Saturday, July 23, 2011

Samedi: Listening to the Lwa

Some will caution you at great lengths about the dangers of Vodou.  They will tell you that the lwa are jealous, thin-skinned, and hot-tempered.  Only those with years of training can serve them properly, they claim – and if you miss a minute detail, you run the risk of being ruined body and soul ~ The Haitian Vodou Handbook by Kenaz Filan

While Mr. Filan, whose book I cannot recommend enough, goes on to point out that this attitude is over-reacting he does not shy away from the possibility of spiritual retaliation.  Nor should anyone else; least of all me.  I am now recovering from a spiritual smack-down, so to say, that has left me a little the worse for the wear.  And, I’m embarrassed to say, it took me way too long to figure out what was going on.

I won’t name any names here but I will say that I did a little house cleaning about eight months ago and moved a few altars around.  Well, in all fairness, I moved a statue of a very much venerated lwa to a new niche in favor of a more recent addition to our home pantheon.  Allow me to say that, looking back on it now, the proverbial poo hit the fan almost immediately.

First, I began to experience bizarre and usually female-related illnesses: bladder infections, ovarian pain that was virtually crippling, wide variations in cycles and so on.  No amount of modern medical attention helped; in fact after tests and biopsies I was quite frankly told there was nothing wrong with me.  My children’s health suffered as well.  My youngest was diagnosed with migraines and my eldest, who has JRA, saw a few months of improvement in symptoms only to take two big steps back and have to return to medications we hoped she could stay off.  Our finances went far south, to the tune of my husband’s company deciding not to increase salaries in 2011.  Then the house started to come apart, with odd black areas appearing on the walls and experts advising expensive repairs that we quite frankly could not afford.  What was up?

Only very recently, in a flash of enlightenment brought on by – I am not joking – an advertisement for a favorite TV show, did I get the picture.  That much venerated lwa, to whom my family has been devoted for years, was as angry as she knew how to be.  Her place of prominence had been usurped and, like the warrior she is, she hit me and those I loved hard.  The stupidity on my part – not to pay attention to my dreams and other obvious signs – was absolutely inexcusable.

Needless to say the lady is back where she belongs and surrounded by offerings.  The house feels lighter already; the air is cleaner and I’m suddenly motivated to tackle a bunch of home projects.  All the same the hangover, if you will, is still very much upon me and mine.  My fondest hope is that my children get better soon but its baby steps at this point.   I don’t feel I can ask anything just yet.

I write this not to foist my troubles upon you but as a bit of a heads up.  Know who and what you’re dealing with in all spiritual disciplines.  And for heaven’s sake, please don’t be as knuckle-headed as I’ve been.

Header:  Crucifixion of St. Julia by Hieronymus Bosch


Timmy! said...

Wow, so that was the problem, Pauline? Well, let's hope things get better for everyone concerned soon...

Pauline said...

Let's hope so.

Kenaz Filan said...

Thanks for the kind words about my book! Hope things clear up for you. The lwa can definitely be forceful when they want to get your attention, but they are also generally pretty quick to forgive once a problem is corrected. I'm guessing things will improve for you soon.

Pauline said...

Thank you so much for your insight, Mr. Filan. I'm honored to have you stop by and comment. And you're absolutely right; things are better already.