Iconography: Baron Samedi
We've talked a lot about different icons in different mythologies and religions, but I thought that this very spooky month of October would be a great time to talk about a Haitian Vodou Icon Baron Samedi - and no I am not talking about the dark rum of the same name!
Baron Samedi is Loa of the dead in Haitian Vodou mythologies, Loa being a particular form of spirit in Vodou and Voodoo that act as intermediaries between God (known as Bondye or Bon Dieu) and humanity. Unlike saints and angels, they are not just prayed to but are also served as Gods themselves.
Usually depicted with a skull-lined top hat and tails, with a Haitian build that is dressed to be prepared for traditional burial, Baron Samedi is often seen as either a black man that has his face painted as a skull, or as a more traditional skeleton. Besides his absolutely rocking look though, Baron Samedi is known for his debauchery, obscenity, and appetite for disruption. He is known to love tobacco and rum, which are regularly used as alter items in servitude of him and has the ability to save people from death and for resurrection.
Seen at crossroads between the worlds of the dead and the living, the Baron can also make deals with humans who want his power at their disposal, and he will embark on a dark journey with them to initiate the process to make sure that the person is worthy of his abilities. Mostly that includes a lot of debauchery, sex, rum, and drugs.
Baron Samedi has been depicted in many forms of popular culture, including appearing in American Horror Story: Coven, American Gods, The Princess and the Frog and even as the notable king of Baron Samedi dark rum. A perfect tribute to a perfectly spooky voodoo king!