Modern Voodoo Experiments
I spent my childhood among the Geechee-related people of Central Georgia. In the late 1940s and '50s television and interstate highways had not yet come to this area, and on hot Summer nights I would listen, transfixed, to the local ghost lore, early stirrings that would become the Civil Rights movement, African Methodist Episcopal theology and ... voodoo. Central Georgia hoodoo was a long way from New Orleans, or Haiti, or West Africa. But the candle-burning ceremonial, and the "lucky hands" (charm bags) blessed by the Seven African Powers were as real and enchanting to me as the winking fire flies and marsh gases of the hot summer nights. One evening I went to meet Papa Limba, and danced his dances to an R&B sound, never suspecting I was being introduced to an ancient West African deity. I think it was this that led me to magick. The hot steamy night in the deep south did not diminish the ardor of the participants. Inspired and liberated by the powerful, evocative "Hymn to Legba," the dancers danced on, absorbed, possessed by their barbaric dancing in the light and shadow of the green and yellow candles. As the priest poured liquid fire over the sacramental foods -- various fresh fruits and powdered sugar -- they burned, and the night reeked of, and was perfumed by the scent of human sweat and alcohol. The air was filled with spirituality ... and lust. At various points the priest plucked these delights from the blue fire, offering of them to those present. Later, the remnants would be left under a tree as an Offering. The place was a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, the year was 1975 and the priest was me. The ceremony was derived from a description of a voodoo rite which took place about 80 years before and documented in Robert Tallant's classic work on the subject, Voodoo in New Orleans.
The chant grew, the single line was enunciated in stronger pulsations, and other voices joined in the wild refrain, Danse Calinda, boudoum, boudoum! Danse Calinda, boudoum, boudoum! Bodies swayed, the hands kept time in soft pat-patting, and the feet in muffled accentuation ... The Danse Calinda is perhaps the outstanding example of the nature of Voodoo as practiced in America. It is a strange, very old, eeriely haunting song of synthetic Creole/African origin. In the public, voodoo-tinged displays in what was once known as Congo Square in New Orleans, before the Civil War, the Calinda was present. An inoffensive version survived among the rural white Cajun folk of Louisiana into the 1950s - at least. In the 1960s Dr. John (the "night tripper" that is; the underground pop musician of the period was not, as we shall see, the first "Dr. John") recorded a version of the Calinda on his sub rosa hit record and salute to New Orleans-style voodoo, Gris-gris. Yet the Calinda is known to be part of the "outer" world of voodoo. The darker "inner" world of voodoo is something else again. There are long standing rumors in both American and Caribbean version of the sect of human sacrifice; animal sacrifice is a given part of the long trance - possession dance essential core of voodoo. Rumors of sacrifice of "the goat without horns' — that is, human sacrifice — is more conjectural, and have never been proven, though since The Serpent and the Rainbow appeared, it seems more creditable. Certainly, the descriptions available of the most traditional rites, held at night in primitive splendor under the open sky and following the religio-orgiastic practices people of European extraction might associate with the primordial Mysteries of Dionysos, or the people of the Indian subcontinent with the Rites of Shiva, are intensely sexual and sometimes violent, and this of itself might account for the contemporary Western World's love/hate repulsion/attraction relationship with voodoo. The cult, in any case, has often enough fallen victim to persecution and prosecution, so that, from its earliest manifestations, secrecy has been a major factor, and the spread of the cult in the Americas has been no exception to the rule. You see traces in Black and Latin ethnic neighborhoods and, occasionally, at arcane "religious supply stores,"the paraphernalia often billed, as "sold as curios only".
A "Temple Supply Store" in Atlanta, Rondo's Temple Sales, continuously in business since 1945, has brought this tradition down to the present. In the first half of the present century the public face of voodoo in the United States had pretty much degenerated into a collection of charms and spells. In the early 1970s, I searched New Orleans for traces of voudon with my local very history-conscious contacts, and could find no real trace of it. Two factors, however, have in recent years served to modify this trend. The "occult revival' of the late nineteen sixties/ early seventies created a greater public, and for that matter legal, acceptance of fortune telling, charms and talismans. And, the enormous influx of immigrants from Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America during the same period brought with it any number of adherents of various quasiCatholic/voodoo cults and practices to this country. Already, by the middle years of the nineteen eighties, the old voodoo remnants were showing signs of melding with those recently introduced from South of the Border. The magick of brujo sorcerers and the Cult of the Saints, or 7 African "powers ' had made its way North. It can be argued that the older voodoo which reached America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - reaching its pinnacle in the 1800s when charm seller and brujo, Dr. John and Madame Marie Laveux were the witch king and queen of New Orleans - was already a watered-down or imperfect version of the cult. Haitian voodoo is usually described as a synthesis of highly complex West African tribal beliefs and Roman Catholicism. But its sophisticated magical practices often reflect a knowledge of European ceremonial magick as well, raising further questions. It is known that two Lodges of the legendary French Illumanati (as opposed to the Bavarian version) had relocated in the late 1700s from France to Port a Prince in Haiti. Little is known of the fate of these lodges in the turbulent decades ahead, but traces of freemasonic republicanism and ceremonial magick can be found throughout subsequent Haitian history, and in the voodoo cult itself.
The experiences of T Michael Bertiaux and the Jean-Maine line of Afro-European magick in Haiti imply an unbroken tradition. In any case, one can follow the African Dahomean religious current passing into American voodoo in the person of Legba, the Dahomean god who resembles the ecstatic, erratic Dionysos and the communicative Hermes combined. In Haiti it is this latter attribute which contributed to his adaptation into the voodoo loa (or god) Papa Legba (or Papa Limba), a kind of earthy version of St. Peter and the "gateway' to the other loa. Thus the "Hymn to Legba" (a rudimentary "hymn to Pan') used at the beginning of my aforementioned ceremonial experiment, in that instance being from a recorded contemporary Haitian voodoo ceremony. In the U.S. Legba was transformed into Papa Limba, apparently something of a curious cross between St. Peter and Satan, thus anticipating the unlikely doctrine of the "unity of Christ and Satan" articulated by the Process Church in the 1960s. The propensity for absorbing whatever seemed appropriate to its needs has always characterized voodoo and marked it as an early manifestation of religious existentialism or spiritual relativism. For a time in America, the land of melting pots and blandness, this also almost proved the cult's undoing. "Voodoo" became "hoodoo"; in part because the various cult leaders such as Dr. John (a.k.a. John Bayou, Bayou John, Jean Montaigne, Voodoo John and John Fecelle), Marie Laveaux (who may have been two people — mother and daughter) and later "Root Doctors," some of whom are still around today, found the commercialization of charms and potions more expedient and lucrative than practicing primordial folk religion. Even so, "hoodoo' as Tau Michael Bertiaux's deceptively simple course reveals, is far from unsophisticated. But, with the wider audience for, and acceptance of the occult, along with the influx of voodoo practitioners from the South, voodoo is today experiencing something of a covert renaissance in the United States.
Bubbling beneath the usual tv-and-burger- franchise self-image of the American dream comes, like a call from the collective unconscious, what some would consider the American nightmare. The mystique of voodoo has quite literally haunted the supposedly solidly Christian Western Hemisphere for two centuries or more, raising the most fundamental spiritual issues and questions. During the late Summer of 1992 I led two preliminary voudon workings at Eulis Lodge's Dekalb Avenue temple space in Atlanta. The invocations of Grand Legbha, gate to the loa, began the series with the Hymn to Legba, recorded many years earlier in Haiti, an invocation of Legba, a secret "punch' and fruit offerings, trance dancing and becoming Divine Horsemen ourselves. As I danced around blowing my whistle and beating my drum, the last thing I can remember thinking was that I had not really wandered so far from my Central Georgia roots after all. On Wednesday, August 26, 1992, I conducted the first of the two preliminary gnostic voudon workings at an "open to the public' regular event. The working was conducted at the Temple of Eulis Lodge, a thousand square foot space quite suitable to trance dancing. The purpose of the working was to "open the gate" to the Loa , and therefore Legba as "gate keeper of the spirits' was invoked. Sister Lisa drew the veve flawlessly. Skull candles were placed at key points of the veve. The "Hymn to Legba" followed an invocation; Par pouvoir Saint Antoine de Padoue, Legba Atibon, Maitre Carrefour, Maitre Grand Bois, Maitre Grand Chemin, Legba Barriere, Legba Bois, Legba Caille, Legba Zan-clian, Legba Missebo, Legba Clairhoun'deh, Legba Cataroulo, au nom de Monsieur Avadra Bo-roi, vie, vie Legba. And with fruit essences as sacrifice and Eucharist, a secret elixir provided as inspiration of endeavor, I blew my whistle, beat upon the sacred drum and began the frenzied hour-long trance dance. Participation was VERY broadly based with mixed results -- four people departed, seemingly in great discomfort at the energies generated. The others were all possessed to greater or lesser degree. I became the Priest I was representing, and in that mode gave communion to all remaining. An almost unbearable erotic energy pervaded the working. On the following Wednesday, September 2nd, an invocation of Erzule was conducted along similar lines. The attendance was a bit smaller, but an excellent polarity balance prevailed. After appropriate invocation, the dancing began. The energy was much more sexual, but seemed to effect the males present in a pronounced fashion, while females reported a profound erotic reaction which manifested only later. This may be due to my concluding the ritual at a given point, according to the regulations of the host organization. Clearly, the event was on the verge of Sacred Orgy Entranced, or Ultimate Communion. The next working was therefore postponed to a more private occasion. As the group had been working much with Enochian seership, it was proposed by me that the working be an ecstatic invocation of Ghuedhe Nibbho , in specific of Mirroir-des-Sessions in the first grouping of Tau Michael Bertiaux's Grimoire Ghuedhe, the Famille Legba Nibbho.
I felt that Mirroir-des-Sessions was a relatively benign form of Ghuedhe Nibbho for a relatively inexperienced work group other than myself, as well as of specific value to the Work at hand with seership and scrying as major focuses. The form of David Cimochowski's preliminary invocation was proposed as an opening: upright crucifix, two beeswax candles, two taper candles, white and black, frankincense, a glass of water and the altar covered in black. The veves of Legba and Papa Ghuedhe Nibbho , along with the altar paraphernalia would be set up in the North. Legba would be invoked, the white candle lighted, and Legba asked to open the barriers to Papa Ghuedhe Nibbho. The other candles would then be lit, the water used to invoke the water elemental and the dead. The invocation of Ghuedhe Nibbho would follow with meditation, and communication using the water.
To activate Mirroir-des-Sessions, each celebrant then has the kamaea drawn upon his or her person: GPOGO POGOG OGOGO GOGOP OGOPG The spirits of Vulkanus, QOIKP, may also be drawn upon the person for intensity: QOIKP OIKPK QOIKP OIKPK IKPKI KPKIO PKIOQ The dancing commences at this point. When celebrants feel ready, they would approach the Priest and bare the magical sexual center appropriate to this working, that is, according to Grimoire Ghuedhe, "the base of the spine center assigned to Moon in Scorpio". The Priest anoints the celebrant, and the dance continues to fruition. With this design in mind, we moved from magick in theory to magick in practice.
Experiment in Grimoire Ghuedhe
Sunday, October 25, 1992 e.v. 9:00 PM EDT
The experiment was conducted with six invited participants. Sister Lisa constructed the veve of Legbha and of Papa Ghuedhe Nibbho in chalk on the hardwood Temple floor, aligned to true North. The Cross used was one personally blessed by Tau Michael Bertiaux. Other paraphernalia included two "beeswax" tapers, a black and white candle, incense burner, a glass of water. Each participant had the kamaea GPOGO, POGOG, OGOGO, GOGOP, OGOPG drawn with magical red ink at the solar plexus. The plan was for me to take any participant who wished and "move the talisman' to the base of spine center, according to the correspondences of Grimoire Ghuedhe, using uncut Abramelin Oil. As Sister Lisa drew the kamaea, hers was on her arm as opposed to solar plexus. This proved interesting. Sister Jezabel had made the magical ink. The "Hymn to Legba" was played from an old Haitian recording, followed by my recitation of an invocation of Legba. Frater B. then conducted the invocation of the loa. Music and dance commenced. Whistles and drums accompanied standard Haitian voudon hymns. Much energy was raised. Mirroir-des-Sessions was the object loa, as the Legba Nibbho Famille, as Tau Michael says, "is magickal and research oriented and concerned with looking into the future, past, etc," Mirroir-des-Sessions being one of the few "benevolent' loa aspects of this Famille. Brother Peredur was wholly physically ridden, hurling himself around to the point that I twice had to exercise some magical protection to keep him from charging into a mirror (!) and rolling onto a candle. At one point he took on the unmistakable aspect of Baron Cimitiere briefly if unexpectedly. Interestingly, most completely forgot about the "talisman transfer,' but Sister Lisa, transfixed, approached me and bared herself for the anointing. The Abramelin Oil would ordinarily be quite painful in this region of the body, but she experienced no reaction, indicating a state of transcendence. Sister Lisa described her experience an aftermath. Keep in mind that the 1000 sq. ft. space has a mirrored Western Wall. During the ceremony, I kept going to the mirrored wall. Without looking, I kept touching my image because "I" WAS the mirror image.The person dancing was 60% Legba (based on past experience). I felt sexually attracted to everyone present, even those who would ordinarily not have aroused me at all. That night I dreamed I was sitting in front of the mirror at the Temple space after the ceremony. I was in a chair in the corner. I felt strange sensations between my legs. I spread my legs to the mirror, revealing a baby's head emerging from me. There was no pain. I called (Soror Jezabel) over to help. She placed her hands on my shoulders, and I held my hands out, receiving the baby. It was a male with no umbilical cord. There was a crescent moon shaped mark at the base of the navel (the navel and crescent resembled the Crowlean "mark of the beast"). The child looked like the twin of my younger son Randall Gnosis. The child was the size of a four month old, but covered with "newborn fluids". (Soror Jezebel) and I both thought this was Randall's twin. She removed the afterbirth, and took me to the hospital where my two real sons were actually born. The dancing lasted about two hours, and I concluded by reciting the Pierre-Loa of Papa Ghuedhe Nibbho. Everyone present seemed energized and enthused, and another session was planned two weeks hence. At Brother Pax Templi's suggestion, I did a Star Ruby banishing, which he followed with a Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
Trance Dance Session
November 8, 1992 9:00 P.M.
The group assembled at the New Eulis Temple. Two female and three male invited attendees were present. As previously, the altar was set up in the North, with the veve of Legba on the left, that of Mystere-Limbi-des-Lutteurs-Nus on the right, as rendered by Sister Lisa. The object was to invoke the energy of Baphomet, the beast-man- woman-god into each participant. Mystere Limbi is of the Famille Impudique, the "impudent' family of loa , in Docteur Bertiaux's words, "entirely shocking to many students of black voodoo because it is so perverted". The veve does not follow the four- fold traditional pattern. The assembled were advised of the serious territory being entered here. As before, the "Hymn to Legba" was followed by Brother B's opening to Legba (as the "gate') and Ghuedhe Nibbho (as Grand Master of divination and initiation). The brethren were invited to anointing at the four magical sexual centers activated with Mystere Limbi. Most ultimately presented themselves. Interestingly, most did not feel the regular biochemical reaction associated with this anointing with uncut volatile essence. (Often, it is painful.) The dancing was as before, but the "riding" was indeed explicit for all present. Afterwards, some expressed discomfort with the quality of watching themselves perform under the possession of the loa. Although the session lasted about an hour, most agreed that much more time seemed to have passed. Brother B and I closed with a license to depart, a Pierre-loa and a traditional Star Ruby.
Grimoire Ghuedhe Working
January 10, 1993
Present were Brothers B, Peredur and Pax Templi; Sisters Jezebel and Lisa, as well as myself. The Working commenced at approximately 9:30 PM, at the end, it was noted, of the interesting Sun/Uranus/Neptune conjunction. Setup was the same as before, except the veve on the right was the generic Grimoire Des Ghuedhe Barons (sans spider), and I did not recite the Hymn to Legba, though the recorded version was played. Target loa was Limba ou Maitre Baron Limba, with the intention of completing the Famille Impudique two weeks hence with Mystere Baron Lundi. One procedural error; those who came forward for anointing were given the right-sided points, rather than the left. After Brother B's invocation, dancing was begun. Some rum was present. I did not indulge, but felt "inebriated' as I spun round and round the great veves Lisa had drawn. The proceedings seemed subjectively very long, though perhaps an hour passed. Several participants including Jezabel and B seemed withdrawn into themselves. Lisa became de facto priestess, spinning after annointing from person to person irrespective of sex and involving each in (safe) erotic play. When she came to me, I noticed a definite "anal fixation' which she did not indulge. I later noticed others in the same mode, which, considering the attributes of loa invoked, seems interesting. Independently, both B and I experienced a feeling that, were we to "let go completely' we would be completely ridden. This occurred early on. Jezabel seemed completely withdrawn, but Lisa described her as receptive female energy. At the very end, Pax Templi stood in the East directly beyond the central cross of the veve while Lisa engaged in oral worship of the lance. She was on the left arm of the cross, and at the central rose cross point of the veve, Peredur kneeled and gave oral anal worship to the priestess, all at once. The sense of inebriation and anal fixation seemed consistent with the target loa.
Working of January 24, 1993 9:30 PM
Mystere Baron Lundi was the object loa, to complete Famille Impudique. The veves were again drawn by Sister Lisa, those of Legba and the generic veve of Grimoire des Ghuedhe Barons. Brother B did the openning as before, after the "Hymn to Legba" was played. The energy displayed was largely internalized. As might be expected with this loa, despite intentions by the women present not to present themselves for activation of the seven sexo-magical appropriate activation points (Moon/Scorpio;Sun/Taurus;Sun/Virgo;Sun Capricorn;Sun/Scorpio; Moon/Taurus;Sun Pisces), only the men felt the "calling', and received the anointing. In spite of this, Sister Lisa was ridden by the loa and took on his characteristics, unknown to her in normal terms. Here is Lisa's account: I went to the East and turned into a young black man with Caucasian features. He had a large erect penis. The Spider in the veve began to mentally talk to the black man (me), saying, " you are scared of me, you are afraid and you should be! " The black man (I) said (mentally again)," No I'm not, I'm going to kill you, and you will see who should be scared; no, I will blind you, then kill you." The spider said, "No, no you are right, please don't kill me." I said, "I am going to kill you if you don't obey."
Then the black man got a candle lighted from "his" candle [I observed her doing this - TAG] and blinded the spider; it screamed the whole time. The black man said while doing this, "I'm not going to kill you, just blind you to show you a lesson." Then I, no longer the black man but myself, went to the West side of the Temple and stood to the West of the Legba veve. I turned into a very feminine woman and danced - not sexy; more like a "NICE" feminine woman. Then I went to the South side of the Temple and sat down at the foot of the veves. I then saw smoke-forms coming from the veves. The one from the Legba veve turned into the feminine woman and the other veve the black man. They floated above the floor with no legs - just mist - they gravitated towards each other with arms spread embracing in a kiss. I then got up and got the crayons and chalk, then returned to my place. They were still there. I drew them on the floor. While I did this it seemed I was bringing them from the air down into the drawing. She was white or pink with longer than shoulder length blond hair. At the end of the last piece of music I remembered what the black man wanted me to do before we were finished, which was to kill the spider (he was lying to the spider when he told it he wasn't going to). So I walked over and erased it. The eyes stayed because of the wax. (Jezabel) took those off so perhaps he didn't lie; "he" DIDN'T kill it!
At one point I approached Lisa, who was holding up her skirt in a strange fashion over the veve. When I touched her, she pushed me away in a masculine fashion, unlike her at all. She later told me this was while ridden by the loa she saw as a black man. Months earlier, after doing a healing at the same site eight deep spider double fang marks appeared on my back, though I felt nothing and didn't even notice until the following day. Brother Peredur hurled himself around and seemed shaken afterwards. The energy generated was substantial; a burglar alarm across the street went off. The only other time that has happened was during a strong exorcism months before. As the ceremony concluded, the alarm abruptly switched off. Ceremony concluded at 10:30 P.M. with a banishing. Be it noted the Master of the Ghudhe Lodge showed remarkable advance knowledge of Lisa's vision, and Tau Michael displayed an after the fact knowledge of details not revealed anywhere.
In the Summer of 1994 e.v. I discussed giving the Points Chauds with Soror Dita and Frater Tom. The entire set of 90° Mizraim empowerments were given by Soror Erotica and I to Soror Dita and Frater Tom in November of 1994 e.v. As these resulted in gross ego inflation of Frater Tom, further research and consultation with Tau Michael Bertiaux was sought before proceeding further.
In the Spring of 1995 e.v. a new group of enthusiasts began to emerge. Work on meshing the group and other experiments delayed beginning mainly individual work until the Autumn of 1995 e.v. What began to emerge was the giving of multiple empowerments according to "loa intuitition" and by the 97° of the Memphis System. Frater K. and Soror S. were gradually given all 97 points, concluding in early 1996 e.v. Soror Princess was given all 97 points in a single session, due to her previous experience with Tau Gregorius, etc. Frater Three Days received several of the empowerments, while Soror Regina received the entire set of 97 over a period of about three months in early 1996 e.v. K., S. and Regina received several of their empowerments at my personal "power spot" — Mt. Arabia in rural Dekalb County GA near the Roman Catholic Monastary and near the repeated site of apparitions of the Virgin Mary. There were cautionary notes - Soror Regina abruptly disappeared after two workings in scrying terrestrial locales. Another person who received all points soon left town and later committed suicide. Before this happened, Soror Regina and I worked on scrying the terrestrial locales. After, the complete system was corresponded to Dee and Kelly's work on regions of the world correlated with the Enochian Aires. In April of 1996 e.v. Soror Regina and I conducted several experiments with scrying these locations through the points associated therewith and with the Call of the 30 Aires. The first point experimented with was 1 "Aegyptus" as in the chart accompanying the points chauds pages.
After the several incidences of disappearances and a tragic death, along with a number of positive results, I began to be concerned that only persons consecrated to this energy in advance could safely contain it. All serious experimentation into unknown lands has risk involved; even the Moon was not claimed without casualties.
Although early experiments were conducted under Eulis Lodge's roof, the more graphic events here were open only to a highly restricted group of initiates. Safety standards were observed as much as possible under the circumstances, and no illicit substances were employed in the rituals whatsoever. Later experiments were conducted under private auspices.
I received my training in Gnostic Voudon from Tau Ogoade Orfeo IV, and have consulted with Tau Gregorius. Tau Ogoade Orfeo IV reviewed this work on an ongoing basis, and members of the group consulted with him on how to productively proceed. Portions of this work appeared in Green Egg, and in LAShTAL. I would sincerely caution anyone that these power points can be very dangerous without proper emotional balance and magical training and empowerment.