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Posts Tagged ‘orishas’

I brought an offering to Freya tonight. Black currant pie, made from our first real crop of black currant since we planted the bushes. I sang to Her, called Her, and asked Her to be with us this coming week, let it be a week full of love. I lit a brand new candle, one only for Her.

Freya, watch over us. Grant us days of love and passion.

When I sang to Her, I caught glimpses of Ochún in my mind. Flashes of a beauty in yellow and gold, dancing by the river. I wondered if Freya and Ochún at the core are the same, only wearing different names in different cultures. I struck the thought from my mind quickly, this was not the time for such thoughts.

Freya, watch over us. Grant us days of love and passion.

Somehow it doesn’t feel like Freya and Ochún are the same. I don’t get the same… feeling, from them. If they are in fact the same, I clearly have been feeling different sides of them. Have any of you any thoughts or experiences in that question? Care to share?

For now, I will think. Ponder if I should get Ochún a candle of her own, a beautiful yellow candle of course, or if Freya’s candle is also hers.

No. Again, it doesn’t feel right. The more I think and feel, the more I believe they are not the same soul. Perhaps something closer to sisters, but not entirely the same. They feel different. I will get Ochún a candle too. I should dance for her, it has been too long since I did that. That will be next.

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Let’s talk about bugs again. This time it wont be mosquitoes though, I promise. And heads up, there is some santería related stuff in here, and I would LOVE to receive comments from those of you who are more learned than me in that particular religion.

I just read this blog post over at Mystical bewilderment, which was about spirit bugs or bugs being used as spiritual warnings, which made me think about something that my mom experienced a couple of years ago.

Me and my mom wre on Cuba, experiencing the not-so-touristic sides of Havana. We were there as a part of a cultural exchange project, focused on dance. For years I had practiced afro-cuban dance and this was a way for my dance group to get over there and learn more, dancing with one of the local dance companies. Since the dancing revolved around Santería it also came natural to learn more about the religion, and one of the favourite moments of the trip was when we attended a “birthday celebration” in which there was lots of food, lots of dancing, lots of sacred drumming and people going in and out of trances. Crazy cool.

On the last day in Havana, my mom took a short walk through the local market. An old man suddenly came up to her. The man held up a wooden staff in front of mom, and said that she was going to buy it from him. Now mom isn’t easily fooled by street merchants , but as she described it afterwards this old man seemed so very… weird. He was so serious . It seemed important. So she gave the man some money and received the staff.

Later that day we were moving out and going back to the airport. The leader of our group, our teacher and choreographer who is also a santera, caught sight of the wooden staff in mom’s hand. She froze, staring at the staff and looking slightly shocked. She asked mom where she’d gotten it, and shook her head in disbelief.

The staff is about the size of a walking cane, but thicker and shaped a bit differently with a bug knob at the top. It’s painted all over in bright colours, and at the top knob there is an eye. My dance teacher explained that this kind of staff is used in specific rituals, very dark and dangerous rituals about death. Such a staff would NEVER be sold to a tourist just like that, which was why it made her so shocked to see it in mom’s hand.

So what about the bug? Well, we came home. The staff was placed in the living room. It made mom feel uncomfortable, and it had the same effect on me though not as strong. But it felt scary. So we didn’t touch it much, it just needed to be there. Then all hell broke loose in our lives as my grandpa died and our family broke apart. It was a time of heightened emotions as well as spiritual experiences, as both me and mom seemed to be going through a sensitive period.

One night when I wasn’t at home, mom was woken up by her two cats making an unusual amount of noise. She went out to the living room and found both cats intently watching the wooden staff. Mom took a closer look.

On top of the knob there was a huge bug. An unusually big and veeery colourful beetle. It had the same colours as the staff it was sitting on. As mom looked at it, it flew up and crossed to room, eventually landing on top of an old cupboard (almost 100 years old, that used to belong to my mom’s grandparents).

Mom told me about what had happened as soon as I came home the next day. We went looking for it, but it was nowhere to be seen, though I could see traces of it in the dust on top of the cupboard. We went on to look up every kind of beetle known to exist in Sweden, and found nothing even remotely close to what mom had seen. Too many colours, too big. It just shouldn’t have been there.

Mom is still convinced that the bug was physically there, but that it had to have something to do with the creepy magical staff. I tend to agree. Not sure how it all connects though, and what it means. Most of all, I would love to learn more about what that staff really IS. Ever heard of anything like it? As I wrote in the start, we were told it was the kind used in rare and dangerous rituals of death.  Does it ring a bell to any of you?

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As some of you might have read, I did a sort of improvised ceremony a couple of days ago. The intent was to open up to various deities and see if I could get a connection in any way. This was very new to me, and the result was in some ways surprising. Especially when it came to Shangó… You see, as I reached out to him I felt a flash of anger or irritation, and if I read the energy correctly he was a bit annoyed at me for calling out to him accompanied the rythms of another deity! I was foolish, really. The different orishas have different rythms, and if I couldn’t play the right one for each god I should have just kept it quite.

Anyhow, tonight I once again did something alltogether new to me. Feeling that my verbal apology wasn’t enough, and wanting to appease any lingering negative energy from Shangó, I decided to make a small offering.

So I bought a beautiful little red candle specifically for him, and a pretty metal plate that I think I’ll use just for spiritual matters. I called on Shangó again, and this time I called only on him. I offered him a shot of mojito and red-white candy. I asked him forgive me if I was rude last time I spoke to him, and hoped that he would like my humble offering. I chatted for a while, speaking from the heart. In my mind I could see memories of when I danced his dances, and I heard his rythms in my head. In the end I just sat in light meditation and focused on him and trying to listen.

I didn’t get any specific messages of visions. But I am happy and greatful that I felt no negative feelings from him whatsover, so I think the apology was accepted! If I picked up anything it was a hint of… hm, how to describe it? A bit of teasing together with harsh masculinity? I guess that might just be my own mind’s creation… but honestly, right now I don’t care, I am just happy that I called him. =)

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I don’t really know how to say this… mainly because I have not made up my mind about what I really THINK and FEEL. But at least, I can tell you what’s on my mind, and perhaps in the end it will all make sense? As usual, I welcome any suggestions or ideas, so feel free to comment.

First, I should tell you that I come from an academic background.This means the foundations on which I base my opinions of the deities of the ancient Norse is, and will probably always be, academic research.  This, I think, is both to my advantage and disadvantage. On the positive side, I know a lot about the myths and legends, about archaeological evidence and whatnot. But at the same time… knowing too much about the past can sometimes be a hindrance in the here and now. Why? Let’s call it a healthy amount of scepticism towards past interpretations of both text and arcaeological evidence. Most people honestly don’t have a clue about how many things we DON’T know about how pre-Christian Scandinavians thought. And every time I hear modern pagans refer to the “Asatru” as a uniform religion, using 19th century interpretations of the Edda as their “bible”, I almost shudder. There wasn’t ONE faith, ONE religion in ancient Scandinavia, comparable to Christianity or Hinduism or whatever. It wasn’t organized in the way we tend to think, and it certainly wasn’t the same all over Scandinavia.

So I have my problems with how many modern pagans interpret the Asatru. But really, so what? What does that mean to me? Well, it would have been so easy to simply dismiss it all and say that the gods didn’t exist anyways, and all the myths are just fantasies. But the thing is… I think they do exist, in one way or the other, just like deities from other religions. I used to think that all deities were just aspects of ONE God, the one I called Father. But then after I connected so strongly to Mother, and feel with all of my being that she is a DIFFERENT force alltogether, I kindof had to scrap that theory and open up for the possibility that there are in fact several separate deities.

But then there is the question of what a “god” or “godess” really is. For example, what is the difference between a god and a spirit?

What if many of the gods and godesses of the many religions are in fact spirits rather than gods? Powerful spirits perhaps, but still… not gods? To me, a god is an incredibly powerful force, too big almost to grasp for a mere human.

Anyhow… Today I did something new. After reading a blog post on Feral Druidry (http://bloodandbone.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/hail-to-the-queen/) I found myself wanting to explore my own feelings towards the different deities. So I decided to open up and invite them to connect with me. The idea was to call out to them one at a time and see if I sensed anything, keeping an open mind.

My first thought was of the old Norse deities, the ones my ancestors probably worshipped (or at least acknowledged as real!).  They are also the gods that I have the most academic knowledge of, and I think I once made an offering to Frey… ehm… rather weird actually, I’ll tell you more about that later!

Then I realized there is another pantheon of gods that I am somewhat connected to. You see, through most of my childhood and teens I danced. My teachers were from Cuba and I not only learned the dances of the Orishas, but also a whole lot about the legends surrounding them. For a while there, I even considered entering that religion for real.

So today I sat down in meditation and called on the gods. First I lit a large candle for Mother and one for Father, and felt myself connect to them as usual. But then I called on the orishas, one by one, lighting a new little candle for each. All the while traditional afro-cuban rythms pulsated from the stereo, hearing the powerful and sacred music once more… I called upon Obatalá, Yemayá, Ushún, Oggún, Elegguá, Shangó and Oyá. Mostly, I didn’t get any specific connection, just a sort of calm acceptance. But surprisingly, when I got to Shangó I actually felt a bit of anger. It felt like he got a wee bit pissed because the rythms playing as I called him were not HIS. I felt embarassed, realizing my mistake and apologizing. The others hadn’t seemed to mind, and the collection of music in my possession is limited, I simply haven’t got specific cd’s for all… Anyhow, I really hope Shangó wasn’t too mad at me… after all, I was just trying to open up and welcome him into my life if he’d have me! But I gotta say, that felt like a rejection. I think I should make him a small offering and apologize once more, just in case.

Oh well, he’s just one out of many. And the one that I felt the strongest connection to? Oyá. Definitely.

Then I shut down the music and focused on the other pantheon I had in mind. I called on Odin, Thor, Freya, Frigg, Frey and Ull. Why those specifically? Well I didn’t have enough candles for ALL the gods so I chose the one that spoke to me in some way. I felt an immediate connection with Odin. No fancy messages or visions, no. Just a sense of power, and magic. And I felt that I wanted to learn from him!

Thor and Freya gave me nothing but that calm acceptance. As I called on Frey, I asked him to help my husband become a father (we’ve been trying to conceive for quite a while now without success, and I always ask the Mother for help so I thought I might ask for my husband’s sake as well, for once!). Just as I finished speaking to Frey and I was about to move on, my husband came down the stairs. He looked surprised to see what I was doing, and asked kindly if he was disturbing me. I answered him no, never! He smiled at me and went upstairs again, leaving me with a sense that Frey might be hearing me after all. Perhaps he has a stronger connection to my unknowing husband than to me?

When I called on Frigg, I got an immediate response that caught me by surprise. It was her! Mother! I almost cried, as I felt the warmth. I got the sense that allthough Mother is more than Frigg, Frigg is an aspect of Her, a part of Her… Most people think only of Freya as the fertility godess in ancient Scandinavia, but actually she seems to have more to do with sex than with fertility. =) Frigg seems to have been more connected to fertility, being the mother of many gods. She was also the only other god that was allowed to sit on Odin’s throne!

I also called on Ull, more or less on a hunch. And to my surprise, I felt something. In contrast to the others, I felt this presence here, in our world. Though he didn’t actually speak to me or show me anything, I got a sense of something wild and powerful coming from the forest.

All in all, this was a very interesting experience. The purpose was only to open up and see if I could sense anything at all in connection to these deities, and I think the result was better than I expected, as well as a bit surprising! I think I will explore this further, but next time I willl only call on one at a time. And I’m still not sure if I really think they are gods… Frigg I felt as an aspect of Mother, whom I definitely think of as a god! But the rest? Shangó felt like a powerful spirit, with quite a strong ego. But a god? Once again, it’s all about what you mean by the word.

I’m surprised I didn’t feel Father in any of the deities, the way I felt Mother in Frigg. Interesting.

That’s it for now. I have no great conclusion to make, I can just note that I still have a lot to learn!

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