I've been practicing magic for a long time now, and every time I start to feel like an adept, something happens to remind me how little I know. In some ways, I love this, because it helps keep my head firmly affixed to my shoulders. In other ways, it can be somewhat frustrating.
Consider the subject of trance work. I've been practicing self-hypnosis for years, I've done my share of trance journeying (pathworking, if you prefer), I have a reasonable amount of experience at invocation (possessory work, if you prefer) and generally a pretty good sense of what I'm doing in various trance states.
Where am I going with all this? Well, I had an interesting experience recently, and I felt a certain amount of background information was in order.
I work with a Vodou humfo in the greater Bay Area, and we recently held a feast for Cousin Azacca, a loa concerned with growing things, hard work and a few other areas of interest.
Azacca was there, and the feast was in full swing when, without warning, I was possessed by Baron LaCroix. This was, so far as I know, completely unexpected. I know I wasn't expecting it. All right, to be perfectly frank, I'm not entirely certain of what happened. But this is what I understand about what happened based on what sketchy memory I have and what I was told by others.
A change came over the look in my eye, and I started laughing when nothing funny had happened. The laugh was nothing like mine. The mambo quickly spotted what had happened and worked with la place to determine who was here.
Apparently it was Baron LaCroix, and he had only come to eat. He just sat off to one side, not doing much of anything to draw attention to himself, eating food and drinking a little rum.
There was one exception to this behavior. At some point, it seems, Azacca had been complaining that Shango had stolen his best pipe and broken it. At this point, the Baron went over and said to him, "We will see about this. I will speak to Shango."
Apart from that, he had only spoken when Azacca said of Legba, "Legba is a magician. I don't want to make Legba angry." (I was not given the whole context of the statement, but I suspect it had to do with that particular horse being a favorite of Legba's at this humfo.) The Baron had said, "Legba is not the only magician." Azacca went on about Legba for another minute or so, but the Baron had nothing more to add.
When he was done eating he left. They checked on me periodically, to make sure I was okay, and the Baron was still hanging around, but nothing further came of it. He even left gently enough, and must have taken it with him because I was still hungry enough to eat.
Now on some level, I find that whole experience to be a bit embarrassing. I'm an experienced magician, and in theory I should have enough control to avoid such unintentional possession.
Of course, by the same turn, I knew full well that this was a Vodou ceremony, where the loa may decide to "jump on your head" without first obtaining prior permission. For some reason I just hadn't thought of it as something that would happen to me.
Apart from a little embarrassment, though, I feel pretty good about it. I like being reminded now and again that the universe still has mysteries to show me.
Four Winds Bar