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
Rada, Petro and Ghede Loa in Vodoun
[Compiled by 7M]
The name Vodoun means “high and sacred of God”. There is no right side and left side in Vodoun. There is only one side which is through God and Loa. The Loa (Lwa) can be viewed as forces of nature, but they have personalities and personal mythologies. They are extensions of the will of Bondye, the Supreme Cosmic God, the ultimate principle of the universe.
The Loa are the Spirit Gods which are served in Vodoun. They act as intermediaries between humans and Bondye (God). The Loa are not worshipped as Gods, we serve them so that in turn they serve us. It is safe to say that the Loa are ancestors. Some are older than others, such as Damballah Wedo, The Great Serpent who is considered to be the primordial creator of all life forms, and who also carries all of the ancestors on his back, therefore making him our First Ancestor. Other examples of Loa who were born as Spirits would include La Sirene and Met Agwe, the king and queen of the ocean, who are the Seas themselves. Continue reading
Haitian 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. Continue reading
The Haitian Zombies
by Brian Dunning
Should you find yourself in Haiti, beware of the man they call the bokor. Vodou tradition warns that he may secretly sprinkle a powder onto you, causing you to fall ill and quickly die — apparently. Doctors can examine you and find no pulse, no respiration. You’ll be buried and your friends and family will attend the funeral. Then, one night, the bokor will come and exhume your body, and administer a mysterious antidote. Your body will wake up, but your consciousness and personality will be gone. Your body will be a dumb slave, eating, Continue reading
Ethnobotany and Zombies: The Skeptic and the Rainbow
by Everett Tucker
We open with the Haitian Clairvius Narcisse’s claims that he was drugged to appear dead, buried alive, and dug up by a Houngan priest who subsequently extracted labor from him while Clairvius was kept in a perpetual stupor or ‘zombie’ state. Clairvius claims he was beaten with a sisal whip and transplanted to a Haitian sugar plantation where he worked with other zombified victims.
What distinguishes Narcisse’s account from other modern and folkloric accounts of Haitian zombies is its documentation – his death was officially recorded in a hospital under American authority. Having entered the facility Continue reading