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Vodou Spirits
The female counterpart Ayida: The female counterpart

Characterized by protruding eyes and a bad humor, lives under the mombin tree near a spring and is very fond of vermouth, rum, and cognac.

Dahomean in origin and belonging to the Fon and Yaruba tribes. Replica Watches When a person is possessed by Agassu, his hands become crooked and stiffened, therefore resembling claws. In Dahomey, he is the result of a union between a panther and a woman. 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 is a very violent god. Earth tremors and the frightening sounds associated with storms are because of Agau. The trances induced by his mounting are so violent there have been deaths associated with his brutality. When one is mounted one attempts to imitate the sounds of thunder and tremors, if they are strong enough to utter sounds under the possession. The possessed person keeps repeating, "It is I who am the gunner of god; when I roar the earth trembles."

(Agive) He is invoked under the names "Shell of the Sea," "Eel," and "Tadpole of the Pond." Sovereign of the sea. One of the many lovers of Erzulie. Under his jurisdiction come not only all the flora and fauna of the sea, but all ships which sail on the sea. His symbols are tiny boats, brightly painted oars and shells, and sometimes small metal fishes. He likes military uniforms and gunfire. He is the protector of seafaring men. The service for Agwe is quite different from others since it is on the sea itself.

(Aizan, Ayizan) This is the Legba's wife. She protects the markets, public places, doors, and barriers, and has a deep knowledge of the intricacies of the spirit world. Selects and instructs certain novice houngans. When feeding her or her husband, a black or white goat or russet colored ox is offered up. Her favorite tree is the palm tree. Ayezan is symbolized by mounds of earth sprinkled with oil and surrounded by fringes of palm. Ayezan is Dahomean in origin and represented by an old woman in personification. She is one of the oldest gods and is therefore entitled to first offerings at services. She often mounts people only after her husband appears at the scene. Her mounts are never severe; therefore, she can sometimes take quite a while to spot.

The female counterpart of Dumballah, his mate, is Ayida. She is the mother figure. She is the rainbow. Together they are the unitary forces of human sexuality. Her symbol is also a serpent. She is quite submissive and very delicate. Her co-wife is Erzullie. It is said that whoever "can grasp the diadem of Ayida will be assured wealth" (Metraux, p. 105). Also known as Ayida Wedo: her job is that of holding up the earth.

Azacca or Zaka:
This is the loa of agriculture, but is generally seen as the brother of Ghede. For this reason Ghede will often come to the ceremonies for Zaka and come when Zaka has mounted someone. Zaka is a gentle simple peasant, but greatly respected by the peasants since he is a very hard worker. He is addressed as "cousin". He is found wherever there is country. He is usually barefoot, carries a macoute sack, wears a straw hat, and has a pipe in his mouth. By nature he is suspicious, out for profit, fond of quibbling, and has a fear and hatred of town folk. His vocal stylization consists of the almost unintelligible sounds of a goat. He is known for his gossip he spreads and for his "girl chasing." He is young and like to play when not working.

The loa of wind. He is the inseparable companion of Sogbo, god of lightning. He also shares his functions with Agau, another storm spirit.

(Bakulu-baka) He drags chains behind him and 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 himself possesses no one. Since no one wants to call on him, people simply take any offerings that go to him and leave them in the woods.

Bosou Koblamin:
Violent petro loa. Bosou is a violent loa capable of defeating his enemies. He is very popular during times of war. He protects his followers when they travel at night. Bosou's appearance is that of a man with three horns; each horn has a meaning--strength, wildness, and violence. Sometimes Bosou comes to the help of his followers but he is not a very reliable loa. When a service is held, Bosou appears by breaking chains that he is restrained. Immediately upon appearing he is given a pig, his favorite food. The ceremony in honor of Bosou always pleases a congregation because it allows them to eat. Usually a good number of people attend such a service.

Brise is a loa of the hills. He is boss of the woods. Brise is very fierce in appearance. He is very black and has very large proportions. Brise is actually a gentle soul and likes children. Brise lives in the chardette tree and sometimes assumes the form of an owl.

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

Congo Savanne:
A fierce petro loa. He is malevolent, fierce, and strong. Savanne eats people. He grinds them up as we would grind up corn. His color is white. He is a loa not to be messed with.

Dinclusin & Chalotte:
These two loa are among the French "mysteries." People mounted by these gods talk perfect French and seem to be unable to speak Creole normally or 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.

Dumballah (Dumballah Wedo, Damballah):
Known as the serpent god, he is one of the most popular. Dumballah is the father figure. He is benevolent, innocent, a loving father. He doesn't communicate well, as though his wisdom were too aloof for us. Dumballah is the snake. He plunges into a basin of water which is built for him, or climbs up into a tree. Being both snake and aquatic deity, he haunts rivers, springs, and marshes. Again, as the snake he is rather uncommunicative, but a loving quiet presence. Dumballah does not communicate exact messages, but seems to radiate a comforting presence which sort of sends a general spirit of optimism into all people present. Because of this, he is often sought after during ceremonies. When Dumballah mounts someone the special offering to him is the egg, which he crushes with his teeth.

Erzulie: (Ezili)
Voodoo does not have a woman as goddess of fertility. Fertility is regarded as a unified principle, equally held by male and female forces. Thus Dumballah 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. Erzulie is the female energy of Legba. She has tremendous power and is feared as much as she is loved. Also, she has several different roles: goddess of the word, love, help, goodwill, health, beauty and fortune, as well as goddess of jealousy, vengeance, and discord. She is usually known as a serpent that coiled upon itself lives on water and bananas.

Erzulie Jan Petro:
Violent spirit loa belonging to the Petro tradition. 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.

(Papa Ghede) Ghede is 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.

Baron Samedi represents the death side of Ghede (Guede).
He talks through his nose, is cynical, jovial, and tells broad jokes. His language is full of the unexpected. His tools are the pick, the hoe, and the spade. He is the power behind the magic that kills. He controls the souls of those who have met death as a result of magic.

Gran Boa:
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 voodoo priesthood.

Grande Ezili:
An old woman, crippled with rheumatism and she is only able to walk by dragging herself along on the ground with a stick.

Ibo Lele:
He is independent and hateful; 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.

Jean Petro:
Jean Petro is a deformation of Don Pedro, the name of the Spanish slave. 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. Voodoo services are rarely held for petro loa; however, they still do occur but most services are for family and rada loa. Some say that Jean Petro was brought about by Don Pedro who was a Negro slave of Spanish 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):
Legba is twined with his Petro opposite. Kalfu too controls the crossroads. Actually, were it not for him the world would be more rational, a better place. But, not unlike Pandora in Greek religion and myth, Kalfu controls the evil forces of the spirit world. He allows the crossing of bad luck, deliberate destruction, misfortune, injustice.

Krabinay loa are petro loa. They dress all in red and do high impressive jumps. People are warned away from Krabinay. However, they are very tough and can offer a great deal of assistance to a houngan.

Old man who guards the crossroads. He is the origin of life, so he must be saluted each time a service or any other activity with the loa will begin. Legba controls the crossing over from one world to the other. He is the contact between the worlds of spirit and of flesh. He can deliver messages of gods in human language and interpret their will. He is the god of destiny and is also the intermediary between human beings and divine gods. Legba is one of the most important loa in Haitian voodoo. 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 the origin and the male prototype of voodoo.

is symbolized by an iron bar.

This is one of the loa free masons. When feeding this loa, all meat prepared for him must be liberally salted. He prefers the ends of the tongue, ears, front teeth, and the end of a tail of a goat. When this loa mounts somebody, it is violent and his voice is highly distorted.

The child spirit of the Guede family. 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)
is the spirit of vegetation and guardian of sanctuaries. Mainly associated with trees. He gives healing properties to leaves; the god of healing and patron of the herbs doctors who always invoke him before undertaking a treatment. Offerings are placed in straw bags which are then hung in its branches.

Twins who died in their early childhood and are innocent and capricious. They are thought to be orphans with no discipline in terms of good eating habits. They eat from twin plates and they eat all of what they are offered at once, always coming very hungry to the ceremonies. They must be fed until they are content and then they will listen to the people. 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.

Literally "Marinette of the dry arms." This is a petro loa or an evil spirit. Worship of her is not spread all over Haiti but is growing rapidly in southern parts. Her ceremonies are held under a tent and lit with a huge fire in which salt and petrol are thrown.

Obatala is a sky loa. 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.

Ogoun: (Ogorin, Ogu-badagri)
Ogoun is the traditional warrior figure in Dahomehan religion. He is quite similar to the spirit Zeus in Greek religion/mythology. As such Ogoun is mighty, powerful, triumphal. In more recent time Ogoun has taken on a new face which is not quite related to his African roots. This is the crafty and powerful political leader. However, this political warrior is much more of an image of where struggle is in modern Haiti.

Petite Pierre:
is a gluttonous and quarrelsome spirit who tries to pick fights with the audience.

Comes from a new nation of spirits forged directly in the steel and blood of the colonial 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.

The loa that represents the emotional stability and warmth of Africa, the hearth of the nation. Rada derived almost directly from the Dahomean deity 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. Rada stands for light and the normal affairs of humanity.

(Simba, Simbe, Simbi Andezo) is guardian of the fountains and marshes and cannot do without the freshness of water. Voodoo rituals are held near springs. Several of their songs mention these sorts of places. 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 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 Ogou's army he is the chief of the coast guard and goes wherever he pleases.

Siren and Whale:
These two loa are marine divinities, so closely linked that they are always worshipped together and celebrated in the same songs. Some people say the Whale is the mother of the Siren, others that he is her husband; others say they are used for one and the same deity. Popular opinion says the Siren is married to Agwe. When Siren turns up in a sanctuary, the person possessed by her appears simply in the role of a young coquette most careful of her looks, and speaking in French, often offending the peasant serviteurs. Both the Siren and the Whale are often viewed as "upper class."

Sobo (Sobo Kessou):
Loa of strength. Sobo is a very powerful loa and well known for his bravery as a warrior. When he possesses someone, that person must dress up like a general in the army. When he addresses the congregation during a mounting it is like a general addressing his troops. Sobo is considered an important figure in voodoo mythology. He is the symbol of strength, the ideal of voodoo priests who want to be respected figures in their communities. Because of the strength he procures for his followers, Sobo's presence is continually requested to bring security and protection to the congregation. He who is with Sobo is protected against wild spirits.

Sogbo (Soybo):
He is the god of lightning and the protector of flags.Panerai replica watches Sogbo is the brother of the three-horned Bosu. Sogbo is always accompanied by his companion Bade, who is the loa of the winds. These loa share functions with Agau, who is also a storm loa.

His name means bull with three testicles. This loa is a product of the fanciful imagination of the people in Haiti and is considered a Creole loa. He is the great loa of the Jacmel region. His appearances are terrible; people possessed by him are seized with destructive rage and create havoc all round unless appeased by the offer of a handful of grass. This they munch at once. During trance, they bellow ceaselessly.


Last updated: December 31, 1969

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