Petro

Petro

Also known as: Petwo

Origin: Haiti

At its simplest, Haitian Vodou consists of two pantheons: Rada and Petro. The Petro spirits or lwa are hot, volatile, powerful, angry, and fast. Fast means they tend to deliver petitioner’s requests quickly. Ask them for something, and they will likely do it fast or not at all. (There are exceptions.) They expect that speed from others, too: the Petro lwa are fierce, uncompromising spirits. If you make a promise to any of them, keep it. Quickly.

The Petro are tense, alert spirits who crackle with energy. They are not calm or cool-headed. They are spirits who experience the world as a battleground and are ready to fight and win. Many devotees love them because the Petro are vigilant protectors who anticipate the worst so are always on guard. Some, although not all, will fulfill less ethical requests.

Perhaps appropriately for spirits who are willing to travel into shadowy territory, the origins of the Petro pantheon are obscure in comparison to the more documented Rada. The name may refer to the legendary Don Petro. (See also: Petro, Don.) Alternatively, the Petro pantheon is heavily influenced by Congolese traditions. Africa’s Congo region was wracked by civil wars, tribal warfare and conflict stimulated by the early introduction of Christianity even before the slave trade.

Many, although not all, of the Petro spirits are fiery paths of Rada lwa who come from Africa. Others were born in the Western Hemisphere. However the entire pantheon is considered an indigenous Haitian pantheon. The Petro lwa emerged during slavery and their ritual vocabulary evokes remembrance of this time. Tools like whips and gunpowder once associated with oppression are now wielded by the lwa instead.

Attributes: Fork and spoon—this has subliminal resonance: Haitian slaves (and later peasants) and Rada spirits eat with their hands. Petro spirits eat with utensils like French colonials and slave masters.

Element: Fire (Petro lwa are considered fiery even if they are water spirits like Simbi La Flambeau or Agwé La Flambeau)

Color: Red and black for the pantheon (individual spirits may also have other colors)

See also:

Voodoo

You may be also interested in :

The Spider & The Green Butterfly: Vodoun Crossroads Of Power- E.A. Koetting
Invisible Powers :Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture - Claudine Michel & Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
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A Guide to Serving the Seven African Powers - Denise Alvarado
Haitian Vodou: An Introduction to Haiti's Indigenous Spiritual Tradition - Mambo Chita Tann
Voodoo Dolls In Magick And Ritual - Denise Alvarado
Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English - Benjamin Hebblethwaite
Roots of Haiti's Vodou-Christian Faith: African and Catholic Origins - R. Murray Thomas
The Book of Vodou: Charms and Rituals to Empower Your Life - Leah Gordon
Urban Voodoo: A Beginners Guide to Afro-Caribbean Magic - S. Jason Black, Christopher S. Hyatt
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Faces in the Smoke: An Eyewitness Experience of Voodoo, Shamanism, Psychic Healing, and Other Amazing Human Powers -  Douchan Gersi
Vodou Saints: Lessons on Life, Death and Resurrection from Haiti - Arthur Fournier
Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie -  Wade Davis
The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook - Denise Alvarado
Vodou Money Magic: The Way to Prosperity through the Blessings of the Lwa - Kenaz Filan
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Cord Of Blood: Possession and the Making of Voodoo - Nadia Lovell
Tell My Horse : Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica  - Zora Neale Hurston
Mysteries and Secrets of Voodoo, Santeria, and Obeah - Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe
Vodou Shaman: The Haitian Way of Healing and Power - Ross Heaven, Tim Booth

Judika Illes
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by: Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

Categories Lwa