Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vodoun Symbolism

Vèvès, Ritual Symbols

Nowadays it is enough to display a vèvè to indicate a link to Vodoun culture. Ironically this sacred writing was not meant for illustration.
A vèvé is impermanent : it is made of powder, drawn horizontally from the pinched fingers of a skilled practitionner standing spread legged, meant for a specific spirit invoked during a specific ceremony. Having served its purpose, it is erased without a thought by the succeding dancers.
It is the "access code" of a specific lwa and, more than its purported artistic qualities, what makes a good vèvè are the minute details that are a true language to the initiated. Yet this science is in danger.
To simply copy a vèvè from a book or a website, including this one, discourages the traditional art of vèvè tracing.
This why we tried not to simply copy vèvès made of powder. We can all draw inspiration from this rich body of signs without forgetting that the true ritual meaning of a vèvè is to be drawn flat on the ground by a practionner that has received the tradition in a oumfo..

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