The Dead: Baron, Brijit and Gede
Gede in possession above
Table Prepared to serve Gede
All about our 2006 Fet Gede feast here Some of the most interesting Lwa!
The Gede Lwa are some of the most interesting, funny, and outrageous spirits in the Vodou tradition. Their leader, known to them as their father, is Baron Semetye. Baron is the head of the cemetery and he rules over it with his wife, Maman Brijit.
Every Cemetery has its own Baron and Brijit and these are identified by certain tombs. The first male buried in a cemetery is a Baron and the first female a Brijit. In Haiti, crosses will be erected for each one at that tomb. People needing to commission them thus go to the cross.
There are several different Baron Lwa, some more common than others: Baron Lakwa (the cross), Baron Semetye (cemetery), and Baron Samedi. Barons are judges. When you leave your problems at the foot of Baron, you can be assured that he will seek out the innocent.
Baron and Brijit serve as the father and mother of the family of Lwa known as the Gede. This unit is considered a family unit rather than the other groups of Lwa, who are known as nations. There are many hundreds and hundreds of Gede lwa, if not thousands, and they are always the life of the party.
The Gede Lwa dance the banda. The banda is a very crude dance that mimes sexual intercourse. The Gede are vulgar and are known to cuss and play fight. There are many personal Gedes out there, as well as root (racine) Gedes. By far the most known and honored of these root Gedes is Brav Gede Nibo.
Gede’s feast day is November 2nd, see link on left, also known as All Souls in the Catholic church. During this feast, Gede prance the streets in Haiti, ceremonial processions are held, and hundreds of people become possessed by the Gedes. See a slideshow of the latest one below. This party is a ball!
The Barons, Brijits and Gedes are served with the colors black, white and purple. Certain ones prefer certain combinations of the colors. They drink piman. Piman is raw rum in which 21 hot peppers have been soaked. This stuff is so hot that someone faking a possession would burn their mouth out.
Gedes often will show that the possession is true by washing their face in this mixture. Some Gedes will wash their genitals, as well as pour some in their eyes. Gedes will drink this fiery mixture like water too!
Gedes are known for their foul language and vulgarity. They are known to cuss, use slang, and continually talk about sex. They may embarrass people letting their secrets be known. Gedes grind on people, refer to clitorises, penises, and vaginas on a regular basis.
Gede doesn’t have to follow civilized rules because he is dead and above all recourse. Thus he does things that would probably be unthinkable to others. Gede is known to be a thief at times, and usually steals little things here and there. He wears sunglasses that are missing one lens. Some say this is so that he can see above and below ground. Others explain this as alluding to the penis, as it has only one hole, and yet others say that this is because Papa Gede sees the worlds of the living and the dead.
These Lwa are known as powerful magicians. Baron and Brijit are often invoked to save people from death. (Usually caused by wangas from the victim’s enemies) They are also excellent prophesiers and extremely psychic. A Gede is a wonderful ally! Gede is a healer and is the protector of children.
A Beautiful Sequined Flag for Baron
People having trouble conceiving will often seek out the assistance of a Baron or Gede Lwa. Gedes assist in fertility as they are so keenly connected with sex. Gede is also called to heal ill children, help feed children (when money is needed) and almost anything in connection with children.
Many Houngans and Mambos have a Gede that they serve, to consult on behalf of their clients. Gede lends that extra bit of information needed in order to resolve issues. He gives us that extra ounce of clarity and truth. Gede will also embarrass people he considers snobby, should he come across them.
Gede is mischievous and has a great sense of humor. He is a riot and many laughs as well as smiles will be had as a result of watching the Gedes. Gede yo (Gedes) as well as the Baron and Brijit hold the wisdom of the ancestors, of all the dead, of death itself, and more.
St. Gerard Majella is the Catholic Image that serves for Gede. In the image, Gerard is featured holding the cross with a skull on a table on the left side. St. Gerard is also known for taking care of women during pregnancy as is typically associated with Gede Lwa. Gede also comes and treats the womb of a pregnant woman or one who would like to get pregnant.
Since there are so many different things that can be said about all the different Gedes, I will never be able to put it all on paper nor will I probably ever know it all, as no one ever will. New Gedes appear all the time, as Baron and Brijit give them birth into existence; therefore, I hope this can suffice as a short introduction to this particular family of Lwa.