Monday, March 11, 2013

Saint John's Eve-The Works of the River

This is my coven's purification and rededication ritual held in the Paw Paw river on Saint John's Eve. This is where we hold ritual about half of the year. It's a beautiful place, deep in the woods, rich in energy and spirits. It is a true blessing in itself to be a part of this land and have access to all it has to offer.

"June boasts the most important Voodoo holiday of the year in New Orleans with St. John’s Eve celebrations and rituals honoring the great Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. A longstanding tradition, Voodoo baptisms have been performed on the banks of Bayou St. John each year on St. John's Eve since Marie Laveau was the reigning Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. According to Alyne Pustanio, "Madame Laveau held a yearly rite on the night of St. John’s Feast, gathering at the shores of the bayou in New Orleans that bears his name. There, she and her devotees would worship the powerful Lwa (spirits) of their belief system with offerings and gifts to ensure a propitious year. The rites have more to do with pagan Midsummer celebrations than with the Church-sanctioned feast of St. John, but because these gatherings were held on his feast day, St. John the Baptist is forever associated with Voodoo—and Marie Laveau—in New Orleans" (Pustanio, 2012, p. 56)."

Saint John's Eve baptisms are still held every June 23rd in New Orleans on Magnolia bridge.

The Paw Paw River

Here I am setting the altar at the river bank. Sunflowers, jewelry and scarves from our ancestors,
candles for Marie Laveau and Oya as well as foods.
These were placed in a natural nesting web of exposed roots of the river's Elm trees. Thick moss creates the perfect altar cloth.

A view of the altar from across the river; the sun beaming through upon us all. We were being blessed even before the ritual began. The river possesses such power and beauty.

We all joined in the water with a bottle of coconut rum, a bottle of Florida water, a bottle of bluing,
flower petals and cups to bathe ourselves with.

We each evoked our ancestors and deities and thanked the spirits of the woods for allowing us this space. I then spoke words of purification, healing, dedication, and renewal as the water rushed around our bodies and our feet sank in the clay. All of the offerings were poured into the river and we then bathed in the water,  dowsing our heads and bodies, purifying and renewing our minds and spirits. One sister rededicated herself to Apollo and read a beautiful dedication rite that she penned.We laid down, floated, and had fun!

Afterwards, each sister's head was then covered with a new, pure white cloth to symbolize their purification. In this photo, you can see the arrowroots growing on the river banks. Harvested for power, hex breaking and drawing works. 

We then return up the hill from the river bank to eat our potluck supper and start the fire to continue the night's celebration.

My sisters and I, all together. (I am on the far right.)


June 23rd is Saint Johne's Eve and I am offering a very special service for my clients. I am making 20 slots available to those who would like to have their prayers and petitions sent out under the evocation of Marie Laveau, St. John and the Orisha on the very holy day of of Saint John'e Eve. If you would like a candle lit in your name, with your petition, please purchase from this listing;
St. John's Eve Vigil

Please join in my this deeply spiritual and holy day!