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#3624: Does this sound like the lwa Baron to you? Grey replies to Lewis


Whoa NELLIE!  First of all, supposedly it is the Ghede lwa and NOT Baron who 
uses profanity, though I must say that I have seen some Barons who apparently 
didn't know this rule.  :-)

Secondly, Bébé Pierre Louis, as you well know, the profanity of the Ghedes is 
NEVER used viciously, but always humorously.  I have heard a Ghede refer to a 
truck stuck in traffic as a "big dick stuck in a tight vagina".  They make 
puns on "linet" for eyeglasses and "langyet" for clitoris.  They tell 
hysterically funny jokes.  But they NEVER, EVER curse AT people, they do not 
curse "f*cking white people" or "f*cking lesbians".  They never direct 
vicious abuse at individuals, either.

And I am not the only person to be horrified at the inauthenticity of the 
Philadephia wannabeMambo's site!  Even the venerable Mambo Mama Lola, Karen 
Brown's subject and partner for the excellent book of the same title, utterly 
rejected this so-called "possession by Baron" as inauthentic in the presence 
of several of my contacts, as have many other Haitian Houngans and Mambos to 
whom I have shown it.

And excuse me, but if no one in the "Le Peristyle Haitian Sanctuary" is 
Haitian, or even speaks Creole, and when the wannabeMambo in charge claims to 
be not only "a representative of Jesus Christ" but also "the only true Mambo 
in the United States", completely ignoring the presence of dozens and dozens 
of Mambos in the Haitian diaspora, including some right there in 
Philadelphia, then that "sanctuary" is completely out of touch with the 
Haitian community.  I don't think you will suggest to me, Bébé, that there is 
only one Mambo in the USA!  And when that wannabeMambo advertises online a 
"Dance Voodaoun", $25 at the door, complete with "Latin Horns Jazz Band" (I 
swear I am not making this up!  LOL!), then it becomes just plain absurd.

Moreover, when that wannabeMambo takes advantage of her phoney possessions to 
physically attack personal enemies, this is nothing short of blasphemy.  Even 
in Haiti, if someone claiming to be possessed injures someone else, then they 
are responsible before the law just as they would be under normal 
circumstances, IF the injured person chooses to prosecute.  Don't tell me it 
isn't so!  "La lwa (the law, not the lwa) pa rekonnet wanga" is a common 
enough phrase in Haitian courts, where I have attended many, many times in my 
capacity as Human Rights Observer with the UN/OAS Mission.  Furthermore, the 
lwa and the person possessed are two different entities.  If a putative lwa 
in the head of a person rejects that person's personal enemies or takes up 
the personal issues of the person possessed, the possession is immediately 
regarded as inauthentic.  You know this too, Bébé.

Indeed, I remember one rather volatile Houngan who, in a fit of bad temper, 
beat his laplace, and later tried to excuse the act as having been committed 
by a lwa.  This excuse was utterly rejected by the Houngan's congregation, 
which deserted his peristyle for a few weeks until he promised not to do it 
again.  Houngans and Mambos are expected to protect their communities, as the 
actions of the Houngan in "The Masters of the Country" also indicate, just to 
give one example.  (That story is not fiction, Bébé, it is a translation of a 
monologue by a Houngan in Cite Soleil with whom I sometimes work.)

As to Gran Bwa, he is not the "lwa who ordains", the lwa who gives the asson 
is Papa Loko. You know that, Bébé, so perhaps I misunderstand you.  I don't 
know what they do in Mali because I haven't been there yet, but "Gran Bwa se 
gran moun, O!", merely means "Gran Bwa is a big, or important person".  Other 
songs use this phrase too - "Ibo gran moun O!  La fanmi Ibo gran moun O!" and 
"Tout Houngan gran moun lakay pa yo" and so on.

I don't know who told you that Gran Bwa is not interested in sexual matters!  
Nearly every Gran Bwa I have ever met was concerned in some way with 
fertility and sexual vigor, as are many other lwa, owing to the general 
emphasis on fertility in Vodou, as opposed to the renunciation of sexuality 
the Christian tradition.  What is written in books by "ethnologues" and 
"anthropologues" is very often different from what happens in peristyles when 
the ethnologues and anthropologues go home!

The Gran Bwa who visits our peristyle is undeniably authentic - to give a 
rather pedestrian proof let me relate that while he was in the head of my 
partner Houngan, Yabofe Bon Houngan, I have seen him demonstrate his vigor by 
performing feats of physical strength that Yabofe in his own senses could 
never do, including carrying three large people around the peristyle, one on 
his back and one on each shoulder, meanwhile dancing, for half an hour!  I 
was one of those people, and I am six feet tall and weigh a well-conditioned 
175 pounds, the other two were big Haitian men whom I even I, fit as I am, 
could scarcely carry one at a time for more than a few minutes.  And if I 
could, I would tell you some of the things Gran Bwa did in the djevo, the 
spiritual states he induced in the initiates, which were nothing short of 
miraculous.  Of course, what happens in the djevo is secret and I can't talk 
about it here.

But you can take it up with Yabofe Bon Houngan in Jacmel if you like.  (And 
Bébé, the peristyle is on his property, but it belongs to all of us who serve 
there.  If I want to move in there tomorrow and live and serve there for the 
rest of my life, I have every right to do so, as has been made clear to me on 
more than one occasion.  What do you think, when I go down there for months 
at a time to do initiations and so on, I pay rent?  LOL!)

If you think it is "frivolous" to denounce the frauds and charlatans who 
defame, deform, and rip off our religion, how much more "frivolous" is it to 
BE one of those frauds?  I will continue to denounce Houngans who claim to be 
able to cure AIDS when they know doggone well they can't, Houngans who 
sexually harass female initiation candidates, pretend "witches" who sell 
"VooDoo Lessons" about "dark content" online for $30 a pop, phoney "brujos" 
who will tell you the "secrets of the dreaded bokor in seven easy lessons", 
and wannabeMambos with inauthentic fake "possessions" who sell "spiritual 
soap" on their websites at $40 a bar!  That's a "soap job" for real.

This does not make me a Christian, Bébé!  It makes me a faithful servant of 
the lwa Guinea.  It is true that all of us Vodouisants are one big family.  
Membership in that family does not depend on being black, but on being 
Vodouisant.  It is also undeniably true that inauthentic charlatans are 
ROBBING THAT FAMILY!  Vodou is international now, and online, and on TV - 
since we do not have seminaries like Christians, or bishops who can 
excommunicate charlatans, since we do not give "diplomas" (LOL!), and since 
many non-Haitians have but little idea of the true nature of our religion, it 
becomes all too easy for frauds and charlatans to put on a costume, make up a 
"nom vayan" or even get confused and claim that their name IS Nomvayan 
(LOL!), and start leading people astray for money.

But on to other things - since it is Mothers' Day, I and my initiates all 
over the world, from San Francisco right around to London and back again, are 
taking this opportunity to join in a ceremony for La Sirene.  We have also 
written an abbreviated ceremony which non-initiates can perform, in order to 
join with us.  As you know I am sure, La Sirene is represented in every 
culture which has contact with the sea - she is Yemonja and La Sirene, the 
Great Silkie in Ireland and Mami Wata in Ghana and so on... And I invite Bébé 
Pierre Louis and everyone else on this list, even non-initiates, even 
non-Vodouisants in fact, to simply light a blue candle in front of a glass of 
sea-water or salt water, and put a sea shell there if you have one, and ask 
La Sirene's blessings on your house and your health.  :-)

For more information on this ceremony and other issues in Vodou, or just to 
demonstrate to yourself the level of international interest in Haitian Vodou, 
you can check out the Roots Without End discussion board at 

My initiate son, the British author Mr. Ross Heaven, also has two discussion 

VoodooEnergy at (http://www.egroups.com/group/VoodooEnergy) - A discussion 
and learning list for those who appreciate the energetic power of voudon, 
santeria, etc (all known as 'voodoo' on this list in order to welcome and 
celebrate all forms!). Not so much a religious forum as a study forum for 
those who see the use of voodoo as a way of connecting with, using and 
transforming the natural energies of the universe, with the potential to use 
them for good. Parallels with shamanism and other energetic forms are also 
welcomed as subjects for discussion. Not, however, a good list if you're 
looking for 'black magic', orgies, zombies, human sacrifice and other 


Vodou UK (at http://www.egroups.com/group/Vodou_UK) - Many people in the UK 
practice or are interested in Vodou (voudo, vaudu, voodoo, whatever...!) but 
struggle to get information, make contacts, develop a community....

In fact, there are currently at least seven discussion forums online where 
authentic Houngans and Mambos, and interested parties, are seeking community 
with other like-minded individuals.  If you think I come down hard on frauds 
and charlatans, you should hear THEM!  These are people who have been, some 
of them, ripped off on a grand scale by phoney-baloney pretenders, and who 
are more than happy to find legitimate, authentic Vodouisants, including 
Houngans and Mambos.

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://