When I initiated into Vodou this year, I tried to prepare myself by tackling my issues. I’ve wrote about many of them earlier this year: fear, anger, trust – I tried to face my demons. Little did I know that this was the beginning of the road.
Since initiation, I’ve had many more of my issues come to light. On one hand, I feel the spirits are trying to ready me to be a better Oungan. I am seeing more and more of my deep rooted problems float to the surface.
The most difficult are the things I’m addicted to. I’m having to look back onto my life to this point and see how things have brought me to where I’m standing. Currently this is dealing was childhood pains and fears – and my addiction to the drink.
I’m not doing this alone, I’m going through a difficult process of understanding how I got here, and what I need to do to heal myself. I feel the spirits are pushing me forward, ready or not here I go. This is a good thing, after all. I need to heal. I need to be whole.
Once I pass beyond one crossroads, I find myself standing in another.
At times, I wonder if the journey will ever end. At other points, I hope it never does. I want to be a better person. I want to heal those whom I’ve hurt.
Becoming a Healer
I’ve never thought of myself as a healer. It’s often been the realm of those around me, those with a certain talent, gift or knowledge. However, as I walk this road of priesthood and self-healing, I’m awaking to the fact that I do have a certain talent myself. This is new territory for me and one that I never imagined myself walking into. It’s not really me in one sense, but me listening to what is asked of me. I’m just the one who lets it happen.
I’ve reached a point in my life where I am so thankful, so grateful for what I have. I have a wonderful home, land, life, love and much happiness. There’s difficulty as well, but it’s overshadowed by the life and love. I’ve reached a point where I want to give back. That’s what made me decide to become an Oungan in the first place.
It’s not so surprising to me then that the healing has come into my awareness. It’s another way I can give back. I want to help others because of the bounty that’s come my way. I want to share the good, help the bad. It’s for myself as well as others.
Walking the Walk
So it’s easy to talk the talk, it’s much more difficult to walk the walk. I am still stumbling along this path, it’s very rocky and there’s an incline as well. I get exhausted with the pain I’ve caused, the pain that I continue to cause, the difficulty I’ve made for myself. I push on.
Analogies aside, I have homework and self-work. I am struggling to strengthen, be honest with myself and my true love. I have old wounds that I had completely forgotten about floating to the surface. I must be doing something right.
While I can easily acknowledge these issues, I’ve also never been more centered or more grounded. In some ways I feel that this is what’s enabling me to see where I go wrong and what I need to do. I know I’ll discover more issues and pain the deeper I delve, the farther I explore the neighborhood. These wounds give me strength and perspective, they also help me help others as well as myself.
I get to the point where I feel every thing that’s happened to me, every mistake, every piece of progress, every tool in my arsenal has led me here and pushes me onward. Meditation, Christianity, Vodou – these are all tools I have at my disposal. They’ve helped me to forgive and see forgiveness, mostly of myself right now. They center me, help me cope and deal. They push me farther down the road, deeper into the waters.
The deeper I go into my initiation, the deeper I see the junk I’ve tacked up on my walls, the walls of my mind and soul. I see pain and hurt, relive it in some ways to make me more aware of who I am and how I got here. I’m struggling to learn and be a better person and husband. I feel my scars give me street cred.
Each pilgrimage, each ceremony, each lighting of my alter takes me a step deeper. Sometimes that step is imperceptible, sometimes it hurts. I can feel like I’ve stumbled. I get up and walk a bit further.
Faults and Fractures
My shortcomings do get a hold of me. I work at them.
Does this make me worse off to admit these issues, in a blog? I don’t think so. Show me someone that has no faults and I will look at you like you’re crazy. I am trying to deal, striving to work through difficulty. I used to laugh at those that said the Spirits pushed you onward, making you deal with the next, pushing you forward to take you deeper. I now know what this means.
The job I’ve taken requires me to cleanse myself. It’s not an immediate effect, but a process. I have good company along the way. I don’t feel alone. I’m not scared. It’s not easy, it’s damn hard, but each chip I take at this pain of past hurt, deeds, current problems and issues leaves me feeling lighter. My issues are floating to the surface, but they’re buoying me up along with them.
This may sound misguided, I may sound like I’m lost along the way. I’m not. I’m on a path, I know the dark forest it goes through, it’s me. I’ve avoided this path for so long, now I feel I have the strength to walk it. That’s what it means to be a priest. To forge along this path with the strength and knowledge that the bones of my ancestors, the skeletons in my closet can guide me forward. I’m traveling a path that takes me someplace, a better place with myself. Maybe this is the cleansing that Asogwe requires. Maybe many before me have taken the same journey. Make no mistake, this is personal. This is my forest, my waters and I plan on going as far as I can in this lifetime.
I want to give back. I want to share and turn my mistakes into something that will help others along their way. To do that I have to be honest with myself and others. I have to acknowledge that where I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going has a certain relevance and meaning. It can be helpful to me. It can help others, as well as myself, heal.