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The Éliphas Lévi of the Vodou

Frater Vameri

I would venture to say that everyone involved in the occult has heard of Éliphas Lévi. Famous for the classic work “Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie”, few contemporary magical societies (or perhaps none) can say that they do not drink from this author's fountain. His name was actually Alphonse Louis Contant and he spent much of his life in seminaries, being ordained a deacon in 1835. After all, what does Éliphas Lévi have to do with Haitian Vodou ?

I have already discussed in previous texts that Vodou is also born influenced by French esotericism. Due to the organization of Freemasonry and also the French-speaking heritage, many esoteric books launched in France were quickly distributed and also launched in Haiti. Therefore, it is not surprising that Éliphas Lévi's books also circulated on the island of São Domingos.

We know, for example, that the book known as “Petit Albert”, a grimoire of magic with Kabbalistic inspiration, was popular in Haiti. I don't know exactly how popular Éliphas Lévi was in Haiti, but I can say with absolute certainty that he left his mark on Haitian Vodou .

However, the way Lévi was immortalized in Vodou is surprising (and at the same time, very natural). I guess most people must be thinking that I am talking about a direct link between some Vodou rite and Lévi's writings. However, it is nothing like that. In fact, if there is such a link in a way that we can trace this relation directly, I cannot say. However, Lévi was incorporated into Vodou in an even more powerful way: he became one spirit.

When we discuss Vodou, we usually talk about the Lwas . However, there are several types of spirits in Vodou . One of these types is djabs - understood as spirits who are agitated, quick and who solve things right away. Their morality is ambiguous and they are considered dangerous. In fact, deep down, many Lwas were once or are still considered djabs, so the boundary between these two types of spirits is very blurred.

There are numerous djabs and many are usually found in natural locations, such as caves and waterfalls. However, there are also more mysterious djabs and among these is a very peculiar one known as Éliphas Je-wouj .

Information about this djab is rare and I will not be able to provide a more accurate description of its characteristics. However, we can imagine that he is a great sorcerer. Either way, the skills or knowledge shown by that spirit are not the most interesting part of its existence. The most interesting part is the clear heritage derived from the famous French kabbalist.

From France to Haiti, Éliphas Lévi traveled to become the malicious spirit known as the red-eyed Éliphas . A very curious version of Éliphas, perhaps even partially inspired by his Baphomet. In this Éliphas Lévi with scarlet eyes like blood we have a powerful testimony of the immortality of the French occultist and of the liveliness of Haitian Vodou .

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