Priests and Priestess of Voodoo
“Then why’re you willing to help me now?”
“Guilt. I was ashamed of myself.”
“It’s more than that.”
“Well, yes. As a Houngan, you see, I routinely call upon the gods of Rada to perform feats for me, to fulfill blessings I bestow upon my clients and on others I wish to help. And, of course, it’ s the gods who make my magic potions work as intended. In return, it is incumbent upon me to resist evil, to strike against the agents of Congo and Petro wherever I encounter them. Instead, for awhile, I tried to hide from my responsibilities.”
“If you had refused again to help me… would these benevolent gods of Rada continue to perform their feats for you and fulfill the blessings you bestow? Or would they abandon you and leave you without power?”
“It’s highly unlikely that would abandon me.”
Darkfall, Dean R. Koontz
The Emperors and Empresses
The priests and priestesses of voodoo differ from many other religion in several ways. To start, every oum’phor is a law unto itself, with a reigning Priest, or Houn’gan, or Priestess, a Mambo who directly receives words from the gods themselves. There are elaborate greeting rituals done between Houn’gan and Mambos, that establish and re-establish ties and ranking among them.
Generally, the Houn’gan or Mambo who owns the oum’phor where the ceremonies are being performed outranks most others, except in the case of the Houn’gan or Mambo who initiated them, then they are given due respect by the reigning Houn’gan or Mambo.
With the taking of the Asson, comes a great amount of responsibility. A Houn’gan or Mambo has the ability to call upon the gods to beg favors, favors to heal the sick, make magic charms, use magic. In return, they must resist evil, and strike against agents of Congo and Pethro Rites whenever they encounter them. You serve the gods, they do not serve you. Should you go against their wishes, they may not answer your calls at best, at worse they can abandon you. Most likely, the Mysteres will hex you for your trouble.
When you take the Asson, your own personality and wishes begin to become lost, as you serve your patron (or matron) Loa. Because of this, a Houn’gan or Mambo often takes on another name, or several. One that they are known by to the general public, and there personal magic name. The Mysteres speak through you, and often ride you, you lead the ceremonies, serve as a voice in the community. It is not unknown for a Houn’gan or Mambo to also be a well respected doctor, business leader, teacher or other like position in a city.
In the game system, taking the Asson, and gaining a Knowing of 4 in a Loa, occur at the same time.
The Confiance and Mambo Caille.
These are the apprentice Houn’gans and Mambos. They have gone through all levels of initiation save the last, the taking of the Asson. These are members of Voodoun society that serve as the major supports to the Houn’gan and Mambo. They are able to lead rituals and ceremonies, they take over when the Houn’gans and Mambos retire to the djevo. The only thing they cannot do, is pass the Asson on to someone else, since they have yet to take it.
The Houn’sih or Hounsis
These are the members of the ritual chorus, or the active members of the voodoun society. These are the people who have been fully initiated into the way of the Voodoun, and often are candidates for possession. There are many positions for a Hounsis, or student, in a ceremony like drumming, flag bearing, or cooking the sacrifices. They can initiate members up to their level in the ways. They are perhaps, the second most numerous of the Voodoun standings.
The Houn’sih Bassales
An uninitiated person who is associated with a particular peristyle , attends ceremonies regularly, and appears to be preparing for initiation is sometimes referred to as a hounsis bossale. Hounsi is from the Fon language of Dahomey, and signifies “bride of the spirit”, although the term in Haiti refers to men and women. Bossale means “wild” or “untamed”, in the sense of an untamed saddle horse.
An uninitiated person who attends ceremonies, receives counsel and medical treatment from a Houngan or Mambo, and takes part in Voodoo related activities is called a Vodouisant. It is said that twenty five percent of New Orleans is Voodoun, most of this is divided up between the Vodouisant and the Houn’sih Bassales.