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a180: One Great Thing About Being a Mambo of Haitian Vodou... (fwd)

From: Racine125@aol.com

There are a lot of advantages to being a Mambo of Haitian Vodou, and this is 
true whether you are Haitian or not.

One great thing about being a Mambo of the Vodou is that in our religion, 
women and men are completely equal. That is to say that there is no role, 
rank, grade or ceremonial function which can be done by one sex but not by 
the other.  And a Mambo who is more effective, conducts more inspiring 
ceremonies, more easily manifests spiritual energy (as is often enough the 
case) will have a bigger congregation and more clients, and more RESPECT, 
than Houngans in the area where she lives.  We get TONS more respect in Haiti 
 than an Episcopal minister or Roman Catholic father gets in the USA. 

Women in Haiti are hugely disempowered, domestic violence  against women is 
condoned, polygamy (by men!) is also  condoned, and most avenues of 
employment are not available to women. 

But the priesthood is open to women! And this is one way that women in Haiti 
can gain social status and earn money. Beyond that, a Houngan or Mambo asogwe 
(the highest rank, like a bishop), is usually the head of a congregation, 
which provides for that Mambo and for each other a sort of "safety net". We 
take care of our congregation members, and they take care of us and each 
other, in case of illness or 
other calamity. This is an extremely valuable asset in a country where 
medical care is strictly fee-for-service, meaning NO fee, NO service, you can 
die in the hospital 
gate if you have no money. It also provides security in old age, and a place 
of refuge in case a domestic partner is violent. 

My initiates call me either "Mambo" or "mama", and they defer to me as they 
would to a parent. I, in turn, take care of them, set them up in business, 
find jobs for them, 
pay their children's school fees, do whatever is needed to improve their 
standard of living. And you can imagine - not even a fly had better land on 
me and let them see! LOL! 

Beyond the social and material advantages, I have been prepared by the Vodou 
tradition and the kanzo (initiation) ceremony to address, communicate with, 
invoke and direct spiritual power. It's remarkable what we can do! Our 
ceremonies are beautiful, and they are as much community social events as 
religious observances. Being a Mambo has given me a place of power, honor and 
influence in my community in Haiti, in just the same way that my Master's 
degree and professional employment does in the USA but to a much greater 

Peace and love,

Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen

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

The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html