In this new feature on Witch Mom, I answer select questions from readers. There is a box to the right of my blog posts, under the "About Witch Mom" description if you would also like to ask a question. It could be about The Craft, parenting, pop culture, multi-religious education, or whatever! I cannot promise to answer each one, but I will read them!
A reader asks, "Is it truly possible for a person to be a non-consensual trance medium or channeler?"
|At a Voudou Gede in Brooklyn|
Those terms (channeling, trance medium) are more new-agey than I would personally use, but the short answer is YES.
In Feri, as in many religious trads that work with spirits directly by allowing them inside us, we call the practice what it is: possession. We allow spirits and Gods to take temporary possession of our physical bodies so that we can benefit from their presence here in this world for a number of reasons.
In my religious tradition, we "do" possessions- sometimes in a ritual context. In such a case, it is a planned part of a ritual and the "horse" (or host, or whatever you would like to call the human allowing a spirit/ God/ or being to "ride" them) is a willing participant and has prepared for such a role. We carefully negotiate with the God beforehand, letting them know the limits of what we will and will not permit when they have control of our bodies. We also carefully chose a caretaker to tend "the horse" during and after the possession. They help enforce the agreements made with the God beforehand. I have been in that role many times- I was encouraged to master that role before attempting a possession myself. As a priest-in-training, I have done both roles now several times. Both have their challenges. As the caretaker, you need to be able to say NO to a God and be able to back it up. (Ever say no to a God before? It's um... interesting.) Gods rarely understand the physical limitations of a human body, and a horse needs an advocate sometimes.
|An appropriate (consentual) type of |
possession: oracular work