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Voodoo hoodoo glossary

Abitasyon Habitat; common ancestral plot of land owned by an extended family and inherited in successive generations African Bone Readings Bones are used as divining tools in spiritual readings to illuminate a situation and foresee the future. The voodoo priest or priestess "throws the bones," reading the future according to the bones' position in relation to each other. The bones symbolize human characters, the family, and the positive or negative forces influencing their lives. Red stones represent negative forces of the underworld. Brown stones represent wisdom and perception. Ago Ritual exclamation meaning "attention". Agwe Loa of the ocean, of ships and boats, patron of seafarers. Spouse of Maitresse Erzulie in her aquatic aspects. Mainly Rada (but see Ge-Rouge below). Akason siwo Soup made of manioc or corn starch to which cane syrup is added; favored dish of most all lwa; Kongo lwa prefer this made with corn flour vs. Starch and call it doukounou. Aksyon degras Thanksgiving; ritual prayers borrowed from Catholic litanies that open a Vodou service Alamyet This is a Vodou ceremony held sans the drums. Anacoana The most famous Tayino Indian cacique (queen); led her people in active revolt against the Spanish; executed by hanging in 1503. Anba dlo Meaning "beneath the water", anba dlo is the place where the loa and ancestors reside (see Ginea). Ansyen bon Elders holding vast konesans, usually in antique lineages; the old priests whose knowledge is a treasure younger priests can only strive to understand Ardra Locality on the coast of Dahomey, from which Moreau de Saint-Mery refers to the Dahoman people generally as "aradas," and from which comes the term "Rada" denoting a main group of Voudoun rites. Ason The magic and sacred rattle used to conduct services in Rada Vodou rites; gourd rattle surrounded by a loose web of beads with its typical components being a calabash and snake vertebrae. To be "given the asson" is to be raised to the priestly authority (see Houngan, Mambo.) Also referred to as the "sacred tongue of Dan" (Danbala); Audowido: The Serpent Deity of the Rainbow among the Nago people in Africa, depicted as a serpent surrounded by a spectrum of colors (see Ayida Wedo).

Ayibobo A word of Ewe origin that when used in a ritual context is equivalent to "amen". Ayida Wedo One of the revered Serpent-Deities of Rada Voudoun, who represents the sky powers; the rainbow is her symbol, and as wife of Damballah she shares his function as cosmic protector and giver of blessing. Her "surname" Wedo may signify her association (along with Damballah) with the Serpent cult of Whydah or it may be simply a part of the name of the Nago Rainbow-Deity, Audowido. Ayiti Toma (Haiti) Taino Indian word meaning "mountainous"; one of several Tayino names for the island now called Haiti; also Kiskaya. Ayizan The archetypal Mambo loa who oversees healing powers, religious traditions, and the respect and reverence due to ancestors and parents. Ayizan is sometimes considered to be the wife of Loco. She is also the patroness of initiation, and the palm-tree is her symbol. Badagris Related to Badagri, on the western Nigerian coast; a title and aspect of the Nago Loa Ogu or Ogoun. Badji Sanctuary, altar room within the hounf; also called sobadji. Badjikan "Keepers of the badji"; senior priests or officials of an hounf charged with maintaining the altars housed therein. Badjo Vodou temple near Gonaives devoted solely to the Nago (Yoruba) lwa Baka Small malevolent demon; also called mazanga. Bambara A Sudanese people represented in Haiti; their cult animal in Africa was the antelope. Banbosh Non-religious party or celebration Banda Provacative rite, rhythm, and dance associated with the Guede loa. Baron Cimetiere, Baron La Croix, Baron Samedi Intensely powerful (and therefore magical) Loa of the Dead; considered to be of the "family" of Ghede, but of New World rather than African conception, Petro rather than Rada Bassin A pool or tank of water sometimes provided at a hounfor. It is of convenient size and may be suitably ornamented for its purpose, that aquatic or serpent Loa when they have taken possession of devotees may enjoy immersion.

Batterie In some contexts this word signifies simply a set of drums; in ritual (and especially at the point of division between the opening devotions and ceremony proper) it signifies a specific system of sounding the asson, clapping hands, and sounding the drums (if used) in an impressive unison rhythm. Benin An historically and culturally important regions, river and city which forms part of southern Nigeria. The craftsmanship of the Beni (or Bini) people in brass, bronze and ivory is renowned. Bizango Secret society and the rites of this society; how secret societies are called; also implies the rite carried by the shampwel; its name derives from a Guinea Bissau tribe. See also Makaya. Bok/Bokor Expert in magic who works with both hands - for both creation and destruction Bon anj The divine spirit of man understood as having two primary components: ti bon anj and gwo bon anj Bondje Kreyl word for God Almighty, from the French Bon Dieux; also called Gran Met-la (The Grand Master) Boukman Historical houngan who convoked secret Vodou ceremonies and meetings leading to the Haitian Revolution Bosal Wild or untamed; may reference a lwa or a neophyte who has not yet mastered his or her own spirits. Boula Smallest of three Rada drums; also called hountokila. Brigitte, Mademoiselle Brigitte, Madame Brigitte, Grande Brigitte A loa whose French-Celtic name evokes European associations of folklore and myth, "Grande" in Creole signifying "Grandmother." Maman Brigitte, as she is often called, is the powerful, magical female Guardian of Graves/Cemetaries, and is said by some to be the wife of Baron Samedi. Her sacred trees are the elm and the weeping willow. Canari voodoo Vessel containing the soul of a Zombie. In Haiti, the souls of the dead are found in the sea that surrounds the island. In certain Petro, Bizango and Zobop rites, when the soul (the Ti-Bon-Ange, Astral Zombie or Duppy) is from a particularly powerful being, the vessel becomes damp during the invocation. In the most extreme cases, it fills with water: salt water when the soul is associated with the sea, and fresh water in certain rare cases. Cho: Hot"; a quality of spirit Chwal /Cheval: "Horse"; euphemism for a servitor who serves as the medium for a lwa in possession Cimetiere: See Baron Cimetiere Ceremonial drum Loa are believed to reside in ceremonial drumbeats that relay spiritual insights and good fortune. Loa (meaning "the mysteries" or "the invisibles") are spirits that can act as intermediaries between the Creator and the human world.

Chicory Popular in New Orleans, the root of this plant is ground and roasted as an addition to, or substitute for, coffee. Collier A necklace. Specifically, in Voudoun, a ritual necklace given to a person in token of initiation. Commandant-general de la Place See La Place. Congo An important region of equatorial Africa. To Haitian Voudoun it has given - along with many people distinctive ritual, drums, dances. The Congo Loa have been influenced by Petro. Couleuvre See Kulev. Creole Pertaining to the people, language and customs of Haiti; also used with reference to other cultures both West Indian and Latin American. This word comes through the French from a Spanish word meaning "born outside the homeland. 2. A person of mixed French and Spanish blood who migrated from Europe or was born in Southeast Louisiana and lived as sophisticated city or plantation dwellers. Dahomey A region of West Africa, lying west of Nigeria and north of the Gulf of Guinea (present day Benin) from which large numbers of slaves were shipped to Haiti. It contains Ardra and Whydah, which were taken over by the Dahomans early in the eighteenth century. The Dahomey rite is distinguished by the mildness of its Loa; the religious traditions of the same people that formed the foundation of Vodou theology Damballah The principal Sky-Serpent Loa of Voudoun, an archetypally wise, loving but somewhat withdrawn father to his people. His characteristics are his lack of articulate human speech, his affinity with water, and his preference for white or colorless fod and drink. By nature a well as historically, he belongs chiefly to the Dahomey rite (Rada), but it also found in the Ibo and even (as Damballah-Ge_rouge and as Damballah-LaFlambeau) in Petro. His name is directly derived from "Danh-Gbwe." Danh-Gbwe The Great Serpent, so called in the language of the people of Ardra, Whydah and Dahomey. This name was given to the species of yellow and brown mottled python there venerated as an intermediary or focus of divine power (see Voodoo, Voudoun). Danh-hwe Literally, a "serpent house;" understood as a shelter for the sacred pythons and a center for their cult in Dahomey. Demanbwe Sacral patch of land representing the virgin forest, primal Africa, and in which the roots of an ancestral lineage are buried Deshoukaj Uprooting; name given attempts throughout history to destroy the Vodou religion; Vodou has survived 14 attempts at deshoukaj by various sources. Desounin: Process of removing lwa from the head of an initiate following death.

Dezd: Chaos, confusion, or drama Dogwe: Ritual obeisance paid to a senior priest and to the lwa Don Pedro The traditional founder of Petro Voudoun; his name is given as Jean-Philippe Pedro, a Negro of Spanish (that is, Santo Domingo) origin. The rite at first became known as "a dance, the Don Pedro." He and/or a physical or spiritual son have become Loa under the names of Jean-Philippe Petro, Ti Jean Petro. Dyaspoja (Diaspora) The population of Vodouwizan outside of Haiti. Dissimulation Aconscious and deliberate use of certain Catholic or other appropriative elements to allow Vodouwizan to serve the lwa in secret. Djab Powerful but wild spirit; may have both good and bad potential Djevo Chamber within the hounf in which neophytes are initiated. Dosou/dosa (Male/female) first child following twins Dous "Sweet"; a quality of spirit.

En Guinee See Guinee Erzulie, Erzulie Freda, Erzulie Freda Dahomin The name Erzulie is sometimes spelled Ezili and with other variations; generally this Loa is mentioned with the title "Maitresse." Her name appears to relate to the Serpent-Goddess Ezi-Aku, mentioned early in the present century as worshipped in northern Nigeria. Maitresse Erzulie, however, has become an ideal figure of delicate and alluring womanhood. She has an aquatic form, La Sirene, which may be related to her earlier serpent manifestations. Apart from this, she has two different traditions: that of La Grande Erzulie, which shows her as elderly and grief-stricken, and that of "the Erzulies" who traditionally fought in astral manifestation alongside the liberators of Haiti - a tradition less astonishingly related to the Loa of Love and Beauty when the historical fact is recalled of the "amazon regiments" in the royal army of Dahomey Esk Grouping of lwa who walk with, or follow another lwa. Fer A title of Ogoun (Ogu). Flambeau See La Flambeau.

Fon A people and a language of the Dahomey and Yoruba regions. Fwan Ginea A servitor who follows pure Ginea rites, who does not serve with both hands. Ge-Rouge Literally "Red Eye." Title indicating a horrific aspect, added to the names of certain Rada Loa when a particular Petro cult invokes a violent form of their power. Thus are produced Agwe-Ge-Rouge, Damballah Ge-Rouge, Erzulie Ge-Rouge, Ogoun Ge-Rouge. Ghede The most benevolent of the Loa of the Dead, powerful in healing and as protector of children as well as being a great jester. Two of his best-known titles are Brav' Ghede and Ghede Nimbo. The title Nimbo relates him to the Ndemba Society, an African cult whose mysteries are concerned with death and resurrection. The origin of the name Ghede is considered uncertain. There are a considerable number of Ghedes, and their position is generally held to be between Rada and Petro.

Giyon Bad luck Govi A small earthen bottle into which the gros-bon-ange of dead ancestors can "rescued." After a person dies the gros-bon-ange goes to the underwater place. A year and a day after he or she goes their the relatives can recall the gros-bon-ange. Unfortunately this is a very expensive service, requiring a significant animal sacrifice, often an ox. Thus it is often considerable time before the service can be done. If too much time passes the ancestor may get a bit restless and cause trouble-- illness etc.

Gris-gris bags (pronounced "gree-gree") Derived from the French word for gray, "gris-gris" combines black (negative) and white (positive) forces. Herbs and oils placed in small bags are blessed by a voodoo priest or priestess for a special purpose, such as a love charm. Guinee/Ginea The French form of "Guinea," but understood in Voudoun as denoting Africa generally, or rather, the astral counterpart of Africa as the homeland. Thus a person's conscious mind, on being displaced by a Loa in the process of possession, is said to be "en Guinee" - in Africa. Unspoiled Africa; the other world in Vodou wherein the lwa and the dead are said to reside and where is found the holy city of Ife, also called Lavilokan. Guinen The voodoo 'Paradise' where the souls of the dead go. In Haiti, Guinen is found under the sea surrounding the island. It comes from the word 'Guine' (Guinea), the land where voodoo originated. At the Institute, this term represents the world of Spirits who can be consulted. It should not be confused with Alcheringa, which represents the myth in which the Sensitive will learn to travel without upsetting the Order. Hoodoo A form of voodoo combined with American Indian magic, typical of the amazing blends found in the United States. If you want to question an American voodoo follower about his practices, then you must ask him: "Hoodoo you do?" Horse

A Loa, possessing a person, is said sometimes to "dance in the head" of that person, but the more traditional expression is that the Loa "rides" the person's head. The person is thus regarded as the "horse" (in French, "cheval" of the Loa.) Hounfo The parish or region of a houngan or mambo's influence. Hounfor Strictly, the inner sanctuary or altar-room of a site where the religion of Voudoun is practiced. In a general sense, it is understood to mean the whole site: the inner sanctuary, the peristyle, the dwelling of the houngan and probably some sacred trees, cairns or other landmarks. One must judge by the context. Houngan A fully initiated priest of Voudoun, one who has "received the asson." The basis of this title is the African "Nganga," a chief priest; it is prefixed with the Fon word "Houn," meaning spirit. Houngenikon A ritual assistant to the Houngan or Mambo; chorus leader in a Vodou service. A houngenikon is normally a "hounsi canzo"; that is, a woman chosen from among those whose initiatory status is just below that of the Houngan or Mambo. In a complex ceremony, more than one houngenikon may be responsible for its smooth running. Hounsi Wife of the spirit; title for an initiated servitor Hounsi kanzo Initiate of the Vodou who has undergone the rite of kanzo. An accepted devotee at a hounfor. Those not fully trained, and thus charged with the more mundane duties, are termed "hounsis bossale" (bossale = "wild," uncultivated). The fully trained endergo the severe "canzo" initiation, and thus become "hounsis canzo." The training involves every aspect of the service of the Loa. Hounto Lwa of drums; largest drum in the Rada orchestra, also called mama Hountogi Vodou drummers. Houn-yo Postulants for Vodou initiation. Ibo A people from the Yoruba region, who have retained in Haitian Voudoun their own rite, drum-beat, songs and Loa. Ife An historic city of Nigeria: the spiritual destination to which the Voudoun drums are consigned for the renewal of their energies. Invisibles All spirits. Ju-ju Blessed objects are used for protection from evil and negativity. Among these talismans are skulls, dolls, spirit bottles, chicken feet, and wall hangings.

Kachimbo Small clay pipe favored by certain lwa such as Azaka Kalfu/Kalfou A Petro Loa of the "crossroads," the Gate between the Worlds; the lwa of the same. This name is a corruption of Carrefout. Kanzo initiation into the Vodou The initiation ceremonies for those moving into a very serious level of Voodoo practice. Follows three grades - asogwe, soupwen, and senp Kapab Leaf used to increase luck and also to make a demand of a lwa; shaefferia frutescens Kleren Raw corn whiskey, "white lightening"; drink favored by many lwa K dwapo Hounsi who carry the society's flags in parade during a Vodou service Konesans A quality of consciousness; the knowledge of an houngan or manbo; includes liturgical knowledge as well as intuitive knowledge Konfyans kay Key-holder of an hounf; principle advisor to the senior houngan or manbo of a house

Kowanabo A lineage of Tayino Indian spirits found and maintained in the North of Haiti Kreyl The language of Haiti and also the primary language of the Vodou Kriz lwa (lwa crisis) Those signs leading up to possession Kulev A serpent. Some writers restore this Creole word to the French "couleuvre" from which it is derived; but the French word means "an adder," a poisonous snake, whereas "kulev" in its Voudoun context signifies the harmless Haitian serpent which represents Damballah and Ayida Wedo. Kwa-kwa A maraca or tcha-tcha rattle; used in all rites other than Rada such as Petwo or Kongo. La Croix See Baron La Croix. La Flambeau Literally "The Torch." This title is added to the names of certain Rada Loa when a Petro cult invokes an especially fiery form of their power. So we have Damballah-La-Flambeau, Ogoun-La_Flambeau, and the Dahoman Loa Amine-Gatigal becomes Amine-Gatigal-La-Flambeau.

Lagniappe Term used by native New Orleanians to mean a little something extra, a gift, or a small surprise. Lakou Courtyard; common unit of family in the Haitian countryside; follows West African models of family organization Lambi A conch-shell. Used as a musical horn, a large conch-shell gives a distinctive sound in ceremonies dedicated to Agwe. Langage The strange words in which the Loa are sometimes addressed, and which traditionally have been used also in oracular utterances from divine sources. Some meanings appear to have been handed down as priestly knowledge, but some appear to have been lost. A part of the vocabulary may be made up of lost or garbled African words, part from other sources; but both African and Amerindian traditions exist of a secret oracular speech, different from that of the people. Langet Slang for clitoris Lanm The dead; may include ancestors as well as other categories of dead Laplas daginea/La Place In full, "Commandant-general de la Place. "This title of the Master of Ceremonies who is also the sabre-bearer in Voudoun ceremonies.In full, "Commandant-general de la Place. " Lave tet (washing of the head) an initiation ceremony held for serviteurs after they have been mounted for the first time. Lavilokan One name for the holy city of the lwa in Ginea; actual city in the North of Haiti said to be the site of the first hounf, and source of revolutionary resistance; also called Ife Les Mysteries The lwa themselves, as well as sacred knowledge. Also called "konesans." LOUP GAROU Werewolf; the bizango roaming queen is supposed to be a loup garou. 2. Goblins, spirits, witches and werewolves who prowl during a full moon and ride on bats; they hold parties at Bayou Goula and dance all night; a sprinkle of salt will destroy a loup-garous. Lukumi Traditional religion descending from the theologies of the Yoruba people as found in Cuba Lwa The spirits of Vodou; a word of unknown etymology, probably arising from Ewe, Fon, or even Yoruba languages all denoting similar ideas such as mystery or law; not in common use; rather, the wordmist, more inclusive in meaning, is used when referring to any of the inhabitants of the spiritual world Lwa Rasin "root lwa" Lwa from whom a community, family, or individual believe itself to descend; also called lwa ewitaj, heritage or inherited lwa

Legba Derived from a great solar and phallic deity (Legba or Alegba) of Dahomey, the Loa Legba is one of the principal and most revered in Haitian Voudoun. Although now transformed to the aspect of an old man, he is still the powerful Guardian of the Centerpost, and the "Opener of the Gates" to whom first salutation is due in any ceremony of communication with the Loa. The main gateway to a hounfor is frequently denoted by two trees sacred to Legba. Loa A Voudoun diety: that is, the power of a divine archetype working through a congenial personality built up for it by human worship and invocation in Voudoun. The most frequent means of manifestation of the Loa is by temporary possession of a devotee. (The word "Loa" has but one form for singular and plural.). MACOUTE Haitian peasants' wicker backpack Magic (Lat. magia, from Greek): Term derived from the Magi, priests from Ahura Mazda in ancient Persia. Group of practices aimed at wielding invisible forces for one's own purposes. Magic makes use of the principle of analogical reasoning whereby colours, scents, symbols, etc. are compared to each other - unlike science, which operates through syllogisms. Mahu See Supreme Being. Maji Magic; sorcery

Makandal, Franois Revolutionary hero, bok, and one-armed prophet who taught poisoning as a means of effective insurgence in the 1750's Makaya rite Rhythm, and nation of lwa associated with the energy of leaves and their transforming power, of magic; overlaps with both Petwo and Bizango rites; associated strongly with the lwa Kalfou, Gran Bwa, Bawon, and also with the dead Maldjok The "evil eye"; also jeg Madivin Lesbian

Manbo (Mambo) A Voudoun priestess who has received the same training as a Houngan, and likewise has "received the asson." Mange Loa "A feeding of the Loa." Strictly, every Voudoun ceremony at which offerings are made - birds, a goat and chickens, even a bull, and always accompanying offerings such as drinks, syrups, cakes - is a feeding of the Loa, an augmentation of their powers at earth level. The term "mange Loa," however, is most notably applied to a great annual or biennial feasting of all the Loa, which may well take a week to complete and which

involves numerous offerings and services. If this feasting is held at the harvest time, it will be inaugurated with the "ceremonie-yam." MANG MOUN "To eat people", and euphemism for killing someone. Mange sec "A dry feeding." An offering of various foods without animal sacrifice to the Loa, on a minor ceremonial occasion such as the inaugural baptism of certain pieces of equipment. Manje (vb) to eat; (n) food or feast Mamalwa "Mother of the lwa"; archaic term for a manbo Mapou One of the most sacred trees in Vodou; ceiba pendantra/bombax Marasa Twins, specifically twin lwa; also called jimo Marinette The principal female Loa of the Petro rite, sometimes said to be the wife of Ti-Jean Petro. Powerful and violent, she seems to have taken over the character of some of the Mexican Goddesses. Two of her variant forms, Marinette Bras-Cheche, Marinette Pied_Cheche, (Dry-Arm, Dry-Foot) suggest skeletal manifestations. There is also a Marinette Congo. Masisi Male homosexual Mau, Mawu See Supreme Being. Met kay Lwa who is the patron or master of a Vodou temple Met tet "Master of the head"; the lwa who rules the initiates head Milokan (minokan) References all of the lwa of Ginea; a veve drawn to represent the same Mist, mystery General name for the lwa and any other spiritual forces, such as pwen, a person may possess Mojo bags Negative forces are utilized to balance positive forces. Negative substances could include powdered ochre, cayenne pepper, fingernail clippings, human hair, animal skins, and chicken bones. Mombin One of the most sacred trees in Vodou; spondias mombin Monter la Tete "To mount the head." A usual expression in Voudoun for the act of possession by a Loa. See Horse.

Mystere 1. A Loa, not a spirit of the dead. 2. As in other religions: a religious ceremony, the celebration of a deity. Nago A people of the Yoruba region: in Voudoun, the major Loa Ogoun or Ogu ande his subsidiary form Saint Jacques are theirs also other Loa special to the Nago rites and a proud, high-stepping dance. Nanchou This name is a corruption of Saint Jacques, which name in turn has been appropriated to the Loa Ogoun. Nansyon Spirit nations; groupings of lwa usually by original ethnic lines Nomvayan" Valiant name"; ritual name for an initiate given at their baptism Ndemba An African cult society of the Congo. See Ghede. Nganga African word signifying a priest, religious leader. In Africa, this word is applicable to either man or woman. Another form is "Ngangan." See the equivalent Voudoun terms, Houngan, Mambo. Nimbo A surname of Ghede. See Ghede, also Ndemba. Oble tanbou Drum rhythm calling the lwa with insistence Ochan Rhythm of salutation for a lwa Ogan An important musical instrument of Voudoun, related to the flattened bells found in Africa. Ogan-Sig-Wedo The Loa of the ogan. Ogantwa Private devotional altar Ogoun, Ogu One of the great Loa of Rada Voudoun. Primarily a warrior-Loa, he carries all the "Mars" associations of the male sex, the color red, blood, fire, lightening, the sword, the metal worker, and thus also the magical connotations associated in many cultures with the smith. As Ogoun Badagris he is a phallic and magical Loa associated with a particular coastal region of Nigeria; as Ogu Fer he is associated with iron, metals, and the sword; this last association brings in also his identification with Saint Jacques because ecclesiastical pictures represent this saint as carrying the sword of his martyrdom; stability, order, authority are characteristic of him, although minor derivatives of the Saint Jacques figure (for example, Nanchou) while retaining the energy of Ogu, have not his dignity. As Ogoun Shango, again, Ogu is identified with Shango the Lightening-God of the Egba people of Dahomey. Olorun

See Supreme Being. Onyama See Supreme Being. Orientation One of the typical procedures during a ceremony, to prepare an article for ritual use, or a victim for sacrifice. The article, whatever it may be, or the bird or animal, is lifted and swung to each of the cardinal points in turn, the manner of so doing depending upon its size. (Needless to say, a bull is not orientated). Paket Spiritually active bundle created on the point of specific lwa, i.e. Paket Loko, paket Bosou, paket Simbi, etc.( see paquets congo). Pale Ginea "African speak"; the secret language of the lwa; also simply called langaj. Papalwa "Father of the lwa" - archaic term for an houngan. PAQUETS CONGO A small sacred package that holds magic ingredients that protect against disease and evil; the closest thing there is to the notorious - and often misconstrued - voodoo doll. Pere savane, pretre savane When any portion of Catholic liturgy is required in the course of a Voudoun ceremony - for instance, a healing, or the marriage of a Loa with a human - this is read or recited by a man who has acquired a special knowledge of it without becoming an ordained priest. The adjective "savane" means "rural" or "of the open country" (compare "savannah"). Peristyle The Voodoo temple. A large "porch" or more or less open-sided building adjacent to the altar-chamber of a hounfor. It is here that most of the public ceremonies of Voudoun are held, around the poteau-Legba or pteaumitan. The peristyle will have at least one, maybe two or three, entrances from the exterior, besides the doorway to the altar-chamber. Petit fey "Little leaves"; members of a Vodou temple Petro An important New World development in Voudoun, a group of rites distinguished by the violent energy and earth-level practicality of their Loa, their purposes, and their ceremonies. It is stated definitely to have been founded in the year 1768 by one "Don Pedro" and its development undoubtedly contributed to the subsequent liberation of Haiti from the French. Petro, Jean-Philippe, Ti-Jean See Don Pedro. Petwo A nation of lwa and their attendant rites, primarily of Kreyl and Native Indian origin Possession The characteristic form of manifestation of the Loa in Voudoun. It corresponds to a particularly deep and complete form of what in Spiritualism is called "mediumship;" it does not involve interference with the

autonomic nervous systems of the possessed, or otherwise adverse results of what is known as "demonic possession." Psychologists who reject the reality of possession by a spiritual entity have not yet come up with an adequate alternative interpretation of the symptoms. Poteau-Legba, Poteau-mitan The center-post of the peristyle, the point about which most public ceremonies of Voudoun revolve. In being sacred to Legba, the post has an older tradition than the peristyle itself: it corresponds to the post or mound traditionally set up outside houses in Dahomey as a sacred symbol of Legba. The center-post of the peristyle is customarily painted with bright colors, and is surrounded by a step which can serve as an altar. Pot tet Head pot; ceramic jar housing the soul of an initiate following initiation Poto mitan The center pole in a Voodoo peristyle. It represents the center of the universe and all dancing revolves around the poto mitan. Prt, priest; prt savan "Bush" priest, master of Catholic liturgy; prt Vodou, snobbish term for an houngan. Priy Ginea "African prayer"; complex litany that opens a Vodou service. Prizdezye A degree of clairvoyance.

Pwen/pwin "Point"; distilled concentrations of spiritual force or magic created for diverse purposes; the magic force invoked to carry out the wishes of a witch or of the bizango society Pwen achte "Bought points"; usually used for malevolent purposes. Py tone Stones that house a lwa or pwen; thought to have been hurled to the ground by the lwa Sobo and owned by the lwa Fawo Py Dant. Rada Nation and rite of lwa associated with West African traditions; described as "cool". Rara Masquerade band of musicians associated with Vodou temples and also secret societies that play from January through Easter. Regleman Rule, order, law; lineage tradition that defines ritual action, and principles of ordering. REINE VOLTIGE The roaming queen, known to be a werewolf; the four reines voltiges carry the sacred coffin during bizango processions. Repozwa

Repository; any vessel, be it a tree, stone, clay jar, etc. In which a lwa may assume residence either temporarily or permanently. Retire m n'anba dlo "Withdrawing/removing the dead from out of the waters [of Ginea]"; ceremony wherein the soul of the dead is returned to the community of the living; also reclamation. Ritual Flags The banners, often beautifully embroidered and adorned with sequins, showing designs representing the various Voudoun "societes." Usually a societe has two such flags, which are carried in the ceremonies by specially designated hounsis. When not in use, the ritual flags are kept in the altar chamber, resting against the altar. Rule of Movements When querying talismans and pantacles, the Rule of Movements requires that a harmonic order be followed when moving objects with respect to the talisman. Once the talisman has been correctly queried, the interpretation of the replies can begin. Each talisman has its own rules. Saint Jacques An alternative name and form by which the Loa Ogoun can be identified. See Ogoun. Samedi See Baron Samedi. Savane See Pere savane. Sanpwel Members of the Bizango secret society. Segon Middle sized drum in the Vodou orchestra; also called moyen and hountoki. Seh See Supreme Being. Sensitive An individual gifted with a special sensitivity to the invisible and with some sort of 'paranormal' ability. The greater the Sensitive's sensitivity, the more difficult it is for him or her to remain in contact with the outside world. Zetetics and vampires are the sworn enemies of the Sensitive. The Sensitive never feels superior to the layman, but does feel a great sadness in seeing them missing out on such an incredibly rich universe. Servir a deux mains "To serve with both hands;" said of a Houngan or a Mambo, or a hounfor, who (or which) serves both Rada and Petro Loa. It can be gathered that this was at one time more unusual than at present. Serviteurs serious practitioners of Voodoo Sevitye Servitor; a devotee, initiated or not, of the Vodou. Simbi

The magical and powerful Water-Snake Loa, who is served with both Rada and Petro rites. Simitye Cemetery. Snakes The power of lightning is represented by snakes and serpentine symbols, and signify the wise and powerful African deities known as "Dumballah." SOBO Voodoo loa; the spirit of thunder Societe The association of devotees who support a hounfor. It is a membership in such a Societe which makes a person a recognized follower of Voudon and servitor of the Loa; therefore this membership is a first necessary step towards initiation. On the other hand, many members of a Societe will be content simply to give their presence at ceremonies, their devotion, and their monetary contributions when called upon, as in all religious associations. Sosyete Refers to the secret societies such as Bizango. Sosyete Ginea or Sosyete Vodou The society of servitors in Vodou; the religious community Soukri Vodou temple near Gonaives devoted solely to the Kongo lwa. Souvenans Vodou temple near Gonaives devoted solely to the Ewe-Daomen/Rada lwa. Syncretism The unconscious association and adoption over time of the dominant, often oppressing, culture's norms or religious beliefs Supreme Being Despite the emphasis on the intermediate Beings, not only in Voudoun, but in religious systems which have contributed to it, there has always been a recognition of the existence of a Supreme Being. The purpose of the intermediates is seen to be a tempering of high spiritual power to human needs, and its channeling down into vehicles of human making, for effective and controlled action at or near earth level. In Dahoman religion, the traditional names of the Supreme Being are Seh, and Mahou or Mau; in Yoruba tradition, Olorun and Onyama. Talisman (from the Arabic tilasm) Symbol of protection from the evil eye, the talisman is a magic formula, a prayer or a sura written on parchment, wood, metal, stone or leather; it is supposed to protect the individual or his home from demons. The talisman is often placed in a talisman holder and worn around the neck or on the arm. Originally, during the pre-Islamic period, tattoos served the same function and had the advantage of being permanent. They lend themselves well to many coded games, since the letters can replace figures, which themselves can be mixed around or read backwards. Talismans and pantacles (not to be confused with 'pentacles', which imply the number 5) can be inscribed in geometric shapes that enhance their magic power. In Arabia, one goes to a teacher of the Koran or an imam to have amulets made. In Ethiopia, these duties are performed by the dabtara. A trained 'magician' can consult a talisman or a pantacle, provided that he possesses the objects needed to query it and applies the Rule of Movements applicable to the talisman in question. Taking of the ason

The final initiation into being a houngan or mambo. NOTE: Both kanzo and the taking of the ason are very secret services. However, in Alfred Metraux's book (VOODOO IN HAITI), through observation and talking with people who were not too careful about the secrecy of kanzo, he has pieced together a detailed account of the ceremony. Tanbou fey Type of cord tuned drums used in Petwo rites Tanbou kon Type of peg tuned drums used in the Rada rites Tayino Tribe and nation of Native Americans who populated the island of Haiti at the time of the Spanish invasion; an advanced Native American culture Tchaka Seven ingredient stew; a sacred meal TETRADOXIN A neurotoxin found in blowfish and other animals, whose effect is to block nerve signals by stopping the transportation of sodium ions at cells The crossroads A central image in Voodoo. This is the place where the two worlds (earth and spirit world) meet. Virtually all Voodoo acts, even healing, begin with the acknowledgment of the crossroads. Ti-Jean (Petit Jean) See Don Pedro. Totem In traditional societies, an object, species of animal or plant, or natural phenomenon to which a child is linked by dream and ritual. The first totem found in Alcheringa is the form in which the Sensitive will travel through Alcheringa before finding others that he must either fight or use. Aggressive demons are often the buried fears that the individual must overcome before crossing through the gateway into the Dream World. The Totem must be respected. Often, the Sensitive wears a piece of jewellery or a sign connecting him with his Totem(s). Trempe Raw corn whiskey or rum steeped with aromatic and/or medicinal herbs Trickster A chaotic spirit/entity/loa present in all mythologies. The trickster destroys any ideas of order and permanence, and as such is essential to the functioning of a society or group. Christian missionaries often confused him with the devil. May be associated with Hermes/Mercury in Greco-Roman mythology. The current Curator will never forget a certain experience he had... Twa pawol Healing leaf; allophyllus basilicum Vade Retro satanas "Vade Retro Satanas Nunquam Suade Mihi Vana Sunt Mala Que Libas Ipse Venena Bibas" "Withdraw, Satan, do not inspire me with empty things. The drink you offer is evil. Drink your poisons yourself". A phrase used in exorcism and must be said in Latin with a certain amount of energy in order to be effective. The phrase was inscribed on one side of the medallion of Saint Benot sold by the abbey of Maredsous.

Vampire A 'mythical' creature when it takes the form of 'Dracula' or ''Nosferatu', the vampire is a kind of black hole, a predator, a soulless individual who needs the psychic and vital energy of others in order to survive. Thirsty for power and extremely sly, he makes sure he is always surrounded by a court whose lives he literally 'eats away'. He can be found on all committees, in all administrative bodies, at all clubs and places where he can throw his weight around. He is, by his very nature, the sworn and mortal enemy of the Sensitive, who can detect his presence very quickly. In his most advanced form, some physical changes become apparent. More widespread than the Sensitive in a proportion of 100 to 1, you will certainly come across one or more on a daily basis. A personal object that has belonged to one of these creatures is charged with an evil 'aura'. A recent study has shown that people working in places infested with vampires have a life expectancy that is five years less than people who don't. Anyone working in close proximity to these creatures has a much lower life expectancy. Vever A symbolic design, formed on the ground (in the peristyle) by sprinkling wheatmeal, cornmeal, or some other appropriate powder from the hand, at or before the beginning of a ceremony. Such a design represents a Loa to be invoked, and serves both as a focal point for invocation and a kind of altar for offerings. Several vevers of different Loa may be drawn for one ceremony. The designs incorporate well-recognized traditional elements, but reflect also the individual intentions and creative skill of the Houngan or Mambo. Vire Turn; ritual movements for orientation and salutation. Vodouwizan Devotee of the Vodou regardless of grade.

Voodoo Americanized spelling of "Vodou"; a Hollywood sensationalism associated with ignorant popular fantasy and with lurid and racist lies. VSN A civilian secret police force under Franios Duvalier known to the world as the Tontons Macoutes (Bogeymen). Vyen-vyen Semi-mythical descendants of the original Tayino population of Haiti; also called tchen-tchen. Voodoo, Voudoun A religious system based mainly on beliefs and practices brought from Africa into the Western world, although now incorporating other components and having further developed through time and circumstance. The name "Voodoo" comes from the Fon word for the system, practiced in Dahomey for example, of worshipping, and seeking assistance and oracles from divine power, as this was channeled through the visible presence of a specific kind of living creature. The astral presence of the Loa, and their manifestation through possessed devotees, however, now apparently suffices. Voodoo dolls Once used to curse an enemy, voodoo dolls today represent distinct themes of good luck and good fortune. Pins in the doll can act as tools to focus healing energy into different areas of the body, or to dispel bad habits. Vwasinaj Neighbor Wanga

Charm, often for selfish or even malevolent ends Wedo A surname signifying "of Whyday" and so added in one or two cases to the names of Dahomey Loa; see Ayida Wedo, Damballah, Ogan-Sih-Wedo. Whyday Before 1727 an independent kingdom; after that date a province of the Kingdom of Dahomey. In both conditions it was a great center of the serpent cult; and, being situated on the coast, became (like Badagry) a considerable center also for the European export of slaves to the New World. These facts have undoubtedly given Whydah a great importance in the development of Haitian Voudoun. Yam See Ceremonie-Yam. Yanvalou A favorite Voudoun dance; the name means "supplication." The dance is characterized by the hands being placed on knees or thighs, and has several main variations: Yanvalou debut (upright), Yanvalou dos bas (crouching), Yanvalou z'epaules (a "shoulder dance"), etc. Yoruba A region of Nigeria having a great cultural history, and comprising a number of peoples who have contributed much to Voudoun: the Bini, Fon, Ibo and Nago people, among others. Zandor A Petro rite resulting apparently from a fusion of the Congo rite with the Mexican maize-cult: characterized by the Loa Congo-Zandor. Zanj Angels; in the North, a synonym for lwa Zanset-yo Ancestors Zepol Rhythm and dance associated with rapid shoulder movements Zile Menf The lwa Agwe's city beneath the sea in Ginea Zo Bone Zo devan Healing herb used in Vodou to bring up luck, and for fertility; eugenia crenulata Zombi/Zonbi May be a soul separated from the body or a body separated from a soul; both are made to work.A human who first dies, usually thought to have been poisoned by a bokor, then comes back to life after three days and serves a master as a mindless, but very strong slave. Zombi Astral An aspect of the soul that can be transmogrified at the discretion of its posessor. To invoke an astral zombie, the bokor must pour some rum and place three coins on the grave of the deceased before calling upon him using Papa Legba's stick.

Zombi Cadavre A flesh zombi that can be made to work. Zombi Savane A former zombi, someone who has gone to ground and later returned to life. Zozo Slang for penis