We began our last trip to New Orleans with a visit to one of Saint Roch's cemeteries. Saint Roch is prayed to for those who need healing, especially from ailments or disabilities that seem impossible to recover from. He gained notoriety during the plague as he spent his life caring for those who had fallen victim to it, including himself. He survived the plague himself and performed many more miracles of healing after.
I was lucky enough to spend most of this trip with one of my dear friends, and coven-sister, who found this doll left as an offering at one of the graves in Saint Roch cemetery.
Here, I am leaving offerings of coins for the spirits. One coin in each vault. These wall or oven vaults are family tombs. Each marble square is for a specific family and is marked with the family information and names of those who have entered it. The marble slab is removed and the body is slid within the narrow tomb. They act as a sort of oven to dehydrate the body, which is left inside for at least one year and one day. The bits of dried remains are then emptied out and discarded. If a family member happens to pass within the year, the body is stored in an reserved vault until the year and a day has passed.
We found many bones around the long isles of tombs, which we could not identify. The energy was pure, healing and renewing. It was as if I had stepped over into a healing energy threshold. I will definitely be heading back here as well as visiting the other Saint Roch cemetery. We chose this one due to it having the shrines to pray at.
This is the inside of the chapel at Saint Roch's where the shrine, pictured below, is housed.
There is a small room, reserved as a shrine for those who have left their medical devices, such as leg braces and prostetics representing their afflicted areas, after being healed.
Our next stop was a trip back to Saint Louis Cemetery #1 where the tomb of Marie Laveau is.
While you can only visit with a licensed tour guide now it is still worth going to visit. The energy there is astounding and paying respect to Marie Laveau is always an honor. As a devotee of Marie Laveau, I travel to see her each year as a part of my pilgrimage on my life long path of serving her.
We were here during hurricane season, so you'll see a lot of puddles in the photos. The flooding was horrible in Baton Rouge, leaving several hundred in shelters. However, the French Quarter remained quite safe with on and off rain and even some sunshine on our last few days.
The rain doesn't bother me, in fact, I prefer it when working with spirits. Water is an amazing conduit and really heightens spiritual energy and communication. Rain, fog and storms are always when my best work gets done.
Her tomb has been restored and while the piles of offerings that used to be found there can no longer be left, there are small offerings to be found. The Catholic diocese now oversee this cemetery which is why it is no longer open to the public. Of course, respect is always paid, with or without the ability to leave a physical offering. Honor comes from the heart, not the pocketbook. My last trip shows how her tomb looked, with it's traditional X's and offerings prior to it's restoration, in this blog entry; http://conjuredcardea.blogspot.com/2013/07/pilgrimage-to-tomb-of-marie-lave.html
We stopped in the legendary "Marie Laveau House of Voodoo" to stock up on a few gifts for friends and see if there was anything we could use in our own practises. When entering the back room, I was greeted by Raven who noticed my Ogun and Maman Brigitte tattoos on my arms. He then told everyone shopping that they could be on their way and leave the room. That I was "not to be messed with". The patrons left, annoyed and confused by his request.
Spiritual energy then flew into the room, igniting it with a wave of welcoming protection. I asked if I could pay for my items with him. He said, he doesn't usually (he is the gris gris man there) but he will for me. I handed him my items, one being a Marie Laveau saint Medal, of which he explained he had designed her veve on the back of it.
As I handed it to him, we locked hands and eyes and went through one of the most powerful spiritual exchanges I have experienced. It was as if we were transmuting spiritual information to each other. My friend, then had a wave of energy enter her and she was on the verge of trance. Raven and I then both held her and grounded her. Her breathing slowed and her strength returned. Spirit is powerful! I will remember that simply shopping trip for the rest of my days.
Our next stop was getting out on the bayou. If you have a chance, take a ride on a fan-boat! You will absolutely love it! This is a photo of a plantation cemetery.
This is one of the winding rivers within the bayou. The bayou is most beautiful place I've ever seen and it always feels like home. Lots of crocodiles too!
This is the shrine to Marie Laveau which is now used to leave offerings at. It is cared for by Sallie Anne Glassman who runs Island of Salvation Botanica. The shrine is located inside the New Orleans Healing Center and next to her botanica. You are free to leave offerings. We left candles, rum, coffee, perfume, shells, money and a few other items for our Queen.
This is the entrance to our "home way from home". We have two beautiful courtyards, one in front and one in back.
And it doesn't hurt waking up to this every morning!
I look forward to sharing my next trip with you all!