The flames are getting a little bit higher, and I recognize the slight breathlessness that seems to be permeating everything right now. Time before going back to Haiti is growing short and there is a lot to do before I go shed another skin and find myself in the middle of more mysteries. I have almost all my clothes for the maryaj set (So. Many. Costume changes) and there are 10 rings waiting for blessings and to be placed on my fingers. I’m ready for a change of scenery and purpose, and for the slowing down of life that Haiti gives me.

As all of this gets closer, my relationships with my spirits are continuing to evolve and it gives me a lot to chew on. To tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I have never been all starry-eyed about marriage in any form. Less than six months before the most prominent husband-to-be showed up and vigorously proposed maryaj, I had basically decided (and said out loud, because I am a dumbass at times) that I was not really interested in getting married, period, and was enjoying being single. Funny how the spirits listen and cackle to themselves when we make plans.

Even though I have said yes and wholeheartedly mean it, I still feel the same way and it weirds me out that I am getting married anyway. I suppose spirits and marriage is a whole other stadium than a person and marriage, but still. I chew on that a lot. I don’t like being tied to things, which was one of my main objections to kanzo–I didn’t want to be tied to anyone or anything. Of course, I have very different feelings about that now, given the blessings they have pelted me with since I came out of the djevo, the least of which is a mother who cheers me on and is doing her level best manmi-of-the-groom stuff in terms of making sure everything comes together for this thing.

It’s hard to say what life will be like on the other side of this. When I was hurtling towards kanzo, everything was on fire and I just didn’t care because it really couldn’t have gotten any worse short of me actually dying. This time, things are not such a mess and I am more circumspect. There are a few unknown factors such as housing after I come back to Haiti, but it is nowhere near as messy as it was last year at this time. I have not been screaming for six months straight and so I have time to think about what I am about to do and what it means for me.

I know how other things shape up for people I am close to and the their maryajs, but, if anything, my spirits have shown that they do not quite interested in fitting the molds that get socially established around spirit spouses in vodou. I look at how my mother is with her spirit husbands and marvel at the absolutely torrid love affairs she has with them, as it is exceedingly clear how deeply in love with them she is and how deeply they love her in return, and I wonder how that will pan out for me and who, out of my legion of husbands and paramours (some of the ones getting rings don’t get married, but get rings of commitment), will be that way for me. I have my own torrid love affairs in some ways, but things always change and grow and evolve as spiritual commitments and heat are added.

I have been thinking about the mystery of spiritual marriage a lot, too, and what that really means. This has led to a lot of time reading and watching things about Catholic nuns, who are really the best examples of mystical marriage that exist. They are really espoused to Christ and profess deep, meaningful experiences regarding their relationship to their divine husband. There’s a lot that weirds me out about that brand of monasticism and there aren’t that many similarities, but they are the only ones who talk about the mystery associated with the actual act of consecrated marriage, which is basically what I am doing. Some of the spirits have even asked me to change my last name to reflect this. Don’t know what I am going to do about that yet, either.

In the middle of all of this considering and reflecting and chewing, my relationships with them all are evolving and changing in ways that were somewhat unexpected. While they are personal and affectionate, I tend to not expect that and operate as a ‘the facts and just the facts, sir’ kind of vodouizan. They have started flipping that on it’s head lately and it has been a challenge not to react by screaming and standing on my chair, like it’s gonna bite me.

In a recent ceremony, I had interactions that I really wasn’t prepared for. Part of my job as a priest is to facilitate ceremony, so my brain is usually whirring on what needs to be done and what is coming next, so it is all prepared. It often catches me unaware when they show me attention that reaches beyond ‘I need a thing, where is my thing? Priest, get me my thing.’ So, meaningful hand-holding and dancing and probably the most gentle, non-filthy moment I have ever shared with a dead man was very unexpected and hard to process. They must be excited to put a ring on it. Guess I’m kinda cute..

Even the lwa who claims me as her kid is being a lot different. She’s also doing manman-of-the-groom stuff, and it’s so weird for me.

There is practical processing around a lot of this, too. If kanzo is like being on a stage in the community with your djevo brothers and sisters, then maryaj is being in the spotlight on stage all by yourself with a packed house waiting to watch you do your dance. Since I am a priest, I will do a lot of the work for my maryaj myself–I will salute all the spirits, welcome them if/when they come down in possession, dance with them a little, get led around and shown off, and married. I will have my manmi there and my brothers and sisters and the community, but oh GAWD I cannot tell you how nervous all of that makes me. I know my shit, but I have AWFUL stage fright, truly. I logically know that anything that could go sideways or any mistake I could make (which would be hard, I can salute in my sleep and welcoming them is straightforward) is easy to remedy but GAWD. I have visions of the asson flying out of my hand and clocking my mother on the head or me lighting someone on fire accidentally or choking on alcohol that I am supposed to be spraying out of my mouth. I know this is all just nerves and is not terribly logical but man…my heart beats faster having to think about doing all this stuff in front of a packed temple.

But it will be good, though, no matter how many nerves I have and how awkward the idea of getting married feels. They love me, I love them, and I suppose someone somehow has to make an honest houngan of me. My apartment is already piled with stuff to bring and clothes to have altered (thank you, testosterone, for altering my body shape so that NOTHING FRIGGING FITS), so it’s all good.

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~ by Alex on April 30, 2017.

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