Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The End of the Chase

Right now I am entering couche. I am partaking in the end of one journey and the start of a new one. When I emerge on Sunday, I will be an Oungan Asogwe. The asson will come home.

There are many posts in this blog marking the points along the way. I hope some of you learned a little more about me . I started this blog with the intention of people getting to know who I am. I rechristened it when I started the process of becoming a Vodou priest, an Oungan. Along this path, I marked Sur Pwenn, the first stage of priesthood where I was on point, the beginning of that road. This one marks the entering of initiation to Asogwe.

When I emerge on Sunday, I will be a different man. I will also be the same man. Initiation changes you, but it doesn’t invalidate you. You are still you, just more.

I will keep writing. This may be the end of the chase for the asson, now the road begins anew. I will be on the path to discovering what Asogwe means. There are some things I will share and some that I cannot. I can’t write about initiation – it is part of the mysteries that are guarded to those that have earned it. I will not betray other’s trust in matters related to the religion or other personal things. That’s just the way this works.

Looking backwards and forwards

I am pleased with some of my writing here. Permaglow Spirituality stirred some comments, some dissention and interesting points of view. I enjoy the discussion. I appreciate the private conversations and emails. Join the conversation, keep it coming. Be bold, comment on the blog itself and open it up to a wider audience.

Meditation continues to be a huge part of my life and I’ve done some extensive writing about it. Many of the subjects in the word cloud (Labels) on the right will show articles on a particular thread. The more often they come up, the bigger the word becomes. In terms of meditation, try 24 Hours On Top Of The World. It sums up the feeling of the here and now, the timelessness that I allude to in my last two posts.

An American Shakedown in London proved an immensely popular story, chronicling my trip to India in 1999 with our one week stopover in London. Sleep deprivation landed us in an ugly situation. It’s one of the strongest memories in my life and I cherish it.

Health Care Reform consistently generates readership since I wrote it. I’ve either been personally affected or have friends who have. I wish it generated the same deluge of comments as others, but maybe I make my point too well. The reform act passed a while ago and it was a first step. Many people wanted it to go farther, some wanted nothing at all. More steps are needed.

The Woman That I Love generated much more positive reception than I ever imagined. I’m glad others loved it as much as I did. After sixteen years of marriage, there have been bumps and bruises, it’s been one hell of a ride. I’m more in love with my woman Saumya than at any other point in my life.

In Death Ahead, Detour Next Right, I write about not going to the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 as scheduled. It’s often surreal for me to even think that I would have been there (with Saumya in New York as well). Knowing my propensity then for starting work at 9 AM and being 15-30 minutes late on top of that, I likely would have been near the ground anyway. In that piece I explore many of the near death experiences I’ve had. We all have them. I won’t allow them to slow me down. Listen, we’re all going to die in the end. It’s just a matter of timing. I’m not trying to live with a death wish, I just refuse to live in fear.

In Let’s take the free ANW pillow and go I discuss ways to help in the aftermath of surgery. My partner in crime, the love of my life, the Witch of Endo herself has had to endure being a superstar in all aspects of her life while also bearing one hell of a disease. Not many of us are up to the task. Just try slowing her down.

So that’s looking back, I also have a list of things I want to write about looking forward. I have started and abandoned an article on energy work, not being in the proper frame of mind to write about it. I also have ideas around the spirits, sex (oh my, can I really pull that off without betraying anyone), layers (needs rewriting), sleep deprivation and couche (maybe after this one), another health care reform piece, corporate personhood, a friend who’s dying, haunted houses (seems to be a topic lately, well I am in the business), enlightenment, wishes, white privilege, celibacy (oh my again), sacrifice, taboos and lastly how Vodou makes me a better Christian (this one I hoped to have out before now). I was also informed recently by the Humanistic Pagan that I need to write a “What is Vodou?” post. Maybe that could be a collaboration piece with Manbo Saumya Dlo. There are other topics and current events always push the topics list downward until something rears its head to the forefront.

What about this couche business?

So I have been on this Oungan road between Sur Pwenn and Asogwe for 17 months now. I went through a lot of personal preparation for Sur Pwenn. Much has changed in me between Sur Pwenn and Asogwe. I have learned how to apply my talents from the Himalayan meditative tradition toward healing. I hear and serve the spirits. Times are a changing.

I can’t prewrite how Asogwe will change me, since I’m just starting it now. But it will change me. I am ready. I will say this; I wasn’t ready 17 months ago, although I may have vehemently argued otherwise. I can delude myself, but I can’t delude those closest to me. This has all taken a lot of personal growth. Time and effort well spent. My life has changed so much every six or seven years that I can’t imagine where I’ll be six or seven years from now.

What changes you may ask? I’ve had to delve deep into my personal baggage. Face those inner pains and shames that jumped forward in times of great emotion. I’ve dealt with much change going on in my life. I am getting better at sitting back and not letting my personal emotions rule whatever life flings at me. The spirits have churned the pot with death (of my father, grandmother and grandfather), life (with finding a birthparent), success (and the pressures of it pushing the limits at work) and many other challenges often going on simultaneously.

I used to dislike getting my hands dirty. I had a job in a diesel garage growing up where they stayed that way after 3 days off. I moved out to the country seven years ago and they’ve been dirty a lot since then. I’ve had to get over so much, I don’t mind anymore. Life is dirty. We all get dirty. It can be a great source of joy.

That dirtiness is a reoccurring theme here. It has been a longer, slower change in my life. That is who I am. I am dirty, and I revel in it. Some fears are good and healthy. They keep us away from death and danger. Others rule us, ruled me too much and held me back. I try and let each and every one go after careful examination. It’s harder than hell.

So couche will keep me off the grid. I’ll be unplugged. I’ll be away. I’ll be here and there, betwixt and between two different worlds. I will change, yet again. I will likely find myself there in that same place where I was 17 months ago, feeling like I never left. I’ll be in that same temple in India in the Himalayas sitting in meditation. It’s all the same place, it’s the same me – my other life outside of this one.

I will write more afterward. It may have a different tone, or it may be the same. There’s so much to write, so much to share, so much to explore. Thanks for being a reader. Thanks for learning about me and sharing your thoughts and opinions. Feel free to say it’s all a load of crap, feel free to disagree wholeheartedly. I’ll love you more for speaking up and being honest.

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  1. Blessings on your couche and your continuing journey. May you trust the spirits to give you what you need, because I have faith they will.

  2. So very happy for you, Urban. I know your couché will be profound.