The next family of Loa we as an order worked with was the Barons. Again I think it would be better to use an excerpt from my book. It goes into more detail. This post will be pretty long. I am going to include all of he Barons except Brigitte, who is the Baron's wife. She will get her own post.
The Barons traditionally, as they are in Haiti or New Orleans, are not that different from Gede. In my experience with them they have presented themselves completely different. They are for me serious and more in keeping with the somber nature that we here in the U.S. and in the west in general like in our death gods.
With the Barons the feeling of a funeral come more into focus whereas Gede is more of a partier. It is not that they do not have a lighter side, but more often they act like a funeral director.
In my opinion there are three kinds of death children. Like myself one kind shares in the revelry of Gede. The second prefer the sorrow of the Barons. The last are the outright powerful lovers and artists who sing the praises of death to that loving mother Oya. All of us are tightly packed under the wings of Azrael, the archangel of death.
Gede refers to the Baron as his father and the female Baron, Brigitte, as his mother. This being true I feel somewhat sorry for the parents. As a father, I am glad not to have children who act like Gede does.
In ancient Egypt there were three primary death gods. In comparison, Gede would be Anubis. He is the divine embalmer who prepares you for the long journey into the afterlife. Oya is Nephthys, the queen of the cemetery who looks after you on the journey. Finally the Barons are Osiris, the king of the underworld who is in charge after you have moved fully into the ever after.
I myself am not in any way ruled by any of the Barons. I know many of them and trust them. I would say that I am likely closest to Brigitte. My wife is close to Baron Kriminal. They are not as close to me as Gede. I still have learned many things about the path of death from them. To be honest trying to get a straight answer from Gede is next to impossible but the Barons take telling truth like a Raven takes to flight.
In the terminology that the Loa use the Barons “walk” with me. There are three levels of closeness. When they are intimately connected to you they are called the primary master of your head. Gede is the master of mine. When they are slightly less than that connected they are called the minor master. I have two, Chango, and Damballah. Finally when a spirit is not really connected to you but takes a liking to you they are said to walk with you.
The Barons will teach you many things if you take the time to listen. Their lessons can be difficult but many things worth knowing are.
Baron Samedi or Baron Saturday is the most powerful of the Barons. The other Barons treat him much like a king. Gede even honors his command over death. This spirit will inform you of the inner workings of death. He will explain the conditions of death. His advice is beyond reproach on any of these topics.
If you have any death related gifts he will help to unlock them. We are surrounded by Baron Samedi’s spirits of the dead. With his aid you can learn to feel, hear, see, and converse with the departed. These spirits are the lower parts of a former living person. When someone dies the basic part of who they were continue to have energy. This energy lingers for some time. How long depends on their personality and the circumstances of their death.
If a person has a strong personality, the will of that personality may keep it going for a long time. Maybe they refuse to accept that they are deceased and that causes their energy to take longer to dissipate. The circumstance of their death often plays a part as well.
Really there are two kinds of ghosts. One is a repetitive spirit and the other is cognizant of their existence. The repetitive spirit is created by repetition in life. Grandma got up at six o’clock in the morning every morning and came down the stairs for forty years. She went into the kitchen and fixed coffee. The energy of this action can continue after Grandma has died. One morning while staying in Grandma’s house after she dies, half awake, you see her ghost come down the stairs and head off to the kitchen. You might even smell the coffee brewing or the coffee maker might turn itself on.
If you were to try to talk with her, she would not hear you, nor would she stop if you stood in front of her. She would pass right through you, giving you a chill, as if you were not there. This ghost has no personality and no consciousness at all.
Another of this type of this ghost might have been in a car accident or have been murdered. The fear or the emotion of the event caused the energy to stay a while. Even though this ghost really has no personality, the emotion may linger as well. In these cases the emotion sometimes rubs off on those who are in the place where this happened. If they were frightened, you may get frightened. Their anger may cause you to get mad. Again there is no kind of conversation possible.
Sometimes the lingering energy of a person has so much strength that their lower self remains. These ghosts are different than the repetitive kind. They do not do the same thing over and over. Many times they want to talk to you. Often they want to talk because they are completely unaware that they have died. If they do realize that they are dead they may be bored or lonely.
Many people are of the opinion that these spirits need to move on to the next reality. I disagree. This is not the real person. They may have the real person’s personality and may in no way be different than the original person except that they are only that part of the person who was here. The real soul of the person has already moved on. This is their lower self that is temporary.
If you take this ghost to “the light” or “help them to cross over” they stop being. Their energy ceases. You have drained that energy, their belief in themselves from them. In essence you have destroyed them. You have driven them into oblivion. Sure eventually it will happen on its own but I am guessing if you actually ask them if they want to walk into nonexistence they will choose not to. We living sure are prepared to make decisions about the dead with no real information about the afterlife. Even if this were the real person, how do we know where that light is sending them? Is it heaven? Maybe, but how do we know? What if we are sending them to hell? What if the Greeks or Sumerians are right and we are sending them to an awful place? What if the Egyptians are right and they are going to be weighed against the deeds of their life and be found lacking? These are too many questions without answers. I believe, and have been told by many death spirits that they are not the real person. I could be wrong but there certainly is no more proof with those “helping.”
In my opinion, if they know they are dead we should ask them what they want to do. I think it is important that they know they are dead before asking them about what they want to do with their ghostly existence. If they know, what can it hurt to find out what they want to do? Who knows they may get more time as a ghost than they did alive. They certainly should get this choice.
Once they choose what they want to do, assuming they know. They should have the opportunity to help you if they want it. If they believe that heaven is on the other side of the light, then help them get up the nerve to go into it. Either way it should be their choice. If they choose to help you, they can be good friends and can help you and you them. They may know things you do not. It may be that they are bored and want to do things for you to alleviate their boredom. If they are lonely you may work out that they do something for you and you spend some time talking to them. You may be able to help them deal with the fact that they are dead.
In all of this I discourage in any way taking advantage of them. They are thinking and feeling beings. The reason that I am explaining all of this in the section on Baron Samedi is that they are protected by him. For ethical reasons and for your own safety get their acknowledgement and consent before moving forward.
The communication with the dead can be obtained by talking with Baron Samedi. He will instruct you in the methods of speaking with ghosts and the method of speaking with the actual soul of the departed if they have not fully moved on to another existence whether here or in the afterlife. With this method you can talk with the ghosts and set up whatever understanding the two of you agree on. I realize that this all seems like a contract but it really is the only way to be sure you are doing what is ethical.
Baron Samedi has a lot of useful information. For death children it is wise to consult with him. To do this, enter a graveyard through the main entrance. Locate the farthest cross shaped gravestone to the left and most front of the graveyard. If there is no cross shaped grave stone on the left go to the furthest on the right. If there is no cross shaped gravestone at all, then the largest in the front row is the one to find. Once you have located the Baron’s gravestone, place three pennies on the stone. Next draw his Veve in cornmeal. You will then light three black candles and wait for him to speak to you. It does not matter what time of the day you do this. The reason that people tend to do this at night is most cemeteries do not like Voodoo symbols drawn on their graves and candles. If you have not developed the ability to hear spirits you should use some form of divination tool.
Working with Baron Samedi and for that matter any of the Barons is different than working with Gede. Although Gede is close to my heart, he is not as cooperative as the Barons are. Baron Samedi is really good for newer people to talk with because he is patient and nice.
Some people fear Baron Samedi because he is stern. I never have. Respect him and if you truly want to learn he will teach you anything you want to know about the kingdom of death. You will find him to be a god and willing teacher.
Colors- Black, white
Symbols- Crosses, cigars, top hats, coffins, canes, graveyards, sunglasses
Things to identify this Baron-
Baron Samedi is quiet. He will take on the air of being in charge. For some reason when he possesses someone they seem taller. He is a Petro Loa so he can be a bit edgy. Most of the time, he walks slowly around the ritual space and gives advice. He is also quick to answer questions.
Later in this chapter I will describe Baron Samedi’s wife Brigitte. She has to be mentioned in this section because he loves her more than anything. Brigitte can be difficult but you would not know that by talking with Baron Samedi. He would never allow her to be talked about badly. Never say anything negative about her in his presence. Their love is eternal.
Baron Samedi is a funeral director. He will direct your ritual as one. He assumes control and the agenda, no matter your pleading, the ritual is now his.
Many death children will find Baron Samedi to be a wonderful father figure. This is another job which he takes seriously. Whether you find your Loa to be, Gede, Oya, or another Baron, get comfortable with Baron Samedi. He is your Dad.
I have not worked as much with this Baron as I have with Baron Samedi. I am going to include him because traditionally he is one of the three primary Barons in Voodoo. He is also an important figure in understanding the divinity of death. He also is considerably different than Baron Samedi and it is likely that many children of death out there have him as the master of their head.
Truthfully all of the Barons work closely with each other. Like Baron Samedi is a funeral director, the other Barons, especially Baron Cemetery and Baron LaCroix, who I will cover next, are workers in the graveyard as well. Baron Cemetery is the grave digger. It is his duty to get the grave ready for you.
Baron Cemetery is more down to earth, again pun intended. You therefore should seek him out in the graveyard. He does occasionally show up in temple but it is more likely to find him in his namesake. This Baron is more likely to talk with you from an equal perspective. Baron Samedi is in charge of everything and will make that clear. Baron Cemetery on the other hand might even approach you like someone who works for you. At the very least he will be unassuming.
When I say prepares the grave for you I intend two meanings. The first is his actual job. He digs graves. Secondly is the metaphysical meaning. You have your own energy and unique way of being. Baron Cemetery helps in getting the other death spirits to understand you and your way. For instance, my background is in ceremonial magick. The Loa did not completely understand that. Gede did not understand why I needed all the pomp and show. These Loa are used to people who practice Voodoo or similar practices. I worked with long rituals and decorum. Baron Cemetery smoothed that out for them. He helped the other Loa understand my spiritual needs and approach.
Colors- Black, Grey
Symbols- digging tools like a shovel, headstones, cigars, bowler hats, graveyards, handkerchiefs, sunglasses
Things to identify this Baron-
As I said before Baron Cemetery is more approachable. He is quiet and respectful. Being very plain spoken he is easy to talk to. He is never rude like Gede. I am not nearly as familiar with him as many others but he has been useful and kind to me.
As with Baron Samedi and Baron Cemetery, Baron LaCroix is another officer at the funeral. He is the priest. Baron Cemetery is more approachable than Baron Samedi. Baron LaCroix is less. As a priest he acts detached. His manor is of someone with high birth and demands respect. Unlike Baron Samedi who truly cares about your life, Baron LaCroix does not. He is only concerned with your spiritual progress. He will direct you towards faith and God. In him you will find a good listener though. He is helpful in helping you in those ways. As a Gede person I find him a bit stuffy.
Colors- Black, Gold
Symbols- crosses, crucifixes, fleur de lyses, priest miters, staff, skeletal priest, censor for incense
Things to identify this Baron-
As I said, Baron LaCroix is a priest. He enters the temple like a priest comes into a church. He might speak in Latin. It is certain he will mention God. He has an air of nobility that cannot be missed. At times he can get preachy. He will urge you to be a better person and also will advise you to have faith.
Haunting in the depths of a chaotic chorus of cruelty is the Baron of death no one wants to meet. Baron Kriminal is far removed from the helpful arms of Baron Samedi. He delights in the pain of a slow and creeping doom. He finds pleasure in the horror of others. Causing injury is his delight. When possessing people he is known to bite both those he possesses and those in the room.
To those who honor the death spirits and keep their oaths to the spirits of death fear not this spirit. If on the other hand you do not keep your promises, be afraid. It does not matter if the death spirit is a Gede, a Baron, or Oya, he will even avenge the slights to death gods outside of Voodoo. It is Baron Kriminal that makes sure that all death spirits get what they are promised. Be aware of this in the twilight path of decay. Swear to nothing unless you plan to keep that promise.
Baron Kriminal does have a sense of humor though. Several years ago my wife and I attended a Pagan/Thelemic festival with some friends. Believing that there would be several serious occultists at the event, I asked Gede not to possess me. I figured that these were ceremonial magicians who were not familiar with Voodoo and would not realize that it was not me. Gede as I have said is prone to all sorts of embarrassing activities. I did not want him to make an ass out of himself at my expense. I was a serious magician and all of that.
Gede was good to his word. Baron Kriminal had not made that agreement. Gede is more or less in charge of which spirit I am possessed by. He thought that letting Baron Kriminal possess me in his stead would be hilarious. From what my wife has told me I apparently began the possession by going to the tent where my wife and a close friend of ours were talking. He said something to the effect that Gede might have promised not to possess me but that a Baron did not.
My wife and our friend, not wanting to miss any of the fun, followed Baron Kriminal to the bonfire that was lit in the center of a group ritual that was in progress. He strutted into the ritual wearing a top hat and sunglasses in the middle of the night. He was smoking his cigar and striding confidently into the thick of things followed by the two lovely ladies like a parade. The women were laughing the entire time. He loudly pranced through the crowd kissing random women and proceeding to dance the Banda, which is a sexually suggestive dance that involves pelvic thrusts. After this he left the ritual area dancing all the way back towards the tents with his amused groupies in tow. He then in the middle of the field and surrounded by the festival goers began to dance with my wife in a sexually suggestive manner. At this point he left my body to fall to the ground.
I would have been better to have Gede possess me. I guess some ceremonial magicians have a story to tell about a weird Voodoo guy at the festival interrupting the ritual. Or maybe they just thought I was drunk, I had no alcohol. Either way I will take my chances and not insult Gede.
Colors- Red, Black
Symbols- Top hat, sunglasses with red lenses, fangs, graves, skull and crossbones, daggers, crosses, evil looking skulls
Things to identify this Baron-
Baron Kriminal looks like Petro Gede. The way to tell the difference is both in feel and how he speaks. He feels harsher and his energy is more overpowering. With Petro Gede you can ask him to stop and he usually will. This Baron stops when he wants to and no sooner. Baron Kriminal’s speech is much gruffer. It is in his nature to challenge. He will not only prompt you to face your challenges but will often be the embodiment of that challenge.
Recently at a ritual, he came to speak with us and my wife, who is very fond of him, gave him a hug. My youngest daughter is quite friendly with many of the Loa. She reached out to get a hug of her own. Baron Kriminal very coldly refused to give her a hug. This is just another example of him not being like Gede. He can go even farther than this and be mean. He will be cruel often to prove a point.
He and I are not especially close. We are on good terms. He is one of my wife’s minor masters and this often brings him to our rituals. I appreciate him and respect the role he plays for the death gods.