3-Way Stop

It has been an odd bit of time since I last wrote. In fact, it has been an odd few months. Maybe even an odd year-thus-far. Whatever the time period, it has been weird and that’s just fine. My life has turned into something like a hilarious acid trip and, while it’s terrifying when the purple crocodiles step out from behind the wardrobe and dance with Aslan, it’s largely okay otherwise. It really is a long, strange trip.

There’s a lot that I haven’t written about here that I have really wanted to, but the expiration date seems to have passed on long in-depth writing. There are pages and pages of things in my paper journal that either have not made it here, like the fete that turned out to be the most compelling and touching ritual that I have ever been to, and things that I am not quite sure are ready for the light of day, such as some deep emotional work and decision-making that has serious spiritual ramifications. There are things that I have had enormous trouble putting into words, like the awe I find within myself when considering the relationship that has developed between myself and the Mister, how His love for me manifests without word or language, how He answers each query, call, and request in it’s due time, and how I honestly never believed any of this depth of feeling was possible.

Then there are the Crossroads.

While all of those other things have been simmering in the background [background being every other waking moment], it has been Eleggua Time, all the time. He has been present and accounted for so much more than I have been used to or prepared for, and it’s been both really awesome and absolutely terrifying and soul-ripping, all mixed up in one bowl. That’s really not that strange, nor is it out of character for Him—He is the very embodiment of duality, liminality, and oil and water mixing like they are best buddies. It’s more that He hasn’t stepped forward so definitively before.

It ramped up for the past few months and Father’s Day was the moment when He blew the doors down and decided that it was time for He and I to really get to work. He has been steadily teaching the hard lessons and putting me in a position to look at the ugly things right along, but shit really got real in a hurry.

I had high hopes for Father’s Day, honestly. This was the first Father’s Day that I have had a father figure in my life that didn’t create incredibly negative feelings and dis-ease in me. I had a few things in line for Him—nothing huge, just a tiny gift and a food offering—and I was little-kid excited to give them to Him. It was great, really, because I could be happy that my paternity wasn’t a waste of time in all arenas.

And then I couldn’t look at Him.

I woke up on Father’s Day and immediately wanted to disappear. The lead-up had been hard from a biological family standpoint, as they kept wanting my attention and time on a day when I want nothing to do with any of them. Somehow, though, I thought I would just bounce out of bed and have a great day with my Papa. We all know that saying about best laid plans.

I couldn’t approach Him. I couldn’t even look at His shrine, and that takes some work, as He is located at the door to my office and bedroom. I hurried past Him like I was some sort of guilty party and that the ‘I can’t see you so You can’t see me’ game actually meant something. I felt horrible in general and then felt even more horrible because I was being a bad kid who couldn’t even manage to pour their Papa some rum and light His candle. It really, really sucked a LOT because it was not what I wanted.

Part of this was my unrealistic expectations, and Papa doesn’t play with that kind of stuff. The belief that His presence in my life would automatically lift away all the baggage, pain, and dysfunction attached to my relationship with my mortal father was flawed, to say the very least, and He was not interested in doing one damn thing that would alleviate those feelings. Why? Unexamined and untreated baggage is like cancer—the more you ignore it, the worse it gets until you wake up and realize that it has eaten your life and everything in it.

Part of it is just The Way Things Are. I have a really awful relationship with my mortal father and there is no divinity that can vaporize those thirty-three years of shit. All those years of shit create deep-rooted feelings and there is no magic Eleggua finger-snapping that can make that better. Even if He could, He wouldn’t, at least not totally. He’s not interested in seeing me suffer, but sometimes pain and suffering comes with the territory and with the lesson. It is not my preferred teacher or best way of learning, but pain is an excellent instructor.

He didn’t get all in my face about my lack of Father’s Day-ing, but He didn’t walk away, either. He just hung out and watched. There was not one bit of disappointment from Him, nor have I felt any since. I will admit that His disappointment was something very frightening to me, as it is a serious part of the dynamic between my mortal father and I. Maybe He knew that, maybe He didn’t, maybe He was not nearly as attached to having a Father’s Day experience as I was. But, He just stayed and watched while I pointedly ignored everything father-related, drew fervently, and tried to drown out His presence with Netflix [it didn’t work, in case you were wondering].

As a consolation to myself so I don’t hold on to feeling like a bad kid, there is going to be some sort of special Eleggua something later this summer when it is further from Father’s Day. Maybe we’ll go bowling? Who knows. Could be fun to take Eshu to the lanes..

After the dreadful day had passed, it was time to get ready to head to Dark Odyssey: Fusion [link NSFW] where I was to be the chief catherder for the Ordeal Track. One of my sacred jobs has evolved into being the sacred stage manager, essentially—I can handle all the logistics and on-the-ground stuff while my colleagues run the active spooky. It’s something I take very seriously, am damn good at, and really enjoy, so I relish the chance to plan and make lists and do all the things that go into planning sacred experiences.

This year’s Ordeal Track theme was the Sacred Fool/the Journey of the Fool and I went in with eyes as open as they can be when one is holding space for the Fool. I knew going in that we were essentially opening the door to walking the Fool’s path as the facilitators, because we are not immune. Eleggua had showed a tiny bit of interest in this, as had His buddy Loki, but I waved Eleggua off because this is an event that is heavy on the sex and BDSM and I am not interested in engaging my Father in that sort of environment.

He took that, kind of, and in retrospect I can totally see that ‘yeah? We can play that way’ that He embodied. Basically, He pulled a fast one on me that I very much opened the door for. You can’t play a Player, really.

I began preparing for the event focused mostly on making sure I met the expectations of the Mister, as He had been very involved last year at this same event and because it is an environment where our relationship flourishes in a very natural way. When I reached out to Him and asked if there was anything that He would have me bring that I was not already aware of, I was met with ringing silence which was odd—He often has quite a bit of interest in what I carry into sacred sexuality and sacred kink environments. I packed the things that I knew I must have if I didn’t want to face His displeasure and winged it by packing the things that I thought might be useful.

As I packed and prepared, I kept getting little tickles of things to bring for Eleggua. He wanted the necklace I had put together for Him, and the baggie of coffee-caramel hard candies that He liked. I didn’t think too much of that, as those are things I would bring on the road with me anyways—I always bring all my sacred jewelry when I travel and, if I am on the road on days where I would make offerings, I bring offerings with me. I got a little more perplexed when it was clear that bringing all His keys would be a good idea—as the Master of the crossroads and Owner of all locks and doorways, I give Him whatever keys I come across that I don’t have a direct use for. So, into a baggie went His hefty handful of keys.

I really should have known better.

I fought with the idea that the Mister was remaining silent and withdrawn all the way down to the event site. It was really uncomfortable because I was so used to Him being present in that sort of environment. I wasn’t worried that there was trouble with Him or that I was being abandoned—He is quite clear when He is displeased—but it just didn’t sit well because it was so out of character for our relationship.

Once I got in, got settled, and spent some time with my co-facilitators talking about the upcoming weekend, I got the slap in the head that answered all the questions and made me feel like a complete idiot. I mean, I sometimes need the flashing neon billboard to get the point, but I sure missed it this time and Eleggua took great glee in my hand-to-forehead moment.

I don’t get Eleggua as what other people call a trickster, nor do I really get Him as Master of the crossroads. I mean, He absolutely is those things [in a way—I don’t like the word trickster because I think it’s inaccurate], but I get Him as a father figure being that He is, you know, my Father. However, He is the Master of the crossroads and, in some of His caminos, walks as the Fool. How convenient that we were setting up the Ordeal Track around the path of the Fool and the choices the Fool has to make and that His child is stage directing that. How absolutely convenient, right?

WRONG. Of course He was interested and of course the Mister stepped back. I was not there as the Mister’s boy, but as a child of the Master of the crossroads. My primary function for the Ordeal Track was to bring that energy into the ritual passage of all the participants.

I had a moment of ‘surely there is someone else who would be more suited that could do this, Papa’ and got back a solid steely-eyed don’t-push-it ‘nope, it’s you’, and there I was. All those little tickles about packing this thing or that added up to a great big ‘this is what you’re doing this weekend’ suitcase. Funny, huh? Funny like a car accident.

Everything pulled together, though, and I did what I was to do as best as I could. I finagled a piece of magical work that I was not prepared to do at ALL, but did a job that passed His muster in a ‘well, it’s better than a pile of broken glass’ way. I now know that I need to figure out how to open and close a crossroads so that it’s more than me tearing things open in the dark with a bottle of rum in one hand and my all-purpose work knife in the other. Lesson learned!

Just like last year, though, no one escapes the culmination ordeal without an ordeal of their own. Before, it was a surprise all-night vigil and we were bound and determined that, on the shortest night of the year, the final ritual would be over before the sun rose. We were successful by a long shot with that—the ritual was put to bed and we were all sitting around in the temple space drinking champagne and/or rum as the sun started to tickle through the trees.

I was really unsettled when the final participant had come through their ordeal because I knew it wasn’t over. Some of the other facilitators did what they needed to do for their part while I sipped champagne and wondered what the hell was wrong with me, because other folks felt done and I didn’t. I don’t like feeling that way because I don’t like finding out later that things got screwed up, and particularly so when I am stage managing the affair.

It was in that moment—sitting with some of the facilitators and drinking champagne while two of the other facilitators fucked nearby—that Eleggua put His damn finger on my forehead and drove my ordeal home and I have really never held such ill will for a divinity before as I did in that moment.

I worked the whole weekend doing a bunch of stuff for other people. I ran a few classes, coordinated a few rituals, did a bunch of counseling, and was the person who answered the majority of the questions for the Ordeal Track participants. I was, and am, really happy to do it and have done it—it was really good work that I stand behind. However, the catch was that I didn’t ask for anything for myself and Eleggua took that moment in the temple with champagne in hand to drive that home with a sledgehammer. Specifically, I didn’t ask for something I wanted very much for the weekend and He illuminated that in a way that I could not ignore.

He and I had a bit of a fight over that. It was hard enough to be forced to look at your failures in addressing your own wants and needs, but to shine a spotlight on that one damn thing that I had been rolling around in my head all weekend and had no means of achieving, even if I had asked for it? I had an adolescent moment of ‘fuck you, Dad. I HATE YOU’.

It was a pretty crappy realization and I felt really, really horrible. Not horrible because I have a pretty solid habit of pushing away my own wants and needs, but horrible because I couldn’t have what I wanted in any way, shape, or form. It just wasn’t in the cards for the weekend—there was no way I could have pulled it off, even with a lot of prep time. It felt like He was rubbing my face in that misery, and maybe He was. The point needed to be driven home, so He used the most painful example to make it stick.

I remarked to one of my friends and co-facilitators that, in that moment, it felt like the Gods were conspiring for me to be miserable and that I had set myself up for misery this weekend by holding any sort of desire in my heart. That’s not a true statement at all—my logical brain knows better—but right then, I was not having any sort of logic at all. I drank a little more champagne and rolled myself off to bed.

This misery sort of colored what was going to be the highlight of my weekend and I felt depressed going forward. The following day was Sunday, which is the Mister’s day, and, being that my active duties as Eleggua’s child were largely done for the weekend, I could have some time to be the Mister’s boy and essentially have a date night at the event. Being that the One True Desire for the weekend was Mister-related, it was pretty bittersweet to be having a date night after having that One True Desire thrown in my face.

Long story short, the date night went sideways in a lovely way and I got handed something that I’ve asked for repeatedly for the last year and a half or so. I’m still sorting out how that feels and what’s going to happen going forward, but it was a very sobering moment when I realized how my Father facilitated a large part of that and that the Mister has really never refused me anything that I have asked for in good faith.

It has been a very emotional few weeks with my Father and, in a sideways manner, the Mister as well. I can’t ever remember feeling as loved and cared for as I have lately and it’s really been interesting to open up my expectations to allow this to be possible and to not push it away. Opening the expectations I have held for my relationship with Eleggua has also changed how I see and know Him. I got to see a more jovial and playful side of Him during the event than I usually do, helped in no small part by having Him and Loki tag along when I went to see a fire troupe perform. Apparently watching folks juggle fire staves and spin poi and the presence of a sousaphone that has flames shooting out of it’s bell is a fine reason for Eleggua and Loki to kick back, have a drink, and crack truly awful jokes. Who knew?

I am home now, though, with some new realizations and new things to work on. Eleggua kept me safe and carried me through the weekend with a lot of His luck, and the Mister showed me once again that He wants me to be happy and that He loves me beyond my own comprehension. There are very few things that I could ask for on top of this, and knowing that leaves me feeling so incredibly blessed and reinforces that internal sense of knowing that I am headed in the right direction.

Even if my compass ends up being skewed, though, all roads lead back to the crossroads. Papa waits for me there and I know that He will guide me in the direction that is the right, or at least right-for-now, way for me. He’ll probably roll His eyes heavenward while I trip over my own feet getting there, but He’ll be there because, for better or for worse, I’m His child to raise and no child of His gets left behind. For that, I am beyond grateful.

Maferefun Eleggua, all day and every day, with every breath.

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~ by Alex on July 1, 2014.

2 Responses to “3-Way Stop”

  1. Being a child of eleggua is not easy and being a child of any orisha is not easy. Eleggua es eleggua and will says yes to teach us the right path even though it may be a difficult road ahead. But with eleggua and ebo and faith you can move a mountain .

    Best,

    Obba kilona

  2. […] I was one of the Ordeal Track facilitators for Dark Odyssey: Fusion [NSFW], which I wrote about here, and I taught two classes at Dark Moon Rising [NSFW] last weekend, which is a gathering for […]

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