Novena for the All Soul’s Day octave

All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are important days in Haitian vodou–in Haiti, this is the beginning of fet Gede, the series of ceremonies for the Gede family of spirits. In our temple in Haiti, it is a two-day celebration. In the surrounding town and in much of Haiti, it is several weeks of processions and parades.

A novena is a 9 day prayer cycle utilized in Catholicism as devotion to particular saints or causes. Novenas are very important in vodou to gain attention and favor from a spirits, and I decided I wanted do a novena for the dead because of how much Gede has done for me–Gede loves me A LOT and is very responsible for me getting to Haiti and getting into the djevo. There are pre-written novenas for the octave/All Soul’s Day plus eight days, but I didn’t like any of them, so I wrote my own. The prayers used are prayers commonly used in vodou, and there are pieces I wrote specifically (so please don’t strip my attribution). I tweak a few traditional things for my own preferences.

Our Father

Hail Mary x3

Glory Be

Oh My Jesus

Zo li mache (specific song/prayer that talks about the bones walking)

Wisdom of Solomon 3: 1-9


We all die. Our deaths begin as the first gasp of breath in our newly born lungs.

We all die. When our feet first touch the ground in uncertain steps, the earth calls to our bones; foretelling the day we return to dust.

We all die. The shroud is tied tightly, our bones are dry and thirsty, but we still live yet.

We all die.

Day 1: Prayers for the newly dead*

Day 2: Prayers for the unnamed dead

Day 3: Prayers for the forgotten dead

Day 4: Prayers for the martyred dead–victims of colonialism (Native and Indigenous groups who lost life and land at the hands of colonialists)

Day 5: Prayers for the martyred dead–victims of police and state-sanctioned violence–people of color murdered by police and militarized law enforcement

Day 6: Prayers for the martyred dead–victims of hate crimes associated with gender or sexuality (LGBTQ+ victims of violent crime)

Day 7: Prayers for ancestral dead

Day 8: Prayers for lineage dead

Day 9: Prayers to the Bawons and Gede for care of the dead anba dlo and for personal concerns and gratitude (I suggest praying to the divinities who govern the dead in your own tradition–don’t open a can of worms for yourself without longer term planning and thinking.

Eternal rest grant unto them, oh lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of the divine rise in power.


*Pray as you feel led, and speak specific names if you have them or so desire.


~ by Alex on November 2, 2016.

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