SDM header

An American Vodou House

Sosyete du Marche, Inc. Ceremonies and Services

Anba Dlo: Retire to the Waters of Return

anbadloDeath is a step along the road we call life. Unlike western traditions that  see death as the final act, Vodou sees death simply as a transition into another place  Anba Dlo is a vodou term, meaning ’below the water’ in  Haitian Creole.

The soul in Vodou is seen as having four parts. The Anba  Dlo takes care of the astral soul, the immortal part of each of us. When a loved one dies, it is traditional to perform this rite, to place the  spirit of that person into the waters, meaning to rest them for a year  and a day. Similar to the Egyptian idea of the soul taking crossing  through the underworld in Ra’s boat, Anba Dlo assumes the role of the Sun boat, and moves the deceased soul through the waters of of rest, so  that in a year’s time, the soul can be warmed up and returned to the  family abode, where it will be fetted, served and remembered.

Culturally, an Anba Dlo should be done within 3 days of  the death. However, we are not in Haiti and we do not have to deal with  tropical heat hastening the corp’s decay. Here in the USA, an Anba Dlo  can take place within 3, 6 or 9 months of the death. A very moving  service, the act of placing ones family member into the Waters of  Return is very cathartic and cleansing. The Anba Dlo can be performed  anywhere the family wishes to gather. We recently performed this service seaside in California for someone wishing to be buried at sea.

For details on the Anba Dlo, please contact Mambo Vye Zo. She will answer all your questions regarding this beautiful and moving ceremony.


Copyright 1995 - 2016.  Sosyete du Marche, Inc. is a Federally recognized 501c3 church, operating in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Your donations are tax deductible, and go towards supporting Sosyete du Marche, its mission to provide a safe haven for all worshippers, and to help those who need it most. To date, we have led medical missions to the Caribbean, supported Native Americans after Katrina and currently support our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.