Thursday, May 1, 2008

Incorporating Veves into the Fashion Collection

I am thinking of incorporating Veve's into some of the accesories for the "Sweeney Todd" collection.

This is what Veves are....

The Voodoo religion as it is practiced in the United States has its roots in the African Diaspora. The African Diaspora refers to the forced enslavement of Africans from Africa to the Western hemisphere.The slaves brought their traditional religions and spiritual beliefs with them, which eventually became cloaked in Christianity in an ingenious move to avoid further persecution. Striking similarities exist between the Loa and Orisha of traditional African religions and Christian myths and saints. Vévés are used in most of the African Diaspora religions, including Santeria, Palo Mayombe, Macumbe, Quimbanda and are symbolic representations of the Divine.

Voodoo vévés are symbolic designs used in ritual, drawn on the ground with cornmeal prior to or during a Voodoo ceremony. These designs represent the various powers and attributes of the Loa (God, Goddess, Spirit, Orisha) to be invoked, and serve as a focal point for invocation and offerings. Several vévés of different Loa may be drawn for one ceremony. The designs incorporate well recognized traditional elements, but reflect also the individual intentions and creative skill of the Houngan or Mambo.

My daughter Saffi said already that the first design was a bit " Sade-ish"

Just imagine what she is going to think when I go "Serpent and the Rainbow" on top of it...

I was planning on usinng stylized "tattoo art" Sailor-Jerrified versions of the Veves for Erzulie Freda ( The Haitian version of Oshun), Erzulie Dantor ( angry Oshun), La Sirene (Yemaya) and maybe Baron Samedi which is a bit like the Haitian/ New Orleans male version of a Mexican Day of the dead thing...

Here is a bit more about those Loas

Erzulie Freda Dahomey, the Rada aspect of Erzulie, is the spirit of love, beauty, jewellery, dancing, luxury, and flowers. She wears three wedding rings, one for each husband - Damballa, Agwe and Ogoun. She is often represented by a heart symbol. Her colours are pink, red and gold. Coquettish and very fond of beauty and finery, Erzuile Freda is femininity and compassion embodied, yet she also has a darker side; she is seen as jealous and spoiled and within some vodoun circles is considered to be lazy.

In her Petro nation aspect as Erzulie Dantor she is often depicted as a scarred and buxom woman, holding a child protectively in one hand and a knife in the other. She is a warrior and particularly a fierce protector of women and children. It is believed that a common depiction of Erzulie Dantor has its roots in copies of the icon of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa, brought to Haiti by Polish soldiers fighting on both sides of the Haitian Revolution from 1802 onwards.[1] Other aspects include Grande Erzulie, who is seen as an old lady whom nobody loves anymore, and Erzulie Ge-Rouge/Erzulie Red Eyes.

Baron Samedi (Baron Saturday, also Baron Samdi, Bawon Samedi, or Bawon Sanmdi) is one of the aspects of Baron, one of the loa. He is a loa of the dead, along with Baron's other incarnations Baron Cimetière, and Baron La Croix. Baron Samedi is usually depicted with a white top hat, black tuxedo, dark glasses, and cotton plugs in the nostrils, as if to resemble a corpse dressed and prepared for burial in Haitian style. He has a white, frequently skull-like face (or actually has a skull for a face) and speaks in a nasal voice. He is one of the Guédé, or an aspect of them, or possibly their spiritual father. His wife is the loa Maman Brigitte. 'Samedi' means 'Saturday' in French, though there are alternate etymologies offered.

Baron Samedi stands at the crossroads, where the souls of dead humans pass on their way to Guinee. As well as being the all-knowing loa of death, he is a sexual loa, frequently represented by phallic symbols and noted for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and having a particular fondness for tobacco and rum. Additionally, he is the loa of sex and resurrection.

Yemaja is an orisha, originally of the Yoruba religion, who has become prominent in many African-American religions. Africans from what is now called Yorubaland brought Yemaya and a host of other deities/energy forces in nature with them when they were brought to the shores of the Americas as captives. She is the ocean, the essence of motherhood, and a protector of children.

She is venerated in Vodou as LaSiren.

In Santería, Yemayá is seen as the mother of all living things as well as the owner of all waters. Her number is 7 (a tie into the 7 seas), her colors are blue and white (representing water), and her favorite offerings include melons, molasses ("melaço" - sugar cane syrup), whole fried fishes and pork rinds. She has been syncretized with Our Lady of Regla.

Yemaja has several caminos (paths). At the initiation ceremony known as kariocha, or simply ocha, the exact path is determined through divination. Her paths include:

  • Ogunte: In this path, she is a warrior, with a belt of iron weapons like Ogun. This path lives by the rocky coastliness. Her colors are crystal, dark blue and some red.
  • Asesu: This path is very old. She is said to be deaf and answers her patrons slowly. She is associated with ducks and still or stagnant waters. Her colors are pale blue and coral.
  • Okoto: This path is known as the underwater assassin. Her colors are indigo and blood red and her symbolism includes that of pirates.
  • Majalewo: This path lives in the forest with the herbalist orisha, Osanyin. She is associated with the marketplace and her shrines are decorated with 21 plates. Her colors are teals and turquoises.
  • Ibu Aro: This path is similar to Majalewo in that she is associated with markets, commerce and her shrines are decorated with plates. Her colors are darker; indigo, crystal and red coral. Her crown (and husband) is the orisha Oshumare, the rainbow.
  • Ashaba: This path is said to be so beautiful that no human can look at her directly.

In the Kongo religions, such as Palo Mayombe, Palo Monte, Kimbisa and Briumba, she is known as Mà Lango, or Madré D'Agua—Mother of Waters.

Here are the Veves...

I think it's an awesome idea because then the accesories in a way will be endowed with meaning and maybe mystical powers...Cool eh?

Erzulie Freda

Erzulie Dantor

Baron Samedi

La Sirene and her husband Agwe ( the water or ocean)


Cool, eh?


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