Saturday, December 18, 2010

Samedi: La Tribu de Ghede

Though Baron Samedi is King of the Ghede and Lord of the Cemetery, he has a number of associate and cousin Ghede who rule over other aspects of Death and Sexuality. Here, for your perusal, is a by no means all inclusive list of the Barons and the Ghede as they were taught to me during my time in Les Cayes, Haiti:

Linto ~ an unusual Ghede child who represents the lost children among the dead, those aborted, miscarried, still born, or neglected or abused until they died. Frequently represented as a skeletal child dressed in rags.

Maman Brigitte ~ first among the Ghede lwa as wife of Baron Samedi, she is the just judge and wise cracking mother of the Dead.

Ghede Loraye ~ frequently described as a little woman who appears near shore before a storm, she is the keeper of the Dead at sea and a particular concern of sailors. I find it interesting that her name is similar to Lorelei, a legendary European mermaid and former storm goddess.

Ghede Masaka ~ another female Ghede, she is usually given a wide berth by all but the darkest sorcerers. She is considered an angry spirit that represents women who died in childbirth. She carried a gris-gris bag with poisons and the umbilical cord of her lost offspring in it. Rarely, she is pictured holding the hand of Linto.

Baron Samedi ~ as noted previously, the Lord of the Ghede.

Baron Cimetière ~ the Lord of the Cemetery who decides who is welcome among the Dead and who must remain alive.

Baron Le Croix ~ represented by the main cross in any cemetery, he is the keeper of the community of the Dead.

Ghede Brav ~ the Lord of the Penis, he is usually represented by a phallus or as a skeleton with an obvious aura of excitement in his genital area.

Ghede Double ~ the giver of divinatory talent, those who read fortunes will call on him.

Ghede Fouye ~ upon the order of Baron Cimetière, he digs the grave of the newly dead.

Ghede Lorage ~ I was told that this Ghede is relatively new to the pantheon and that he specifically deals with those who die by gunshot. He may be an upshot of the violent times surrounding the Dictatorships of the Duvalier family, but that is speculation on my part. Ghede Lorage is mentioned in the brilliant documentary Cite de Soleil about the large slum in Port-au-Prince by the same name, which I highly recommend.

Ghede Nivo ~ who tends the tomb.

Ghede Souffrant ~ the Ghede who suffers, a patron of those who die after protracted illness, torture or other long suffering.

The Ghede, like death itself, are innumerable, but this list gives you an idea of the care to detail that has been taken by Voudon in the land of the dead. In a place where suffering and death have always stalked the people, it is little wonder that the Ghede are everywhere.

Header: Ghede Barons by Voodoomama

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