In the book I’ve been reading, The Haitian Vodou Handbook, the author mentions having an “action de grace” with the spirits/lwa/gods in an effort to give thanks for their assistance with things. Also, this service should be performed when you want their attention or assistance in various matters. The author describes this “action de grace” as a thanksgiving supper or quiet dinner with friends and family.
In further reading, he mentions a ceremony that a mambo of his acquaintance created: a lwa “cocktail hour.”
I find this both amusing and intriguing, and of course, plans already began forming in my mind. I mean, can you imagine? A little cocktail hour for all of the spirits and the gods? I would invite Papa Legba and make him a rum cocktail, probably a rum and Coke with ice cubes piled high. And I think I would invite Papa Ghede with a pepper-infested rum cocktail or maybe whiskey. I can see him enjoying whiskey. I would invite Hwt-Hrw, too, with a chocolate martini. (Num-num.) And of course, at the head of the table, would sit Sekhmet with her “red beer” AKA Clamato and Bud.
The thing about this is that it would have to be, like, a party that I would instigate. I’d be the only one speaking, after all, out loud. The author says that you might feel self-conscious because of this, but it gets easier with time. (Thankfully, someone said it before I could!) He also says that the spirits will be more willing to enter my life if I start “inviting them over,” so to speak. He talks frequently about having a cleansed space and whatnot… I wonder if I should do that before having a gods and lwa cocktail party?
Pretty much, from what I’ve been gathering, the religion is what I make of it. If I want to cleanse a space every time before I sit down and talk with the spirits/gods/lwa, then I can. However, if I want to just have a single sacred space, then I can do that, too. (I have to have a cleansed space, though, because I don’t want to invite bad entities that are trying to pretend to be insert-god/lwa/spirit here just for shits and giggles.) And this is what Sekhmet wanted to tell me with all of this: the religion is what I make of it.
In following the morning rituals and trying to live up to the standards that my e-friends have set for themselves, I found myself vastly uncomfortable with what I was doing. It was great for communicating with my gods, but it wasn’t what I needed to communicate with them. I’m only just beginning to come to grips with all of this, but I think the problem that arose what that, subconsciously, I knew that what I was doing wasn’t what I needed, but I kept slogging along anyway. I kept hearing Nehet in my mind telling me that I should just keep going because the outcome was so fucking worth it.
Don’t get me wrong; I still believe her. But I believe the outcome is worth it for her.
It’s not what I need or want or desire or think that I need/want/desire.
A part of me is sad that I can’t just follow along after everybody else because, to me, that’s so much easier. However, I have to carve it out myself and that scares the fucking shit out of me. I mean, I can think back to all of the fears I’ve ever had and I think going my own way–being different–is the biggest, loomiest one in my head. Sure, I was still different and on my own anyway, but it scared the bejebus out of me every time I came smack-dab, face-to-face with the fact that I wasn’t like anyone else around me. For whatever reason.
And now I’ve got this!
I’ve got this whole Kemetic thing going on that I love and don’t want to get rid of. I want Sekhmet to forever-and-ever be my patroness. I want her to be there with me, holding my hand and beating me over the head and laughing with me. I want to have a shrine with Anpu residing next to Wesir for my ancestors. And I want to have a statue of Djehuti on the desk next to my computer. I want to have my roots so firmly tied into the Kemet.
But, then, I’ve got the need to know the lwa. I’ve this distinct need to learn more about Papa Legba. I want to have a shrine to him right next to my front door, like it’s recommended. I want a skull on there and a gnarled tree and maybe a dwapo for him and a lantern with his veve on it. And I want to have a symbol of Sim’bi next to my computer because he’s supposed to help out with electronics and everyone knows that I always need help for all of that. And I want to get to know Erzili Freda and Damballah and one day, I want to go to the cemetery and just sit with the Bawon and Brigitte.
So. I’ve got Kemet on one hand and Vodou on the other.
And I have to forge something between the two. Obviously, Sekhmet doesn’t seem to mind all of this. Which, you know, I can’t help but wonder about. I mean, I distinctly recall her telling me, in plain English, that I was not allowed to look into other religions. She said I could make take a peek at Hinduism or Buddhism, though she wouldn’t have been thrilled by it. But, I was supposed to one hundred percent focus on everything Kemetic.
Maybe, I’ve learned what I needed to learn…? Or she figured that I needed a boost in another direction because just focusing on the Kemetic aspect wasn’t working…?
Dunno. She’s been obstinately silent lately. I can see her smirking at me while I pull my hair out (metaphorically speaking) while I figure all of this shit out. I can also see her smirking at me when I glance in her direction when a particular phrase in my book pops out at me and smacks me in the face. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? And it’s not like she’ll tell me. I have to figure it out on my own.
And that’s why I love her and am annoyed by her.