Peace be with you my friends! Now that I have shared with you about the types of spirits commonly found in New Orleans Voodoo, I'd like to share with you how these spirits are commonly served and put to work on a living person's behalf. Included in this post is a description of the misa espirtual service that I frequently offer to clients.
A person might go to a Spiritist to seek help in resolving a personal matter or just to receive a general spiritual forecast.
In New Orleans, Voodooists serve their spirit guides much according to the traditional Kardecian method, based on the teachings of 19th century French philosopher Allan Kardec who I have discussed in a previous post. They recite prayers for the dead as written in Kardec’s books, and offer them white candles and glasses of water, but there are several additions to New Orleans Spiritism that clearly are of African origin, which again shows the syncretic nature of Voodoo. Often, a Spiritist will have an altar in his home called a “bóveda” which will be dedicated entirely to his spirit guides and not to the lwa or the saints. On the altar there will be nine glasses filled with water, and the glass in the center will be the largest on top of which rests a crucifix to represent God, the source of all life. There may be photographs of deceased relatives and images of ones personal spiritual guides, such as statues of Indians or Spanish Flamenco dancers to represent Gypsies and of course representations of African spirits. Every Monday, the Spiritist will make an offering of libations and food to the dead, making sure that no salt is added to the food, since this weakens the powers of the spirit guides and drives them away. Salt neutralizes vibrations both good and bad, and since spirits are pure vibration, their energy is greatly depleted when they come into contact with salt. Salt does however have its uses in Voodoo. I often recommend that a person take a salt bath to be cleansed of all negativity, but the good is also washed away, therefore it is advised that a blessing with holy water be given after each salt bath.
In addition to serving the spirit guides at the bóveda, the Spiritist uses this altar to conduct divination sessions with the help of the dead. A person might go to a Spiritist to seek help in resolving a personal matter or just to receive a general spiritual forecast. Voodoo doctors will often have what is called a “baguette des morts.” This instrument consists of a stick adorned with multicolored ribbons with bells tied to the end. The Spiritist shakes the stick and bangs it against the floor to call the spirits and if they are willing, they may take possession of his body and use him as a mouthpiece. Such possession often occurs during what is called a misa espiritual which would be the equivalent of a church service for the Spiritist religion. A personal will often order a misa when in need of spiritual counsel or if a serious problem arises. At one of these ceremonies, several people will gather at the house of a Spiritist or Voodoo doctors and will often each bring a various dishes of food as well as music and drinks to create a party-like atmosphere. After eating, they will sit in a circle with the person for whom the service is intended sitting closest to the spiritual altar. Several offerings of food, flowers, incense and alcoholic drinks will be laid out on a table covered with white cloth on which the bóveda also rests. The service begins with the sign of the cross and the recitation of the Our Father. Then they will often sing a song in honor of their departed ancestors and spirit guides. The following is a popular song in honor of the dead. Originally it was a hymn popularly sung at African-American funerals to accompany prayers and litanies for the deceased, but today is commonly used as part of a Spiritist or Voodoo service.
Adieu, Adieu cher Frère
Maman, Maman, il é mo
Me nou a reoua o cieux
No Seigneur m’a dit
Li ora pitye de nou, Maman
Goodbye, goodbye dear brother
Mother, Mother, he is dead.
But we will meet again in Heaven
Our Lord told me,
He will have mercy on us, Mother
After the Spirits and ancestors are greeted, one of them may wish to take possession of the officiate and offer advice or request prayers from those present. Then the Spiritist will proceed to pray over the person who has ordered the misa. The presiding Spiritist passes his hands over the client and orders unclean spirits and negative energy to depart from this individual. This cleansing is also meant to remove the evil eye or any hexes than may have been placed on this person. Spiritists believe that the negativity released from those present is trapped in the glass dish of water, which is immediately tossed out the back door to prevent it from being reabsorbed. The service is concluded with the recitation of more prayers, a formal thanking of the spirits and the sign of the cross. The guests return to their homes and the Spiritist is paid a fee for his services. He wraps the food offerings in a white cloth and disposes of them at the nearest cemetery. Within the next couple of days, he will be sure to offer extra candles and prayers to thank his spirits for their role in the misa.
Through the course of his practice, the Spiritist may serve several spirits, and often times, according to Kardec’s teachings; his guides will reach a level of elevation that will put them in the presence of God and will cease to be spirits, but “ascended masters,” more commonly known as saints. According to Kardec, these beings can no longer be invoked as spirit guides, but will be truly grateful and bless the Spiritist for his role in their heavenly elevation, when one’s spirit guides move on, more often arrive to take their place.
A person may have a misa performed from a distance without his or her presence required to resolve a certain issue and also to ascertain the identities of his or her spirit guides. If you would be interested in having a misa performed for achieve a certain goal, restore the flow of positive energy to your life and learn more about your spirit guides, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you. Until then, may peace and abundant blessings surround you!