What is a reading or Divination in Vodou?

What is the Role of Divination and Readings in Vodou ?

How is a reading done?

Why is it that we use divination? What are the benefits?

 Truth about Met Tet Readings

My Readings are available here

First let’s get started by defining what is divination or a reading.  Divination is the practice of foretelling the future, or prophesizing, by spiritual or supernatural means.  You may also know it by other words, such as Psychic readings, card readings, clairvoyance, etc.  Although some of the techniques, methods, and Spirits used by some using these terms are different than those of Houngans and Mambos.  In Vodou, this is done by contact with the Lwa and the Lwa are the ones who give the Houngan or Mambo the knowledge and information who relays it to the individual. 

Divination has a very important role in Vodou. Divination or a reading is the most sought after service from a Houngan or Mambo. It is also reffered to as a consultation, or as a leson (Kreyol) or lesson.  By contacting the Lwa through various means, Vodouisants and clients of the Houngan are able to navigate around or prevent problems in the future, help resolve an issue that they may be expierencing, or contact a Lwa for some other purpose or reason. 

Vodouisants expierencing an issue in communicating with a Lwa will often visit a trusted Houngan to see where the problem lies. They may also go to get advice or direction on what step to take next or how to proceed with an project or plan.  A reading or divination  is also often required before undergoing or having any major ceremony. 

Divination or readings are done in various ways.     The most common method of divination in Haitian Vodou is the use of playing cards. After shuffling the cards and invoking the Lwa, the Houngan lays them out in a particular fashion as the Lwa speak to him and he conveys the message to his client.  He will also use the cards to note particular areas of importance.  Houngans and Mambos may also invoke the possession of a lwa to give the reading.  A candle and a glass of water may be used, a bible, or a glass bottle.  There are many different manners, techniques and tools that are effective for this purpose.

Divination allows the Houngan to see what your problem may be, the true root of your problem (because the cause of the problem may be something different than the surface problem), what lwa are involved or interested in the situation, and what the best solution for your problem is. Having divination before commissioning a wanga is very common and sometimes required by some Houngans/Mambos.  With this knowledge in hand, the best plan and manner in which to proceed and resolve your problem can be put into action.

It is really interesting, what will sometimes turn up as the root of someone’s problem. Sometimes the root has nothing to do with the surface problem at all! Many times, the client does not know the root of the problem. For example, a problem in your relationship may be manifesting itself because of an angered or jealous lwa, an aggressive wanga sent to you, your own undoing, jealousy, a mother or father in law, etc. There are a million different possibilities, but usually by identifying and fixing this root problem, you eliminate it from reoccuring.  Then you can handle the issue at hand once and for all.   A leson (reading) is definitely worthwhile when it comes to helping you.
I, personally, require that my clients have a reading before he or she decides to have any wanga done.   If you are looking for help, I would strongly recommend that wherever or whomever you go to help you, the first thing you do is have a reading or some sort of divination.  This will allow you to see whether or not the person is capable of helping you but also allows both to seek the best course of action. Not only that, but it also tells us how complex, how strong the wanga needs to be.
Consider it like going to the doctor.  When you first go in, you go in for a consultation.  After the consultation, a doctor is able to diagnose you and tell you what you need to do, medicine to take, or plan of action. Such is a reading.  In fact, in most cases, when you have a reading with a Houngan or Mambo it will be more in depth (and the Houngan will take more time) than when you go to the doctor!  

Truth about Met Tet Readings
Met Tet Readings? Is it true?

I have been receiving many emails asking me whether or not I can perform a Met Tet reading for a person, or whether or not Met Tet readings are real. Well . . . I am going to put an end to some of these ideas.

Let’s look at the situation logically.

Now, let’s examine some common knowledge about the Lwa Met Tet. The Lwa Met Tet is one’s Guardian Angel, so to speak. Emphasis is on the word Guardian. Therefore, the Met Tet serves to protect the individual whom it guides. In Haiti, the identity of the Met Tet of an individual is kept secret. Why? simply because if someone knows your Lwa Met Tet, they may use this knowledge to distract your Protecting Spirit, and harm you with greater ease, through the means of aggressive magick. In fact, asking someone who their Met Tet is not done, and is considered very distasteful. It will raise suspicion as to whether or not the inquiring individual is planning on harming the person whom they ask.

The Lwa Met Tet is divined through a special ceremony during a Kanzo/Lave Tet/Sevis Tet. The ceremony which divines it is a secret in Vodou. During this time, the individual is told who their Met Tet is, as well as the importance of keeping this information a personal secret.  It can also be identified if it possesses the individual or by a Lwa in possession telling the person who their Lwa Met Tet is.

Now, let’s use our thinking caps ; )

Thousands of Lwa exist in Vodou. Some say there are 401 main Lwa, others say that there are many more. In fact, there are 21 nations, nations meaning groups of Lwa. Then there are personal Lwa, djab, etc. Then you have some people stating that they can divine which spirit it is out of thousands, with a simple deck of 78 cards. LOL. But let’s delve into this idea a little deeper. If your Lwa Met Tet is your guardian, and they can divine this through a simple set of Tarot cards, then what true protection do you have? Those people require their victims to send them a candle, which they have marked with their thumb, in order to leave an “impression” of their energy.

If this is the case, then this simply means that I (or anyone else) could go into the home of my enemy and take a dirty shirt, or something else that belongs to them, and then I can go home, call their name, and throw some cards, and voila! I know their Lwa Met Tet. Then I can serve their Lwa, above and beyond them, and hurt, harm, or maim them. Right? That is not very good protection at all, in my book.

If this were the case, then no Houngan or Mambo would have any difficulty in getting rid of his or her enemies, other Houngans/Mambos, competition, etc.

Some people ask, well why can’t I the non-initiate know who my Lwa Met Tet is? The answer is that the Lwa Met Tet protects you by not allowing you to know his/her identity. Unless, the Lwa (usually in possession) decide that you are at a spiritual level to be able to handle this information wisely, however for many newcomers this is not the case.  How is this so? Well, imagine that you are new to the Vodou tradition. Let’s say you don’t know the importance of this Lwa. You don’t know that it is important to keep it a secret and that it serves as your protector. Well, you might then – in order to further understand this Mystery – go to anyone who you think has some knowledge and say “Hey Mambo Such and Such, my Lwa Met Tet is ______, how can I serve it?” and now, if that Houngan/Mambo is not an upstanding individual, he or she may use that new knowledge in order to influence, control, or hurt you.

It is as when you were a child. You knew what a car was, you knew what its function was. You knew that it was there to take you from place to place. But, at seven years old, did your parents show you how to drive that car? NO! Instead, they waited until you were mature enough to understand everything that a car entails. That it is not only a tool to get from point A to point B, but also a weapon, if used in the wrong way. It is the same with the Met Tet.

Now, what a Houngan or Mambo can often simply divine for you with cards, are those other Lwa that walk with you but are not your Met Tet.  Most people have several Lwa, not just the Met Tet, and it is these other Lwa who assist the person with various issues or problems he or she may have.  Sometimes these Lwa will be born with you (meaning they will be with you forever), sometimes just for a season and sometimes just for a particular reason.  These Lwa can be easily divined by most Houngan or Mambo who have the spiritual eyes to see them.
Houngan Hector

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