Dr. John Montanee

A New Orleans Voodoo Grimoire

Dr. John Montanee: Patron of Ritual Drummers to Drum Loa, Indiana 2012

 

Dr. John Montanee was one of the first and perhaps the most powerful of the early New Orleans Voodoo Drummers and Doctors (approx. 1815 to 1885). An historical and a folkloric discussion of Dr. John’s life will be provided. The position of Dr. John as the Magus in the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot (Martinié and Glassman, 1992) and New Orleans Voodoo in general will be discussed. This will be followed by a description of a rite in which dust and waters from the Doctor’s gravesite will be combined with his signatures and documents from his life to invite this great spirit to enter the head, heart, hands, and drum heads of the ritualists.

 

Friday Ritual to Dr. John Montanee: New Orleans Drum Patron to Loa, Indiana 2012

 

(This was a more formal rite/conjure, scheduled by the Festival.)

An altar to Dr. John Montanee will be constructed and those attending will be invited to leave gifts. Dust and waters from the Doctor’s gravesite will be combined with his signatures and documents from his life and used to invite this grand loa to enter the head, heart, and hands of the drummers and their drum’s heads. This ritual is meant to offer honor and respect to the good Doctor; to invite him to rejoin the community of living drummers, not to ask anything of him. It is a celebration of Dr. John’s transition from “patron of ritual drummers (New Orleans Voodoo Tarot; Martinié and Glassman, 1992)” to drum loa. Attendance at an earlier session is helpful in the performance of this ritual though not necessary. Please bring any percussion instruments you may have. Dancers are very welcome.

 

Notes From Magickal Record: Friday Night Conjure/Ritual, Indiana, 2012

 

In this ritual we are asking for no particular thing so every particular thing is possible. What we are giving is a gift or a present. No strings attached, we are not going fishing. The rite is more like a welcome party or a house warming, the houses being us.

 

These are some of the ways DJ can enter us. Head (thoughts) - He can manifest in thought. Heart (blood-emotions) - He can manifest in emotions. Hands (technique – motor memory) - He can manifest in motor/movement. All of these taken together generally describe classic possession or being taken by spirit.

 

Drum Head –The drum is an altar to a Temple Drummer (and a Mardi Gras Indian). As such, it is receptive to subtle fluctuations in grace.

Description of the Conjure/Ritual:

 

Construction: A maypole functions as the center post.There is an altar in middle of a circle. The altar consists of 5 drums –earth/air/fire/water/spirit. The drums are laid out in the shape of a crossroads as a veve. Materials on these 5 drums consist of waters from St. Roch’s Cemetary, graveyard dust from St. Roch, red palm oil, and coconut oil. Items consist of a frock coat, fire, and the Doctor’s signature.

 

Order of Service of the Conjure/Ritual: Marassa (Mamie Waters rhythm) then Morts (Mamie Waters rhythm) then Mysteries (Legba’s rhythm with Callings). Then begin Bamboula rhythm; the Bamboula can change to other rhythms as the loa come. Voodoos come up to the altar (drums) in any order. I am with the Doctor’s signature in the center of the crossroads. Earth is used with the Doctor’s signature to open the voodoos that come to the center. Then they go back and drum, dance, or actively listen. Gifts or presents to the Doctor can be left at any time. After all come up, we continue to drum, dance, or listen.

 

End the rite with the 5 drums being moved to touch one another in the center. Sprinkle area and voodoos with Florida Water. Continue to drum and dance; contact with Dr. John and the level of the contact is an individual choice.

 

We are all witnesses to see and remember what comes of our actions so that the rites can grow by accretion. This can lead to an unfolding of the aspects and the attributes of Dr. John Montanee.

 

I am very open to discuss any experiences after the conjure/rite.

 

Priest Oswan Chamani taught that it is disrespectful to make too many plans. I remember him throwing a chair down the stairs to the first Temple at someone who insisted that he “practice” a rite.

 

Some Observations:

• A woman (medical) was very thirsty even though she hydrated all day. She said she must have drunk a half gallon of water of the Doctor’s water from St. Roch’s Cemetery. She was laughing and crying, this was the first time for her to be taken by spirit in this manner.

 

• A woman brought 2 feathers, she took a bowl of water with graveyard earth and water around to the voodoos. This was very effective.

 

• When I was taking the Saint Roch earth out of the container I saw a caterpillar grub and as I held it there was movement. This emissary of the insect loa has traveled quite a long way. It squirmed between my first 2 fingers on my right hand and began to painfully borrow into my hand. I took it to a clump of grass on the side and shook it to the earth telling the grub to tell its grandfather and grandmother I saved it. This underground life form is now in the earth by the ritual space in Babalon, Our Haven, Indiana.

 

Notes From Magickal Record, Thursday Ritual to Dr. John Montanee: Indiana, 2012

 

This conjure was less formal, unscheduled. It took place in a back circle well off of the festival field.

 

• Phil Farber and Maegdlyn performed an NLP exercise immediately before the rite.

 

• A large man in a kilt fell to the ground, coughing. He was down for most of rite, Marty was with him.

 

• I could feel (sense of calm, lightness in the chest area) Maegdlyn balancing me in the rite. My level of confidence in this less formal ceremony went up. I had felt that something was missing in me, there was an edge of unsureness. I became more assured as the rite developed; we will work and bring the Doctor presents and gifts of exactly what we have. We begin where we are. Now I more fully realize one reason why Priestess Miriam values my presence at rites. She says that I balance her.

 

• Phil Farber said he was drawn to look up at the stars, one star was changing color. There were bright spots combining individual stars in the sky. He thought that this sky gazing may be a distraction from the rite. At the conclusion of the rite, I said that Dr. John would look to the sky for messages. Phil was surprised. Folklore has DJ looking to the sky for messages. These messages could have been connected to astrology and/or direct communications from what the Doctor saw in the sky.

 

• A man saw a cat with the face of something like a goat; the lines of the face were hard edged.

 

• Don Kraig felt a constriction around his neck. He heard, “The Doctor will teach the voodoo to his children, he will teach the inner voodoo to his child Louie.” Two numbers came up possibly 4 and 7. Don saw the Doctor sitting on a high seat. He heard him say to sit tall, stand tall. He saw that he cuts off both ends of a cigar then smokes both parts.

 

• Neal, standing on the side lines for some time, could feel the love.

 

• Three? men and women found it hard to breathe.

 

• There was much coughing in the rite. People were going down, taken by spirit.

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