(Animist fetish market in Togo, West Africa)
Our lungs were still burning with rage from running like two gazelle sprinting for their lives when the power in our house briefly flickered it's last breaths before giving into a dark death. We stumbled outside onto the balcony like kids fleeing a shadow in the middle of the night. Upon reaching the landing we saw the street lamp barely glowing while in the distance this high pitched whine began to approach. It sounded like the village was about to be invaded by a swarm of militant bees. Then out of the night engulfed street, coming from the direction of the cemetery a group of about 10 men on mopeds exploded into our field of vision headed toward the intersection just off the far right corner of our balcony. Immediately they drove around the intersection in a circle of mechanical choreography, kicking up the silence of the night with each crank of their hand shifters.
One of them was carrying a clay pot on his lap and smashed it in the middle of the abandoned intersection, and with that they sped off as fast as they appeared. We all stood in shock trying to make sense of the earthquake of events that had shaken up our night. The silence built into an awkward, uncomfortable tension when one of the missionaries that was already home before we arrived out of the breath stated, "Witchcraft." Chills washed over me and then a split second flashed by and the lights jumped back to life as if by command from the utterance of the word, "witchcraft." The pots were nothing new to our lives as missionaries because people left them all over villages as they were often used as vessels to "pour out sickness" into to cure ill or "cursed" people. They are usually filled with twigs, herbs, sometimes animal blood and often the urine of the person cursed or ill with a disease. This was symbolic of flushing the malady out of your body.
Broken pots in a lot of African Animism also symbolize death as a complete one is literally the holder of life as it often contains sustaining water. They also symbolize someone attempting to break down a social relationship, as a full pot constitutes harmony and welcoming. When one welcomes another to a village they are often brought a new clay pot full of food. A broken pot is also a symbol of banishment and social separation from society. A broken pot in other words is a bad sign. And here were these men smashing one full of a dark liquid and all kinds of plant material right in front of our house. Clearly some of the hatred toward us stemmed from being Christian missionaries in a village (Yamoussoukro) which is very proud of it's animist beliefs and saw us a threat. Now that I'm long past being a missionary and a Christian in general I can't say that I blame them. Christians have brought a lot of misery to Africa.
So, given that status (and being a white Christian on top of it) there were plenty of people who could have had the reason to curse my fortunes and future. I don't know if I believe in curses but after I came home from my two years in Africa my life fell apart, and I haven't been the same since. I have also had the worst luck where before Africa I had great luck. I don't have the time or room to describe all the incidents but suffice to say that if it could go wrong with me it has or will. It's not just me--my wife knows about the "dark, gray, cloud" that follow me and rains down upon me horrible luck. So, do my friends and family who can't believe how many things go wrong in my life--both in little and big ways. The biggest examples being having to drop out of the Master's degree program in African history, (ironically) and being diagnosed with the severe mental illness of Schizoaffective disorder.
Is it a coincidence then that I faced many smashed pots near the many places I lived at in Africa, and that ever since I've been home I've felt alienated from the society around me? In every way nearly I'm an outcast from my society since returning home. I have a mental illness, which causes people to shun me. I am a Buddhist with Pagan beliefs, which is frowned upon by my Christian dominated society. I am bisexual, which again is frowned upon by my society. Politically I am a liberal, which isn't a majority view in my society. All of this isn't by choice it's just labels that apply to how my personality expresses itself and yet they are all minority views it seems. I don't like interacting with people anymore because I somehow always get unwanted attention, or there's always a complication with whatever business I'm trying to accomplish. I get manic, anxious and irritable around too much noise and yet it seems like noise flocks around me as if by spell. Just now as I'm trying to explain why I feel cursed after my time in Africa the lawn mowing company showed up to crank on their loud machines to conveniently block my concentration. They usually don't come on this day or this late.
So, I ask you is all this a curse or coincidence? And if it is a curse, what dear Pagans do you suggest I do to lift it or at least cleanse my energy. I just want the chaos to ease up. There's only so many problems a person can face in a ten year span--and it shows no sign of slowing down!! I feel stalked by everyone as if I'm being watched and whenever I try to do something beneficial for me I am intercepted by someone who thwarts by plans. Maybe not even knowingly but it's happened so many times that I'm really starting to wonder about this curse stuff. And I'm really starting to wonder if somehow the curse could be using others as the vehicle to thwart my plants. Another thing to consider is that I was given a small statue of a traditional Ivorian hunter before I left--is it possible that's where the bad energy is coming from? It's hard to believe though since it was given to me by a "friend?"
~The Green Man has Spoken~