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The Ogoun Group in Vodou

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  • Mambo Racine Sans Bout
    The Ogoun group in Vodou is fascinating! Most Ogouns are in the Rada group, but there are Petro Ogouns as well. There are many, many aspects of Ogoun,
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 12, 2000
      The Ogoun group in Vodou is fascinating! Most
      Ogouns are in the Rada group, but there are Petro
      Ogouns as well. There are many, many aspects of
      Ogoun, including the "classic" Ogoun, Ogoun Feray
      (Feraille in French), the owner of all things made of
      metal, including machetes and by extension all weapons
      of war and all metal tools. There is the "diplomatic"
      Ogoun, Ogoun Badagri, there is the deeply mystical
      Ogoun Deux Manieres who is both male and female,
      heterosexual and homosexual, Rada and Petro. There
      are even "Catholic" Ogouns such as Ogoun St. Jacques.

      There are other Ogouns who in Nago tradition are
      separate Orishas. Because Ogoun was so emblematic
      of orisha service and of the Nago people, at least in
      the eyes of non-Nigerian (Beninois, Kongo) practitioners
      during the formative period of Haitian Vodou, "Ogoun"
      became a sort of category heading to indicate an entity
      of Nago origin. Thus we have Ogoun Batala (from
      Obatala), Ogoun Shango (from Shango, of course),
      and a few others.

      Ogoun in the Rada group is usually represented by images
      of the lwa St. Jacques Majeur, St. James the Greater. He
      rides across a battlefield strewn with fallen soldiers, sitting
      calmly on a white horse, and flanked by a man in a full suit
      of armor (said to represent Ogoun Fer, "Iron Ogoun").

      Ogoun in Petro is represented by St. George killing the dragon,
      mounted again on a white horse but this time actively
      struggling, spearing the dragon in fact. He wears red plumes
      on his helmet.

      All Ogouns, without exception, illustrate ways of power.
      Here are a few songs:

      For Ogoun Fer ("Iron Ogoun", who walks with Ogoun Feray)

      Ogoun Fer, eh!
      Ogoun Fer, si ou konnen tire machete fok ou konnen pare,
      Ogoun Fer, eh!
      Ogoun Fer, si ou konnen tire machete fok ou konnen pare,
      Tire! Pare! Tire! Pare!
      Ogoun Fer, eh!
      Ogoun Fer, si ou konnen tire machete fok ou konnen pare.

      Ogoun Fer, eh!
      Ogoun Fer, if you know how to strike with the machete,
      you must know how to parry the blow.
      Ogoun Fer, eh!
      Ogoun Fer, if you know how to strike with the machete,
      you must know how to parry the blow.
      Strike! Parry! Strike! Parry!
      Ogoun Fer, eh!
      Ogoun Fer, if you know how to strike with the machete,
      you must know how to parry the blow.

      When this song is sung, sometimes Ogoun Fer will possess
      two of the biggest men in the peristyle, and put on an absolutely
      breathtaking (and terrifying) display of machete fighting. Needless
      to say this lwa is often invoked in "wanga battles"!

      Here is one for Ogoun Badagri. I am told that Badagris is a town in
      Nigeria, and people from this town are reputed to be skilled diplomats
      and negotiators:

      Ogoun Badagri neg politik O! Lese koule pou ka genyen zanmi,
      Ogoun Badagri neg politik O! Lese koule pou ka genyen zanmi,
      Mwen bay ou dan Badagri m pa bay ou ke mwen,
      Mwen bay ou dan Badagri m pa bay ou ke mwen,
      Ogoun Badagri neg politik O! Lese koule pou ka genyen zanmi.

      Ogoun Badagri a diplomatic guy, oh! Let it fall* to
      be able to have friends.
      Ogoun Badagri a diplomatic guy, oh! Let it fall to
      be able to have friends.
      I give you my teeth I don't give you my heart**,
      I give you my teeth I don't give you my heart,
      Ogoun Badagri a diplomatic guy, oh! Let it fall to
      be able to have friends.

      * "Lese koule" is literally "let it pour out", in this context meaning
      "forget about it", as in a problem between two people.

      ** "I give you my teeth, I don't give you my heart", means "I smile
      at you but I don't tell you how I really feel."

      And here is one for Ogoun St. Jacques, a fun one to sing while
      walking or riding:

      Sen Jak O! Map fe yon wout O, an ale ave mwen,
      Sen Jak O! Map fe yon wout O, an ale ave mwen,
      Menm si ou tande kano, pa janm gade deye,
      An ale ave mwen.

      St. Jacques oh! I am traveling along a road, come along with me,
      St. Jacques oh! I am traveling along a road, come along with me,
      Even if you hear cannon shots, never look behind,
      Come along with me.

      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
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