The Head of Saint John the Baptist

Frater Vameri



Paiting by Jusepe de Ribera.


Saint John the Baptist, we all know, was beheaded. His head became the object of mysteries, conspiracies and many disputes. In this intricate network of connections the head of Saint John the Baptist passed through the imagination of the Knights Templar, of Freemasonry and finally ended up in Vodou .


There is a not vey well-known association between Saint John the Baptist and Ogou Balendjo. This Ogou is considered to be an extremely wise and ancient spirit and, because of his possible syncretism with St. John the Baptist, has a strong association with skulls - usually a domain of the Gedes. In fact, some consider Ogou Balendjo to be a counterpart to King Solomon, who would have erected the temple with the help of the architect Hiram Abiff, a central character in Masonic mythology. King Solomon is well remembered for his great wisdom but let us not forget that Solomon is also a great sorcerer, and there is still an esoteric tradition strongly influenced by this figure.


Katherine Smith reminds us that St. John was beheaded for revealing secrets - and she says that Ogans usually keep a skull in temples. Probably this skull that is considered as the head of Saint John the Baptist has a double function: to remind the priest of his oaths of secrecy to the rites and the Lwas ; and a less obvious one, which is to give some prophetic or vision advantage, since St. John, Ogou Balendjo, King Solomon were wise and knew many things.


Saint John is also the patron of Freemasonry and King Solomon is central to his narrative. Thus, Ogou is a Freemason par excellence, which makes all Vodou, of which Ogou is considered the king by many servants, a part of Freemasonry or a Freemasonry by all accounts.


The last link that we can explore briefly, also hitchhiking on Smith's findings, is that Ti Jan Petwo is another Lwa who is syncretized with St. John as a child. Ti Jan is considered a companion of Ogou San Jak and son of Ezili Dantor, which is understood by many as the Queen Mother of Freemasonry. It is curious to note that these three are related in at least two ways: Ezili Dantor and Ogou are the "patron" of Bwa Kayiman - the trigger of the Haitian revolution; the three can be related to the three degrees of the Masonic Symbolic Lodges - Apprentice, FellowCraft and Master - I would just say here that probably the last degree - of the Master - should be understood as associated with Ezili Dantó , remember, after all, that it is the woman who passes the lineage, the blood...

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