Ogoun? Oh, Go On!


I recently finished reading Robert Rankin’s The Dance of the Voodoo Handbag (I’ll have a review up later), which uses some of the major gods from voodoo in a plot involving personalities downloaded onto the Internet and private detective Lazlo Woodbine. The god Ogoun Badagris is presented as “the dreadful and bloody one,” the equivalent of Satan. This isn’t entirely accurate, but I’m willing to give Rankin a pass, as his work IS Far-Fetched Fiction. As a mythology buff, however, I thought I’d investigate the true role of Ogoun. It turns out that he was originally an African god, worshipped by the Yoruba people of Nigeria and nearby countries. He is both a smith and a warrior, essentially taking on the roles of both Hephaestus and Ares. As such, he can be a great hero, but also has a violent, rage-filled side. His favorite weapon is the machete. In Haiti, he represents revolution, and is said to have inspired the Haitian Revolution of 1804. Since the roots of voodoo are in both African religion and Catholicism, Ogoun is also linked to St. James the Greater, who was popularly said to have magically shown up to fight for Christianity in the Battle of Clavijo in 844. People possessed by Ogoun are known to drink large quantities of rum, and even to wash their hands with flaming rum.

Picture by Hector Hyppolite

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This entry was posted in African, Authors, Carribean, Mythology, Religion, Robert Rankin, Voodoo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Ogoun? Oh, Go On!

  1. Pingback: Polytheistic Politics | VoVatia

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