New Orleans Voodoo Tarot: Kether - The Four Aces

Little Baron

I think that jumping about from 'major to minor' and 'number to number' is somewhat confusing me, so I am going to look at sticking to the minor arcana and tying it together by number. Also by Tree of Life vessel.

All four aces in the NOVT relate to Kether - vessel #1.

This shows each suit at it's purest.

Three of the four, show a serpent. A serpent in it's deepest state of contemplation, which is apparently perfect for the aces. It appears to be concentration that is not interrupted and is completely unadulterated.

Petro. Damballah La Flambeau. From the 'Hutchinsons' dictionary, the meaning of 'flambeau' is 'burning torch', which is obviously a good definition for the suit of fire. In Vodoo, Damballah is the eldest and chief of the Loas, a primordial serpent deity who created the world and the Gods. He, along with his wife Ayida, is sometimes likened to the Kundalini serpent of Hindu mysticism. Damballah has many aspects, including his Petro manifestation, Damballah la Flambeau (Damballah torch). In this card, he is bright red and burns, showing that he is all fire. In the book, we are told he begins to meld with the attributes of a dragon.
I see his energy as one of extreme strength. Fire, in it's strongest, can burn down forests and destroy others. Maybe the reason that Ayida is symbolised by the suit of water (Congo) explains that only his wife has the ability to calm and tame him when he gets a little too hot around the collar.

Bringing us onto Ayida, we see what appears to be someone whom is possessed by her. Someone that is in the 'inbetween' stages, since the image is of half serpent and half human. It is only when you look at the card for a little longer than you might when slipping through and see how the snake has moulded with the human, that it actually becomes quite an uncomfortable picture to view. In the book, positively, it is described as an 'ecstatic union'.

She is the rainbow serpent. Her creative element is water. We are told that the influence is that of the Great Mother - creating freely through the subtle pressure of the Waters. In traditional tarot, we might look at this element as 'emotion'. Here, I feel it has more to do with creation. Sharing and blending. Water may point to pleasure, happiness and nurturing of some kind. I think that maybe she tempers Damballah to some extent, when he is at his harshest.

These are just feelings that I get.

In air, we have 'Damballah Wedo'. Now, I am a little confused by the names here, so this is where it would be great if someone more experienced would step in.

Is Damballa Wedo different to Damballah la Flambeau? Is this the same serpent but with different aspects/elements? What does Wedo mean? He certainly looks the same.
This serpent hangs in balance, we are told. There is no tendancy to move, even though we are told there is potential for action. This card seems less pure and extreme than the other two mentioned already. If the serpent is so still though, I can see there being a clarity or pureness to the mind (a stilling of the mind) in the form of an ace and Kether, if we are indeed, relating it to traditional air-aces in tarot. It appears that his state will not be prolonged. He will need to jump into action at some point. Possibly provoked by this card.

And then we have the 'odd man out'. The one card that is not a serpent, but what seems to be an eye - Oludumare.
An eye that cries, forms and protects an egg-like growth on the bottom section of the card.
Oludumare is the creator of the religion of Santeria. So we are reminded, once more, that all four aces create. Here, though, we are reminded of the physical creating of earth. The three streams are tears. And what is being created is Obatala. He is is patron of peace and purity and can be seen in the fourth card of the Santeria suit (one of my faves, I might add).
We are told that sorrow plays a part of this card. It is apparently about embracing one's sadness. All aspects of the material are held here in this card - both extreme wealth and poverty.

This post is just a start. But I would like to discuss these four 'aces' in more depth because I can not completely get my head around them. They do not feel as 'pure' as they are intended to.


Little Baron

The Aces



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Little Baron

Ayida Wedo

"I am the emblem of heaven, the bright Rainbow that follows the storm and reconciles the quarrelling elements. I encircle and embrace this precious Earth that is so fragile and so beautiful.

From my view, all the living lands and the peopled oceans are as the voices of an infinite chorus, that together sing this hallowed hymn of Life. All the plants, from the great baobab to the aspen forest sprung from one root to the plankton delicate as snowflakes; all the quick and dancing animals, from the serpent and the snowbird to the graceful and improbable whale; all you humans in your subtle infinity of shades, from straw-haired children pink as baby mice to the indigo-black nomads of the desert, from almond-eyed dancers with skin like polished sandalwood to jaguar-mouthed weavers the color of an old penny whose hair falls in sheets like black water—All wondrous. All beautiful. All holy.

Look for me on a day of broken rain-clouds and shifting sunlight. When the sun is halfway between zenith and horizon, turn your back to him and seek me. I am more common than you might think. Look at me, and remember how things are from my view far above the blue and uncountried Earth"



Damhallah aspects


Wedo does seem to be the earthly aspect, as flambeau is the firey aspect.

Just from your descriptions and a flash impression from the card images, I thought of the elements combined with the spiritual energy of the 'rising serpent'--- with my impressions of energy and 'kundalini energy rising' through the chakras from yoga and other blends of learning.

It's a nice metaphor for aces and elements and the spiritual energy of the person using the deck. The snippets you typed up and included are very lovely--thanks for doing so much discussion and work with this deck.

I hope that assists those reading.

Best regards,


Little Baron

Thanks Cerulean

I feel that the 'aces' are (or should be) very 'clean'. Interrupted. Pure. Almost like the white light of Kether. Shining down the tree, before any involvement with the other sephiroth. They are not touched. They are the first thought, touch, movement or feeling. They are like the impulse or first command before action. To think. To breath. To move your finger. The emotion before the first tear is shed. They are the 'urge'; the urge to create, build, burn.



The Tree of Life has always confused the heck out of me. I don't see what it has to do with tarot, much less a Voodoo tarot, other than that Sally Glassman converted from Judaism to Voodoo. Learning a Voodoo tarot with two belief systems of which she says "Santeria is not Voodoo and Voodoo is not Santeria. The lwa of Voodoo and the orishas of Santeria are not interchangeable" is enough of a challenge without throwing in the Tree of Life. That's just my opinion, though. :) I was going to study the cards and ignore the Tree of Life :p , but maybe by the time we get through here, the Tree of Life won't be such a mystery to me since we're throwing that in, too.

It's no wonder so many people try to get into this deck and then give up, is it?

Well, onward and upward, as they say. :D

Little Baron

Hi Lyric

I know what you mean. In all aspects.

I also, when I got the deck, was not interested in or could not understand how, the Kabbalah connected to Voodoo and Santeria.

But in reading the book, the comments on the sephiroth and number, in realtion to card actually seemed to give me a helping hand, rather than being an extra hinderance. So I continued to keep the Kabbalah in mind with this deck, even if I cannot, for the [tree of] life of me understand how it fits in with these religions :)

For me, this deck feels like 78 Majors. They are all so 'trump-like'. So I kind of feel that the numbers kind of group sections of the deck together for reasons and I think I need that. I needed to section these aces, because otherwise, they all spill out into each other and I begin to lose any structure. That is just a personal preference. I like a little bit of structure in my decks. I also thought it might be a nice framework to work under. If the Kabbalah means nothing to you, then by all means, dismiss it. But I shall hold onto it for a little longer in my posts and see if it does actuallu assist our study. Yes? I have other text on Kaballah here, so they might help, in their purity, to get a grip on how the different numbers, and therefore cards, differ from each other.



**Is Damballa Wedo different to Damballah la Flambeau? Is this the same serpent but with different aspects/elements? What does Wedo mean? He certainly looks the same.**

Damballa Wedo (or Damballah and his wife Aiya Wedo) holds the earth in his coils. Occasionally he shifts around a bit, and that's what makes earthquakes. You will sometimes see the reflection of his scales. It is what we call a rainbow.

Powerful, beautiful, remote, this wonderful Lwa never speaks, but his blessings are powerful. Seen by many as a correspondent to the Orixa Oxala, this is a very powerful and remote Lwa.

Found at this url:

In researching, I find that there is some conflicting information, or so it seems. But I liked this passage from the website I found, so I'm posting it, even though this attributes the "rainbow serpent" to Damballah himself instead of Ayida Wedo.

Damballah, when he is in possession of someone, doesn't actually speak, but rather hisses and whistles because speaking is difficult for him. That's another tidbit I found in researching.

Even though Damballah is very remote, it seems that his wife, Ayida Wedo, is not and is more inclined to bring pleasure and happiness.

The Damballah Wedo and Damballa Flambeau are confusing to me, too. If it were different aspects of Damballah himself, then you wouldn't think his wife would be thrown in there.



In looking at the Aces depicting Damballah, I noticed that in the Rada card, which is the more loving of the nations (I think they're called), there are eggs coming down to the ground from a calm, peaceful Damballah.

However, in the Petro card, Damballah is showing his fangs and is frowning , so I get the impression from that and the flames and the fact that the Petro are the darker side that he's upset or angry about something, and on the verge of unleashing some very powerful negative energy, possibly to destroy one of his creations. Reminds me of the joke Bill Cosby always made about how his father used to say "I brought you into this world, and I'll take you out!" :p


**Wedo does seem to be the earthly aspect, as flambeau is the firey aspect.**

I get really frustrated sometimes because this is one of my "dumb spots". It sounds like the "earth of water, fire of air" kind of stuff that I absolutely do not get. I can't assimilate that and turn it into readings.

For me, this deck just sings to me when I keep it to the personalities involved and the parts they play and their interactions with each other and with humanity, insofar as I've learned them at this point. That's why I also don't get the Tree of Life and how it works with tarot. I'm going to try to participate in the studies if I can, but I'm not sure how much I'll be able to add that's going to be intelligible, if you know what I mean. It will probably consist of what I posted about Damballah being "calm" and being "angry" in those two cards.

I'll certainly do my best and add what I can, though, so go ahead and keep doing what you're doing here. I'll follow as best I can and add whatever I can. I know the other stuff seems to be coherent to other people and to enrich their studies. I don't want to be a drag on you all like an anchor.

I'm not complaining, I'm just letting you all know that I may not be the brightest bulb in the box in this study. :p