The rituals are held in a large room, the péristyle. The spirits "enter" the temple by descending on a pole, the poteau mitan, which is located in the centre of the péristyle.
Poteau mitan literally means the pole in the centre. Located in the middle of the péristyle, the pole symbolises the connection between heaven and earth. It is via the poteau mitan that the Iwa descend to participate in ceremonies. The poteau also symbolises contact with the ancestors in Africa. The dead ascend it to start their journey to Nan Ginen, the mythical motherland, where they meet their ancestors in Africa. For them, the poteau is the start of the journey home.
© Photo: Haupt & Binder
The belief in Iwa; vodou temples and altars. Flags, figures and other ritual objects and their use in the cult.