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Category: Rank in West African Vodoun
  1. I noticed that Mama Zogbe has the title of “chief”. I have seen others who also go by this title. Some seem to just make it up to enhance their image. Just exactly what does this means in terms of Vodoun ranking?
  2. Is there such a title or person as "chef supreme of the Vodoun?"





  1. I noticed that Mama Zogbe has the title of “chief”. I have seen others who also go by this title. Some seem to just make it up to enhance their image. Just exactly what does this means in terms of Vodoun ranking?

    You are correct. There are some who identify themselves as “chief”. We can only reply how this title is used in West African Vodoun. Often, women who use this title, it generally refers to a title of honor i.e., meaning that she is either married to a male chief or that she has been bestowed this title in an honorary manner.  

    If she is married to a Hounon priest, she must be able to tell you what Vodou spirit her husband is the cheif of. If she has been bestowed this title, alhtough it holds no sacredtoal power, she must be able to tell you of what honor i.e., village, chief wives,community works etc.,.


    When the title is bestowed to a Hounon priestess or priest in West African Vodoun, it means that the person is actually an initiated chief of a particular Vodou spirit. In West African Vodoun if a person goes by this title, they should be able to tell you what deity they are the “chief” of.   In the case of Mama Zogbe, she is an initiated chief of Jihossou (the father of Heviosso/Shango), and of Ejogbe (pronounced "jum-bey").  In West African Vodoun it is considered a serious offense to “self” appoint oneself with this title.

    Although not comprehensive, you can visit our website to learn more about rank in West African Vodoun.


    (above) Mama Zogbe
    Initiated Chief of Jihossou and Ejogbe,  which is why she must wear the chapeau (hat), as oppose to the traditional head wrap.

    In West African Vodoun it is considered a serious and dangerous offense to “self” appoint oneself with the title of “chief”.
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  2. Is there such a title or person as "chef supreme of the Vodoun?"

    The Vodoun spiritual system is an ancient sacerdotal system composed of many pantheons and ethnicities who span the entire West African region. By definition alone, it is not possible to appoint a "chef supreme" of "all of the Vodoun." However, amongst the Fon in Benin, they claim a “pope or chief supreme of the Vodoun”. However, this political title is acknowledged amongst many of the Fon people, but this authority does not extend to the Ewe or other more ancient Vodoun groups, including in the Diaspora who do not have Fon ancestry, or were not initiated in Quidah or Abomey etc., where this title is recognized.

    Although the Fon are proud (and should be) of their royal heritage, it must always be kept in mind that there are literally hundreds of royal lineages within the Vodoun clan family system that are not Fon or even of Benin.

    It is also important to keep in mind that the Ewe are the major ethnic group and the Fon are a subgroup or cousin of the Ewe. Additionally, the Vodoun has been practiced amongst the Ewe hundreds (if not thousands) of years before there ever was a Dahomey or Benin.

    It is further important to note that the Fon descendants who would later establish the Dahomean empire, first originated in Adja-Tado around the 13th century. Adja is the ancient name of the Ewe/Mina groups, and Tado, located in south-eastern Togo along the Mono River, is where the Fon first originated , before fleeing to establish Dahomey and later Benin.

    A further less known or published fact, is that the Adangme, were the original indigenous inhabitants of what later became “Dahomey.” They already had a long established running royal Vodoun dynasty long before the Fon ever arrived and, intermarried and overthrew them. Additionally, the Awoamefia, political chieftainship of the Ewe, is still located in south-eastern Togo, of which the Ewe recognize.

    In summary, the idea of a “Chef Supreme of ALL the Vodoun” as proclaimed by the Fon, is widely accepted by the Ewe and others as having more political and economic incentives, rather than a historical basis. This belief is widely established in the West, and is also blindly accepted by those who have not done the research. In truth, the Ewe as other Vodoun clans do not travel to Benin to worship or honor any chef supreme. In fact, many often do not even know the name of its latest “chef.”

    You can read more here, for more information on the history of Vodoun in Benin and its popular myths.


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