Thursday, November 29, 2012

Las Gitanas Sanse Vodou Spirits

Las Gitanas 
Sanse Vodou Spirits

Haitian Vodou in all its forms and branches such as Dominican 21 Division, Puerto Rican Sanse or New Orleans Voodoo are traditions that empowers women.  In our rites, women are viewed as equally strong, as important and at times stronger then their male counterparts; this feminine power manifests itself with the Lua and Spirits we venerate.

In Sanse we respect and acknowledge all spirits of light, all the saints "Santos as we call them" wether they are Catholic, African, or Native American, every Misterio we respect them all, both masculine and feminine energies.  It is not unheard in our traditions that the energies of Yemalla del Norte, are as powerful and when inprolerly harnessed are as dangerous as those energies manifested through the Ogou Nation. Within our traditions you cant be a spiritual person and ignore these facts.

Papa Legba the gatekeeper, the great messenger and Fa the Lord of Infinite Wisdom, himself knows this to be true, and for this reason many of our Loases have both masculine and feminine sides, energies, vueltas or counterparts, they represent the spectrum of night and day, of good and evil,, of fatherhood and motherhood, brotherhood and sisterhood, of that which is known and that which is unknown, that which is evident and obvious with that which is mysterious.  As far as the Lua venerated in Vodou and all its branches, sometimes what may appear to have its branches in one Continent, has its roots in another, and no other spirits within  the Sanse and Espiritismo traditions holds this true as does the Court of the Gypsies.

The Gypsies have always been associated with divination, may it be palmistry, tarot cards, crystal ball gazing or tea leaf reading and are also known for their love and mastery in music such as the violin, Spanish guitar, and castanets as they are known for their unique form of Gypsy magic.  For this reason in Puerto Rican Sanse, Brazilian Umbanda and Venezuela Marialionzero Tres Potencias they are viewed similar as the ancient Muses, Satyresses and Satyr of Greek mythology.

While many associate cartomancy with the Commissions of the Madamas, many followers of Sanse, Espiritismo Cruzado, Santerismo, Umbanda, and Mesa Blanca have also rightfully so included the Gitanos with cartomancy. 

We all have Spirits that make up our Spiritual frame, and each has an important role within our spiritual growth and development.  Often times traits of the Spirits are manifested on the individual who has a certain court or commission of Spirit within their cuadro, which is similar to the traits of ones Astrological sign or Zodiac.  It is more than likely that if you live a bohemian / nomadic existence, move around allot and enjoy some form of divination be it Tarot, dice or palmistry, and enjoy acoustic music such as Flamenco or soulful Canto Jondo, than you might have a Gypsy spirit that makes up your Cuadro Espiritual. 

Now unlike some traditions who just pray or work magic with spirits such as La Madama or Indian Spirits, in the traditions I have previously mentioned, we don't just pray to them, we interact with them, they mount our mediums and fiscally interact with us which makes our relationship to these spirits very personal, and unique.  More personal than that of just praying or working conjuration in front of a resin or ceramic lifeless statue, wondering if they are present or for that matter, even listening to our supplications.  In fact many traditions outside of the various branches of folkloric Espiritismo have the misconception that we give daily prayer to the Spirits of our Cuadro Espiritual, when in fact we really don't.  These Spirits are guides and although we have popular prayers for them, we do not kneel in front of them and pray as we would, lets say a Saint, an Angel, Orisha or Loa; we recite prayers as a form of veneration or when we wish to ask something of them.  Traditionally the prayers for the Guides in our Cuadro, such as for los Indios, Madamas, Gitanas, Morenas, or Congos are used in Sesiones in order to invoke that particular Spirit to manifest itself.  So in this sense they are not really prayers, but in all actuality invocations, and evocations which in time have been white washed into the popular prayers found today in books sold in Botanicas.  On a general basis we speak to our spirits as we would any living incarnate spirit  Usually the traditional prayers, (Invocations) followers a traditional song, which helps us and the Mediums in concentrating deeper and as a form of enticing that particular spirit we are invoking or singing to, to manifest or mount itself within an experienced Mediums body.  For us the Spirits of the Commissions as are los Muertos, Loa and Oricha are alive and present and do interact with us on a daily basis and during Misas, Sesiones and Fiesta Espirituales.  The Gitanos are also the same, they often come dancing, or smoking pipes, the younger female spirits are flirtatious and coquettish, the males are pranksters and tricksters, while the older are more serious and sareen.

Know yes Vodou Priests and Priestesses known as Houngan and Mambos as are the Papa Boko and Mama Mambos of 21 Division and Sancistas are viewed by many as magicians, or sorcerers, and as the popular European sorcerer who works with his traditional magical tools of harnessing energy such as the wand, cup, bell and athame, which help him / her manifest his corrientes and the fluidos of the spirits.  The Houngan "Vodou Priest" Papa Boco and Sancista also has his / her sacred tools to aid him/her manifest their will, and it is through the proper usage of these sacred tools, songs, dances and chants that the energies of these Spirits are enticed to manifest.

Within Sanse and Santerismo the Gitanos fall under the leadership of a certain Division or Loa, for example although the Madamas fall under la Sirena they can also work closely with other Misterios or Loases.  The Congo spirits often fall under the Ogun or Candelo Division, the Marinero and Piratas fall under Ague, and so forth, the same is true of the Gitanos.   Although this group of Spirits can work with any Loa such as las Metresas and in life many of the  Romany people venerated Santa Sara la Kali as their patron Saint " who has become a Loa in her own right", the Gitanos fall under the Legba Nation, they are not Legba Loa or Misterios themselves but Spirits who work under them, as Emisarios, Sance or Mensajeros.  Similar to the Legba Nacion, the Gitanos are travelers, bohemians, often outcasts, quick to learn a language, quick to adapt into any and all cultures although, they hide within the outskirts of the aceptables societies normal way of living, are always greatly misunderstood and often viewed as wanderers of the earth.

The Gitano or Roma as they are also known are surrounded by so much mythology and folklore, as I have stated in earlier articles on these people and spirits.  Many mythical tales associate the Gypsies with being the black smiths "Ogou" who where tricked into making the nails used to crucified the Savior, while others clam that the Gypsies are the descendants of Cain and the Canaanite people.  Still others claim that prior to Eve, Adam had a wife named Lilith who was said to have given birth to the first Romany "Gypsy", while others claim that the mythical Wandering Jew was in fact the first Gypsy.  Still others claim the Gypsies as being the descendants of Judas Iscariot. Although much of this is in fact based on mythology, it is sad to note that most of the Gitano folklore is based on fear, prejudice and misunderstanding of this people.

The Gitanos are similar to the Pomba Giras of Brazilian Umbanda and Quimbanda, although in Puerto Rico the Pomba Giras are "until recently" virtually unheard of; one thing the Gitanas and the Pomba Gira share in common is the way we invoke them and the way they manifest their fluids and energies within Sesiones and Fiesta Eapirituales.  The word Gira means to tour or in the Spanish and Portuguese language, means to tern around, or spin, while the word girar means rotate, revolve, or to go around in circles.   But to go deeper, the Pomba Gira and the Gitanas as viewed by Brazilian Umbanda and Puerto Rican Sanse are a Comision or Court of Spirits that seams to have its origin not only in the stereotypical Spanish Gypsies of Spain but also in two Congolese and Bantu deities, which are collectively known as Nikisi.  This particular Spirit was known as Pambu Nzila masculine or Bombozira feminine which is a Legba Spirit honored in Palo Monte, Palo Mayombe, Umbanda and Quimbanda and is known as an Elegba path known as Lucero Mundo in Cuba.  These spirits and their names did not survive the Spanish inquisition of Puerto Rico, but their Spanish Gypsi  disguise and counter part did, at least within Espiritismo, Sanse and Santerismo.

The Gypsies in spirit as they where in life are true bohemians and travelers, they are as free discarnate as they were incarnate.  They can be stern and obnoxious, but often happy, and content.  One misconception that people who follow Sanse or Espiritismo have is that all the Gypsies are from Spain.  Again this is far from the truth, yes many in our Gitanos ancestors do come from Spain and enjoy the traditional Flamenco dance and stereotypical castanets, but others are from Portugal, Hungeria, Egypt, Morocco, Arabia, Russia, Germany, Romania, Yugoslavia and of course the ancient mother land of the Gypsies, India. 

This commission of Spirits is as large as all the others and like the blatino Slave Spirits that use the term Negro such as Negro Jose, Negra Francisca or Negro Manuel, the Gypsies come down always proudly saying they are Gitanos, and they ofren use the term for Gipsy from their country of origin such as Cigano, Sigany, Zingaro, Gitan, Zigenare, Gipsy or the Spanish Gitano.  In the Spanish language Gitano is masculine while Gitana is feminine, and some of the most popular Gitanos in Cuadros are, Renzo, Hugo, Dracos, Yani, Neftali, Pablo, Vlademir, Juan, Pedrovick, Arsenio, Aldovan and Vitor.  The Gitanas are usually Salomè, Sarafina, Waleska, Esmeralda, Tatiana, Yethenia,  Amaiya, Zaira, Lucerito, Jovanka, Rita, Sashenka, Milenka, Sunakana, Sulamita, Wlavira and Vinka.  In Sanse most of these Spirits come down using the name Maria, Juan and Jose, such as Maria Salomè, Jose Renzo or Juan Vladimir, or will use the name of the Loa they represent as a surname.
Tradituonal Servicio
 to the Female Gitana Spirit


In many Caribbean African and Indigenous Traditions, when a Gitano as is any spirit of ones Cuadro, the Espiritista often blesses a statue or doll and in some cases fill it with powerful ingredients that are believed to attract that particular spirit into the statue or doll  I will definitely not go into that here, but what I will be posting is for those who do have a Gitana or Gitano how to do a Servicio and connecting to their energies.  This Servicio "for the Gitana" is often performed on the night of Venus, as the moon is full on the witching hour.    The items and servicio that follows is one used in Brazilian Umbanda as a way of connecting with the Pomba Gira and I have used it as a Plaza de Muerto or as a servicio to las Gitanas before a Fiesta or as a way tuning into the Spirits faculties and has worked effectively for me.   Although I use it within my home with Puntos Firmados with Cascarilla, traditionally it is done outdoors in deserted crossroads, which for safety reasons I would not recommend.  "Never be alone unaccompanied at night." 
Items Needed

  • A Spanish Gypsy Doll, or a statue of a Gypsy.
  • 7 Red Candles
  • 7 Black Candles
  • A bottle of rum.
  • A bottle of anisette liquor or aguardient.
  • 7 Red tea lite Candles
  • 7 Black tea lites Candles
  • 1 Square Red silk Cloth
  • 1 Square Black silk cloth
  • 1 Glass Ashtray
  • 7 Cigarettes
  • 7 Wooden Matches
  • 7 Coins
  • 1 Red or clear glass vase
  • 7 Red Roses
  • 1 Bottle of Rose Water
  • 1 Bottle of Rose Perfume "Maja Brand"
  • Cascarilla
  • Virgin Olive Oil
  • Holy Water
  • 1 bottle of 4711, "Original Eau de Cologne or any Eau de toilette. (everyone seams to be infatuated with Florida Water, but 4711  Eau de Cologne, Kananga Water, Kolonoa 1800 or Locion Pompeya can be used, but we will just say Florida Water, unless you are near a Botanica and care to experiment with the vast colognes and waters we use.)
  • Blessed Salt
  • 1 Deck of Lenormand Cards

Begin by cleansing the area with Holy water, then carefully with the Cascarilla draw a circle and then outlining it with the blessed salt. 

Place the square piece of Black cloth over the circle, then place the red silk cloth over the black cloth to form an 8 pointed star. 

Begin buy cleansing the doll or statue with Florida Water, and Rum, this you will do by spraying the rum from your mouth onto the statue or doll and washing it with your hands using the florida water and passing it over the doll.  After this you will do the same with the Anisette Liquor.  Then place the doll or statue in the center of the cloth.  On the right side place the vase with the red roses while on the left you will place the remainder of the liquors. 

In front of the doll you will place the glass ashtray with the 7 unlit cigarettes and 7 wooden matches inside the ashtray. 

Then begin to surround every thing with the tea lights, beginning with one black, (the unknown, death) then one red. (Blood life). Do this all the way around.  To each candle drop one little drop of olive oil and light one at a time.  Then open your deck of Lenormand Cards and begin to make a circle around the circle of candles with the deck, being very careful not to place the card to close to the flames of the candles.  (We traditionally give our Gitanas, Lenormand Cards but a Spanish deck can be used.)

Then begin to invoke the Gypsies asking that the Spirit who is part of your cuadro,"if any" will use both the doll / statue and the deck as a spiritual platform for manifestation and communication.  The invocation can be one used here or just speak from the heart.  Do this until one feels comfortable, making sure that candles are never left unattended. 
Listen clearly during your invocation and meditation as it is at this moment that La Gitana or Gitano will reveal his name. 
When the candles are completely consumed begin to gather every thing with the exception of the Doll / Statue, the deck of cards and the red and black cloths.  All the rest of the items will be placed within a brown paper bag then passed through the aura of the body.  With seven coins leave the bag in a T shaped street and asking the Gitana that makes up your Cuadro to bring you blessings. 

The Doll / Statue is not your Spirit per say but a vehicle in which your Gitana / o will manifest its energy.  It is your Pitosina, and the ritual I have just included is an easier version of the one I posted on the Pitonisa article.

The cloth themselves are only used with the Gitana and can be used to cover the deck or use to lay the deck on.  

Traditionally Sancistas and Brujos prepare a resguardo with magical items that are placed within the doll or statue, which are believed to attract the Gitanos. 

The Gypsy in time like most of your spirits within your cuadro will ask for items in which they will use in Misas or Sesiones. Traditionally the Gypsies (female) enjoy rose scented perfumes, Spanish Fans, Castinettes, hair combs, black lace, and Arabian jewelry.  The rose perfume such as Agua Fresca de Rosas or rose waters are often used to sprinkle or spray on the statue or doll.  They enjoy red, black and rose colored candles, and expensive chocolates, although mine does not mind her occasional Twix or Hurshey bars.  The Gitana as are many of the spirits are never placed on the altar with the Loa but placed on the boveda or is seated on a wooden chair with wicker seat.  We call these chairs Taburettes.

Always keep a Fuente Espiritual with fresh water near her, with rose water and holy water, that is changed every friday.  They enjoy menthol cigarettes, champagnes, beer, whisky and gin and semi precious stones, crystal balls, playing cards, tarot decks, silk and satin scarves.   They especially enjoy Maja Eau de Toilette  Perfume, Azahar Orange Blossom in which they use to bless and Maja talcum powder for their love magic spells.  Important note, Gypsy Spirits often get insulted with the term Witch / Bruja or any form of the word and one should never use it when calling them.


A common mistake many individuals have is the difrence between the traditional Flamenco Dress wearing Spanish Señorita and the Gitanas.  Although within time the Gypsies of Spain began to wear the traditonal Flamenco clothing worn by the aristocratic Spanish señoritas.  Many times we know the difrence between what we call as La Española and la Gitana, although again the Gypies of Spain mastred the art of Flamenco, song and dance and many within time began to wear the traditional Flamenco dress.  Traditionally the style of Flamenco the Gypies of Spain sang was known as Canto Jondo, which was a soul full improvised version of Flamenco that had a deep soulful style which differed from the upbeat Fandango and Sevillana style used by the Españoles. Canto Jondo often spoke of the Gypsy experience in Spain, their sufferings, trials prejudices and tribulations they endured.


To speak of a race and people, and in order to completely understand them, one always has to look deep into their hearts and understand a bit of their spiritual or religious beliefs.  At the forefront of the Gypsies beliefs sits a beautiful saint by the name of Sarah la Kali, or Sara la Negra.  Just like the mysterious Roma people who in times past, strikes wonder and often fear in the hearts of those who did not understand them, so did their patron Saint Sarah.
As there is much mystery behind the people so to is their a shroud of mystery behind this beautiful Black Madonna and to write about her would take volumes of information and time.  Many legends proclaim that she came to France as a maiden of one of the Marys.  Other proclaim that she was a powerful Gypsy sorceress similar to England's Morgan la Fey, still others say that she was the mysterious mythical and sacred Holy Grail itself and daughter of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdeline.  What is fascinating about this figure is that she has many similarities to the Hindu Goddess Kali / Durga.  One similarity is that the name Kali comes from the word Kala which means black, "Saint Sara is often depicted as being of dark skin" another similarity is that Kali's aura is so blue "at times black" that it is transparent upon her skin, again Saint Sarah la Kali is always depicted as being dressed in blue garments.

Now there are many traditions, folklore and mythology surrounding this beautiful saint. One tradition tells the account of how Sara was the child of a Gypsy King "Chief" and as her mother and grandmother before her was well educated in the magical practices of her people.  The Gypsy clan being a pagan people, where devotees of the Goddess Astarte, and as was tradition and custom a yearly procession for her was done, going into the shore of the sea. Now on the eve before the procession, lit by the full moons light Sara went to the ocean to make offerings to the Goddess Astarte.  Sara since birth had the gift of premonition and dreams, and was unable to sleep that night because she had a dream that travelers from a far off land where coming from the Sea, and that they where connected to a savior who had been crucified by the Romans.  On the shores of the moon lit beach Sara made offerings to Astarte so that the Goddess may help her interpret her dream.  Just then in the distance she saw a small boat coming to the shore.  Within the small boat was Mary Magdeline, Marie Salome, Saint Marta and Lázaro of Betania.
But because the moon was full the boat could not male it to shore.  Sara went into the water and asked one of the travelers to throw her a cloak so that she may help in pulling them in.  Maria Salome then threw her cloak at Sara and with her Gypsy magic was able to calm the sea and bring them to shore.  It is believed that through this act Sara helped bring Christianity into her country and became a handmaiden of Mary and the first Gypsy Saint.  
Saint Sarah's feast day is celebrated on May 24th.  She has become a popular Loa or Misterio amongst those who practice Vudu and is known as San Sereni del Monte, Sarai or simply la Negra Sara la Kali.  Keeping with ancient Cristian tradition she is said to be the daughter of Gran Solier and Mama Sili Gbo others say Olisa Maisia Moquea.


Que el camino sea suave para tus pies, que el viento sople ligero sobre tus hombros, que el sol brille calido sobre tu rostro, y que la lluvia caída traiga la paz hasta tu campamento. y que Dios siempre te guarde en las palma de sus manos.

Es una linda flor que desabrocha en amanecer es un espíritu de luz.  Es la luna que aclarea nuestras mentes para que pasemos a dar un consejo en la hora cierta.
Es el espíritu que nos de la fuerza para superarnos todos nuestros obstáculos.
Es una estrella brillante que ilumina nuestras vidas, y  nuestro planeta Tierra.  Es un espíritu maravilloso que à noche vigila nuestros sueños, impidiendo la aproximación de espíritus maléficos.  Gitana, con tus cintas coloridas, estás siempre transmitiendo la fuerza del arco iris.Siempre que nosotros te invoquemos, puedas transmitirnos la energía da paz, de la armonía y de la consolación.

Que, al mirar la llama de una vela, podamos sentir tu presencia.  Que, al tocar un cristal, podamos sentir tu energía positiva. Que, al sentir la aroma de violetas, podamos sentir que estás confortando nos.

Gitana, cúbrenos con tu saia colorida, escondiéndonos de los engañosos y mostrando a ellos que el camino no es ese. 

Gitana encantada, que en esta hora podamos sentir seguridad, paz y felicidad.  Con tu encanto, encanta cosas buenas para que nuestros caminos no tengan obstáculos.Desencanta todas las perturbaciones que existan.  Gitana, cura aquellos que estén enfermos del espíritu, del alma, de la materia,  Como el poder del Gran Solier igual Como el poder de la Madre Tierra.
Oración de la Gitana

Salve Sol, la Naturaleza, el ocaso de mañana! Salves Bondye Todo Poderoso, que me das felicidad de tomar la Bendicción de toda la Naturaleza. Salve al Viento, al Sol, a la Lluvia, a las Nubes, a las Estrellas e a la Luna ! ¡  Salves a todas las fuerzas de las Aguas, a la Tierra, el Aire y el Suelo fértil ! ¡ Que bello sea su remedio ! ¡ El Pan que parto en la mesa, sea multiplicado ! El trigo que cargo conmigo, sea mi propriedad. El Universo me abrace. Y que los quatro elementos: Tierra, Agua, Fuego y Aire, me den las fuerzas necesarias para todas las dificultades de mi vida. Mis caminos sean abiertos, hoy y siempre, con toda la pureza de los Elementales y de los Angeles Mensajeros de Dios.

Es una linda flor que desabrocha en amanecer, es un espíritu de luz abrocha en amanecer es un espíritu de luz

Es la luna que aclarea nuestras mentes para que pasemos a dar un consejo en la hora cierta. Es el espíritu que nos de la fuerza para superarnos todos nuestros obstáculos.  Es la estrella brillante que ilumina nuestras vidas nuestro planeta Tierra.  Es un espíritu maravilloso que à noche vigila nuestros sueños, impidiendo la aproximación de espíritus maléficos Gitana, con tus cintas coloridas, estás siempre transmitiendo la fuerza del arco-iris.Siempre que nosotros te invoquemos, puedas transmitirnos la energía de paz, de la armonía y de la consolación.  Que, al mirar la llama de una vela, podamos sentir tu presencia.  Que, al tocar un cristal, podamos sentir tu energía positiva.  Que, al sentir la aroma de violetas, podamos sentir que estás confortando nos. Gitana, cúbrenos con tu saia colorida, escondiéndonos de los engañosos y mostrando a ellos que el camino no es ese.  Gitana encantada, que en esta hora podamos sentir seguridad, paz y felicidad.  Con tu encanto, encanta cosas buenas para que nuestros caminos no tengan obstáculos.Desencanta todas las perturbaciones que existan Gitana, cura aquellos que estén enfermos del espíritu, del alma, de la materia, Como el poder del Pai-Sol Como el poder de la Mãe- Tierra


Salve mi Santa Sara, madre de todos los Gitanos de este mundo y de otros.
Yo rezo invocando tu poder, mi Poderosa Santa Sara Kali, para que prepares mi corazón y retires toda la angustia que está en mi.

Santa Sara abre mis caminos por la Fe que yo te tengo.  Tu que venciste el mal, todas las tempestades y caminaste junto al Maestro.  Madre de todos los misterios Gitanos, que da fuerzas a este pueblo a través del don de la magia, me haga fuerte ahora,
Amorosa Sara, domina todos los leones que insisten en devorar me.

Santa Sara aleja de mi todas las almas perversas para que ellas no puedan ver.

Ilumíname para que la felicidad llegue.  Tráeme fuerzas como la del pueblo gitano,
Madre, Señora y Reinas de las fiestas Gitanas. Suenan los violines, caen las monedas, bailan las Gitanas alrededor de la foguera, se siente el perfume de las Gitanas, las manos golpeando.alabando el pueblo de Santa Sara Kali!


O! Poderoso Gran Rey Gitano, que en esta hora yo vengo a saludar.  Saludo en ti la fuerza de las estrellas, saludo las ondas del mar, saludo todas las tribus gitanas.

Pido permiso a este pueblo para poder trabajar.  Saludo las montañas, los valles, las gotas de rocío, la arena.  Tu pueblo baila feliz invocando la vida y la belleza.

En sus músicas está la gracia de la danza, libre para soñar.

Tus tesoros son infinitos.  Ningún precio puede pagar el valor de la libertad de los pies descalzos caminando.

Tus joyas tienen el brillo del oro mas caro.  Tus gitanos ponen las manos en el pecho para el corazón calentar.

Tus mujeres exhalan perfumes frescos con sus abanicos para alejar los espíritus negativos.
Tus fogueras poseen las salamandras mas altas que en los ojos de tu pueblo pueden brillar.
Gran Rey que esta oración no tenga fin, porque cuando un gitano reza mirando para el cielo. Dios se pone a cantar. Amén.


Santa Sara: por la fuerza del agua, Santa Sara: con Tus misterios, que estés siempre a mi lado, por la fuerza de la naturaleza, nosotros que somos hijos del viento, de las estrellas, de la luna, Te pedimos, Amada Señora que permanezcas a nuestro lado, por la estrella de cinco puntas, por los cristales que brillan siempre en nuestra vida: que nuestros enemigos no nos vean, así como nada se ve en una noche oscura sin estrellas ni luna.  Si nuestra casa es el descanso al final del día, que Santa Sara la ilumine, para que todos los que golpean la puerta reciban siempre una palabra de amor y alegría.

Santa Sara que yo nunca sea alguien ingrato, que perdone a todos y sea siempre humilde. Amén.


Sarah, Tu que eres la Madre de los gitanos del mundo entero.

Tu que sufriste todas las formas de humillaciones y preconceptos.  Tu que fuiste amenazada y tirada al mar para que murieses de sed y de hambre.

Tu que sabes lo es el miedo, el hambre, el sufrimiento, y el dolor del corazón.  No permitas que mis enemigos también me maltraten.  Se mi abogada frente a Dios y dadme suerte, salud y bendice mi vida.


Amada Maestra Ascendida Sara que iluminas mi camino!

Abraza con tu manto protector toda mi vida!  Abre mis caminos!  Tráeme la armonía en el amor y la paz con el dinero.

Líbrame de todos los cortes y de las separaciones sufridas!

Aléjame de todas las pérdidas. Dame suerte! Dame el amor! Dame suerte! Dame el dinero que preciso!

Haz de mi vida un himno de alegría!  A tus pies me coloco, bendita Sarah.
Mi Madre, Mi Maestra, Mi Luz Gitana!

Te ofrezco mi vida para que la transformes en un lindo lirio perfumando de paz toda mi casa.
Salve, mi Madre Gitana!  Salve Gran Reina del Amor!
Salve, Poderosa Sara!

Que bendices mi amor y mi hogar.  Amen.

Mi Amada Maestra sara tu, que como madre del pueblo gitano, sabes lo que es el desespero de ver un hijo sufriendo,protege el (los) mío (míos) de todas las calamidades.
Que el camino de ellos sea siempre de Luz, Prosperidad, Alegría, Felicidad.
Y que cada uno de ellos consiga perpetuar su vida con una familia numerosa y feliz.

Salve sara, Madre y Maestra!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Sanse Tradition! The Vudú that We Do

The Sanse Tradition!
The Vudú that We Do


The responsible and well trained Sancista or Presidente de Mesa, with his Mediamnidad de Mano derecha and the trained aprendiz "ahijados" that make up his Sociedad or Centro are there in order to help those in their Spiritual needs.  May it be lifting a causa, removing a curse, a prayer session, cleansing, or a spiritual consultation.

The first step in Sance as is with Espiritimo is an Investigacion de Cuadro and a Misa de Ratificación, "an Alineacion de Cuadro", then if the Sance call onto an individual to follow or be registrado and coronado as a Sancista de la Siete Divisiones del Panteon Sancista, one goes through various Presentaciones a los Puntos and then other ceremonies which include el Bautismo and so forth. Many Sancistas do not take on godchildren or as many, as other traditiones do because to be honest many people dont need any religious ceremonies to heal or get better, they need a good limpia, despojo and a therapist. (Trust me I have come across some Sancistas who need the same.) Also many Sancista work la Mesa del Espiritismo Criolla or Folclorica as Presidente de Mesa or Mediamnidad de Mano Derecha. Know I personally dont agree with being of multiple tradition unless they compliment each other, many times various traditions clash, but to each their own, and as my Abuelita (grandmother) usto say. Cada Cabesa es su Mundo. I respect all Faiths and Religions for each has its mysteries and its beauty, but sometimes to mix these traditions is like mixing bleech with amonia, and one can come up with a deadly clash of Titans.  Most Sancistas practice for their own well being, or for their family and close kin, and clients are taken for consultas, limpias and despojos.  Sanse although a branch of Haitian Vodou, is also deeply Spiritism, and Cristian (Catholic) and is clouser to Brazilian Umbanda Blanca and Maria Lionza Espiritismo of Venezuela in structure and beliefs.  

In Sance and I am speaking only for Sance and with a Sancista's point of view, smaller is often better, although a large Espiritismo Reunion, Velada or Misa gathering is always a good thing. "Sesiones are often smaller" In which of course we work in harmony with other respected traditions such as Ocha, Vodou, 21 Division and so on, while Fiesta Espirituales tend to be larger.

Sanse is a mix of three traditions, European, African and Native American (Taino) Chamanism;  and is a folk magico spiritual religious tradition that again although is considered a branch of Vodou, is more Amerindian "Taino" in structure and nature than its Haitian Vodou counterpart, which has more African elements and roots.  Puerto Rican Sanse is a combination of Spiritism and Vodou and deals with Spirit and ancestral veneration as it does with elements, such as wood, metal, crystals, mineral, plant, fire, air, earth, and water.

It seams where ever one goes, people like to point out that Sance is not of Puerto Rico, well duhh, this would be like saying Espiritismo is from Puerto Rico, its not, its from France, as the roots of Sanse are from Haiti. Much of what is Sance as followed in Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans on the U.S. mainland has its influence in other cultures, but it is as Boriqua "Puerto Rican" as los Taino who thousands of years (before Christofer Columbus) came to the islands from modern day Venezuela. To say a tradition of a place is not theirs is ignorant. It is insulting the Afro Puerto Ricans and saying they had no culture, no identity, its insulting the descendants of los Taino of Borinquen the same way. Espiritismo is not Puerto Rican, but Espiritismo Criollo, Foloclorico and Mesa Blanca as practiced by Puerto Ricans is. Also Vodou is not Puerto Rican, but Brujeria, el Vudú, Curanderismo, and Santiguarismo as practiced on the island is. Mix this all together and you will have a Sofrito of cultures, and this my people is what Sanse Borinqueña is.  It is similar to New Orleans Voodoo, and Southern Hoodoo which is not Haitian Vodou, but its origins are from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, but it is as American as American Apple Pie.  The same can be said for Puerto Rican Sanse, it may have many elements of Haitian Vodou, but it is very Puerto Rican in structure.  If someone says its a Sancocho, pues O Cara, la Yuca de los Taino, el Platano de Africa y la Aceituna de España make a damn good stew.

As with Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria and Dominican 21 Division, Puerto Rican Sanse synchronizes the spirits with that of Catholic Saints.  But this is not to be confused with the belief that the Catholic Saints are the Loa, they are not.  They are representations of the Loa, and is similar as saying.  "You are of your father, but you are not your father."

The names of these Spirits are known as Misterios or Lwa and  where brought to Puerto Rico with Dominicans and Haitians who migrated to Puerto Rico as early as the late 1800s who brought with them the customs and folk religions of their native home.   Although many Lwa are from Haiti, new Lwa "Misterios" have arisen in Sanse.  Often times these Puerto Rican Misterio "Loases" are not in all actuality neo-spirits, but ancient Taino Ceml spirits of nature, Cacique Chiefs, Bohique Shamans and Nitaino warriors or ancestors who have elevated and have taken their rightful place amongst the Divisions. 

Although both Haitian Vodou and Dominican 21 Division deal directly with the Loa, Sanse being also an offspring of Espiritismo, and while they do venerate the Lwa which are also known as los Santos or Los Misterios, Sanse deals with the working of spirits within one's spiritual frames.  These Spirits are known as los Emisarios, los Seres, las Comisiones, los Muertos and los Sance.  These Spirits manifest themselves in Fiestas, Veladas, Misas and Sesiones, and often manifest in a similar ways in which they may have acted in life, during their material incarnate existence.  But many times they come to give messages, or warnings of things that are yet to come.  When these spirits manifest within a banco or casilla they often salute in the traditional language, or form of salutations of the times or location in which they where alive.  Each of the Spirits often act as they were when they were alive, and each groups of Spirits acts in the traditional stereotypical way that they may have been viewed in life.  For example the Spirits of the Comisiones, Las Gitanas often come twirling around in Flamenco fashion, the Madamas are loving and nurturing while the Esclavos are quiet and wise, and the Congos are fierce Paleros.  In Puerto Rican Sanse a new group of Comision or Court of Spirits has arisen, these are known as Los Sanse.  Los Sanse or Emisarios, or Mensajeros as they were called by our parents and grandparents in Puerto Rico.  The Sanse are a group of Spirits that work as Emisarios or Embajadores "emisaries or embasadors" for the Loa.  For example, while Haitian Vodou, Cuban Santeria and Dominican 21 Division work on calling the Loa or Orisha themselves, which often rely on lengthily ritualistic chants and an order of music and sung invocations, in Puerto Rican Sanse, a spokesperson or messenger for each Misterio in called.  These spirits as I have stated are known as los Sanse, and in life they where followers, priests or priestesses of a certain Loa, or Orisha and come speaking on their behalf.  So lets say we invoke the Loa Ogou, a messenger of Ogou will come down, a Sanse, and this spirit will often demonstrate the Loa or Oricha corrientes and characteristics, but with many characteristics of their own.  But the Sanse are not the only ones to be invoked, Spirits of one's Cuadro such as Comiciones, Antepasados and even Santos are called. 

As I have stated while Haitian Vodou or Cuban Santeria call on the Loa / Orisha in lengthily ritualistic ceremonies.  In Puerto Rican Sanse as it is in Dominican 21 Division, often only a certain amount of Misterios are called.  Example, if we are having a fiesta for Santa Marta or Candelo, then they and the Spirits of that division are called, and often times other Misterios or Sanse will come, if they so wish to come.  At times we can call on a Spirit from one Division, and a Spirit from another will come.  

The Sance always act in a similar fashion as the Loa they are coming down to represent but will have many characteristics that are of their own.  The Sanse, as the Emisarios of Puerto Rican Espiritismo Criolla often come to help us or those around us in finding solutions to every day problems, removing curses, cleansing and even aiding us in finding closure to a problem we may have.  These very Sance are a part of what we call our Cuadro Espiritual, and they are as strong as the person's connection is towards them.  If the person ignores his/her Cuadro, and their responsibilities for those spirits, then it becomes weak, if you deviate from them then they will move away from you, leaving you weak and accessible to lower level spirits and other demonic forces.   Know there are Spirits within your Cuadro that will never leave your side, but each Spirit works as a frame or a shield that not only protects the spiritual body, but also the physical, mental and each of the seven layers of the aura which are the Etheric, the emotional, the mental, the astral, the etheric template, the celestial body and the causal.  (Which should be studied as a subject apart.). 

When an individual is disconnected to their spirits, their aura becomes weak  and instead of getting help from ones protective spirits, what happens is that they begin to attract negative spirits and forces which bring confusion, discomfort and disorder.  These Spirits are known by many names, such as Atrasados, Burlones, Enduresidos and Causas.  One would be surprised how much this occurs in modern day Spiritual houses, Templos, Sociedades and Centros. Many times individuals who lead a life of charlatans,  believe themselves to be mounted by Spirits of their Cuadro when in all actuality what is being manifested are Atrasados and Burlones who come down not just to moch and ridicule the Medium or Channeler but the congregation, society and temple alike.  These Spirits are not spirits that want to help individuals but cause fear, discomfort, confusion, disorder and come to mock Espiritismo, Sanse and its followers. 
I was taught early on, both by my grandmother and padrino, not just in Sance but Espiritismo, that one has to be very careful, and vigilant when mounting one's muerto or working one's Cuadro for la obra de la caridad within a room full of strangers.  Many well trained and knowlwdgable Sancistas or Espiritistas will never mount in a room full of desconosidos. We don't mount because every one is mounting, or because it seams like the in thing to do at the moment, or that we feel we have to prove something.  In all actuality in the Centros and Templos of times past el Presidente de Mesa did not mount, this was the job of la Mediamnidad de Mano Derecha, el Presidente de Mesa's job was to make sure no malignant spirits would come forth, safeguard the body of the mediums who did mount and keep order in the Centros.  Also Espiritistas and Sancistas when dealing with muertos should also understand the rule of "Las Tres Gotas de Sangre", and prior to any Misa or Sesion we go before our Cuadro so they may protect us from those who would only wish harm upon us.  We need to understand that we must spiritually, physically and mentally protect ourselves before Sesiones, especially in a room full of people we do not know or fully trust.   Traditionally a Sancista and Espiritista prepares themselves for the task mentally, physically and spiritually.  A knowledgeable Sancista and Mediamnidad of Espiritismo should  fast 8 hours before sesiones or misas, releave their bodies of human waists, take herbal baths, pray and meditate, asking for inner strength and protection.  Not just from the evil eye and the wagging tongue of those who may be present at any given gathering, but also that an Espiritu de Causa is not absorbed into the Sancista by those who carry them, or to protect their Spirits from those who envy them and would do anything to have that Spirit work for them.

The Tableau Espiritual, Mesa Blanca and Santuario, are the sacred house and central shrines which is the altar kept for the various Santos, the Mesa Blanca / Mesa Espiritual "Boveda" is the house shrine for ones dead and ancestors.  La Plaza Espiritual is a special altar made for ceremonies such as misas, veladas and sesiones, and within a Plaza Espiritual one places all the candles and offerings, pańos, ritual objects and items that will be used during the spiritual ceremony.  These altars can be as elaborate or as simple as one's personal financial means allows, and are as different in every home as the Loases and Sanse themselves are within each individuals Cuadro.  Every Muerto, and Sanse works different for every person, and no two Sanse or Muerto are ever quite alike.

Many of the characteristics and mannerisms of the Misterios, Muertos and Sanse venerated and respected in Sanse can be viewed as offensive in other orthodox traditions.  They often enjoy the material pleasures of life as they mount a host's body, they enjoy to smoke tobacco, drink rum, and pitorro, dance, and can at time speak in vulgar languages.  Some of the female Lua and Muertos can be flirtatious and coquettish, while male Lua and Muertos often demonstrate strong male characteristics. They salute the public in the traditional language of how they may have saluted in life, and love to cleanse the public with smoke, liquor, fresh herbs, coconuts, eggs, and perfumed scented herbal waters.   

As I have stated before a Sancista baptized in Sanse de las 21 Division de los 7 jefes del Panteón Sancista, who has been Presentado a los Puntos, and those Mediums who practice Espiritismo Criollo and Folklorico must be well educated and knowledgeable not just in the world of Spirits, but also must demonstrate mediamistic and psychic abilities and although most of their knowlwdge will be learned with the participation of a Sociedad or Centro, much is also learned through prayer and meditation infront of his/her Spiritual Table and Spiritual Frame.  "Mesa Espiritual y Cuadro Espiritual."

Again I want to reinstate that traditionally speaking a Sancista or Espiritista that was perceived as a Presidente de Mesa was not viewed as such until a mature age of 30 and over.  I mean no disrespect to the 30 and younger Sancistas and Espiritistas that are out there today, I am speaking about the way it was traditionally done, not just in Puerto Rican Sanse and Espiritismo but in Espiritismo in Venezuela and Brazil and traditions such as Umbanda and Maria Lionza Espiritismo.  At any age one can be a Mediamnidad of Espiritismo and be baptised into Sanse, but this alone does not give you the title of Presidente de Mesa or Sancista Mayor, at these ages one in an aprendiz or an ahijado / a.  While we are all born with a degree of phsychic and mediamistic abilities, it takes development, learning and wisdom accumulated through age to run a Centro, Templo or Sociedad.  The individual must first Desarollar Espiritualmente "Spiritually Develop" and be of a mature age; el desarollo espiritual takes much time, patience and great faith. There is allot of studying and learning that the Espiritista and Sansista must undertake.  Baptism into Sanse is a way one can begin to develop spiritual faculties, development of Mediamistic abilities, but these ceremonies alone will not give them to you.  They give you the key to the car, and you must learn how to start the car and learn how to drive it responsibly.  Reckless driving can lead to serious injuries including death, this is also true when dealing with the realm of Spirits. 

In today's modern society I have noticed a trend, every one is baptised or crowned something and often crowned multiple traditions that was unheard of in Africa, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Many times apposing traditions are intermingled into a poisonous gas that is more dangerous than that of mixing Bleach with Ammonia, something that traditionally was viewed as apposing forces or apposing religions.  Also many individuals are Jacks of all trades, but masters of none, few have taken the needed requirements to develop spiritually, and Sanse like all respected traditions often take a life time of learning. 

Skills such as the different type of psychic or mediamistic abilities such as Seer "Vidente / Clairvoyance", Auditor "Oyente / Clairaudience", one should know the difference between an Espiritu de excistencia, a causa, an espiritu endurecido, espiritus obscuros, arastrantes, and burlones.  One should know the difrent between dark spirits, demons, and good spirits and so forth, and this list goes on and on.


Mathew 23:25-28

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
Mateo 23; 25-28

¡Ay de ustedes, maestros de la ley y fariseos, hipócritas! Limpian el exterior del vaso y del plato, pero por dentro están sucios, llenos de avaricia y de desenfreno y se permiten todo tipo de excesos!
¡Fariseo ciego! Limpia primero por dentro el vaso y el plato, y así quedará limpio también por fuera.

Ay de ustedes, maestros de la ley y fariseos, hipócritas!, Qué aflicción les espera, que son como tumbas blanqueados. Por fuera lucen hermosos, pero por dentro están llenos de huesos de muertos y de toda clase de impurezas.

Por fuera parecen personas rectas, pero por dentro, el corazón está lleno de hipocresía, maldad y desenfreno.

Sadly to hear, I recieve many emails and am hearing horror stories all over on Sancistas doing Investigaciones and Alineaciones for ridicuolouse amounts of money, I have also heard of stories of individuals paying 400 for each presentacion a los puntos, 1,500 for Bautismo and other ceremonies.  I have even heard how all the ceremonies start to finish are being done in several hours, a process that should take 5 to 7 days are being done in two hours, this of course saddens my heart as individuals are being taken advantage of.  Each Punto is like a  baptismal and should take a few hours of prepeartion and ritualistic work, and there are various ceremonies, not just that of the Puntos. 

What ever happened to La Obra de la Caridad or charitable works that was highly practiced in Centros in the time of my parents and grandparents.  Also I am hearing stories of Padrinos and Madrinas doing black magic and sorcery on their godchildren, and pitting godchild against godchild, these Sancistas who are suppose to be a role model are unscrupulous, having little if any moral values and principles. 

This abuse has gone long enough and this goes for all traditions of the Caribbean.   I understand that each spiritual punto has costs and items to purchase but this does not go into the thousands. 

Also charging for Misas, Veladas and Sesiones would have been viewed as scandelous in the eyes of our grandparents.  These individuals have no respect or love for themselves and their spiritual families, let alone for the tradition of their ancestors.  They have no true love for their tradition, they honor manipulation, power and the almighty green dollar bill.  Also these individuals love to have control of their godchildren, they love to manipulate them into other things in order to get more money, even for an advice that should come naturally and from the heart.

I educate my ahijados and ahijadas very carefully and the ways in which it was done in the old days, and take the time to get to know each and every one.  I have only had one problem with one, who wanted fame and power and tried to intimidate me into ceremonies.  I am generally a prochable and mild mannered individual, but not easily intimidated, and will never tolerate or stand for disrespect or being intimidated.  Respect me and I respect you.  Eventually my Spirits told me to let him go and I did and I will never place myself in a situation such as that. "knock on wood!".  I teach them the way I was taugh, an Investigacion is 25.00 a consulta the same, and together if possible we will get the items needed for the Puntos, the only ceremony that is a bit pricey is the last of the Ceremonies, which in my Sociedad does not even reach past a few hundreds because of the items required for the final ceremonies.  Also I teach my ahijados as I was taught, that the first year after bautismo and initiation, one is still under development until the first year is over in which they recieve their Cuaderno Libreta Espiritual "the text book of our tradition, and then and only then are they considered Sancistas and if they choose can take on their own ahijados.

Sancista Brujo Luis



Grandioso Padre Dios, Ojo visor que siempre me proteje y elumina mi camino. Cuidame y amparame de las lengua maldita de mis enemigos, que solamente quieren traer culumnias, abuso, aggression, mentiras, desafios, y la muerte a mi.  Que la Sangre de Cristo los Reprenda!  Protegeme y amparame de los Mal de Ojos y la habladuria de personas negativa y miserables.  Paz, Paz, Cristo, Cristo.  Dominus Nostrum.  Amen, Ache y Asi Sea!!
Prayer to the Evi Eye and Gossip

Great Heavenly Father, your watchful eyes always protects and lights my path.  Guard me from the hateful language of my enemies, who only wish to slander, abuse,  submit aggression upon me, lie, challenge my worth, and wish that death be brought upon me.   May the blood of Christ Repel Them.  Lord I Pray, remove all negative influences and harmful individuals from my path.  Protect, Guard and Spare me from the envy of those filled with misery.  Paz, Paz, Cristo, Cristo.  Dominus Nostrum.

Amen, Ache and so Be it!!


Thursday, November 1, 2012



"I am the staff of his power in his youth,
And he is the rod of my old age.
And whatever he wills happens to me."


Legba the Misterio of the Crossroads, is a Loa that can be as noble as he can be chaotic, he can represent order and disorder, he can be creative as he is destructive.  Legba is the Divine Trickster of the roads, and the greatest symbol of transformation.  He is the young disobedient child but at the same time the wise old sage, he embodies change in every corner, in every stage, in every step one takes.  One moment one can be strong and healthy as an Ox, and the next moment one can be as fragile as a butterfly.  In one corner one can be full of vibrant life, while in the next corner one can be as cold as a corpse.  Papa Legba represents the pathways one chooses, to be as divine as God so intends us to be "our creative nature", but at the same time he embodies human failings,"our destructive nature."

Legba is not one, but many and they are always present, always vigilant, always ready to unleash new forms of corruption and destruction as he is ready to bring blessings, abundance and opportunities.  He is one of the eldest of the Divine Spirits but within him lies the vitality and youth that would portray him as one of the youngest.   He is the master linguist, the great messenger, the one who holds the keys to the realm of the Divine, the realm of the living and the realm of the dead.   Legba is also very wise and often resides in every realm, often on the side or on the outskirts, unnoticed but always watching, vigilant and always ready to act.

Legba is the guardian of the crossroads but also the guardian of pathways, of entrances and exits, and it is within these points that he has the power over destiny which he is second in ranks under the Divine Spirit of Destiny, Fa.  But unlike Fa who stands high above in a remote area often unreachable, Legba is close to the ground, below a person's head and torso, symbolizing his closeness and ever presence in our world. 

Legba as the Ghede can be malicious, and often ignores social restrictions and his deceitful, often malicious trickster ways knows no boundaries, this goes for the living, the dead, the divine and the demonic alike.    But Legba is a Misterio which no one can fully comprehend, and often his acts of trechery and deceitfulness, which at the time seams unjustified to the humans he deals his cards to is the way Legba helps those who need it, in order for them to reconcile and find a solution which in turn will restore balance in the individuals life.

Like the Gede, Elegba's appetite is colossal, and like the Ogun, his job is never done, for he like Ogun, knows no rest.  It is because of Legba's often malicious, playful and trickster ways, Buen Dios el Todopoderoso "God" and unlike other Division of Spirits that are governed by a head Spirit, Legba does not have his own Kingdom and does not govern any, but he is an essential part of every Division, because without first agknowleding his presence, he will refuse to open the gateways to other Loases.  But as I have stated Legba are many, they are like every Division, a Legion; and in Sanse and 21 Division they are known collectively as Lebanes, Lecuas or Leguas.  Papa Buen Dios knows that to have a Division of Legba apart from other Divisions would be a group of Masters of Chaos and disorder.  For this reason each Legba although they work under other Divisions, are never viewed as less than or insignificant than the leader of that particular Division, for to see it that way is to insult Legba, insuring that he does not open the doors of opportunities and blessing and in turn bringing chaos into an individuals life.

Elegba "Legba" is here and there, in one place at a time, but still in many, and their is no Kingdom or Division of Spirits where Elegba is not present.  He is in every house, in every door, in every pathway, in every corner, and it is there where Elegba learns everything that happens.  He thus becomes the emissary of God, his spokesman, intermediary between the living and the dead, between Men and Spirit, between the Divine and Holy, and the demonic.   Although there are always questions about his moral judgment and his sense of responsibility. He is always unpredictable and uncontrollable, and for this reason like all Loa he is a Mystery. 

In Africa as is with Cuba Elegba  "Eleggua / Niño de Atocha" is viewed as a young, phallic spirit with an unseasonal appetite for sexual energy, but in Haiti he is viewed as Papa Legba, "Saint Lazarus" the ancient white beared sage of experience and wisdom.  In Santo Domingo and Puerto Rico he is Saint Anthony of Padua "Leggua" holding baby Jesus, both young and old but of the same Nacion, while San Lazarus is Papa Viejo or Legba Carifu, the elder spirit who has crossed many roads in his life and is always ready for the next road and stage of his life. 

In all traditions, Umbanda, Candomble, Santeria, Sanse, and all in between, he is invoked and prayed to first before any other Misterio, before any Division, so that the living ensure that he is pleased and will allow the gateways to be opened.  Even in Espiritismo Criollo one knocks on the wooden table three times to San Hilarion ensuring his blessings, before any candle is lit or bell rung.

Although many traditions synchronize him with el Niño de Atocha, and Saint Anthony of Padua, "each Legua has his vuelta.". Many synchronize Papa Legba with that of San Lazarus, while the younger Spirits within this Division enjoy to dance and play pranks, the elders of this Division are sareen and walk with a limp, in which they support their balance by a cane, crutches or walking sticks.  While the younger Legbas dress in fine satins and silk adorned with cowrie shells, the elder Legbas dress in tattered heavily used sack cloths which demonstrates their on going mission, age and hard work.  While the younger Legba enjoy, sweets, toys,  whistles, coins, noise makers, sweetened coffee with milk & honey or molasses and pastries, the elder Legba enjoy rum, aguardiente, tobacco, unsweetened espresso coffee and salty meats.  Both take their offerings close to the ground or on the floor in a corner of a wall which symbolizes that this Division of Spirits, like the Gede are closest to our realm of existence.   The younger Legbas dress in red and black demonstrating their closeness to life and death while the elder Legua dress in brown demonstrating their age and wisdom.  While the younger Leguas enjoy being within the mists of crowds, the elder are hermits and enjoy their solitude.

Legba's liquid offerings are always served in cups made of hollowed out coconut shells, small gourds, tin or white enamelware cups, and his food offerings are placed within Jigueras, weaved baskets or terra cotta plates which is always accompanied with lighted red, black, white or brown candles.  Also Legua are tricksters and one never assumes that what is being offered is acceptable and for this reason one communicates with him directly through his oracles, to make sure he excepts or even wants what is being offered, or if he requires more.  Legba is known as the Jefe of all the Saints, Loa, and Misterio, and a bit of an offering to one must also be given to him first.

In Santeria and Sanse, ceremonies Papa Legba "Eleggua" is the first to be saluted and one thing that most traditions share a common knowledge of is that saluting, offering and praising Elegba first before any Misterio is essential in the insurance of a successful working, dealing or interaction with other Loa.  Without a salutation to the Legua that makes a part of your cuadro, it would be almost impossible to have contact with other Loa; since he is the one who opens the doors, mapping the direction and passes along the paths, the one who knows all languages.

"Papa Legba, abre la puerta para mí, Papa Legba, abre la puerta para mí Abre la puerta para mí, Papa, ¡Para yo pasar, cuando vuelva yo le agradeceré al Lwa!
Abra la verja para el Lwa, abra la verja Papa Legba. Abra la verja para el Lwa, abra la verja, Papa Legba que hemos llegado, que esperaré por ellos aquí.
Papa Legba, open the door for me, Papa Legba, open the door for me, Papa Legba, I go to when I again thank the Lwa!
Open the gate to the Lwa, open the gate, open the gate for the Lwa for me Papa Legba, open the gate, Papa Legba and I will wait for then here.

Legba is symbolized by the central pole used to invoke the other Loa within the temples.  He is the foundation on which rests the world of both the dead and the Mysteries.  His staff, cane or pole symbolizes the phalic symbol in which life all though unseen at first comes through.  He simply is the foundation on which rests the Spirit world, and he is the central axis of every punto firmado, every veve and every sigil written with cascarilla, salt or powdered corn meal "no matter how simple or complex" in which all Misterio manifest.

Although Elegba is a trickster Lwa he is also the master of humbleness and humility.  Humility is a way to see the virtues of those around you and in truly understanding their attitude in any given situation. When a person is humble, they are open to the views and opinions of others.  Only with humility and humbleness can humans communicate and share ideas, and it is in these great virtues where Papa Legba manifests. 

As Legba is humble and a trickster at the same time, he also demonstrates that amongst the humble is where he is present bestowing his blessings, while amongst the corrupt, he is present waiting for the moment to strike his mighty blow.  Although he is present in all ceremonies, it is within the most modest of gatherings that one sees the side of Papa Legba few rarely witness.
As the master linguist and messenger of the Misrerios, Loases, Orisha and other Divisions of spirits, it is imperative that those that follow these traditions know the name of the Camino or Vuelta of Legua that makes up their Cuadro.  For this reason the Guerillero ceremony in Ocha and the Punto de los Encrucijadas in Sanse is of vital importance within these traditions, and the vuelta or camino of these Spirits can only be deciphered by those highly trained initiates of these traditions.

Papa Legba is an old man, of a thin and lithesome body, and is viewed as a dark skinned man or a well suntanned individual, because he's always in the open sunlight the roads and covers up in the coolness of night.  Like the Santeria Orisha Babalu Aye, Papa Legba is often seen accompanied by dogs.  In Sanse the healing aspect of Babalu Aye is synchronized with Saint Roque and is known as the Lwa Papa Sobo.  Although Saint Lazarus is also seen as Legba Carifou the Legba who can bring illnesses at the crossroads and passages of life.  

He is feared, greatly respected, always venerated and loved especially since he demonstrates kindness and opens the pathways for great opportunities.  If Legba was the demons within Pandora's box he would be every single one, especially that one known as Hope. 

Every day belongs to Legba but he is traditionally venerated on Mondays.  In his Rada personage he favors the colors red and white, while in his Petro personage red and black are his colors.  In Dominican 21 Division and the Puerto Rican Sanse tradition, brown is also added to his colors. His sacred symbols are skeleton keys, crosses, canes and crutches, and each of his vuelta within Sanse, Vodou and 21 Division he is synchronized with a Catholic Saint such Nino de Atocha, San Antonio de Padua, San Pedro and San Lazaro while in Cuban Espirirismo Cruzado and Puerto Rican Espirirismo de la Mesa Blanca he is synchronized with San Hilarion, who is known as Lecua or Legua in Sanse.  Every Afro Carribean and Afro South American country has a Papa Legba, and he is known as Exu, Eshu, Leba, Elegbara, Eleggua, Eleda, Eleguasito, Eù, and Lubaniba, to name a few.

Papa Legba enjoys his tobacco, his cigar smoke can not be replaced, "if your health conscious, then Papa Legba is not a Loa you want to work with.". Papa Legba loves to cover his head with a Pava "straw hat, and while most of his offerings are placed on the ground he often will except a sack cloth bag filled with his offerings which is hung on a branch of a.Ceiba tree near or on a crossroads.  He has a faithful wife who is also a Lwa and her name is Adjessi.  Adjessi is the feminine aspect of Papa Legba and is known in some traditions as Pomba Gira.  Adjessi in Haitian Vodou is known as Gran Ayizan Velekete who is the wife of Loco.  Papa Loco as he is also known in a vuelta of Papa Legba who is synchrenized with San Joaquin and is the Lwa who leads spirits of the dead into the head.  Adjessi / Ayizan is also known as La Señorita Klemezin Klemey or Metresa Clarabel and is synchronized with Saint Claire. 

In Legba's darkest Petro aspects he is Karifu, or Eshu, and some synchronize this Loa with the Angel of the Morning Star, the Light Bringer or the Loa who has the keys to the realms of hell.  In this vuelta he is also known as Legba Manose ( Legba Nan Petro ) who is synchronized with the Catholic Saint, San Cayetano.  

As I have stated Papa Legba is always saluted with rum, water and tobacco smoke, and he is the Loa that speaks directly to us through divination tools such as the coconut, sea shells, bones, tobacco, dice, playing cards and the Tarot.  ( In the Tarot he is el Loco, the Jester or the Fool card.)  His attention is gotten by the wrapping of the altar with the knuckles, the ringing of the campana, or the rattling of the Maraca, Tcha tcha, Asson, or Chekere.  Each tradition and Division of Spirits has its traditional instrument used for getting his attention and gestures.


Papa Legba enjoys many servicios and each vuelta has his preference, and is always determined by the casting of coconut or sea shells.  He enjoys to drink water, hard liquor, coffee, and cola soft drinks, and he enjoys to feast on corn meal, pop corn, bread, plantains, yams, yucca, malanga smothered in palm oil and sprinkled with coconut meat.  Offerings include steak, pork, poltry, goat meat and all fresh fruit, the fruit is often served with fresh sugar cane and placed within jigueras.  In some aspects he enjoys salted fish and rooster meat, served over black or red beans and rice, and is always topped of with a glass of liquor and a lit pipe of tobacco or lit cigars.  His younger vueltas enjoys hard candies, coins, sweetened yuca guava paist and frosted cakes, while his Petro vueltas enjoy foods prepared with a lot of spices, cayenne peppers, or hot chili or tobacco sauce all served on terra cotta plates, hollowed gourds and jigueras. 

There are many vueltas of Legba, some honored in Temples while others in Sociedades. Some are known more so in one tradition, while others are only venerated in smaller Sociedades.  Of these one finds Legba the vagabond that walks during the night, or Legba Miwa that resides Miwa behind mirrors, Legba el Viejo that resides within mirrors, Legba of the crossroads, or Legba with his cane or pitch fork, Legba the trickster or Legba the sage, but no matter where one finds him; one always finds a Loa of raw human emotions, fears and desires. 

Prayer to Eshu

I praise the mysteries and power of Eshu!
You are the messenger of Olodumare, the Orisha and the Ancestors
You are the owner of the four directions:
North, South, East and West
You are the keeper of the Ashe' of the Orisha
You are the guardian of the gates of fortune
You are the Lord of flexibility
You are the Lord of choice, chance and change!

Eshu protect my family.
Protect the initiates of the Temple and me also.
Let me not be moved against the people.
Let not the people be moved against me.
Grant me long life.
Grant me peace.
Grant me elevation of my consciousness.
Grant me the ability to use my own hands.
Eshu I salute you