Shamanic Thoughts for the New Year

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A friend, Haitian art collector and customer visited my home today in order to purchase a superb Vodou flag by master artist Jean Baptiste Jean Joseph. She mentioned how she arranges her collection of small to medium size Vodou flags on a wall in her home and the power that emanates from them. This friend made the connection between the intense spirituality of the flags, which are used in Vodou ceremonies and thought to have considerable influence on the outcome, and shamanism.

When she left, I looked up the meaning of a shaman, a practitioner of shamanism. That person is a medium between the visible and the spirit world, which is the exact definition of a Vodou flag’s function when in spiritual use. Vodou flags are held aloft on poles held by special celebrants and “danced” around the Vodou temple, in order to make contact with the unseen pantheon of the spirits. That is why flags are glittering and beautiful, to attract and honor the spirits. When not in use, flags are folded and carefully laid aside so as to renew their spiritual strength.

Spiritual people of all beliefs profess attraction to the innate qualities of Vodou flags. Erzulie, with her universal symbol of the heart, stands for love of every variety, which accounts for her popularity among collectors. But the masculine spirits, like Grand Bois, the spirit of the forest and a healer, is alluring for others. Explore the qualities of Haitian Vodou flags on my website, where I have written about each one.

–Candice Russell

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