Questions to ask yourself
Are you sure you have the time, energy, and dedication to enter this tradition?
Very often I meet people who tell me they don’t have the time necessary to devote to Santeria/ Lucumi or Voodoo. My response is usually “do you have the time to devote to bettering your life?” For example, I knew a woman once whose son suffered from severe autism, with frequently violent episodes. As he got older the fights she had trying to restrain him got more and more difficult until finally her bones and teeth started to get broken. It took her awhile to approach me, even in these desperate circumstances. I’m not sure if she was scared of Voodoo, or of what she might have to do in order to help her son. Most of the solutions I come up with for people are on the lesser side of extreme, of course it depends on the situation. But for this woman the first thing we did was give her a reading, there are always a lot of external and internal factors at play in every situation, and a reading is the best way to begin to identify these. We ended up creating a series of healing and calming baths for her son, and the situation improved. In my experience, if given a choice, praying, creating and healing is a much better way to spend my time than fighting, hiding, and bandaging my wounds.
What are you doing to better understand and help the community ?
When I first started writing and lecturing on Voodoo and Santeria over two decades ago, people would often ask me how to find a godparent. I’m not in the habit of really recommending anyone outside my own spiritual family, and that is because I have known them for a long time and experienced them in a variety of interesting spiritual situations. I know how they will react in an emergency: be it fire, flood, or lunatic, and because of that I trust them. Some of the responses to the first part of this post 6 Questions You Need to Ask Before Finding Godparents in Santeria or Voodoo, many people (some of my own godchildren included) responded that they really got the chance to know, observe, respect, and love their godparents before they started their initiations. Go to open Bembes, Tambors, and other ceremonies. Do your best to respectfully observe, learn, and participate in the traditions. Even helping to clean up after a ceremony is a divine act of service that will bring you closer to the religion.
There are lots of simple things you can do to help guide you in the proper direction, even if you have not started your initiations. You can always get a reading. That’s a given. There is an interesting thread on tribe.net, which describes one person’s journey towards godparents involving divination.
If you are wishing to study New Orleans Voodoo or Haitian Vodou one idea would be to draw the veve for Papa Legba. He is the Loa/Lwa of the crossroads, doors, gates, and openings. Now let me be clear about something, if you are not initiated, you are not petitioning Legba, invoking Legba, or anything like that. Instead you are opening you energy up to his guiding influence, which will hopefully lead you towards your proper teacher. Feel free to leave an offering before and/or after the working. Appropriate offerings are Coffee, cigars or you could choose a recipe from my African-American Ritual Cookbook.
Perhaps you are drawn to Santeria, more correctly known as La Regla Lucumi, for genetic or intuitive reasons. In this case my advice would be to go to a botanica and obtain florida water, an Eleggua candle, and an Ochosi candle. Eleggua is the trickster spirit of the crossroads, pointing you towards your proper path. Cleanse yourself with the Florida water. Then on a monday light the Eleggua candle for three hours, do not leave a burning candle unattended. Then the next morning take the candle and dispose of it at a crossroads. Then light the Ochosi candle, meditate on finding clarity and the proper direction on your journey. This can be lit for a few hours at a time until you begin to see inroads to your success. Good luck, keep an open mind and a positive attitude.