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An American Vodou House

Sosyete du Marche, Inc’s Library

Kadja Bossou: The Triple Crown of Devotion, Love and Service

Bossou_veveBossou Twa Kon or Bossou Triple Horned, is the sacred bull of Vodou.  There is no better example of the confluence of mythologies dominating  Haitian Vodou than the image of Bossou. You must remember all the  various and sundry populations that descended upon St. Domingue in the  early part of the 17th century. There's no date available to go back on, but we do know that Celtic France provided the bulk of white colonial  populations. And there is good archeological evidence of a cult of the  Bull in France, dating as far back as the early parts of the last  millennium. (See Green, Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, 1992, pp 52-53). Were these beliefs then transferred to the Africans of St. Domingue? We do  know that the Bretons maintained a far greater interest in their own  folklore than their catechisms. And we can appreciate the power of  European occultism in St. Domingue ( Sacred Arts, 1995, figure 1.19b). So, let's go out on a limb and say why not?

After all, the Africans had their own cult of the Bull. For the Fon, Bossou is a tohosu, a sacred monster of the royal family, especially associated with Akadja who was said to rule over a kingdom where humans mated with goats and  gave birth to the tohosu.  But Thompson claims that the importance of  horning, both visual and verbal in Petro veves has led to the adoption  of a triple horned, hunchback Bossou of Dahomey into the Kongo class of Lwa. (Thompson, Sacred Arts, fig 3.8)tripleraychrist_small

Classic Egypt (as African as it gets) was highly  dedicated to the cult of the bull. Hathor, the gentle Nile Goddess of  motherhood, fertility and love was often portrayed as a cow headed woman - or conversely, a woman in a cow-horned crown, with the soft, folded  ears of a heifer. The cult of the bull goes even further back into the  mists of history with the Minotaur, jealously guarding the entrance to  the under world. This is a direct correlation to the job He holds in  Haitian Vodou.

In Veve Clark’s magnum thesis, she thoroughly explores the legend and  meaning of Bossou as the guardian between this world and Ginen.  Half  human, demi-divine and an oracle in practice, Bossou was one of the  first Lwa to manifest for me as I began my journey into Vodou. He is a  steady presence for us today and we are blessed to have several  godchildren who he has claimed as his own.

This Celto-African blend attracts plenty of triple imagery. Bossou is seen as the triple-rayed El Cristos with his  tri-fleured corona in Catholic Hagiography. He is represented as triple horned in his Kongo pakets and he is shown in all the abundantly horned boci that one finds throughout the art markets in Port-au- Prince. It reaches an apex, in my opinion, in the artistry so beautifully  demonstrated by the late Pierrot Barra and his triple horned homage to Bossou.

Bossou straddles the Rada and  Petro Nations of Vodou. In the Rada rites, he is called Kadja Bossou. In the Petro rites, they call him Djobolo Bossou. Either way, he is a huge Lwa, powerful and mighty, and he brings blessings to all who serve him  faithfully.

 

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