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Pepo Porojo

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:31 am
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Pepo - Spirit // Porojo - Chitchat

This pride is very old and secluded and has been around for many generations. They used to be extremely racist and the pride was only made up of lions,
but lately, with the most recent younger generation growing up, they've begun to adopt a different sort of mentality towards other felines and ways of life.
The pride's religion centers around Voodoo and the Loa (spirits). The pride also believes that when one dies, one becomes a Loa, but even
as a spirit...you can come back to the land of the living by means of possession.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:38 am
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Beliefs: The Pepo'porojo's religion and way of life centers around Voodoo and the Loa. The Loa are spirits. There are spirits that govern nature and its forces, and spirits that govern individual things, like a spirit that governs all trees, or all rocks (these are considered to be the children of Mawu--see below). The pride also believes that when one dies, one becomes a Loa. Once you're a Loa, you are able to come back to the land of the living by means of possession (through a member of the Poupe rank). There is a hierarchy within the Loa, as well. Despite pride members believing in the dead becoming Loa, they do believe in an afterlife--heaven and hell. Despite which place you end up, they still believe they can summon you back for a time, or that you can come back during specific festivals on your own.

Mawu: While the pride members have a bunch of individual Loa and spirits they believe in and worship, they do believe in a single divine creator. This one god is called Mawu. She is generally considered to be androgynous, but most refer to her as female when speaking of her. According to pride legend, Mawu created absolutely everything. She did, however, make certain higher-up spirits (demi-gods of sorts) who created specific things (volcanoes or rocks or trees, for example--these are the gods of SoA, although this pride doesn't really believe in gods), but they created things because of Mawu, because she created the higher-up spirits. Her followers honor her, but it is understood that Mawu sort of set the world up like a spinning top. She doesn't interfere much in their daily lives, but they believe that she watches from above.

Loa: "Loa" is the general term for all of the spirits. Since Mawu is distant, the Loa are sort of like go-betweens--they manage things on the earth as they please, acting as intermediaries. The Pepo'Porojo believes in a Loa hierarchy like this:
Mawu ---> Higher-up Loa (the gods of SoA; while it is understood that they won't possess the living, it is known that the higher-up Loa may disguise themselves and walk among mortals) ---> Rada, Petro, Kongo, and Nago Loa ---> Ghede Loa
While the term "Loa" is collective, each Loa is seen as an INDIVIDUAL. It's very similar to how Catholics see Saints. For the Loa, they all have likes and dislikes, and they each have their own unique personalities. Certain things must be done to gain their favor, and doing the wrong things for them could spell disaster.

Rada Loa: These are the "good" spirits. These are the kindest of Loa, possessing their Poupe very quietly and calmly. Many of them are older, as well. When a Mama dies, many believe she is adopted into the Rada Loa family. As the Rada Loa are the "guardians of morals and principals" and "normal affairs", many will pray at their hounfor (see farther down) or summon them about matters related to those. Sometimes, though, people will just pray at a Rada Loa hounfor if they're having a bad day and want to feel a little kindness.
Likes: Flowers, soft-colored things, living creatures, needy emotions...

Petro Loa: These are the darker Loa, possessing their Poupe violently and aggressively. They are more likely to attack the summoners and surrounding SoA, even murdering or maiming in some cases (this is not punishable, however, as the Poupe supposedly has no control over the Petro Loa's wishes). They aren't really evil, but compared to the Rada Loa, who are "cool", the Petro Loa are "hot". (OOC side note: these are the Loa who were Dr. Facilier's "friends on the other side" in The Princess and the Frog.) They are definitely not nice, and only the darker pride members, especially Caplata and Bokor, seek their company.
Likes: Being summoned at night, dark colored things, blood, dead things, many bones, hair of the dead, angry emotions, souls...

Kongo Loa: These Loa are most commonly associated with water, usually possessing serpent-like traits, or are spirits of serpents. This family of Loa is large and fierce, and great care must be taken when summoning a Loa from this family, lest you accidentally call forth the most evil heads of the family of Kongo Loa...who will most certainly kill you. These Loa are usually summoned for revenge or punishment on an individual (especially if your motives are envy or jealousy-related), so they are rarely summoned, as a meeting with them will usually result in death. They are not often prayed to, but there are some who prefer their company and pray to them often.
Likes: Water, dlo benit, cool colored things, animals that live in water (dead or living), water plants, snake venom, fish bones, female summoners...

Nago Loa: Strong, militant brutes, the Nago Loa are normally summoned for war-related reasons (for tactical guidance or strength), and are considered patrons of the Guards. The Guards pray to them the most often, but many other pride members pray to them, as well. They are strong and sometimes fatherly, offering strength to those who ask it (or who they deem worthy of it).
Likes: Claws and teeth (of any species), hair of guards (living or dead), bones of deceased militant-like SoA, corpses of defeated foes, strong summoners and Poupe...

Ghede Loa: This group of Loa are all the spirits of the deceased. They are the most dominant of Loa in number. While this group of Loa consists of the spirits of ALL the dead (ALL...the dead), the ones most commonly prayed to and called upon through summoning are the spirits of the pride's deceased ancestors. Ancient heads-of-pride may be summoned forth for help in making political decisions, while average deceased family members are called upon for matters that depend solely on the summoner's personal reasons.
Likes: Depends on the individual being summoned!

Bones: Bones are seen as sacred objects, especially those of deceased ancestors. They are believed to possess powers capable of curing ailments or easing the pain of wounds. They are good luck charms, wish-granters, or items that simply remind the individual carrying them of their ancestors. Being objects that the pride view in a sacred light, they are cleaned regularly and kept in the best possible condition. They don't clean them with just plain water--Medsen Fey are enlisted to make a leaf-water mixture (dlo benit; see below), and then one of the priestly SoA puts a blessing on said water mixture. That mixture is used to clean any sacred trinkets the pride members have, including other things besides bones. Usually each family has a large bark-shell bowl of this special water at their den site, which they use regularly to clean with until they run out. In that case, they take a trip to request more from a Medsen Fey, and the cycle repeats itself. Sacred decorations and bones are kept clean and shiny. No one wears any bloody or dirtied bones. There are no dirty, grimy pelts, or splotchy, blood-stained skulls. Everything is clean in this pride. The only thing that could potentially be seen as "dirty" is if a pride member put paint on any of their trinkets, even bones. That is allowed, and is not seen as being unclean, since paints are made by Medsen Fey and blessed by a priestly SoA before being applied to a sacred trinket. Bones are connections to those who have passed, and thus connections to the Loa, so they're special to the Pepo'Porojo.

"These sacred relics of our ancestors, both biological and through initiatory lineage, are highly valuable objects. Their ownership indicates respect and reverence for ancestral spirits, not affiliation with "black magic" or "evil". In fact, there is no "black magic" in Haitian Vodou or the associated magical traditions - that is a racist term imposed by outsiders. In our tradition, there is religion and there is magic. If a Mambo does magic that helps Anne get a job, and therefore prevents Anne's competitor Janet from getting that job, did the Mambo do good to Anne, or evil to Janet, or both? Magic in Vodou is best characterized as "effective" or "ineffective", not "black" or "white"."

Dlo benit: This is the sacred water used for cleaning trinkets and mixing and cleansing herbs. Medsen Fey are the only members who are able to make this mixture (with the help of their primate "friends" wink , and as said above, they provide all of the pride members with this water so that everyone can keep their bones and trinkets clean. It basically looks like water with some green, torn-up leaves and such mixed in.

Hounfor: These are shrines. Various-sized mounds of dirt covered in grass, rocks, logs or what have you, which have been dedicated to a specific family of Loa, or as a grave-site of one who has died (they are either buried there, or the mound has been erected in their memory). These are what the Shrinekeeps look after. They intimately know every deceased member, going so far as to meet with family members for several days at a time so that they can learn what the deceased member liked. Since Hounfor are also erected as shrines for specific Loa, they are visited often by every pride member depending on which family of Loa the pride member wishes to pray to. The Loa Hounfor are also what the priest/ess members visit with a Poupe in order to summon it. Offerings are given both to deceased ancestors and to Loa. If a specific Petro Loa, let's say, likes the blood of baby hares and the bones of a female ancestor, these items would be offered at the base of the shrine before a summoning ritual, or just as an offering to have the Loa hear the individual's prayer and hopefully answer it. Ordinary pride members must be careful in doing this, however, for if the wrong items are offered, or are offered in the wrong manner, it could spell disaster. It is always wise to confront a nearby Shrinekeep or priest/ess to get an idea of what to offer, and how, first.

Dead Places: This is the term for a place where a pride member has died and was not buried, but left to be a part of the Circle of Life. Some family members will choose to let this happen, while others may not have had a choice.When a family member wishes their deceased kin to be buried, their place of rest is in a Hounfor.

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Pepo Porojo

Pepo Porojo

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:39 am
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Ranks and Teaching: As noted in the ranks section, when cubs reach juvenile age, they usually decide what they want to do and are then taught in that specific rank. An example of the teaching process is this: let's say several juveniles decide they are interested in becoming Medsen Fey. Once they decide that, they notify their parents and the family meets with the Mama, who will more than likely approve of their choice. Then, every day, the juveniles as a group will meet with several experienced Medsen Fey in an area of their teachers' choosing. They may go different places depending on what they are being taught on any given day (perhaps one area contains one type of herb, another contains something else, etc.), but regardless of where they go, they are all taught as a group, with some one-on-one time thrown into the mix. This happens for every juvenile, regardless of what rank they choose--they pick their rank and are then taught collectively by older, more experienced members of that rank who are capable of teaching the next generation. To add to this, there's also the subject of newcomers--older felines who are newly joining the pride and must now choose a rank to dedicate themselves to. In cases such as these, they usually don't join the "classroom" of the juveniles, but are taught separately at later times by the various teachers of their rank. It is not unheard of for an older feline to be seen among the juvenile group, however, if the teachers have somehow deemed it necessary for that individual to sit with them. The youth (or older SoA) is taught in this way until adolescence or adulthood when they graduate and are declared full-fledged members of their rank. However, once they pick their rank as a juvenile, they are declared whatever they choose from that age onward--they're just not considered a full-fledged and capable member of their rank until they graduate. For an older SoA who has newly joined, it will take them several months before they are considered full-fledged in their rank, or less time if their teachers approve of their skill level earlier on.

Love: Love isn't a huge deal in this pride. If two SoA fall in love, then they decide to stay together and that's that. Most SoA in this pride are monogamous, but polygamy is not forbidden. What is frowned upon is mistreatment of the mother of resulting cubs, as well as of the cubs themselves. Something else frowned upon are very large age gaps, as the journey from Little One to full-fledged member of whatever rank is a coming-of-age time and taken very seriously. That's why adolescent breeding is looked at with quirked eyebrows, although it's not forbidden.

Flings: These are allowed, as well as adolescent breeding. Adolescents are discouraged from breeding, however, as they are considered to be too young, but it does happen and it’s not forbidden.

Prey: There is nothing this pride won't eat (well, except other regular SoA species). Most South African hooved animals are the most commonly hunted. If it exists in South Africa, the Gatherers may target it as a meal.

Names: Anything goes in this pride, but most original members have South African (Swahili, Zulu, etc.) and Haitian Creole names.

Familiars: This pride isn't too big on familiars, BUT there are some that they are very commonly be seen with. Snakes (because of the Kongo Loa), various types of primates like mandrills or baboons (Medsen Fey are seen with them the most, as they help them greatly with their tasks--if they can befriend them or entice them to help now and then), vultures (excellent for scavenging for carcasses and bones--Pèseptè love these), and some various types of birds (if one finds something useful it can do). Other than that, not really any other familiars are seen (or allowed) in this pride. (If your SoA is bonded to a familiar not listed and you wish to join without parting them, let me know and I'll see about making an exception or not.)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:41 am
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This pride lives a darker territory of Africa that seems to be more dry than wet during the rainy seasons (though there is a lot of fog and humidity at times). Many places in the pride have no grass at all--just large portions of cracked, gray earth. Things seems generally more dark and hazy, as there are a vast amount of trees (many dead and dying) interspersed throughout the territory. Basically, if you imagine a sort of dark Elephant Graveyard, minus all the skeletons, and add a lot more trees and some green, throw in some den site mounds and a ton of rock-mound Hounfor, picture various trinkets and bones hanging on some tree branches, voodoo-looking lions walking to and fro, and you're imagining this pride.

Very common animal sightings are giraffes, elephants, buffalo, elands, gazelles, impala, warthogs, wildebeest, and zebra. Most of them may appear to be quite creepy to an outsider within the pride's territory, since large clouds of fog are common and often blur these creatures from view.

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Pepo Porojo

Pepo Porojo

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:45 am
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Summoning: Loa can be summoned ("summon" is a strong word, but the easiest to use in this case. It's more like they go forth to humbly ask the Loa if it would grace them with its presence) by the Houngan, Mambo, Bokor, or Caplata, individually or collectively. A ritual is performed to summon a specific Loa, and once the group knows for certain the Loa is the one they have called upon, the specific actions and offerings preferred by that Loa are performed and given. Depending on the Loa they wish to call upon, the priest/ess will select the Poupe they believe is most suitable or most favored by that specific Loa. That Poupe is called forth and then stands in the center of the group of summoners, with the summoners encircling them (however many or few there may be--if it's just one, the Poupe simply stands in front of that individual). All of them encircle the Loa's Hounfor. The SoA give the offerings that specific Loa may like, such as a specific type of meat, bones, a yellow flower, a beaded necklace--whatever they are said to like--and once it has been offered before the Poupe at the base of the Hounfor, the summoner(s) begin praying, calling upon the Loa. Depending on the Loa, this ritual may be very tranquil, or it may be very violent, with the Poupe convulsing, falling to the ground, or even attacking (or in worst-case scenarios, killing) the summoners or surrounding pride members. It depends on the Loa (and the Poupe, for that matter...).
Medsen Fey play a small role in the summoning process, as they are the ones who provide certain special drinks (see below) that their familiar friends helped them to concoct. These drinks are said to help the individuals connect with the spirits, but not all choose to take these drinks. Many Poupe choose to drink them, as many of them get scared during the entire summoning process. These drinks help the summoning individuals to "see" the Loa, and get a better connection with the Other Side. (See post below for a list of ingredients and potions.)

Sacrificial Ceremony: While no SoA is ever killed for a ceremony, in some cases a priest/ess may kill a species of preybeast or small animal if they think it's what a certain Loa wants. In fact, some Loa will only "come out" if a specific animal is slaughtered for them. This pride are not murders, however, as said above--they just sacrifice small animals at times if that's what they believe the Loa wants. The Gatherers will herd the animal of choice towards a clearing of black earth, free of grass and obstructions. Once at the center, one or more priest/ess SoA will come forward and cleanly kill the animal, leaving it as unmarred as possible. Once the animal is dead, the priest/ess will say a quiet word of thanks to the creature, the spirits, and to Mawu, and will bless the deceased animal. At that point they may use either the whole carcass, parts of it, bones, hair, or whatever, to place on a Loa's Hounfor.

Dead Day: Similar to the Day of the Dead, this is the day that the dead can supposedly walk amongst the living without being summoned. During this day, deceased ancestors' spirits possess Poupe (usually relatives) quite spontaneously. They walk around the pride as normal and are truly believed to be the deceased possessing the living. Great feasts are held for this occasion, with all the pride wanting to feed their ancestors heartily before they depart once more. For those deceased ancestors who did not possess any of the current living, food is offered at their Hounfor, or in large heaps in random areas in the pride for ancestors to feed on as they wish. For those dead who possess their choice of Poupe, they eat at their leisure and enjoy the great company and gifts from others (the Poupe live the sweet life on this day).
For all the families, if their ancestors did or didn't visit, all members will visit their Hounfor or Dead Places. Once there, they will place the dead's favorite food or trinkets (whatever the individual liked in their lifetime) in a ceremonial sort of feast for the dead. After this has been done, the families will call upon them in prayer and request things like health, safety and the like, with a promise to keep serving the immortal spirits of the dead. By the time the sun rises, the spirits of the deceased return to the afterlife, and everyone sleeps the day away contentedly.

Marriage: If a couple (of any gender) decides they want to be together for life, then rather than just saying so, some of the more spiritual members decide to have a ceremony conducted by a Mambo or Houngan (Caplata and Bokor do not perform this ceremony). The couple pledges themselves to one another and there’s a big celebration following the ceremony. Marriage is not expected of anyone and not everyone decides to get married, though.

Funerals: While this isn't a festival, it is a type of ceremony that everyone has to go through at some point in life. As stated previously, when one dies, they are either left at their Dead Place or buried in new Hounfor. Depending on the family member's wishes, only family members or priest/ess members may attend the funeral, or it is open to the entire pride, in which case anyone may come and pay their respects. The priest/ess selected to bless the new Hounfor will say some words about the newly-deceased, then others may come forward and place their offerings on the Hounfor, as well as say their own words about the individual. The process of how the funeral goes exactly varies depending on the family.

Kase fey: This is the ceremony of the collection and breaking of the leaves. At certain bountiful times during the year, instead of individually going out to collect things for their trade, the Medsen Fey will move out in a group to collect many, many herbs together. They would most certainly bring some baboons or something along with them. Sometimes they will ask a priestly SoA to summon one of the herb and medicine-related Loa via a Poupe, and that Poupe would accompany them until the group returns home. It's a pretty happy ceremony that tends to involve a lot of teaching, even though that's not the point of the ceremony. When everyone returns home, they bless the herbs with sacred water, and each Medsen Fey returns to their dwelling place with a share of what has been collected. The Loa in the Poupe is withdrawn and the Poupe returns home, the baboons depart, and all of the Medsen Fey leave with a head full of new memories and maybe something new they learned.

Kuhitimu: This is graduation day. On this day, there is a celebration for all of the pride members who have successfully gone through the education and training process and have been declared full-fledged practitioners of their rank. Much food is gathered, and there is singing, story-telling, and games. Those graduating are treated as the guests of honor and decorated in jewelry and flowers. It is an all-day celebration.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:53 am
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Potions & Poisons: The Medsen Fey are the ones in charge of healing, remedies, love potions, other types of potions, spiritual drinks for priest/esses, making creepy things that Bokors and Caplata request, and poisons. Their poisons (made with the help of their mandrill and baboon "friends" wink , can make certain things happen to you--get sick, vomit, fever, hallucinate, etc...while there would be scientific reasons for the side effects, the pride has other beliefs about them. One poison might be believed to make snakes grow inside you, making you swell and suffer and writhe like a snake, when really you're just having an allergic reaction to the ingredients in the poison. Love potions are highly requested, especially amongst adolescent females, and while they are said to work (for a time), they're really only making the male light-headed and dazed, often making him more open to agreeing with whatever he hears.

So yes, your SoA can get high or be an addict and yes they can be affected by the natural alcohol content in fermented fruit juices. Just make sure whatever you RP is natural and within reason.

Ingredients: Mostly all of the ingredients are crushed into a fine powder to make them easier to ingest, mixed in water to drink, or mixed with water to make a paste to apply to the skin. Some herbs may be crushed and have their juices extracted and applied or drank. There is nothing tasty about these ingredients (except for fruit drinks), so the pride members just have to grit their teeth and bear it. It's for their own good, after all.

Dream Herbs: Usually not spoken of individually, these herbs are each known as "dream herbs." So if a Medesen Fey wanted to make something for you, instead of saying they would use Red Ubulawu, they would probably just say that they were going to use a Dream Herb.

Acacia xanthophloea (a type of tree bark)

Helinus integrifolius (a flowery herb)

Red Ubulawu (a type of tree bark)

Rhus pauciflorus (a root)

Chionanthus battiscombei (a type of tree bark)

These herbs, when prepared or mixed properly, can cause the user to have long, strange, vivid dreams, be able to "think differently", interpret their dreams better, speak with and see their ancestors more clearly, and also remember things better for longer periods of time. Once these herbs pass through the user's system, the effects wear off.

Devil's Claw - Harpagophytum procumbens: A cure-all of sorts, this root is crushed into a powder and given to the user to ingest as a cure for fever, blood diseases, blood purification, lower back pain and pain in pregnant women, coughs, diarrhea, diseases of the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, pancreas, digestive system (heartburn, peptic ulcers, constipation and lack of appetite) and small joints, as well as hypertension, high cholesterol and tuberculosis. Externally it helps heal ulcers, boils, skin lesions and wounds.

Umfusamvu - Pittosporum viridiflorum: A crushed root that is mixed with warm water and sipped. It is used as a pain-killer and sedative.

Greenheart - Warburgia ugandensis: A bark that, when dried and crushed into powder, helps to heal muscle pains, general body pains, stomach aches, and toothaches.

Umnwele - Sutherlandia frutescens: An herb that is used mostly as a sedative or painkiller. By either smelling its aroma or ingesting it, the user becomes relaxed and calm. This is the herb that is most popular to give to a Poupe before a Loa calling.

Buffalo thorn - Ziziphus mucronata: The leaves, roots, and bark of this tree are used for healing injuries, infections, and killing pain. Sometimes the bark is good for stomach aches. The fruits can be distilled to create a very pleasant sort of drink. Drinking too much of this liquid, however, has been known to cause the drinker to feel and act strange, see things, and have some difficulty walking normally...

Fruit drinks: Similar to what is stated just above, any common edible African fruit can be used to create various drinks. A curious thing happens when a Medsen Fey leaves fruit out to rot, and depending on how long its left out, it creates a juice that is either sweet or quite strong and bitter, albeit somehow pleasant. It is common for a Medsen Fey to mix particularly strong ingredients into a sweeter fruit drink in order to make it more bearable to the user.

Euca leaves - Eucalyptus globulus: A rare leaf, this ingredient is most commonly used as an anesthetic when turned into a paste and applied to the skin.

Sacred Blue Lily - Nymphaea caerulea: Usually only given out to the priests and priestesses upon special request, this rare ingredient can bring euphoria, tranquility, and a heightened awareness. It is used to help divine spiritual messages and better understand the will of the Loa.

Poison leaf - Dichapetalum cymosum: An herb used in a very deadly poison. The leaves are crushed and sometimes mixed with water to create a drink. Sometimes the juice of the leaves will be mixed in with a fruit drink, making the user unaware of their fat.e Depending on the quantity used, the poison may be near-fatal, or deadly. (Note: Special permission is required if you wish for your pride member to have a Medsen Fey either give them this herb or create a poison for them.)

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Pepo Porojo

Pepo Porojo

PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:55 am
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