I found Houngan Steve after a search for a qualified vodou practitioner to help me with some problems I was having. When we first spoke, I found him very warm and engaging, and I looked forward to working with him.
He suggested a divinatory reading to determine what would work best for my situation. I was having problems in my love life and I was also looking for a remedy for the deep depression that has plagued me my whole life, often resulting in suicide attempts.
Houngan Steve did the reading and seemed thorough and responsive (though there is some division within the vodou community about whether one's met tet can be determined through a tarot reading over the phone). While his results were not what I wanted to hear, I respected him for giving them. I had a very high opinion of Houngan Steve until the aftermath.
He contacted me a few weeks after the reading to see how I was. Since it had been some time since we discussed proposed work, I wanted to tell him then that I had decided it was not the right time for me to do the work. I told him that it was nothing personal, but that I had my doubts because similar spiritual work performed in the past had yielded no results.
What follows is actual correspondence between myself and Houngan Steve. It is his final email that so concerns me and has made me want to advise everyone away from working with him.
Keep in mind that he sent this to me, someone he knew to have suicidal tendencies.
The first email, sent in reponse to me saying I had chosen not to do the work:
As your self if you want to get well, be honest, if you do, with your own consent you may through the assistance of your Holy Guardian Angel, be honest because if you do not wish to get well you must study and explore your self destructive nature, come to grips with that while selecting a more positive approach to you active participation in self regeneration and healing.
The choice is yours I am merely here to help you but you must do your own part while stepping out of your own self denial. Let me know if you are ready to step into your future, as I am here to assist you the choice is yours.
I took umbrage with that for the reasons I gave above--I felt that he was implying that if I wasn't working with him, then I wasn't fully stepping into my future, etc. I wrote back to him:
While I can understand the value of recommending spiritual work to further my healing, I think it's a bit unfair to say that I must not want to get better simply because I don't believe a certain work performed at a certain time is the right thing for me to do. In fact, it seems like blackmail more than a sensitive recommendation designed to further healing. You haven't met me; you don't know how hard I'm working to improve my situation. You only know I have not, at this time, chosen to do your suggested work, and yet, you still feel comfortable saying I am in self-denial and not ready to step into the future. I do not speak with the Lwa; I have not been initiated. But I know that the Lwa also speak to other initiates who are able to speak to me with less self-righteousness, less manipulation, and more compassion. Should I choose to do this sort of work, I will surely be working with one of those individuals who won't bully and pressure me into a certain choice that does not feel right.
That's what I said in response. I now realize that I probably did misinterpret the message somewhat, though I would also say that his confusing writing style played a part in that. To a certain extent, I think whether or not there was a misunderstanding was irrelevant. If there were a misunderstanding, then I think the professional response would have been to write back that there had been a misunderstanding and then to clear it up. I'm also not saying I wasn't somewhat harsh, but, again, there's a way to handle it that is professional and a way that is not professional. Here is his response, though I will clarify that the "few measly bucks" was $250 (and that was just for the first part). Judge for yourself.
I never said your desire was not strong enough but merely that if you found it was not to explore the reason why. I simply took concern and time to try to answer your last e-mail, believe me I get paid much more than what I had mentioned to charge you for my time and efforts and thus have no need to manipulate you for a few mesely bucks.
That is not my goal as my Lwa are my witness. You are free to go to any other practitioner, I myself am swamped with much work by many appreciative wealthy clients. i DO NOT NEED YOU!
You should be a little more respectful of Vodou Priest's who have your best interest at heart rather than insulting them with your disrespect. It was you who told me no other practitioner could help you.
INSULTING A VODOU PRIEST YOUNG LADY IS NOTHING BUT BAD KARMA, AS YOU WILL COME TO UNDERSTAND.
You have insulted my sincere effort to assist you and I regret that I took my valuable time to be concerned for you, as my Lwa are my witness.
You do need some training in the correct proto cal o dealing with elder initiates as your approach is very disrespectful and rude.
Please do not contact me any more you have insulted not only myself but my Priesthood and family Lwa, but then this karmic debt is NOW yours.
I LEAVE ALL IN THE HANDS OF BONDYE AND MY LWA TO JUDGE.
ONLY OLUDUMARE CAN JUDGE.
]NO WONDER YOU ARE HAVING SO MUCH TROUBLE IN YOUR LOVE LIFE YOU ARE SO RUDE BUT THEN THAT IS WHY YOUR SO UPSET.