Sunday, May 27, 2012

Spirit Relationships, Ashe, Herbs and the Forest

Gran Bwa is the House in this case!
As part of the results of my spiritual discipline,  I have decided to write more about Vodou.  Regardless of what is said, there is very little agreement on most anything in Vodou between groups.  I am going to to write about it only from my perspective.   The perspective of what works for me.  Rest assured, I will probably get slammed, thats what the delete button is for.  Alot of what this blog will talk about is how to maintain relationships with the genus loci of a forest.

So I went to the forest to collect some leaves with the munkins.  They are learning well.  

  1. We paid to go into the forest, entering in the crossroads paying Legba to open the door from the crossroads..
  2. Then I paid Gran Bwa to go in the forest
  3. Although its not traditional, I have such a relationship with the faery kinda, that I will usually pay them ( with prayer) to help me find what I was looking for.  
Usually,   I will pray or sing til I feel I can enter.  This is a forest I have been going to a lot.  I have a great relationship with the forest.  Sometimes I will go just to go and walk, take it in.   I love bringing the kids to this forest.  Singing or praying this time was only a couple seconds, then "come on in".  So we go in.   We did extra service by actually cleaning up the garbage in the trails.

This is a wonderful way to make progress with the local spirits and form relationships with the forests.  Unfortunately, this is where many modern books seem to stop as far as methods to build more powerful meaningful relationships.

For each plant, I pray to the plant and pay the plant with coins and water, or rum if I feel appropriate.  Then I take only what I need, and only what I feel and hear the plant allows me to take.  This is usually not much.  Taking the whole plant is not needed ( and I will give a reason from my perspective in a few paragraphs).

Second,   I thank the plant.

While crossing any crossroads within the forest, I pay the crosswords to carry the magic through the crossroads.  It's not possible to pay each crossroads in the suburbs or in some cities, but I make sure to sit and pray at the crossroads to pull the magic of the leaves through the crossroads.  In a way, all crossroads are linked, they are all part of a matrix it was.  A trick my spirits taught me was to pray at one, to pull through all.... I wont exactly go through how they taught me to pray to make that happen.

When done the Ashe of the plant comes into the magic you are working.  Ashe is the spiritual energy in this case of the plants themselves.  Of course, spiritual energy is a horribly ambiguous and complicated term.  What is spiritual energy is greatly up to debate, however for the purposes of this blog post, it is the ability of the plant energy to work successful magic.  This is a gross simplification, the plants themselves can work miracles.  Now usually, I will use live plants I collect in this way, and prepackaged plants from stores for the bath work.  It is my opinion, that to be most effective, the prepackaged plants require a whole different procedure to turn on the Ashe of the plants.

Now, when you are using a live plant, I usually want to make sure at least one of the plants I take from is well cared for and stays alive.  Simply put, this anchors the bathwork to a growing or continually growing plant.  It keeps the work going as the plant is going.  

Collecting the Ashe of the plants in this manner gives an amazingly awesome platform for herbal tea work,  bath work, or even incense that the prospective magician, Houngan, or Mambo can then layer the spiritual energy of a Lwa on top of ( God or Goddess willing).   Taking a non-paradigmal view, this works great whether you are serving Gran Bwa or the Greenman.

What really is important, is maintaining the relationship with the forest, and the plant.  Respect is the key.  Specifics can be argued about, but Respect and deference is the key.  In a similar way, you can pay the forest for rock, water, or whatever really you need.  The relationships with the spirits, your intuition and respect will carry you quite far. 

Peruvian Fire ceremony, Shaman Jim specialty
Very Bitter Beer on Mountains.
Learning Peruvian Shamanism
So I am learning some Peruvian shamanism from Shaman Jim.  There has been a grown sympathy between me and some of these shaman allies.  There is a long story behind this, but increasingly his shaman's line have gotten interested in me.  That's a very different blog.

But Jim instructed me to find 3 rocks for different purposes.  Again,  the forest provided and in each case I would pay the forest for what I took and needed and thanked the forest.  In two cases, cleaned up alot of debris, and thanked the streams and the trees that gave me gifts.  The gifts are exactly what I needed to start learning and developing more and more with the Peruvian shaman.  Of course, I will be learning more and more Vodou as well, as time goes on.

What is important here?
In each case,  there is a strengthening of the relationship  from me to the forest I am working with.   In each case there is a series of mutual benefits for the forest and me.  The relationship allows for much greater flows of Ashe.  Even from a psychological model of magic, the more powerful relationship is with the force, the more convincing the magic will be to the subconscious mind.  If you are taking the approach that spirits are real, these kinda of relationship strengtheners will be a book to any shamanic path that assumes in the existence of spirits.  In fact, for me, starting with the Ashe of the forest and having earned the rocks for the Peruvian training can only help my progress working with what the stones represent.  

All in all, that more powerful starting point... and acknowledging the web of relationships and working to maintain and build those are a great recipe for more powerful natural/shamanic magic, in my humble opinion.


  1. Excellent post! I like the way you do this. I know how important rum is to voodoo. In a "this is what Rix does" sort of tip, I took a course on Native spirituality last year. The elder teaching the course advised against giving alcohol as an offering in this area of the world, as alcohol is considered a poison, and therefore the local land spirits may take offense. But, different paradigms call for different offerings, just a little food for thought. Well done!

    1. Well if you read more closely, "rum" if I feel it is appropriate, which means divination or spirit medium ship. AKA in practice, most of the plants do not want rum, water and picking up the trash yes. As this is from a Vodou perspective, it is paradigm-ally linked however and as this is working well as in never has the local spirits taken offence in practice in my experience and they are quite clear on what they do want when they want some rum, I will probably keep doing this this way. As I did point out the specifics can be argued about, and that argument is relatively meaningless. It is the relationships that are important in a post dogma world.


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