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[ Lwa and Orishas, Especially Ogoun]

To: alt.religion.orisha
From: (Mambo Racine Sans Bout)
Date: 22 Dec 2001 00:24:16 GMT
Subject: Lwa and Orishas, Especially Ogoun

Lwa and Orishas, Especially Ogoun

Some Haitian Vodou lwa are Nago (Yoruban) orishas.  A very good
example of this is the lwa Ogoun.

We have many aspects of Ogoun. Interestingly, the word
"Ogoun" became almost a prefix indicating "Nago orisha",
and many orishas became aspects of Ogoun! For example, 
in Vodou Shango has become Ogoun Shango, and Obatala has
become Ogoun Batala.

There are also Ogouns identified with specific places in
Nigeria, for example Ogoun Badagri, who is identified with
the power that comes from diplomacy, statesmanship and
negotiation. There is also an Ogoun Balindjo, who 
nullifies poison.

Many Ogouns are identified with iron, and by extension 
weapons of war, especially machetes but also guns. 
Ogoun Feray and Ogoun Fer are two of these Ogouns.

Ogoun St. Jacques is another aspect of Ogoun, and he 
speaks in a very high-pitched, almost effeminiate voice,
but he protects his children from cannon balls and 

There is also a remarkable Ogoun Deux Manieres (Two Way
Ogoun), who is both male and female, both heterosexual
and homosexual, served in both the Rada and Petro
divisions of the Vodou liturgy. He is sort of a 
universal power adaptor!

In Nigeria Ogoun's colors are black and
green, although I don't know why. In Haiti, Ogoun
became very much identified with military might and 
military victory, especially after the Haitian 
Revolution (the only successful slave rebellion in the
Western Hemisphere, resulting in the first independant
black republic in the Western Hemisphere). The colors
of the Hatiian flag are red and blue, so that is why
these colors became associated with Ogoun in Haiti.

When Ogoun appears through possession at a Vodou dance
in Haiti, he is greeted with shouts of "Orisha Nago!
Orisha Nago!" However, almost no one in Haiti, unless 
they have been to university and have studied these
things, has any idea what an "orisha" is or who the "Nago"
people are. I think that's kind of sad. And so I 
think that it is important that we make these connections
and share this information.

There are other Vodou lwa who are Nago orishas, or who
are similar, or "parallel", in a way.  We have Legba, for example.
The Orisha Yemaya and the lwa La Sirene are two different
names for the same entity in my view.

Oshun is like Erzulie Freda in some ways, but they are not
the same entity.

There are a few more parallels I could draw between orishas
and lwa who, while not identical, are very similar and
reflect very similar concepts.

We have twin lwa, like the Ibeji, and they are called the
Marassa. And we have a female lwa of the Cemetery, like
Oya, her name is Maman Brigitte but she is actually Celtic
in origin (due to the large influx of deportees from the
British Isles who were sent to Haiti during the Stuart
wars). We have Gede lwa, who are departed ancestors like
Egun, but I am not suggesting that they are the same, or
act the same as Egun.

We also have lwa who are historical personalities, like
Agassou, who was a priest to the royal family in Dahomey,
and lwa from Kongo and Ibo and other ethnic groups too.

This is just a short list, and like I said, while some
lwa are definitely manifestations of Nigerian orisha, 
some are just similar in some ways, and others come
from other groups.

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

"Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
     Haitian Proverb

The VODOU Page -


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