Baron Samedi

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Baron Samedi in a graveyard

Baron Samedi is the baron of the Ghede or spirits of death, though he is not a Ghede himself. He is a lwa of the grave and death. He is one among other Baron lwa like Baron La Kwa. Within the African Traditional Religion of Voodoo, Vudu, Vodoun, or Vodun, Baron Samedi is the head of the Ghede nation of lwa though he himself is not of the Ghede; his consort and companion is Gran Brigitte. His name "Samedi" comes from French for "Saturday" -- the day of Saturn, the ancient Roman deity of old age and death. When Baron Samedi arrives at Voodoo ceremonies he is laid down with his jaw tied and mouth stuffed with cotton where as the the Ghede enjoys rum and cigar, are prone to crude jokes, and may reveal secrets. During possession rites, the Ghede may drink the peppery rum, or wash their face or genitals with the fiery drink. Because he rules over the grave, he can be called to intervene if it is not a person's time to die.

Baron Samedi is called upon to intervene on behalf of people close to death, and in such cases he can heal them or ease their transition, for he is the lwa who accepts people into the realm of the dead. Baron Samedi is also called upon to heal sexual diseases. His colors are black, purple, and white, and he enjoys offerings of cigars, candles, and rum with 21 peppers. Baron Samedi is but one among many Barons all of whom are leaders and jugdes of the dead. Along with Baron Samedi there is Baron La Kwa or La Croix among others. In some lineges the Barons are seen as aspects of one another, while other lineages see them as separate. Similarly, depending on the lineage Baron Samedi or Baron La Kwa is seen as the head of the Ghede.

In Catholic syncretic Voodoo practices, Baron Samedi is venerated on All Soul's Day, November 2nd, a date that corresponds with the Pagan and Neo-Pagan festival of Samhain, which also commemorates the dead. Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who are adherents of the Voodoo Religion and who petition the lwa on behalf of clients may work in with Baron Samedi in a graveyard for death, destruction and healing.

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