Being a candidate for Vodou initiation
|Houngan Hector and Vodou Family MemberAbout the Kanzo initiation ceremony:Background||If you ever decide to become kanzo, you will be invariably excited. Along with the excitement, you need to approach things with caution. There are many people out there running scams. There are real Houngans and Mambos who scam people as well as people who were never initiated yet claim to be – and some of those claim to be initiated because they think they were but were sadly scammed themselves by having received fake or erroneous ceremonies and do not even know it.There will be a variety of things you should look for. One thing to look at is how the person accepts people for initiation. Yes, people are reclaimed by the Lwa. Yes, anyone who can pay can achieve a certain grade. But it is best if you are able to mingle in with that group or not. One thing that should be done is divination.Divination will reveal what grade is best for you to take. You should know that initiation carries with it a variety of responsibilities and obligations. Your initiator will be obligated to you and vice versa. Divination may also reveal that it is best for you to initiate in another house. Do not become initiated somewhere out of convenience! This will be a downfall.It is best if this divination can be done in person. The best way to divine this is having the Houngan or Mambo call a Lwa into their head, who will then reveal the details to you. However, there are cases where this may need to be done at a distance. This may be due to your work, housing, or financial situation. In any case, a divination is necessary.
You should look at the Houngan/Mambo’s past history with initiates. Do more people leave them than stay after a kanzo? For example, have they initiated 100 people yet only have 20 still with them? Yes, initiators and initiates do separate, yet these should not greatly outnumber the number of initiates still with him/her.
You should also look at how your training will continue. Initiation is a beginning, not an end. Your initiator should still be training you after your initiation.
Regleman (the rules of the tradition) state that this is the obligation of your initiator. Your initiator should not charge you for training. There is one widely known Mambo online, who has a large online presence, and who charges her initiates five hundred dollars for “advanced training”! Your initiator will become your mother or father, and you their child. When you were a child you didn’t buy your mother’s groceries, did you? Did/does your mother charge you to teach you about life? NO!!! Therefore, there should never be a time when you should have to pay your initiator for training.
That Mambo I have mentioned further highlights and confirms this fact by not allowing her foreign initiates to step foot in the peristyle should they decide not to pay her scam fee. You should always be welcome at the peristyle, which is your home. In fact, an initiator has the responsibility to provide you some sort of housing, usually meaning you will sleep in the peristyle, should you be poor and without a place to stay.
Look at your initiator’s reputation in the Vodou community. He/she should have a good reputation and image, reflected in positive words amongst the Vodou community at large. Check out his/her services. This is a lifelong commitment, and the only way to break a tie between an initiator and an initiate is to re-initiate. This means you will have to remake all of your ceremonies should things go sour.
Participate as much as you can in your future initiator’s ceremonies. Go to ceremonies, talk to the Houngan/Mambo, ask them questions. If they don’t know the answer off-hand, that does not mean they are a bad initiator. Houngans and Mambos are not God, but they should tell you they don’t know. They will most likely ask one of their elders to get the answer, and give it to you.
If your initiator does the Lave Tet, it should not be a series of seven baths thrown on your head. A lave tet takes three days, in a ceremony where the person is secluded. This is a spiritual cleansing of the head, simply throwing herbal baths on someone’s head seven times simply isn’t going to cut it. Unfortunately, people are being scammed that way. There are even “Houngans” and “Mambos” doing this, following the practice of that shady Mambo, that do not even know that it is, indeed, a scam.
|Your initiator should not be bent on going after your money either. Watch out for money-hungry people. Those are the type of people that will give you a kanzo, if they give you a correct or complete ceremony at all, and leave you off to your own devices.You should have some sort of work done by your chosen Houngan or Mambo. Maybe receive the lave tet, a gad, a wanga or a pwen cho. If these work well for you, you should look further into this Houngan or Mambo. Observe them well.I have a number of people here, who although are not initiated, I nonetheless consider them house members. I sometimes refer to them as my hounsis bossal. Most of these people have been participating in Vodou, with me, for two or three years. Some have been with me since way before I ever had the Kanzo. Some are preparing for initiation, some are not. Some are quite happy in participating as non initiates, and I do not pressure them into initiation. Many of these people have, at one time or another, had work done by me. They assist me a whole lot and I love them.We have a number of people with us. They all have their various talents that they contribute. When they are ready for their kanzos, they will undergo their ceremonies. I prepare my future initiates quite well, and they know a lot way before the kanzo. One non-initiate member has been working with me for the past six years!
Even though they are not initiated, we have various obligations to each other. We assist each other in daily life as well. We work together as a group when someone has a problem. We support everyone’s activities and provide encouragement.
One of my hounsi bossals has a child who will become kanzo after her mother. The child is very bright. She knows how to serve some Lwa already, and knows several songs for various lwa. Ayibobo!
For more details about the Kanzo ceremonies in this House see this page
Deposits for the ceremonies must be made at least two weeks in advance and are non refundable.
Haitian Children and Vodou Family