The Gede Lwa are some of the most interesting, funny and outrageous
spirits in the Vodou tradition. Their leader, known to them as their father, is Baron Semetye. Baron is the head
of the cemetary and he rules over it with his wife, Maman Brijit.
Every Cemetary has it's own Baron and Brijit and these are identified
by certain tombs. The first male buried in a cemetary is a Baron and the first female a Brijit. In Haiti, crosses
will be erected for each one at that tomb. People needing to commision them thus go to the cross.
There are several different Baron Lwa, some more common than others.
Baron Lakwa (the cross), Baron Semetye (cemetary) and Baron Samedi. Barons are judges. When you leave your problems
at the foot of Baron, you can be assured that he will seek out the innocent.
Baron and Brijit serve as the father and mother of the family of Lwa
known as the Gede. This unit is considered a family unit rather than the other groups of Lwa known as nations.
There are many hundreds and hundreds of Gede lwa, if not thousands, and they are always the life of a party.
The Gede Lwa dance the banda. The banda is a very crude dance
that mimes sexual intercourse. The Gede are vulgar and are known to cuss and playfight. There are many personal
Gedes out there as well as root (racine) Gedes. By far the most known and honored of these root Gedes is Brav Gede Nibo.
Gede's feast day is November 2nd also known as All Souls in the Catholic
church. During this feast, Gede prance the streets in Haiti, ceremonial processions are held, and hundreds of people
become possessed by the Gedes. This party is a ball!
The Barons, Brijits and Gedes are served with the colors
black, white and purple. Certain ones prefer certain combinations of the colors. They drink piman. Piman
is a raw rum in which 21 hot peppers have been soaked. This stuff is so hot that someone faking a possession would burn
their mouth out.
Gedes often will show that the possession is true by washing their
face in this mixture. Some Gedes will wash their genitals, as well as pour some in their eyes. Gedes will drink
this fiery mixture like water too!
Gedes are known for their foul language and vulgarity. They are
known to cuss, to use slang, and continually talk about sex. They may embarass people letting their secrets be known.
Gedes grind on people, refer to clitorises, penises and vaginas on a regular bases.
Gede doesn't have to follow civilized rules because he is dead and
above all recourse. Thus he does things that would probably be unthinkable to others. Gede is known to be a thief
at times and usually steals little things here and there. He wears sunglasses that are missing a lense. Some say
this is so that he can see above and below ground. Others explain this as the penis only has one hole, and yet others
say that this is because Papa Gede sees the worlds of the living and the dead.
These Lwa are known as powerful magicians. Baron and Brijit are
often invoked to save people from death. (Usually caused by wangas from the victims enemies) They are also excellent
prophesizers and extremely psychic. A Gede is a wonderful ally! Gede is a healer and is the protector of children.
People having trouble conceiving will often seek out the assistance
of a Baron or Gede Lwa. Gedes assist in fertility as they are so keenly connected with sex. Gede is also called
to heal ill children, help feed the children (for money) and almost anything in connection with the children.
Many Houngans and Mambos have a Gede that they serve to consult their
clients. Gede lends that extra bit of information needed in order to resolve issues. He gives us that extra ounce
of clarity and truth. Gede will also embarrass people he consider snobby should he come across them.
Gede is mischievous and has a great sense of humor. He is a riot and many laughs
as well as smiles will be had as a result of watching the Gedes. Gede yo (Gedes) as well as the Baron and Brijit hold
wisdom of ancestors, of all the dead, of death itself and more.
St. Gerard Majella is the Catholic Image that serves for Gede. In the image, Gerard
is featured holding the cross with a skull on a table on the left side. St. Gerard is also known for taking care of
women during pregnancy as is typically associated with Gede Lwa. Gede also comes and treats the womb of a pregnant woman
or one who would like to get pregnant.
Since there are so many different things that can be said about all
the different Gedes, I will never be able to put it all on paper nor will I probably ever know it all, as no one ever will.
New Gedes appear all the time, as Baron and Brijit birth them into existance. So I hope this can suffice as a short
introduction about this particular family of Lwa.