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Discrimination, ATR’s, and the Power of Myth!

There is something that has been weighing on my heart that I feel that I must speak about.  I was reading a post by a fellow Witch who spoke her heart about coming to accept herself and her path and how liberating it was to just embrace herself in the face of the persecutors.  It is hard to believe that in this day and age that people are still persecuting each other based on religious belief.  I mean really you would have thought that would have stopped after Jesus walked, or after the pilgrims sailed, or the witches were burnt, or the atrocities of the Nazi’s against the Jews. But no it goes on and on and on.

I want to speak more specifically about the persecution of people who celebrate the African based traditions(ATR) and how people still have to hide what gives them strength for fear of being looked down on.  The reason is because of my own practice which is African based.  I have had my own intense struggle with standing up for my own beliefs because what I believed in was not accepted as the norm.  Whatever that is.  But truth be told I have always been the odd ball out no matter what and that did not begin with my practice of African based traditions.  The fact that I have always been just outside the circle has more to do with my own evolution in life and acceptance of my relative position in the circle more than anything else.  I am a Witch you know and witches have and always will live on the edge.  That is just a fact. I am writing this post in an effort to begin to do what I have felt I needed to do for a very long time and that is to begin to actively teach or unteach the ignorance of what pervades our understanding of Vodou, Sanse, Espiritismo, which fall under the category of ATR’s.

I am an initiate of Haitian Vodou as of 2013 and am currently studying and training to initiate God willing into Sanse/Espiritismo.  I am by no means an expert in either of these traditions, however I have practiced them long enough to see that there is great light in them just as there is great light in most all religious/spiritual traditions.  That light is either increased or diminished by the person or people upon whose shoulders it rests to further it in the world.  The light that I know feel in my tradition, I am compelled to share one because it has helped me, it has brought me and continues to bring me great peace.  With that said I do have struggles everyday as life is a struggle.  But it should not be an unbearable burden.  That is the gift.  And in return I am compelled by the light of Vodous the Angles of Vodou to share what I have learned.

My witch friends, my shaman friends, my pagan friends, Muslim friends, Christian friends, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.  Jesus said be careful of who you turn away least you turn away an Angel in disguise.  He also said and it is agreed your friends your closest pals the ones who look just like you are truly your enemies and are the devil and will lead you straight to hell.  I say this because most what we feel about ATR’s is because it is foreign to us.  We don’t know a lot about it save the movies and media.  We know the media is full of shit, but then we can’t help a good drama, a boo in the dark.  I don’t necessarily think there is some conspiracy smear campaign going on the trash ATR’s either.  I just think honestly there are not enough of us who can speak up doing so, writing, teaching, etc.  I takes a lot of strength to do that.  We fight each other, spit on each other out of ignorance yet in our own traditions we feel so much light.  I was once in Peru and I was talking to some fellow Shaman folk and the topic of Vodou came up.  I could not believe the fear the word Vodou struck in my friends demeanor.  And I have to tell you my friends what I learned in my walk with the Shamans and what I then learned in my walk in Voudou well let’s just say my friends reaction was preposterous to say the least.  Peruvian shamans do love work, luck work, and employment work, banish spirits, and open your doors to move you forward just as priests and priestess in ATR’s do.  We all cast spells and circles and if you are working with the right person they are doing these things for good not for bad.  But to not digress I really think it’s just a matter of speaking up and learning from each other and I do hope this will help in some way.

The ATR’s (Vodou, Brujeria, Candomle, Santeria, etc…) teach us to draw on our Ancestors and God help us for the loss of that wisdom.  I cry for our Elderly.  ATR’s teach us to respect our parents, our ancestors, our wise one’s who have trained no matter their age.  They teach us the power in Myth and the belief in something beyond just yourself.  To have faith.  They teach us about the great Metressa Mambo Ezili Dantor the breaker of chains who came in the head of Mambo Marinette.  Mambo Marinette made a pact from the blood of a black pig at a historical ceremony to free her people.  The Haitian people went on to defeat the French to form the first freed slave state in the Western Hemisphere.  Now that is a true story.  That is now myth.  The power of that Myth lives in the blood of many many people. The fact that many people will read this and not know this story, not know what you are capable of, not know our connection to shaping and cultivating one’s own destiny is a travesty.

It does not matter who you are what color your skin is, who your people are.  Within your veins runs the power of your ancestors, Odin and the Yggdrasil, Moses and the Burning Bush, Quezalcoatl, Buddha, Krishna, etc. are the myths of our ancestors and who we are.  We are all different yet in our myths we are all one nation evolving beyond our differences.  I would leave you with this one thought.  Why do you think The Game of Thrones is the most popular series on TV right now.  If you said that it is because we are living in a time where our culture has become so whitewashed, so flat, so unconnected to our ancestral understanding of our relationship to the earth, so devoid of hope and faith, that we have to create it and put on tv to feel like we are alive then you would have answered right.

So I will leave you know with this.  I once came across an analogy that likened religious practices to spokes on a wagon wheel.  And you know what I am going to throw Satanic practice right in there with them.  They are all spokes on the wheel.  They all lead to the center in either this life or the next.  As for the Devil well I would say this….nothing is going to make you cry more sweetly for God than a dance with the devil in the pale moon light.

I wrote this post in an effort to help people to understand a little more about my practice and how I feel about it.  Vodou, Sanse, Espiritismo is vast and in one lifetime or even many I don’t believe all can be known or written.  And in fact in terms of what is written there is not much compared to other traditions. There are reasons for this most of which is that it is and has been an oral tradition and requires study and transmission through linage.   I also really wrote it to for my brothers and sisters especially who have forgotten how their ancestors prayed for freedom as they placed their newborns in baskets and pushed them into the wild unknown with the faith of a mustard seed.  I wrote this for those who braved unknown lands by the path of the stars in the hopes that their offspring would not forget their stories, I wrote this so that the circle would remain unbroken.  So be it.

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