How Haitians see Lwa Papa Ghede?

A prolific figure in what some would call Haitian mythology, Lwa Papa Ghede signifies both death, in his form as Baron Samedi, and eroticism in his general form. What he is, is the spirit through which one crosses into the afterlife. He is said to control its access and is, therefore, cloaked in black.


If one wishes to have communion with the dead, Ghede would be whom one would need to seek contact with as he is the keeper of the cemetery as well as the only source to the dead. This is not to be confused with Legba who must be contacted to cross into the spirit world. More exotically, Ghede is responsible for the world's eroticism. He is not titillated by it, nor ashamed of it, it is merely a part of existence to him. He is said to hold the more puritanical (especially whites) hostage to their sexual desires as a means of drawing them away from their modesty, a feat which greatly amuses him. He accomplishes this by "mounting" the unsuspecting.

While maintaining that his face as the God of Eroticism isn't lascivious, believers are quick to note that he indulges in all the regular vices one would expect with lasciviousness, fond as he is of all things coarse - of food, drink and sex. He is also the protector of children, the a healer of the sick, and, since he communes with all dead, holder of much historical knowledge. Whatever his role to a practitioner of voodoo in any particular moment, Ghede will ultimately always be one of the most important Haitian deities for his status as ruler of two of the most important aspects of people's lives, death and sex.

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Zo says...

Fascinating article! You wrote "In his form as Baron Samedi", does this imply that Papa Ghede and Baron Samedi are one and the same according to Haitian Voodoo, or is it the same as Baron Samedi having "Aspects" such as Baron Kriminel, Baron la Croix

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