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#3592: The Role of the Sanpwel (fwd)
Sanpwel is not a Vodou religious phenomenon, it is a secular organization
affiliated with Vodou, much as the Knights of Colombus are affiliated with
the Roman Catholic Church. The confusion between Sanpwel and Vodou is
compounded by the fact that
high-ranking Houngans and Mambos are often high-ranking Sanpwel members.
The Sanpwel functions as a law-enforcement agency, and takes sanctions
against people who violate one or more of the "Seven Conditions". These
violations include disrespect of parents or siblings, slander which deprives
someone of their livelihood, "stealing" a woman (?), speaking ill of the
Sanpwel, and other offenses.
Sanctions range from a kou le (French - coup l'aire) which induces a mild
to zombification.Parents often frighten misbehaving children with stories
Sanpwel, but actually no sanctions are ever undertaken without a meeting of
higher-ranking society members and usually members of the offender's family.
It is not an arbitrary and unfair exercise of authority. Now, having said
that, I should note that the Sanpwel societies, like some Houngans and
Mambos, were in some measure corrupted during the Duvalierist regimes.
It is difficult for me to say more, because as a member of the Sanpwel I am
secrecy on certain topics, but I have said some of what I am free to say, and
it will shed some light.
Peace and love,
Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
"Se bon ki ra",
Good is rare - Haitian Proverb
The VODOU Page - <A HREF="http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html">http://