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The Pantheon(s) of Haiti
Haitian Vodou has multiple nations of deities. Different nations are honored with different rites Within and overlapping the nations are different families We'll divide them by rite for this presentation...
The Rada Rite Lwa
Legba The Marassa Loko & Ayizan Damballah & Ayida Wedo Agwe & LaSiren Ezili Freda Oguon Azaka
The Rada & Their Rites
Marked on beat of three drums which are played by secular musicians and a piece of iron Initiatory Benevolent Considered ³cool´ by Haitian Vodouists Slower to act than their Petwo Counterparts
Papa Legba .
Papa Legba Seen as an old man walking on a crutch (which is the piteau mitan or center post of the peristyle) Crossroads guardian First to be invoked Must open gate for the lwa to come to the peristyle .
Lazarus is Legba due to his crippled appearance .Legba as a Saint St. Anthony is Legba St. Peter is Legba due to the keys to heaven St.
Offerings to Legba Grilled Chicken Sweet Potatoes & plantains Bones Kleren Tobacco & Pipe .
.Song for Legba Papa Legba. When I return I will pay honor to the Lwa. open the gate for me so I can go through.
The Marasa .
The Marasa Twins are seen as two people who share a soul in Haiti. y These are the first set of twins ever They love children and to play tricks They are thought to be extremely powerful .
Cosmas and St.The Marasa as Saints St. Damian are seen as the Marasa due to almost always appearing together .
Offerings to the Marasa Baby goat stew wrapped in banana leaves Toys Candy Fizzy Drinks Popcorn .
Take the family.Song for the Marasa This is the food. this is the water. if the family falls on hard times You take care of the family .
Loko & Ayizan .
Loko & Ayizan First Priest & Priestess Loko gives the asson (sacred rattle in Rada Rites) to new houngan or mambo and reveals an initiate's met tet (head lwa) Called after the Marassa as a matter of respect due to Rada rites being strongly hierarchical and initiatory Rarely do they possess anyone .
however we were unable to locate a saint related to Ayizan Atisou .Loko Atisou as Saint St. Joseph is seen as the representation of Loko Atisou.
Offerings for Loko and Ayizan Roosters ± Loko prefers red roosters .
Damballah & Ayida Wedo .
Damballah & Ayida Damballah is a white python and his wife Ayida is the rainbow Very concerned with order and hierarchy and seems to be vestigial in their role Damballah like cleanliness and is fond of eggs and flour (only white things) Ayida rarely possesses mortals from my research .
Patrick is Damballah Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is Ayida .Damballah & Ayida as Saints St.
Offerings for Damballah and Ayida White Chickens White Eggs Rice Milk .
it's Damballah Papa Damballah is the spring Papa Damballah is the spring .Song for Damballah The spirit works in the water. it's Damballah The spirit works in the water.
The Creation Myth of Damballah And Ayida Wedo In the beginning there was a vast serpent. protecting it from decent into the abysmal sea. . Then the titanic snake began to move and heave its massive form from the earth to envelope the sky. whose body formed seven thousand coils beneath the earth. It shattered stars in the firmament and wound its taut flesh down the mountains to create riverbeds.
It shot thunderbolts to the earth to create the sacred thunderstones. The spiritual nectar that they created reproduces through all men and woman as milk and semen. . a rainbow encompassed the sky and Danballah took her.. Ayida.Creation Myth. as his wife. As the first rains fell.. From its deepest core it released the sacred waters to fill the earth with life.
and the ultimate Vodou sacrament of blood sacrifice.Just One More.. .. The serpent and the rainbow taught humankind the link between blood and life. between menstruation and birth.
Agwe and LaSiren .
who is able to grant great wealth to devotees LaSiren is very vain and is white rather than dark skinned . who has traveled extensively and has the tastes to prove it Likes sea green and blue offerings and prefers foreign liquors to domestic ones LaSiren is his wife.Agwe & LaSiren Agwe is a sea spirit.
Our Lady of the Caridad is LaSiren . Ulrich is Agwe for he is always shown holding fish.Admiral Agwe & LaSiren as Saints St.
Offerings for Agwe and LaSiren Champagne Liquers Cakes White Sheep White Doves Perfume Mirrors Sweet White Wines White Hens .
Songs for Agwe & LaSiren Alert the angels in the The mermaid. will see my hat falls into the sea Alert the angels in the water. my hat falls down into the sea . he I caress the mermaid. he will see . the water beneath the whale. My hat falls into the sea mirror Oh. oh he will see I lie down with the mermaid.
Ezili Freda .
and Agwe but still marries mortals . Oguon.Ezili Freda Lwa of beauty and love Seen as a pale skinned mullatto woman of wealth Expensive taste in offerings Is married to Damballah.
Freda as a Saint Mater Dolerosa de Monte Cavario is Ezili Freda due to her light skin and her crown and jewels in most lithographs .
Offerings for Freda Sweet cakes Pink Champagne Perfume Makeup Virginia Slim Cigarettes White Doves .
she's unlucky . proud Ezili preening Ezili thinks she's something Ezili is married. she's unlucky Ezili is prostituted.Song for Freda Haughty Ezili.
Oguon Several Warrior spirits have this name Likes Fire and Iron in keeping with his warrior status Carries a Machete and smokes cigars .
Jaques Majeur (James the Elder) due to St. James the Elder being always depicted in lithographs as riding a horse with a sword drawn.Ogou as a Saint Primarily St. .
Offerings for Ogou Red Roosters Rice and Red Beans Five Star Barbancourt Rum Cigars Bulls .
Song for Ogou Fire spirit where are you going. leave your children When I remember Ogou Feray I must be strong to call Ogou He drinks but is never drunk Ogou drinks but is never drunk .
Azaka Carries a straw bag (makout) with his possessions in it Agricultural spirit ± he is a poor farmer Very shrewd and wise. his advice is highly sought after Does not have the ³sophisticated´ ways of other Rada Lwa .
the devout farm laborer who was helped to complete his agrarian toil by guardian angels . Isador is Kouzen Azaka.Azaka as a Saint St.
Offerings to Azaka Cassava bread Sugar Cane Rice and Beans Tobacco Kleren .
The Petro Rite Lwa Kalfou Dan Petro Ibo Gran Bwa Ezili Danto Bossou Simbi .
Petro Lwa continued
Linglessou Basin-Sang Damballah Ge-Rouge Agwé Ge-Rouge Ogoun Ge-Rouge Erzulie Ge-Rouge
Marked by the beat of two drums Magical Malevolent Often seen as related to red societies or secret societies in Haiti Considered ³hot´ by Haitian Vodouists Must faster than their Rada counterparts Must be handled with care due to their tempers
Petwo version of Legba Usually given offerings to keep things away rather than to open the gates Seen as a trickster who is unaware of his malevolence
Dan Petro May have been a Spanish slave during the revolution Seen as the father to the Petro Nation and head of the Petro Rite Lwa .
Ibo The Igbo tribe contributed this lwa They were known for their courage and their conviction A revolt of 75 Igbo slaves once walked into a creek to kill themselves while singing a hymn rather than work as slaves Not to be asked for favors. rather offerings are for services already rendered .
Gran Bwa .
Gran Bwa Teacher of root doctors Living representation of the forest Is very saddened by the huge loss of Haiti's native forests .
Gran Bwa as Saint St. Sebastian is Gran Bwa due to the saint's execution by arrows while tied to a tree .
Offerings to Gran Bwa Leaves Flowers Tobacco Kleren Cornmeal Peanut Cakes Cassava Bread .
Song for Gran Bwa Gran Bwa zile zile Gran Bwa climbs to the wood I am going to Gran Bwa I am going to pick my leaves .
Ezili Danto .
Ezili Danto Grand matriarchal figure within the pantheon Hard working mother who raises her children alone Was rewarded for fighting in the revolution by having her tongue cut out She is a larger dark skinned woman who is attractive but not vain like Freda .
Danto as a Saint The Madonna with Child is Ezili Danto. Barbara Africana or Our Lady of Mount Carmel are also popular . The preferred version is Our Lady of Czerstochowa but St.
Offerings for Ezili Danto Barbancourt Rum Black Pigs Fried Pork Strong (unfiltered) cigarrettes .
Song for Ezili Danto Ezili is the mambo This temple is my house This house is the house of my spirit .
Bosou Mighty bull spirit seen as the sacrificial bull itself The two horned bosou is seen as the bull who is the earth. however the three horned bosou is seen as a malevolent spirit who works with bokor to create baka which are nothing but trouble .
Bosou St. Vincent de Paul is Bosou Offerings are made of fried beef Those possessed by Bosou act literally like a bull. grunting and acting like a bull in a china shop . snorting.
river currents.Simbi Simbi is the patron of the rains. and the master of all magicians He is ³of the two waters´ and has his domain in both the heavens and the sea .
Simbi as a Saint Moses is Simbi The Magi are also Simbi .
Offerings to Simbi Simbi preferrs white animals for his offerings .
Song for Simbi Simbi in the two waters Why don't people like me? Because my magical force is dangerous They like my magical force in order to walk in the middle of the night. .
Others Linglessou BasinSang The Ge-Rouge Jan Zombi Linglessou Bucketof-Blood The Red Eyed .
The Ge-Rouge Literally means the red-eyes These are shadow incarnations for Rada lwa that manifest during Petro rites. They are usually crying ± hence the red eyes ± due to sadness over the people not honoring them properly any more after the revolution .
The Ghede ± Mixed Origins Bawon Samedi Brigitte Brav Ghede Bawon Kriminele Papa Ghede All of the Dead .
The Ghede The Ghede show when they want to. obsessed with sex and death . with little concern for hierarchy Seen as guardians of fertility and children.
. they are always hungry because they are what consumes and is never filled They typically wear undertaker's clothes and purple sunglasses with only one lens They embrace the dual domains of the creation and conclusion of life.More of the Ghede Festival 'fetdemo' on November 1 & 2 When they possess a vodouist.
The Ghede as Saint St. Gerard is all of the Ghede but especially Bawon Samedi ± the head of the Ghede .
Offerings for the Ghede Black Rooster Black Goat .
Song for Ghede Papa Ghede is a handsome man Papa Ghede is a handsome man He is dressed all in black For he is going to the palace .
Interesting Facts Humans are born little more than animals Through initiation they gain a soul This soul (gwo bon anj) is kept in a potet (pot for the head) The houngan or mambo who is in charge of the peristyle keeps this po-tet After death the po-tet is broken so the gwo bon anj can descend into the abysmal waters .
More interesting facts After a year and a day the gwo bon anj is brought up into a govi by the hougan or mambo This govi is consulted for advice and is even known to speak The lwa will sometimes demand a marriage to an initiate and offer protection in return A mystical marriage requires the human partner to devote one day a week exclusively to the lwa .
those almost dead can be brought out of the grave ± and with psychotopic drugs may even be controllable There are vodouists of non-African ancestry . and without proper burial practices. but the poison exists to make it look like someone is dead.Still More Interesting Information Zombis are real ± not brain eating zombis.
Chart of Correspondances .
References The Book of Vodou by Leah Gordon The Haitian Vodou Handbook by Kenaz Filan Divine Horsemen: The Voodoo Gods of Haiti by Maya Deren .
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