Campaign of the Month: July 2007
Voudoun societies have evolved to meet the needs of the Sixth World quite nicely. Indeed, it might be suggested that they were already set up to meet those needs even before 2012. Most voodoo societies consist of a clergy made up of multiple magicians, who tend to the needs of a congregation that consists of both other magicians and mundane members.
Voudoun is an unapologetically magical religion, teaching that those who will serve both loa and congregation are rare but necessary. It isn’t enough to be called to service of one’s coreligionists – the prospective priest must be a magician as well, though there are roles within a congregation for “deacons” with other pastoral skills who wish to put them to the service of their society.
Of note are the so-called red sects, voodoo societies dedicated to the practice of petro magic. Though modern voodoo acknowledges that some of the loa are petro – and that is appropriate, in the loa – it is forbidden for men to embrace petro, at least according to standard wisdom. Considering that petro rites incorporate blood magic, the CAS government agrees. If the stories are to be believed, it is generally vengeance that drives the embrace of petro rites, and that many metahumans, fed up with the racism and prejudice they encounter, embrace these magics.
Likewise, there are rumors of the black sects, societies dedicated to ghede magic – the raising of zombies, collusion with specters and other powers of undeath. Though every public society gets accused of petro or ghede practices occasionally, it is generally agreed that if these societies do exist, they are most likely hidden, rather than simply pretending to be rada.
The Bizangoes take a great deal of pride in being strange and out of the ordinary. Originally dedicated to the idea that “Mardi Gras is Every Day,” the Bizangoes are a society of tricksters and contraries within the voodoo tradition. They routinely perform pranks on New Orleans as a whole, and unlike many societies, they consist of a broad spectrum of ethnic and racial adherents.
The Emerald Sea
This magical group is based out of Tulane University’s Department of Magical Studies, with additional funding from the Theology Department. This magical group is officially open to practitioners of the voodoo tradition who are enrolled (in either a major or minor) in either the Magical Studies or Theology Departments, though a few of its initates are neither. The Emerald Sea also provides religious services for voudisants on-campus, providing its initiates the opportunity to act in a priesthood capacity as part of their training.
Gens des Etoiles
The People of the Stars are dedicated to a family of loa they called Les Loa Nouveaux, or the “New Loa.” Their origins trace to a small group of cheveaux based out of New England in the early 2000s, made up mainly of gay and lesbian mambo and houngans.
They are clearly practitioners of voodoo, however strange their loa are to more traditional adherents – they are claimed by a family of loa based around natural phenomena: Maman Nuit, Pere Lune, and their rival sons, Le Roi Soleil and Frere Etoile. Thusly, all the magicians of the Gens des Etoiles have the Dark Goddess (Maman Nuit), Sky Father (Pere Lune), Sun (Le Roi Soleil) or Seductress (Frere Etoile) Mentor Spirits.
A small cult dedicated to Mama LaVeau, the loa once known as the Voodoo Queen Marie LeVeau. The few mambos that tend to this society (whose clergy is made up exclusively of women) all hold to Mama LaVeau as their mait tete. LaVeau’s Children are very active in the French Quarter, where they tend to her tomb at St. Louis Cemetery #1. There is always one of the society’s voudisants there every night, protecting it from vandalism and keeping the sacred flame burning. They also teach people how to ask her for favors by making three red chalk X’s on the tomb and take note of any such requests made out loud.
The Midnight Dancers are a voodoo society dedicated to teaching members of the public about the religion. Though they often put on rituals and ceremonies for the benefit of those who’ve never experienced such before, they are not simply a tourist attraction. Though others in the community disparage their workings as whoring the loa out to tourists, that is not the case – their true goal is understanding, and their true rituals are performed far from public eyes, in the sacred places the Dancers have claimed in the bayous, where they commune with the strange, madcap spirits of those places with debauchery, dance and song.
The Rum and Fire Society
Location: UNO Squatter Base, Little Venice
Purpose: To bring Ogun’s message of liberation from poverty and virtual slavery to the squatters at the UNO Squatter Camp, as well as support the Krewe of Gunpowder.
Members: 12 houngans; over 100 regular voudisants.
Hierarchy: The Rum and Fire Society is led by a houngan of Ogun with the title of “The General.” Everyone else is subordinate to him, and the title is given based on highest initiation and the choice of
Avatar: Ogun Alagbede, a form of Ogun quite specific to the Rum and Fire Society. He appears as a black man with reddish skin and blood-red cornrows. He wears a hoodie and baggy pants, with bare hands and feet stained by blood. The smell of cordite surrounds him.
Individual Strictures: Attendance (Wednesday night gatherings), Deed (killing a rich man, particularly a corporate or government figure), Geas (Talisman — Machete), Obedience (to the General and Ogun Alagbede)
Group Strictures: None
Resources/Dues: Low, ¥250 per month. The Rum and Fire Society maintains a rating 6 hounfour and a fair-sized peristile, with plenty of congregational space.
Description and Customs: The Rum and Fire Society preaches a hardline Ogunist philosophy – the rich keep the poor that way, and the poor have a duty to themselves, their children and all that is right in the world to snatch away as much from the rich as they can. They have a moral obligation to rise up against The Man and tear him screaming from his pedestal. They must fight oppression, racism and slavery where they find it – and it is everywhere.
The Rum and Fire Society aren’t just a magical society – they consider themselves the elite priesthood of Ogun. They provide voudoun services to the squatter populace in and around Little Venice. Indeed, there are even an increasing number of voudisants from the Gentilly neighborhood and New Orleans East that have begun showing up at the Rum and Fire Society’s temple in the UNO Squatter Base.
The Red Tower, named for a famous painting depicting a Haitian uprising against slave owners, with a Tarot-style lightning-struck tower in the background is a voodoo society based out of the Zulu Nation. The Tour Rouge traces its roots to the Zulu Nation krewe, who helped to found the Zulu Nation neighborhood for African-Americans.
Today, the Tour Rouge is made up of upper class and important civic leaders, all of them black. In addition to being a voodoo society, they are also something of a social club that has fielded no less than seven law suits in the last fifteen years, and consistently fight them in court, often to a stand-still.