New Orleans Voodoo Tarot - Congo, Hougan

Little Baron

New Orleans Voodoo Tarot - Congo, Houngan

The first detail of this card that I notice, is the colouring. Here, it is so fresh as the pale blue energy engulfs the figure playing his drum. Against it, his body is dark and looks solid. I can not see his eyes, for his forehead appears so bulbous that they are set back amongst the shadows of his face. As he drums, it seems as though he pulls water from the ground within. But of course, the water (or emotion) may as well be coming from either him or the drum, as it is played, spilling out to those all around.

A Houngan (pronounced ‘hoon-jan‘) is a chief-spirit, or in the case of the tarot, the king. A king, who is symbolised by 'the drum' in the Voodoo deck, is attributed to fire. But the suit of the Congo is ruled by the element of water. This makes this fellow the 'King of the Congo', ruling over the realm of water and emotions. Fire is persistent but water is stronger, which makes me feel that it softens this little chap. As a king, a man far up the hierarchy of the court, the element of water gives him a more gentle edge and sensitivity than the other kings. It gives him understanding and makes him a good councillor for problems or emotional issues. Unlike the younger members of the court, he can assist with his own emotional history and experience. This card might indicate a passive person or someone that is imaginative. It may indicate feminine traits in a man.

Any other ideas?



The houngan plays his drum against a water-blue sky. Water flows from his hands as he drums and onto the ground. The water partially covers the base of another, smaller drum off to the right of the card. This does not seem to weaken the houngan at all; he is intent upon his actions and seems to take pleasure in the effects of his drumming. The water doesn’t flow around the houngan’s feet, but rather on either side of him  Moses analogy  spiritual power that can part water?

Lots of flowing movement in this card. The controlled flow of water from the houngan’s hands (except for slight trickle near the front of the drum)  controlled emotions, but not quite  human imperfection. There is a sense of calm and order to this card.