Haitian and Dominican Lords and Deities

Veve TattooHaitian and Dominican Loa and Deities

Adjasou-Linguetor (f): Goddess of spring water. Characterized by protruding eyes and a bad humor, lives under the mombin tree near a spring and is very fond of liquor.

Agassu, Agasou (m): God of Water. Agassu is Dahomean in origin, and belongs to the Fon and Yoruba tribes. He is associated with water deities and sometimes takes the form of a crab. He is one of the mythical creatures who once gave assistance to the Ancestor. He is considered one of the Loa masons.

Agau, Agaou (m): God of Wind and Storms. Agau is a very violent god. Earth tremors and the frightening sounds associated with storms are because of an angry Agau. “It is I who am the gunner of god; when I roar the earth trembles.” One has to be very strong to harbor this spirit. Agau is the inseparable companion of Sogbo. When Sogbo and Bade (the loa of lighting and wind) act together and call upon Agau, a thunder storm is produced. Bade and Agau share the same functions, loa of the winds.

Agwé, Agive (m): God of the Sea. He is invoked under the names “Shell of the Sea,” “Eel,” and “Tadpole of the Pond.” Under his jurisdiction come not only all the flora and fauna of the sea, but all ships and seafaring men that sail on the sea. His symbols are tiny boats, brightly painted oars and shells, and sometimes small metal fishes. A conch shell is used to call him during a ritual. Services take place near seas, rivers, or lakes. He must be greeted with wet sponges and towels when leaving the water because of the heat. A barque is prepared with all sort of Agwe’s favorite foods, including champagne. This barque is then floated over where it is believed the sacred underwater world exists. If the barque sinks, then Agwe has accepted the sacrifice and will protect the water interests of those who have prepared the sacrifice. Agwe has borrowed traits from St. Ulrich, who is often pictured with a fish in his hand, with fair skin and green eyes. He is married to Erzulie Freda and La Sirene, the Queen of the Sea. Agwe is syncretized with St. Ulrich, who is often pictured with a fish in his hand.

Anaisa Pye, Anaisa Pie Danto, Anaisa La Chiquita (f) – Goddess of love, money, and general happiness, within the 21 Divisions of Dominican Vudu. (In the Puerto Rico, she is deemed ancient Taino Spirit “Zemi” who has adapted an African Lwa name.) She is often considered extremely flirtatious, generous, and playful. She is also very jealous of other female Loa. Her feast day is celebrated on 26 July and her favorite colors are yellow and pink. She is syncretized with St Anne.

Ayezan, Aizan (f): Goddess of the marketplace and commerce. Ayezan protects the markets, public places, doors, and barriers, and has a deep knowledge of the intricacies of the spirit world. Ayezan is symbolized by mounds of earth sprinkled with oil and surrounded by fringes of palm, as her favorite tree is the palm tree. Ayezan is one of the oldest Loa (seen as the Mother Loa) and is therefore entitled to first offerings at services. She cares for her children greatly; she has a good, loving heart. She punishes those who have made mistakes to correct their behavior in the future. She will punish those adults taking advantage of the young, the rich of the poor, the strong of the weak and the husband of the wife. She is the married to Loco (Loko).

Ayida, Aido-Hwedo (f): Goddess of fertility, rainbows, wind, water, fire, and snakes. She is the mother figure on Vodoun. She is deemed very delicate. She unites forces of human sexuality. Her symbol is a serpent. Husband Damballah-Wedo. It is said that whoever “can grasp the diadem of Ayida will be assured wealth” (Metraux, p. 105). See also Aido-Hwedo, Creator Serpent God of the Fon of Benin.

Azacca Medeh, Cousin Zaka (m): God of the Forest, Agriculture and Community. Zaka is a gentle Loa, greatly respected by farmers since he is a very hard worker. He is addressed as “cousin”. He is found wherever there is country. Cousin Zaka controls the fields, and like the farmers themselves, he is very watchful of detail. He notes who is treating whom in what manner, who is flirting with whom, who says what to whom etc. He does not forgive easily. Those that refuse to give him anything are punished. By nature he is suspicious, out for profit, fond of quibbling, and has a loathing for crude town folk. His vocal styling consists of the almost unintelligible sounds of a goat. [Pan] He is young and like to play when not working. There are interesting similarities between his brother, the sophisticated Ghede, and the young Azacca, as though the younger less sophisticated brother were imitating the more secure older one. His favorite drink is white rum and his tree is the avocado.

Azaka-Tonnerre (m): God of Thunder.

Bade (m): God of the wind. He is the inseparable companion of Sogbo, the God of lightning. He also shares his functions with Agau, another storm spirit.

Bakulu (m) and Bakala (f): Bakulu Loa of the Woods. Bakulu is such a terrible spirit that no one dares to invoke him. His habitat is in the woods where offerings are taken to him. He sometimes appears dragging chains behind him.

Baron Del Cementerio (m): Lwa of death in Dominican Vudu. He is the son of Papa Legba. He is syncretized with St Elías (Elijah) [See Baron Samedi]

Baron Samedi (m): Loa BARON SAMEDI is the Death side of Loa Ghede. He is the keeper of the cemetery and the primary contact with the dead. Anyone who would seek contact with the dead must first contact and solicit Ghede/Baron Samedi in the same way that Legba is contacted to cross over to the spirit world. On November 2 the faithful visit cemeteries and light candles in honor of Baron Samedi.

Belié Belcan (m): God of the Sky and Air. Lwa of justice and protection against demons in Dominican Vudu. He is said to work well with Anaisa Pye. He is syncretized with St Michael the Archangel.

Bondye, Bon Dieu, Bon Dios (-): the Supreme Creator God who is distant from the world. Bondye stands for Le Bon Dieu meaning “The Good God”. When Buen Dios created the universe he came to an area we now call earth, and through his will he called on Da, and Da with his coils formed the earth, and the hills and the valleys, the trees and forest. Then Buen Dios knew it was good, that he lit the earth by day with the sun and the night with the moon (Mawu – Lisa) and stars. Then from Da’s golden coils descended the first Primordials, who forged metal, created volcanoes, the vast seas, lakes, streams and ponds. Then lightning descended on a sacred place called IFE, and the sacred stones where formed, which would house the Sacred Premordials.  Then Da’s reflection on the water created a rainbow, and Papa Buen Dios said, this shall be your wife.  Buen Dios looked at Da and said.  ‘From this day forth you shall be called Dambala and your wife the Rainbow Serpent shall be called Aida Wedo, and through you the Cosmic Sperm and her the Cosmic Egg, will from clay create smaller forms of stone, and I shall breath life into them, and all life that walks, crawls, slithers, flies, runs and swims will reside in Ife, the birthplace place of Life. Thus life descended in drops of rain and lightning bolts on Ife, and the first stones became the people. Bondye uses the Loa to interact with people. Married to Gran Met (Supreme Creator Mother Goddess), but mostly deemed ONE Supreme God.

Bosu Koblamin, Bossou (m): A violent God of War, capable of defeating his enemies. He is a beserker type of warrior. Bosou also protects his followers when they travel at night. He is believed to be the spirit of the Dahomean king Tegbésou. He is a very powerful, mighty and aggressive Loa, who’s appearance is that of a man with three horns: strength, wildness, and violence. When he comes in possession, he appears as breaking a chain that he was restrained from, acts like a bull. Sometimes Bosou comes to the help of his followers but he is not a very reliable Loa. The ceremony in honor of Bosou always pleases a congregation because it allows them to eat much food.

Brise, Brize (m): Brise is a fierce loa of the hills and woods. He is very dark and has very large proportions. Brise is a protectorate. He is strong and demanding and accepts speckled hens as sacrifices. Brise is actually a gentle soul and likes children. He lives in the chardette tree and sometimes assumes the form of an owl.

Bukulu, also Egun(gun) (m/f): ancestral Loa. Many are elevated historical figures who fought for independence, justice and freedom for Africans at all costs.

Cachita (f), Candelina (f), Candelo Cedife (m), Clementina (f), Centinela (m): Catholic Saints syncretized with Loa in Dominican Vudu.

Congo (m): A handsome but apathetic loa. Content with any clothing and eats mixed foods with much pimiento, and is fond of mixed drinks.

Congo Savanne (m): A fierce and dangerous petro Loa. He is malevolent, fierce, and strong. Savanne eats people. His color is white.

Damballah Wedo, Dumballah, Danbala, Da (m): Main Serpent God. He is of Dahomean origin. Damballah is benevolent, a loving father. Damballah does not communicate exact messages, but seems to radiate a comforting presence which sends a general spirit of optimism into all people present. Because of this, he is often sought after during ceremonies. Damballah is also the god of lightning. He is the bringer of rain; this is a necessity for good crops. He grants riches and allows treasures to be discovered. Damballah sustains the world and prevents it from disintegrating. His special day is Thursday, and his favorite tree is the bougainvillea. White is his color. He is in charge of white metal (silver) and must be fed white food and drink. His favorite foods are eggs. As a Serpent he is rather uncommunicative, but a loving quiet presence. Damballah and his wife, Aida-Wedo, are often shown as two snakes and represent human sexuality. The serpent is a symbol of fertility. Damballah is also ‘married’ to Erzulie. Damballah is syncretized with St Patrick.

Dinclusin (m) & Chalotte (f): These two loa are among the French “mysteries.” People mounted by these gods talk perfect French and seem to be unable to speak Creole properly. Chalotte often demands upon the most defined forms of ritualistic protocol. Dinclusin can be recognized by his habit of pocketing everything given to him.

Erzulie, Ezili (f): Goddess of beauty. (Vodou does not have a separate goddess of fertility. Fertility is regarded as a unified principle, equally held by male and female forces. Thus Damballah is united to his Ayida. Agwe has his counterpart in La Sirene, the Marasa; the twins are contradictory and complementary forces of nature and so on.) Vodou holds a most special place for Erzulie, since she is the differentiating force between humans and all other creation. She is the ability to conceptualize, to dream, and the artistic ability to create. Erzulie has tremendous power and is feared as much as she is loved. She has several different roles: goddess of the word, love, help, health, beauty and fortune, as well as goddess of jealousy, vengeance, and discord. She is respected and wealthy; wears her hair long; is very jealous. She is pale in appearance, even though she is Dahomean in origin. (As only the light skinned elite possessed wealth in Haiti.) Erzulie belongs to the family of sea spirits/serpents, but has become completely divorced from her origins as to become almost exclusively a personification of feminine grace and beauty. Erzulie is the female energy of Legba. She wears three wedding bands since she has been wedded to Dumballah, Ogoun and Agwe. Her sacred days are Tuesday and Thursday. She is closely associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary and her symbol is the heart, usually one broken with an arrow in much the same way as a Catholic portrait of Mary has it. [See Ezili Freda]

Erzulie Jan Petro (f): Violent Petro loa. Jan Petro is called upon to take responsibility for the temple where spells are on display; although she is a neutral entity, when not called upon it is the duty of the devotees to make them behave peacefully or violently, depending on their motivation for dealing with the spirits. Jan Petro as a protector of temples is very powerful; when people come to the temple they soon find out. Jan Petro likes fresh air and water; she is a sea spirit. She likes perfume and lotion–any temple dedicated to her usually smells like lotion, for it is thrown on those things she possesses.

Ezili Ailá (Alaíla) (f): Dominican Loa. She is syncretized with Our Lady of High Grace Ezili. [See Erzulie]

Ezili Freda, Erzili Freda Dahomey, Metresili (f): Loa of love, beauty and wealth. Ezili Freda is a powerful Loa. A master magician and a great Mambo. Ezili can bring great success to her sevites, and wanga on her pwen (point) often have quick and effective successes. That is why one of her nicknames is Gate Sa. She rules over material success and abundance, and she often rewards her sevites with these gifts. Ezili is visualized as a most beautiful woman. She is associated with coolness and freshness and cleanliness. She loves all the good things in life. Freda is the need for perfection, the want, the desire. She always wants more. Ezili Freda is known as Metresili. A metres, or mistress, because she acts more like a mistress than a wife. She is known to have three husbands: Ogun Feray, Dambala, and Met Agwe Tawoyo. Due to this, Metres Ezili wears three gold rings, one for each of her husbands. She loves men, and is jealous of women in general. Her day is Thursday. Her veve (ritual drawing) is that of a heart with beautiful detailing. She is syncretized with Our Lady of Sorrows or the Mater Dolorosa. [See Erzulie]

Ezili Dantor, Mama Danto (f): Petro Loa. Mama Ezili Danto is known to have played a huge role in the history of Haiti, and is Mother of the country. At Bwa Kaiman (Alligator woods) a pact was written, commencing the Haitian revolt. As a female Petro Loa, Dantor is most popular. Dantor can be wild, aggressive, and difficult to control. She is considered a “hot” spirit, a djab. (In the Puerto Rico, she is deemed ancient Taino Spirit “Zemi” who has adapted an African Lwa name Dantor.) Dantor is also associated with heavy rains that destroy things in its path. She is sometimes referred to as Ezili Zye Wouj meaning “Ezili Red Eyes”. But this is a separate and very dangerous spirit, who walks so closely with Dantor that some consider it to be Dantor extremely mad. Some people confuse the many Ezilis. Dantor has many sisters that walk with her, like most Loa. Like Ezili Ke Nwe meaning “Ezili of the Black Heart” who spits black liquid when riding someone’s head. Ezili Mapyang, Balyan, and Mambo Zila are a few others. iconic image of Erzulie DantorThere is a long time rivalry between Ezili Dantor and Ezili Freda. They are sisters but just cannot stand each other. As the story goes, Dantor and Freda were both courting a particular Ogoun Loa. Over this man they fought and never reconciled. During this battle, Dantor took her dagger, which she always carries with her, and stabbed Freda in the heart. (Freda’s saint image shows a gold dagger coming out from her heart.) Freda, in turn, removed the dagger and cut Dantor’s face, scarring her. (Scars show on the Santa Barbara Africana image. There are only two marks, but they are often called “twa mak” or three marks.) Danton is known to be a wise businesswoman. She is very successful in providing everything she and her children need. She can be a tough lady, a little wild, but before all she is a mother. She is the most perfect mother who watches and cares for her children very much. She does not and will not tolerate children behaving badly, but she will defend her children and family until the very end. Dantor is a protector of children. She is always featured with her child in any image. The daughter most frequently seen in her arms is known as Anais. Anais often serves as translator and interpreter of the muted Dantor. Dantor is also the mother of a few sets of the Marassa. Some say Danto has seven children. Ti Jean Petro is Her son, but it is also the name of her favorite lover. Ezili Danto loves dolls. Her colors are navy blue and blood red. Silver ornaments and necklaces, silver rings with a red or blue stone. Her day is Tuesday. Dantor is syncretized with Mater Salvatoris, also known as Santa Barbara Africana. She is feasted on July 16th- Saut D’Eau, August 15th- Assumption, sometimes on Christmas Eve.

Ezili Kénwa (f): Dominican Loa. She is syncretized with St Martha. [See Erzulie]

Ghede Nation, Papa Ghede (m): The Ghede are the Loa of Death. The Ghede symbolize how limited our understanding of death and life is and that both are beyond our comprehension. As keepers of the cemetery, Ghede have intimate contact with the dead. They know what their plans were, what’s going on in families, what the connections of things are. And some are quite generous with his information. They guide the dead under the direction of Baron Samedi. He is the God of Death and Resurrection. He controls the souls of those who have met death as a result of magic. He wears a pair of dark glasses, from which he knocks out the right lens: with his right eye he watches those present, lest anyone steal from him. Saturday is his day and his color is black. He is to the underworld or afterlife what Legba is to life–he controls access. Baron Samedi represents the death side of the Ghede. Papa Legba is the Loa of Death and Crossroads. The eternal figure in black, controlling the eternal crossroads at which everyone must someday cross over. His symbol is the cross upon a tomb. Known as the spirit of death, other spirits fear him and try to avoid him. He is neither good nor evil, but he is amused by humans. The Ghede are also loa of eroticism. Eroticism is beyond good and evil since it is inevitable. Most have a ravenous appetite for food and drink. Ghede have the power over zombies and decides whether or not people can be changed into animals. Any such black magic must seek the help of Baron Samedi/Ghede with these tasks. the Ghede are the last resort for healing since they must decide whether to accept the sick person into the dead or allow them to recover. Ghede share the characteristic of a nasal voice with zombis. They like cigars and rum. [See Baron Samedi and Legba.]

Ghuede Gran Bwa (m): Dominican Lwa. He is syncretized with Saint Jude. [See Ghede and Gran Boa.]

Gran Boa (m): Gran Boa Loa lives in the deep forest where the vegetation is wild. He is the protector of wildlife, and doesn’t like to be seen. He eats fruits and vegetables all day in the woods and when called in a ceremony, he is usually not hungry – but the people always have food for him anyway. He is the loa that must be called upon before one is ordained into priesthood.

Gran Met, Gran Maitre (f): Supreme Creator Goddess. Gran Met stands for Grande Maitre meaning Great Mother. She is the Black Mother and Supreme Creator Goddess. She is the wife of Bondye. However, She appears to be a female manifestation of Supreme Creator God BONDYE.

Grande Ezili, Mesili (f): Ghede Loa often mistaken for an old crippled woman. She is only able to walk by dragging herself along with a stick. [See Erzulie.]

Gunguna (f): Dominican Loa. She is syncretized with Saint Ellen.

Ibo Lele (m): An independent and hateful Spirit; proud of himself and ambitious. He likes to be exclusively served and doesn’t like to associate with the other loa. He relies heavily on the people for his food, but the people are never certain what kind of food he is likely to eat.

Jan Bakéo (m): Dominican Loa. He is syncretized with St Peter.

Jan Ferro (m): Dominican Loa. He is syncretized with St Marcos Evangelist.

Jan Kriminel (Kriminelo) (m): Dominican Loa. He is syncretized with St Sebastián.

Jean Petro (m): Jean Petro is Don Pedro, the name of the Spanish enslaved man. Jean Petro is the spirit-leader of a group of strong and violent spirits called petro. The difference between the good loa (rada) and the evil loa (petro) is still far and wide. Services are rarely held for petro loa. Some say that Jean Petro was brought about by Don Pedro who was an enslaved Spanish man of African origin. He acquired much influence by being denounced as the instigator of some alarming plots to overthrow the government. Because of this he symbolizes resistance, force, uprisings, and a sort of black power ideology.

Kalfu (Carrefour, Kalfou) (m): Petro twin of Ghede Legba. Kalfu too controls the crossroads (carrefour). Not unlike Pandora in Greek myth, Kalfu controls the evil forces of the spirit world. But, he allows the crossing of bad luck, deliberate destruction, misfortune, injustice. Kalfu controls the malevolent spirits of the night, while Legba controls the positive spirits of the day. Yet Kalfu can control these evil spirits too. People do not speak in his presence. He is a respected loa but not liked much, as he allows evil loa to come to the ceremony. He is the grand master of charms and sorcery and is closely associated with black magic. The moon is his symbol. He can be placated, but is a violent and dangerous loa. He has knowledge of the human condition and develops ways that can help individuals cope with their problems, or not. He has the ability to change people into animals and then control their minds.

Krabinay (-): Petro loa. They dress all in red and do high impressive jumps. People are warned away from Krabinay. They are very tough and can offer a great deal of assistance to a houngan, but these loa behave in a truly devilish way. Possessions induced by them are very violent. However, they undertake treatment of desperate cases. Despite their admission of creation by God they avoid mentioning his name.

La Baronesa (f) and El Baron (m): [See Madam Brigitte, and Baron Samedi]

La Siren(e) and La Balen (f): La Siren and La Balen are two Sea Loa, so closely linked that they are always worshipped together and celebrated in the same songs. LaSirene ist hen also known as LaBalen – the whale. This name refers to the things that lie on the bottom of the sea. Someone possessed by La Sirene may indeed imitate a whale laying on the ground, waving its fins. Some people say the Whale is the mother of La Siren, others that He is her husband; others say they are used for one and the same deity. Popular opinion says La Siren is married to Agwe. When La Siren turns up in a sanctuary, the possessed plays a young coquette most careful of her looks, often offending the peasant serviteurs. Both La Siren and the Whale are often viewed as “upper class”.

La Sirene (f): LaSirene is La Diosa Del Mar. She is the Goddess of the Sea and wealth. She owns all the riches of the seas. All those pearls, sunken treasure ships, coral. She owns a beautiful palace beneath the seas. La Sirene is the ruler of vanity, as she is a very beautiful siren, a temptress. She is a Rada Lwa, but she does have a Petro aspect. She has the ability to hypnotize people with her beauty. She is thus deceptive. LaSirene is very enchanting and can lure people into the depths of her waters. She also rules over dreams and can often be seen there. She can bestow great wealth and beauty upon her children and servants. But be sure to serve her well, or she will take it all away. She drowns people as punishment too. La Sirene also rules over the musical arts. The rhythms of her most popular songs are Kongo.  Her colors are pale blue and white. La Sirene is the wife of Met Agwe.

Legba (Elegba) (m): God of Death and the crossroads. Legba controls the crossing over from one world to the other. He is the god of destiny and is also the intermediary between human beings and divine gods. Legba must be saluted each time a service or any other activity with the Loa will begin. He is the first Loa to be called in a service, so that he can open the gates to the spirit world and let them communicate with other Loa. No Loa dares show itself without Legba’s permission. Whoever has offended him finds himself unable to address his Loa and is deprived of their protection. He is also the guardian of the poto mitan, the center post of a peristyle regarded as a thoroughfare of the spirits. His pitiful appearance of a small old man, has earned him the nickname of Legba of the Broken Foot but conceals the terrific strength. Because of his politeness and caring nature he is greeted as Papa Legba. His sacred day is Tuesday. His favorite tree is the medicinier-bebi. Legba controls the cardinal points of the crossroads. He is represented by a wooden or iron phallus mounted in a little mound of earth in front of every house. Legba is also known to hold the “key of the spiritual world”, and for this reason is identified with the St Peter. [See Ghede]

Linglessu, Lenglensou (m): A fierce Loa of free masons and very knowledgeable in all spiritual and esoteric matters. He executes judgment on those who cannot keep their word and priests who cannot keep secret from those unitiated. He likes sharp objects. When feeding this loa, all meat prepared for him must be liberally salted. When this loa mounts somebody, it is violent and his voice is highly distorted.

Linto: Child spirit of the Ghede. He induces childish behavior in those he rides. They walk clumsily, much like a baby who hardly knows how to use his legs. They babble and cry for food. The company Linto is in teases him but only in good humor.

Loco, Loko (m): Loa of forest and vegetation, guardian of sanctuaries. He is mainly associated with trees. He gives healing properties to leaves. Loko is the god of healing and patron of the herbs doctors who always invoke him before undertaking a treatment. Loco is considered the first Houngan (priest). The physician priests worship him, getting their knowledge from him. Loco has an extensive knowledge of pharmaceutical uses of herbs. It has been said that he transforms into the wind and listens to people without them knowing he is there. Loco has many wives and girlfriends who are young and good-looking all over the country wherever there is vegetation. His tree is the Ceiba tree, an Antillean silk-cotton tree and the tallest species in Haiti. His wife is Ayezan (Aizan).

Madam Brigitte (f): Ghede Loa.

Marassa (-): Twin Rada Loa. The Marassa are twins who died in their early childhood and are innocent and capricious. In Vodoun, twins are held in a sacred light. They are considered to have great magical powers, and the ability to heal. The power of the Marassa is strongly with them, thus they are able to control things and make magic of their own variety. They are known to have clairvoyance, the ability to heal, to bestow good luck in general, and the power to double (or triple) anything. They can produce rain at will. The Marassa are thought to be orphans. However, Erzulie Dantor has been designated as their mother. Families that are known to have twins within their past or present are usually required to serve the Marassa. Children born with extra fingers or toes are considered twins. The saying goes that they ate the other child while in the womb, thus the extra digit represents their other half. They are often referred to as avelekete [avrikiti]. In Haitian Vodou, the Marassa are served right after Legba and are given a high place of importance. They eat from twin plates, and they eat all of what they are offered at once. They must be fed until they are content. They have a reputation for doing harm to those who have forgotten to provide food or who have not kept their promises, but also refuse to take responsibility for any wrong doing or illnesses. Marassa are syncretized with Saints Cosmo and Damian.

Marassa nan Petro (-): The Marassa served in Petro rites.

Marassa twa (-): Marassa Loa as twins of three. These triplets are most usually associated with the Three Virtues: Faith, Hope and Charity.

Marinette (f): former mambo deified as minor Loa. Before the Haitian revolution, Mambo Marinette became possessed by Erzulie (Ezili) Danto in a ceremony. At Bwa Kaiman or Alligator woods, a pact was written, commencing the revolt. She is very connected to Loa Ezili Dantor.

Marinette-Bwa-Chech (f): “Marinette of the dry arms” is a petro loa – evil spirit. She is most dreaded for she is a devil, a sworn servant of evil. She is an agent of the underhand dealings of Kita who is an outstanding loa sorceress. The screeching owl is the emblem of Marinette. Her ceremonies are held under a tent and lit with a huge fire in which salt and petrol are thrown. After mounting people, she confesses hideous crimes. Marinette is the mistress of Petro-e-rouge and wife to Ti-Jean-pied-sec.

Obatala: God of the Sky. He is the loa responsible for forming children in the womb. Thus, Obatala is responsible for birth defects. He is also called king of the white cloth, and all his followers wear white. Obatala’s favorite food is edible snails.

Ofelia Balendjo: Dominican Loa. She is syncretized with Our Lady of Mercy.

Ogoun, Ogorin, Ogu-badagri (m): God of War. Nago Loa of lightning and storm. He is mighty, powerful, triumphant. He was the god of blacksmithing who became the warrior loa. He can give strength through prophecy and magic. It is Ogoun (Ogu) who is said to have planted the idea and led and given power to the African Haitians to the 1804 revolt and freedom from the European slavery system. In more recent time Ogoun has taken on the role of crafty and powerful political leader. Ogu-badagri “throws” lightning and thunder. By Nago tradition Shango has these Loa duties. He is covered with iron and immune to fire and bullets. Ogoun’s symbol is a piece of iron, which he uses to fight his enemies. “Ogu’s forge” is the name given to an iron rod stuck in a brazier which represents him. His symbol in humfo is a sabre stuck in the earth in front of the altar. He can protect his petitioners from bullets and weapon wounds. Ogoun is the deity of fire and “metallurgical elements” and red is his color. He likes to be saluted with rum. The sword, or machete, is his weapon and he often does strange feats of poking himself with it, or even sticking the handle in the ground, then mounting the blade without piercing his skin.  He’s the spirit of fire and water. The Ogun are great drinkers, but alcohol has no effect on them. He has a passion for fire and likes the women. His favorite tree is the mango tree. His day is Wednesday. Ogoun is identified with St. Jacques, the warrior general, and is often in the guise of a revolutionary war general.

Ogun Balendjo (m): Lwa of warriors and soldiers, in Dominican Vudu. Eldest son of Ogun. He is syncretized with Saint James or Santiago.

Ogun Fegai: Dominican Lwa. He is syncretized with Saint Jorge.

Ogun Batala: Dominican Lwa. He is syncretized with Saint Martin of Tours.

Petro Nation: Loa Nation of spirits forged directly in the steel and blood of the colonial slavery era. They reflect all the rage, violence and delirium that threw off shackles of slavery. The drums, dancing, and rhythm are offbeat sharp, and unforgiving, like the crack of a rawhide whip. The Bizango is an extreme form of the Petro and it is sometimes described as the wild Petro. Bizango occurs by night, in darkness that is the province of the djab, the devil.

Rada Nation: Lao Nation that represents the emotional stability and warmth of Africa, the hearth of the nation. Rada stands for light and the normal affairs of humanity. Rada derived almost directly from the Dahomean pantheon is highly religious in nature; rite is never celebrated without the performance of Mahi dances and without honoring and invocation of Nago gods. The Rada drumming and dancing is on beat whereas the Petro is offbeat.

Simbi, Simba, Simbi Andezo (m): Petro loa of the coast. Guardian of the fountains and marshes. Simbi belongs to rada because of his nature. He is a very knowledgeable Loa because he spends a lot of time learning about the nature of illnesses of supernatural origin and how to treat them. He cannot do without the freshness of water. His rituals are held near springs. simbi is either with you or against you by protecting those who have good relations with him and turning his back on those who do not. As part of Ogoun’s army he is the chief of the coast guard and goes wherever he pleases. Sometimes neglected by their devotees and gnawed by hunger, he tends to be cruel.

Sobo, Sobo Kessou (m): God of War. Sobo is a Loa of strength, very powerful and well known for his bravery as a warrior. Sobo is considered an important figure in mythology. He is the ideal of priests who want to be respected figures in their communities. When he addresses the congregation during a mounting it is like a general addressing his troops. Sobo’s presence is continually requested to bring security and protection to the congregation. He who is with Sobo is protected against wild spirits. Sobo is said to have healing power and is often called upon to cure illness of the supernatural origin to his devotees.

Sogbo, Soybo (m): God of lightning and the protector of flags. Sogbo is the brother of the three-horned Bosou. Sogbo is always accompanied by his companion Bade, loa of the winds. These loa share functions with Agau, also a Loa of storm. When possessed by Sogbo, one hurls down polished stones used as symbols of the Loa. Representing thunderstones which are not uncommon in Haiti. The spirit hurls a lightning bolt to the earth, striking a rock outcropping and casting the stone to the valley floor. There it must lie for a year and a day before the houngan may touch it.

Taureau-trois-graines: This loa is a product of the fanciful imagination of the people in Haiti and is considered a Creole loa. His name means “bull with three testicles”. He is the great loa of the Jacmel region. His appearances are terrible; seizing people with destructive rage and creating havoc all round unless appeased by the offer of a handful of grass. This they munch at once. During trance, they bellow ceaselessly.

Ti-Jean-Petro: Petro fire loa who is depicted as a dwarf with one foot. Even though Ti-Jean-Petro has a French name, his roots can be traced back to Africa. Ti Jean lives in the bushes. He is a powerful black magician and he’s part of secret societies (sanpwèl). This loa often protects and assists black magic sorcerers. Ti-Jean-Petro also is recognized under the names of Petro-e-rouge, Ti-Jean-pied-fin and Ti-Jean-Zandor. (But these may be others of the Ti or Jean Petro group.) Like most Loas who fall under the Petro rite, his possessions are violent and it takes quite some times for people to regain their consciousness afterward.

Ti Pierre: Petro loa. A gluttonous and quarrelsome spirit. This Petite Petro tries to pick fights with the audience.

 

Sources: webster.edu/~corbetre/haiti/voodoo/biglist.htm, Gede.org, vodouroots.com

 

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