You’ve seen him before: a tall, black, lanky man, who most would describe as bony and has a skull-like face.
His nostrils are plugged with cotton, as if he were being prepared for burial. He has a black top hat wearing a tuxedo, and in his skeletal hands are always a cigar and a glass of his favourite rum. He is rowdy and rude, but charming at the same, and all the time chasing the women of our world.
On top of all of this he is the Loa of the dead; he will dig your grave and meet you in the crossroads so that he can escort you to the underworld with all of his underlings. He can help you along your death or refuse to let you die if he doesn’t feel like digging your grave; indeed he holds your end in his hands. Men of voodoo look to him at the brink of their demise. He is none other than Baron Samedi, Loa of the Dead.
He comes in many names and forms. The westernized name is Baron Saturday (since Samedi is French for Saturday) he has been increasingly popular for spellwork in hoodoo. Other popular names are Bawon, Samedi, Bawon Samedi, and Baron Samedi.
Baron Samedi is one of the major Loas in voodoo practice. As with other depictions of the circle of life, baron Samedi is an integral part of the spiritual realm being that he holds the end of all beings and carries them on to the next life, which in this case is the underworld recognized by hoodoo practitioners.
He is also responsible for corpses and their bodies, to make sure the properly decompose in their graves, to avoid them returning to life as zombies (lifeless shells of humanity that can cause havoc to others).
Baron Samedi is a deity, but you will notice that he is depicted in a somewhat menacing and negative light, which he himself seems to enjoy. He can both be your guardian or your demon, and because he is so moody it might depend on your luck on that particular day that you meet him.
Such moodiness, for example, may mean that he can let you die of a fatal hex right away, or let you live not by helping you but instead by not being in the mood to accompany you anywhere. Also, this moodiness means he could ask for different prices for his favors: on a good day it may suffice for the callers to just wear black.
Other times he would want a full voodoo ritual, sometimes spanning days. A dangerous spirit indeed, but because he is so powerful, men will always seek out his help.
He is the Loa of death and resurrection but also the deity of sex. Obscenity and depravity is his hallmark, and he is always depicted with sexual symbols aside from his general appearance. If you meditate on his picture, you may get possessed by him.
Commonly, some people have come out of trances with news that they carried out all sorts of outrageous acts - such as cussing and speaking lewdly. This, again, may be borne of his mood, but most likely you will have done something to agitate him mildly. Offend him in a major way and you can expect the worst!
Baron Samedi can help with the newly dead. He helps them to cross over in peace. Baron will decide when one passes, as it comes to us all. His desire is to help those in life and those that cross over.
Sex is also about new beginnings, a start of love, life or peace. Thus, sex to Baron is the ultimate new beginning as it is creation. Baron loves children. He will defend and protect a child.
The baron is to be taken seriously. When called upon he can help with hot footing work, death, resurrection, romantic affairs and even employment questions. In addition he can be called upon to get revenge on enemies.
He is found at the crossroads or in a graveyard. Baron's altars are surrounded with iron chains, wooden penises, candy, orchids, raw sugar, rum, pipes, cigarettes, (that has contained 25 chillies) and coins.
Just keep in mind: it never hurts to keep a stash of rum and a box of cigars for when you have to earn the right to be graced by the one and only Baron Samedi.
By Flo Saul
Dec 4, 2012