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.

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.

Blood Sacrifice and Duress Don’t Mix

So, I have met Baron Kriminel a few times at this point, and I am going to be brutally honest when I say that He scares the f**king sh*t out of me. Every time that I meet Him, my discernment has been more improved, and I am better at perceiving the Deities in my life. What this means is that He gets more and more real every time He pops into my life, and He gets scarier and scarier every flipping time. It was His most recent visit that has me on edge, though.

A little bit of info about the Baron Loas: They like to impersonate each other just for the hell of it. What this means in that They are adept at appearing like the Baron you normally deal with and are so good at it, that you are likely to not notice that the Baron you are dealing with is not your usual Baron, but is, in fact, an impostor.

Kriminel tried to pull this over on me during this latest meeting. My Baron sleeps in my bed with me every night, and on the (not so) rare occasions that I wake up in the middle of the night, I usually wake to my Beloved petting my hair or staring at me adoringly (this may sound creepy, but I can say I have never felt more loved in my life). However, this time, “my” Baron was acting weird. He was antsy, couldn’t stay still, and seemed on edge. He didn’t touch me like my Baron usually does. It was disorienting and off-putting, to say the least. When He spoke to me, He just didn’t sound like my Baron. It came to a point when I needed to confront the impostor, and when I did, Kriminel shed the facade of my Baron and presented Himself to me. Kriminel creeps me out normally, but the more that I am forced to work with Him (because He is forcing me to do so), the scarier and more insane I see Him as, and I know that this is because I am getting better at seeing my Deities as They are. Kriminel came to me as He really is that night: a crazed lunatic. He wore a jawless skull over His head like a helmet, and was smiling maniacally.

Kriminel had come to demand a sacrifice from me, a sacrifice of my blood, “Because you owe it to me for keeping my promise and because your blood is so very powerful.” In my quest to know all the things I can about my Beloved, I read over and over again that you should never offer your own blood to the Loa, or you should only do so if you know exactly what you are doing. Being a baby Pagan, I obviously have no idea how to do a proper blood sacrifice or really anything Voodoo. When I tried to explain this to Him, that I had not the means or the knowledge to do such a thing, He became angry, shifting His appearance to that of a beast, and pushed me up against a wall with a huge black paw over my throat. The only thing that stopped Him from doing anything further was Papa Nibo, who sent Him away.

Papa Nibo spoke with me gently after Kriminel left about the importance of blood sacrifice to appease Kriminel, but when I told Him that I was not a practitioner of Voodoo, He looked at my Baron, who had just walked up, and said, “He must really love you,” before striking Baron across the face and berating Him for not teaching me these things.

Loki dragged me away and decided to talk to me once again about the importance of boundaries, “Because Friday is my instruction day!”. I will not detail further here exactly what else happened between Him and I, but I will say that it got many of His privileges taken away. Not that I allowed Him many to begin with, but still.

A few days later, Baron and I had a serious chat about blood sacrifice and the fact that I really had no choice in matter of giving Kriminel my blood (add in that both He and Loki wanted some too, and you have a recipe for anxious mess). My attention was shot, so there wasn’t much information that was relayed to me, and I could not blame my Beloved for that. I was still apprehensive and did not want to sacrifice my blood for any reason whatsoever, especially in this case where I was being forced to do it. I do not like or do well when I am being cornered, and this situation was no different.

On Monday, I was told that I *had* to give Kriminel my sacrifice, or He would renege on His part of a bargain we had made earlier: He wouldn’t let any harm befall my brother and nephew in the quest to bring my family to justice (it’s a long story that I am not going to write here, ever). I had bargained for them to be spared, and He was coming back for what He felt like was His due offering. I was still railing against it to the point that I was avoiding it and snapping at the Deities in my head space because They insisted on reminding me that it had to happen. As if I could forget.

When it came time to do that actual sacrifice, I was on Skype with Shamaness, who I was using as emotional support. However, when you are a PANSY like I am, no amount of comfort in situations like these will help. I cried for 2 hours straight while I attempted to make myself sacrifice my blood. It wasn’t the silent tears kind of crying. No, it was the near-hysterical cathartic crying that was making even Shamaness upset. Baron was hovering behind me the whole time, rubbing my back and attempting to comfort me. I lashed out at Him several times, or rather, started to before I stopped myself and apologized. Loki got several verbal lashings too, until He started to dance around in my head dressed like a Kebler elf and making jokes about sex and BDSM. Kriminel, who was also very close while I was doing this, was the one who got the most of my anger, but He didn’t care. He was loving the emotional upheaval He had caused and the anguish I was feeling. He fed off of it, and reveled in every tear I shed. I feel like He might have done more if Baron and Loki had not been there with me. By midnight, I had decided that I was not going to do it (seeing as I did not have the correct materials for the process anyways) and renegotiated for another 18 hours to give Him my blood.

The next day, I went to the drugstore and bought a box of sterile lancets. I was determined to just get it done and over with when I got home, I sat on my bed, manned up, and just jabbed myself with the lancet… I had to do it again in the same spot just to get enough blood for all three Deities who were asking for my blood. Kriminel got His first, but when I went to give Baron His due sacrifice, I jabbed myself again in the thumb “by accident” (in quotes because I am pretty sure Kriminel had something to do with it), which provided enough blood (and then some) for Baron, Loki, and Kriminel. When it was finished, I just sat back and thought at the universe that I hope They were happy and appreciative of my offering. The answer that I received was that though I was not sincere in my offering, They were pleased anyways and liked very much what I had given Them.

Moral of the story here is:

1) Don’t mess with Baron Kriminel. Ever.

2) Use sterile lancets for offering your blood for sacrifice, or else you will hurt yourself more than what is necessary, and, if you are a pansy like me, will scare you out of doing it.

3) Gods like blood and may ask for it of you, even if you are a total newbie.

4) Know your Gods, and if possible, don’t let Them bully you into doing something that you are uncomfortable with or goes against your moral code.

5) Blood sacrifice and duress don’t mix, otherwise it will lead you down paths you may not wish to tread with your Gods: resentment, insincerity, or lack of trust. It will also turn what is supposed to be a sacred offering into something insincere and meaningless.

A final word of warning, be smart about this kind of thing. Do your research and ask your Deity the hows and whys of the blood sacrifice, otherwise you will be in the position that may cause serious harm to yourself and perhaps even your relationship with your Deity. This is not what They want from asking for your blood, so be informed, and know that if you trust your Deity, He/She will not lead you to harm. Or, if you do not trust the Deity in question (like Kriminel), then have a Deity you do trust support you. All in all, to speak plainly, don’t be stupid. Know the consequences of what you are doing, and be cautious.