topic posted Tue, February 22, 2011 - 1:09 PM by 
Some results of my research:
Non-Initiates Service for Ogoun

Greetings in the name of God, the ancestors and the lwa! I invite you to perform a service for the lwa Ogoun!

Ogoun in all his aspects is about power! Physical strength, political power, magical power, power in all forms is under the purview of Ogoun. He is also the one who will find you a job, although you will work very hard in any job Ogoun finds for you.

This service will also be about power, because we all need power to conduct our daily lives. We will invoke for power and focus that power. What you choose to do with that power is up to you - you can seek spiritual awareness, invoke for a better job, work to increase your self-esteem, whatever you decide.

Roots Without End Society members are initiates of Mambo Racine and have been taught how to do a more compex ceremony which recognizes their status as Houngans and Mambos and hounsis kanzo, and their ownership of sacred objects such as pakets and kolyes and assons. But even a non-initiate can make a powerful and effective service for Ogoun - especially if the non-initiate has the materials, the bath and the songs provided in the Ogoun Instructional Package.

Ogoun's color is red, and in Haiti red and blue ribbons of a military sort or red and blue uniforms are his. Because the Haitian Army uniform is khaki Ogoun will sometimes dress in that color.

Thus, begin by covering your altar with a red cloth. Place in the middle of the altar a beautiful goblet of water to keep Ogoun cool. Then add any of the following items:

Red and blue silk kerchiefs, red flowers, butterfly images (Ogoun is sometimes called "papillon", or butterfly), the Tarot images of the Ace of Swords, Page of Swords, Knight of Swords, or King of Swords; metal tools including a machete, red wine. A bottle of rum is absolutely necessary unless you are prohibited from having alcohol where you live, for example in military housing. Also place on your altar one white candle and one red candle.

You can give Ogoun food and drink offerings - the red wine and the rum mentioned above, red fruits like apples and strawberries, a plate of raw ground beef, cooked goat meat with sweet potatos and rice and red beans, cake with red icing. Here in the United States it is unlikely that you will be able to sacrifice and cook a red rooster, but that is what we use in Haiti.

Dress in red or in military-type clothes if you can. If you can not find red clothes, wear all white and add red belts or kerchiefs or necklaces. Tie your head with red.

You can get images of St. James the Greater (Santiago) and St. Jorge (Sant George killing the dragon) to represent Ogoun in Rada and in Petro respectively. Most botanicas sell these images, and the image of St. James the Greater is included in the Ogoun Instructional Package. Put them on the wall behind your altar or pin them to the altar cloth where it hangs down in front of the altar.

Begin as usual with the Lords' Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles' Creed, or if these prayers are not appropriate for you because you are Jewish or of some other faith, address in prayer the One Most High God. At this time light your white candle.

Then invoke Legba. Say this:

Papa Legba open the gate for me!
Atibon Legba open the gate for me!
Open the gate for me, Papa, so that I can pass,
When I return, I will thank the lwa.

Now speak to Ogoun. Pour out a little rum three times on the ground, and pour some on the food offerings, the metal tools, or anything else you have provided for him. If you have metal tools bang them together, and if you have a machete that is especially good, whack it against a rock really loudly to call Ogoun. Light your red candle.

Say "Papa Ogoun! Big Nago man, Orisha Nago! Ogoun Feray! All Ogouns are Ogoun, Papa Ogoun come here I beg you and eat this food!"

You can put a small red candle in each food offering, and present it individually. Breathe on the food, touch it to your head, heart and pubic area and put it on the altar. Light the candle in the food offering.

Dance vigorously! If you know Vodou songs about Ogoun sing them, otherwise sing work songs especially about iron, like "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad" or "John Henry Was a Steel Drivin' Man". Naturally it would be better if you knew a few Vodou songs for Ogoun but most people in the USA don't know any so don't worry if you don't either. Dance with strength, dance until you sweat, bang those tools and slam that machete!

Once you are hot and your heart is pounding, say, "Papa Ogoun, you see this food? You see this rum? You see ME? Please give me... " (and here you will ask for whatever you want, whether it is power in a certain situation or a job or health and strength).

If you specifically need employment prepare a red or red-and-blue candle by heating a nail and writing your name on the candle over and over, along with the words, "I need a job". If you know the name of the place you want to work write that too. Put that candle in one of the food offerings.

Ogoun is especially interested in blood, so if you have HIV, leukemia, anemia or another blood disorder you can ask Ogoun to cleanse and invigorate your blood. This will not cure you, but it might help you to feel better, build up those red corpuscles, cut down that viral load, who knows? Try it and see, it certainly can't hurt. Note - if you cut yourself or if you already have a sore, or if you are menstruating, say to Ogoun very clearly, "Papa Ogoun, my blood is NOT FOR YOU to drink." Never offer Ogoun your own blood, just ask him to clean your blood and to give you health and strength.

Now sit down and spend some time in front of your altar. Do divination if you want to. You can read cards or throw coconut or use cowries or whatever you usually do.

When you are ready, leave the room and let the candles in the food offerings burn to the end. Sleep in red pajamas on red sheets if you can. The next morning throw the food offerings away in the woods under a bush where no one will find them. Keep the rum on your altar, along with the tools and machete.

Watch and see what happens!

Ogou is an amazing lwa, and one of my personal favorites. While Ogou isn’t my met tet, he was the first lwa to possess me and he is also the lwa who takes my head the most often, therefore he has a very special place in my life. Ogoun is a very complex mystery and is widely known through out almost all of the African diasporic religions. Among the Yoruba people, he was the spirit of fire, metal, and more specifically ironwork. Therefore he was strongly associated with the forge and metal smiths. Nevertheless, he manifested differently in Haiti. While he kept his association with metal, he isn’t strongly associated with ironwork per se. He is however, the master of the machete and is a powerful and dynamic warrior. However, because of Ogoun’s association with metal he has become the lwa of cars, machinery, and surgeons (because of their metal tools).

In Haiti, Ogoun is part of the Nago nation and for the most part (with a few exceptions), Ogoun is also a Rada lwa. Many of the Orisha of the Yoruba people manifested in Haiti as an Ogoun. For example, in Haitian Vodou we have Ogoun Batala (from Obatala) and Ogoun Shango (from Chango). These manifestations of Ogoun in Haiti, to some extent reflect their previous incarnations as distinct Yoruba Orisha. For example, Ogoun Batala is an old man, and is among the calmest calmest and most peaceful of the Ogouns – an obvious reflection of the Orisha, Obatala. Because of this strong connection to the Yoruba Orisha, nearly all Ogouns are greeted with the proclamation “Aroche Nago! Aroche Nago! Aroche Nago!” If you note the linguistic similarities between “Orisha” and “Aroche”, you will see that this stylized greeting reflects Ogoun’s previous status among the Yoruba people as an Orisha.

The “Ogoun Group” of lwa is vast and complex group of lwa. While some people will suggest that “All Ogouns are Ogoun”, the Ogoun group of lwa are much more complex than that, and to assume homogeneity in the Ogoun lwa is reductionism at its best. Here is a brief listing of some of the more common Ogoun lwa, including some of their defining characteristics as individual lwa.

Ogoun Feray – Ogoun Feray is the quintessential Ogoun. His possessions are often fierce and aggressive. He swings his machetes with great precision and he is often seen bending his machete against the delicate body of his horse. He is the embodiment of masculinity and is an obvious warrior. In fact, he often slaps people with his machete in order to imbue them with his power and protection. He is associated with the image of St. James the Greater, and is honored on July 25th. Ogoun Feray is also served with even distributions of red and blue. Most people who serve Ogoun Feray offer him two machetes instead of one; this enables him to put on a more impressive display during his possession performance. He is married to the lwa Erzulie Freda, therefore it is not uncommon for those people who serve Ogoun Feray to also serve his wife. Ogoun Feray is perhaps the most commonly married male lwa by mortal devotees.

Ogoun Badagris – Ogoun Badagris is the more peaceful brother of Ogoun Feray. While he is served with a machete he is less likely to be been swinging it around and making a public spectacle by bending the machete against his stomach -- although he can. He often holds the machete in a less aggressive fashion and is served with red and military khaki. If Ogoun Feray is the warrior then Ogoun Badagris is the diplomat, the politician, and the strategist. Ogoun Badagris is usually associated with the Catholic image of St. George, and is honored on April 23rd.

Ogoun Balinjo – Unlike all other lwa who are strongly associated with fire, Ogoun Balinjo is associated with water, and is thought my some to be an escort for the lwa, Met Agwe. But like nearly all other Ogoun, Ogoun Balinjo is also associated with war and as a result he is best thought of as a “Combat Medic”. With the power of fire and water Ogoun Balinjo can perform amazing medical feats. He is a exceptional healer, perhaps the best among the Ogoun group, and like most other Nago lwa he is honored on July 25th.

Ogoun Sen Jacque – Think of Ogoun Sen Jacque as the cavalryman. He rides a horse and normally carries a sheathed machete. Like all other Ogouns, he is served with the colors of red and blue. While spending time in Haiti I heard at least two Houngans suggest that Ogoun Sen Jacque is married to the lwa, Erzulie Dantor. Nevertheless, like all other Ogouns Ogoun Sen Jacque drinks rum, however, any serious service to Ogoun Sen Jacque should also include a creamy corn drink called akasan, and to that akasan should be added a small amount of cane syrup (akasan ak siwo). And of course, Ogoun Sen Jacque is represented by the image of Saint James the Greater and is honored on July 25th.

Generally all Ogouns are served on Wednesdays with varying degrees of red and blue, with the exception of Ogoun Badagris who is served with red and khaki. All Ogouns are served with rum and machetes. Because they are almost all symbolized by their association to rum and machetes, neither can harm them. They can’t get drunk and they can’t be harmed by the blade of the machete. This is why during an Ogoun possession, he will often drink copious amounts of rum and bend the blade of his machete against the stomach, waist, or even throat of his horse. Using nothing by sheer force, thereby proving his awesome power, this of course makes them formidable opponent in any battle. Ogoun should also be given red beans and rice, yam, red roosters and of course red bulls. When offering bulls to Ogoun you should make sure the bull is in fact a bull, a castrated bull will only anger Ogoun. Ogoun likes his bulls to be large, strong, and fertile.

Because of Ogoun’s aggressive warlike personality he is fiercely protective of his children. This is exemplified in the following song, which I have heard sung in peristyles all over Haiti.

Ogoun bebe o fawo!
Ogoun bebe o fawo!
Sa ki fe mwen byen, bay yo lavi pou mwen!
Sa ki fe mwen mal, lese sang yo koule!
Ogoun bebe o fawo!

Ogoun is dumb o fawo!
Ogoun is dumb o fawo!
Those who do me good, give them life for me!
Those who do me bad, let their blood run down!
Ogoun is dumb o fawo!

This song really illustrates Ogoun’s desire to protect and defend his devotees. There really is nothing like having an Ogoun on your side when you are in trouble.
Ogou King of the Angels

There's a beautiful song used for calling Ogou, and it has the most haunting melody and words. I will share the lyrics in full as it is a very important song.

Ogou O, wa de zanj
Ogou O, King of the Angels
Le m sonje pitit an mwen chwal an mwe
I miss my child, my horse
Chwal an mwe parenn Ogou chwal an mwe
My horse, godfather Ogou, my horse
Le m sonje pitit an mwen chwal an mwe
I miss my child, my horse

Ogou O, djab-la di lap manje mwen si sre vre?
Ogou O, the djab says he'll eat me, is this true?
Pa fout vre
It's not true
Ogou O, djab-la di lap manje mwen si sre vre?
Ogou O, the djab says he'll eat me, is this true?
Men gen Bondje O gen lesen-yo
But we have God, Oh we have the Saints
Djab-la di lap manje mwen se pa vre
The djab says he'll eat me, it's not true
Se pa vre ti moun-yo se pa vre
It's not true, children, it's not true
Sa se jwet ti moun-yo sa se blag
That's a game, children, that's a joke

Now, there are some people out there who call themselves Vodouisants whose primary concern is to harm others. And most of the time they are not very good at it. The spirits play tricks on fools who play around. As Ogou might say, that's a joke, sa se blag!

I have also seen people who use the kudos of Vodou as an excuse to send hate messages, as if being racist or homophobic or sexist is justified by serving the Lwa. Believe me, it's not! I even read one inane comment on a forum where someone said that since the name of the country Haiti means "full of hate", Vodou itself is hateful. (Actually, Ayiti, 'land of high mountains', was the indigenous Taíno name for the Western part of the island - clearly, someone needs to go back to school.)

Such people are quite pathetic and have very little power to do actual harm. But the gullible can be frightened, and the whole thing gives Vodou a bad name. Luckily, these people are getting rarer as Vodou becomes better understood. (Even the media has started to treat us with a bit more respect - who knows, perhaps one day Hollywood will even follow suit).

The traditional sacred song to the Warrior Spirit, Ogou, shared above, shows the truth that Vodou is a religion! And it's a religion where God (Bondje) and all the the Saints (lesen-yo) are very important, they can even help to protect you from the negative spirits (djab). Without some recognition of God (in whatever form - it doesn't have to be Catholic), what you are doing is not Vodou, but something else.

The Lwa gain their power from God. Ogou is described both as a Lwa and as King of the Angels! And believe me, when you have Ogou on your side you don't need to be afraid of anything the fools may threaten you with. With Papa Ogou, their magick can't touch you. Nor need you fear the djab or the people who serve them, if you've got Ogou, God and the Saints on your side.

Awoche Nago!
Posted by Hounsi Sophia at 11:40 0 comments



Traditional Colors: Santeria: green & black; Voudou: red and white

Number: 7

Areas of Influence: All metals, war and battle, soldiers, blacksmithing, farming, civilization in general, transportation (automobiles and trains), healing

Symbols: Machete, sword, farming implements, anvil and hammer

Offerings: Rum, whiskey (especially Jack Daniels?), beer, gunpowder, tobacco, meat, chili, peppers, hot/spicy foods

Feast Day: June 29th

Astrology: Saturn

Tarot: King of Disks (Knight of Disks in Thoth deck).

Chakra: Root

Gemstones: Hematite, iron pyrite, peridot

Animals: Solitary predators such as hawks, rattlesnakes and panthers. Some references say that he likes dogs and wolves.

Entities of Similar Energy: Vulcan, Hephaestos, Wayland

Ogoun, first and foremost, is the spirit of metal. His other attributes are from the areas in which metal has played an important role like war, farming, healing and civilization in general. Ogoun is a strong, powerful masculine orisha who believes hard work is the answer to almost any problem. I always picture him as the half-naked blacksmith, muscular with no hair (burned off in the fire). He is a warrior and can be called upon during war-time (whether that be literal or spiritual) to go to battle. Because of the use of metal, Ogoun is very much a part of agriculture. He owns the plows to till the soil and the implements of the harvest. Ogoun is a put-your-nose-to-the-grind-stone kind of man. He is not flashy and he does not do what he does for glory or fame. He likes to work with his hands. As a blacksmith or welder, he is able to use fire and metal to create the necessary and the beautiful.

While his role in Santeria is primarily of a warrior, in Voudou, he is also a healer, because many of the implements of modern medicine are made of metal. He owns many of our modern machines, including automobiles and trains. Ogoun is a mechanic and can help you out with car trouble. He likes to hunt and fish and loves the forest. The forest is about the only place Ogoun can really find any peace. He gets along very well with Ellegua and Ochossi. As previously stated, Ogoun and Chango do not like each other. I try really hard not to feed them together for any reason. If you are doing a large ritual with many orishas, you can invite them both, just be sure to have their offerings in separate places or on separate tables. Ogoun loves his women. He has been involved with several of the female orisha, but none of those relationships ended well. Family is important to Ogoun. He loves his children and will fiercely protect them but he expects a lot from them. He hates laziness in all forms. He can have a terrible temper and can be a mean drunk. In mammals, the hemoglobin in our blood contains a piece of iron. This is actually what makes our blood red. In this way, each of us contains a small piece of Ogoun. Each of us has the ability to draw upon our inner Ogoun for strength.
Properly Showing Respect to Ogoun

Ogoun accepts offerings of alcohol, tobacco (especially a good cigar), meat (cooked only enough so that it is still pink), metal filings and gunpowder . Be sure to turn alcohol bottles on side when they are empty. Ogoun once hurt some drunken men because he thought they weren’t sharing their liquor but in fact the bottles were empty.
Where to find Ogoun

Railroad tracks, auto repair shops, machine shops or any other place metal is worked with, the forest, gun ranges, military forts (especially Army and Marines).

Ogoun’s Children
Ogoun’s children are workaholics. Everything they do they have to do a 100%. They have a drive for perfection which can lead to some real problems (like alcoholism) unless they learn to let some stuff go. Many of them have had unhappy childhoods, which have tempered their personalities much in the same way fire has tempered metal. Family is very important to Ogoun’s children and they will go to great lengths to provide for those they love. They are hands on, mechanically inclined people and will tend to have jobs where they are creating, fixing or destroying physical things. They are quite happy being in the great outdoors and they like camping, hiking, fishing and hunting. In fact, Ogoun’s children should try to make regular visits to the forests. They like sex and behind closed doors they are very sexual beings. The possibility of becoming an alcoholic or other developing some other dependency is strong and the children of Ogoun have to be careful of excess. They can have bad tempers and can be abusive, especially when they find themselves in frustratingly bad situations.
Ogoun Story

In the winter of 1997, Ogoun killed my car. He broke it in such a way that my mechanic was calling all of his mechanic friends to come over and look at the engine because in his 20 years of being a mechanic, he had never seen anything like that ever. Apparently something that should have never broke, broke and ended up someplace it never should have been able to get to (in case you are wondering, no, I’m not a mechanic). Anyway, I was driving a P.O.S. Nissan Pulsar that had waaaaaay too many miles on it when I bought it. It had been my first car and I had gotten screwed over big time. Ogoun just decided one day that I needed a new car, so he killed the Pulsar. I borrowed enough of a down payment from my parents and I went looking for another vehicle. As most of you know, used car shopping is like having a root canal while giving birth to a baby sideways. Even under the best of circumstances, it just sucks. I must have visited every used car lot in town. I had gotten so screwed over the first time, that I was not going to get reamed a second time. After 2 weeks of searching, I had almost given up hope. There was this one guy (the husband of a co-worker) who was so honest and nice that I really wanted to give him one last shot before settling on something.

When my dad and I pulled up to his lot, there was an older couple there finishing up their paperwork on their new minivan. They were turning in 2 vehicles, one of which was a green Geo Storm. It was 6 years old but only had 16,000 miles on it. The lady’s husband was disabled and couldn’t get into it so they hardly ever drove it. We actually got to see the vehicle before the dealership cleaned it up and it was spotless. You could have eaten off that engine. When I open up the passenger door, there was an angel hanging off the door. I knew immediately that this was my new car. I had to work for it, but Ogoun made sure I got a great vehicle and an excellent deal. Three months later, I decided to follow my dream and move to Texas. I know now that the Pulsar would not have survived the 1,000 mile trip. Ogoun knew I wanted to go to Texas and I believe he wanted to make sure that I had good vehicle when I left. In fact, about the only possession I had when I got here was that great little car.

Ogoun's Chili:

This chili is going to be very hot*.

-1 lb Ground Turkey
-1 lb Hamburger (get a lower fat package if it makes you feel better).
-1 package uncooked sausage or bratwurst (I will buy a hot variety of sausage, but for a milder version an Italian sausage is good too).
-1 lg can of crushed tomatoes (optional-get a flavored variety; Mexican or Italian would work)
-1 can red Enchilada sauce (Mild or spicy)
-1 sm. can Tomato paste
-1 sm. can chopped green chilis
-1 white Onion (diced)
-1 Green Bell Pepper (diced)
-Garlic (4-6 cloves, finely chopped)
-Olive Oil (for sautéing)
-2 cans red kidney beans (look, I’m not getting into that whole bean/no bean argument here. Consider the beans to be optional and by the way, I like beans in chili so get off my ass.)

Peppers (mix and match as necessary)
-Poblanos (3)
-Jalapenos (7)
-Serranos (3).
-Habenero (1).

Generally speaking, you want a mix of peppers for flavor so at a minimum I will go with 1 Poblano, 5 Jalapenos, and 2 Serranos.

If you are lucky enough to have access to other types of peppers, by all means, go for it!

Spice options:

Stuff I normally add:

Cayenne pepper, Tabasco, dry red wine (merlot or a cabernet), horseradish (deepens the flavor), kosher salt and black pepper (both required), Worcestershire sauce (required), Wasabi, Hot Paprika, Sweet Paprika

Things I sometimes add:
Mustard, BBQ sauce, honey, molasses, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Tabasco™ Chipotle and whatever else I may have had in my spice cabinet.

Cooking directions
Start by sautéing the onions, green bell pepper and garlic with the olive oil. Don’t overcook, you’re just softening them up (3-5 minutes max). Throw into a large stew pot along with the tomatoes, enchilada sauce, tomato paste, green chilis and the rinsed kidney beans (if using). Also add a couple pinches of salt. Start the pot on high heat and then reduce heat to medium once it is boiling. Brown the turkey in a skillet, then add to the pot (I normally throw the turkey juice in there too as it is mostly water). Brown the hamburger and if you were cheap and bought the high fat stuff, go ahead and drain the fat. If you bought the good stuff than go ahead and add the little bit of fat to the pot with the meat. Slice the skin of the sausage and break up the meat into as small of pieces as possible. Brown and add the sausage to the pot. Add a little more salt. Stir well.

Pepper options:

Easy-cut up whatever variety of peppers you want, sauté in olive oil and add to pot (again, don’t overcook them). If you picked some hot ones, be aware that by sautéing the peppers you will be releasing happy hotness into the air and sometimes I have to leave the kitchen for a couple of minutes.

Hard-need to start before making the chili. Put all (except for the habenero) of your spicy peppers onto a cookie sheet and broil in the oven until skins are black. You may need to turn them a couple of times for even cooking. Remove from oven, put all the peppers into a bowl and cover with saran wrap. Allow to cool. Once cool, remove the waxy skin, cut up and remove seeds if you want to (I never do).

Add peppers to chili along with a little more salt, stir well and start spicing the hell out of it. Spicing is all a matter of taste. Chili is one of those things that gets better over time so if you can cook it the day before, even better. If you are worried about adding too much of something, add in small amounts and stir well before tasting. About the only thing you really can’t recover from is too much salt but you need enough salt to bring out the flavor. Beware of BBQ sauce, a little goes a long well. If you can cook the chili on the stove top for a good hour, you’ll be happy with the results.

Freezes well if you’re single or just too bitter to share.

I usually serve with Basmati rice and Sharp Cheddar Cheese.
Makes a crap load.

*If you want to make this recipe for your whole family, please, for the love of all that is holy, reduce the peppers going into the pot. Then, when you serve Ogoun his portion, cut up some fresh peppers and sprinkle over his serving.


Ogun, Father of Technology

Need a job? Need to get on the good side of those in power? Need protection? Ogun is the Wildman of the woods, a blacksmith, the patron orisha to the working people. Likened to St. Anthony and St. George, Ogun has the power to control quarrels and oversees those in positions of power such as policemen, soldiers, and doctors. As such, he can be called upon for assistance in those areas. Ogun is also very protective. A main aspect of Ogun is his ability to give work to the unemployed, so if it is a job you are seeking, Ogun is the loa for you!
Aspects of Nago –

Nago is the escorts of warriors, fighters, some at wars or they just stood for what they believed in and fight for it until the end. Cousin Ossanye is the first to be saluted in the nago escorts then comes the others one after one.

Ossanye (no image)
Nago (fire)
Saint Jacques (St. Jacques the Greater riding a horse, Red Cross on white)
Saint George (St. George killing the dragon)
Ogou Balendjio (benevolent-looking man with horse or donkey?)
Ogou Balize (St. Jacques on a horse riding through the sky)
Ogou Johnson (Knight with staff and banner pouring water on a fire?)
Ogou Badagri (soldier giving half his cloak to a poor man)
Jean Paul Nago (Kight in shining armor!)
Brize (Knight making a steel sword at a forge with fire in background)
Ogou Ge Rouge (sword with red accoutrements)
Joseph Danger (soldier giving half his cloak to a poor lame man)

Ogun Link

These Plaques were used to decorate the wooden columns that supported the roof of the Oba's Palace. This plaque depicts part of a festival, no longer performed, called Isiokuo, which was a war ritual in honor of the God Ogun. The ritual included an acrobatic dance, called Amufi. Three ibises, birds of disaster, are perched in the branches of the tree. (?)

Ogun is the God of War, Energy and Metal

Ogun keeps matter in motion

Ogun is the sustainer of life

Ogun lives in the knife, and with it, clears a path for man. Ogun is the force within your computer. Ogun is technology.

Ogun is the force of gravity, the force of attraction.

Ogun represents the tools that shape man, bringing out a person's potential, enhancing one's life.

Ogun controles life and death. Ogun is our heart beat and the final contraction during birth. Ogun is auto accidents and gun wounds.

Ogun is the warrior, hunter and farmer.

Ogun is the God of loyalty and life long friendships.

Ogun is the master of secrets, skills, crafts, professions and creations.


April 23: (Egypt) Holy Day: Horus slays Set

(Celtic) Day of Og (Celtic solar giant)

St. George. Patron of England. Said to have slayed a dragon in Libya in the 3rd Century. Founding of "the Order of the Garter", oldest order of knighthood. Wear a rose today!

St. George and Al-Khudr are legendary English and Arabian heroes symbolic of the masculine principle. The "solar hero" explores unknown regions of the psyche returning with treasure from the inner realms. In medieval times, a cure for lunacy was sought by spending the night alone in a cavern behind the shrine of Al-Khudr or St. George. A rose worn on the breast on St. George's day helps open our hearts.

Al-Khudr's Day, "the feast of spring which makes everything green", coincides with Arbor day. It is appropriate for us to give special focus to the welfare of trees on the feast of Al-Khudr, the "Green One," the "Ever Living One." (Also spelled Al-Kidr or El-Kidr)

St. George (Church): Son of an illustrious family of Cappadocia, he was elevated at a young age by Diocletian to one of the highest offices of the Imperial ministry. When the Emporor promulgated an edict against Christians, George professed his faith publicly. He died in 303. Patron saint of England.

Macumba feast of Ogum. Brave and pure, great-hearted, incorruptible, works only for just causes, honest. Iron, blue, path opener. Put up a wreath of palm to protect. Patron of blacksmiths, workers, farmers, all who use iron. Likes red meat and "certain vegetables" cooked in palm oil. Palm wine. His day is Wednesday.


Ogun Ogoun

In Haitian Vodou and Yoruba mythology, Ogun (or Ogoun, Ogun, Ogou, Ogum) is a loa and orisha, who presides over fire, iron, hunting, politics and war. He is the patron of smiths and is usually displayed with his attributes: machete or sabre, rum and tobacco. He is one of the husbands of Erzulie and is a husband of Osun and Oya and friend to Eshu in Yoruba mythology.

Ogun is the traditional warrior and seen as a powerful deity of metal work, similar to Ares and Hephaestus in Greek mythology and Visvakarma in Hindu mythology, he is represented with Saint George in Brazil. As such Ogun is mighty, powerful, triumphal, yet also exhibits the rage and destructiveness of the warrior whose strength and violence cannot turn against the community he serves. Perhaps linked to this theme is the new face he has taken on in Haiti which is not quite related to his African roots, that of a powerful political leader.[1]

He gives strength through prophecy and magic. It is Ogun who is said to have planted the idea, led and given power to the slaves for the Haitian Revolution of 1804. He is called now to help people obtain a government more responsive to their needs.


Ogun comes to mount people in various aspects of his character, and the people are quite familiar with each of them. Some of these aspects are:

* Ogun the wounded warrior. He assumes a Christ-figure pose which the people know well from their Christian associations.
* Ogun Feraille. He gives strength to the servitors by slapping them on the thighs or back.
* Ogun Badagris. He may lift a person up and carry him or her around to indicate his special attention and patronage. To all the aspects of Ogoun there is the dominant theme of power and militancy.

His possessions can sometimes be violent. Those mounted by him are known to wash their hands in flaming rum without suffering from it later. They dress up in green and black, wave a sabre or machete, chew a cigar and demand rum in an old phrase "Gren mwe fret" (my testicles are cold). Often this rum is poured on the ground then lit and the fumes pervade the peristyle. The sword, or much more commonly, the machete is his weapon and he often does strange feats of poking himself with it, or even sticking the handle in the ground, then mounting the blade without piercing his skin.
[edit] Other mythologies

In Yoruba mythology, Ogun is a primordial Orisha whose first appearance was as a hunter named Tobe Ode. He is said to be the first of the Orisha to descend to the realm of Ile Aiye (the earth) to find suitable habitation for future human life. In commemoration of this one of his praise names (Oriki), is Osin Imole or the "first of the primordial Orisha to come to Earth". Ogun was most likely first worshiped by the Yoruba people of West Africa. He is worshiped in places like Ekiti, Oyo and Ondo States. He is believed to have (wo ile sun) which means to sink into the ground not to die, in a place named Ire-Ekiti. Through out his entire life he fought for the people of Ire.

In Dahomey mythology, Gu is the god of war and patron deity of smiths and craftsmen. He was sent to earth to make it a nice place for people to live, and he has not yet finished this task.

In Santería and Palo Mayombe, he has been syncretized with Saint Peter.

In the religious tradition of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé, Ogum (as this Yoruba divinity is known in the Portuguese language) is often identified with Saint George, for example in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. However, Ogum may also be represented by Saint Sebastian, as it is often done in the northeast of the country, for example in the state of Bahia. Officially Saint Sebastian is the patron saint of the city of Rio de Janeiro, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In all his incarnations Ogoun is a fiery and martial spirit. He can be very aggressively masculine—much like the spirit Shango—but can also rule the head of female, or effeminate male initiates to whom he takes a liking. He is also linked with blood, and is for this reason often called upon to heal diseases of the blood.

In the cult of Orishas, he appears in other aspects, such as Ogun Akirun, Ogun Alagbede, Ogun Alara, Ogun Elemona, Ogun Ikole, Ogun Meji, Ogun Oloola, Ogun Onigbajamo, Ogun Onire, Ogun-un, Onile, the latter being a feminine incarnation.[2]
[edit] Notes

1. ^ Africa's Ogun: Old World and New. ISBN 025330282X
2. ^ [1]—in Ifa/Orisha syncretic cult

* Charles Spencer King.,"Nature's Ancient Religion" ISBN 978-1440417337


Priest of "Gu" (Ogun). Lome, Togo, West Africa

Over the centuries, the inter-cultural exhanges between the Vodoun cultures of West Africa, and the Yoruba Ifa'Orisha tradition is well documented. While the Yoruba have assimilated West African Vodoun Spirits such as Nana Bu'ku , Babaluaiye, Osumare, and several others, into their Orisha pantheon, the Dahomean and other West African Vodoun cultures have incorporated the Yoruba Orisha of Ogun known as Gu into theirs. Due, more to lack of time, and the abundance of written material already available on the Yoruba tradition, I offer here an excellent article suitable for the uninitiated public, written on Ogun by Awo Fa'lokun Fatunmbi.

If you read the traditional religious literature of Africa closely you will discover that there is a very ancient, wide spread and cross cultural reverence for the Spirit of Iron. In Yoruba, this Spirit is called Ogun, north of Nigeria you will sometimes find the Spirit of Iron called Ogu, and other similar sounding spiritual names. Throughout west Africa there is a tradition of making the profession of blacksmith a sacred vocation. There is some indication that these trade skills represent a cross cultural interaction that stretches between the middle east through Africa and across the ocean to South America. I am refering to interaction that clearly predates the voyage by Columbus.

If we take the Creation Myth of Ifá, Obatala climbs down the chain from Heaven to Earth. In my belief, the chain is symbolic of the double helix which is the form found within genes used to store DNA. The journey from Heaven to Earth is a reference to the emergence of hidden or latent potential into manifest reality. When you are in the womb you would have invisible potential as a child, and after you are born that potential becomes manifest. Ifa is very clear that the womb is the passageway between heaven and earth, it is the doorway that allows for reincarnation or atunwa.

In mythological language, the manifestation of any hidden, or latent potential is described symbolically by Ifá as the journey from Heaven to Earth. More correctly it is the journey from Ikole Orun to Ikole Aiye. "Ikole Orun" means "Greeting the House of the Invisible Realm." "Ikole Aiye" means "Greeting the House of the Earth." When Yorubas are speaking of aiye they are speaking of the crust around the surface of the Earth, not the whole Earth. The word for the entire Earth is "Onile." So aiye becomes the meeting place between the visible and the invisible dimensions.

Be clear that the Ifá concept of Heaven is much closer to what physics calls the fifth dimension. It is something that exists all around us. It is easier to understand as a different vibration of light. The spectrum of light is very long, and as humans we can only see a small band of light in the middle of the total range of frequencies. If you were able to do something that would allow you to see the full spectrum of light, then you would see the invisible dimension.

All the Ifá references to "ala" or "white cloth" are speaking of the full spectrum of light. We are able to see a little bit in the middle. As we become more spiritually illuminated our vision of light increases. Those who are able to see the invisible dimension say that it is a reality that is co-existent with us. When you see it, you can interact with it in a very direct way.

Because of the difficulty in translation, it has not been clear to the anthropologists what is meant by Orun. If you go to Africa and the elders start talking about entering Orun and coming back, you get a sense that they are talking about something very real and very tangible. In some places in Africa there are gateways into the fifth dimension where people walk through the portal and disappear from sight, then reappear through the same opening. I have not experienced this, but it is certainly part of the tradition. There are doorways into different visual dimensions. Western culture tends to be a little myopic about those possibilities.

Back to the Creation myth, Obatala came from Heaven to Earth down the chain with a seashell, a guenia hen, sand and ikin. He poured the sand on the waters, then he dropped the hen on the earth. The chicken started scratching the sand and made the first land mass. This land is called Ile Ife. The words "Ile Ife" means "spreading Earth." It is a reference to the first land mass and it is the name of the sacred city of Ifá which is currently in Osun State in Nigeria.

Obatala tried to get life organized and failed because his tools were too weak. Ogun came from Heaven to Earth with the secret of the mystery of Iron and was able to create cities in the Jungle. But the Ifá myth also says that Ogun's methodology was not fully effective. As a result, Orunmila came to Earth to correct the mistakes made by Ogun. I believe that this means that he gave guidance on issues of ethical behavior and moral conduct.

When you say that Obatala came from Heaven to Earth, you are talking about the manifestation of the potential of the Earth to transform light into matter and form our ecological environment. Then you have the next step of Ogun who represents the development of metal technology. But that is a fairly recent development. For a myth to refer to something so recent is unusual. So we look at the idea of iron from a earlier perspective.

The word Ogun is difficult to translate into English, but we get a big clue from the word oogun. The letter O in Yoruba is used to indicate owner, or one who possess something. The letter O is used to suggest that someone, or some Spiritual Force has mastered a particular form of wisdom. The word "oogun" means "medicine." So in a sense the word for medicine is "owner of ogun." I mean medicine as both physical and spiritual transformation.

It is hard to say if I'm right about this, but we can look at medicine as something that attacks illness, or as something that restores vitality. In a sense you have ogun as the suffix of oogun, meaning "the source of vitality" or "the source of aliveness." In my judgement this gives us an indication that Ogun is a linguistic reference to the will to survive. You could also say survival of that which asserts its own will to make a place for itself in the world. English does not have a single word that expresses this idea. But it is a commonly understood concept in Ifá that is associated with the word Ogun.

There is also an element of competition in the word Ogun. In nature there is competition for the available resources. To become successful in the survival process, vitality and assertiveness are required. If we take that idea and see how it relates to the concept of medicine we can get some sense of the origin of the words in metaphysical principle.

We have in the metaphysical concept of Ogun the idea of survival through assertive and aggressive action that is directed towards maintaining survival. To put that in contemporary language we are talking about male testosterone. That and other things. We have what I would call the dynamic, assertive, aggressive, expansive quality in Nature Itself which is expressed by the Spirit of Ogun. This particular idea predates by many years the association of Ogun with the technology of molding iron.

When we think about Ogun, we think about blacksmiths and tool makers. This is limiting because it suggests that some person figured out how to make use of iron technology and now we are deifying that process. If we do this, we are missing the earlier manifestation of Ogun as a Force in Nature. So I call Ogun the "Spirit of Iron," but even this translation is limited, because Ogun is the Spirit who is honored by the tool makers and not the methodology of tool making itself.

The historical genesis of the human relationship to Ogun may have emerged out of the tradition of men being hunters and women being time keepers. This is a separation of gender that was probably established for practical reasons. Women on their cycle leave a scent that is easily picked up by animals. At the same time the cycle becomes a built in clock. These two social functions became separated by gender as a matter of practical convenience. The point is that there is no indication in this that men are better than women. There is simply an indication of physical resources making certain tasks easier to accomplish.

We get a clue about the genesis of the understanding of Ogun by looking at the survival of the symbolism of Ogun. In Ogun's pot we have an iron cauldron with three legs, wrapped with a chain and spikes inside. There is usually a knife and maybe some tools in the pot. So we look at that and think what does it represent? With the pot, we have the symbolism of the womb. And we also have the idea of three legs. Three is symbolic number of Mother Earth. Ifá says that whenever two Awo meet, three are always present, the third being the Earth Herself. Three symbolizes the relationship to the Earth itself. This gives us the symbol of the womb supported by the symbol for the Earth.

We've got the chain which we have already spoken about as the symbol of the link between Heaven and Earth. At times there is a piece of red cloth around the pot. In addition we have the iron spikes. There is some scientific indication that the rust on the iron deposits at the bottom of the ocean created bacteria which became the source of the first single cell life forms on Earth. This would be the beginning of evolution. It may not have been iron that caused this phenomena, but it was some type of mineral, that is now symbolized by the iron spikes.

In the pot we have the symbol for sperm in a womb. I don't think I need to explain what that means. Now the interesting thing is that the female component of Ogun is diminished in the West. What we use to consecrate an Ogun pot is irosun. The irosun is red powder from the camwood tree. In Yoruba the word "irosun" is sometimes used to refer to menstrual blood. If you are putting red camwood powder on the Ogun pot you are talking about the primal procreative drive for survival.

Historically this urge led to the development of hunting, and to the development of marking time. The value of marking time was the ability to anticipate the shift in the seasons and to develop adequate protection for winter, and eventually led to the ability to plant crops. We are talking about primal motivational forces in the development of human consciousness.

In the Creation Myth, Ogun's initial effort is saved through the efforts of Orunmila. I believe that this is a historical memory of the fact that unchecked procreative, aggressive behavior is not the optimal principle for social organization. We have the idea of ethical judgements tempering the pure unbridled aggressive nature of Ogun as a Spiritual Force.

What I want to stress, as someone who is a son of Ogun, is that the story about Orunmila's relationship with Ogun does not mean that Ogun is "evil," it doesn't make Ogun "bad," it doesn't make Ogun the "Devil," it doesn't make Ogun a "Blood sucking warrior." It does make Ogun part of a bigger picture, in which the issue of balance becomes important. Every aspect of the wheel must play its part fully.

So where Ogun's power, or ase as we call it, is needed, it needs to be fully expressed in its essence. One of the ways in which this is done in traditional Yoruba communities is to allow the elders of Ogun to make the offerings. In many Yoruba communities there is room for specialization. You can have a ceremony for Oya and when it comes time to make an offering of a goat, a priest of Ogun can be called in to make the cut. After that he might leave the ceremony.

To make this clear, we are speaking about what is commonly called "animal sacrifice." The word "sacrifice" is a Christian term, the word in Yoruba is "ebo. " Sacrifice does not translate to ebo. We do not sacrifice animals, that suggests that we kill them, and toss them. Be real clear that the concept of ebo is to provide a feast for the family or the community. When you live in an environment that depends on domesticated animals for food, the slaughtering of an animal is always a sacred act, just as hunting is always a sacred act.

In traditional Yoruba communities, the Ogun initiates slaughter domestic animals, and hunt those wild animals that are a part of the diet. They sometimes specialize, so not everyone necessarily does both. But both of those responsibilities are associated with the ase or power of Ogun. When you go through a rite of passage, or a personal transformation, it is the Ifá belief that the more people pray on your behalf, the more likely it will be that your prayers will be heard.

Think about it, lets say that you decide to give up drug addiction. If you whisper to your brother late at night that you're going to give it up and that's the only person you told, you could get away with slipping and sliding as long as you stayed away from your brother. But if you got on top of the Oakland City Hall with a bullhorn and said; "Now hear this, residents of Oakland I have given up drug addiction." This would put more pressure on you to live up to that commitment.

In order to get a lot of people to know what you are up to, you feed them. On the day that you announce that you have made the commitment to move from being a child to an adult, you feed the community. After that feast, no one in the community will allow you to get away with childish behavior. Folks will say; "Wait a minute, we've been through this, get it together." We slaughter a goat to announce to the community that this is the day that I commit to a particular type of transformation.

You are providing a feast in a ceremonial way. So why would you provide a feast in a ceremonial way? Related to the idea of reincarnation, when a priest of Ogun cuts off the head of a goat, he proceeds that gesture by saying may the spirit of this goat reincarnate as a goat to feed future generations. You are making an acknowledgement of the interconnected relationship between all things in Nature.

We believe that everyone, animals, trees, humans and rocks come to earth with a destiny that was agreed to before coming to earth. So it is our belief that a goat comes to earth with the destiny to provide food for the feast that marks a particular rite of passage. For this reason I want to thank the goat, I want to ask him to come back again, to celebrate the rites of passage of my children. You speak to animals to put yourself in the scheme of things, to be reminded that its not all about me. It is us as a community, it is us in relationship to the Forces in Nature. There is something at work here that is being made sacred in a special way.

It is not about the blood. The blood is the seal to that covenant. But there is a mistaken notion in this country that the more blood you use, the more the power. Wrong. In Africa they put the blood into the earth, or they might put it in a bowl. When the blood is placed in the earth it has regenerative value, like fertilizer. Then they take a feather and dip the feather into the blood and touch the blood to that which you are feeding. Now there are variations on this. But the point is that the notion that is common in this country that if you sacrifice one goat, two is better. That misses the point. The issue is feeding the community. The act of making a covenant with the Orisa only requires a small amount of blood. It is the sincerity of the ritual act that carries the power and not the quantity of blood. Sometimes blood is used as a form of medicine. Sometimes blood is placed on the body for medicinal purposes.

There is another aspect of offering an animal that I want to discuss. Based on the belief in reincarnation, animals pass into the realm of the ancestors. We pray directly to the animals so that our prayers may be taken by the animals into Orun. We believe that everything in the World has consciousness and that Spirit can communicate with all things.

We also have the idea of psychometry. If I touch your shoes I can tell where you have been during the day. Your prayer against the head of the animal transfers that message to Spirit.

When you make the offering you are dealing with the power of Ajala. This is the Yoruba word for "warrior." We have Ogun in his warrior manifestation, which I have not spoken about yet. The hunters in traditional Yoruba culture are also the warriors. They are called Ajala which literally translates as "Dog of White Cloth." The dog in Ifá is a messenger to Spirit like the Nimbus in Egyptian culture. It is not a derogatory reference. When you say that you are a dog of white light, you are saying that you are a messenger of ethical conduct. In the act of making ebo you become Ajala. You become the vehicle in which ethical conduct is incarnated.

White cloth is a reference to white light which is the principle that is at the foundation of the idea that everything is connected. Once you experience light in its primal manifestation you have a mystical experience that allows you to feel your connection with all things. Those who have experienced this state of being, tend to behave differently after the experience. It is no longer just a noble idea, it becomes a source of inspiration.

Ala is a reference to this mystical vision. When you are making the cut, you don't want to get off on the idea. That is the wrong approach. You don't want to be overly sympathetic towards the fate of the animal because that doesn't work either. If you try to communicate with that animal, if you understand that it is the destiny of that animal to feed you and your family, there is no reason for undue sympathy or fear. When done properly the process of making ebo is emotionless.

The mystery of Ogun becomes finding the place that will open the portal for that truth. You must bring the divine nature of Ogun to the ritual process of making ebo. In Ajala there is an important connection to the idea of color symbolism. In Africa Ogun's color is pure red. Then we have Sango whose colors are red and white. The color for Obatala is white. We can see a pattern emerging here. Red represents virility, vitality, ggression. Red and white represents balance between aggression and compassion. White represents the incarnation of mystical unity.

Should any of you be plagued with notions that these three Orisa are enemies, or that they don't get along, know this is a common misconception. These Orisa represent a continuation of one cycle.

The difference between Ogun, Sango and Obatala is like the difference between rain water, fresh water and salt water. They are different at some point, but they bleed into each other. In some places in Nigeria Ogun and Sango are seen as loving brothers not enemies. You can see why. Sango is fire. What is fire in relationship to iron? Fire tempers iron and makes it stronger. That is not a hostile relationship. It is a symbiotic mutually beneficial relationship. As a Force in Nature it represents an important fusion of energy with no hostile implication.

Awo Fa'lokun Fatunmbi is a popular author of several excellent books which can be found at a bookstore near you or by contacting Original Publications. A great babalawo and willing teacher, He is also founder of the Awo Study Center in Oakland, CA. His works have done much to bring a greater depth of understanding to both curious novices and seasoned Orisa priests alike. Awo Fa'lokun Fatunmbi is a popular author of several excellent books which can be found at a bookstore near you or by contacting Original Publications. A great babalawo and willing teacher, He is also founder of the Awo Study Center in Oakland, CA. His works have done much to bring a greater depth of understanding to both curious novices and seasoned Orisa priests alike.

(Lots of great pictures!)

In the Candomble traditions, Ogun is identified with Saint George. This is easy to understand, since St. George in pictures is usually seen as a knight in armor, carrying a lance, subduing a dragon. We imagine that seeing a Catholic Saint all in metal, one of the attributes of Ogun would make one identify this Orisha with Saint George. Since he is carrying a metal lance in his hand and obviously overcoming his enemy, this also reinforces the reasoning behind identifying Ogun with St. George. As we have mentioned on previous sites, no Catholic Saint is equal to the Orisha. These were just conveniences that early practicioners of Orisha worship in the New World developed to hide their true beliefs and to keep persecution from falling on them. Wise were they indeed, the ancestors, to invent a system that basically allowed the continuance of Orisha worship in the New World. We wonder now at the outcry of purists who demand the exclusion of any Catholic image or practice from Orisha worship, as if it were a contamination. For us, that is disrespecting the wisdom of the ancestors, who for 500 years preserved Orisha worship in this hemisphere. It is true that no Catholic image is necessary for the correct worship of the Orishas. But if someone wishes to have a statue of Santa Barbara or La Caridad del Cobre in their homes, we do not feel that they should be critized or insulted for doing so.

The above painting is called: "The Forge of Vulcan" and was painted by Diego Velazquez. It represents the Roman blacksmith god - Vulcan, called Hephaistos by the Greeks. Ogun is our African Orisha counterpart to Vulcan. He is the Orisha of metals and metal-working. That is the reason that the otan or stone of Ogun lives in a metal cauldron and his implements are made or iron or steel. Since iron working began in the iron age, we tend to believe that our Ogun preceded Vulcan and Hephaistos, since these cultures developed well after the bronze age. Just another example of how universal energies manifest in different culture at different times.

This is a picture of Hephaistos throwing his net over Aphrodite and Ares in front of Zeus and the other Olympians. Aphrodite, goddess of love, was having an affair with Ares, the god of war. Aphrodite was the legitmate wife of Hephaistos. Sounds like the love triangle of Ogun, Oya and Chango. Basic story with slight alterations in characters involved. It could well be that this Greek myth was descended from the story of Chango stealing the wife of Ogun. After all, Chango was a great warrior and indeed loved war. Interesting to speculate, but of course, there is no scientific proof.

This oriental image of a god of war serves to remind us of Ogun's status as the God of War in the Yoruba pantheon. Ogun is brute force, the power to defeat enemies. He is of exteme importance in the religion for many reasons. He is the God of sacrifice, being the owner of steel and the blade that is used in making sacrifice to the Orishas. For that reason, it is said that Ogun always eats first before any other Orisha, since the blood from any sacrifice always touches the sacrificial knife first before falling on the Orisha to whom the sacrifice is destined. Ogun fights our battles for us with our enemies. It would be nice if there were no wars in the world, and no enemies to deal with, but Reality dictates otherwise. Due to human nature, there will always be strife and differences. Even if the wars we have are not fought on a physical level, psychic and spiritual wars are always going on. And, of course, there is the eternal battle of good against evil. Toi let evil flourish in the name of peace is often a grave mistake. Ogun is our defense against our enemies. We repeat, defense, since one should not work with the Orishas to aggressively attack others. We count on Ogun to defend us from the unjust persecutions of our enemies. He is there to fight for those who are in the right in the eyes of Olofi and may Justice be done.

Ogun has a great afinity with dogs just as Ochossi, since in some caminos of Ogun, he lives in the forest. There are 59 different caminos or encarnations of Ogun. Each have different items that are added to the normal complement of tools for Ogun. One camino of Ogun even has an iron image doll that is prepared in a certain way with Orunla to make this camino or encarnation of Ogun complete. When someone makes Ogun, or Ogun is crowned on their head as their Orisha, many ceremonies and preparations are necessary. A special ceremony has to take place in the woods before the actual making of this Orisha can take place. Due to the additional ceremonies and preparations necessary to correctly perform the consecration of Ocha on a child of Ogun, making this Orisha is rather expensive in comparison with other Orishas. Because Ogun is such a powerful Orisha, likewise, the ceremonies must be performed correctly, so that everything will go well for the new Iyawo and also those making the Saint on him or her.

St. Peter is the Catholic Saint associated with Ogun in the Lucumi tradition. We are not very sure why except for the fact that Saint Peter holds the keys to the kingdom and certain "caminos" of Ogun have a large key that is placed in the cauldron. Regardless, we follow the tradition of our elders and associate Ogun with the image of St. Peter. As we have stated many times, it is not necessary to have any Catholic images for the proper and correct worship of the Orishas, since in reality they are not part of any "fundamento" of the Orishas. Since Santeria and Candomble and Vodoun have all existed side by side with the Catholic religion, we see no harm in identifying Orishas with Catholic Saints. It certainly did help matters in centuries past and avoided a great deal of persecution. Too bad the British did not honor the Catholic Saints, or things might have been very different here in America with regard to perserved traditions of african origen. The Protestants in this country were more harsh and absolutely allowed no "devil-worship" of any kind among the unfortunate slaves that were brought to this country.

Ogun is very much associated with the railroads in the Americas. This is because train engines were and still mostly made of iron and steel. The railroad track is made of steel. Often offerings are done to Ogun at the railroad tracks. Many times the bodies of animals sacrificed to Ogun have to be taken to the railroad tracks. Certain caminos of Ogun have to have a piece of railroad track inside the cauldron of Ogun. This is an example of the evolution of worship to the Orishas. In the earliest days when the ancestors performed their rituals to Ogun in Africa, there were no railroads. With the invention of railroads and trains, the elders quite correctly associated Ogun with the railroads, since Ogun is the master of iron and steel. Although many criticize the elders who came to the Americas 500 years ago, we tend to praise them. They are the ones who had to endure slavery and use their Ache to see that the worship of the Orishas was not lost in the New World. Through their efforts, Orisha worship has spread widely and has been opened up to all, regardless of skin color or cultural background.

Ogun in Haiti is called Ogou. There are many different caminos of Ogou, just as there are in the Regla Lucumi. There is Ogou Fer, Ogou Bhatala, Ogou Feraille, Ogou Shango, Ogou Balendyo, etc. Ogou is an extemely important Loa. He is found in both the Rada and the Petro rites. The Rada Loas are the white or cool Loas corresponding to Obatala, Ochun etc. The Petro Loas are more hot and are associated with the color red and have much influence from the Congo and Bantu rites. Although there are initiated children of Ogun in the Lucumi tradition, it appears that there are many more initiates of Ogou in the Haiti. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Ogou was propitiated a lot in the days when the slaves of Haiti defeated the army of Napoleon! We have noticed that in Brazil, also, there are more prominent numbers of initiated children of Ochossi than in the Cuban tradition. This may be due to the influence of large areas of rainforest in Brazil, where Ochossi certainly must feel at home.

Ogun is very much associated with the railroads in the Americas. This is because train engines were and still mostly made of iron and steel. The railroad track is made of steel. Often offerings are done to Ogun at the railroad tracks. Many times the bodies of animals sacrificed to Ogun have to be taken to the railroad tracks. Certain caminos of Ogun have to have a piece of railroad track inside the cauldron of Ogun. This is an example of the evolution of worship to the Orishas. In the earliest days when the ancestors performed their rituals to Ogun in Africa, there were no railroads. With the invention of railroads and trains, the elders quite correctly associated Ogun with the railroads, since Ogun is the master of iron and steel. Although many criticize the elders who came to the Americas 500 years ago, we tend to praise them. They are the ones who had to endure slavery and use their Ache to see that the worship of the Orishas was not lost in the New World. Through their efforts, Orisha worship has spread widely and has been opened up to all, regardless of skin color or cultural background.

Ogun in Haiti is called Ogou. There are many different caminos of Ogou, just as there are in the Regla Lucumi. There is Ogou Fer, Ogou Bhatala, Ogou Feraille, Ogou Shango, Ogou Balendyo, etc. Ogou is an extemely important Loa. He is found in both the Rada and the Petro rites. The Rada Loas are the white or cool Loas corresponding to Obatala, Ochun etc. The Petro Loas are more hot and are associated with the color red and have much influence from the Congo and Bantu rites. Although there are initiated chilren of Ogun in the Lucumi tradition, it appears that there are many more initiates of Ogou in the Haiti. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Ogou was propitiated a lot in the days when the slaves of Haiti defeated the army of Napoleon! We have noticed that in Brazil, also, there are more prominent numbers of initiated children of Ochossi than in the Cuban tradition. This may be due to the influence of large areas of rainforest in Brazil, where Ochossi certainly must feel at home.

Zarabanda is the name of the Mpungo that corresponds to Ogun in the Congo traditions or Regla de Palo. Of course, Zarabanda is not exactly the same as Ogun, because Zarabanda is a Prenda, and has spirits of the dead included in his preparation, that are not normally used in the preparation of Ogun. Zarabanda is one of the strongest of the Mpungos in the Congo tradition. Above is the Prenda who is called Zarabanda Rompe-Monte. Rompe means to break and Monte refers to the woods or rainforest. Therefore, Zarabanda Rompe-Monte is so strong that he can destroy or break even the power of the forest. As in Haiti, the Bantu or Congo rites came closer to the Yoruba traditions. They are distinct, but have their correspondences. Another example of spiritual evolution. Many would say that if you are initiated into the Congo traditions, you cannot be part of the Yoruba tradition. However, there are many, many santeros and babalawos who have been initiated into these Mysteries and it has only increased their Ache rather than taking away from it. If, for example, a person has a strong spiritual guide that is of Congo, it usually is best for that person to be initiated into the Congo mysteries, because it gives added force to that person's guardian spirit guide, so that they may help their proteges more. Of course, a decision to do so should be confirmed by Orunla. In fact, there are certain letters of Ifa that suggest strongly that the person should be initiated into the Congo Mysteries.

Above you see the famous painting by David, called: "Mars subdued by Venus and the Graces". Mars of course is the Roman God of War and Venus is of course the Roman Goddess of Love. They correspond exactly to Ogun and Ochun. This brings us to remember the story of Ogun and Ochun. Ochun in one of her encarnations was married to Ogun. It was not a happy marriage, as Ogun was always so busy with his work. At any rate, Ogun became disgusted and went off into the woods. His services were needed by the other Orishas, but he would not come out to help. Ochun came to the rescue and with her sweetness persuaded Ogun to come out of the woods. In the painting Venus subdues Mars with her wiles, which amounts to the same thing as Ochun subduing Ogun with her charms. We find this to be an amazing correspondence and marvel at the continuity of myth from one culture to another.

Shiva is the third personage of the Hindu trinity of major gods. He is the destroyer aspect and as such has connections with Ogun. This particular aspect of Shiva is called the Mayadevi and is considered to be the source of power. Remember that Ogun is also considered to be a powerhouse. This aspect of Shiva with its serpents reminds us of Ogun Ibaramile, which is an Ogun that is very connected with serpents. Shiva appears very placid here in a state of meditation, which reminds us that true power does not have to show itself aggressively. Those who have power do not have to prove to others that they have power, just as those who have knowledge do not have to continually expound to others about how much they know. If we were to compare the Orisha to the Hindu trinity, we would have Olofi as Vishnu, with Obatala as Brahma and Ogun as Shiva. This certainly would regulate Ogun to a very high position in this manner of viewing the Orishas. Of course, the cosmology of the Orishas is set up differently and the two systems cannot be equally compared. However, this is just our way of suggesting that perhaps Ogun is not given his due when discussions of the Orishas are held. Those new to the religion are often captivated by stories of the other Orishas such as Chango and Ochun, but are not attracted to this important Orisha at first. However, we know that those of you who have the true warrior spirit within you, instantly recognize the great Orisha Ogun.

Lots of other sites for Orishas:


Modern sculpture of Ogun:

Stout portrays Ogun, the Yoruba (Nigerian) deity of iron and war, as an nkisi, a traditional Kongo "power object" that represents spiritual forces or personalities. Ogun symbolizes strength and protection, and his energy affects machines. For Stout, Ogun functions on many personal levels. She believes her family possesses strong Ogun energy: both of her grandfathers worked in Pittsburgh steel mills, her father is a mechanic, and she, as a sculptor, uses many power tools. She hopes that viewers may understand Ogun as both a therapeutic means of handling pain, and as an homage to "our male ancestors so that they will give guidance to future generations of young black men."


Patron Loa of Fire, Hunting, Metals, Politics, War, and the Unemployed

In Haitian Vodun, Ogoun (or Ogun, Ogou) is a loa who presides over fire, iron, hunting, politics and war. He is also considered to be the Father of technology as we know it today. He is the patron of smiths and of the unemployed and is usually displayed with a machete or sabre, rum and tobacco. He is one of the husbands of Erzulie, but is also linked to Oshun in a fiery and passionate affair of the heart.

Ogoun is the traditional warrior, similar to the spirit of Ares in Greek mythology. As such, Ogoun is mighty, powerful, and triumphal; yet, also exhibits the rage and destructiveness of the warrior whose strength and violence can turn against the community he serves.

Ogun gives strength through prophecy and magic. It is Ogoun who is said to have planted the idea, led and given power to the slaves for the Haitian Revolution of 1804. He is called now to help people obtain a government more responsible to their needs.

In Yoruba mythology, Ogun (same as Ogoun) is a son of Yemaja (Yemaya) and Orungan. In Santería and Palo Mayombe, he is identified with Saint Peter. In all his incarnations Ogoun is a fiery and martial spirit. He can be very aggressively masculine, but can rule the head of female, or effeminate male initiates to whom he takes a liking. He is also linked with blood, and is for this reason often called upon to heal diseases of the blood. In addition, he is often called upon to bring work to the unemployed.

Details: This Ogun Voodoo doll was constructed in the traditional New Orleans fashion out of Spanish moss and sticks, and is dressed in animal print faux fur. His face is hand sculpted out of polymer clay and painted. He is wearing strands of seeds (one of his favorite things) and is wearing his green and black lekes. He is also wearing a military metal which symbolizes his connection to warriors, the military, and war. He has a single Blue Jay feather that comes out of his head wrap which, according to certain Native traditions, can only be worn by a warrior. Finally, he is carrying a black mojo bag which contains all elements needed for success in battle and at work. This Ogun Voodoo doll is self standing and comes signed for authenticity.


A brief history of the Caribbean Ogun and his transformation of his identity over the past several centuries.

Ogun’s identity as a deity or spirit in the African religious tradition is a multifaceted one. His transformation following his carriage to the New World cannot be contested. From a protector of the forest hunters in Yoruban lore to the spirit of angry revolution, wielding iron weapons and instruments of metallurgy as a symbol of humankind’s powerful rage. Ogun or Ogou has evolved with his practitioners to reside over the domain of car accidents, machine work, and justice. However, as a lwa, Ogun is a complex spirit in the Haitian Vodou tradition. Ogun can be vengeful and nurturing, often at the same time. As such, he has also come to represent the politician figure in Haitian Vodou; one who can bring about joy and rebirth, but often at despairing costs. Ogun is richly endowed with remarkably human characteristics which give his followers a strong sense of his character and his qualities in the followers themselves. Ogun does not fit neatly into the Rada-Petro distinctions which classify the lwa in Haitian Vodou. Instead, Ogun exists as a liminal character; his power lies in simultaneous benevolence and dangerousness. Ogun, according to some scholars, conceptually exists as the dichotomy between the beneficial and harmful effects of human power, specifically anger, on one’s self and others.

Though Ogun began in the Yoruban tradition as a deity of the forest hunter, who clears the way through the forest and protects them from harm, his form began to shift even on the African continent in response to modernity. Sandra T. Barnes submits three major theories for the origin of Ogun as a religious concept in her article, The Many Faces of Ogun. Her first suggestion is that Ogun began as a deity whose domain was the world of the hunter. Because of his occupation, the Yoruban hunter was polluted with death and the profundity resulting from taking life. Ogun became a model of the hunter, representative of both the individual killer as something foreign from the community and simultaneously important for survival within the community. Next, Barnes suggests that Ogun was born in the Yoruban and West African consciousness with the advent of metallurgy, specifically iron workers. She suggests that the blacksmiths and metal workers needed to remember complex steps for producing quality iron. Blacksmiths were seen as distinct from the community because of their godlike ability to create such strong metals from molten liquids with intense fires. Thus, the blacksmiths’ ‘ritual’ movements were interpreted as sacred and Ogun was seen as the protector of their domain. Finally, Barnes submits a theory which somewhat engulfs her previous arguments. She suggests that Ogun began as a protector of the hunter and his identity constantly shifted as iron became the main implement for killing and the power which came with it. He eventually becomes to be known not only as the presider over metallurgy, but also war and the soldiering world. Clearly, the origin of Ogun is unclear and speculative at best. However, it is useful to determine the earliest known realms of Ogun to see how he has been reshaped and adapted to more modern living conditions.

Ogun is often associated with justice, especially when it is fulfilled. The following excerpt comes from a Yoruban chant in which Ogunda establishes the first trial system for judicial matters. His words are in response to his father’s careless killing of those he assumes to be guilty regardless of lack of evidence.

“If they say that a person has done something wrong,
They should ask, if he has done it, or if he has not done it.
There are many people who have not done anything wrong,
That they have been killing.”

That was the day that trials began;
People did not state their case in court before.
Now if they ask someone
If he did do it, he will say he did it;
And if he says that he did not do it,
He did not do it (Bascom 487).

Here, one can plainly see the figure of Ogun coming to the aid of the innocent victim of the judicial system. This judicial tradition of Ogou is clearly visible in Haitian Vodou. Karen McCarthy Brown records one of Mama Lola’s songs for Ogou when she writes, “Aye, Aye, The police will arrest me, The judge will not condemn me” (McCarthy Brown 104). Followers of Ogou often seek his protection in a variety of matters, including judicial issues. However, McCarthy Brown also notes Yoruban scholar Wande Abimbola’s comment about using Ogun for justice: “you have to be very honest and always tell the truth…even to yourself. That is what makes it hard, always telling the truth” (McCarthy Brown 105).

In Haitian Vodou, Ogou has come to represent much more military forms and spirits of revolution through violent rage. This transformation has come about due to what McCarthy Brown calls “the socialization of the cosmos” (McCarthy Brown 67). She explains that “natural powers such as those of storm, drought, and disease paled before social powers such as those of the slaveholder. This caused a massive refocusing of the explanatory energies of the African religious systems” (McCarthy Brown 67). Therefore, the classifying of lwa into Rada and Petro spirits is keeping with this tradition. The Rada are seen as familial, insider spirits who surround their devotees with protection on a daily basis. They are often associated water and are lenient about the size and frequency of their sacrifices. The Petro spirits are much fiercer and uncompromising. These lwa represent the outsider and are worshipped with cracking whips, whistles, fire and explosions. Interestingly, Ogou is not adequately represented in either of the categories of lwa. He is instead a liminal character, representing simultaneously the insider and outsider. His colour is red and he is offered fire (common to Petro lwa), but he is also offered rum “mimicking rain, sprayed upward through the air in a fine mist” (McCarthy Brown 69). Water is almost exclusively the domain of the Rada, and thus to offer Ogou a rain-like mist of rum places him on both sides of the Rada/Petro line.

__Ogun’s History__
by Andy MacManus in History, May 11, 2010

A brief history of the Caribbean Ogun and his transformation of his identity over the past several centuries.

In Haiti, when a cheval is mounted by Ogou, there are certain characteristics which make him identifiable to those gathered around. “People possessed by him dress in red dolman and French kepi, or simply in red scarves around head and arms, and wave a cutlass or machete. Their speech is that of a rough soldier, full of course oaths and violent imprecations. He is a great drinker of rum and is always depicted smoking a cigar” (Olmos 116). The possessed cheval usually performs a ritual dance with the weapon they carry. First, they make several bold, explosive thrusting moves to show off their power and anger. Then, their blows and strikes become wild as their fury increases and other practitioners present may find themselves in the path of Ogou’s furious and dangerous dance. Finally, Ogou symbolically points his blade at himself. This dance emphasizes the fact that human rage is powerful, but it can just as easily turn on itself or others. Sandra T. Barnes presents the duality of Ogun in a comparison between Ogun and the Hindu god Shiva. Shiva, is seen as a dual figure in Hindu tradition. He is both the erotic, virile family man and the detached, death-obsessed ascetic. The purpose of this dual identity is to present both sides of an argument or an idea which cannot have only one explanation. Ogou, too, has a dual personality.

As a blacksmith, Ogun creates the tools and weapons that, when put to use by some occupational groups, increase productivity, but that also, when put to use by others, destroy the innocent. As a revolutionary warrior he eliminates an old order so that a new one can be established. To aid the powerless members of society, he takes from the powerful. Finally, as a hunter he depletes the natural world in order to nurture his own cultural world (Barnes 17).

Clearly, Ogun is a liminal character in that he has positive and negative domains. The dichotomy is never resolved, but rather the lessons of Ogun exist in understanding the relationship and interplay between the extremes. As Barnes puts it, “destruction is creative and creation is destructive” (Barnes 17).

To further complicate the identity of Ogun, there were and are multiple Oguns both in Africa and the New World. This Yoruban Ijala (a song used to appease and respectfully recognize Ogun) boasts about the seven various Oguns and the tributes they require:

The Ogun that I know are seven in number!

King Alara’s Ogun demands and is given a big dog.
King Onire’s Ogun demands and is given a big ram.
The Ogun at Ikole is appeased with snails.
The Elemona’s Oguna demands and is given roasted yam tubers.
King Akirun’s Ogun fancies ram’s horns which he is given.
The wood carvers’ Ogun enjoys drinking the vital juice from trees.
The circumciser’s Ogun feeds on blood (Babalola 164).

This Ijala is interesting for several reasons. First, it gives a ritual prescription for the various Oguns of the different regions around Yorubaland. However, by the end of the Ijala, it is clear that Ogun is represented in the iron instruments themselves. This form of transubstantiation associating Ogun with the iron tool is essential if one is to understand the importance of Ogun to the lives of those who work with iron. Ogun becomes the tools with which they work, infusing his presence in their daily activities. However, the Ogun of modernity is not representative of merely blades and tools anymore. He now encompasses much of the metal world, from car accidents to guns. However, Haitian Vodou has some forms of Ogou which tend to set aside his associations with metal. Ogou Panama, for example, is named after a famous president of Haiti, Florvil Hippolyte, who often wore a Panama hat. Hippolyte is said to have been struck dead just as he was leaving Port-au-Prince to destroy the entire town of Jacmel. The lwa has come to represent those who are hasty in their ferocity to wage war and, in their haste and failure to obey Ogou, meet their demise. Although Ogou is traditionally associated with war and bloodshed, here he stops a war from happening by killing a single man. The story certainly makes the assertion that the violent power of one man is enough to cause mass devastation. In fact, it can be argued that Ogun’s power is humanity’s power; anger. Anger is a force which, in itself is neither good nor bad. It is only powerful when it is channeled in a specific direction. Ogou’s major lesson is the respect and understanding of anger as a force which must be controlled. For instance, practitioners of Haitian Vodou would likely agree that Ogou was present when the slave rebellion’s anger towards the slave-owners was channeled into the Haitian Revolution, beginning in 1791.

Ogou, especially in a Haitian context, has come to represent the Haitian immigrant’s situation, the foreigner in a new land. A song for Ogou Achade, the sorcerer Ogou, relates the isolation of the immigrant in the urban jungle:

Achade, oh
I have no mother here who can speak for me.
Achade oh, friends are no good.
I have no family here who can speak for me.

As McCarthy Brown suggests, “the songs of Ogou suggest that power is isolating” (McCarthy Brown 81). The soldier, ultimately faces the enemy alone, the politician is inherently separate from the voting public, and being in the business world of North American cities means a separation from relatives in Haiti. Just as the blacksmiths and hunters of Yoruban traditions were distinct from society, it seems that followers of Ogou in the Haitian tradition are still viscerally aware of feelings of loneliness and isolation. Practitioners of Haitian Vodou freely rework the ideas of Ogou to fit new scenarios to his areas of governance. As such, it is no wonder that Ogun has remained such a prominent and constant aspect of Caribbean religions.

In conclusion, Ogun has undergone many transformations, additions, renovations, and adaptations over the centuries as his practitioners have spread his influence and dominance. Ogun has vague beginnings. He cleared the path for forest hunters, was a guardian and keeper of metal and its secrets, and a model for those who killed. Ogun represents justice through a neutrality that exists from existing on both sides of a dichotomy. Neither a Rada or a Petro, Ogun exists outside of classification in such simple terms. Ogun represents both the magnificently beneficial power of humanity and its destructive nature at the same time. Ogun often represents the insider/outsider dichotomy of a society. For this reason, he has become the patron lwa for politicians, soldiers, and immigrants in Haiti and in North America.


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  • Re: Ogu/Ogou/Ogoun

    Mon, March 7, 2011 - 1:03 AM
    i found another interesting link for ogou:

    in my house i offer him a huge stone (volcanic glass) which i set during his service on fire by pouring it with strong alcohol and lighting it.
    • Re: Ogu/Ogou/Ogoun

      Mon, March 7, 2011 - 6:04 AM
      Thanks, lena! I would love to see your stone on fire with love for Ogou! ;-D
      • Re: Ogu/Ogou/Ogoun

        Mon, March 7, 2011 - 1:51 PM
        i do not have a camera this time. i gave it to a friend. one day i will show you.

        i am maintaining right now an altar for ogou offerings redwine, rum and bananas. there are so many ogouns, but up to now it was always clear who is the one present.

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