(A trail of betrayal)
By: Yayi Siete Rayos Mundo Nuevo Carile
Almost 6 years ago within a Teaching Circle, there was fascinating teaching experience that took place. The Circle was involved in exploring many different avenues to Spiritual Growth, and on this particular weekend we had been discussing TRUST and the false expectations that get attached to Trust and how those false expectations confuse the energy and spirit of Trust. There were several meditations that took place with the Sacred Drum and with the Casimba. The story that I want to share today arose around one Meditation in particular. The Essence of the Meditation was a process of transforming agony into progression and healing. The instructions were to call forth 7 Ancestral Spirits. One of the individuals went beyond the instructions and called forth more than 7 Ancestral Spirits, this particular woman (who for the sake of confidentiality, I will call “Liriope”) called forth an uncle who died violently in the “Old Country” and several young relatives who died tragic deaths (including suicides). This brought about a spiritual reaction within the Circle as another woman responded by being influenced by her Spirit to tell “Liriope” that she had overstepped a boundary, and that she had no license to invoke those Spirits.
We have a Palo saying “Por que tu mi llama si tu no me conoce”, which translates to “Why do you call me, if you do not know me.” As with many proverbs or sayings there are multiple layers of meaning to this proverb, however it is a caution against calling Spirits that one is not prepared to respond to. This was a case when the individual “Liriope” went “over the head” of the Elder in disregarding the instructions concerning the Meditation. It is important to understand that this was not a casual meditation but rather that it was part of a very powerful Spiritual Circle which was being directed by the Power of the Muertos, in fact a Kiyumba was right on the table.
The second woman spoke about violence and impatience, although since the Spirit was only “Influencing” her, she was unable to articulate very clearly what she was perceiving, only that it was something that had gone to an extreme of negativity. She did indicate violence as being involved, saying “the knife cuts the body, too much slicing”. The Elder said a specific verbal Garavato as a general statement not directing it towards anyone in particular. At this point “Liriope’s” younger sister (who we shall call “Crocus”) began to confront the Elder as if he had said something directly to her (which he had not), she loudly stated “Oh you think I can’t handle darkness, you think I do not know about darkness?” Simultaneously “Liriope” said “no he is talking about me!”
At this point there are strong spiritual forces present and various Ancestral Spirits are very “close” as we say. Both sisters (who are biological sisters) had stood up to “claim” the negative spiritual energy that was present (which could be accurately described as a spiritual energy of “Agony”). At this point the Elder was aware that there had been a failure to follow directions and that the energy that we were seeking to transform was creating a blockage to transformation right within the Circle, in other words the “Spirits of Agony” that accompanied these two sisters were becoming aggressive in the face of transformative and healing energy. It is common with what we call “Maboya” or “Ndoki” that these negative spirits will suddenly emerge with either aggressive and hostile energy or with an extreme energy of victimization and wailing, one energy seeks to bully, the other to manipulate, both energies are antagonistic because they feel “exposed” and they become highly antagonistic towards the Elder.
The Elder understood that he needed to bring further “light” to this spirit of agony, and he began to sing a mambo (which was not understood by the listeners because it was in the language of the Elder and the Spirit that the Elder was working with). This mambo called the “agonizer” to step forth and not to stay in hiding anymore. After a potent moment of silence “Crocus” began to speak, and as she spoke she began stuttering and speaking as if english was not her first language, she avoided eye contact and held her head down. The Spiritually insensitive may have imagined that she was “in spirit”.
To clarify we make a distinction between people who are being “influenced” by the Egun (Ancestral Spirit) and those who are “In Spirit” (ie. mounted by the Egun). Those who are mounted are generally easily recognizable through their completely different behavior than the person normally displays, and generally the first thing the mounted Spirit will do is identify themselves. A person who is being influenced by the Spirit is feeling the “fluids”, the spiritual currents of the Egun but the person’s conscious mind is still firmly rooted and the person is formulating the words they are saying through their conscious mind. In this case, “Crocus” was only being influenced by the spirit, and more being influenced by a desire to be mounted by the spirit as well as by a spirit of agony. However she wanted to be perceived as being “in spirit” and played as if it was really the Spirit speaking. The Elder was aware of this and further tested the individual by a series of questions which made it clear that this individual was “playing as if”.
For Paleros it is very problematic when an individual pretends to be mounted when they are not. This creates a dangerous situation. First of all the pretending individual dispenses “readings and messages” that are coming from their conscious mind, and which range from invalid, redundant, to downright manipulative and dangerous. Additionally pretending individuals are opening themselves to dangerous spiritual currents as they are insulting the Ancestral Spirits of the Spiritual House and of those present. They also run the risk of being discredited by the people who are aware that they are “faking the funk”!
After some discussion with this “alleged spirit” concerning “caves” of darkness and “caves of creative energy”, the Elder asked the individual to speak of “Trust”, at this point the individual refused to do so saying “I cover my head and I turn my head” and suggesting that the Elder was in a better position to speak about trust. When asked to identify herself, the individual refused to do so, saying that no words were coming up. So the Elder suggested that we refer to “her” as “Grandmother Trust”. The individual responded that the Elder was bold. After some more “discussion” during which most questions that were posed to the “spirit” were directed back to the asker by the individual who simply asked a question in response to a question. As the discussion turned to trust once more, the individual began to scream loudly (and I mean SCREAM!) “I am nothing, my voice means nothing, their voices are louder” and began an agonizing wailing. At this point the Elder stepped in having revealed and exposed with his “garavato” the agonizer.
This story reveals many things just as the proverbs do, and we could explore any of the many layers of meaning. Here we had two sisters, both of whom were being influenced by the spirit of agony, this spirit of agony was both within their minds and within their ancestral tree. We have the elder sister, Liriope, pulling Ancestral Spirits which were in agony, in particular pulling a uncle who had died violently (the other half to the story which was not told to the Circle was that further violence was also generated by the family of this individual in the “Old Country”). This could have been what the third woman was referring to with her statement of the knife cutting the body and slicing.
The younger sister then rides that energy and consciously participates in a deception (pretending to be in spirit when she was not). She is being influenced by an agonized spirit but is not being honest about what is going on, and is getting in her own way in terms of healing the ancestral and present agony in her and her sister’s life. The spiritual energy that is influencing her is being equally deceptive trying to present itself as being about spiritual progression, however the word-garavato “trust” broke the deception. The Elder chose to expose the spirit of agony rather than let it fester beneath the surface of the Circle where it could have created spiritual and / or physical dis-ease. Much like an abscess that needs to be drawn out with a poultice until it breaks the skin and is released from the body, he decided that for the health of all, the spirit of agony within this particular ancestral tree had to be exposed, and he had to address the energy that “Liriope” had called to the “table”.
It is fortunate for “Liriope” (who was in the habit of bringing in agonized and tormented energies) in this particular instance, that she had made this particular invocation of that spirit (uncle) under the protection of the Spiritual House and the Elder, since he was able to address that and bring it into the “light” exposing it and preventing it from spreading poison beneath the surface. What this woman and her sister did outside the Circle in terms of invoking the spirits of agony or torments is another story, because unfortunately they applied the same lack of spiritual discipline in their lives as they did in the Circle. It is a powerful story and a tremendous teaching story on the need to be aware of what one invokes and what spiritual forces one is “pulling”. It is also a strong admonition to those who are tempted to “fake the funk” that this is a dangerous and disrespectful practice. One never knows what energy the particular Spiritual House is holding within the Universe or what Mysteries and Ancestors are examining this behavior.
Grandmother “Trust’s” name is ironic, as it was a trail of betrayal that the story brings to our ears. But, even within this irony is a truth as often great agony and torments will “hide” behind a mask of “peace, love and happiness” that is a thin layer of projection hiding the agony beneath. Being dedicated to healing, we always seek below the surface or below the mask to see the true spirit that is there. When one speaks of bringing “light” to something, we must always ask “what does that mean!” Trust is a spiritual energy of great power and beauty, and we must look for when it is misappropriated as a tool of manipulation. Grandmother Trust unwittingly gave us further definition of “trust” by giving us a view of its misappropriation.