A to Z: Ogun

Published April 17, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

Right before I came in here to write this post, I was reading the book I’m currently in the middle of, and I came across a passage about Ogoun (as the author spells his name) and the serendipity was too great to ignore.  So, here’s a post about Ogun!

Image copyright Atlus, but provided by the MegaTen Wiki. Click for link.

I’ve got the text of two compendium entries for Ogun.  First, from the two Devil Survivor games:

A heroic warrior god of Voodoo.  Worship of him involves the use of rum, which he enjoys.

He has many aspects such as warrior, guardian, and victim, as well as governor of fire, politics, and of course, war.  His name comes from the Nigerian god of ironsmithing.

And, although it’s not very different, here’s his entry from Shin Megami Tensei IV/IV Apocalypse:

A heroic warrior god of Voodoo.  Worship of him involves the use of rum, which he enjoys.

He has many aspects, such as governing fire, politics, and of course, war.  His name comes from the Nigerian god of ironsmithing.

Before I say anything else, I have to make the stylistic comment that “such as” in those two sentences feels really, really amateurish.  (I realize I’m no one to talk on that subject, but I’m not a paid professional (outside of very specific circumstances), so it’s a bit different.)

Ogun will always have a special place in my heart (and probably the hearts of many others among the older MegaTen players), because he’s the first Persona acquired by fan-favorite character Mark.*  (Though in the crappy original translation (which I spent a while talking about yesterday) they changed Ogun’s name to Shaman.)   It was probably coincidental that it was Mark who was chosen to be changed into an African-American for that original PS1 translation.  (Actually, it almost certainly was due to the fact that he was the only one wearing a hat to hide his hair.)  The MegaTen Wiki provided a cool image from the manga adaptation of the original Persona, showing Mark summoning Ogun:

Image copyright whoever wrote the manga. And Atlus. And whoever published the manga.

In that manga panel — much more so than in any of the official game art — it’s easy to see similarities between Ogun’s face and some traditional African masks.  (No idea, off-hand, if any of those masks are from the right cultures, but…I’ll give them credit for effort, either way.)  Doesn’t look anything like the Nigerian statue of him pictured on the Wikipedia page, though.

And that seems a good place to switch to talking about the real Ogun, continuing with that passage I just read.  It’s from the book I’m reading for the social science challenge for Read Harder 2018, and since I plan on giving it a very long review when I finish it (EDIT:  should be this Sunday, as I just finished it the day before this post is scheduled to go up), I don’t want to go into too much detail about the book, or even what it’s called.  (I’d feel dishonest if I didn’t at least give credit here to the author, Wade Davis, but I won’t be specifying anything else until the review goes up.)  Anyway, here’s the passage, from a sequence discussing spirit possession:

Ogoun has the warrior’s passion for fire and steel, usually brandishes a machete, and often handles glowing embers.  And why is it that when Ogoun does pass the flames, the one possessed is not harmed?  It was upon these unanswered questions that my logic wavered.  There may, in fact, be a natural explanation for these extraordinary abilities, but if so it lies in regions of consciousness and mind/body interactions that Western psychiatry and medicine have scarcely begun to fathom.  In the absence of a scientific explanation, and in the face of our own certain ignorance, it seems foolish to disregard the opinions of those who know possession best.

In the glossary at the back of the book, Davis has this to say about who Ogoun is:

A vodoun loa, the spirit of fire, war, and the metallurgical elements; the blacksmith god.

In a later passage, discussing the history of the revolutions that turned the French colony of Saint Domingue into Haiti, he talks about a meeting of about 200 slaves representing the thousands across a large section of the colony.  The meeting was the launching of the revolution, and the decisive moment came when one of the women was possessed by Ogoun, who made it clear that it was time to fight.

In one of the earlier passages, he mentions that Ogoun’s colors are blue and red.  There’s no mention of rum in connection with Ogoun, though there’s been a fair chunk of rum elsewhere in the book.  The Wikipedia entry on him does confirm the rum thing, though.  (It isn’t entirely surprising that various details might have been omitted, as Davis’s book is not about loa or the specific beliefs about them, but about vodoun itself, in a very particular Haitian context.)

Regarding the pre-Vodoun Ogun, according to Wikipedia, he’s a Yoruban god who started out as an early mortal king.  (It’s more complicated than that, of course, but since the game’s only talking about the New World version, I figure that’s about all the detail we really need in this context.)  However, he’s not exclusively a god of metal-working, as the game suggests, but rather already represents all the same things he does in Vodoun.

There’s probably more I could/should say, but I think I’ll leave it here, to make up for yesterday’s stupidly long post.


*Always remember:  Mark danced crazy!

3 comments on “A to Z: Ogun

  • Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Google photo

    You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Vocaloid Tarot

    Vocaloid, UTAU and Tarot; individually or all-in-one

    Matthew Meyer

    the yokai guy

    Arwen's Butterflies and Things

    My BJD creation blog. Here's where my sewing creations and projects are showcased. Some outfits are for sale. Please use the tags & catagories to navigate this blog. I love comments and reviews!

    History From Below

    Musings on Daily Life in the Ancient and Early Medieval Mediterranean By Sarah E. Bond

    The Bloggess

    Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

    My Tiny Joy

    Where little things matter!

    Klein's Other Toys

    Comics, Funko Pops and Anime figures oh my!

    BINARYTHIS

    EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT GENDER BUT WERE TOO AFRAID TO ASK

    Creating Herstory

    Celebrating the women who create history

    Kicky Resin

    BJDs et al

    Lala Land

    (>°~°)><(°~°<)

    A'Cloth the World

    Where Textiles, Fashion, Culture, Communication and Art Come Together.

    starshiphedgehog

    Occasionally my brain spurts out ideas and this is where I put them

    The Social Historian

    Adventures in the world of history

    medievalbooks

    Erik Kwakkel blogging about medieval manuscripts

    Sara Letourneau

    Poet. Freelance editor and writing coach. SFF enthusiast.

    Zounds, Alack, and By My Troth

    A tragical-comical-historical-pastoral webcomic by Ben Sawyer

    Project Doll House

    never too old to play with dolls

    knotted things

    All about the things that I'm all about.

    Eclectic Alli

    A bit of this, a bit of that, the meandering thoughts of a dreamer.

    Omocha Crush

    Secret Confessions of a Toy Addict

    C.G.Coppola

    Fantasy & Science-Fiction romance Writer

    WordDreams...

    Jacqui Murray's

    Onomastics Outside the Box

    Names beyond the Top 100, from many nations and eras

    Hannah Reads Books

    "To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each and every one of us always give the devil his due." -Neil Gaiman

    Ariel Hudnall

    the writings, musings, and photography of a dream smith

    Taking a Walk Through History

    Walking back in time to discover the origins of every historical route on earth

    SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE

    ΕΥΔΟΞΑ ΑΓΝΩΣΤΑ ΚΑΤΑΓΕΛΑΣΤΑ

    Pullips and Junk

    We're all mad about Pullips here!

    mycupofteaminiatures

    Handmade miniatures

    Dutch Fashion Doll World

    A Dutch Barbie collector in Holland

    Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter

    Reviews and News From the Doll World

    It's a Britta Bottle!

    Small Stories of a Twenty-Something Adventuring Through Life

    DataTater

    It's all small stuff.

    The Photographicalist

    Preserving the photographical perspective

    The Daily Post

    The Art and Craft of Blogging

    We're All Mad Here!

    <---This Way | . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | That Way--->

    The WordPress.com Blog

    The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

    %d bloggers like this: