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New to Vodou?


Need to know the basics of Haitian Vodou?

Recently I noticed that this website may not be easily understood.  Many are coming to this beautiful life style and do not yet know the basics.  The very very basics.  I am going to be working on that.  There is just so much to learn in Vodou, that hopefully in time, I may get to cover a little bit of everything for you.  This website will give you some things, that can help you start in Service Ginen.  The service of the Lwa.  Vodou is an initiatory tradition.
  Terms used when referring to initiated servant of Ginen are Houngan or Mambo Asogwe, Houngan or Mambo Sou Pwen, and Hounsi Kanzo. Houngans may also be referred to as Gangan. Hounsi Kanzo should not be confused with hounsi bossal.  Hounsi bossal (wild hounsi) is a non initiate who may attend services at one particular house, who may or may not be preparing for initiation there.  They are usually still considered a member of said society.
  But this does not mean that you cannot serve the Lwa.  In, fact non-initiates serve the lwa, and they outnumber initiates overall.  Although a mere interest in the lwa is a sign of being "reklame" or reclaimed by the Lwa to their service, this does not absolutely mean that you must get initiated.  Initiation will connect you to a house, and will also bestow on you the secrets, the knowledge, power, as well as other material blessings.  But the initiation also confers obligations, that one should fully understand before undertaking it. 
There are all sorts of non-initiates who succeed in serving the Lwa.  You have what some refer to as Houngan and Mambo Djakout, who work magick, have vast amounts of knowledge of Ginen, give readings, in fact does alot of things that Houngans and Mambos do, yet of course they cannot confer initiation.  They may have peristyles (temples) and their members of that house.  Members are not referred to as Hounsi. (People who have achieved the first grade of the Kanzo {Initiation})
You also have people who are within a seperate tradition yet related tradition, known as Makaya.  Again they have peristyles and members too.  They are generally focused on magick, essential to this magick is the service of the Lwa.  Their priests are known as Bokors.
There is another bokor too.  This bokor is an expert in malevolent magick, and uses his abilities to cripple, harm and kill.  He is a for hire specialist.
Haiti also has it's Secret Societies.  One of these well known Societies is the Sanpwel.  They are all over Haiti.  The leader of the peristyle there is referred to as President.  They also do magick for clients, as well as work as a magickal police force.
Vodouisant is a term used when in reference to a person who uninitiated, participates in services for the Lwa, gets work done by Houngan or Mambo, or in some other way participates in service Ginen.  It is a general term.
Another general term is sevite.  It refers to any person, initiated or not, that serves the Lwa.  Sevite actually means servant.  The word Vodou is rarely actually heard used by Vodouisants, rather people simply say that they serve Ginen.  This statement clearly states that our tradition is one of action.  We don't see it so much as a religion, as an action, a practice, a way of life.
  Whether your initiated want to be initiated or are happy non initiated sevite, you should try to make it to Haiti.  That is where it will be easiest for you to learn. This holds especially true, if you are a non initiate, therefore, not a member of a house.  Learning Vodou is not easy, and even the number one Houngan or Mambo continue to learn more and more.  This is because we (people) will never be able to know everything.  A lifetime is to short to know all the mysteries that are in Ginen.
  If you decide to go to Haiti, I suggesst you get alot of information before going.  Life in Haiti is hard, and traveling there is not easy either.  You should also have a good translator there or have a strong knowledge of Haitian Kreyol.  If you are interested in Vodou as your religion, research, study, research, study.  There are many teachers and many things to learn.
Ready to get started?  Read this and complete the ancestor service: