Monday, March 29, 2010

I came back as an insect, but in another space and time

My store at present--at least, the store in the sky above the Overlook--is still woefully bare, while I work on tracking things down and getting them up and out.

But, I did want to announce this:

Second Life,veves,voudon,vodou

The Virtual Haiti Relief effort goes on. So much is still needed. I had been involved on the periphery, but I read one news story too many and it's not enough, now, to contribute what I can when I find a kiosk.

So, coming in late to the game, I will be releasing three sets of veves textures. The first six are Damballah, Ayida Wedo, his wife (the Serpent and the Rainbow), Marassa (Dossou-dossa, the Twins), Papa Legba, Ogoun, and Gran Bois.

DAMBALLAH

snake,snake carving,snake sculpture
(Black Snake sculpture ©2003-2004 William E. Nutt & wnuttsculptor.com. All rights reserved.)

Damballah is the Serpent, the father figure, the snake who contains the world. He is a loa of rivers, springs, and marshes. He does not speak when riding someone, he generally hisses, like the snake that is his namesake.

Damballah controls serpents, fertility, lightning, and rain, and in this sense, he is also invoked for good crops. His special day is Thursday. White is his special color, and in fact, followers of his path specifically will wear white to all ceremonies.

He comes originally from ancient Dahomey (present day Bénin) in Africa. His favorite foods are eggs, cornmeal, cassava melons, bananas, white rice and white grapes.

AYIDA WEDO

Evie GreenPixie,patchwork,faire skirt,colorful,rainbow skirt
(One of Evie GreenPixie's patchwork skirts. It reminded me both of Ayida's frailness, and the rainbow she is comprised of, and named for.)

The Rainbow, wife and mate to Damballah. She is fragile but not weak, frail but not frightened. She is the caring mother and she and Damballah both watch over human sexuality. Her symbol is the reflection of his: the serpent winding around the poitou-mitan, the center pole in ceremonial buildings that channels the earth energy. She controls the sky powers and is the manifestation of healing light, the rainbow.

Her colors are blue and white, though her altar is usually draped in pure, spotless white with touches of black. Her special foods are cauliflower, white chicken, raw eggs, milk, and white corn. Her special days are Monday and Tuesday.

PAPA LEGBA

collectible card games,Legba
(From the VTES.net site, though man, does seeing that make me miss Jyhad, back when it was somewhat cool.)

The Master of the Crossroads, the bridge-point between the world of spirit and the world of flesh. He must be invoked first before any other loa are invoked, for he must open the way. The guardian of all meetings, all partings, and all strong decisions, he is also the guardian of the poitou-mitan, the center post where the spirits are said to dwell. His special foods are vegetables and meats that have been grilled on an open fire, plaintains, and sweet potatoes.. His symbol is the crutch or walking staff, the key, the cross. He lives at all gateways, all crossroads and his realm is earth. His colors are green, red and white. His special days are Friday and Saturday.

He is the interpreter of the loa, on occasion, and he is the carrier of messages to and from the spirit realm. He is the loa of destiny, and is honored first at every ceremony with first offerings.

MARASSA

beadwork,veves,vodoun,Marassa
(Taken from the Zanmi Lakay blog, where the organization is selling hand-sequined and hand-beaded flags made by Haitian artisans to support childhood education in Haiti.)

The Twins, Dossou-dossa, are very young loa who always come to ceremonies hungry. They demand to be fed until they are content, but then they are ready to listen to the people. Their symbol, curiously, is generally comprised of three or five mirror images, and their special foods are baby goat wrapped in banana leaves, maize, simple rice and beans, plus popcorn, toys, candy, and carbonated drinks. They spurn vegetables and leafy greens, saying they destroy their powers. They are healers, of a sort, can bring rain with a thought, and represent all twins and special births, including third children born after twins.They represent balance and duality, equality, and oppositions: flesh and spirit, physical and spiritual, mortal and immortal. Rather than a special day set aside for them, there is a month, generally observed December 6th to January 6th, though other celebration days they also consider theirs--like Hallowe'en and Christmas.

OGOUN

Ogoun
(Taken from an item for sale at Mystic Voodoo's site.)

The loa of war, blacksmithing, and metalcraft. Though he started out as a loa of all the destruction inherent in both smelting and fighting (including thunder and lightning), he has since been adapted to a new task: that of political leader. His worshippers will invoke him to help the people obtain governments responsive to their needs.

His special colors are green and black. He is one of Erzulie's husbands, and also married to Oya Iansa, the whirlwind. He grants strength through prophecy and magic. His special realm now is machinery, automation and engines, and surgery (because of the metal tools).

There are many different forms of Ogoun today. OGUN FERAY is fierce and aggressive, and his special colors are red and blue. OGOUN BADAGRIS is still powerful, but less aggressive, and his special colors are red and military khaki. OGOUN BALINJO is unlike the other Ogouns in that his province is water, not fire, but because he is an Ogoun, his mix of water and fire makes him the loa's most powerful healer. OGOUN SEN JACQUE is the mounted rider, the cavalryman with the sheathed machete. He likes strong rum and a drink made from corn called "akasan":

AKASAN

* 2 cinnamon sticks
* 4 to 6 anise star
* 1 cup very fine corn flour
* dash of salt
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 2 (12 ounce) cans evaporated milk
* Sugar to taste

1. Boil 4 cups water with cinnamon and anise stars. Dilute corn flour in 1 cup cold water and dash of salt.
2. Slowly pour liquified corn flour into boiling water, stirring constantly until it thickens but no more than 5 minutes Add vanilla extract and can of evaporated milk and allow to completely cool.
3. Refrigerate if you like it cold. If you like it warm, add evaporated milk and sugar to taste is if making a cup of coffee.
4. Always remove anise star and cinnamon before serving. Serve with evaporated milk.

All the Ogouns favor rum, red rice and beans, red candles, fresh mangoes, and red meat sacrificed from a red uncastrated bull. Their special days are Monday and Wednesday.

GRAN BOIS

France,Poseidon,chateau
(Taken from the TravelPod site, in the section on France; nothing to do with the loa but that the image resonated with me.)

His name means "Great Wood". A strict vegetarian, he lives in deep woods and forested places. He does not like to be seen, usually. He protects all wild animals and knows all the secrets of herbal medicine. He is the Master of the Head, in that he must be called upon before anyone is initiated into voudon practice. He is usually not hungry when he rides someone, though the people generally offer him food anyway. He will allow no meat to pass his lips. He can be fierce and unpredictable, and where there is space around a voudon temple, some section of it is left wild and untended in honor of him.

Special foods he will allow are made from cornmeal or occasionally peanuts, like peanut cakes. One recipe I found from Ghana:

ACCRA BANANA PEANUT CAKE:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter or margarine -- softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 large very ripe bananas --peeled and mashed
1 cup salted peanuts -- coarsely chopped, divided

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cream softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs.

Add dry ingredients alternately with mashed bananas just until combined; stir in 1/2 cup chopped peanuts. Scrape butter into well-greased 9" × 5" loaf pan; sprinkle top evenly with remaining chopped peanuts.

Bake in 350º degree F. oven 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; turn out of pan and cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap or foil. Cake is best if served next day.

He does not seem to have a specific day set aside for his ceremonies; as he can be called at any time to officiate entrants who seek the priesthood.

There will be two more sets, I'm still working out who's going to be in them, but one will feature the Barons (or some of them) and Maman Brigitte; and the third set centers on sea loa, as well.

In the meantime, little bit nervous--I just paid an exorbitant amount for an Easter egg for the Great Grid-Wide Easter Egg Hunt. Technically, this is the first grid-wide hunt Second Life ever had, but they didn't call it a grid-wide hunt until after the Ghost hunt popularized the term two years later. It's out and can be found--and the prize inside delivered to anyone who touches the egg--but I'm going by the warning on the site--I will move it on Aprille 4th, when the cash contest prizes start.

(You can also go to the Egg hunt headquarters and check out the options for eggs yourself; they all look like the same egg, but apparently the vendors do randomize them somewhat for decoration patterns. One egg is L$300, three are L#700, and a full seven retail for L$1200. Basically, egg 'sponsors'--the folks who buy the eggs--contribute by buying eggs, and that becomes the prize money handed out during the hunt.

(Me, honestly? I'm just in it for the advertising.)

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