What is a House?

In the context of Vodun diaspora systems, a house is basically a community or subgroup of the community.  It may be a local community or an international collection of people united with a particular leader or style.  Some have strict hierarchies and delegations of duties, while others are more like a coven without a serious hierarchy.  Others still are the altar mates of a priest/ess who seldom or never meet each other, but by supporting a particular priest/ess or temple, support each other.

The main difference between a Vodun house and some other communities is that because of the nature of the faiths, there is a high degree of both honesty and forgiveness.  When someone makes a mistake, there is serious effort to solve the problem despite whoever’s pride, whether that person is a leader in the community or not.  The newest member or even non committed participant with no particular duty is of the same importance to the Orishas as the highest ranking one.  If they have been wronged, then it is important to make things right, and once they are right, they are right.  Period.

So members of a house may know one anothers’ greatest strengths and weaknesses, and yet still love and support them.  One of the reasons for this is that we understand that a person is not only accountable to other humans, but to the Spirits.  We have faith in the Spirits because they are not distant from us, and we have evidence of their power in our lives every day.  So when someone is doing something wrong, once they are aware that they have offended an Orisha or other Spirit, that is enough for them to want to correct their mistakes on their own.  The humans, if they are involved at all in that, are merely messengers.

The humans do not need or feel the need to punish people in their house for wrongdoing below the level of actual crimes, and sometimes not even then.  The Spirits take care of that, and they do really take care of that.

So house members have a high degree of loyalty to one another without the threat of explusion in most cases.  There are more ego driven houses, and some of them are very large, but generally, this is how a house works.  We work with Nature instead of against her, and this includes human nature.

K. Sis. Nicole T.N. Lasher

Webmatron of Orisha.me.

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