Vodou Series | Karma

  1. Q: Can you talk about the evilness in voodoo. People often talk about how someone did ‘Voodoo’ on someone else to harm them. How does that work? Is it easy to harm someone?

A: It’s karma. You do evil, you receive evil. When a person harms you and you go to a manbo or houngan, whatever they do to the other person is going to come back to them in another way. Personally, I am different. If someone harms me, I don’t need to go to a houngan to find justice, I don’t even need to light a candle. Once I cry, I find my justice

However, one must keep in mind that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ depend on which viewpoint it’s being looked at. For example, if a person goes to a houngan because they want to kill their husband who’s been beating them up, you may think it’s a bad thing but you don’t know how long that person has been suffering this abuse. Good or bad is subjective. From your perspective, it may be bad but from someone else’s viewpoint, it may be a good deed. In this aspect, I don’t really like to judge. It depends

I like to say it’s karma. If someone throws a rock at you, you don’t necessarily always have to throw one back though because sometimes when you react there are side effects. You should let God and the Lwas judge and act on your behalf

I really cannot tell you why it is easier to do evil than good. But evil [magic] is always easier to do. If I want to do harm, I know 2 simple ingredients I can use to harm someone, to poke that person. You can poke them with a mirror and a knife or a calabash squash and a knife. No, not with a doll. It’s very simple. You go before Baron, you ‘call that person’ to the mirror, there are certain things to do but it’s easy. Unlike when doing good [magic], when you want to do someone good, it always takes a while to kick in

Answered by Arry @timazak81 🌸

Vodou Series | Lwa II

Q: But what exactly is a Lwa? Who created it? Is it a dead person? (Part 2)

A: I find this question a little difficult for me… those older than us are not able to say where they come from, where this energy comes from, but what I do know: Lwas come from Guinea. When our ancestors came to Haiti and had the Bwa Kayiman ceremony, they brought down a lot of different energies and forces and that’s where we found TiJean Petro and Ezulie Dantor…

A Lwa | Spirit is an energy, it’s a force. It was not a human like us. We need food sex etc., it doesn’t need all that. They’ve just always been around – God, life, created them. The term ‘Vodou’ means nature and Lwas are just a part of the natural world. They are everywhere. They’re in the trees, in the waters, in rocks so I can’t say where they come from. We inherited some of them from our African ancestors, which we brought with us when we were traded as enslaved people. The others were already on this island. Let’s not forget that Haiti was already filled with Spirits, like the spirits of the Indigenous Tainos who once lived here.

We have Lwas and we have Guardians. A dead person can also become a Guardian. In Vodou there is a ceremony that is done referred to as ‘brile zen bat bouroum’ for someone. It is a ceremony done for the dead to help that person transition through the next phase of their reincarnation. We submerge that person’s soul under water and after 1 year and 1 day, it is removed and their spirit, with the power of God, can become a ‘Gede spirit’ or a guardian of the house, or they may choose to reincarnate in another form.

For example, I can give you a story on Erzulie Mapyang. She was a slave who used to get raped very often. One day she got fed up and said enough was enough. She avenged herself by killing one of the people who used to rape her but was caught, tied and burned. Before they lit her on fire she screamed ‘mapyang’ – mapyang means revenge. Mapyang is now a Lwa, a guardian who stands up for all women who have problems with men, who needs revenge. If you are a man who is used to beating women, who mistreats women you shouldn’t dare say you serve Erzulie Mapyan laugh. We do not really know where Lwas come from. This is why the elders used to say ‘bagay yo se mistè’ because it is! It’s a mystery.

Vodou Series | Lwa

Q: But what exactly is a Lwa? A dead person? Who created it? And why must it be served?

A: The language of Vodou itself is to get in more harmony with nature and the universe. And through that situation we feel that you will reach the best self that you can be and serve the best purpose that you can serve. That means living in harmony with the lwas | spirits around us.

Some people interpret ‘serving’ to mean ‘degrading yourself’ but the best translation I’ve heard for it is ‘be helpful to the lwas so that they may be helpful to you’. It’s the understanding that the universe doesn’t just need to ‘service’ us we also need to ‘service’ it. We service the lwas, so that they may service us.

It’s being conscious of your existence in this world and knowing that what you do, does have an impact. That you cannot just do whatever you want because you feel that you won’t have an impact; either because you feel too small to make a significant impact or that you feel too important to bother making one. So, in Vodou it’s more about harmony than it is about subservience.

Answered by Jean Sebastien Duvilaire, Houngan Asògwe

Vodou Series | Sacrifice II

Q: What difference do you make between the sacrifice of an animal and that of a human? Considering that it is the same energy that animates everything and energy cannot be created nor destroyed; how are they different?

In Vodou when you sacrifice an animal in a ceremony to feed the spirit, you can use it for ‘tretman’ / healing where you exchange a life for another life. But when you sacrifice a human, to me that is the last degree, extreme limit. It shows that if you’re willing to sacrifice a person, you must need it badly and you’re going to get it but there will be harsh consequences.

Even though in Vodou, nothing ever really dies. A ‘dead’ person isn’t even really dead / nonexistent. There are ceremonies that are done for those who have passed to help them transition to the next level of reincarnation.

Same for the animal, when you kill it, that was his time and now he will have another cycle. The soul of that animal is shared and the blood is used for purification

Answered by Arry Mazaka, Houngan Asògwe

Vodou Series | Devil

Q: Do Vodwizan | Vodou practitioners believe in the devil?

A: I know I believe in god and the spirits. I know there are spirits who are fierce or mean. But I don’t believe in the devil. I know certain spirits are more ‘cho’ fiery, meaning this spirit can cause you perform certain sacrifices that you should never be involved in sacrifices that are not pretty.

For example, in hear-say sometimes you hear about people, when in search of power or political status, choose to do extreme sacrifices. But that’s what I’ve heard. Otherwise I wouldn’t say I believe in an entity who is the devil

Answered by Arry Mazaka, Houngan Asògwe

Vodou Series | Bible

Q: Is there a reference book for Vodou like there’s a Bible for Christianity?

A: “There are certain books through which you can learn about #Vodou but to truly know you must ‘put your hand in the dough’ as they say.

Personally, I was born in Vodou. I became devoted to Vodou. I grew up in Vodou. I may just die in Vodou. My mother taught me, my grandparents, my aunts… they were all manbo Asògwe. M fèk kare nan Vodou!”

Answered by Arry Mazaka, Houngan Asògwe

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In my personal reflection on the study 📖 of Vodou, I can’t help but wonder why it wasn’t until I attended the University of Florida that the subject of Vodou was presented to me as a scholarly matter; worth exploring; worth learning. Despite that I never took the class. I thought it was ironic that the teacher was a White African man who had taken the time to learn kreyòl. He spoke it eloquently to a fault. Perhaps it was prideful ignorance. Perhaps it was fear. Surely it was both

Vodou Series | Fallen Angels

Q: Are Lwas | Vodou Spirits from the lower realms / evil?

A: I often have these talks with my friends who are freemasons and they talk about “fallen angels” or “underworld spirits” as opposed to “spirits of the ethers” and they say how in Vodou we serve lower spirits whereas, unlike us, they serve spirits from higher realms because they want to “ascend”. It is so difficult for me to hear these things because as a Vodwizan we don’t look at spirits like that. We do look at how some Lwas have the energy of fire, or water, or air or earth but we don’t look at one being better or worse from one another; they’re just different.

Take a tree for example. We can see the same design in the roots as we see in the branches. It’s the same design of that tree happening at different levels. In Vodou we are just conscious that there are certain medicines – because Vodou is very connected to natural medicine – or certain teas or potions that require the roots of the tree, or that you take a little bit of the earth where the trunk meets the soil for the magic to work. Certain things require the fresh/watery leaves, or pieces of the trunk of that tree…

So I said to my friend: “I understand that there are people focused on solely using the fruits of a tree but we, Vodwizan, we use the entire tree. We use the roots, the soil around that tree, the air around that tree – because there is a certain kind of energy in the air, (the lè- as we call it) – we use the trunk, we use the leaves, and all serve different purposes. We consider the whole tree.

As far as reaching “higher”, it’s definitely not the way we look at it, it’s not the way we perceive the world or the universe. We don’t think it’s about being higher, we think it’s about being conscious and in harmony and that allows you to go as high as you need in times when you need to, and as low or as deep when needed, for an ultimate goal of serving community or shinning your “zetwal” (your very specific purpose in this community or in this world as a whole, including the rest of nature)

Answered by Jean Sebastien Duvilaire, Houngan Asògwe

Vodou Series | Dreams

Q: You mentioned getting messages in your dreams. What is the importance of dreams for a Vodwizan? And by dreams do you mean lucid dreaming (aware that you are in a dream) or astral traveling (willful out of body experience)?

Dreams are very important for a Vodwizan. They are important for everyone. There are certain messages you don’t receive when you are awake, so they come to you in your sleep. I’m talking about regular dreams.

Now astral traveling, that’s also part of Vodou but one must know how to meditate. When you are a servant of Lwas, you must meditate. Meditation helps a lot with concentration. That’s why I always tell people, you must prepare yourself mentally, physically and spiritually so you can be a good Vodwizan and serve the lwas.

I’ve astral projected once, my child was in Miami, I was lightly asleep when suddenly I realized I had travelled to Miami. I found myself massaging my son’s stomach and talking to him because he was saying he wasn’t feeling well. Once my consciousness returned in my body, I called my wife and asked to speak to him. When he got on the phone I said “What’s up doc?” and he replied “Daddy I’m doing great because you came and you massaged my tummy”. My wife commented that he must have been dreaming. I just agreed with her but really I know it happened because I saw myself actually going there and massaging him.

So that’s real. A lot of people, the elders don’t know that meditation is a part of Vodou but it is. Because it’s important to focus and do your work properly. One should wake up in the morning and mediate and again in the evening. Meditation is a part of Vodou.

Answered by Arry Mazaka, Houngan Asògwe

Vodou Series | Curse

Q: Will you be cursed if you stop serving the lwas? Is it true that people who want out, can have terrible things happen to them or develop mystical diseases with no scientific explanation or that the curse falls on their children? Do you like being possessed? Do you have free will to decide to not let them possess you any longer if you so wish?

If I ever wanted the lwas to stop mounting me, I could just talk to them, tell them I’m getting old, I can’t do it anymore, I can’t take these kinds of turbulences anymore and I could try to do spiritual readings for people and find other ways. I could just get messages from them in my sleep if say, they wanted me to deliver a message to someone. They’ve done this before, you understand? That wouldn’t be a problem.

And IF I also decided to stop serving them altogether, they wouldn’t give me any trouble either. I would just do one last beautiful dance for them, feed them and just wash my hands from it, say that I’m done. But as the people say “M asire anba l’ONA, mwen m asire anba pye lwa m yo.” That’s not even a thought of mine.

There is a difference between Guinen Lwas, our ancestral Lwas from Africa, and when someone goes to buy a “pwen”, an ‘angajman”.

For example, say someone went to by an ‘angajman’, what people call a devil, it’s not a devil it’s an engagement / contract that you just put in your home. You just bought a ‘pongongon” and welcomed it home. Now when you decide to leave it, it might cause a sort of a ‘side effect’ on you. It will cause a negative reaction / consequence. You went looking for trouble.

But when you have a natural, ancestral spirit by your side, there is no side effect. Only thing is, since you’ve decided to no longer have anything to do with the lwa, it may go find another family member because it’s an ancestral, familial spirit. But people who go buy a ‘pwen, pongongon, dyab’ to get rich for example, and decide to ditch it after they get their money, bad things happen to them. As the people say ‘se li ki tal cheche pongongon, pongongon boulvese l’.

Back when I was a youth, I used to be upset about getting possessed ‘why me? Why all this?’ but then I realized that whenever the Lwa mounts me it is doing a good thing by helping other Vodwizan, other children of Guinen. So I’ve accepted it, it no longer bothers me; I’m happy. My vow was to shed light on the path of all the children of Guinen, all Vodwizan, all Haitians. I will give my all for that. And if I must be mounted by Lwas to do so then I’m happy with that 100%

Answered by Arry Mazaka, Houngan Asògwe