A focal point, a place of manifestation, a means or a repository for spirits are not uncommon. Think of nkisis the Bantus, the homes of spirits and also in many fetishes as spoken by Europeans. This week, I would like to discuss a little bit about this concept that appears in Michael Bertiaux's Vodoun Gnostic current .
Bertiaux calls Atua the “house of the spirits”. In the practice of Vodoun Gnostic, it is a wooden box that is painted and consecrated to the spirits, who start to “reside” there and to magnetize that box with its properties. It is a powerful magic object, which can be used to consecrate magical tools, for example.
The curious thing about the making of an Atua is that it depends entirely on the interaction with the spirits. They will say how they would like the Atua to be decorated, consecrated and everything. That is, the more intimacy with the spirits, the more complex and rich this task can become. However, this should not prevent the practitioner from going ahead and experimenting with building one even if it doesn't have very right directions. Following the intuition and making a "home" for the spirits, they will certainly help and Atua will be truly effective.
I found that building an Atua (or more than one) in addition to being a beautiful process, is really capable of making life and home more magical. Having an Atua at home, at an altar or anywhere, because, in fact, the Atua itself does not need anything else, radiates the environment with incredible energy. I like to greet one of the Atuas every morning and this has made me live life more attentively to the invisible.
However, I would like to go further and say that an Atua can go far beyond a box. For example, are we not spirit houses? Are we not a great Atua or several great Atuas ourselves ? Bertiaux seems to think so, when he clearly says that the phallus is an Atua. Now, does this place us as magical tools? We are certainly that and more.
The Vodoun Gnostic (which should not be confused with the Haitian Vodou that we have discussed here too) is a magical system that enlivens the magician's ability to build his worlds. The construction of Atua is a small step in this great journey. What spirits are with you? Which spirits speak to you? For what reason? What drives you to build a house specifically for this or that spirit? All of these issues, when understood, point to a unique road that is being paved by magical life.