Sep 8 2011

Dinclinsin

In Haitian Vodou, Dinclinsin is a European Loa feared for his temper and cruelty, he is often envisioned as a white colonial slave owner, he often carries a whip and is recognisable by his habit of putting whatever is given to him in his pockets, one of his favourite tricks is to pour rum into his pockets without his clothes getting wet.


Sep 2 2011

Gran Bwa

The vévé  of Gran Bwa

The vévé of Gran Bwa

Gran Bwa means “Great tree” and he is the master of the forests of Vilokan, the island that is home to the Loa.

He is strongly associated with plants, trees and practices associated with those materials such as herbalism.

Gran Bwa is also the master of the wilderness in general, and thus can be wild and unpredictable. Continue reading


May 20 2011

Agwe

The Veve of Agwe Taroyo

The Veve of Agwe Taroyo

Agwe is a water spirit, and is of particular interest to seafaring people such as fishermen. As such, his veve represents a boat. Agwe is particularly important in Haiti, an island nation where many residents have depended upon the sea for survival for centuries.

When he arrives in possession of a performer, he is met with wet sponges and towels to keep him cool and moist while on land during the ceremony. Care has to be taken to keep the possessed from jumping into the water, which is where Agwe prefers to be.

Ceremonies for Agwe are commonly performed near the water. Offerings are floated on the water’s surface. If the offerings return to shore, they have been refused by Agwe.

Agwe is commonly depicted as a mullato man dressed in a naval uniform, and when in possession of another behaves as such, saluting and giving orders. He is mainly invoked in his benign Rada aspect, but also manifests in Petro invocations in his more violent Agwe Ge-Rouge aspect.

Agwe’s female counterpart is La Sirene, the siren of the seas, a personification of Erzulie.

 


May 20 2011

Baron Samedi

The veve of Baron Samedi

The veve of Baron Samedi

In Voodoo, Voudoo or Voodun, 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.


May 20 2011

Ogoun

The Veve of Ogoun

The Veve of Ogoun

In Haitian Vodun, Ogoun (or Ogun, Ogou) is a Loa who presides over fire, iron, hunting, politics and war.

He is also considered to be the Father of technology as we know it today. He is the patron of smiths and of the unemployed and is usually displayed with a machete or sabre, rum and tobacco.

He is one of the husbands of Erzulie, but is also linked to Oshun in a fiery and passionate affair of the heart.

Ogoun is the traditional warrior, similar to the spirit of Ares in Greek mythology.

As such, Ogoun is mighty, powerful, and triumphal; yet, also exhibits the rage and destructiveness of the warrior whose strength and violence can turn against the community he serves.

Ogun gives strength through prophecy and magic.

It is Ogoun who is said to have planted the idea, led and given power to the slaves for the Haitian Revolution of 1804.

In all his incarnations Ogoun is a fiery and martial spirit.

He can be very aggressively masculine, but can  rule the head of female, or effeminate male initiates to whom he takes a liking.

He is also linked with blood, and is for this reason often called upon to heal diseases of the blood.

In addition, he is often called upon to bring work to the unemployed.