SF BATS Report: Talking to the Dead

Maman Brigitte.jpeg

When I saw that Ellen Lorenzi-Prince was doing a session, I was delighted. Her decks (Tarot of the Crone and The Dark Goddess Tarot) are among my favorites even if I don’t use them all that often. They are scary! You don’t use the Tarot of the Crone unless you are ready for a dark, potent reading. The Dark Goddess Tarot is one I bought specifically for devotional ritual, too, so it’s got extra oomph in my mind.

I should have known that any session of hers would have this tone, this flavor. I should have known I could not walk into this session and leave unchanged. I am never the same after a reading with one of her decks.

Her session was about using the tarot as a portal for talking with the dead. Yup. She went there. And a packed room full of people went there with her. Myself included.

I am not ready to post about the content of that reading. There is just too much to process. I can, however, say that I got chills as she talked about Maman Brigitte. I’ve been interested and attracted to all the dark goddesses, and particularly obsessed with the Persephone myth from ancient Greece and Roman times. But something that old feels so far away sometimes. Maman Brigitte is not old, or far away. A new world creation, she is the only Ioa in Vodou who is white with red hair. It’s widely accepted that this is because she’s a blending of ideas from African slaves and Scotch/Irish indentured servants. She’s Brigid, with a taste for rum. She’s the Queen of the Dead, Gatekeeper, Protectress and Guide. Sounds like Hel, or Hecate, too – just a little more high energy. Suddenly a tradition I’d shied away from investigating for fear of cultural appropriation seemed more open to me as a woman of Scottish ancestry.

Ellen had brought with her a little model of a graveyard – grass, a lady in a box, a tiny bit of rum as an offering to Maman. Even little fairy lights to set the mood in the darkened room. It seemed silly at first. And then, well, then it wasn’t so silly. I guess that happens when a room full of people breathe together, get quiet and ask for help from a Ioa. I wonder if that will happen again, when I treat the cards as she said we would in the session description, as “a portal, a pathway, for energies to cross from one world into another.” I don’t often approach the cards that way, but we all have had readings that were really intense, where we almost felt like we were not the ones driving. I certainly treat runes that way. Why not tarot?

It was interesting to hear the results of the reading. It was clear that I was not the only on in the room who had a ‘whoa, hold on’ moment. Many in the room had lost people close to them, and found this to be a comfort. Many people ended up with the same card in the last position and read it the same way: “Get to work! Create, manifest and move while you still can!” I got that card, too, and immediately made plans to act on this otherworldly advice.

After all, if you ask Maman Brigitte for help in contacting the other side and you get a powerful message in response, don’t ignore it!

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