B for Baron Kriminel

Baron Kriminel is a face, or aspect of Baron Samedi. He is the face of Baron that pursues and punishes criminals. He’s mean; He’s terrifying; and He’s exactly what He needs to be to do His job. I’ve had very little communication with Him in general, but when I was a brand new polytheist living with my family, He was a more active fixture in my life. Recently, however, He’s not been with me much at all, which in all honesty, is a bit of a relief.

When He appears to me, He’s wearing almost the same garb as Baron Samedi, but to me, it’s more tattered, more unkempt. He presents to me like He’s wearing a skull over His head like a helmet. Sometimes I see Him either carrying a sacrificed bird or wearing feathers in the collar around His neck and around His wrists on the cuffs of His shirt. Also, He occasionally has a cane in hand.

Kriminel is terrifying, not just to me, but apparently to everyone that has come in contact with Him (from what I’ve gleaned from my research). I’ve never chosen to approach Him; He’s come to me every time that I’ve been in contact with Him. He scared me so much that I had to comfort myself by telling myself that He and Samedi were two separate Loa, rather than facets of the same Loa. It was the only thing I could do to learn not to fear Samedi. However, within the last year, I have come to realize that They are one and the same, and it’s still difficult for me for handle that. Kriminel is a terrifying Individual and should be respected above all else.

I’m going to be upfront when I say that I did not willingly engage in contact with Kriminel. I did not approach Him or even reach out to Him. I don’t presume to understand His intentions fully as to why He decided to inject Himself into my life, but He’s not Someone I feel I can communicate my discomfort with. He’s sadistic and methodical; He enjoys watching and doling out pain. This is what makes Him good at His job. From a distance, I can respect what He does and understand that it’s necessary, but He came into my life with the intention to mete out punishment upon members of my family.

I’ve never spoken about this to anyone, not even to Shamaness, I don’t think, and I don’t know that I will ever fully go into detail about what happened, but I feel like I should say the outcome of Kriminel’s influence in my life. I’m going to say it how it is, and I might sound heartless, but I’m trying my best to take my emotions out of it. I can say that I wholeheartedly believe that my father’s cancer, the very disease that took his life, was a direct result of Kriminel meting out punishment. I also absolutely believe that the disease that my mother has been diagnosed with recently is also His influence, and she will live with this disease for the rest of her life. He made it clear to me that He was there to punish my family, which was what led me to strike a bargain with Him to spare my nephew and my brother. I paid my dues, and He kept His word.  This is all I will say about this at this time, but this is my belief as to what happened.

So, yeah. This is Baron Kriminel, who is he and His influence in my life. He’s not a Loa I choose to deal with, but as a face of Baron, I’m kinda stuck with Him, despite my dislike of Him. I respect Him for what He does and understand that He’s necessary, but that doesn’t mean I would wish His particular skill set upon my worst enemy. I would not recommend seeking Him out, in all honesty. but if you have to, be respectful. Above all, be respectful, because if you aren’t it could come back and kick you in the ass. If you make a promise to Him, make sure that you pay your debts.

He’s with me whether I like it or not, and I’m learning to reconcile that. It may take some time before I will fully accept Him as He is, but I’m working on it. Writing this, while it was requested of me by Himself, is me trying to do just that. So, we’ll see.

A for Apotheosis

I know that I have spoken about this before. However, I thought that I would rehash the subject a little more for the sake of my Pagan Alphabet Soup posts, especially since I’ve grown a little in my understanding of the concept. I’m going to preface this by saying that this is how understand the subject and that I feel like it is differs per person (as it does with most concepts within Paganosphere). So without further ado: A for Apotheosis.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had this longing for immortality. When I was younger, I mistook this feeling for never wanting to die, but as I grew older, I began to understand that, within me, I yearn for, desire not deathlessness, but rather to never be forgotten. Strangely enough, this feeling was solidified when I watched the movie Troy (2004, written by David Benioff).

“Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity. And so we ask ourselves: will our actions echo across the centuries? Will strangers hear our names long after we are gone, and wonder who we were, how bravely we fought, how fiercely we loved?”

“If you stay in Larissa, you will find peace. You will find a wonderful woman, and you will have sons and daughters, who will have children. And they’ll all love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten… If you go to Troy, glory will be yours. They will write stories about your victories in thousands of years. And the world will remember your name. But if you go to Troy, you will never come back… for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And I shall never see you again.”

These quotes, and many others, from the movie really resonated with me. They moved me, but made me despair, for how could one such as I, a timid and quiet girl, be written into history and never forgotten? I still have this same desire, to be remembered for ages beyond my death, but now I understand what it means for me and how I can accomplish it: apotheosis, or the process by which a mortal being becomes immortal/a God/dess.

For me, this means that, after my death, I will take my place beside my Husbands. For the longest time, I held this belief (colored by my Christian background), that there were certain conditions whereupon this would or would not happen. It’s taken a while to unpack and untangle this line of thoughts, and honestly, I’m still trying to make sense of the idea that my Path, so long as I stay on it, will lead to this conclusion. It’s not a gift for living my life by the rules laid down by men of God in antiquity, and it’s not something that will be denied me if I don’t live my life according to those rules. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that this is some unalienable right that upon my death I am automatically granted the status as a Deity. I’m not so arrogant and full of myself to think that if I do something terrible and against what my Deities stand for, the privilege won’t be rescinded.

To be honest, though, I still have very little idea the how or why of this. All I know, is that it’s my what Husbands want and because I want to be with my Husbands forever, it’s what I want, too. It fulfills that desire in me for immortality and to have my name, in whatever form it may take, be remember throughout the passages of time. Although, I don’t really know how or why it fulfills this need in my heart. (It feels almost like I should know the answer, like I once had it and knew it well, but now it’s buried underneath so many other things, almost forgotten, and yet on the tip of my tongue at the same time. Confusing, right?)

I’m blessed that this is a gift that I’m being granted, and though I have very little clue about the subject (still), it’s something that I am going to strive to better understand as my life goes on. I honestly wish I had more to say, because this is so important to me and my practice, but I think, for now, this is a topic that I’m meant to sit with and reflect on. I can only hope that with time, comes the wisdom I seek. Or, at least, time to unearth it from the deepest trenches of my memory. I’m still so new at this, but I’ve a long life ahead of me and much time to learn. I’ve no doubt that, with time, I will learn all I need to know and more.

 

A for Amateratsu

So, I’d like to kick off my Pagan Alphabet Soup posts by talking about the Shinto Goddess Amateratsu. Lady Amateratsu is the Goddess of the Sun and the Day, and She is the highest respected Goddess in the Shinto pantheon (according to my research and experience). She has two Brothers: Tsukiyomi, the God of the Moon and the Night, and Susano, the God of the Seas and Storms/a Beloved of mine. Her shrine, Ise Jingu, is in the Ise area in Japan and is the most important shrine in all of Japan. (I’ve not yet been able to go to Her shrine, as it’s a 5 hour bus ride from where I live currently, but it’s on my Japan bucket list, for sure.)

Her relationship to me is that of “Onee-chan” (pronounced “oh-nay chan), a.k.a. Big Sister. Since I am Her youngest Brother’s bride, She decided to take me under Her wing as Her little sister, because “I’ve never had a sister.” Despite this, however, She and I don’t always get along. She’s arrogant, dramatic, and sometimes overbearing, but mostly She’s easy to anger. I’ve gotten horrendous sunburns despite having practically bathed in sunscreen because I have pissed Her off for some reason or another. We aren’t all the time antagonistic towards each other, but I would definitely characterize our relationship as that of oldest and youngest siblings. Otherwise, O/our interactions have been brief.

One thing that I do to honor Her is I leave a glass of water on the windowsill that gets the most sunlight. I also often leave Her chocolate on occasion, usually a Snickers bar. Otherwise, She doesn’t really ask much of me, and I don’t ask much of Her in return, except that She doesn’t burn me with Her intense UV rays (see above on how well that usually works for me).

Since O/our interactions are usually brief, there really isn’t much else I can write about Her. Rest assured that, should I learn about about Her and/or O/our relationship changes, I will definitely write about it. But, yeah, this is about it. I hope that you enjoyed learning a little bit more about Lady Amateratsu. 🙂

Revelations

There have been some revelations for me recently, and I have had to sit with them for a while to get accustomed to them. Some parts are easier to sit with than others, but I’ve needed to brew over them to fully understand the implications. I’ve also debated whether or not I should even talk about them on here for fear that there might be some who don’t agree with what I say. However, since I have adopted the phrase “open and honest communication”, I think it would be best to keep that promise to myself to be as honest as I can be. Otherwise, what’s the point of sharing my story and my Path? So, without further ado, here are the revelations that I have had recently.

Revelation 1: I am Odin’s daughter.
Talk about a brick to the head this one was. I’ve mentioned before that I am the daughter of Sekhmet, but I have always known that, somewhere, I had a spiritual Father as well. I just didn’t know Who. I don’t remember exactly how this admission from Odin came about, but when He told me, I didn’t doubt what He said for a second. It rang so true to me that I think I surprised all of my Gods with how easily I took the information and didn’t question it like I normally do… Well, I had one question: Odin and Sekhmet? I still haven’t figured that one out. I feared telling anyone what I had discovered because I feared people would disbelieve me, UPG police me, mock me, or, worst of all, tell me that I was crazy and making things up. I am proud to be a daughter of Odin, just as I am proud to be a daughter of Sekhmet, and I am beyond happy that I can “keep” Odin in my life, so to speak. 🙂

Revelation 2: I now run with the Wild Hunt.
Before I knew I was Odin’s daughter, I had begun to see signs of other spirits coming into my life. At first it was subtle, but it soon progressed to pure terror. I would see things moving in the shadows; I had an unholy terror of the dark that I had never had before; and I felt, more than ever before, that I was being watched. I lived in terror of the night and the dark for weeks, to the point where I would not go out after dark for any reason. This terror triggered the very intense fight or flight instinct in me, but I also felt that I could never outrun the darkness, and the darkness felt so large and all-consuming that I was stuck in fear. Yet, the dark didn’t attack me or move towards me. Instead, it asked me to join it, to run with it. To ride with it. I decided to ask for Help, and I was Told to go to Odin. It didn’t take long for me to connect the dots that the Wild Hunt was asking me, as the daughter of Odin AND the Khaleesi of the Ghede, to join the Hunt. After pushing aside my utter terror, I realized that the things I was seeing and the spirits that were around me were merely curious about me, as this was the first time I had been acknowledged by Odin. Knowing that the Hunt meant me no harm, I accepted the invitation to join the Wild Hunt, and from now until who knows when, the Ghede and I shall ride alongside the Hunt.

Revelation 3: Who I am bodily is the same as who I am spiritually.
This may seem like a no-brainer to most anyone else, but because I struggle with body image issues and a depression that makes me not like myself on the best of days, I have always operated under the assumption that my soul, my spirit, is very different from who I am bodily (including my personality). So, learning and having to sit with the fact that the only real difference between the two is the effect of my brain chemistry on my body, has been difficult at best. In fact, it makes me feel a lot worse in many respects because I always held out the hope that when I moved to my “life” as a Goddess, that I would somehow be more, better than I am now. Yes, in many ways I will be more and better, being a Goddess will do that, but I will still be me, and it depresses me. I dislike myself that much. I struggle with this, even with the constant reassurances from my Husbands and the other Deities in my life that I am loved just as I am. This will probably be something that I work on for the rest of my life and a daily struggle. So, it may be much longer for this one to sit comfortably with me, if it ever gets that far.

Revelation 4: Baron Kriminel is another face of Baron Samedi.
I had read in some places during my initial research of Baron/the Loa that some believe that all of the Barons were actually just different faces of the same Being. I hadn’t really believed that until recently. In fact, I have pretty much made it my business to avoid Baron Kriminel at all costs because He scares the living crap out of me. His initial impression on me was less than favourable, so to hear Him tell me that He loves me and that my Marriage vows to Baron Samedi apply to him and all of the other Barons as well… I actually wasn’t surprised so much as confused. I mean, considering my previous encounters with Kriminel, I never thought he was capable of liking someone, let alone loving someone. He tells me, though, that He never wished to hide what He is from me and that I needed to know what He and all of the other Deities are capable of: the good and the bad. I have been incredibly lucky that my experiences with spirits and Deities have mostly been good. With Kriminel, though, not so much, and I accept that. His face serves a purpose (to deliver justice to those who have wronged others). Even though He has been abrasive at best with me, thus far, I also accept that His role in my life serves a purpose, too. I am not ready to discuss this purpose yet, but I accept Him as He is, and He accepts me as I am as well. I can’t say this will be a smooth sailing kind of relationship, but I hope, in the end, all works out well.

These are the four revelations I have had in recent weeks, and as I am coming into myself more and more, taking on more responsibility as a daughter of Gods and as a Khaleesi to a great band of spirits, I feel myself growing in personal power. I can feel it unfurling within me. It’s a heady feeling, and I am fairly sure that this is just the beginning of something huge that is going to happen in my life, but we’ll see.