Solen the Magician, a Roots Without End Society initiate, lights a candle to call the lwa Ogoun.  Photo by Mambo Racine Sans Bout, copyright 2004 Greetings in the name of God, the ancestors and the lwa! I invite you to perform a service for the lwa Ogoun!

Ogoun in all his aspects is about power! Physical strength, political power, magical power, power in all forms is under the purview of Ogoun. He is also the one who will find you a job, although you will work very hard in any job Ogoun finds for you.

This service will also be about power, because we all need power to conduct our daily lives. We will invoke for power and focus that power. What you choose to do with that power is up to you - you can seek spiritual awareness, invoke for a better job, work to increase your self-esteem, whatever you decide.

Roots Without End Society members are initiates of Mambo Racine and have been taught how to do a more compex ceremony which recognizes their status as Houngans and Mambos and hounsis kanzo, and their ownership of sacred objects such as pakets and kolyes and assons. But even a non-initiate can make a powerful and effective service for Ogoun - especially if the non-initiate has the materials, the bath and the songs provided in the Ogoun Instructional Package.

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Ogoun's color is red, and in Haiti red and blue ribbons of a military sort or red and blue uniforms are his. Because the Haitian Army uniform is khaki Ogoun will sometimes dress in that color.

Thus, begin by covering your altar with a red cloth. Place in the middle of the altar a beautiful goblet of water to keep Ogoun cool. Then add any of the following items:

Red and blue silk kerchiefs, red flowers, butterfly images (Ogoun is sometimes called "papillon", or butterfly), the Tarot images of the Ace of Swords, Page of Swords, Knight of Swords, or King of Swords; metal tools including a machete, red wine. A bottle of rum is absolutely necessary unless you are prohibited from having alcohol where you live, for example in military housing. Also place on your altar one white candle and one red candle.

You can give Ogoun food and drink offerings - the red wine and the rum mentioned above, red fruits like apples and strawberries, a plate of raw ground beef, cooked goat meat with sweet potatos and rice and red beans, cake with red icing. Here in the United States it is unlikely that you will be able to sacrifice and cook a red rooster, but that is what we use in Haiti.

Dress in red or in military-type clothes if you can. If you can not find red clothes, wear all white and add red belts or kerchiefs or necklaces. Tie your head with red.

You can get images of St. James the Greater (Santiago) and St. Jorge (Sant George killing the dragon) to represent Ogoun in Rada and in Petro respectively. Most botanicas sell these images, and the image of St. James the Greater is included in the Ogoun Instructional Package. Put them on the wall behind your altar or pin them to the altar cloth where it hangs down in front of the altar.

Begin as usual with the Lords' Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles' Creed, or if these prayers are not appropriate for you because you are Jewish or of some other faith, address in prayer the One Most High God. At this time light your white candle.

Then invoke Legba. Say this:

Papa Legba open the gate for me!
Atibon Legba open the gate for me!
Open the gate for me, Papa, so that I can pass,
When I return, I will thank the lwa.

Now speak to Ogoun. Pour out a little rum three times on the ground, and pour some on the food offerings, the metal tools, or anything else you have provided for him. If you have metal tools bang them together, and if you have a machete that is especially good, whack it against a rock really loudly to call Ogoun. Light your red candle.

Say "Papa Ogoun! Big Nago man, Orisha Nago! Ogoun Feray! All Ogouns are Ogoun, Papa Ogoun come here I beg you and eat this food!"

You can put a small red candle in each food offering, and present it individually. Breathe on the food, touch it to your head, heart and pubic area and put it on the altar. Light the candle in the food offering.

Dance vigorously! If you know Vodou songs about Ogoun sing them, otherwise sing work songs especially about iron, like "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad" or "John Henry Was a Steel Drivin' Man". Naturally it would be better if you knew a few Vodou songs for Ogoun but most people in the USA don't know any so don't worry if you don't either. Dance with strength, dance until you sweat, bang those tools and slam that machete!

Once you are hot and your heart is pounding, say, "Papa Ogoun, you see this food? You see this rum? You see ME? Please give me... " (and here you will ask for whatever you want, whether it is power in a certain situation or a job or health and strength).

If you specifically need employment prepare a red or red-and-blue candle by heating a nail and writing your name on the candle over and over, along with the words, "I need a job". If you know the name of the place you want to work write that too. Put that candle in one of the food offerings.

Ogoun is especially interested in blood, so if you have HIV, leukemia, anemia or another blood disorder you can ask Ogoun to cleanse and invigorate your blood. This will not cure you, but it might help you to feel better, build up those red corpuscles, cut down that viral load, who knows? Try it and see, it certainly can't hurt. Note - if you cut yourself or if you already have a sore, or if you are menstruating, say to Ogoun very clearly, "Papa Ogoun, my blood is NOT FOR YOU to drink." Never offer Ogoun your own blood, just ask him to clean your blood and to give you health and strength.

Now sit down and spend some time in front of your altar. Do divination if you want to. You can read cards or throw coconut or use cowries or whatever you usually do.

When you are ready, leave the room and let the candles in the food offerings burn to the end. Sleep in red pajamas on red sheets if you can. The next morning throw the food offerings away in the woods under a bush where no one will find them. Keep the rum on your altar, along with the tools and machete.

Watch and see what happens!



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