Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gods of the past returning

I grew up in a Puerto Rico from a very young age to graduating high school. The influence the island has held on me pretty much set up my belief system as it is now. I never went through a Wiccan-phase, as most pagans do, because I couldn’t get my head around the concept of a dual god-form, one male and one female when I had experienced the Orishas myself. My mom had espiritismo and Santería friends, and my great-grandmother was a well-known Santera in the town I grew up in. She wanted to initiate my mother into the “work” but my grandmother was very religious - and very Baptist - so this never happened. I dabbled here and there, but was never fully immersed in the culture so by the time I hit 19 I had married and left the island to reside north in the cold, snowy land of Alaska.

It’s been years since I’ve been in a Botánica, a Latin shop full of candles, statues and other occult and Christian paraphernalia, and it’s something I’ve purposely avoided. While I’ve entered many new age and pagan shops, there’s something inherently darker and viscous about a botánica for me. So this week, I decided to go to one. It’s very basic, honestly, not as flashy or well-stocked as a pagan-flavoured shop usually is. And two of the things that first greeted me when I walked in were two four-foot statues of a bleeding Jesus on crutches and the other of Santa Muerte. They had many statues of Santa Muerte, sickle and all with oils, powders and images of the Virgin and saints. I talked with the owner of the store, a Santero and he quickly recognized my Caduceus necklace. I got a few items, incense and a candle for Eleggua. There’s something about the Orishas that always meant home for me, a very scary and reverent home, that is. Perhaps that is why I always pursue the Gods that walk the edges, the darker roads, like Hekate, Hermes, Set and Odin. Yes, this is quite a mix of pantheons, but as I’ve gone through my life studying and exploring and trying to find my way. If I had a spiritual passport, it’ll show some interesting stamps of the places I’ve wandered.

I got a Spanish book from the Santero on my way out that I found useful since I’ve had trouble finding something I could work with without working one-on-one with someone. While I won’t leave my home within the Theoi, nor the weekly practices I do, sometimes the ties you’ve done in the past return and I have to make space for them.

There’s an interesting podcast called A Year in White that I’ve subscribed to. I’ve discovered his blog a while back when he was interviewed in another podcast I listen to. It feels familiar, of course, to be doing these things while at the same time I feel somewhat out of place. It’s like long lost uncles and aunts have been meaning to visit and I’ve been putting it off, and forgotten everything. They want to see how my life is going and are expecting some hospitality. I guess I should start brewing some strong coffee for them.



Hermes, draw near, and to my pray'r incline, angel of Jove, and Maia's son divine; Studious of contests, ruler of mankind, with heart almighty, and a prudent mind. Celestial messenger, of various skill, whose pow'rful arts could watchful Argus kill: With winged feet, 'tis thine thro' air to course, O friend of man, and prophet of discourse: Great life-supporter, to rejoice is thine, in arts gymnastic, and in fraud divine: With pow'r endu'd all language to explain, of

care the loos'ner, and the source of gain. Whose hand contains of blameless peace the rod, Kerukeion, blessed, profitable God; Of various speech, whose aid in works we find, and in necessities to mortals kind: Dire weapon of the tongue, which men revere, be present, Hermes, and thy suppliant hear; Assist my works, conclude my life with peace, give graceful speech, and me memory's increase.

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