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.

B for Baron Samedi

Baron, my sweet Baron, is the very first of my Husbands, and the very first for me in many regards. I’ve known Him since October 2012, when He first made himself known to me. I had been doing some research for some time before He alerted me to His presence, but in truth, He’s been with me my whole life. I will get more into that later, so I would first like to start with fact about Baron Himself.

Baron Samedi is the Loa of Death and sex, from the Voudun tradition. He’s the Lord of the Ghede and has dominion over death. It’s His job to dig the graves of those who have passed. He likes to wear a top hat and sunglasses (which have one lens popped out to see both the spirit realm and the physical realm) and likes to wear a tailcoat a la undertaker fashion, with a cane in hand. Baron loves his alcohol and His cigars, and He also loves a good party. It’s also said that He horses people when He chooses. The days He is usually honored on are Halloween and the Day of the Dead.

Baron has many faces, many aspects: Kriminel, La Croix, Cimetière, Spider, Maggot, and etc. Each of these faces has a distinct personality and function. He, along with His Wife Maman Brigit, are the King and Queen/Father and Mother of the Ghede, who are spirits of the dead. He’s very skilled magically and is even reputed to have the power of resurrection.

When I was doing my research, the number one thing that was obvious to me across the board was that almost every writer warned against working with Baron, that He is dangerous to interact with. It’s been said that He forces Himself into people (horsing) to make them do His bidding. It’s also been said that He’s devious and will harm anyone who isn’t in His favor. Every single person, with only one exception, said to avoid Him at all costs.

That being said, when I was starting to dip my toes into polytheism, it absolutely terrified me that Baron, this feared and foul Loa, was interested in me. It scared the fuck out of me that this God was all around me, watching me from the shadows. Even though He never presented as a threat to me, the very fact that I couldn’t see Him and that He triggered that instinctual fear of ghosts/the paranormal I have. I remember the very first time I tranced (the only time I’ve ever had this experience), I did the trance equivalent of running away screaming because He decided to formally introduce Himself in His usual over-the-top flare because of what I had read, the fear that I felt.

However, my experience with Baron, because He refused to go away when I demanded it, has always been kind, gentle, and loving. He has been patient above all, which, with me, is a necessity. It’s actually caused quite a lot of cognitive dissonance because so many people report having a negative experience with Him, but I’ve never had a bad experience, aside from what fear my own mind blankets me with, which is no fault of His. Baron, and Oshun as well, have explained to me that a lot of this has to do with perception/the way He’s viewed as well as the intention of the people that were seeking Him out. He’s told me that the face He presents to those that seek Him out for black magic or for nefarious purposes is different than the face He presents to me. In fact, I’m told that this face of His is reserved for a very select, favored few. I still struggle with this a little bit, because I wish people were not terrified of Him, but I also know that if He wanted a better image, He would change his image in order to be more approachable.

~*~*~

My experiences with Baron can be traced back to my childhood, if I think about it. I remember having an interest in/being forced to go to cemeteries around Halloween time. My mom, sister, and I would go to “ghost hunt” in cemeteries, armed with flashlights, cameras, and (later) a digital recorder. One specific time that very much sticks out in my mind was when I was 16, and for Halloween, we went on the usual cemeterying (as my family calls it), except this time, we were going to an all new cemetery that we’d never gone to before about 20 minutes outside of my hometown.

It was tiny and very old, some of the tombstones being so weather-worn that they were unreadable. That night had a very charged feel to it, and my senses were very heightened that night, as if waiting for something to happen. I knew something was going to happen; I just knew it. When we arrived, I felt immediately that something was there already, watching. We hopped the fence to get into the tiny cemetery and placed our recorder on one of the tombstone before pressing record on the machine. My sister, mother, and I sat down for a moment to start asking questions. It was my mother’s idea to begin a seance, which I thought was a bad idea, but I took their hands despite my trepidation.

My mom was speaking the words for the seance, and all I could feel was like something or someone was watching me. Getting closer. It was so scary. It got closer and closer until I felt something tugging my hair. It happened twice. More time passed, and we finished the seance, snapped more pictures, and were ready to go. I got up to grab the recorder, but just before I got to it, I felt something smack my ass. When I looked behind me to see if it was my family, they were easily six feet from me, thus unable to be able to touch me. It freaked me the eff out enough that we left at my insistence. When we developed the pictures later, we found that many of our pictures had smoke in them, as if someone was smoking while we were snapping picture. My mother does smoke, but in the interest of trying to get good photos, she didn’t smoke the whole time we were at the cemetery. There was no explanation for it… At the time.

I learned later, after Baron entered my life, that it was actually Him with us that night, and He was indeed trying to get my attention by tugging on my hair and smacking my ass. It scared me at the time, but now I see it as it is: this was what He could do to get me to pay attention to Him. This kinda backfired in that it only scared me more, but He tried.

~*~*~

Baron is a very grounding influence in my life. He’s calm when I need the calm, and He’s comfort when I need it. I love Him with every fiber of my being, and I can’t imagine my life without Him. He’s my Husband, my Lover, my Friend, and I hope that He remains these things for me for the rest of my eternal life.

I love you, Baron.

B for Beloveds

I’m going to preface this with a little bit of a disclaimer: I’m not wholly comfortable posting this, because I know that many people don’t view my orientation (polyamory) as valid. However, this is my blog, and this is my space to share my story, so I’m choosing to speak on this so that others like myself can read this and know that they aren’t alone.

Anyways.

I’ve expressed before about my earliest sentiments regarding Godspousery and having romantic relationships with the Gods (hint: they weren’t so favorable). So, if you would have told me that I would have not one but four romantic relationships with my Gods, I would have laughed. Deep, meaningful, and intimate relationships with my Gods and polyamory? Running away whilst screaming would be a very delicate way to describe what I would have done. Thankfully, my Gods know me well enough that They didn’t overwhelm me with everything, but came to me One at a time. It wasn’t an easy feat for Them by any means, but I have to commend Them for Their patience and unwavering desire to get what They want.

As you might have guessed, Baron came into my life just after Oshun, making Him the second Pagan God in my life. At first, I was totally terrified of Him, like called-my-best-friend-crying-from-terror kind of fright. I sensed Him everywhere, especially at night. He was everywhere I was at all times, and when I expressed fright or feeling overwhelmed, He receded, but not completely. He wanted me to feel Him, breathe Him in; He wanted me to know Him completely, just as He wanted to know me. Baron was at His most powerful when I first remember His presence, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget what it was like. His intensity was unlike anything I had ever known. It was this that taught me that a relationship with Him, or any other God, would be unlike everything I knew and would be more than I could ever hope to have with a human. It was terrifying, at first, to be the focus of such… feelings, but as time passed, I grew to enjoy the feeling of being enveloped in Someone that I loved deeply. Baron and I were married a short time after He first came into my life, on Christmas Day, after much persuasion on His part.

Loki had a more difficult job, in some ways. He came into my life around the same time Baron did, but He wasn’t a constant presence like Baron was. During my research phase, I read a lot about Loki, and I felt such a pull, a connection. He took His time, though, and let Baron convince me that being a Godspouse was for me. Loki, on the other hand, had to teach me that being intimate with more than One… Person? God? was okay, and that it didn’t make me a slut or diminish my worth in any way (thank you, Christian ideology). This was so, so difficult for me, especially as He didn’t let up on His pursuit of my affection. He was overly fond of jumping into Shamaness and surprising me. He once even made out with me using Shamaness’ body, just to prove that He and I had a connection that I couldn’t deny or ignore, despite being Married to Baron. Loki never let me distance myself from Him and proved time and time again that the intensity between Baron and I was just as present between Him and I. It was very stressful to learn this lesson, but when I was ready, I did accept Him into my life as a permanent romantic fixture/Husband.

Poseidon came into my life through Shamaness, and for a while, O/our relationship was very distant. He was not involved with my life, unless I sought Him out for questions, of which there were many. With Poseidon, there was never any fear; He is a God that I have been fascinated with since childhood. At first it was like talking to a superhero: I was awestruck and asked many, many questions. The more I spoke with Him, the fonder I grew of Him. I enjoyed the easiness I felt with Him. Yes, there was intensity, but mostly He was gentle, kind, and patient with me. I don’t know how or when my fondness for Him turned to love, and when it did, I felt a great deal if guilt. I already had two wonderful Husbands, and at first, He didn’t seem to respond in kind to my adoration, but I realized, with time, that His affection is not displayed like Baron’s or Loki’s is, and with help, I soon let go of my fear and anxiety. Letting Poseidon in was easy, like breathing. He filled me up, every inch saturated with Him, and it felt like I had come home.

The last, but not least, of the Gods to come into my life as a romantic fixture was Susano. He definitely came at me sideways in terms of letting me know that He wanted me as His Wife. At Shamaness’ recommendation, I approached Him before making my way to Japan as a sort of formal introduction before me and my Gods entered His (and His Family’s) territory so as not to offend Anyone or find myself in a spiritually hostile situation. Before my arrival, He and I conversed quite a bit, and in that time, He and I grew closer. There wasn’t an exact moment where I realized, “Hey, I think I’m falling in love with this Guy.” However, Susano was never subtle or cunning about His feelings for me, when I realized that that was his intent. (This is when He did this.) It was an overwhelming time for me all around and having yet another God come up into my life wanting to be romantically involved with me caused me to be very caustic at first, but once again, Shamaness was there to soften me a bit as well as Susano Himself, of course. He and I married a few months after my arrival in Japan.

❤ ❤ Tl;dr: I’m a polyamorous Godspouse who’s married to four Gods from four different pantheons. It’s amazing, to be honest. that I could feel so much love in my heart while also feeling so much love directed at me in return. I’m truly blessed to have so much love in my life, and I’m so, so grateful for Each of my wonderful Beloveds. I don’t love One more than the Others, nor do I have a Favorite. I love Them all with every fiber of my being. I am Theirs. They are mine. I’m loved, and I couldn’t ask for more. ❤ ❤

A for Altars

(I apologize for this being a little late. Work is hectic nowadays with the new school year starting in April here in Japan. Anyways, this is the weekly scheduled Pagan Alphabet Soup post. Please enjoy.)

When I was growing up, there was a time before I started going to church that my mother began dabbling in Wicca. I felt a very strong pull to follow a Wiccan practice, even at 9 years old. My mother gave me a book for teens on witchcraft, and I read through all of it quickly. After reading, the first thing I did was to set up an altar as described in the book with what I had at the time. Many years later, when I stepped back onto the Pagan path, I set up a very meager altar and gave an offering of skittles on that very altar. Ever since that time, I’ve always had some sort of altar in my places of living.

Currently, I have two main altars in my home and one smaller one I use for holidays. The first altar I have is for all of the Deities in my pantheon from my Husbands to my Parents and Everyone Else in between. I have bits of shells, hair pieces, jewelry, a journal, a picture of myself (to symbolize the giving of my self to my Gods), and other odds and ends that either have significance to my Gods or things that remind me of Them. The second altar I have is for Narvi and Vali. It has a some stuffed animals, a wand from The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (from Universal Studios Orlando), a place to burn incense, and my 3DS/my 3DS games. I felt that the Kids needed a space of Their own, so I gave it to Them so as to ensure that They are never forgotten in my household. In addition to having my altars, I have things all over my apartment that remind me of my Gods so that They are never far from me.

I’ve actually found it a little difficult to maintain my altar space. If I am to be very honest, I find it hard to maintain myself, let alone a sacred space. I do what I can when I have the energy, but it’s difficult. I know that many people see maintaining an altar as maintaining the relationship with your Gods, and I respect that. I wish I could have the energy to do things daily that were in service of or in honor of my Gods, but it’s not easy when I average 5-7 classes a work day and work on my days off as well. There are some days when I only am able to communicate with my Beloveds right before I fall asleep. I do my best every day, and though I feel like my best isn’t ever enough, my Gods have assured me that I am not offending Them or dishonoring Them in any way, which is always a relief.

I’m always interested in learning about how others’ practices, so if you would like to share with me what kind of altar you have, please feel free to leave a comment. The same goes for any of my posts. I always am happy to talk. 🙂

 

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. 🙂

Something New?

I’ve been thinking recently about how I can be more involved in my spirit life, reflect on my practice, and that sort of thing, and I decided that I wanted to try to come up with a list of topics that I can write about each week. I was prompted to do this by my Father, Odin, Who has requested (I’m not sure if it was a request or an order, to be honest) that I write on this blog at least once a week. This sounded reasonable to me and not like something that would overwhelm me, so I agreed. The problem has been, though, that I have been lacking topics to talk about. My practice isn’t very flashy, and I’m a solitary practitioner, so I never feel as if I have much anything to say that would be of value to anyone else, but also would be interesting to read about. In this light, I’ve been prompted to write down every letter of the alphabet and put a topic (or several) next to each letter, and ta da! I will have the topics to write about.

Every week starting this week or next, I will write about a topic beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Some letters will have more than one topic, so I will finish each topic for every letter before moving onto the next. I will do only one letter a week, but if there is more than one topic for a given letter, I will post it the following week. I’m hoping that this will help inspire me to write more, but also to be more reflective of the impact my spirituality has on my life.  (Yes, I am aware that something similar to this already exists, but I want to do this my way, for my own comfort, if that makes any sense.)

So, yeah. I hope you enjoy my upcoming posts.