New Orleans, Religion, The Great Adventure

Spirit Will Use You

“If you use Spirit, Spirit will use you.”

These words echoed in a friend’s dream, to be delivered to me.

A warning, or a promise?

Every day I serve Papa Legba. Sometimes I give him rum, sometimes paprika, sometimes other little gifts. He is an old, limping lwa and one of my patrons. Legba possessed my friend Saturday night. Later, he had this dream.

Photo & original artwork by Judith Pudden

Photo & original artwork by Judith Pudden


I miss priesting.

It’s been a year since I ran a temple. A year focused very much on myself.

My role at the temple was that of teacher. Often, I guided people through crisis (or provoked it); spoke for tradition (or silenced it); attacked pride in the proud students and fanned it in the meek ones. I rehearsed ancient ways with dedicated apprentices.

But there are other needs.

What of those who seek their next meal? Instead of the dedicated, what of the lost and uncertain?

I used to minister to, essentially, a college; now I’m called to minister the street.

Drunks and Maniacs

Bring out your drunks, your maniacs, your criminals.

I feel invited to mix with them.

I will talk with the tongueless man on the corner. I will give my dollar to the kid who hops boxcars. I will hold the alcoholic in between his shouted rants.

At least, I think I will.

I’ve been told this city brings out my protective streak. I don’t know if it’s this city, or the presence of so many people who struggle. Many don’t know how to get past tomorrow, tonight. They don’t have any control in their lives.

Most of us derive our peace from a sense of control.

How do you help people who have neither?

Divine Terror

I’ve used a lot of magic lately. I’ve used, so to speak, Spirit.

Will it use me back? How?

It’s scary. I’ve seen people run from religion over smaller scares. Sometimes digging deep means finding things.

Divine terror is the same flame as divine awe.

There are two tools I’ve used when struggling. For peace, meditation; for control, magic.

In some way, I think it’s time for me to share those tools in the community. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know how to keep myself safe when I do it.

Perhaps an open salon for handing out ceremonies. No one turned away, no matter who they are.

I am open to suggestions.

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12 thoughts on “Spirit Will Use You

  1. Lately, I’ve been dealing with old nightmares revisiting me via various characters played by an actor I deeply admire. The universe (my term for ‘spirit’) had been using him to facilitate healing of old wounds. Today I use magic for control (of myself) also.

    • Interesting Sunfell. Thank you for sharing this. It seems to cut deep. I’ve said before I don’t attach psychic or prophetic significance to my dreams (let alone those of others), but the message in this case seemed timely and, well, it also cut deep. If you feel like talking more about it you’re welcome to email me at

      I hope your healing continues!

  2. Beth says:

    This may be slightly crazy, considering my audience…but I notice a certain similarity between your description of your call and the ministry of Jesus as described in the Gospels. Stick with me for a moment and put aside the Churchy things that you don’t like. That’s legit, but most of those things didn’t exist in 50 or 100 CE. If you try to read the stories as they are, without the theological overlays of the last 2000 years, it might be interesting food for thought. Particularly in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) Jesus is a man who ministers to the outcast. He gets angry sometimes. He gets overwhelmed and has to leave the crowd to go pray. But he very specifically seeks out those who do not belong. You know I would never EVER try to convert you or anyone else; I jut find a much more meaningful set of lessons in the Gospel when read this way, and it’s rare that we are invited to engage with them on that level. Might just be an interesting dialogue for you to have with that text, just like you have interesting dialogues with people from lots of different religious traditions.

    • That is fascinating. This renews my plan to find a good (erm) Bible and read select parts. So now it’s not just the Psalms, it’s the Gospels too.

      Thanks for sharing this Beth. Maybe Jesus is my homie.

  3. Once upon a time, many years ago when I was in my late teens or very early twenties, I was at a local beach, thinking. Very self-absorbed. A young man, my age or younger, came up and tried to talk to me, but I wasn’t interested. He finally went away.

    I realized afterward that he wasn’t trying to pick me up, he was just lonely. And I had missed a chance to connect, to serve. I learned an important lesson that day, that we don’t get to choose the times when we are needed. We do get to choose how we respond.

    Just recently, on a day when two horses broke my heart open, one by connecting with me and the other by stepping on my foot, I learned (among other things) that there is a difference between being Aware and being Wary. I am working on choosing Aware and giving up Wary.

    Hmm. Same lesson? Funny how we (I) have to learn the same things over and over…

  4. Pingback: The Atelier of Magic at Rogue Chateau «   Rogue Priest

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