Ancienne Ounfo is a private Vodou society
that exists within the home of New Orleans
Voodoo Manbo Sallie Ann Glassman. It's main
purpose is to serve the Lwa of Vodou traditions
and the New Orleans community. The Society
has hosted ceremonies every week for 25 years.
Manbo Sallie Ann Glassman
has practiced Vodou since 1977. She was ordained/intitiated
as a Manbo (Priestess) in 1995 in Port-Au-Prince,
Haiti by Oungan Edgar Jean Louis and continues
his lineage in the United States. Shortly
after her initiation, Manbo Sallie Ann founded
La Source Ancienne Ounfo in New Orleans, and
her house has served the Lwas under her guidance
since that time.
La Source Ancienne Ounfo
rituals are held weekly, and special celebrations
and ceremonies are held throughout the year.
Weekly meetings once held in the home of Manbo
Sallie Ann are now hosted in a newly-dedicated
Temple; but some public ceremonies are still
sometimes held near the Island of Salvation
Botanica in the Bywater district of New Orleans.
A ritual ceremony consists
of rhythmic drumming which corresponds to
a particular Lwa, or spirit. Prayers are sung
in Haitian Kreyol, and sacred symbols (veves)
are drawn inviting the presence of the Lwas.
Blood sacrifices are performed in Haiti, but
are not practiced by Manbo Sallie Ann and
her Ounfo. Instead the Manbo offers other
sacrifices, such as the Lwa's favorite foods
or drinks, offerings symbolic of the Lwa's
association with the human condition (iron
for Ogou La Flambo, cotton for Manman Brigit)
, or candles and representations of the Lwas
themselves. During the ceremony the Manbo
will call upon a specific Lwa who will sometimes
possess a member of the congregation to impart
wisdom and blessings. While the Lwa "mounts"
the person, others can ask advice about problems
and receive blessings from the Lwa. Joyous
dancing usually concludes a ritual.
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Manbo Sallie Ann
"I wish to encourage
each member of the house to come together
in order to respond to the world with awe
and appreciation. There will be no tolerance
for personal power struggles or bids for attention.
I cannot repeat often enough that these ceremonies
are offerings for the Lwa and not FOR any
one person in the Ounfo.
Most Americans are
so concerned with whether they are getting
enough out of a relationship or out of any
experience that they fail to notice how much
they have to give or how rich they actually
are. In giving to the Lwa, we are able to
get past ourselves, our petty egos, and find
that we stand for much more than ourselves.
We are able to call the Gods, who respond
by coming down among us. What more do we need?"
Manbo Sallie Ann Glassman
lectures on Vodou at universities and conferences.
In New Orleans, La Source Ancienne Ounfo performs
annual public ceremonies such as the recent
St. John’s Eve headwashing ceremony
in honor of New Orleans Voodoo Queen Marie
Laveau which is held on Bayou St. John not
far from where Laveau herself conducted rituals;
the public Hurricane Prevention Ceremony,
and celebrations of Dia de los Muertos (The
Day of the Dead) are other popular yearly
rituals celebrated by Manbo Sallie Ann and
La Source Ancienne Ounfo.