When we give service to the spirits, we use our bodies to call them – singing, dancing, clapping/rattling etc. We also use our senses – spiritual sight, clairaudience, and more – to know when they are here. And sometimes, the Lwa use our bodies in order to come down and work with us directly in possession.
This means our bodies are a tool both for ourselves and the Lwa. So we need to look after them, especially during ceremonies. You will see it done at fets. The Hounsis see to it that the horse (the person who is possessed) is safe and comfortable during and after a possession. In fact, ensuring the welfare of the horse is one of the most important duties of the Hounsi.
Now you may already know the basics of taking care of your spiritual tools. It is for example important to maintain a clean working space physically and spiritually, and to maintain the altars in an appropriate way. Ditto all items used during service to the Lwa. You would not leave rotten food on the Rada table for example, or empty cups for Gede. Used-up items have no place on the altar and can in fact cause blockages in one’s spiritual progress.
When you begin your spiritual training you will be taught appropriate ways to look after the Lwa and how to feed them and strengthen your connections. But it is equally important not to neglect your body. Even though as I have said it is the most important tool of any spiritual practitioner, it is also frequently the most neglected.
The fact of the matter is that the physical body requires maintenance. Keeping yourself spiritually clean is one thing and there are many ways in which this can be done. But even if you are taking your spiritual baths etc. the physical body also requires work.
Your body is a gift from Bondje. Look after it and appreciate it while you have it, after all you won’t have it forever. Nourish it with good, strengthening food and take care of it when it is sick. Your body is a temple! You wouldn’t leave rubbish on the altar, so avoid feeding the body rubbishy food. And don’t starve it either – you’ve got to feed your spiritual force.