hounfo

the parish or region of a houngan or mambo's influence.
govi
a small earthen bottle into which the gros-bon-ange of dead ancestors can rescued. After a person dies the gros-bon-ange goes to the underwater place. A year and a day after he or she goes their the relatives can recall the gros-bon-ange. Unfortunately this is a very expensive service, requiring a significant animal sacrifice, often an ox. Thus it is often considerable time before the service can be done. If too much time passes the ancestor may get a bit restless and cause trouble--illness etc.
serviteurs
serious practitioners of Voodoo.
ason
the magic rattle of the houngan or mambo.
lave tet
(washing of the head) an initiation ceremony held for serviteurs after they have been mounted for the first time.
kanzo
the initiation ceremonies for those moving into a very serious level of Voodoo practice.
taking of the ason
the final initiation into being a houngan or mambo.

NOTE: Both kanzo and the taking of the ason are very secret services. However, in Alfred Mtraux's book (VOODOO IN HAITI), through observation and talking with people who were not too careful about the secrecy of kanzo, he has pieced together a detailed account of the ceremony.

verve
ceremonial drawings done in flour, of the various loa.
peristyle
the Voodoo temple. A tiny tiny place.
poto mitan
the center pole in a Voodoo peristyle. It represents the center of the universe and all dancing revolves around the poto mitan.
Les Invisibles
all spirits.
Les Mysteries
1--the loa themselves.
2--sacred knowledge. Also called konesans.
The crossroads.
A central image in Voodoo. This is the place where the two worlds (earth and spirit world) meet. Virtually all Voodoo acts, even healing, begin with the acknowledgment of the crossroads.

Some of the central loa in the Voodoo pantheon:

Legba.
An old man who is the gatekeeper between the two worlds, world of earth and the world of the Invisibles. He is the origin of life. The sun is one of his symbols, but he is also the source of regeneration and uses the symbol of the phallus.
Kalfu
(crossroads) is the Petro counterpart to Legba. He is the spirit of the night, the origins of darkness. The moon is his symbol. He can be placated, but is a dangerous loa.
Papa Ghede.
Loa of death and resurrection. A total clown. Very erotic and comic. He is the lord of eroticism.
Dumballah.
The father figure. He is the good snake. The source of peace and tranquillity. The egg is offered to him when he comes to mount a person. He is much loved and sought after. His wife Aida-wedo attends him.
Agw.
The sovereign of the seas. Especially honored, as one might well expect, by people who live near the sea.
Ogoun.
The warrior. Today, too, the force of politics. Violent.
Erzulie.
The earth mother. Spirit of the goddess of love. The muse of beauty. (Strongly identified with the Virgin Mary.) Her appearance (when she mounts someone) is one of cleansing, dressing, delicate foods daintily eaten. She can read the future in dreams. A much loved loa.
Posted by SunKat 

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