Ouidah Voodoo

December 10, 2007, Ouidah, House of the Sea, “Houhue?

I’m waiting for a voodoo ceremony to begin at the palace of the the one known here as the Supreme Chief of voodoo worldwide, Daagbo Hounon Tomandjlehoun-pkon. The ceremony is for some adepts who will finish their initiation after nine months in the convent. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but note that is the usual time for a human pregnancy. Each adept follows a particular voodoo deity.

Earlier today, I met the chief, and Nangbo Hounon the woman chief. They give orders to their followers. After entering his room and removing my hat and shoes, I followed the example of his son and my guide to the place and bowed before the chief on my knees putting my head to the ground. I rose and we chatted. He asked if I was well received in Ouidah and I said I was. He asked for a gift and I gave 5000 CFA plus later another 2000 CFA for two of his male relatives who showed me around the place. The chief told me to return around 2pm to take photos and to see the ceremony for the initiates.

Avlekete Vodun Mermaid Spirit Mural, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Avlekete Vodun Mermaid Spirit Mural, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Entrance to Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin

Decorated Interior Structure, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Statue With Ram and Chicken Sacrifice Next to Daagbo Hounon Portrait, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Painting of Daagbo Hounon and His Late Wife, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin

Painted Bas Relief of Vodun Ceremonial Elements, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Cute Children, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Mural of Musicians, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin

Iron Shrine, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Mural Depicting Daagbo Hounon Walking on Water With Help of Sacred Turtle, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Mural of Women Carrying Jars on Their Heads, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin

Mural of Women Carrying Jars on Their Heads, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin Shrines, Daagbo Hounon Dodo Palace, Ouidah, Benin

The current chief was enthroned on June 25, 2006. He was chosen by the oracle from among the Hounon family members. There is a fetish priest who tosses a cord to divine who will be the next chief. The ceremonies to install a new chief take two years. Have a look at the mural of Daagbo’s lineage in the last picture above, which is a link to a photograph on Bernard Cesarone’s site.

The people here are well aware of the links they have with their relatives spread across the sea to Brazil and other locations, especially because some Brazilian slaves were repatriated here.

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