The Rite of Saturn by Sor. H.P., 2002


Houngan, the Vodou priest. All white. Weapon: asson (gourd rattle)

Baron Samedi (Representative of Saturn) [his vevé]. Black top hat, black tailcoat and trousers, white shirt, purple brocade vest. String tie. Skull-handled cane. Mirror shades, cigar.

Erzulie (Mater Cœli) [her vevé]. Pink and pale blue.

Agoue (Brother Aquarius) [his vevé]. Blue and white.

Ogou Fer (Brother Capricornus) [his vevé]. Red scarves. Weapon: sword.

La Place, (the Choragogue)

Brother Capricornus Emissarius, (the scape-goat, literally)

Eight Probationers / Pallbearers.

SCENE. — The temple is decorated as the peristyle of a Vodou Hounfor, with the central axis pole (poitou mitan), and vevés of the Loa named above along with that of [Papa Legba].
The Baron begins the Rite offstage, in his coffin, with the Probationers ready.

The Rite of Saturn

Part I

The people are admitted. The Houngan begins by invoking Papa Legba, as follows:


Papa Legba ouvri bayé pou mwen, ago é! Atibon Legba ouvri bayé pou mwen, Ouvri bayé pou mwen papa, pou m pasé, Le'm retounen map remesi lwa yo.

English: Papa Legba open the gate for me, open! Atibon Legba open the gate for me, Open the gate for me papa, for me to pass, When I return, I will thank the lwa.

Legba nan bayé, Legba nan bayé, Legba nan bayé a, Se ou ki poté drapo, Se ou ki parey soley pou lwa yo.

English: Legba in the gate, Legba in the gate, Legba in the gate, It's you who carry the flag, It's you who shade the sun for the lwa.

Oh Legba, We knock three times, please open the door! Oh Legba, We knock six times, please open the door! Oh Legba, We knock nine times, please open the door! Our knuckles are sore! Your rum is poured!

He places Legba's representative coco by the gate.
He then walks among the vevés, striking them gently with the asson to invoke the rest of
the Loa in the Rite, as follows:

[To the West]

Agwé Immamou, yé yé, all the riches of the sea are his the sunken treasures Alert the angels in the water beneath the mirror Oh, he will see, he will see Alert the angels down in the water, oh he will see Dissolved in that mighty water sunken treasures inside he knows where they lie, Agwé, yé, deep inside — captain the ship of the soul, lead us to those hidden riches.

[To the South]

When I remember Ogou Fer I must be strong to call Ogou Ogou drinks but is never drunk he drinks rum with guinea peppers he drinks rum and speaks fire His tongue is a sharp sword, Ogou the righteous fire in his mouth, fire in his eyes, fire in both hands Ogou came to the dance, graceful as flame dancing, fire in his legs, fire in his loins, fire in both feet Ogou's light is a sword in the hand Ogou's word is a hymn of justice Ogou's rage is a knife-edge of rapture.

[To the East]

Proud Erzulie, beautiful Erzulie, holds up her glass, what does she see? Lovely light shining in all directions, her reflection, pure perfection. She knows, Maitresse Erzulie, she knows all about gris-gris; she gets up that old snake, she, she knows well the grand zombi. O yé yé, chère Mamzelle, comme elle est bonne, comme elle est belle! Erzulie in the morning, Erzulie in the evening Erzulie behind, Erzulie before Erzulie above, Erzulie below Erzulie outside, Erzulie inside Erzulie right here, right now!

The Houngan then attempts to invoke the Baron, as follows.

[To the North]

Pou li Baron, Cimitié, Lakwa, Samedi. Vini nan karfou, dansé, blagé, ki esans lan mo' Aksepté nou ofrans, antré nan nou ké, nan nou bra, nan nou jam' kap maché la ba, sou li kar kwan, Papa tou mo' ki abité nan Cimitié.

For the Baron, Cemetery, the Cross, Saturday. Come to the crossroads, dance, joke, you who are the essence of death. Accept our offerings, enter our hearts, our arms, our legs, you who walk down there, on the four corners, Father of all the dead who live in the cemetery.

You are the end and the beginning, you who have no end and no beginning, in whom time is determined and through whom time is terminated. Accept our offerings, enter here and dance with us!

A brief pause. Nothing happens.


That didn't work so well, did it. I know how to bring him.

[Music feel: "Since I Fell for You" or "Careless Love"]

Anger, suff'ring, fear, and misery all are hushed by the hand of Samedi, quiet as seeds in the ground, quiet as babes in the womb, quiet as the breath inside the tomb.

Everything, in its own time, must die to feed some other life, by and by; somewhere in that new life, the old life's stuff must change into something else, more rich and strange.

Salty water welling up in your eyes Death will come, as certain as the tides. No matter where you sail, no matter how far you may roam, every man must go to his long home.

There is only one thing on this earth, one that you can trust with all your worth, one who will be true, even to your last breath, only one thing, and his name is Death.


Well, that was no damn good at all. I'll do it.

War and justice. I rule them. I am them. Be ready, when you call me to act out your vengeance, to face the sword you called on, if your heart is dirty. I tell you now that death is the last word in justice; he comes to everybody, don't make no distinctions, and he and I are partners from time out of mem'ry, for when have war and death not gone all ways together? So wake up now, my brother! The people are waiting, it's time to start the party that can't start without you — by rum and by tobacco, by blood and by fire you got your invitation. I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. Come on and get it going. Let's kick it! Get with it!


You both got it wrong. Get out the way and let a lady show you how it's done.

[Music feel: "Milneburg Joys"]

The Baron, he is a handsome man, and he's all dressed in black, with a silver cane all in his hand, long tail coat down his back. The Baron is a gentleman, knows how to treat a lady right; he got a fine girl on each arm every Saturday night.

The Baron got a mighty charm no lady can resist; the taste of him is bittersweet, and Lord! how he can kiss! He stole night-stars from out the skies and wears them on his hand. One look into the Baron's eyes, and you will understand.

The Baron's touch is soft & cool but he got fire below. Ain't nothing 'bout inside of you he don't already know. The Baron don't love nothing half so well as a good time So come on, sexy Baron dear, the pleasure's always mine.

To the strains of a New Orleans funeral march,
the Pallbearers enter bearing the Baron's coffin.
As the Baron emerges from it, the music shifts into Second Line (such as Do Whatcha Wanna or Hey Pocky Way).

The Baron mingles and interacts with people during the Feast which follows.

Part II

The Quartier-maître brings out the feast, assisted by the Cuisinière.
The QM distributes the food, to the Loa first (embodied and not), then the people.

Music ad lib, should shift gradually into Dr. John's "Walk on Gilded Splinters",
over the chords and rhythm of which, the Baron delivers this rap:


Come kiss me. Feel my tongue like a cool snake slide past the cemetary gate of your lips, slip inside — the tip of it carries the key; kiss me. Don't hide your eyes from my grim disguise; you'll see, cheri, je suis le grand zombi, the crypts & graves all belong to me and that meat you wear's just your spirit's grave. I'm not here to slay, I'm here to save. So make your bones shake, wake up the snake, break out the grave and wave byebye.

Yeah, I want you. You know you want to. I make you free of all those barriers that haunt you. Get out of your head. Come play in my bed. The life you think you have ain't too far off from being dead. I got the bon temps. I got it goin on. And what I got I got to give so come and get some.

At this point, he reaches out and "kills" the Scape-Goat.
Two Probationers carry the Scape-Goat offstage where he makes himself over in skeletal whiteface for the bit that comes up later.
The Baron continues:

Don't be afraid of the shade; right here it's cool, and your fear is part of how the game is played, I made that game, I made the rules and if you know how, they're easy to evade. I'll unlock the chains of your mortal remains, your joys & pains are all inside your brains. I got the cure for all y'all's ills, you'll get your fill, so chill, but don't sit still Get up and bust that graveyard dust; the Baron declares in lust we trust. Little death or big's all the same to me but not until you die can you be truly free; so hold your breath and count to three, take my hand, jump into the abyss. I'll sign your release with just one kiss.

Musicians start playing "Gilded Splinters" for sure now.
The Baron leads everyone through the Danse Macabre (as in AC's original script).

This can turn into more generalized dancing and carnival festivities, or not, depending on the time, but ultimately the Baron either calls for attention or gets the band to get with him, or both, at which point he says:

Listen up now. I know you folks, all your hopes & fears, y'all are lookin for something, or you wouldn't be here. All your circles, your tools, your signs & emblems, thinkin magick'll solve all your problems, bring you money or love or power or enlightenment, 'stead it leaves you wond'rin where your friends all went. Well it ain't here, what you're looking for, when you get where it is, won't need it anymore. You got to leave it behind when you cross that line, your ego, your feelings, your meat, your mind, everything you used to keep yourself defined, even your Gros-Bon-Ange, coz he makes you blind, staring into a sun between you and the ultimate, but there's only One to be when you come up to it. When you get there, you can declare "There is no God where I am," which is everywhere, but by that time, you won't need to, coz the only one there to hear it will be you.

Having delivered himself of this speech, he lies back down in his coffin and closes it over himself.
The Scape-Goat bursts out and does a wild dance, sprinkling Florida water liberally everywhere, eventually flinging himself at the foot of the coffin.
The Houngan opens it to reveal that there's nobody inside.


There is no god in the shrine.

Erzulie collapses in tears — Agwé comforts her.


What is the hour?


It is Noon.


Let us depart. The work is accomplished.

As Probationers escort the people out,
the Officers respectfully brush out the vevés,
each thanking their Loa in their own words, out loud or not, as the mood strikes them.
The Houngan should help with grounding out as necessary.

[Editor's note: there appears to be at least a bit more, but the script I have is truncated at this point.]

In Oakland CA, it is
Fri, 19 Jul 2024 5:34 PM.
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