> Please excuse my ignorance, but I have never worked with pakets before. Is this a part of rootwork, or voudon, or both?
In my opinion, and I’m not trying to set myself up as some kind of expert on this stuff, pakets and mojo bags have a great deal in common and probably spring from the same sources/places. A paket is, really,
just a charm that is somehow tied up or contained. Mojo bags used in hoodoo are often little bags that are tied with a drawstring, but they needn’t be. They could as easily be a small cloth packet tied up like
an envelope, in whatever shape, with string or cord. A paket can be a jar full of herbs and offerings which is covered with cloth and pinned together and tied with ribbons. The word simply means “packet.”
more. A point chaud would literally be tying a spirit to a physical object — in a way that I believe to be similar to the work we are doing on our own physical and astral bodies as we work the points
system in a hands on way. A mojo bag is never going to be traditionally used for tying a spirit (in the sense of a loa or saint) to an object (though it may occasionally be made to call on a certain spirit or saint); a paket may or may not be dedicated to or call on a particular spirit; a point chaud always ties a spirit, or rather a “moment” or “Flash” of the spirit — it’s something along the lines of a time/space snapshot, in
my humble opinion. My intent with points chauds on the solstice will be to see if we can get this “snapshot” of our holy place itself, to take home with us into our own private spaces.
So, should we be thinking about what we > want to “charge” these items for? Are we talking practical magick here, like > I want x to happen, so I’m going to make a paket to push that in my favor
> kind of thing? Or am I completely off track?
this can certainly be done. For instance, I will be doing some work for myself for success in a publishing endeavor this summer. I could choose to make this with Legba specifically in mind, or not. personally, I will not; one of my household “adopted ancestor” spirits is Gloria Anzaldua and I am more likely to call on her assistance with this b/c I have worked with her on writing-specific stuff for a long time. (Using or working with spirits in this case is not the same as the ‘bought points’ – points achete – where you pretty much enslave a spirit; obviously only a fool would try to do that to a loa in the regleman or even an ancestor). Also, a paket could be made for calling on Dantor’s protection, or for beginning a relationship with Bawon Kriminel, or whatever you can think of, really.
> On another note, I am very interested in govi work. Again, excuse my
> ignorance, but if I’m understanding it right, a govi is a sort of clay or
> glass jar that you evoke a spirit into and keep around for…whatever you
> keep spirits around for.
If I’m correct, govi very literally means “clay jar” or something like that. but my understanding is similar to yours in that they are often used for the sort of thing you’re talking about. They are used in ancestor work sometimes, or even to house part of the spirit of a serviteur or temple member. In many cases it’s less that it contains a spirit, or the whole of an entity, and more that it’s a means itself, a time/place/space itself, where a spirit can come. So on my ancestor altar, I have a container for my grandfathers, but they
certainly do not live in the containers and are not confined to them. However, there’s a sense in which they reside there, in a way, if that makes any sense at all. It makes it easier to work with them. My
long-deceased grandfather’s container has his graveyard dirt in it. My more recently deceased grandfather’s doesn’t, yet, and the connection is weaker. In other cases, though, and in a sense even in
this case, a govi can be thought of as a particular type of paket, in a way.
> Voudon (I do in other traditions), but would be interested in exploring it.
> So add that to the list of possible things to do this next weekend.
Fabulous. This is a good place for me to mention, or reiterate, that I am by no means trying to recreate any so-called authentic Haitian practice into Arabia work. We’re not in Haiti 🙂 but we are in the direct lineage of + Michael Bertiaux, whose work, however difficult it may be to trace sometimes in terms of specifics and vocabulary, is shot through with Franco-Haitian magickal influence and terminology. We are heirs to a vodoun current that hasn’t been explored as much as some of the other elements of our Work. THAT is what I’m interested in. So I think your work with govis from other traditions is exactly the sort of thing we should talk about and experiment with.
> Karma’s suggestion about doing lave tete (a.k.a. “head washing”), which is a
> way to “clean” or “purify’ your “head” with sights on gaining knowledge of
> who your met tet is. The tradition says everyone has a met tet, or “head
> lwa” – the lwa of your head. This would be the lwa who you have a special
> relationship with, the one that is most prominent in your work, and the one
> you should begin to cultivate a relationship with. At least, that is my
> understanding of it, based on my own experiences. Others should feel free to
> share their own experiences with this.
I would like to hear any other perspectives on this too. In my experience, lave tete can serve other purposes than identifying your met tete; it may or may not do that, but it is certainly useful for
many other cases.
Note to attendees: if you are coming to this and would like a head washing and want me to make it and administer it (with the assistance of whoever would like to assist – I’m not trying to the boss of this
show), please let me know so I can bring the materials I need. If you have a specific lwa in mind, let me know that. If you don’t, but have a specific need in mind, let me know that too. If you just want to
see what happens and have nothing in particular in mind, let me know that as well. The ingredients will differ according to what you have going on, and so will the colors of cloth you will need to bring.
> So, I take it we are not talking about drumming, dancing and singing loudly
> on top of the mountain as is often done at larger, more “formal” voudon
No, not at all. One of the reasons I am interested in making pakets on the mountain is that I am afraid that our access to the mountain may one day be restricted. In that worst-case scenario, I would like us to still have a way to visit it and I think this will help. We may also consider doing some protection work on our “space” there. But in any case, I don’t picture anything formal with drumming by any stretch of the imagination, not there.
> we threw down like we do each year for Fet Gede, we would attract unwanted
> guests, and I mean the kind that have flesh and bone and blood, not the
Precisely 🙂 And well said.