There is a mistress of the cemetery, a bride dressed in white lace, she knows of love and loss, and her name is Maman Brigitte. In the religions of New Orleans Voodoo and Haitian Vodou Maman Brigitte ( also called Gran Brigitte) is the Lwa, or Goddess, of the dead. She is represented by the first woman buried in each graveyard. To leave offerings for her seek out this oldest grave and commune with the ancient wisdom you can find there. She is known by some to be the wife of the Baron Samedi, most famous for his top hat and beguiling smile.
Traditional offerings for her include:
and more ….
Ancestors offerings and recipes are some of the simplest and most sacred ways to honor and connect with those who have passed. Maman Brigitte is not only seen as a Bride and Wife, but as a Mother and protector of her children. She brings justice and strength to those who have lost all hope. The ancestors spirits, known in Voodoo and Vodou as Les Baron and Les Gede, teach us what is important to hold on to and what is important to leave behind us.
Even the color of beets evokes the honored Dead, a deep royal purple that for centuries was used as a dye. I find it ironic that beets are also used as a natural detox remedy, which in a way teach us what is important to let go of physically. Beets were said to have been offered to the God of the Sun, Apollo, in the sacred temple at Delphi. They were also prized in ancient Rome for their healing properties. This delicious recipe combines many of Maman Brigitte’s favorite things, and would be a great addition to any Dumb Supper ancestor feast.
Beet Salad Recipe
4 medium beets
½ red onion, sliced
13 Black olives
1 orange ( I like to use cara cara, a red seedless variety)
1 tbs. Olive oil
1 tbs. Balsamic vinegar
¼ cup goat cheese crumbles
Boil beets for one hour. Then peel and slice thinly. Let the beets cool completely. Slice orange into cubes, remove seeds if necessary. Place beets and red onion into a bowl. Add orange, black olives, olive oil and vinegar. Mix together thoroughly. Lastly add goat cheese crumbles. Refrigerate for one hour or more. Enjoy heartily. Serves 3-4.
For those seeking more delicious ancestor recipes please check out my African-American Ritual Cookbook. Many thanks to the dudes at the Farmers’ Market in Union Square who were totally jazzed up that the beets would be used for the Ancestors! Many blessings to you my dedicated and hungry readers and to your Ancestors!