This was such a spiritually renewing trip for me. To see these ritual objects, in all their glory, was beyond words-and even the feeling can hardly be expressed in a blog entry. I left feeling like as if I had been reborn. Like fresh breath has been blown into this devotee and conjurewoman. The rest of the weekend was filled with occult shops, practitioners and Brazilian food.
The objects, stories and people were rich in energy-it was almost dizzying. I am grateful to have been able to be this close to these religiously significant and deeply connected cultural artifacts and tools. I hope this post will help to inspire and educate my readers on the very basics of the complex history of slave trade, diaspora traditions and beliefs, Haitian Vodou and Creole Voodoo.
Blessings to you all.
Legba's Veve. Vévé are the geometrical drawings that represent the lwa, that is, the Haitian deities of Vodu. Each lwa has its own emblem, and vévé are therefore numerous and varied.
The central elements are based on what that particular Lwa rules. Such as a heart for Ezili Freda, the lwa of femininity and love. Two snakes, for the cosmic snakes, Danbala-Wedo and his wife Aida-Wedo. A boat for Agwe, the lwa of the sea. A cutlass (sabre) for Ogun, the lwa of war. A cross for Papa Legba, the guardian of the crossroads and so on.
Vévé can be quite elaborate or simple. They are drawn on the (Earth) floor of the peristyle (Vodu temple) using cornmeal or ashes, and their realization, usually by a Houngan (Vodu priest) or Mambo (Vodu priestess), requires a great deal of expertise and skills. Vévé are central to Vodu rituals because they are meant to compel the descending or ascending of the spiritual energy associated with a particular lwa.
A Haitian Vodou Cross.
Ti jan petwo, Grann batala and their dog. Protective lwa.
The cross that bawon lakwa carries which symbolizes the crossroads of life and death.
Bizango warriors. The most aggressive of all lwa. Those pictured withwings are believed to fly over their families on earth, protecting them.
Papa simbi. Guardian of water sources and clairvoyant skills.
Zo lwa. Protectors of families.
Terra cotta Pwen Ibo. Pwen posess the power of a lwa. Nigeria's Ibo people often chose suicide over being enslaved.
Each law has its own rythym. Each lwa is brought forth in ritual by experienced drummers who know each rythym.