A Hogon is a spiritual leader in a Dogon village.
The life of a hogon
A hogon is a religious figure as well as a temporal authority; the hogon may be hereditary or may be chosen from among the village elders—custom varies from place to place. The hogon is always a man. After being chosen, a hogon must pass through several months without washing or shaving. After initiation, he wears a red cap, and a pearl bracelet. Hogon live alone and should be celibate, but a village girl may act as a maid. Nobody should touch the hogon.
The Hogon is central to a wide range of fertility and marriage rituals, which are closely related to Dogon origin myths.
The Hogon may conduct rituals in the Sanctuaire de Binou, a special building whose door is blocked with rocks.
According to legend, the first hogon, Lebe, was descended from a nommo. He was eaten by another nommo, and their spirits merged; the nommo vomited out a new Lebe (part human and part spiritual), plus copious liquid which shaped the landscape.
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