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Gran Bwa

Vodou Lwa and His Veve


Gran Bwa veve
Catherine Beyer
Gran Bwa means "big tree" and he is the master of the forests of Vilokan, the island that is home to the lwa. He is strongly associated with plants, trees and practices associated with those materials such as herbalism. Gran Bwa is also the master of the wilderness in general, and thus can be wild and unpredictable. Temples often leave a section grow wild in his honor. But he is also big-hearted, loving, and fairly approachable.

The Mapou Tree

That mapou, or silk-cotton, tree is specifically sacred to Gran Bwa. It is native to Haiti and was made nearly extinct in the 20th centuries by opponents of Vodou. It is a mapou tree that is seen as connecting the material and spirit worlds (Vilokan), which is represented in the courtyard of Vodou temples by a central pole. Gran Bwa is often also seen as a guardian and protector of the ancestors who have always traveled from this world to the next.

Hidden Knowledge

Healing, secrets and magic are also associated with Gran Bwa as he hides certain things from the prying eyes of the uninitiated. He is called upon during initiation ceremonies. It is also within his branches that the serpent Damballah-Wedo can be found.

Lwa Family: Petro
Gender: Male
Associated Catholic Saint: St. Sabastian, who was tied to a tree before being shot with arrows.
Holiday: March 17 (St. Patrick's Day)
Offerings: Cigars, leaves, plants, sticks, kleren (a type of rum)
Colors: Brown, green

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