May 20 2011

Erzulie

In the vodoun pantheon, Erzulie is the Loa of art, romance, love and of sex. Gay men are considered to come under her patronage.

She wears three wedding rings – one for each husband, Damballah-Wedo, Agwe and Ogoun – and has three distinct aspects: lover, protector and mother.

The Veve of Erzulie

The Veve of Erzulie

Erzulie Freda

Erzulie Freda is the flirty goddess of love – the embodiment of  femininity, yet with a dark side tending to vanity and teasing. She is married to Damballah-Wedo.

The Veve of Erzulie

The Veve of Erzulie

Erzulie Dantor

Erzulie Dantor, the loa of jealousy and passion, is also identified with lesbian women, and is a determined guardian of women and children. She is often depicted as a black woman protectively cradling a small child in her arms.

La Sirene

La Sirene, is the loa of motherhood and personification of the oceans. Her husband is Agwe, king of the sea, patron of sailors and fishermen.

Erzulie is complex in her many aspects, embodying the different facets and ages of love in all its splendid incarnations from wild, sensual passion through to vengeful possessiveness. Erzulie has an aspect for every stage of love’s journey through life.

A Rada Loa, Erzulie Freda (Lady Erzulie, or Erzulie Freda Dahoumin) is the embodying aspect of passionate love, in all its sensual, seductive attributes. She is flirtatious but available, difficult but pleasurable, rewarding but demanding, all in their turn. She loves offerings of luxurious items – such as perfume, champagne and gold. As the archetypal seductress, Erzulie Freda is always the mistress, and never the spouse.

The aspect Erzulie Balianne (Erzulie the Gagged) is another Rada aspect, keeping secrets, and helping to keep the past buried, healing and calming the emotional heart. She takes care of past love, and forgotten romances. When possessed by Erzulie Balianne, people speak as if gagged or muffled.

The Rada Loa Erzulie Mansur (Erzulie the Blessed) embodies maternal love; the protective, nurturing power of a mother’s love for her children. She watches over children and infants, and keeps them safe.

Finally, Granne Erzulie – Grandma Erzulie – is a gentle, warm Rada Loa, who represents the wisdom of experience and maturity, the kindness and broad grandmotherly love for the family.

The fiery Petro aspects bring us Erzulie Dantor (Erzulie D’En Tor Erzulie of the Wrongs), who protects women and children, and deals fiery revenge against those who have harmed them, or would seek to do so. Erzulie Dantor is vengeful, fiercely protective, and has an eternal memory.

Another Petro Loa is Erzulue Mapiangue – Erzulie the Suckler – deals with the bitter-sweet experience of childbirth – the pain and the joy – and is the protector of both unborn babies and newborn babies, overseeing their transition into the world. Her horses assume the fetal position, or birthing position and cry tears of pain.

Erzulie Yeux Rouge, or Erzulie Ge-Rouge (Red Eyed Erzulie) is a wild, fiesty Petro aspect who aids the jealous or slighted in love, both male and female. She will deliver fitting vengeance against those who betray a lover. Like Erzulie Dantor, Erzulie Ge-Rouge is impulsive and quick to act, but also patient and deliberate. Revenge will be appropriate, and suitable, but never fickle or fleeting.


May 20 2011

Baron Samedi

The veve of Baron Samedi

The veve of Baron Samedi

In Voodoo, Voudoo or Voudoun, Baron Samedi is one of the five leaders of the Ghede nanchon, along with Maman BrigitteBaron Kriminel, Baron La Croix and Baron Cimitiere. He is usually depicted with a top hat, black tuxedo, dark glasses, and cotton plugs in the nostrils, as if to resemble a corpse dressed and prepared for burial in the Haitian style.

He has a white, frequently skull-like face (or actually has a skull for a face) and speaks in a nasal voice.

He is a sexual Loa, frequently represented by phallic symbols and – like other Loa of the Ghede nanchon  – is noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum.

Additionally, he is the Loa of sex and resurrection, and in the latter capacity he is often called upon for healing by those near or approaching death, as it is only Baron who can accept an individual into the realm of the dead.

Baron Samedi spends most of his time in the invisible realm of voodoo spirits. He is notorious for his outrageous behavior, swearing continuously and making filthy jokes to the other spirits. He is married to another powerful spirit known as Maman Brigitte, but often chases after mortal women. He loves smoking and drinking and is rarely seen without a cigar in his mouth or a glass of rum in his bony fingers.

Baron Samedi can usually be found at the crossroad between the worlds of the living and the dead. When someone dies he digs their grave and greets their soul after they have been buried, leading them to the underworld.

As well as being master of the dead, Baron Samedi is also a giver of life. He can cure any mortal of any disease or wound, if he thinks it is worthwhile. His powers are especially great when it comes to voodoo curses and black magic. Even if somebody has been afflicted by a hex which brings them to the verge of death, they will not die if the Baron refuses to dig their grave. So long as this mighty spirit keeps them out of the ground they are safe.

He also ensures all corpses rot in the ground to stop any soul being brought back as a brainless zombie. What he demands in return depends on his mood. Sometimes he is content with his followers wearing black, white or purple clothes or using sacred objects; he may simply ask for a small gift of cigars, rum, black coffee, grilled peanuts or bread. But sometimes the Baron requires a voodoo ceremony to help him cross over into this world.

Baron Samedi is one of the leaders of the Ghede, a nanchon of Loa with particular links to magic, ancestor worship and death. These lesser spirits, all dressed like the Baron, are all as rude and crude as their masters. They help carry the dead to the underworld.