Refresco de Cabeza
This ceremony is performed to accomplish exactly what its name implies: refresh and wash the head. This ceremony gives the person’s head clarity, clarifying the Lwa of the Head and the other Misterios that may walk with him or her. It elevates the powers of the Lwa of that head, making the person’s head a place that is more frequented by possession by the Misterios and making those possessions less violent.
In this ceremony, the Papa Boko or Mama Mambo has prepared the Badji for the refresco of the new initiate. They have properly serviced it and all the proper items are present. The Lwa will be invoked. From then, the recipient will then kneel in front of the altar. The person is cleansed in a special way with various items from the altar. The person’s fulas are present in order to give them more “fuerza” (power). Usually they number seven, and these are very important in Dominican Vodou.
Then the Lwa will mount the Papa Boko and from that point on will start to invoke the ruler of the recipient’s head. Many times the recipient will become possessed at this point. Then the Lwa will proceed to cleanse the individual and elevate all the services unto the recipients head. The Misterio will usually do this while making secret invocations and prayers.
At times, different Lwa may decide to show up and give their puntos. A punto is a point, and will give more power to that individual. The person will then be kneeling over a large basin. Their head will be washed as the Lwa says prayers for the individual.
A secret bath is made. This is given to the new initiate to take the morning after the ceremony. The person will have a white fula tied to their head for a number of days, depending on that person’s Lwas. Usually it can be from 3 to 7 days. The participant takes a portion of the offerings for each Misterio home. At home they will continue to carry out a ritual with these until their restriction time is over.