Last night, I found myself in Papa Legba’s company. I’m not quite sure what prompted this. I haven’t really reached out to him recently. It’s not that I don’t remember that he is there and willing to assist me or that I don’t care. It’s just a simple matter of not having a lot of spoons right now and being unable to do much more than go through the motions.
Perhaps he sensed my inability to do lately.
I wanted to say that we went to a ceremony, but I’m not even sure what kind. I wasn’t there at the beginning. He came to me and said, “Come, child, we are going out.” And I left my body behind to follow him to wherever it was we needed to go. We ended up in a very crowded room with undulating bodies everywhere. Men and women were already rapidly entering the throes of trance as we came onto the scene. “Get ready.” And then he was gone.
I remember standing in front of a man. His brow was sweaty and his eyes were rolling back into his skull. His body was trembling with the force of whatever was happening to him. I cannot even begin to convey what could have been happening to him. I have never been to one of these ceremonies and Hollywood renditions are really sub-par. All I know is that I could sense that a lwa would be entering him soon, though not the one who had brought me out to celebrate. It was like I could almost begin to see it happen as he shook, his face right in front of mine, but whatever shape that thing would take was beyond me.
Whatever happened next is completely lost – I blacked out after that.
I woke up feeling like I was sub-human and beneath the lwa. I get this way a lot. I have been battling depression since I was a teenager and some days are easier than others. Due to other items in my life that are… difficult and painful, I have had a lot of depressive days lately. I’ve found myself feeling like I am not a good servant more and more often. While I know that this is not the case since they still come to me, they still tell me, they still direct me, I still feel like I suck at it all. I’m sure this will pass at some point or another. In the mean time, I just have to deal with whatever feelings I have going on inside of me.
When I woke up this morning, I wondered why Papa Legba would take me out. We haven’t had a night out together in a long time. It’s not that I’m not interested in going because I am. It’s just a fact that I am not his only servant and I am not the only one who needs him. So, I stay in the background and I go through the motions and I speak the words and I cry out in pain and I wait, patiently, for him to turn his eyes on me again.
On my drive to work, I tried to figure out what it could all mean. I’m a big believer in the fact that when a deity or one of the lwa pop up in a dream, then I need to pay attention. Hell, maybe this wasn’t even a dream but reality. Maybe I really did witness someone else’s celebration. Sometimes, I can catch glimpses of a round, older woman talking to me in the back of my head so again, maybe I really did end up somewhere else. Whatever this instance really happened to be, I don’t know. All I do know is that I couldn’t figure out what the hell this was supposed to mean for me.
While I was mulling this over in my mind, trying to feel better about everything, my thoughts turned to the Marassa. My offerings and my weekly rites have not been successful. I’ve begun to believe that they are gone. I’ll clear off their altar space and move it elsewhere just in case I may be wrong. But the loss of the twinned lwa who made me laugh as they played with my son’s loud cars or would crash over blocks or played hide-and-go-seek is kind of wounding. It makes me feel like, inevitably, everything and everyone leaves and I just have to deal with it.
I know my thoughts shouldn’t be selfish on this one. It’s their prerogative what they decide to do. If they are to stay or they are to go, then that is their choice. I am just here to serve them while they’re around for a while. But it still sucks when you think you know what you’re supposed to do – build a foundation – and then you get tossed aside.
I thought about the jaunt while I felt really badly about the Marassa and I began to wonder…
Maybe it’s the jaunt, itself, that is the lesson and not what I saw.
Thinking on it in that context, I have to admit that I did feel a little less like I was a horrible servant. If I can just assume – and really, I can’t because it’s the lwa and they are not always so easily figured out – that he was simply there so that the two of us could spend some time together, then it doesn’t feel so strange or so weird. It doesn’t feel like I was given a perfect, beautiful gift for being an awful child or like I was given the best experience of my life after having just killed someone’s kitten. It feels more, in this way, that he was giving me something special and precious to hold on to and remember when things are rough. He was saying, in his own Papa Legba way, that things are really awful right now, but here is a moment where we can just spend time together.
In that context, really, it was wonderful.