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Ogou, Lwa of Power!



 Learn a general service for Ogou!

St. James the Greater associated with Ogou in Rada
Good photo for Ogou Sen Jak as it is Sen Jak

  Ogou is a Nago Orisha.  We can supposse that when the Nago people came to Haiti, all their spirits became grouped together with Ogou.  This is because we have many Ogous that are known that have the name of Oricha.  We serve Ogou Shango, Ogou Batala, Osanj (Not Ogou Osanj).
  Ogou has become like a last name of a whole family of spirits; these form a Nasyon. (Nation) In this case the Nasyon Nago.  Some are not titled with the name Ogou yet are served within this rite.  An example of this is again, Osanj.  Osanj may come from Osain, an Oricha of the leaves, as he has leaves in common. 
  People have personal and family Ogous too.  I know one Houngan who serves an Ogou known as Ogou Tako.  This Ogou came from his maternal line.  He is really old, directly from Ginen, he explained.  I have also witnessed others become possessed by family Ogous.  So you can imagine how big the Nago Nation is!
  Some of the commonly known Ogou are Ogou Sen Jak, Ogou Yemsen, Ogou Badagri, Ogou Balindjo, and more.  Ogou Feray is definately one Ogou that is served widely, and I would say that he is one of the most frequent visitors.  He is known to be the husband of Ezili Freda. 
 All of this yet, you will often here, "All Ogous are Ogou".  Even though this saying sounds to make it rather simple, and there are many commonalities with the service of the Lwa Ogou, there are a variety of nuances that are within the service of the Lwa Ogou. 
  Another thing that you may find also true is that in Vodou Peristyles, there are slight variations on the service of Ginen.  Everything is not the same everywhere.  This is because the Vodou tradition does allow some room for creativity, and the Lwa are living, breathing entities.  So various things may change from one house to another. 
  All Ogous though represent some type of power.  Power to create or to destroy.  Ogou Balindjo rules over healing power.  He is a healer and is known to nullify poison.  Ogou Feray is a lwa of war, of battle.  Ogou Badagri is a known diplomat.  He rules over diplomacy. 
  Different Ogou also act differently during possession.  Ogou Feray often yells, Ogou Sen Jack has a high pitched feminine type voice.  Yet all Ogous have things in common.   They also drink different things, and may have different vevers.  Again, they are a family of spirits.  There is no way I could even hope to list them all here. 
  There are also praise names for the lwa Ogou, that should not get confused with the actual different Ogous.  Ogou is sometimes refered to as Orisha Nago, Neg Nago, Gren Pwomene, Papillon.  Ogou is often viewed as a military General. 
  Ogou is also the master of the machete.  Most Ogous can usually be spotted by seeing them wave this around.  Some Ogous stick the point of the machete on their stomach and bend it. Sometimes he may beat his head with the machete.  He might also slap individuals who he chooses to chastise with the machete.  Even though he may do this, the person isn't harmed.  The person will not come out with bruising or welts or anything of the sort.
This is all information for a basic service that can be offered to Ogou.  When approaching a specific Ogou, it is best to be able to include all their details in the service.  This is just going to be some general information.  You can construct a basic service from this, but as you learn about the Ogou you will begin to elaborate and be able to serve a specific Ogou. 
  Ogou is a lover too.  He loves women.  Oftentimes, he may propose to women while in the head of someone.  There are songs for Ogou that said he suffered working and not eating, simply to buy a woman a dress.  Ogou is a lwa of masculinity.
 He is associated with fire.  There can often be found a fe Ogou, or Ogou's iron, on the peristyle grounds.  This Iron, coming half way out of the ground, has specific ceremonies done to install it.  A fire is built around this iron during ceremonies.  If the ceremony is specifically for Ogou, this may be the focus.  The Lwa may also decide to make this their focus, especially during the Ogou section of the ceremony.  (OFten times during the Petro rite too)
  Ogou is often invoked during magickal battles.  Oftentimes, Houngans and Mambos are involved in magical wars against each other, or against an enemy.  There are also songs, chante pwen, that sung during someone's ceremony will "kraze" it.  "Kraze" meaning to break it.  These are sometimes sung by a visiting Houngan or Mambo if he is in a battle with the Houngan or Mambo of the house.
  Ogou is also about justice too.  In Nigeria, people used to swear on the machete of Ogou the same way people swear on the bible in court today.  He is said to punish people who talk about things they have no business speaking of.  Ogou represents battle, all sorts, with other people, with the government, with oneself, against outsiders. 
    Like all Lwa, Ogou has songs that are sacred to him.  Some of the songs are directed to a specific aspect of Ogou.  Other songs are songs to Ogou in general.  Still other songs combine the names of several Ogous and they may be interacting.  All Ogous are very close and related. 
  Some popular personalities are also considered Ogou.  Ogou Dessalines comes to mind here.  Other Ogou are straight Ginen.  Some Ogou are considered to be Petro or to be served in that rite.  All Ogous, however, are served within the Nago Rite.  The Nago nation comes just between Rada and Petro, in fact.  So you have Rada Ogou and Petro Ogou.
  Ogou's colors are blue and red.  White can also be added should you be serving an Ogou that is considered Rada.  You will notice that blue and red are the colors of the Haitian Flag.  Red, white, and blue are the colors of the USA, also considered a SuperPower and warrior type nation.
  You can buy red and blue kerchiefs for Met Ogou.  Ogou sometimes dresses in khaki too.  You might decide to at least get him a khaki military shirt.  He may wear a Panama hat, a particular straw hat.  He may even dress a military general.  Some Ogous are known as soldiers. 
  Ogou's sacrificial animal is a red rooster.  The bigger and more beautiful rooster the better.  He also takes bulls for sacrifice too.  I think you may be better off with the red rooster. ; )
  Most Ogou drink rum.  Some, especially the Petro Ogou, prefer kleren.  This is really raw rum.  The rum may be steeped in different herbs accordingly too.  One Ogou in particular likes Akasan ak siwo. (Its sort of a milkshake type of drink with syrup)
  You can serve Ogou red rice and beans, red candles, fresh fruits (in particular mangos as they are associated with him), beef, and chicken.  Sweet potatoes and bananas.  You should serve him in a kwi. (Calabash bowl)  You can get him a machete and a cigar too. 
  You can use a large rock or the bottom of a pot to bang the machete against.  While you do this call Ogou.  It is best if this rock has been specially prepared by a Houngan or Mambo as a pwen to call Ogou.  It will get his attention faster. Yell for Ogou.  Dance for Ogou and sing for Ogou.
  You can also invoke Ogou using a tcha tcha.  Salute the four directions.  Salute with your offerings too.  Usually when food is given to a Lwa to consume, a candle is put in the center and lit.
  When you are finished, ask Ogou to serve you.  Ask him to find you a job, if that is what you need.  (This is a particular good task to ask from Ogou as he is a workaholic.)  Tell him to protect you, basically ask him for what you need.  You should then thank him and leave.  After at least twenty four hours, you can take the food to the woods.
  Keep the rum and other drinks and leave them on the altar.  Leave your machete there too along with your other gifts.  When you want to call Ogou, use his rum to libiate.  Keep Ogou happy and he will work his hardest to do the same for you.

St. George
This image is used for Ogou in Petro aspects

Veve for Ogou Feray