Tag Archives: Caribbean

Days of the Law

SACRED DAYS OF THE LWA
By Houngan Hector, 2011

Vodou is a tradition of action. That is why most people will say “M sevi Ginen” (I serve Ginen) rather than say “I’m a Vodouisant”. Now all religions are, ideally, a way of life. But Vodou is most adamantly so. Service is an action, and that is how we describe our tradition, in terms that refer to those actions. Vodou is something you live, rather than simply do. It is not a tradition you can learn passively. You need to dig right in and get your hands dirty, so to speak. During ceremonies, everything is based on actions: salutes, dancing, drumming, singing, and tracing veves – to name a few. We do not have congregation members sitting as someone preaches.

Everyday of the week is sacred to a particular Lwa or group of Lwa. Sunday is God’s day. Vodouisants vary on what happens on Sunday. Some will not do any spiritual work, will not salute the lwa, will not do anything that has to do with Ginen. Others do not discriminate against the day. They say, “Yes, Sunday is sacred to God, I will remember Him and respect Him, but everyday I need to eat!” In other words, they still do Vodouisant activities on this day.  Most Vodouisants attend Church and Mass and may say prayers or give some other sort of attention directed towards the Creator. Continue reading

Symbols of the Law

Ritual Symbols of the Voudou Spirits: Voudou Veves
By Denise Alvarado, 2010

A Veve is a religious symbol for a vodou “loa” (or lwa) and serves as their representation during rituals. In Haiti, the veve derives from the beliefs of the native Tainos. Most similar to the veve are the drawings of zemi or gods of the Taino religion.

Every Loa has his or her own unique veve, although regional differences have led to different veves for the same loa in a few cases. Sacrifices and offerings are usually placed upon them.

The veve is usually drawn on the floor by strewing a powder-like substance, such as cornmeal, wheat flour, bark, red brick powder, or gunpowder. The material depends entirely upon the rite.

The veve in the introduction represents the Voodoo loa Papa Legba, who is the gatekeeper to the spirit world, remover of obstacles, and provider of opportunities. Continue reading

Loa Veve

Continue reading

Gran Loa Damballah

Damballah
From Hougan Sydney, 2014

Damballah
Gods in Vodou are known as Loa. Although not invoked first, Damballah is the father of all the Loa. He is the archetypal wise Loa, the patriarchal serpent divinity, associated with wisdom, peace, purity, benevolence, life and innocence.

Damballah is highly respected and is one of the most revered African gods. Along with his companion Ayida Wèdo, the rainbow serpent, he is viewed as the Loa of creation.

Ceremonies for Damballah and/or Ayida Wèdo are extremely particular and highly elaborate, and all rules must be followed to the letters. First, everyone in the assistance must entirely be dressed with freshly clean, immaculate white clothes, women are to have their head tied with silk white scarves. It is very common for people to be asked to leave the temple if they’re not in proper attire when Damballah is expected. Smoking, and alcoholic consumption are strictly forbidden. After many sacred Continue reading

Loa Kalfou

Kalfou
From Hougan Sydney, 2014

Spirits in Vodou are known as Loa. During slavery in Haiti, white french [enslavers] forbade [enslaved Africans] from pursuing Vodou as a religion and anyone caught practicing any religion other than Catholicism were severely punished.

The [enslaved Africans], still deeply attached to their African roots, were obliged to use Catholic Saint Image during Vodou ceremonies, pretending to be praying to them while deep in their heart they were praying to their African gods. This is the main characteristic that differentiate the Vodou that is practiced in Haiti and in Africa.

Over 400 years have passed, but the tradition strangely still remains today; it is so deeply rooted in the religion that it is almost impossible to even imagine Haitian Vodou without the representation of the Loas with Catholic Saints’ images.   Continue reading

Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Church Militant
By Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, Human Life International e-Newsletter, 2007

“The words I spoke to you are spirit and life.” (Jn 6:63)

The apparitions of Our Lady of Guadalupe which occurred in Mexico in 1531 were an evangelization experience unsurpassed in all of Church history with the possible exception of the Day of Pentecost. December 12th marks the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who I believe can be titled, Patroness of the Church Militant. I say this because, in that experience, She brought together all of the elements of a spiritual army that conquered what was then a total culture of death; if She could overcome the evil forces that directed the massacre of thousands of innocent human beings in 16th Century Mexico, we can be assured that She can repeat that victory for our modern day culture of death and dethrone the abortion demon from his altar of sacrifice. Continue reading

Oya and Shango and Oya

Oya and Shango - CKOya, Yansa
From Soulmindbody, 2010

Wind in her hair
Lightning in her eyes
Storms in her voice
And thunder in her thighs!

Sacred number: 9
Sacred colors: Brown, orange, purple, arterial blood red, deep red, burgundy, maroon, rainbow plus black, brown, and white
Symbols and Embodiments: Storms, wind, whirlwinds, hurricanes, storm and/or disease vector symbols, chaos symbol (cross of two or four arrows) with whirlwind (tapering zigzag), more symbols below… Continue reading

Oya Yansan

Oya - Lazaro BrandNinth child – Oya
From The Yoruba Religious Concepts

Not unlike her sisters, Oya Llasan Yansan, brought a physical beauty to the world. Her appearance also brought great conflict to the orisa. Oya had eyes of amber they where large and round and very expressive. When the people made eye contact with her, they would fall under her spell. With her birth into the kingdom also came the breath of life and movement of air, great storms and tornadoes.

Although she was female and feminine, She had a strong temperament and when she was forced to she would assume the personality of a masculine warrior in battle as well as lead others into war fighting as a equal at their side. Oya had the soul of a Continue reading

Oya

Oya - Dylan MeconisOya – Great Orisha goddess of Wind, Storms and Guardian Between Worlds
From African American Wiccan Society

Oya is a Great Yoruban Orisha. She is the goddess of Storms and Winds, and Her realm ranges from rainbows to thunder.  Her name means “She Who Tore” in Yoruba.  She can manifest as winds ranging from the gentlest breeze to the raging hurricane or cyclone.

Oya is known as a fierce Warrior goddess and a strong Protectress of women, who call upon Her. She assists us with rapid inner and outer transformation. Oya, is about absolute change (especially for the good) and is not a slow or very patient energy. According to Luisah Teish in the book, Jambalaya, Continue reading

Brazilian Macumba

Learn Moor About Bahia Brasil | Salvador Bahia | Afro Brazilian: Orishá Statues at Dique Do ...Macumba

“Macumba” (also known as Quimbanda) is the everyday term used by Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro to describe two types of African spirit worship: Candomble (followed in northern State of Bahia) and Umbanda (a newer form originating in Niteroi in the southern State of Rio de Janeiro).

Macumba originated with enslaved Africans shipped to Brazil in the 1550s, who continued to worship African Gods. Their Gods are called ORIXAS (Orisha). Africans incorporated their religion into Brazilian culture and white European religion (Roman Catholic). They summoned their Gods with their drums. European enslavers, unlike those in the United States, allowed Africans to continue to use their drums. Thus began the rhythm of the saints, the samba, and it explains why Brazilian “batucadas” reign unequaled today. Brazil got the samba, and the U.S. got “the blues.” Continue reading

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