlife (or lack thereof) that is most suitable for them. Again, no charge or obligation for anything to have your dead prayed for.

If you have business with Gede, I will be doing a novena later in November for the nasyon of dead in Haitian vodou and will make a separate post for that closer to when that is to happen!

Feel free to reblog this, and I will reblog between now and October 25, too!

The Way Leads On to the Way

•September 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

It’s been a busy couple weeks over this way, and a lot of stuff is happening both rapidly and slowly.

Last weekend, we mounted lave tet in Boston, which made for a long weekend Doing Stuff with family. It was a really lovely and intimate experience for me with some of my siblings, and it was good to spend time with them without the hustle and bustle of a big ceremony going on around us. Ceremony of any sort leads me to and leaves me with new understandings of the spirits and how they move in the world, which is a blessing I am grateful for.

Yesterday was Michaelmas/Feast of St. Michel Arcange, and one of my husbands walks with St. Michael, so I began a novena for him several days before lave tet began which was an interesting challenge for myself. Several nights had ceremony ending in the wee hours, which meant I would begin my prayers in the wee-est of wee hours since I prefer to make most of my big prayers right before I sleep. Some nights I was too exhausted to do anything but the main novena prayer, so I owe Agaou some rounds of rosary-saying.

Today was Haitian dance class, which meets weekly here in the city, and while I have been before, it had been a long time since I had been. One of my brothers was teaching, though, so I wanted to go support him and I really do need to lean how to dance. It was so, SO much fun. I joked later that it usually takes me a plane ticket and a passport to enjoy sweating profusely so much with my friends, but LORD it was good. We danced a little yanvalou, parigol, a whole lot of Djouba and Nago, and ended with a bit of banda.

As soon as the drums started,I really felt alive–I live for those damn drums because they are the heartbeat of the spirits, and it is so joyful to hear the rhythms. I didn’t do too badly, overall–there is some stuff that I am really not good at yet (my spine does not yet want to move like my brother’s, but it will get there), but I picked up the footwork and could get it going. I love me some Djouba and Nago dances, though, and it was really amazing to start to learn how to move my body like the spirits do when they are down in possession. I really can’t wait to go back.

Today is also the 120th anniversary of the death of St. Thérèse of Lisieux/ Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She has shown up for me in a big, big way after kanzo, and it’s likely because of my pre-kanzo praying to her. Part of my bargain with my spirits to get to Haiti and into the djevo was that, if they would help the money come, I would attend Mass weekly. The church I attended Mass at had a votive altar for her, and I knew her to have the reputation of being deeply faithful and possessing a lot of internal spiritual strength and fortitude–she entered the cloister at 15 and never left the convent after that, eventually dying of tuberculosis inside the walls. So, I prayed and asked her to grant my strength to do what I needed to do to fulfill my promise to my spirits and to have faith in their plan for me. They were prayers of desperation, honestly, since things were burning down and I had no idea how I was going to make it all happen. To be frank, if my mother had told me that praying to the light bulb would have helped me, I would have done it. She didn’t tell me to go speak with Thérèse, but I decided that nothing was off limits so to  Thérèse I went.

Imagine my surprise when she started talking back, after I had settled down from kanzo. I have dreamed her over and over where we sit down and talk about things or where I find things that have her image on them. Hell, right before kanzo someone gave me a statue of Thérèse. I wondered out loud to my mother why a saint known to be a very Catholic-y Catholic would start talking to me, and my mother looked up from her task and said ‘because she was listening’. Duh.

Thérèse doesn’t seem to have any sort of issue with me–despite me being the worst version of a Catholic you have ever seen, complete with my happy living in sin of various sorts and the whole trans thing and on and on–and even seems pleased with my attention. She outright doesn’t care about the vodou thing, which was super surprising, and the more I read about her, the more I understand how she and her philosophy of devotion fit within my spiritual sphere and personal development. Once I get settled into my next home, she wants a space of her own and I guess since I was screeching at her pre-kanzo, she is exempt from my ‘absolutely no more spirits’ declaration I made post-kanzo. So, she’ll get her shrine.

Her attention and presence has coincided nicely with a request from one of my husbands to attend Mass regularly, which, in the dream he gave me that informed of this in a ‘why don’t you attend Mass more? why don’t you participate?’, resulted in my dream-self sort of telling him off (’the Church doesn’t want me and I don’t want it’). My mother’s take on all of this was super pragmatic–if your husband is telling you to go to church, you probably should get your ass to church’. So, I have been bouncing around to a variety of churches to find one that I like. Tomorrow, I go to Mass at the chapel at the local Carmelite monastery for a special Mass in honor of Thérèse, since tomorrow is her official feast day.

All of this keeps being drawn together in one fat care package for me of ‘things you need to work on’ from my spirits. I was not raised Catholic, but grew up in a fairly religiously combative Protestant household with involvement in what amounts to a Christian-flavored cult and am a pastor’s kid. I have a lot of baggage to unpack there and they are making sure I get to it. In a lot of ways, it is circles just being looped in tighter and tighter to form one whole, which, basically, is me. It’s nice, in it’s own way, if not completely comfy.

The title of this post is part of that idea of tightening circles, kind of. One of the big misconceptions that a lot of folks have about kanzo is that once you’re out, you’re good. Like, things are in place, life will be smooth, you don’t have a lot to keep chugging on, and I sort of laugh at that because I totally see where that comes from–you’ve essentially just climbed a huge spiritual mountain complete with ice crevasses and sheer cliffs. Surely this means Done, right?

Nope. For me, I got lucky–I didn’t even have the time/space to consider what came after kanzo as the world was basically ending on the date I was scheduled to head to Haiti. Anything after didn’t matter and I didn’t think about it, so it wasn’t that huge a deal when it was clear that, oh no, kanzo is really just a beginning of the work. In that framework, the way leads on to the way. There is no finished and no good enough. There will never be a point where I can point to something and say ‘yeah, I got that’. There is always a way to make something a little better or a place to learn a new thing or, at the very least, a new challenge from the spirits.

In that vein, priests never really retire, in any sense. There will always be spirits to tend and feed, always stuff to do, always ceremonies to put on, always clients to help, and so I will always work, in many spheres. The way leads on to the way. I will always needs to have income, if only to make sure my spirits stay happy, and I will always need to develop myself as a person so that I can be the best priest-tool and best version of myself for my spirits. There is no sitting still, only moving forward, even if I am crawling.

So, the way continues to unfold, and I am glad for it. It means I am not dead yet and that I have purpose at my finger tips, even if all I want to do is scratch at the walls when things are uncomfy.

Lots of stuff coming up for me, too! A book I wrote a piece for on queer magic in vodou will be coming out in April which is super exciting. I will be doing an AMA/ask me anything on Reddit as soon as I get myself together and submit the post (and I will link it here if anyone wants to go read) and have a day where I am not running around doing a million things. I am starting to plan for top surgery in the not-distant future, which means I have a lot of things to plan out and work to do since this will not be a small undertaking at all. More stuff is on the cusp of coming to fruition, and it’s all good.

Things are good in general, and I feel blessed to wake up every day and feel gratitude for all that has transpired in the past few years and gratitude for all that my spirits have done for me. All that I have descends from them–my hands may have done the work, but it is by their grace that it all has come to be. These days, I can only pray to know their will for me and to see their faces out in the world and on the inside–they take such excellent care of me, and I am so damn small and inconsequential.

It is rainy and overcast here today, which I love, and I hope you are having as satisfying a day as I am!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”

•September 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment


If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20

I have written this post at least five different times and thrown out each version because it misses what I want to write about. At the same time, I don’t know if what I want to communicate is actually able to be written about. How do you put into words the exact moment something drastic shifted as a result of the smallest, most gentle interaction from the most unexpected place? Does translating experience and thought into something that is read take away it’s importance and meaning and leave it impotent? I have no idea, to any of that.

What I do know is that this maryaj of mine has brought about a lot of big changes, little insidious changes, and shaken a lot of shit loose. In some ways, it has done bigger and more expansive things for me internally than kanzo did, because it has flipped my relationships with my spirits upside down and inside out and backwards/forwards/sideways, all in the best of ways and all in ways I couldn’t predict prior to having them put a ring on it. I knew going in that this was significant for me and it’s own sort of initiation, but even then I knew that, like all initiations of all sorts, I couldn’t see or touch those mysteries until I was on the other side and, even once I was, had a little time to really digest what had happened and how I felt about it. A lot of seemingly unrelated stuff got pulled in, and it has started manifesting in ways that continue to undo me and lay me bare. Initiation isn’t finished once the ceremonies are over, it continues on forever and evolves as we evolve.

The catalyst of all of this was not the maryaj ceremony itself, though that was a huge hinge and flashpoint. Instead, it was something that happened after and just before I left Haiti. It was something I asked for, but didn’t expect delivered, and it turned out to be one of the most meaningful experiences of my vodou ‘career’ so far.

Continue reading ‘“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.”’

Time for some maryaj photos!

•September 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I was looking at some of my pictures from the wedding (more coming soon, as soon as I meet up with my sister, who juggled her camera and my camera during the wedding because she is a saint) and they make me giddy with joy, so time to share! I’ll explain as best as I can what is going on in the picture, but don’t hesitate to ask questions–I am SUPER HAPPY to talk about my wedding!

Continue reading ‘Time for some maryaj photos!’