Without Networks, We’re Lost on the Sea.

I’m going to give back story here before I get to what brought this post about.

When I first started reading about vodou, I mentioned that I had always been intrigued by it. To be completely frank, my first “meeting” with it was because of V.C. Andrews. (Okay! I’m embarrassed to admit it but those books got me through lots of shitty times AKA high school.) The books that I am referring to take place in Louisiana, both Cajun country and New Orleans. There was mention of gris-gris and Papa Legba as well as Papa Ghede. That’s why I was semi-familiar with both those lwa when I started this.

When I was doing searches online and reading my book, I was fascinated by the lwa. I was frightened of Ezili Freda (she seems so demanding!) and La Sirene; I was intrigued by Simbi; I was curious about the Marassa… but, it was the information about Papa Legba and Papa Ghede that really snagged my attention. After all, I had come into contact with them in high school and my curiosity had been piqued back then. I re-read those sections in my copy of the handbook as well as various websites.

When I first started feeling a male presence in my dreams, I knew it was Legba dancing there. I never really questioned that knowledge. It was… fact, as far as I was concerned. And it made sense as to why he was coming around: I found it easier to associate with Legba because he was, uh, nearly human, if that makes sense.

He had human-like qualities almost entirely, while the other lwa were further removed from humanity. They rely on humanity and still need human sustenance, but they’re further removed in my head. So, picture a chessboard: the back two rows are filled with lwa. They’re pretty far back. And about three rows away from you is this old man with twisted foot and shit-eating grin. They’re there and they need us, but they’re not as near as Papa Legba. And that makes sense, too, because it is Legba that opens the ceremonies and allows communication with the lwa; he’s the gatekeeper.

Then, I have the shit storm at work. I know why it came about—it’s because of Legba. He has this habit, as I’ve stated previously and read a thousand different times, of entering a person’s life and making the changes the person wants. And I absolutely wanted, desperately, to make changes to my work life. I wanted out of that place so badly I could practically taste it.

However, the fear of financial ruin kept me in that hell-hole. I couldn’t imagine just living off of the Hubby’s paycheck and the state. And, though I hate to admit this to anyone that isn’t me in the dark of the night… I had become so incredibly materialistic. I was always buying things off of my Amazon Wish List just because I could. Not all of it was for me, but a lot of it was. And I was buying the Hubby the big presents that he always wanted: flat screen television for Father’s Day; an imported Japanese edition X-Box 360; the super special OMG edition of the Mortal Kombat game… I was so focused on things and Legba saw this and was like, “Yuh- no.” And he ended it. He knew what I wanted to do—focus on the craft and Tarot and fixing me—but he also knew that I wasn’t going to be able to get it done while working. The job had taken over my every waking moment and part of my sleeping ones, too. Something had to change and he made sure it did.

Whether I liked it or not.

At that point, I was a blank canvas.

Let’s fast forward to today. The Swamp Witch sent me an E-mail this morning that really made me start to think about some things. “This might sound weird, but the more you talk about Papa Legba, the more I have this serious gut reaction that it’s Papa Ghede, especially with all the hot sauce and the skull imagery. Not saying you’re wrong or anything, but it’s like a kick to the gut every time I read you talk about him, and I figured I should mention it, rather than hush up about it. Yikes.” The wheels in my head started to click and turn. They were slow at first because that’s how the cogs work in my head so early in the morning. (I read this E-mail even before I had my first cup of coffee. It was amazing I even knew what words were.)

The wheels, like I said, were turning. From the very beginning, there was skull imagery about all of this. I bought that skull bead at the gem show back in August. From the get-go, I was drawn to a cranium as the physical manifestation to put on my altar. In September, I had the unbelievable need to buy the Tarot of the Dead, which has never interested in me before. (This is a two-fold thing, however. I’m a collector of Tarot decks, so the need could have come from that. However, it also felt like it was an outside desire… mine, but not… entirely… if that makes sense.) Then, I get it into my head that I need to buy that Van Gogh painting. And of course, yesterday, there’s the thing with the hot sauce.

So, it’s interesting in what she has to say. Her gut reaction—a person who has been communicating with the lwa far longer than I—is that this is all Papa Ghede. And it’s funny because I’ve had little whispers of that, myself, at times. I always just chalked it up to my whole self-doubt thing; a kind of mini crisis of faith, so to speak.

However, this leaves me more than just a little confused.

Is it possible that it’s the two of them?

As someone who is as new to this as I am, I wouldn’t really know the difference between the two. I know for a certainty that the presence in my dreams and the presence that changed my life was Papa Legba. Hell, I knew he was going to be doing some changin’ when I first started reading about him. (I can clearly recall the downright terror I felt when I read the account of how he liked to mess about with people’s lives.) I don’t know how I know that, but I know that enough to not question it. However, all of the other stuff is questionable. I’m left feeling more than confused; I’m left feeling dumb, bewildered, and completely uncertain about all of this.

Gah. My brain hurts from all of this thinking and pondering.

I have so many damn questions and I have absolutely no fucking answers.

I hate to admit it, but this was so much easier when it was just me, Sekhmet, and the occasional visitation from Hwt-Hrw. Oy.

(A very quick aside before I take some Ibuprofen for this headache… I’d like to thank the Swamp Witch for saying something. I appreciate the honesty and without it, I might have been drowning instead of merely floundering. XD And I’d also like to say, it’s really fucking awesome that I found blogs of people who get this stuff and are willing to teach little ole me.)

5 thoughts on “Without Networks, We’re Lost on the Sea.

  1. I just sent you a response email, but 100% it could be both of them! I work with several Lwa, I feel like I am juggling them all the time!

    I got the real impulse to mention something right after I’d done my service and candle for Papa Legba last night, so I went with it. Normally I have a policy of “It ain’t my business” but when I get a feeling that strongly ignoring it tends to get me into trouble! I’ve had people tell me the Lwa I thought I was serving wasn’t said Lwa, which was annoying at best, and royally pissed off said Lwa at worst, so I am super cautious about saying anything, but I think this is more of a case of “I think Papa Ghede is bein’ a creeper and sneaking into your life and mimicking Legba’s voice to get you to do shit” as Ghede are prone to do! I 100% agree that it’s Legba that came in and stirred stuff up and got things to change. That’s very much him.

  2. I concur with my wife’s statements with the addendum:

    I serve -at least- seven different Ghede. It can be VERY hard to tell them all apart, especially at first. I know Maman Brigitte from Papa Ghede, that’s easy, but telling Baron Samedi apart from Baron La Croix is a MUCH harder and subtler skill. It will take time. But just look at their choices, their colors they like, the things they ask for — Papa Legba often likes coffee and coconut, Ghede like spicy things and most alcohol, they both like rum and a good cigar — and you’ll begin to discern the differences.

    Keep in mind that both are spirits of the Crossroads – Legba the crossroads of decision and life choices and open doors and pathways, Ghede the crossroads between the living and the dead. They do have a lot of similarities. (But, you know, Legba isn’t nearly as crude as any given Ghede. He might be a sly old man but he isn’t a vulgar one, in my experience.)

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