The Nago Nation
The Nago nachon, or the Nago Nation, is a very popular nation in Vodou. Its most notable and famed Lwa are the Ogous. But the Ogou Lwa are not the only spirits that comprise the Nago nachon. It’s quite large and there are a number of several different Ogous. Some people even have family Ogous which are different than their more popular counterparts.
The Ogous are also very popular in the south of Haiti, like in Jacmel and other southern areas and places. There is a temple whose service is to the Nago Lwa in Haiti too. They uphold a pure Nago tradition, it is Souvenance.
The Nago nachon is known for their favor towards the color red. Most of the Lwa of this family are associated with and have a love for fire. Many are Captains, Generals, Soldiers and other members of armed forces. The majority of them carry a machete or a sword, and regularly use it.
The Nagos have their own dance beats too. Some Nago dances are known as the Nago Grankou and the Nago Cho. The Nago Grankou is a special dance that welcomes the Nago spirits in the dance and the Cho thanks them when it is done. Some people will also dance Mayi and Zepol during Nago time.
Most of the Nago spirits enjoy rum although some will have a preference for another drink. Some will like a particular brand or make of rum also. They are also fond of stones. I have seen many Ogous set in a stone on many different altars.
As far as the Lwa Ogou and the Orisha Ogou being the same, I don’t really get into those semantics or debates. I do believe they are, but some say they aren’t.
Not all the Lwa in the Nago Nachon are Ogou.
The Nago Nachon has its own Legba as many nachons do. This Legba is often referred to as Legba Nago, although initiates know his true name. This Legba opens the gates for the Nago Lwa and as usual is the first one to be sung for when it is time to salute the Nago.
The mother of the Ogous and the Nago Nachon is known as Mambo Lemiye. Mambo Lemiye is like many of the Ogous, she carries a machete. Mambo Lemiye is a member that can go into the fire and go into the water. She is very powerful and fights battles in territories where other Nagos just cannot gain entrance.
Osanj is said to own all of the leaves. Some will recognize this Lwa as the popular Osain in the Oricha tradition. He is another Nago Lwa that is almost always saluted during a ceremony whether the intention is to call him for possession or not. I have seen one man possessed by Osanj eat tons of leaves. He just munched on them like a starving man eating a bag of chips.
Ogou Sen Jak, or Sen Jak, is a popular Ogou. He is Saint James the Greater, although this image is also used to represent other Ogous, mainly Feray. His voice is high pitched. He enjoys the cornmeal porridge known as acassan as opposed to rum, which is unlike other Ogous although he will drink rum. In some temples, they will have French military uniforms for him to wear if he is a regular visitor. He is known to protect people from cannon balls and gunshots.
Ogou Feray is one of the most popular Ogous. He is a warrior and some say he is also a general. He has a short temper! Whew, be careful when Ogou Feray yells at you. He is a regular visitor at my house. He is an Ogou that loves to fight. He is a hard worker, a real family man. He loves people who do right by their family, are just, and are loyal. He is also a husband to Metres Ezili Freda.
Ogou Badagris is very popular also. He is known to be diplomatic although very stern. He can be quite serious. Unlike Feray, he rarely has fits and when he does it is for a very, very, very good reason. Badagris and Feray do sometimes fight each other (over women! ; )) although they also are known to go into wars together. They will assist each other fight a battle. Badagris is a military general and is known for being dependable (as most Ogous are). He is husband to Ezili Danto.
Bacossou is a Lwa of the Nago nachon too. Feray, Sen Jak, and Bacossou are very very popular in the Jacmel area. Bacossou does not speak regular Kreyol but rather in African. He also makes a clicking sound in the back of his throat. I have seen him come to parties and he goes around saying his hellos and makes himself well adored when he is there. Some Houngans and Mambos know how to translate Bacossou’s speech and will serve to translate for the people. I, myself, have translated Bacossou’s messages for people many a time. He is a very hot Ogou, with a very little patience for stupidity. He loves fire and is known to set people aflame for their misdeeds.
Grann Batala is known to be the father of the Nago Nachon. Some say he is similar to the Lukumi Orisha Obatala Ayaguna, although this may or may not be true. He is known to ride a beautiful white horse.
Ogou Panama is associated with the straw hat used by Kanzo initiates. Ogou Chango is known as a Captain. Ogou Yamsan works on Agwe’s boat putting up the flags and is constant companion to Balendjo. Ogou Balendjo is known to be a healer and protects his children from poison. Ogou Feray De Menm, or Two Handed Ogou Feray, is known for his strong hot work, which he can do with the right or left (good or evil) whatever fits his fancy.
All in all, the Nago family is a huge family and it would take many many essays in order to get to them all. I hope this essay clarifies some points.