VODOU POKEMON

Vodou is not a game of Pokemon.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, because unfortunately it bears repeating. It is often the same perpetrators who make the mistake and some simply don’t want to listen. However:

Vodou is not a game of Pokemon. The Lwa are not Pokemon cards, and it is not about collecting them all.

Do not assume you will be stronger or better than others because you believe yourself to have more Lwa than they have, as that is not how it works.

Vodou is not a game, full stop. The Lwa are as real as you or me, they are not characters in a TV show. Do not treat them with disrespect.

All too often I see people trying to “collect” spirits. Now in truth this is not so simple. Just because you like a Lwa does not mean that you have that spirit walking with you. Just because your favourite food / colour / perfume (etc) is known to be their favourite also, does not mean they walk with you. Even if you work in an area of that Lwa’s expertise, it does not mean you are automatically their child (although they may be more inclined to listen to you when you pray).

The opposite is also true. You may not have a connection with a Lwa even when it does walk with you. Connections take time. But it helps to establish who you have walking with you if you ever want to progress in Vodou. Then you can decide which Lwa to serve, and learn how to do so properly.

It may be unpopular to point this out, but those who know me know I tell it like it is: to find out which Lwa walk with you and how to serve them, you can’t cut corners or open a book. You have to go straight to the source, to people who have walked the road before you. You have to be taught by your elders. Because in Vodou there are both right ways and wrong ways, there are certain taboos, and there are spirits you don’t want to serve unless you have obtained a certain level of initiation or have the guidance of someone who has. That’s just how it is, and if you want to respect the Lwa, you follow our traditions.

The fact is that you can build the most beautiful altar around, spend lavishly on all the biggest statues and candles and satin tablecloths and so on, and you may still not have the spirit’s attention let alone walk with that Lwa. The practitioner down the road who you’ve looked down on, because all he has is a bare wooden table, a candle and a glass of water, might have astronger connection to the spirits than you do, because he’s put the work in. Serving the Lwa is about more than throwing money at an altar!

In fact if you have not worked to establish your connections, if you do not know who you walk with and exactly how to serve them, spending money on your altar is exactly the same as throwing money away.

And nobody wants to do that, right?

10 thoughts on “VODOU POKEMON

  1. A lovely article. It reminds me of the two mindsets one finds in Western ceremonial magick versus indigenous spirituality. Western mindsets when it come to spiritual systems often seem to be very commanding. Often you see it when someone is threatening a spirit to commit XYZ acts. Commanding a spirit and humbly petitioning a spirit are like night/day.

    It is like saying you are going to date someone romantically and then force them into your car at gun point. It simply just doesn’t end well.

  2. My sentiments exactly. Dealing with the spiritual world can be tricky, which is why I treat all the spirits I meet and/or work with the way I would a good friend or adviser because I consider how I would want to be treated in return. It is not really important how many spirits one has, but the bond between them.

  3. I find that some people have do this a lot with Erzulie Freda and hotter spirits.

    “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.-Bruce Lee.

    Papa has taught that a person could serve one lwa and be more powerful than a person that has many.

  4. Exactly! This is exactly my opinion of people who are ‘initiation collectors’. People who boost their egos with initiations in different traditions because they think it makes them more important. Unless you are called to do so and it’s your life path you shouldn’t do that. An initiation is a lifetime commitment and the spirits should be treated and served properly. Learning to serve and connect with the spirits that are already with you takes time and dedication.

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