May 20 2011

Agwe

The Veve of Agwe Taroyo

The Veve of Agwe Taroyo

Agwe is a water spirit, and is of particular interest to seafaring people such as fishermen. As such, his veve represents a boat. Agwe is particularly important in Haiti, an island nation where many residents have depended upon the sea for survival for centuries.

When he arrives in possession of a performer, he is met with wet sponges and towels to keep him cool and moist while on land during the ceremony. Care has to be taken to keep the possessed from jumping into the water, which is where Agwe prefers to be.

Ceremonies for Agwe are commonly performed near the water. Offerings are floated on the water’s surface. If the offerings return to shore, they have been refused by Agwe.

Agwe is commonly depicted as a mullato man dressed in a naval uniform, and when in possession of another behaves as such, saluting and giving orders. He is mainly invoked in his benign Rada aspect, but also manifests in Petro invocations in his more violent Agwe Ge-Rouge aspect.

Agwe’s female counterpart is La Sirene, the siren of the seas, a personification of Erzulie.