VODOUN – 21 NATIONS UNDER GOD SANCE TRADITION
From thebestlovespell, 2013 [Edited]
Contrary to popular belief the first Africans to set foot on Puerto Rico or the Americas for that matter where free men. Even as late as 150, a West African man who was the son of a Yoruba King and later baptized “Juan Garrido” was an African Conquistador who worked for Juan Ponce de Leon, “Puerto Rico’s first Governor” and was the first African man to set foot on Puerto Rican soil after the European ‘conquest’ and almost 100 years prior to the first Africans caught in the European slavery system to be taken to the United States “Jamestown 1607”. Another African man, called Pedro Mejías, was married to the last Cacica Chief of Puerto Rico, Yuiza who like Pedro Mejias, was baptized a Catholic and renamed “Luisa” in order for both to be legally wed under Spanish law. Like the Dominican Anacaona in the Agua Dulce Division, Yuiza was the last female Cacica “Chief” to then become part of the Spirits venerated in Puerto Rican Sance.
Like the European enslavers, the African people came from different societies and tribes, each having their own dialect, language and culture. Haitian Vodou or Voudun consists of 21 Nations or Nasyons of Lwa – what Dominicans call los Loases or Misterios de La 21 Divisiones (also known as Budű or Vudű Dominicano.) This means that the Lwa come from 21 various tribes or Nations from West Africa, each having their own ancestral or village Orisha or Kimpungulu “Mpungo”. It is historically proven that the Africans caught in the European slavery system were brought to Cuba, Hispañola and Puerto Rico, were mainly of the Yoruba, Igbo, Congo and Bantu. From their belief system arose what is known as the 21 Naciones, Nasyons or Nationes.
1. The Yoruba “Nago”; 2. The Bantu, Bikongo Congo “Kongo”; 3. The Foula; 4. The Ewe; 5. The Fon; 6. Dahomey; 7. Arara ‘Arada, Arda”; 8. Ibo Lele; 9. Angola; 10. Ogoun; 11. Ketu 12. Sango; 13. Togo; 14. Danwomen; 15. Mayonbe; 16. Wangol; 17. Makay; 18. Bambara; 19. Igbo; 20. Ado; and 21. Hausa.
(The list can vary or change per region as the Mandingue “Mandinga”, the Ashanti and other tribes were also taken to the Americas, and are also part of the Nations.)
“Divisions is a formation of a group of Spirits and Divinities that come from a geographical point of origin or blood lineage.”
Las 21 Divisiones Dominicanas
1) Leguas; 2) Ogunes; 3) Radas; 4) Locos; 5) Guedes; 6) Petros; 7) Simbis; 8) Locomis; 9) Zombis; 10) Indios; 11) Nagos; 12) Congos; 13) Guines 14) Niñillos; 15) Caes; 16) Dangueles; 17) Shuques; 18) Piues; 19) Difemayos; 20) Petifones; 21) Marasas.
Now in Haitian Vodou these 21 Nationes have been split into four groups: Rada, Petwo, Ghede, and Congo and other sub divisiones that the Lwa may fall within, such as Anago. While in Dominican Vudu and Puerto Rican Sance (Sanci or Sanse) they have been split into three: Division Blanca [white], Division Negra [black] and Division India [red].
1) Misterios de Alta Luz, Rada is ruled by Light and represent the Sun. “Rada” comes from the Arara word for Light or Sun, which discribes the Lwa of this Division. They are represented as white Spirits with light-colored eyes and hair, which speaks more of their auric layer than tone of ‘human flesh’. The Rada Loa are very benevolent, wise, ancient, calm and sweet in nature. The Rada Loa can be further divided into Sub Divisiones and can pertain to other Divisions.
2) Misterios de la Oscuridad, Petro. Petro Loa are ruled by the Night, and represent the light of the Moon. This is the Division harbors the Ghuede. Many of the Petro Lwa are those honored in Cuban Palo Monte, Palo Mayombe and Brazilian Quimbanda. While the Rada Lwa are more docile, the Petro Lwa are more aggressive, outspoken, fierce, and hot tempered in nature. Many of these Lwa represent the frustrated energy of the Ancestors, who suffered bondage, or ridicule, and some can be ancient Lwa from Africa, who became furious with the mistreatment of our people. Again like the Rada, in this Division one will find sub divisiones or Lwa that are of Africa or Root Lwa that were born in the Americas.
3) Misterios de La Raiz, Division Agua Dulce. Division Indio or Agua Dulce does not consist of Lwa from Africa, but the Spirits as honored and venerated by the Taino, and Arawak natives of the Caribbean and known as a group as Zemi or Cemi. This is the root and represents the land, thus the earth. These Lwa are the Spirits of the Land, the Root Lwa, Loa de la Raiz – the Rasin Lwa in Haitian Vodou. They are native of the land, native born spirits of the earth or place where one lives. Many of these Lwa are also the mixed (Mestizo, Mulatto or Sambo) vuelta (offspring) of a Rada, Petro and/or Rasin Lwa, which spawned a new Spirit, or an ancient Taino Spirit “Zemi” who has adapted an African Lwa name, such as is the case with Erzulie Dantor and Cachita Tumbo who are both Root Lwa. Dantor also falls under the Petro Lwa and the Sance sub division of Lwa known as Metresas. Anaisa Pye is another root Lwa.
4) Guabancex and Coatrisquie. In Haitian Vodou this Division does not exist as it does in Puerto Rican Sance and Dominican 21 Division; many of the Lwa in this Division, “Like Erzulie Dantor and Cachita Tumbo” are actually mixed into other Divisiones.
THE 21 & 7 DIVISIONS / DIVISIONES
Many people in the Americas who follow African religions, and Spiritual traditions recognize the two most iconic images within our traditions, which are: La Siete Potencia Africana (Seven African Powers), and the image used for La 21 Divisiones. But unlike the 7 African Powers that often uses the name of the Orisha under its synchronized Catholic Saint, very rarely will one find this on the picture for the 21 Divisiones, which traditionally uses both the Catholic image and the Catholic name.
The Vodoun Spirits embody the cosmic laws of creation. There are more than 21 Lwa, just as their are more than 7 Orisha, in the Lukumi Pantheon. Elders will often say there are 101, 201, 1001, or 2001. The number one at the end symbolizes infinite or that there are Lwa that we do not know of, as it is impossible for any human to know them all. The iconic 21 Divisiones is the pantheon of Lwa that are highly venerated in the Dominican Republic. While Puerto Rican Sance recognizes these Lwa, many Lwa are known or venerated in the Dominican Republic that are not known in Puerto Rico and visa versa, the same can be said with Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo, as each has their own local Spirits. Also in Sance many of the local Emisarios or Spirits of the Comisiones, that make up the Cuadro Espiritual, which is not worked in Dominican 21 Division are on their way of becoming Lwa, these spirits are known as Corrientes or Sance, and will one day become local Lwa Misterios. Thus in Sance there is a sub Division “Comisiones” which will one day be Lwa. Similiar concepts can be found in American Voodoo: Marie Lavou, Black Hawk and Dr John are but a few historical American figures set to become Voodoo Lwa.
Las 21 Lwa Domincanas syncretized
Las 21 Divisiones Dominicanas
1) Leguas [Ellegua, Legba]; 2) Ogunes [Ogun]; 3) Rada; 4) Indios [India]; 5) Guedes; 6) Petros; 7) Locos; 8) Simbis; 9) Congos; 10) Guines; 11) Niñillos; 12) Caes; 13) Dangueles; 14) Shuques [Shaka]; 15) Marasas; 16) Piues; 17) Difemayos; 18) Petifones; 19) Locomis; 20) Zombis; 21) Nagos.
1) División Legbá or Division Leguas: The Jefe “Chief’ is Papa Legba also known in Africa as Legbara. He is not the eldest, nor the youngest, but surely one of the wisest of his Division. The Legba are the ancient elder and young Lords of the pathways, communication, guardians, gatekeepers of the cemetery, and messengers of the Misterios. Although the Legba have their own Division they pertain to every other, for without them, the doors between the Spiritual, Astral and Material plane could not be opened or closed. Nothing is done without first aknowlowding Legba, may it be by a prayer, the tapping three times on the altar or ritualistic dance and gestures with the ritual rattle and the Jarro Divisional. In this Division one finds Legbá Carfú [LKalfou], Legbá Atibón, Leguasito, Rosita Legba and countless other. Their color is often brown with another color to distinquish the Lwa. Yoruba tradition states that when God “Olodumare” fell ill, all the Orisha tried to find a remedy for that which ailed him, but it was only Elegbara who found the remedy, thus Olodumare blessed him with having the abilities to be in all areas at once. Another legend states that when Nzambi Bondye created the universe he left Legba in charge of planet earth, so that he “God” may rest. Papa Legba with the help of Papa Ogun and other Loa helped to create the foundation of what would be life on earth.
2) División del Fuego / del Monte or Division Ogunes: The Jefe Chief is Ogun Balendjo, eldest son of Papa Ogun. Unlike Papa Ogun who is often distant from man, Ogun Balendjo and his brothers have a close relationship with life on earth and its ever growth in technology. The Ogun answer to no other Lwa, or humans for that matter, but for Legba who they have the greatest respect. They abandon their weapons to become the great leaders. Where Legba opens the pathways, Ogun leads and clears the path and comes to heal and console. There are many Lwa in this division: Ogun Balendjo, Ogún Badagrí, Ogún Batalá, Ogún Fegallo, Ogún Negué, Ogún Panamá and Ogun Ansú. And many who do not carry the name Ogun such as Osanj [Osayin] and the sub division of Gran Bwa. Many of the Ogun dress in Blue, although Green and Red is also used. Ogun’s importance is retold in the story of when Bondye gave the keys of the earth to Legba. Legba commisioned Ogun to carve the roads through the rough terrain. Ogun was the only Lwa with the proper wisdom and knolwedge of human evolution and he taught “humans” the art of making tools and the technology nesessery for the evolution of the earth. He quickly won favor in Bondye’s eyes who comisioned him as King amongst the other Lwa, but Ogun refused, when he saw the greed and power humans had and how they used and manipulated his implements for war and strife.
3) División Radá, Division Rodas, División del Aire or Division Blanca: The Jefe to this Division is Pié Pier Basicó or Ferraille Adogan Piel, Papa Pie Anciano, who is synchenized with San Simon Pedro or San Marcos de Leon who is an ancient Ogun – Lwa of Fire. In this Division one finds the highly elevated Lwa of the skies and air element, such as Belié Belcán Toné (who is an Ogun), Dambala, Papa Legba [Ghede], Papa Loko, Papa Sobo, La Sirena Yemalla [Yemaya], Gran Ersili, Erzulie Freda, Agwe, Gran Halouba, Klemezin, and Filomez. Many dress in white with another color to distinguish the Lwa. The Rada Lwa are the ancient Spirits of Africa. They are as ancient as they are wise and benevolent.
4) División India, Division Indios or Division Agua Dulce: The Jefe is a Loa de Raiz (Root) Lwa by the name Cacique Samaó or Gamaó. This Division is the largest Division in Sance, Zancie and 21 Division. It consists of 1/3 of the Great Spirits of the Native people of the Americas, the Indigenous people, and the Root or Misterios de Raiz. Within this Division one does not just find the Cemi “Zemi” Spirits of the Taino, Arawak and Caribs, but also historical and elevated Cacique and Cacica chiefs, Nitaino warriors, Naboria common folks, Bohique priests and Bohitu Shamans, who have ascended into Lwa status. This Division is of the element of fresh sweet water. There colors are blue, green, red and yellow.
Some of the most popular Lwa and Cemi are Tindjo Alawe, Agueybana, Hacuaí Dantó, Agalla Dulce, Doña Mencia, Doña Ines, Yuiza, Anacaona, Caonabo, Cayacoa, Guaroa, Tamayo, Carmelina Dansolei, “Carmelina Dan Soley”, India Agua Azul, Indio Carinoa, Pluma Blanca, Toro Sentado, Aguila Roja, Aguila Blanca, Indio Enriquillo, India Ciboney, India Jihoanya and Gran Cacique to name a few, in this Division one also finds the Comisiones de Indios which are Emisarios of the Division such as Indio de la Paz, Indio de la Fuerza, Indio Poderoso, Indio de la Guerra, Indio Bravo, Indio Libertador and Indio Valiente.
5) División Del Cementerio, Division Guedé: The Jefe of this Division is Barón Samedí also known as Baron del Cementerio or el Varon del Cementerio. He is the son of Aganman [Grand Man] Nibo who is known as Papa Ghede Limbo. The Ghede Division lives within the stomach of el Baron del Cementerio, and come out through the birth canal of La Baronesa which is symbolized by the entrance of a graveyard. The Ghede are the dead, but definitely not the Ancestors. Unlike the Ancestors who do not reside in the graveyard, the Ghede do, often under the tombs and grave sites. For this reason alone one never places the Ghede near the Ancestors or ones departed. El Baron is always represented by the eldest tomb of a male buried in that particular cemetery while La Baronesa who is also called Madame Brigitte, is represented by the oldest female tomb. Of all the Divisions there are more Ghede then there are Lwa, and some of the most recognized are: Barón Sandí [Samedi], Lakuá [Ellegua or Legba], Ghede Zaina, Luis Ghede, Ghede Zumbí, Gedelía, Gedelina and Guedesito. There color is often Black or purple with another color to distinguish the Ghede.
6) División Petrós or Division Negra: The Jefe of this Division is Gran Buá Yilet and Ti Jean Petro. Ti Jean Petro was a African Dominican. A Spanish enslaved man from Santa Cruz de Barahona, who became a powerful and well respected Papa Bokor by the name of Don Juan Felipe Pedro. He Incorporated not just only the Arawak and African Spirits from the Kongo and Dahomey who were as oppressed as its people, but also harnessed the oppressed energies of the Ancestral Lwa. Although many are Lwa, many are elevated historical figures who fought for independence, justice and freedom at all costs. These Ancestral Spirits where called Bukulu or Egun by the Africans, and Hupia/Opia by the Taino and Arawak people. [Obeah is also used in Africa, and Obia is used in the Caribbean. It is the difference between collective and smaller groups or singular.] The Petro are the offsprings of these two cultures. They are the root lwa of the new world and do not appear as such in African Vodou. They are more aggressive in nature than their Rada counterpart. There are many Petros, each country has its own local one, such as Mambo Fatima, Mambo Maronet, Pile Fey [Filimon?] Simbi Dlo, Gran Torolisa, Juan Danto Piě, Jean Fegó Pié. Others are in common such as Erzulie, Erzulie Dantor, Ti Jean Petro, Legba and Kalfou, Tiyán [Petit Jean] Petró and many more. There color is Red with another color to distinguish the Lwa. When dealing with the Petro, one must be careful what is asked for, they literarly listen to everything you say, and if it is of a vengenceful nature they are quick to repay their depots. They are not as lenient as the Rada Lwa, when it comes to dealing with punishments. The Petro like all Lwa are no ones watch dog, or no ones genie in a bottle waiting for its master’s command, no man has power over any Lwa and they are forces of nature that demand the greatest of respects.
7) División Locós: The Jefe of this Division is Papa Loko who is synchrenized with Saint Joachin. In the creation of the earth, these Lwa landed on top of trees, thus they are said to manifest their energy in Palm Trees and Ceibas.
8) División Simbís or Division Simbises: The Jefe of this Division is Gran Simbi Dlo, or Simbi Andeso also spelled Simbi Andeazo.
9) División Congós: The Jefe of this Division is Gamodi.
10) División Guinés: The Jefe of this Division is Aguiné Pier.
11) División Ninigó or Division Niñillos: The Jefe of this Division is Ramón Ñiñigó Sandó.
12) División Caés: The Jefe of this Division is Caé Samá.
13) División Danguelés: The Jefe of this Division is Danguélé Quinamá.
14) División Shuqués: The Jefe of this Division is Shuqué Alangué.
15) División Marasá o de los Gemelos: The Jefes of this Division are Radisá Lamé and La Marasá.
16) División Piués: The Jefe of this Division is Piués Lambá.
17) División Difemayós: The Jefe of this Division is Gamó.
18) División Petifonés: The Jefe of this Division is Sigó.
19) División Locamí or Division Locomis: The Jefe of this Division is León Nicomé, Ňyiucomé.
20) División Sombí or Division Zombi: The Jefe of thiis Division is Pie Tiyán.
21) División Nagós: The Jefe is Olishá Bayí.
PUERTO RICAN 7 POTENCIAS, 7 AFRICAN POWERS KNOWN AS LA SIETE DIVISIONES OR SIETE JEFES
Although there are 21 Divisions both in Dominican Vudù and the Pantheon of Puerto Rican Sanse, 7 Divisiones are the most venerated and respected amongst Puerto Ricans. Like Dominican and Haitian Vodou, within each Division their is a Punto Misterio known “in Spanish” as el Jefe or La Jefa, but what is apperant is that each of the “7” Siete Jefes come from one of the Divisiones that follows, and as you will notice, the similarities within Puerto Rican Sanse and Dominican 21 Divisiones.
1) Division de Papa Lebanes, Los Legbas. The Jefe of this División is Papa Legba, they embody the element of earth and fire. They help in opening pathways, opening doors to other realms, as well as uncrossing and destroying sorcery and black magic. Many of the Legbas are great communicators and help us is relaying messages.
2) Division del Monte, Los Ogunes. The Jefe of this División is Ogun Balendyó and under him are Ogun Badagrí, Ogun Fegallo, Osanjeh, Gran Bwá, and other Misterios. This Division embody the element of earth, fire, metal, wood and plant. They are hard workers, guardians, blacksmiths, soldiers, doctors, healers and warriors. Out of all the Naciones they work the hardest, none stop and can be very fierce and temperamental.
3) Division Del Cementerio, Los Guedeses. The Jefe of this Divisió is el Barón del Cementerio, within this division Santa Marta la Dominadora and Santa Marta La Bruja, Baron del Sabado, Baron de la Cruz and Papa Guede Limbo. The Division del Cementerio include los Guedés and they embody the element of earth and fire. This Division helps in resolving all sorts of problems. They help in opening and closing the doors to the realm of the dead. They can be mischievous and often ruthless tricksters, and if offended, can be very dangerous. They should never be called on by those who do not completely have wisdom over their misteries as they can unleash evil malevolent spirits as easily as benevolent spirits.
4) Division Del Fuego. The Jefe of this Division is Papa Candelo, they fall under the División de los Prietos and Division del Cementerio, and within this Division one finds countless Misterios, which have their origins both in the Americas as well as Africa. The Candelo Division embody the element of fire and air, and although they are Petro and some Guedés they also have their own Familia, “Division”. They open the pathways for progression, change and evolution. They are great guardians and swift healers and messengers for Papa Buen Dios. They work hard for finding a solution and solving all forms of dilemmas. They are great paleros, and have a great wisdom and knowledge over ancient magic and herbalism. They also work well in all judicial matters.
5) Division De Belcanes. The Jefe of the Division de los Belcanes is Belie Belcan Tome. Within this Division one finds the Belcan Nacion, which embody the element of Air and Earth, They fight for justice and peace and are a great defense against demons, evil spirits, occult enemies and black magic. They are wise, ancient and of a benevolent nature although they are fierce warriors and keep order amongst chaos.
6) Division de Metresas. The Jefa of the División de las Metresas is Metresili, and there are many Metresas. Although they pertain to their own Division, they can also belong to another. The Mestresas embody the elements of earth and water. They work in matters of emotioms, thoughts and feelings. They govern over love, womanhood, motherhood, maternity, fertility, beauty and femininity. Their colors are Pink, Yellow, Orange and Gold.
7) Division del Agua Dulce, Los Indios. The Jefe of this Division is Tindjo Alague and consists of all the Spirits as mentioned above in the 21 Divisiones. This Division of Misterios make up 1/3 of the Misterios, they are highly venerated within Puerto Rican Sanse and are a very important division of Spirits. They embody the elements of water and air.
Other Divisiones in Sanse include:
– Division Soley or Division del Sol. The Jefe of this Division is Gran Soley or Gran Solier, and this Division consists of the highly elevated Lwa known as the Rada. These Lwa bring ilumination, clarity, insight, wisdom and knowledge.