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Sodo Waters

Frater Vameri

The waterfall of Sodo ( Saut d' Eau ), in July, is taken by pilgrims, who, on the occasion of the celebrations of Notre Dame du Mont Carmel, gather in this sacred place. This incredible waterfall, formed by an earthquake in 1842, is full of stories and inhabits the popular imagination, being then a place where many spirits live. In fact, the story of its creation itself is an object of legend, as it is said that a farmer would have seen the Virgin Mary in the locality.

The apparition of the Miraculous Virgin ( Vièj Mirak ) was not, however, the first association of the waterfall with the invisible. It is known that even before that, the locals already recognized the waterfall as a sacred place for Damballah , Lasirèn , Simbi Dlo and other Lwas that have a strong association with the waters.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Our Lady of Mount Carmel is identified with Ezili Dantò. It may be easy to lose Ezili's association with water, but we must remember that Ezili probably has its origins in Lake Aziri (Benin) and that many female spirits have a strong aquatic connection, mainly because water is the generative of life.

The pilgrimage to the waterfall, therefore, does not only happen through the power of the Miraculous Virgin. Pilgrims visiting the site take cleansing baths and make requests of a range of different spirits. Sodo is truly a magical place, in which one of humanity's most ancient spiritual activities, the connection with the waters, takes on contemporary, timeless and powerful garb.

These ceremonies are not only performed by lonely people. Entire Vodou societies gather there, assemble drums, make offerings and distribute food. Priests give pilgrims baths and perform other ceremonies. It is a complex and beautiful festival that involves several layers of Haitian spirituality.

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