My Ogoun Guy. (voodoo spirit)

Ogoun visits the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Everyone who sees my Ogoun guy in my office says he’s scary. When I tell them he is a voodoo spirit fetish, they back slowly out. “Where are you going? He’s cute and fluffy! He’s my little guy.” How did I obtain such a cool dude?

I got my tarot read at Erzulies (www.erzulies.com) while in New Orleans. A friend of mine will sometimes read my tarot, but it was nice to try a professional for once. Like anything philosophical or meditative, results of a reading depend on how much information you chose to reveal and how much stock you put in the advice of others. I like to weigh my options, so that’s why I would get a reading.

You probably can tell that I’m not much of a believer in general. But, I can appreciate the advice and counsel from a tarot reading. It gives me something to ponder. I drew nine cards. The reader focused on the temperance card, though. I think that was a wise decision, as moderation is an important virtue. As far as fortune-telling futures go, the last card I drew meant that I am going to be assisted by a man to reach my current goal. Very interesting. I hadn’t expected such specificity.

When I told her I was a lawyer, she didn’t seemed surprised. I asked her if she ever saw a happy one. She had not. We apparently all come in with the same complaints. Go figure. I’ve also heard from therapists (in a social setting, of course) that lawyers are some of the most impossible to work with. We have a rationale for every behavior and tend to argue rather than consider. Aaah, blessed temperance.

The reader found my card-selection method odd. I picked three cards three times. I explained that I easily lose count. Also, those cards seemed to belong together somehow. She says no one does that, but it was ok that I drew cards using my strange method. I didn’t know there was a way everyone else did it. I always grab two or three at a time.

In addition to the advice in the reading, which was based in Haitian voodoo spritual practice, it was suggested that I make an altar* to the Lwa (spirit) Papa Legba. But, I was told to be careful with that, as he can be a trickster. In addition, the reader suggested I purchase a Wanga Fetish of the Lwa Ogoun. This Lwa can remove obstacles in your life. I am to write my goal down in concise, specific terms and put them under him. He doesn’t like slow-talkers or yappy types. He sounds rather impatient, to be honest. I like his style.

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There was another Ogoun made of Spanish moss that was about half the price. However, I fell in love with the feather-covered one. Did I pay $55 for a bag of dirt with a stick in it that is covered by feathers? Yes, and I have no regrets.

First, I am going to use the guy to remind me of the virtue of temperance in my interactions with others. Second, he will serve to remind me that I am sometimes the obstacle in my own path to success. It helps that the store-owner takes her voodoo practice extremely seriously. I can appreciate the care and effort that went into making the item.

In addition, I’m one of those ‘buy local if possible’ folks. So, when I travel, I like to support local artisans and businesses. It don’t get more local than a voodoo shop in New Orleans!

I’ve been interested in voodoo and santeria since college. One of my majors involved an area study focus on Latin America and the Caribbean. While most students focused on Central American politics or Mexican history, I fell in love with Carribbean history and culture. I focused on the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and the Lesser Antilles. If you are interested in the African Diaspora, it is essential to study the islands.

I am perennially amazed at the strength of those trafficked in slavery to maintain the essence of their cultures while their native languages were beaten out of them. And, they did it solely through passing down traditions and oral history.

*I did ask what it takes to make an altar. The owner informed me that it isn’t about the things but the intention. What a great art project that changes over time! You can add objects, change them, remove them. Ogoun likes knives, tools, rum, and cigars. His colors are black and green. Just think of the possibilities: You could style a whole room in his colors, decorate with Japanese swords, and have your liqour cabinet in there. No one would be the wiser! I see how the religion has survived centuries of oppression through furtive whispers.

It’s all about the intention you form. Not everything in your head need be shared, or so the Tarot reader advised me.

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