Baron Samedi is the Lord of the Dead in Haitian Voudon, New Orleans voodoo and American hoodoo. He, along with two other lwa known collectively as “The Barons”, is the leader of the spirits of the dead who are called the Ghede. Samedi is the word for Saturday in French and Haitian Kreyol so today is the Baron’s sacred day.
When speaking of the lwa (or loa), which roughly translates to English as “spirit” but can also mean “law”, it is important to be clear on what they are. The lwa are not gods in the way that Neopagans and Wiccans refer to Brigit or Athena, Lugh or Oden. There is only one God in Haitian Voudon and related practices, the Bon Dieu: Good God. The lwa are more like powerful thought forms or even ancestors in some cases. I personally think of them as akin to Roman Catholic saints probably because I was brought up in the Catholic Church and because each lwa has a corresponding Catholic Saint (more on that another time).
The Baron is a dapper dresser who, like many of the Ghede spirits, is bawdy in his speech and appreciates fine food, drink and cigars. He seems like fun guy to be around and he can be, but it is important to remember that he is a powerful and sometimes angery spirit that must be treated with all due respect. The Baron is the voice of the ancestors as well. If he visits your dreams he is probably coming with a message from your people. Many times he brings word that you are neglecting them and should get right by your ancestors as soon as possible.
Baron Samedi is also the patron spirit of the city of New Orleans. You will see his veve (the sacred symbol shown at the header) his image and so called “voodoo dolls” representing the Baron all over NOLA. You might have seen him at televised Saints games – or a man taking on the persona of the lwa – his face painted like a skull, his clothing black and a top hat on his head. Saturday will be devoted to the Ghede in general and Baron Samedi in particular here at HQ. Come back tout Samedi for more and I’ll see you next week with herbs, cards and a healthy does of fun. Aurevoir ~