The historic Don Petro is credited as the founder of the Petro Vodou tradition. Jean-Philippe Pedro was a Vodouiste and leader of Maroons. The word Maroon derives from Cimarron, “wild one,” and was the name given runaway slaves. These weren’t just rare individuals: Maroons formed communities in remote locations where they formed fierce political resistance movements against slavery and colonial rulers.

Author Moreau St. Méry wrote that Don Petro of Petit Goave founded the Petro tradition in 1768. The sometimes violent ceremonies became infamous. They terrified the colonials. Petro spirits (and by extension devotees) are defiant and will not be condescended to or patronized, let alone ordered about.

After he died, Don Petro returned to the tradition he founded as a lwa. He is considered an ancestor of the tradition and thus of devotees. Don Petro is renowned for resisting oppression on behalf of his devotees.

Myth suggests that Ezili Dantor and Don Petro are the parents of the entire Petro pantheon. This may be meant literally but may also indicate that they are the couple who preside over the spiritual tradition. They may be the Petro equivalent of Rada’s Ayizan and Loko.


Don Pedro; Jean Petro



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.


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