Q: So how does one become a Vodou initiate? And how long does it take to be fully initiated?
A: First of all I should mention that there are different levels of initiations in Vodou, as well as different ‘rites’ or categories within Vodou. The Asògwe rite is the kinda recognized rite for the Vodou “religion” in Haitian community if I can put it that way. Additionally, there are the Bizango, Makaya, Sosyete San Pwèl and other… that are more like secret societies who have responsibilities and use the mysticism in Vodou in their practices
We can also speak of the Makousi, or Houngan/Manbo Makout, and other simple “sèvitè lwa” , who practice vodou without necessarily going through a set initiation process
In the Asògwe rite there are 3 levels or steps of initiation: Ounsi kanzo, Manbo / Ougan Sou Pwen and lastly Manbo / Oungan Asògwe (priestess / priest)
One must find a manbo or an ougan Asògwe who will lead them into initiation
Depending on what your spiritual reading shows and what particular path you’re on in this particular life (as we believe in reincarnation), it might take longer or shorter for you to be initiated but initiation is a door opener, the beginning of a new path of discovery if you will. How long it takes really depends on the individual and on his/her guide. The guide could be the manbo, but it could also be their Mèt Tèt (akin to a Higher Self) in some cases
People also get initiated for MANY different reasons … initiation could be a magical treatment for someone who has mystical problems… it could be to become a manbo, it could be to join a community / family, it could be to get the right to enter certain spaces in the djevo or play certain roles to accompany the “travay guinen” the manbo or ougan has to do…. etc
Answered by Jean Sebastien Duvilaire, Houngan Asògwe