I wanted to write something about Voudon, or Voodoo, after learning about how drums are used in it’s rites. Often, bits of video are shown on television or in movies of ceremonies and rituals and I thought I would like to be able to identify key elements and symbology in these when I saw them. So I spent some time reading and learning and found something I could post to participate in The Pagan Blog project using the letter ‘R’.

The Rada Loa are a major  family of Spirits in Vodou. They are considered the older and most senior of Spirits, guardians of morals and principles, with calm and  cooling attributes. They are polarized by the , Petro Loa, who are fiery and protective. Another family is Ghede, who represent death and fertility. Loa are nature spirits and they consist of large and complex families with distinct personalities and attributes. While it can be easy to archetype them, they are not Goddesses and Gods but more like ancestors and messengers.  The most important are  Legba ,  The Gatekeeper,  Loko, The Father of Priests,  Ayizan, Priestess of Initiations and Erzulie,  Mother of Love and Beauty.

In ritual space, these spirits are called upon for healing guidance and protection. Ritual cleanliness is vital. Altars are built to them and Veves  are drawn on the floor of the Hounfour or temple, in a powder form. Veves are a symbol that represents the spirit. Offerings and libations are left in both places. A complex ceremony is carried out by the core group, often referred to as a House or Society. From beginning to end, all of the Loa families are sung to and honored.  They are extensions of the will of Bondye, the Ultimate Principle of the Universe.

While the rites of the Voudon remain secretive, passed from teacher to initiate, it’s good to be able to understand just a bit of a greatly misunderstood and often maligned religion.

Blessed Be.