Gànhúmehàn is a 98 chapters, 2061 verse work representing one of the most adored sections of the Hwlεngãn; the Hwlεngãn itself being the most sacred and holy book of Vodún. In fact, this sacred text is considered the most valuable in relation to the larger sacred work. The word Gànhúmehàn connotes being in glorious triump by living through spiritual empowerment. It is the spiritual and inner triumph that should precede the outer. This section, found in the Hwlεngãn, contains chants and prayers of triumph, restoration and maintaining divine order within self and in the world. Gànhúmehàn extols the virtues of living in spirit. We find in it the teachings which instruct us to "hoard only that which represents righteousness" as it is said in chapter 34.
Gànhúmehàn deals with the source of life and how we truly relate to it often without truly overstanding that relationship. It deals with pleasure and plain, the spiritual and mundane, heaven and earth and all of their variegated integrations. Gànhúmehàn is composed of many sacred verses that would later inspire some of the composers of the sacred Kpólí Fá (called Odù Ifá in amongst Yorùbá), sacred proverbs, direct spiritual and wisdom teachings, divine laws, sacred words of power to attract the good and remove the bad, chants to center one's self in spirit and much more. The most ancient of these sacred teachings contained herein date back to over 3920 years ago.
This sacred work addresses the age-old questions: What is life? What is the afterlife? What are they in relation to one another?
Gànhúmehàn deals with the various integrations of life cycles. Gànhúmehàn is the heartbeat of the sacred teachings of Vodún. This sacred work centers on the inner realms of the spirit. Encompassing the deep meanings of spiritual unity, the Gànhúmehàn points directly to the Divine Unity which pervades all of nature and is identical to one's inner self. It should also be noted that the teachings found herein date to a more balanced and uplifting time found within Vodún societies. These are teachings that precede the eventually degeneracy and fall within Vodún societies by several thousand years.
A verse of Gànhúmehàn states:
Nǔ jimakplon no gɛde nú gbɛtɔ́ sisi e ma nɔ xwedò kpojííde nǔkplɔ́nmɛ do we mɛdídá lɛ́ɛ tɔn ǎ, bó ma e nɔ bemá dó hwɛhutɔ́ so do lɛ́ɛ kaka gbɛ́ do towe ǎ, bó kplon mi ma nɔ jìnjɔ́n xa ayǐ xà sà mɛ ye e nɔ ɖɔ fifa slǎmɛ dagbedagbe Hùn ako wú do we te hennu lɛ́ɛ ji ǎ é.
"It is when the human being (gbɛtɔ́) comes into this true knowledge of things does the Owner of the spirit-house come to inhabit her/him. The divine spirits of the deities (hùn) overarch one's soul when rooted in the truth of the divine".
Why no english translations?
The Gànhúmehàn is written completely in the Fon language of Southern Benin Republic (using Latin script). More precisely, language used in Gànhúmehàn is called Hùngbè. This is literally the language of the deities. This is a mixture of several Gbè languages, Fon being the largest group of them, containing many archaic sayings and styles of expression. However, the primary point is that in our contribution to the restoration and preservation of the dignity of West Afrikan Vodún, we are literally forcing the readers' minds into an Afrikan framework by not providing direct translations. When one is forced into a true Afrikan frame of mind then one is pushed that much closer to the sacred. No we do not want to nor will we make it easy thus setting up a culture of complacent dependency. However, at the beginning of each chapter, we have provided a succinct description of what is being said in the verses. Written by His Majesty Axosu Agelogbagan Agbovi.
5.5 x 8.5 334 pages
* Cover design by the author His Royal Majesty the Axosu - Agelogbagan Agbovi I
Posted by Tabtha Fishe on 10th Jul 2015
I say respectfully that it is almost like the author is teasing us. The truth is that we have been Americanized and many of us,even with god intentions, will not end up actually learning the language. I commend him for putting our languages in the forefront but I humbly suggest the author reconsider the "all African language approach and create a version with translations. At the same time I respect the author who himself is an American like myself and who has taken the painstaking time to learn the language and even write in it. But please...English also please. Thanks
Posted by Gerolynn Assissi on 4th Jul 2015
I have been following the author the Axosu a while and I think I finally get it. He is doing unprecedented work in trying to develop an attainable Vodun "liturgy". I am quite impressed with this work and the direction of his work in general. I definitely plan on using this book very soon when I set up my space.
I would like to add that the cover work for this book is unmatched on any level but especially in relation to Black authors and this particular genre.
Posted by Unknown on 2nd Jul 2015
I find find this volume comforting in that I never thought I could have a book of Vodoun prayers that were authentic and that I could actually use in my lifetime. I was initiated in Vodoun in 2001 and have scrambled for knowledge every since. I truly love my elders but for some reason I cannot get this kind of knowledge from them. And I do understand the language barrier with them speaking Fon and French and I speak English. What I see this author is doing is addressing this great void. I also find the Fon in this book to be impeccable. Thank you SO much.
Posted by Kosi on 6th May 2015
The fact that this book was written by a non-Fon native from the States in such a way is incredible. I say this because the author uses all of the proper tonation marks throughout the book! This is an amazing feat. I will say the author is not making it easy for us on the translation level as he included no English translations accept for brief synopsis' of what the chapters are about at the beginning of each chapter. This was only a plus in my eyes.
There are certain prayers I have used that truly resonate strongly and have obvious strong ashe. But the fact that the author Axosu is not native to thr Fon and wrote this completely in Fon is amazing. Hands down nobody is doing with this author is doing in and for African spirituality and Vodun for sure.