(vev-vay) is a sacred element always present in a Voodoo ritual, a magical design representing astral forces. The drawing would be incised on a carefully swept earthen floor, the lines filled in with cornmeal. The design is made to summon a particular god or goddess, known collectively as loas
, and serves as the prelude to a spiritual ceremony.
The quicksilver god Simbi, a loa
of many forms. He has been called the Voodoo Mercury, the quickening force of the great god Legba, who symbolizes the Sun and is the essential center of the Haitian belief system. Simbi is the Sun's messenger, with the power to confer the ability needed to successfully accomplish a difficult task. Milo Rigaud, author of the definitive Secrets of Voodoo
, equates Simbi with the archetypal Thoth-Hermes-Mercury as the one "who leads the dead in all directions bordered by the four magic orients of the cross." In the vaster and more flexible world of the spirit, Simbi guides us from the visible to the invisible. The jorney begins at the crossroads.
Spirit in the wood make the blood run fast,
Spirit in the wood make the beauty last,
Keep the hope alive while the youth go past,
Aye, Simbi l'eau. Aye, Simbi l'eau.
The chant is actually the lyric of a song popularized by an Afro-Cuban band in the late thirties. the melody and words, accompanied only by an insistent drum beat, were unique and captured the immagination. It may well have been based on genuine prayer to the fiery young god who wrought miracles.
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