Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ogou: Lwa of Iron & War

 (Above: the veve of Ogou Feray)
In Haitian Vodou, Ogou is the Lwa of war, iron, battles, and is also a lover of the ladies. Ogou is actually a family name for a large number of spirits who fall into the Nago nation of lwa. Most of these lwa are connected to warfare and have positions in the military. The most popular Ogou is Ogou Feray, who is the husband of Metres Ezili Freda (lwa of love and beauty, sister to Ezili Danto).

Ogou is a hot spirit. By this I mean that he can be more fierce than the calmer lwa and from what I hear can and will yell quite loudly. He is associated with the colors red and blue (the colors of the Haitian flag). He is given cigars, machetes, rum, and red scarves. Even though Ogou is in the Nago nation of spirits he is  served in the Petro rite. This is where it gets really confusing. Many lwa of the Nago nation are served as Petro but some are served as Rada. It doesn't take much effort to prove to someone that there are many spirits in the Nago nation. Houngan Hector from even reports that there are many Ogous that come from family lineages. Which just adds more to this immense nasyon.

Since Ogou is married to Ezili Freda he is also married to her sister, Ezili Danto. There is a longstanding feud between Freda and Danto, so many Vodousiants put Ogou Feray between their altars in order to cool the energies. Ogou loves women and even proposes during fets (ceremonies). Ogou is syncretized with St. George, as this image depicts a soldier on a white horse.

An altar to Ogou could consist of a table covered in red and blue, a bottle of rum, a large machete, cigars, red scarves, railroad spikes (iron), and hearty foods as offerings. Ogou is a very protective lwa and has proven to be an invaluable ally to many.


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