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Guidance From The Gods: Baron Samedi

Updated on February 18, 2016
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Nightcat is a practicing witch who loves to write about Wicca and many of the Gods and Goddesses she’s had the pleasure to encounter.

Handsome fellah, Isn't He?

Baron can appear many ways. As a handsome man, a man in skull paint, with a skull for a head, or as he prefers with me, as a skeleton.
Baron can appear many ways. As a handsome man, a man in skull paint, with a skull for a head, or as he prefers with me, as a skeleton.

Ready To Meet The Baron?

Strictly speaking, Baron Samedi is a Vodoun lwa, or spirit and not a God in the Western sense, but I had the idea to start what will hopefully become a series of lessons from various Gods as a way for my readers to get to meet them. In each lesson you will get to me a God or Goddess and learn the lesson they have to teach.

And these are not always easy lessons to learn. As a wise mambo once told me when she was going through tough times Baron Samedi, while sympathetic, told her to “Work it like a Haitian.” In other words, to live through the tough times doing the best she could and keeping her spirits up. To reprioritize what was vital and not and to make some hard choices if need be.

And so, we come to our first lesson. We in the first world are often made to feel poor because we don’t have things that while they bring pleasure into our lives aren’t vital. Or if we do have them, they aren’t costly enough. And while there is nothing exactly wrong with liking the best things in life, there is something very wrong with thinking our happiness hinges on having them as Baron Samedi can teach us.

You can treat the following lesson as a sort of guided meditation if you like, but keep in mind this is about nonessential items like TVs or stereos. Or newer and bigger versions of what we have that is still usable like a worn but still comfy sofa and the like. The lesson doesn't apply to vitals such as wholesome food, shelter and clothes on your back, OK?

As always, all writing and photography are my original work. If quoting or using for the Internet, credit and a link back are appreciated. All videos are included for educational and informational purposes only. If you hold the copyright and wish to have something removed, please let me know.

Please Note: This Hub reflects my experiences and what I was taught. I do not claim to speak for Baron Samedi and if you want specific teachings on him, such as from Haitian Vodoun or from New Orleans, you can check out my other Baron articles or contact a house of your choosing. Everyone’s beliefs and experiences are different and I only ask that you respect mine.

Always Friendly

I know some folks fear him, but I've only had love and friendliness from him, when we aren't fussing at one another.
I know some folks fear him, but I've only had love and friendliness from him, when we aren't fussing at one another.

The Meditation

You enter the cemetery of the dreamworld in search of your friend Baron Samedi. He’s been a good friend to you, he is to countless people. He has an open nature and is very much a people person, well, spirit. Known in Vodoun as the spirit or lwa connected with graveyards, he’s also known for his wisdom, love of a good time and fondness for coffee. You’ve brought to with you prepared in the way he enjoys them, both black and one with plenty of sugar.

Your old friend, looking dapper as ever in his black suit and silken top hat, leaps up from the gravestone he was sitting one to greet you with a warm embrace. “It’s been a long time, hasn’t it?” He says excitedly and you smile at the suave and sunglasses wearing skeleton in front of you as you hand him the coffees. “Yes it has, Papa.” You agree politely. "Look, I brought you coffee.”

He seems to grin more if that is even possible as he considers the coffee. “And you are thanked.” He considers the coffees and hands you the one he knows you’d like best.” More than enough to go around.” He says generously.

“Thank you!” You respond, knowing he’s put his blessing in the offering but he waves you off good-naturedly. By and large he’s a generous spirit. Though he’s practical too and when you bring up the thing you need he looks at you over his sunglasses.

“Got one already?” He asks. And you have to admit that you do, only it is old and worn and you would like a new one. He chuckles. “Of course you would. Come here.” He pats the monument he is seated on and you join him, happy when he wraps a friendly arm around you.

“Let me tell you something about things. Doesn’t matter what they are, they all wear out and break at times. And when they are vital that is a problem. But a lot of things in life are just for fun, that's all well and good, but not vital, right?” He asks and you nod. “And there’s nothing wrong with that. Radios, TVs and the like. They are all fun, but not vital and people of your time have forgotten that.”

You nod, he’s right. There are a lot of wonderful modern gadgets you don’t have, and the one in question isn’t vital. It isn’t a car to get you to work or a motorized wheelchair or a machine to help you breathe at night. It isn’t a heating system or something like that, just one of the many modern fun things we’ve come to think of as vital because we get enjoyment out of them.

And as the two of you continue talking, you realize the lesson Baron Samedi has to give. “We spirits, we can only do so much. Sure we’d do it if we could but it isn’t always possible. Still, you come back and see me if this thing breaks, and tell me if you’re still breathing.” He teases.

You both laugh and the lesson is learned. The spirits can do many wonderful things, but they can’t do everything. It isn’t that they don’t want to, it just isn’t possible. And sometimes with nonvital needs, like for instance, me thinking of getting a new TV recently, there isn’t much they can do.

You linger in the graveyard as long as you like, then take your leave of your friend, paying attention to any advice he has to give you. You return to the waking world, refreshed, and ready to see the new possibilities doing with less or without can bring you.

My Baron Adores This Video, Mileage Will Vary

The Lesson

Luckily in my case I had a much smaller TV I hooked up and it plays OK. Not great, but OK. And as the Baron gently explains to us both, it is not the end of the world. We live in a culture where we are taught we have to have the biggest and the best or we are deprived.

But we’re not, not really. The biggest and the best are fine if we can afford or save up for them and if, and only if, we truly enjoy them. But even the best and biggest TV in my case wouldn’t make up for the fact that I’m trying to cut back on my spending so cable may soon go. Kind of silly to have fifty inches of blackness to look at after.

And even if the cable stays, the truth is, I rarely watch TV. Maybe in the morning with coffee, or late at night to unwind, but it isn’t vital to me. Enjoyable? Certainly and I would miss it, I’ll be honest, I would. I used to watch endless amounts of TV but as the TV aged I just gradually cut back as it wasn’t as enjoyable to watch.

Maybe your nonvital item is like that too. You want it because we’ve been taught to want it. And there is nothing wrong with that. What becomes a problem is putting our self worth and happiness in things.

We aren’t deprived if we do without a few luxuries, and maybe if you think about it that thing that is so important is a luxury right now, and that’s OK too. It’s great to have things to dream about or think of for the future, but for right now it is also very OK not to have it.

Baron Samedi can help us learn perspective if we are willing to work with him. He helps us see what is vital in our lives and what, while enjoyable, we can do without. It isn’t easy to start living without something we used to take for granted and he knows that, but he can guide us through the adjustment period.

He Enjoys Crosses

They are one of his symbols and not in the Christian sense and several other lwa share these signs as well.
They are one of his symbols and not in the Christian sense and several other lwa share these signs as well.

The Adjustment is Not Always Easy

Am I thrilled beyond words to have a much smaller TV? For now, yes. I can at least watch it and the tiny size frees me up to do other things like writing articles for my readers, having quiet creative time, photography, reading, catching up with friends online and the like. I still can watch, just not on such a big scale.

It took some adjustment. It did. I’ve been looking off and on for a replacement TV for months if not years, and just never wanted to spend the money. And by working with Baron I saw that I never will. Don’t get me wrong, I love TV, I love cable, but I love other things too.

My hope is that as you work with him you can see that the nonvital need keeping you up at night is not the end of the world. And I’m saying that having been there. Loosing the TV wasn’t a sign of eminent doom in my future. It was a sign the TV was old and honestly the small one is fine for now.

With your nonvital item you may find out you can downsize after an adjustment or even live without. Remember, there is always the future to have it again in. Think of times in your life when you did with less of the item or did without one. It wasn’t fun at first to be sure, but you adjusted, right?

Working with Baron Samedi we can be guided to new ways of seeing the world and he can open the paths to other activities to take the place of what we used to do.

For Papa Ghede He Can Always Help You If You Prefer

Lesson Recap

Baron Samedi and Papa Ghede as well, are very close to humans. Their moods can vary, but nothing gets past them. Both understand that as progress continues what we humans come to see as vital to our happiness changes. And while you are certainly free to barter to get a new whatever, they do demand payment in return, and sometimes not having the item, at least for a little while, does us some good.

Instead of making a deal with them to get that wanted thing, and they won’t always be in a mood to make a deal, they can instead teach us to appreciate the wealth of things to enjoy that we do have. Or in Baron’s case, he may lean forward and snap his teeth at you in an affectionate reminder that our time on this planet is fleeting and he may take us twenty seconds from now or twenty years, but fussing and fretting over things we can’t change does us no good.

Baron Samedi can teach us to let go of dead things, such as worn out items and to live without the presence of a new one in our lives. He can guide us through the adjustment and into a new way of thinking. Or he can lead us to a not so new replacement, but always with the gentle reminder to not get too attached to things.

I Thank The Baron For Agreeing To the Hub

I never photograph his things or write about him without permission, so his gracious help is deeply appreciated.
I never photograph his things or write about him without permission, so his gracious help is deeply appreciated.

What Do You Think?

Today's lesson was that in hard times we sometimes have to learn to do without and Baron Samedi, an expert at removing that which must be removed, can help. But do you agree, or do you think people should always barter with the spirits to get new things, keeping in mind that if unpaid Baron Samedi can not only giveth but taketh away far more than he gave?

Barter Or Live With Less?

Well, would you rather barter for a new item, or live with less?

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If you enjoyed the article and would like to see more of Baron Samedi or the series, I'd love to hear from you!

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