Ogoun or Ogou, Lwa of Power!
St. George used for Ogou in Petro aspects Learn a general service for Ogou!
Ogou is a Nago Lwa. We can suppose that when the Nago people came to Haiti, all their spirits became grouped together with Ogou. This is because we have many Ogous that are known that have the names of Orichas. We serve Ogou Shango, Ogou Batala, Osanj (Not Ogou Osanj).
Ogou has become like a last name for a whole family of spirits; these form a Nasyon. (Nation) In this case the Nasyon Nago. Some are not titled with the name Ogou yet are served within this rite. An example of this is, again, Osanj. Osanj may come from Osain, an Oricha of the leaves, as they have leaves in common.
People have personal and family Ogous too. I know one Houngan who serves an Ogou known as Ogou Tako. This Ogou came from his maternal line. He is really old, directly from Ginen, he explained. I have also witnessed others become possessed by family Ogous. So you can imagine how big the Nago Nation is!
Some of the commonly known Ogou are Ogou Sen Jak, Ogou Yemsen, Ogou Badagri, Ogou Balindjo, and more. Ogou Feray is definitely one Ogou that is widely served, and I would say that he is one of the most frequent visitors. He is known to be the husband of Ezili Freda.
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All of this, yet, you will often hear: “All Ogous are Ogou”. Even though this saying makes it sound rather simple – and there are many commonalities in the service of the Lwa Ogou – there are a variety of nuances that are within the service of the Lwa Ogou.
Another thing that you may also find true is that in Vodou Peristyles, there are slight variations on the service of Ginen. Everything is not the same everywhere. This is because the Vodou tradition does allow some room for creativity, and the Lwa are living, breathing entities – so various things may change from one house to another.
All Ogous represent some type of power though. Power to create, or to destroy. Ogou Balindjo rules over healing power. He is a healer and is known to nullify poison. Ogou Feray is a lwa of war, of battle. Ogou Badagri is a known diplomat, he rules over diplomacy.
Different Ogou also act differently during possession. Ogou Feray often yells, Ogou Sen Jack has a high pitched feminine type voice. Yet all Ogous have things in common. They also drink different things, and may have different vevers. Again, they are a family of spirits. There is no way I could even hope to list them all here.
There are also praise names for the lwa Ogou, which should not be confused with the actual different Ogous. Ogou is sometimes referred to as Orisha Nago, Neg Nago, Gren Pwomene, or Papillon. Ogou is often visualized as a military General.
Ogou is also the master of the machete. Most Ogous can usually be spotted by seeing them wave this around. Some Ogous stick the point of the machete on their stomach and bend it. Sometimes he may beat his head with the machete. He might also slap, with the machete, individuals whom he chooses to chastise. Even though he may do this, the person isn’t harmed. The person will not have bruising or welts or anything of the sort.
This is all information for a basic service that can be offered to Ogou. When approaching a specific Ogou, it is best to be able to include all their details in the service. This is just going to be some general information. You can construct a basic service from this, but as you learn about Ogou, you will begin to elaborate and be able to serve a specific Ogou.
Ogou is a lover too. He loves women. Oftentimes, he may propose to women while in the head of someone. There are songs for Ogou that say he suffered through working and not eating, simply to buy a woman a dress. Ogou is a lwa of masculinity.
He is associated with fire. There can often be found a fe Ogou, or Ogou’s iron, on the peristyle grounds. This Iron, coming half way out of the ground, has specific ceremonies performed upon it to install it. A fire is built around this iron during ceremonies. If the ceremony is specifically for Ogou, this may be the focus. The Lwa may also decide to make this his focus, especially during the Ogou section of the ceremony (often times during the Petro rite too).
Ogou is often invoked during magickal battles. Oftentimes, Houngans and Mambos are involved in magical wars against each other, or against an enemy. There are also songs, chante pwen, which sung during someone’s ceremony will “kraze” it. “Kraze” meaning to break it. These are sometimes sung by a visiting Houngan or Mambo if he is in a battle with the Houngan or Mambo of the house.
Ogou is also about justice. In Nigeria, people used to swear on the machete of Ogou the same way people swear on the Bible in court today. He is said to punish people who talk about things they have no business speaking of. Ogou represents battle, all sorts: with other people, with the government, with oneself, against outsiders.
Like all Lwa, Ogou has songs that are sacred to him. Some of the songs are directed to a specific aspect of Ogou. Other songs are songs to Ogou in general. Still other songs combine the names of several Ogous, and they may be interacting. All Ogous are very close and related.
Some popular personalities are also considered Ogou. Ogou Dessalines comes to mind here. Other Ogou are straight Ginen. Some Ogou are considered to be Petro, or to be served in that rite. All Ogous, however, are served within the Nago Rite. The Nago nation comes just between Rada and Petro, in fact. So you have Rada Ogou and Petro Ogou.
Ogou’s colors are blue and red. White can also be added should you be serving an Ogou that is considered Rada. You will notice that blue and red are the colors of the Haitian Flag. Red, white, and blue are the colors of the US flag, also considered a superpower and warrior type nation.
You can buy red and blue kerchiefs for Met Ogou. Ogou sometimes dresses in khaki too. You might decide to at least get him a khaki military shirt. He may wear a Panama hat, a particular straw hat. He may even dress like a military general. Some Ogous are known as soldiers.
Ogou’s sacrificial animal is a red rooster. The bigger and more beautiful rooster the better. He also takes bulls for sacrifice too. I think you may be better off with the red rooster. ; )
Most Ogou drink rum. Some, especially the Petro Ogou, prefer kleren. This is really raw rum. The rum may be steeped in different herbs accordingly too. One Ogou in particular likes Akasan ak siwo (Its sort of a milkshake type of drink with syrup).
You can serve Ogou
•red rice and beans
•fresh fruit such as bananas, and mangoes in particular, as they are associated with him
You should serve him in a kwi (calabash bowl). You can give him a machete and a cigar too.
You can use a large rock or the bottom of a pot to bang the machete against. While you do this, call Ogou. It is best if this rock has been specially prepared by a Houngan or Mambo as a pwen to call Ogou. It will get his attention faster. Yell for Ogou. Dance for Ogou, and sing for Ogou.
You can also invoke Ogou using a tcha tcha. Salute the four directions. Salute with your offerings too. Usually when food is given to a Lwa to consume, a candle is put in the center and lit.
When you are finished, ask Ogou to serve you. Ask him to find you a job, if that is what you need (this is a particularly good task to ask of Ogou, as he is a workaholic). Tell him to protect you, basically ask him for what you need. You should then thank him and leave. After at least twenty four hours, you can take the food to the woods and leave it there.
Leave the rum and other drinks on the altar. Leave your machete there too, along with your other gifts. When you want to call Ogou, use his rum to libate. Keep Ogou happy and he will work his hardest to do the same for you.
Feeding Ogou’s Machetes The Power of Ogoun
Look at results from Houngan Hector’s 2003 Ogoun service!
A while back, I assisted some people on a board to conduct a service to Ogou. Now the service to Ogou was a very general one. This is because the spirits that are classified under Ogou is a nation. (nasyon) Well, I had beautiful results with the Ogou service. Let me give you a short version of what happened.
First I set up a very nice altar for Ogou, using his sacred objects. Then I started to sing the Priye Ginen to start off the service. After this, I sang opening songs as well as do my salutes. I then presented him with his offerings.
I started feeling the heat! It was really going well! I could feel Ogou coming. I cried out:
So I danced and danced, and danced some more, more. At that moment, an initiation candidate stopped by my home to have some lessons. (She came earlier than expected!). Someone had let her in, so she walked into the room where I was conducting the Ogou service. I didn’t notice her come in, until I felt a bump on me. Guess what! Ogou mounted my candidate for his service! He ate his food, drank his rum, gave me some words of advice, and promised to get me a gift for all the work I had put into doing his service. Then he left.
I was extremely happy to see my candidate experience possession and I laughed as I made her some food and drink. She sat down at the kitchen table as I prepared some breakfast, and the phone rang. I answered the phone, and it was a friend. She said she wanted to sell me a car! (I haven’t really had a good car since I got back to the states). I asked her for the price, but it was too high. So, I told her I would think about it. Later on, she called again, lowered the price, and at that time someone decided to buy the car for me as a gift!
Woy Woy the power of Ogou!