Life in the Caribbean

Well, I have been here for over a month now. I have had three tests of vet school and rocked them all out like a champ (I know, I know you are not here to hear about a vet student, but I have to brag where I can while I can). I have been here for two full moons, and how magical they were. Tonight, I would like to talk about what I have been up to for the past month aside from studying my ass off. I thought it was going to be extremely hard to keep up with my craft while in vet school, but as of yet I have managed to keep a few small aspects in my daily life and I have had the time for full moon celebrations too.

Shipwreck Beach.

In my last post I talked about adjusting to a new place. I have adjusted quite well, but some things here take their time. Back home, I met quite a few of the nature spirits who were more than willing for a chat and some offering, but here, it would seem that everything runs on “island time.” I have yet to meet any local spirits despite my attempts. I am not frustrated however. I know that I have to be patient and I am more than willing to be.  I do terribly miss the rattle that I had to leave behind. But I left that in the care of someone special who I know will take good care of her.  I do miss late nights sitting in the moon and starlight rattling away to watch the spirits dance.
I seem to have lost a connection with the Horned God. I have not heard anything from him since being stateside. Again, I am not frustrated. This is the Caribbean, the spirits are very different. I leave offerings to him anyway when I perform my rites, and it stays at that. I did not have room in my luggage for the plaque that I made to him, which is very sad, but what is two years to a deity such as him.
In losing Cernunnos, I seem to have gained another major connection. Grandmother Ocean has captivated me since I flew south into hurricane Isaac.  My friend and I were stuck in Miami airport until the storm cleared up, and we spent a night in the Keys until we got another flight. When the rain broke for a bit I went out and sat on a dock and looked out over the ocean. The wind was fierce and created awesome currents in the water. I sat and dangled my feet above the water and just listened. It was a very cleansing experience.  Once I got to the island, I only grew more in love.  I can see the Caribbean Sea from my window and there is a beautiful rocky beach within a 5 minute walk. One day I was doing a little water meditation to cleanse away negativity while I was swimming and the name Yemaya came to my lips. Since then, I have referred to Grandmother Ocean as Yemaya. I know very little about the Orisha named Yemaya, but I am continuing research in what little free time I possess. It just seems to fit, so now I honor Yemaya daily and I connected well with her on this past full moon. Whenever I am stressed and plan to skip something pagan, I see Grandmother Ocean and she reminds me of the magic in my life and how important it is to me and my wellbeing.  She is a constant reminder to stay strong and carry on.  My love affair with the sea shall continue for the rest of my life, I suspect.

This past full moon, I waited until she was full overhead and then I packed a little bag and walked down to the campus beach.  The night was as magical as they get. The moon was so bright I did not need a light or candle. The sky was clear above me, but out over the ocean a thunderstorm raged, throwing lightning down into the sea.  It sent shivers down my spine. The beach is perfect for witchery, given that It is completely secluded and there is a slightly treacherous hike down to it, and you can always tell if someone is coming.  I hiked down in pitch black as the forest blocked out all moonlight. When I got there I was again completely captivated by the ocean. I hopped down onto the rocks and perched myself on a large volcanic boulder right near the water.  I breathed in the salty scent of the ocean and I was at peace. I mediated a bit, feeling the spray and wishing that I had a drum or a rattle to play for Yemaya.  I tried to light a candle, but it blew out three times in a row and I decided it was not necessary. I gave an offering to correspond with my daily prayer (I shall discuss this in another post), and then left an offering to Yemaya herself.  I spent a good hour just sitting on the beach, feeling the waves, watching the lightning and moonlight dance on the water. This was possibly the most magical full moon I have spent to date. I can’t wait for the next full moon (about Halloween time), when I can hike down to that beach and revel in the beauty.
So that is what this pagan is up to in the Caribbean. I want to learn a lot more about local craft, but I have no idea where to start. I know that obeah is the Afro-Caribbean voodoo of sorts, but all I know is what I have read on the internets, and we all know how trustworthy that is. I would love to meet a local who could at least teach me about the native plants and even local folk magic, but I do not know how to go about doing that. If anyone out there is knowledgeable about Caribbean lore or magic and doesn’t mind sharing some things I would love to learn all that I can.
Thanks for listening to my ramble.
~ Ben


About Iolair

My name is Iolair. I am from Northern Ohio, but I'm currently in the Caribbean going to veterinary school. I have a fascination for nature and the Old Gods. My blog is an exploration into the winding path that I follow. Shamanism, herbalism, folk lore, and witchcraft of all kinds are just some of the topics that I love to explore. Always open to chat and learn all that I can. View all posts by Iolair

8 responses to “Life in the Caribbean

  • Joseph Magnuson

    I love hearing about your continued adventures and hope there are many more posts of this nature to come. I hope you find, and report, many great facts about the islands culture and craft. Hope you are as well as can be and enjoying your October.

    • Iolair

      Thanks Joe! I hope to learn so much more down here in the two and a half years that I will be living here.
      I am doing well in general. Always busy. October is going well, I cannot wait for my first Halloween here.

  • Katie Winston

    I, too, very much enjoy hearing about your journey – blessings

  • caeruleuslady

    I do not have any personal experience with Afro-Carribbean religion, but I do know a little about Ifa. When working with Orisha, one shouldn’t just approach them with a respectful offering as one would with other deities. Ifa is a religion that works almost entirely on contract. I would learn more about it first before attempting anything else. Sometimes you get what you ask for when you make offerings and sometimes you get something else. They are not beings you contact for a short time and then go back to other gods later. If you’re only intetested in remaining in contact with the spiritual and learning, I would just stick with the local spirits. I am not trying to be high and mighty or anything. Just offering a friendly warning. Orisha are for life in a serious way, not like you can come and go as you move around. Ifa is a religion with consequences, not just rewards.

    • Iolair

      Thank you. I very much appreciate the advice. This is partly the kind of thing that I wanted to get to know because I just do not know, and not many people are willing to share. I am glad that you shared this with me. I will definitely keep it in mind moving forward.
      Thank you

      • caeruleuslady

        I am often surprised by what people choosero be secretive about. Orisha are very interesting. They say you shouldn’t visit the “home” of your Orisha when you are upset, because the Orisha do not like to see their children sad and will take you to be with them.

      • Iolair

        That is fascinating. This is the kind of lore that I am interested in. I have been trying to read more about them, but have not had much spare time to do so.

      • caeruleuslady

        Choose to*
        Sorry for the typos. It’s this darn touch screen.

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