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alter building

topic posted Wed, April 27, 2005 - 8:39 AM by  chris
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just curious as to some of your techniques to alter building. I live in jacksonville, fl and we have a santeria shop i use for candles and beads, I also have some animal skulls i've found, not too mention a bottle of rum. I just found a place called Ashanti's African Boutique, but am yet to visit. hopefully I'll find something there appropriate for mr. legba. i've heard there are some online shops out of new orleans but they are hit or miss as far as authenticity.
posted by:
chris
Jacksonville
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  • Re: alter building

    Sat, May 7, 2005 - 10:56 PM
    as far as online shops, let me recommend the island of salvation botanica, run by mambo sallie ann glassman.

    i order from her all the time, and have never been disappointed.

    the website is
    www.feyvodou.com

    brian
    • Unsu...
       

      Re: alter building

      Tue, September 27, 2005 - 7:52 AM
      The key to appropriate and effective altar building doesnt begin with buying the right materials from the right botanica. It begins with identifying the Afrikan Deity to which you wish to communicate, verifying your authority/right to develop and maintain a relationship with that Afrikan Deity, seeking counsel from an Initiated Elder, then following the instructions of that Elder, which are always set in place by tradition and proven spiritual science so as to ensure (1) effectiveness (2) safety (3) tradition.

      The more appropriate response to your question is, do you have an Initiated Elder that can assist you? If the answer is "no", then the question is mute. Mentorship is always first in ALL Afrikan traditions. While many westerners attempt to avoid/challenge/question/bemoan this dictate it remains intact. It a spiritual principle, that safeguards spiritual sciences from untrained hands. It is not a individual choice.
  • Re: alter building

    Sun, June 19, 2005 - 9:15 PM
    If you are practicing Vodou, you should ask your godparent what is appropriate to specific lwa you are known to carry.

    If you want to ask an houngan, check out New Orleans Mistic, I gave the URL in another post and it is linked in my profile as a recommendation, and give Tribble a call. Legba is one of the few that may be beneficial for anyone to cultivate, because he walks all roads in many different guises. Basically tho he is served with cane syrup, water, gin, florida water, a corn cob pipe and tobacco, those are a few things he likes. His place is usually kept behind the front door in an urban setting. At the gate in a more rural setting. Tribble imports stuff right from Haiti btw.

    Note all the snakes and shrunken heads and animal skull stuff you find in head shops is NOT Haitian Vodou. It is Hollywoodoo[doo]. The lwa do not concern themselves with dead things [except Ghede and he only cares about dead people]. And they dont much care for weed and other drugs either.
    • Re: alter building

      Mon, June 20, 2005 - 5:45 PM
      #####
      The lwa do not concern themselves with dead things [except Ghede and he only cares about dead people].
      #####

      Well, as I'm sure you already know, Mike, there are a couple of uses in Vodou for the bones and parts of snakes [and some more warmblooded animals, as well. ;) ]

      However, I'm not about to start posting step-by-step instructions on this particular forum...

      Best,

      Kathy L.
      • Unsu...
         

        Re: alter building

        Tue, September 27, 2005 - 11:23 AM
        as far as what you can and cannot do depends on whose authority you consider absolute (i respect all the opinions of experts, though i may not put blind faith in them, and even may continue with what i was doing).
        if you are going for tradition, and you are going for vodou rather than orisha worship, then yeah, you should probably consult a mambo or houngan first. the botanicas may be helpful, maybe not.
        i was told by several sources that you can honor your ancestors regardless of any thing else, and that you should in fact honor them any way. so maybe you should make that your first consideration.
        i also have heard from both haitian and benin sources that EVERY ONE has a legba, otherwise you wouldn't even be able to communicate with yourself. so you feel free to make an altar for him as well.
        however, i don't recommend using a santeria eleggua head as you will be accused of blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy and just plain silliness by serious santeros.
        i do recommend meditating on legba's ve-ve, AFTER ALREADY ESTABLISHING A CONNECTION TO YOUR ANCESTORS, before you go to bed each night and ask him what would be proper for an altar to honor him. do this along with checking information and looking at pictures of altars in books and on the web for ideas.
        whoever you decide to listen to, just keep in mind that whatever you do has consequences. however you proceed, do it with total love and total caution, and with as much respect and understanding available to you.
        while i have a lot of "metaphysical speculations" on this and that, it seems to me that the lwa are great enough to live independent of a houmfor, that they actually are a part of the forces of nature that they represent.
        i could be wrong of course.
        -damien
        • Re: altar building

          Tue, September 27, 2005 - 5:30 PM
          the thing about a veve though as i understand it in my limited way is that its power is a dynamic thing, it is activated in the process of creating it. that is why it is then more or less ignored and danced on and later swept up when the peristyle is cleaned.

          a veve is not meant to be a fixed talisman to carry around like a goetic or planetary seal i dont think, if this is wrong maybe Kevin or someone better qualified will speak up. they are sometimes used to decorate drapeau, but the drapeau I have seen like this have been art pieces for tourists rather than pieces used in a religious context, but maybe my exposure is just limited like i said.
          • Unsu...
             

            Re: altar building

            Tue, September 27, 2005 - 9:36 PM
            i totally agree with the veve thing. every time i have used them was on a very temporary basis, or for art, not as a talisman. to me it is kind of like the tibetan mandalas and navajo sand paintings. they are meant to be wiped away after they are finished.
            i highly recommend reading sallie ann glassman's "vodou visions" for suggestions.
          • Re: altar building

            Tue, September 27, 2005 - 10:46 PM
            Hmm...well it seems like veve's in Vodu are used similarly to "Firmas" in Palo. They are temporary and when the ceremony is done, they are wiped away. Since I'm an initiate in Palo and not in Vodu, I can't say for sure that this is a good analogy. However, from what I've seen in the scant Vodun ceremonies I've attended, as a guest, this seems to be the case. I can also assume that since Vodu and Palo have similar kongolese roots there may be some similarities in how firmas and veve's are utilized.

            *My two cents worth..*
        • Unsu...
           

          Re: alter building

          Thu, September 29, 2005 - 1:42 PM
          my comments to damien are found within * *

          as far as what you can and cannot do depends on whose authority you consider absolute (i respect all the opinions of experts, though i may not put blind faith in them, and even may continue with what i was doing).
          if you are going for tradition, and you are going for vodou rather than orisha worship, then yeah, you should probably consult a mambo or houngan first.

          * It doesnt matter whether you practice Vodou or Orisa, as their both related. Tradition precedes everything. The Ancestors didnt create protocol based on their opinions. They created it based on specific directives given by the Deities and the Elevated Ancestors of AFRIKA. This western (read: European) notion that there is an occasion when the Individual can decide how,when, why and what to do is flawed and a subtle form of racial egotism.

          With that said, you should ALWAYS learn with a priest what is appropriate and best for you. This is derived through doublechecking tradition with divination to determine if there are specific elements required for you as a person *

          the botanicas may be helpful, maybe not.
          i was told by several sources that you can honor your ancestors regardless of any thing else, and that you should in fact honor them any way. so maybe you should make that your first consideration.
          i also have heard from both haitian and benin sources that EVERY ONE has a legba, otherwise you wouldn't even be able to communicate with yourself.

          * Esu or Elegba and its ownership have NOTHING to do with your ability to communicate with yourself. Pardon my candor, but you have some seriously flawed material passing through your hands. Your Ori, or spiritual self is not tied to a relationship with Esu. Anyone that says so has no understanding of Afrikan spirituality.

          Esu as a intermediary between you and the Creator and other Deities. He can on occasion work hand in hand with you and your Ancestors. But they are again, not tied together.*

          so you feel free to make an altar for him as well.

          * No. Don't every suggest to anyone that they built their own Esu. NO ONE except INITIATED priests have the authority to build ANY shrine to ANY Afrikan Deity. You are only allowed to care for your Ori (spiritual self) and your Ancestors alone. Anything else requires trained hands. Please dont ever suggest this again. Its not Afrikan. Its western. And it has nothing to do with our traditions. *
          however, i don't recommend using a santeria eleggua head as you will be accused of blasphemy, sacrilege, heresy and just plain silliness by serious santeros.

          * Because their training allows them to know how dangerous your advice is and how it stands AGAINST every west Afrikan cultural system *

          i do recommend meditating on legba's ve-ve, AFTER ALREADY ESTABLISHING A CONNECTION TO YOUR ANCESTORS, before you go to bed each night and ask him what would be proper for an altar to honor him. do this along with checking information and looking at pictures of altars in books and on the web for ideas.

          * Again you should NOT meditate on Esu's Veve, unless you have bee properly introduced to Him via consecrated ritual. If you want to establish a relationship alone, you may make simple offerings in nature and say simple prayers. NO shrines and no veves with a initiated priest counsel. It will eventually backfire if you dont. Afrikan elders put this in place for SAFETY, not ego. *


          whoever you decide to listen to, just keep in mind that whatever you do has consequences. however you proceed, do it with total love and total caution, and with as much respect and understanding available to you.
          while i have a lot of "metaphysical speculations" on this and that, it seems to me that the lwa are great enough to live independent of a houmfor, that they actually are a part of the forces of nature that they represent.
          i could be wrong of course.

          * Whatever he does he should disregard all of the advice you given, except this comment. lol As a 15 year Ab'Orisa and Priest in training I have to say that you gave out several pieces of very bad advice, some of which the Afrikan spiritual community has tried very hard to squash for once and all. I just sad that your words will be read over and over here. It truly illustrates why our Ancestors said that ALL spiritual training and ritual work should happen within lineages. *
          -damien
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            Re: alter building

            Thu, September 29, 2005 - 4:14 PM
            i forgot to add that if you are going for orisha worship, then you should most definitely ask the botanica what they think. santeria is a very strict tradition; ifa even more so. but i was talking about vodou.

            and yeah, i probably shouldn't be giving any advice on anything. however, my advice was not something i made up, and even the veve meditation was based on a few sources that came from haitians (yes, of african descent). much of what i was taught about vodou was from african-americans. so far i have never seen a neo-pagan or any one else get struck down for meditating on veves. actually, quite a few of them later decided to get initiated into both vodou socyetes and/or in lukumi houses. i still recommend "vodou visions", then the rest is on the reader. actually, many more people are reading the sources i got my advice from than the amount of people on this tribe.

            however, after 12 years of repeatedly being told by santeros that eshu IS NOT legba, you are telling me he is? interesting. and as i was also told again and again, haitian vodou had adopted many arawak traditions. it seems like you are telling me that such is impossible, as the arawak "indians" are not african.

            many cubans and haitians have also said that only heterosexual african descendants are allowed to practice these traditions. any comments on that?

            oh, and i think it is great that you are going vegetarian. i have been vegetarian (mostly vegan) for 12 years as well. i was told only middle class white americans are vegetarian, even though i come from a hispanic/asian working class. what a crazy world we live in.

            with that said, i'll leave vodou to the vodouisants, and my invovlement will be academic.

            • homosexuality and ATRs Re: alter building

              Thu, September 29, 2005 - 9:22 PM
              *many cubans and haitians have also said that only heterosexual african descendants are allowed to practice these traditions. *

              i have only heard of palo/regla kongo spoken of in this manner, in cuban tradition only. if this were true of Santeria there would not be nearly as many priests as there are! and i know this is not true of Haitian Vodou, there are several gay men in my house under the direction of Haitian elders, and my papa vodou knows of hounfos in Haiti that are entirely gay men or lesbians.

              my cultural understanding from what i been taught is that people in haiti dont care who you do the thang with as long as you are discreet and fulfill the obligation to the family to have little ones.
            • Unsu...
               

              Re: alter building

              Fri, September 30, 2005 - 8:37 AM
              comments found in * *

              i forgot to add that if you are going for orisha worship, then you should most definitely ask the botanica what they think. santeria is a very strict tradition; ifa even more so. but i was talking about vodou.

              * First, Orisa worship and Ifa are one and the same. There is no such thing as Santeria "then Ifa more so"... They are the same thing. Ifa is an Orisa.

              Again, Vodou and Orisa'Ifa are born of the same spiritual legacy. In Afrika, you can move through both systems and see the legacy more easily. Here you will find more and more Afrikans in particular practicing both. Vodou is lives on the same principle - Tradition and Legacy. *

              and yeah, i probably shouldn't be giving any advice on anything. however, my advice was not something i made up, and even the veve meditation was based on a few sources that came from haitians (yes, of african descent). much of what i was taught about vodou was from african-americans.

              * The difference is that one devotee can give advice to another devotee. But a devotee should not be prescribing Veve which are very powerful to people that have no spiritual community to assist them. Some Veve usage can get your life ruined by sheer ignorance. This is not a game. It's SCIENCE. And science has no mercy on the untrained hand. *

              so far i have never seen a neo-pagan or any one else get struck down for meditating on veves. actually, quite a few of them later decided to get initiated into both vodou socyetes and/or in lukumi houses. i still recommend "vodou visions", then the rest is on the reader. actually, many more people are reading the sources i got my advice from than the amount of people on this tribe.

              * Vodou Visions does not in my experience represent real Vodou culture. Its very ironic that you would pick that book of all. In any case, If you care to be struck down, practice as you will, the occasion will occur eventually. If you are simply being casually disrespectful about Afrikan culture, my suggestion is that you temper your comments. Again, Veve's as spiritual conduints are either real or they arent. If they are real, it requires TRAINING to use them. There are some that be given car keys and never need instruction, but there are far and in between -- do you understand?

              You can not always identify how misappropriate use of spiritual science has impacted your life. You have complications on the job, you start arguing with your mate, your dog gets sick, you have more headaches than usual, your best friend doesnt like to hang out anymore.... It can manifest in a variety of subtle ways. Or as you so crudely put it, some people get "struck down" in some way. But dont underestimate the power of Veve's to heal in the right hands and hurt in the wrong ones. Intention means nothing if you are ignorant of the usage. And that a person sidetracked tradition and ultimately ended up getting initiated doesn't negate that they violated tradition and put themselves at risk. Furthermore, you would not be privy to information that indicated aftewards that their initiation was marred by some incorrect spiritual activity prior. It simply wouldnt be any of your business and they wouldnt tell you. *

              however, after 12 years of repeatedly being told by santeros that eshu IS NOT legba, you are telling me he is? interesting. and as i was also told again and again, haitian vodou had adopted many arawak traditions. it seems like you are telling me that such is impossible, as the arawak "indians" are not african.

              * Some Santeros maintain that Esu and Elegba are not the same. Unforunately, Afrika disagrees. The reality is that they have broken down the innumberable identities of Esu into various paths (which is traditional in some sense) and have allocated Elegba and Esu to be two distinct identities. This forum is just too limiting of a space to expound. But the reality is that they are one and the same. Period. If anything, Elegba is a "path" or "identity" of Esu. That some say otherwise means "nadda". Ask a Yoruban-born person. Any person. As most them learn about Esu in grammar school (Esp. if they are now in their 30s or older) regardless of whether they practice the culture at home. *

              many cubans and haitians have also said that only heterosexual african descendants are allowed to practice these traditions. any comments on that?

              * My comment is that Loa, Orisa, Abosom, Neteru etc make the rules not man. As you are not a devotee the answer is really not your concern. But for the record Divination is the direct voice of God and Ancestors. A person should always ask "is my lifestyle acceptable" to both God and Ancestors. Not one, but both. I promise you, if this was done openly and directly this question would come less and less. The naunce is "there is a difference between asking "can i live this way?" and "should I live this way?" and many diviners purposefully avoid this issue so as not to upset people and appear rigid or bigoted. This avoidance problem comes up outside of sexuality as well. So if you want to know for YOU if such behavior is appropriate ask the Orisa and ask your Egun, then live by the answer. Then tell everyone else to shut their mouths and hold their opinions because God and the Ancestors have already spoken. *

              oh, and i think it is great that you are going vegetarian. i have been vegetarian (mostly vegan) for 12 years as well. i was told only middle class white americans are vegetarian, even though i come from a hispanic/asian working class. what a crazy world we live in.

              * I have been a vegetarian since 1990. I was a vegan for half of that period. Vegetarianism is a natural lifestyle option for Afrikans, Chicano/Native American/Latinos, and Asians, as meat was not so prominent in most of our diets prior to western colonization. We ate it in very small and limited portions. Some of didnt eat it at all. Any attempts at making the person of color believe that eating vegetarian is "white" is based in ignorance. *

              with that said, i'll leave vodou to the vodouisants, and my invovlement will be academic.

              * until you have entered ritual space, joined a community, and worked with consecrated shrines always qualify your statements so people know that you got twice removed, from a book or wherever. always encourage people to find an elder to study with. i am thankful to everyone that did that for me. otherwise i would have been thinking i could learn everything on my own. this is not a culture of individuality. *
              • Re: alter building

                Mon, October 10, 2005 - 9:00 AM
                <<* My comment is that Loa, Orisa, Abosom, Neteru etc make the rules not man. As you are not a devotee the answer is really not your concern. But for the record Divination is the direct voice of God and Ancestors. A person should always ask "is my lifestyle acceptable" to both God and Ancestors. Not one, but both. I promise you, if this was done openly and directly this question would come less and less. The naunce is "there is a difference between asking "can i live this way?" and "should I live this way?" and many diviners purposefully avoid this issue so as not to upset people and appear rigid or bigoted. This avoidance problem comes up outside of sexuality as well. So if you want to know for YOU if such behavior is appropriate ask the Orisa and ask your Egun, then live by the answer. Then tell everyone else to shut their mouths and hold their opinions because God and the Ancestors have already spoken. * >>

                ** This is a fantastic piece of advice, and I thank you for your candor. Truth be told, ALL lifestyles can be bettered, refined, and can evolve to closer communion with God.

                Beautifully put,
                Jesse
          • Re: alter building

            Mon, October 10, 2005 - 8:53 AM
            <<Esu or Elegba and its ownership have NOTHING to do with your ability to communicate with yourself. Pardon my candor, but you have some seriously flawed material passing through your hands. Your Ori, or spiritual self is not tied to a relationship with Esu. Anyone that says so has no understanding of Afrikan spirituality.>>

            *** With respect, I disagree with this for a few reasons. While I support the guidance of a priest with regards to serving the Orisha (for this is the path I am familiar with), I have to differ on these comments. While the ownership of Esu/ Elegbara may have nothing to do with your ability to comunicate to yourself, Esu has everything to do with communication. Your Ori has an intrinsic relationship with Esu. It was Esu Onibode who granted your Ori the passage to earth, and it was also Onibode who sealed the fate of your Ori, and Onibode to whom you will recount your Ori after your leave this current life. While Esu is not in charge of your Ori, there is NOTHING that can happen without Esu's blessing. Ori guides us, and is perhaps the MOST important orisha to the individual. Eshu guides the feet, and the Master of the Head lifts us and makes us walk tall. Eshu is the distributer of Ache- and passes that ache to different things. To deny him that is to deny his deserved and entitled place as the messenger of Olodumare.

            <<Esu as a intermediary between you and the Creator and other Deities. He can on occasion work hand in hand with you and your Ancestors. But they are again, not tied together.*>>

            *** But they are tied together. Your ancestors, yes, walk with you, but, for instance, in a rogacion (head cleansing), they throw obi to the ancestors THROUGH the intermediary known as Eshu Ni Pako, the Esu that lives at the nape of the neck- the entry point of the spirits into our bodies. This is not to say that yes, your Ancestors exist seperatly in and of them selves from Esu, but, they cannot move about or affect anything without the interaction with the forces known as Esu.


            << No. Don't every suggest to anyone that they built their own Esu. NO ONE except INITIATED priests have the authority to build ANY shrine to ANY Afrikan Deity. You are only allowed to care for your Ori (spiritual self) and your Ancestors alone. Anything else requires trained hands.>>

            ** Building an altar/ shrine is very different from building one's own Esu head. As far as to build any shrine to any African deity- well that's still up for deabte. I have heard many priests tell people to build "spiritual" shrines to Orisha, especially Elegba, when people are not yet ready to make the commitment of recieving orisha into their homes. Is that shrine as powerful as one consecrated through traditional means and the ancestral praxis? No. I don't think so. Not for everyone. It can however, mean so much to the individual supplicant and devotee- and as long as they make no claims to be intiated or to be a teacher of said path, then I make no waves about it.

            In respect,
            Jesse
            • Unsu...
               

              Re: alter building

              Sat, January 26, 2008 - 2:56 PM
              I realized that a thread like this is why so many people "unsubscribe" from this tribe and some times from Tribe.net altogether.
              Here we have at least 3 people giving different points of view, 2 of whom are almost totally Ifa practitioners. One speaks with ABSOLUTE authority on ALL "Africkan" traditions, and rarely mentions anything regarding Haitian Vodou. And most of what he writes contradicts all of what Mama Lola and other initiated Mambos and Houngans have taught me, and advised me during our consultations.
              But this thread is worth reading throughout, even maybe a few times in its entirety, although it is more than likely going to confuse the newcomer, as well as Haitian Vodouisants who know little about Ifa.
              Once again, I have to recommend Kenaz Filan's "Handbook of Haitian Vodou". It can tell any beginner how to safely build an altar. I still cannot see how there is anything wrong with meditating on the veve of Legba, and/or cautiously and respectfully petitioning for nothing more than basic guidance.
              And to any Ifa practitioner who can acquire a copy of "Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou", I recommend reading it cover to cover at least three times (which I have of course done myself years ago), so that they will know quite a bit more than the fact that Ifa and Vodou are related.
              Oh, and while I rarely have ever put animal bones on my altar(s), except for those with personal meanings, I have noticed in big glossy picture books on African Vodun, stacks of dog heads in the market place, and dog bones around the neck of the Legba shrines. Can any body comment on that? Guess there is no Haitian equivalent?
              • Unsu...
                 

                Re: alter building

                Sun, January 27, 2008 - 8:35 PM
                "Some Santeros maintain that Esu and Elegba are not the same. Unforunately, Afrika disagrees. The reality is that they have broken down the innumberable identities of Esu into various paths (which is traditional in some sense) and have allocated Elegba and Esu to be two distinct identities. This forum is just too limiting of a space to expound. But the reality is that they are one and the same. Period. If anything, Elegba is a "path" or "identity" of Esu. That some say otherwise means "nadda". Ask a Yoruban-born person. Any person. As most them learn about Esu in grammar school (Esp. if they are now in their 30s or older) regardless of whether they practice the culture at home."

                Here is a particular case where one is thinking with a one track mind. Most of us KNOW that Esu/Eshu has many paths, at least 21, and we KNOW that Esu Elegba is one of them. However, I was originally talking about Legba of Dahomey- he has many similarities between Esu of Nigeria although their "legends" and "myths" tend to vary. That is, you may read stories about Nigerian Esu and you may read stories about Dahomean Legba, and they never seem to be the same stories or interchangeable. I was initially content to think: Legba and Esu Elegbara are the same entity. Years later, many Santeros kept insisting that they were not by any means the same. Today, I imagine that Legba is some what of a derivative of Esu Elegbara, like an offspring, or a "second generation manifestation", although for convenience sake, I prefer to think of them as the same. Above it is obvious that the specifics of Dahomean Legba and the Papa Legba of Haiti are being ignored, and the words written last year about Esu, Elegba and Legba are twisted around.

                Here's another interesting thought- at some point after the Bois Caiman ceremony, all spiritual leaders had to consensually agree on terminology and the forms by which the Lwa manifested themselves. Lwa is a perfect example. Those who agreed on using the words houngan and mambo to describe themselves, then have to figure out what to call the Vodun. Either they or the Lwa decided that Lwa was the official word of preference. And then, at some point, they had to accept that the Legba of Dahomey, of the Rada Nanchon was now an impotent lame old man, instead of a lusty powerful young man. That Agwe of Dahomey were now mulatto, along with Erzuli Freda (whose name is TOTALLY absent from modern African Vodu- like in books by Bliers, Caulder, and Christoph/Oberlander). There is also lots of speculation concerning veves and the 2 souls divided and referred to by names like ti/gros bon ange, and the introduction of govis.

                I'm going to read this thread a few more times... It almost makes me feel as if Haitian artists are being accused of worse things than me; I mean, drapo makers produce MANY pieces with veves as the central focus, and most of us are aware that they are produced as works of art for mass consumption usually marketed toward white Americans who can afford to pay a lot of money for each drapo. For those of you who don't know the following: each houmphor basically has 2 drapo, usually one is for Ogou and the other for Damballah. There may be variations from house to house or region to region, but the above is typical and/or standard. Drapo with veves of Legba, or Marrasa, or Bosou (very popular), or Ghede and the Barons are all usually artistic and designed to make money. So if all these drapo are being sold and displayed or used for decoration in bougeousie homes, and it is true that having veves around is dangerous as has been said in this thread, then it seems as if drapo artists are trying to a) intentionally curse North Americans b) neglectfully unleashing dangerous forces on unsuspecting yuppies. Either way, they have my sympathies (joke!), but all the same, if any of that is true then it must also be true that the same drapo artists are causing much psychic damage and harm on their own heads as well. So I go for the option that has had me for a long time convinced c) observing, reflecting on, and even meditating on a veve is not dangerous, unless say that one is making a death wish on an enemy while praying to a Baron Kriminel drapo or something similar. And keep in mind that when I wrote "meditate on Legba's veve" I meant (what should be obvious), contemplate the image and what it means. I have always been taught that Legba connects us to the spiritual and that he is absolutely necessary and ONLY with his permission can you contact those spiritual beings. And that includes your deceased ancestors. So in order to ask Legba permission for any thing, it seems like you have to get to know him. In the original case, advice was about altar building and I feel that anything VODOU RELATED also requires Legba's permission and assistance. I may be wrong about many things, but that it something I still consider myself to be right about.
                Actually, I wish this whole thread could be started all over...
              • Re: alter building

                Sun, May 25, 2008 - 12:06 PM
                It has always been my experience, when I went to Haiti and from other Mambo Asogwe, that dogs are sacred to Papa Legba, but only in the Rada rite, Atibon Legba receives rooster and bull bones, although dogs are sacred to him
  • Re: alter building

    Mon, January 28, 2008 - 8:09 AM
    wow..with all respects to all. everyone has a very good point...very! very! good points..but we have a person just asking a simple question...;-) on how building a alter...
    Chris !? u must know for what ur bilding it..is it for a saint(orisha)?? is it for the mtsterys of voodu??? or just ur eggun..even though eggun plays a big part in any path...but...read this thread well..cuz everyone dose have a good point...just dont mix one thing with another...if u want a focus point?!...
    my thing is...start out with a white candle to give light and understanding..a glass of water with a cross in side of that glass..to give it balance and make sure that the only thing that will work through that is of light...;-) but read and follow ur heart..best of luck.
  • Unsu...
     

    What FOOLISHNESS!

    Sun, April 13, 2008 - 4:30 PM
    I cannot fathom how others replied to you Chris... speaking for the Loa, taking on the "mantle" of instructing (or suggesting you can ONLY be instructed to set up your altar) is dogmatic and goes against ALL that IMHO Vodou is. Vodou has been FORCED to evolve over the ages, and those who believe they know so much should remember well its history, and not "preach" like christians do. ANYWAY, as a long-time occultist/mystic/etc. etc., now "baby shaman" [or vodouissant] as my dear friend calls me - I've changed my altar MANY MANY times. Now I realize that certain Loa will desire different things, AND some will not mix at ALL - there may be times when a separate altar (just as a separate Ve-Ve) must be used, which will require perhaps another space, for your PRIMARY DAILY ALTAR, listen for the still soft voice in your Heart. This is where the Loa will speak to YOU, and it will be to YOU alone, for what your altar will be comprised of. DO NOT FEAR, as I see in many of the replies to you, that you must do it ONE SPECIFIC WAY. An altar is your Sacred Space, and as such, it should (and WILL) be sacred to YOU. The spirits will guide you. Ignore those who speak for the Loa. Find your own TRUTH in serving them.

    I wish you GREAT Peace in your journey,
    Steven
    • Re: What FOOLISHNESS!

      Wed, April 16, 2008 - 9:22 AM
      Great wonderful answer ST., i love it. Big, great, huge blessings for you, that´s the answer i think Chris (my tocayo) (alike name) had needed from the first time. I have my altar, and really now i realize that i have changed it some times, and i didn´t notice about it, because i was so busy working, and comunicating with my loas that i just did what they told me to do, without watching how different is my altar now since the first time i built it. Again God, the loas or the orishas may bless you for that St.
    • Re: What FOOLISHNESS!

      Wed, April 16, 2008 - 9:51 AM
      with much respects my brother steven...love ur note,,but i also noticed u stated foolishness! maybe in your eyes..but everyones point here was based on what they know and what has got them this far,,,,i agree 100% on ur thread..but! my thing here is...what u may see foolish..others may see it very powerfull and up-lifting....think about that....;-) and again..I loved your thread...cut clean and to the point.
      • Unsu...
         

        Re: Poor choice of word

        Fri, April 18, 2008 - 9:57 AM
        CC, you are quite correct. I should NOT have used the word "FOOLISHNESS," and only now (in a less emphatic state of mind) realize that, yes, those who replied were offering their opinions based upon their experience, and trying to answer Chris. As a Scorpio I tend to say exactly what's on my mind, and often come off too blunt.

        I'm glad that my posting was helpful.

        Many Blessings to ALL,
        Steven
        • Unsu...
           

          Re: Poor choice of word

          Fri, May 23, 2008 - 9:53 AM
          You can make your own calnles. It pays off with time as we can not possibly be too acurate in plotting our way through the furture karmic storms.
          • Re: While off the point of the thread...

            Tue, May 27, 2008 - 11:43 AM
            This is how conversation goes, we start with one topic and end up some where else, it happens in all conversation, they evolve.

            I ultimately what we have here is a clear case of the cart leading the horse. Never ever can the child dictate what it is the mother should do. Too often we have spent soooo much valuable time listening to ill information.
            If we would only look to the source of this all it would end sooo much of the misinformation.
            Eshu-Elegba -not Elegua are one in the same so says the mother. This is only a new concept in the West this does not exist in its place of origin.
            Ultimately everything should be done with the assistance of the elder/priest who guides you, so says the mother.
            The back and forth can easily be remedied, do not get your information from a book, this is an ORAL TRADITION, you can't not find what you need in a book. Go to the source for your information-THE MOTHER. The child can't possible know as much as the mother.
            Just because someone has made ocha or been a priest for 25-30-35 years how does that compare to well over a couple thousand years plus to ocha and priesthood that the mother has. This in no way negates the priesthood of any one at all, so please don't misunderstand me. The point being once one feels they have learned all they need they should rething that thought and go to the mother because believe you me in 35 years one has not learned enough about this tradition and certainly not the CULTURE which is sorely missing in the religion.

            If you really want to learn how to do things traditionally then look to the mother, it you want innovations (not a bad thing, but not the best way) because one HAD to compensate then, but you don't now, then look to the child. It would end a lot of the bickering.

            If anyone is unclear as to who the mother is, she be AFRICA and the child be the DIASPORA.

            The reason I wanted to make this point is because of the back and forth, why is it that a large majority of these things remain in tact in Africa but here there is all this various information?

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