Hello everyone! Happy Friday! Some of you may remember awhile back in another blog post I answered a question about what to do about service the lwa (Vodou Spirits) when you just don’t have a lot of time (or money, or energy, etc.). While in a perfect world we would all have lots of time to devote to our spiritual lives, realistically this just may not be true!
I developed this quick service and have found it to be very well received by the lwa. Since I posted this a couple of years back (I think!), quite a few people have given me feedback that this service has helped them tremendously and they, too, felt it was very well received!
Many Vodouisants have problems with keeping up with service to their ancestors, the lwa, etc. Most of this stems from the idea that every service has to be a big deal with lots of food, tons of candles, music, and lots of time spent. This just isn't true.
Smaller, more frequent services are going to be much more well received than that once a year "guilt service" that many tend to do - that is when they go all out and put on a big spread for their ancestors and the lwa. Now, that is great - and that will be well received. However, if you want to really build a relationship with someone, is taking them out for a big dinner and night on the town once a year or every six months really going to do that? Nope! The same is true spiritually - a little bit of time spent frequently will move your spiritual progress along much faster than waiting until you have a ton of time to do what you think is a "proper service." ALL service done with a good heart is proper service! :-)
Here is a repost of that particular blog:
People tell me all the time they would do more service/ritual to the Lwa (Vodou Spirits) but they “just don’t have the time.” Now I realize that we could go back at them saying that they should or could “make the time.” However, in today’s world, that sometimes is not as easy as it sounds! But almost anyone can find five minutes in a day to do my quickie service below.
The service does assume that you have a few things on hand and have some basic knowledge of ritual: Candles (keeping a few white candles on hand is great because you can use them for any lwa or your ancestors), a glass of water or other beverage, and a small food offering that would be appropriate for almost any lwa (something simple such as a cookie or even a piece of bread).
You can do this quick service almost anywhere! (Please note this can be configured for the lwa and/or your ancestors.)
1. Put your candle with a glass of water or other beverage on a counter or table.
2. As you light the candle, ask Papa Legba to “please open the gate for me and allow ___________ (which ever lwa or ancestor you are honoring) to pass over.” (You can also, alternatively, ask Papa to just open the gate and not ask for anyone in particular. If you are doing it that way, then you are making a general offering to the lwa and/or your ancestors.)
3. “Present” the glass of water by holding it out to the East, West, North, and South. Say, “For you __________________ (which ever lwa you are honoring).”
4. Place the water back down near the candle.
5. “Present” the food offering as per #3 above. Place it down next to the water and candle.
6. Take one or two minutes to talk with the lwa you have asked to come over to you. You might have a request or perhaps you are just wanting to honor that particular lwa.
7. Thank the lwa and Papa Legba for their time and help.
8. If you can, leave the candle burning (safely) for a little while longer while you do other things. This is a great little service to do while you are getting ready for the day. You can start it up, get showered and dressed, and then end the service. If you need to close out the service more quickly, then just proceed to Step #9.
9. Extinguish your candle and ask Papa Legba to “close the gate when it pleases you.” You can leave the food and water for disposal until later or even the next day. If you need to get rid of it more quickly it is great if you can pour the water outside and leave the cookie/food outside somewhere. If you cannot, then just dispose of the water down the sink and wrap the cookie/food up in brown paper (such as just a brown paper bag) and throw it away.
There you did a little service in five minutes! And yes, it counts. Yes, it
can help. Yes, it is pleasing to the lwa. Folks have a tendency to think that
the lwa will only respond to big, elaborate
service. That just isn’t true. Every service that is well intended is well received!
Please continue to have a great and safe weekend!
Painting by Saundra Elise Ziyatdinov