Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Vilokan: Vodou Spirit Realm

Vilokan is the home of the lwa in Vodou. It is synonymous with the spirit realm, as opposed to the physical realm in which mortals live. It is depicted as a submerged island.
Legba is the gatekeeper of Vilokan and thus he is always approached first in Vodou ceremonies in order for participants to be granted access to the other lwa. The traditional chant is:
Atibo Legba, open the gates for me, Papa Legba, open the gates for me Open the gates that I might enter When I will return, I will salute the laws Vodou Legba, open the gates for me WI will return, I will thank the laws

Ties Between Physical World and Vilokan

Vilokan in many ways mirrors the physical realm, and this is frequently represented in ritual through such things as double handshakes, pairs of people mirroring each other's gestures, and a variety of gestures in ritual being the opposite of how it is commonly done in the mundane world.

The two worlds are connected, and it is represented in Vodou temples by a central pole, the potomitan, around which ceremonies are performed. This pole is often touched at the beginning of ritual to reinforce the connection between priest and spirit world.

As an Afterlife

Vilokan is also the realm of the dead. Ancestor worship is an important aspect of Vodou and are honored in ways similar to the honoring of lwa.

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