Pattern Recognition

I’m not an enormous believer in “X Power is communicating with me because I keep seeing Y bird/color/animal/plant/etc” phenomena. Do omens happen? Do the Powers reach out and shift things around so we encounter them? Of course. I’ve had numerous such experiences myself. Even when I do feel like a genuine communication is present I try to hold it very loosely. Giving too much weight to these incidents leaves one feeling lost when there are no signs forthcoming. Begging for signs and signals is simply a way of pleading to be left silent and alone at some point in the future.

I do ask for signs, though. I ask for signs and indications that I’m on the right track, not because I don’t trust myself (well, sometimes for that reason) but because I want S/someone else to tell me that I’m on the right track. I still fall into the tendency of yielding authority over my spiritual landscape to another agent and treat T/them as my store of knowledge. The Powers can be pretty indulgent about this and may even toss me a sign from time to time; the problem is that this sort of tendency puts me into a position relative to others (humans and not) that allows me to be exploited. It’s a willful sort of dependency that has led me to many pitfalls. Even the most benevolent sorts of beings can be convinced to steer a needy human being into further dependence.

I’ve had a more-or-less regular practice of praying to Papa Legba for a few months now. I do get a very genuine experience of contact when I pray to him. There is a distinct impression of an old, thin man, sometimes hunched over, sometimes plainly dressed, sometimes very plainly dressed. He is kind and so, so patient. I ask him for guidance, to lead me to my right road, to the best path, to the opportunities that will support my growth and best outcomes.

Last week I excused myself from prayers because I was in bed with a monster cold. (Oh, and remember those dizzy spells that I was sorta hoping was just a bad, chronic, endless ear infection? I’m getting sent to a neurologist. Hooray….) Last night I just said nope, not doing this. I decided that I was just talking to myself, that I was being firmly ignored, that the signs that pointed me to adopting this practice were all just nonsense and that I was fooling myself to think the loa wanted my attention at all. I was simply wasting their time and mine.

This afternoon I met a friend for lunch and a bit of thrift shopping. I found this little abandoned figure and knew at once he was coming home with me. I rather suspect that using a secondhand figure as a representation on an altar might be potentially problematic. I’ll wash it carefully and place it near the altar just to see how it feels. Then we’ll see what comes next.

I don’t want to – I’m  not – vesting this incident with heavy meaning. Religious icons are not unusual thrift store finds. That I stood in my tiny kitchen last night arguing with Papa about his weekly water offering and prayers didn’t deliver this little item into my hands (and for just a dollar!). I’m the only one in this exchange searching for meaning. “But what does it MEAN?” one might ask. “It means nothing,” I say. And this is true.


I can choose to give this incident meaning. I choose that this incident is a reminder of my priorities. It is Tuesday but I will say my prayers tonight anyway. I will give him some fresh, clean water in that little glass teacup he seems to like. I will try to let my wavering daily willpower submit to the more enduring character of my lifelong ambitions and goals. I will try to remember what is actually important.


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