In Memory of Mark Moellendorf AKA Abouja Bo Houngan

R.I.P. Mark Moellendorf aka Aboudja Bo Houngan
The only kind of love that hurts is the one that is left unexpressed, unsaid, unlived. This week a dear friend died, Mark Moellendorf also known as Aboudja Bo Houngan Asodwe kidi Rakonte DaGuinea La Menf’o. I wish I would have had more time with him, but life is not always as we want or wished for. So we are left holding on to the hope there will be a tomorrow to share which in this case is not a possibility. The only tomorrow we have now is the intersections that may or not open between the world of the spirits and the living.

I first met Mark in Austin, Texas 18 years ago. We met through Karelina Hartwell (ibae baye n’tonu, my sister in Osha also known as Osha Lobi). I got along with Mark right away; he was a fascinating character, vibrant, unique and had a wicked sense of humor. However, what most impressed me then, and it still does to the day he died, was his deep love for the Lwa.

There are many stories I could tell from Mark and his interaction with spirits and Lwa, but I will tell two that stand out from all. It was a cool evening in the Hill Country in Texas where we gathered at Dripping Springs for CMA, a camping festival held around Samhain. Mark had arranged to have a Servi Lwa in public and we were busy about helping him and Karelina to set up. It was fun, colorful and so very well organized. Towards the middle of it, Mark got mounted and he was gone in a flash. His body was taken by what believe was Lwa Ti-jean Petro. The impressive thing that I remember is that during possession he approached a bonfire and pulled a piece of red hot wood and started to chew up on it as it was candy. I could not believe my eyes; I could see the pieces of ember being chewed up and no blisters, no burns, not even the sound of flesh being charred away as it should have been. This Lwa was relishing every bit of it. Then he stuck his arms on the fire and pulled them out like two torches, I had to contain myself as my instinct was to run for the hills and get a fire extinguisher to put him out. But of course that was my logical mind speaking. I did none of that, I just watched mesmerized and learned about the mysteries of the Lwa and their power over our bodies.

Mark also consumed a great deal of rum spiced with very hot peppers…I was wondering how drunk he would be after that trance, but to my surprise he was fully coherent after it and was chatting away enthusiastically with me as he prepared a mean pot of gumbo over a coal fire. I distracted him with a silly joke and he touched a hot coal by accident and stepped back screaming some choice words and laughing at the same time. Yes, this was the same guy who had not even a half hour before chewed up on hot coals and who drank like a fish all that hot spicy rum. He was now holding a rag over his fingers and checking out his burn.

There was a time where I considered taking Mark as my godparent and initiating in Voodoo, but the Orisha was my true calling and he knew this better than anyone from the start. So my devotions to the Lwa were limited to attendance to some festivities, most of them held by Mark and Karelina. One of them stands out in my mind because it had a funny moment to it.

We had gathered at Karelina’s place in Austin and were celebrating a fete for Dambalah. The set up was really nice and he had just finished doing the veves on the floor when the police showed up, no doubt ‘invited’ by the neighbors who saw all those ‘strange’ people dressed in white and decided we were up to no good.

The police officer was Hispanic and walked in sort of unceremoniously onto ritual space. Upon realizing that he was standing over the veve Dambalah, he jumped back one step with a horrified expression on his face, the color had drained from his tanned face and he was making the sign of the cross over and over. Poor guy, he thought he was going to be cursed or die or something horrid.

Mark assured him that no harm had been done and he would be just fine. However, the neighbors where not going to have the same luck because Mark was very pissed. When the cops left for good, Mark diligently set up to do a little working to let’s say “reward” the nosy neighbors.

Over the years that followed, life took us on different directions. I got initiated in Osha, he got deeper into Voodoo and he was happy about it. We stayed in touch but never really had the opportunity to share again like we did back in the days where we both lived in Texas. Karelina who was a nexus between us passed away and we were both again joined, this time in grief.

Loosing friends is never easy. However, knowing they have gone to live with the ancestors and that they somehow watch over us from the other side makes matters a bit more tolerable.

Wherever you are old friend, I hope you are happier. Wherever you are, devoted priest, I hope you are blessed. You will always find a place at my home, particularly now that you can visit at will, no airplane fares, no bus routes, just drop in and enjoy the candles and water at will.

My love is with you always Mark.

Oní Yemayá Achagbá

23 Replies to “In Memory of Mark Moellendorf AKA Abouja Bo Houngan”

  1. Thank you for such a beautiful homage. I was friends with Mark & Karelina back when we were all still Wiccan! He was such an influence on so many and I can’t believe he’s gone on, I feel so cheated, we all do.

    1. Hello Eve

      It is amazing how life goes by so very quick…and how death parts us in the physical from those who we love.

      There is never enough time, this is why we must love when these moments are still call today.


  2. Eve,

    What can I say, time is hungry termite…eats away at all of us equally. I only wish I could have had a chance to say goodbye.


  3. Aboudja was a good friend to so many people I can’t even begin to imagine the luz and progresso he is receiving. I am honored to have know him as I did, and saddened by what the world has lost. It is rare to meet people like him – fierce, brave, sarcastic, humorous, wise, filled with knowledge, and steeped in love that was hidden under that ever present layer of sass and grump. We could all learn something from his, and he will not be forgotten. Woukoukou Houngan.

      1. I will add to this…And anytime you visit, try to keep the gross out to a minimum Boudjie, aight? I mean really, will i really need to know THAT. 😉

  4. Thank you for this. I am still quite shocked and saddened that after so long of an absence in my physical life, (though I carried him in my heart), he was taken away so quickly.

    Mark, you literally saved my life. You are one of the most amazing people I have ever known, and I feel incredibly blessed to have had you in my life growing up. And even more blessed to have been able to see your sweet face and feel your embrace just a couple of months ago. I can still see your smile if I close my eyes.

  5. Mark, you will always be a part of m e. A life saver for sure and mentor unmatched! For just one more moment with you… Mark was a Great teacher for me and I don’t know where to turn now…. You will be eternally missed yet never forgotten. I Love You! Acerguy1983@gmail to anyone willing to help takeover where we were forced to leave off.

  6. What a great account of that CMA event! Thank you so much for this page and continuing Abouja’s memory. He was my friend and brother, and I was honored to have him as such. The House of Five loves you, Mark. We hold you in our hearts.

    1. Muse

      Thanks for the note. As you can see I have approved the link on my page, not something that I do often, but I do believe people who read the blog are smart enough to realize what goes on.


  7. R.I.P. Aboudja Mark A. Moellendorf he had been a friend and a parent to me during a very rough period in my life I have not gotten back to him because of travel but I recieved this news it was hard to believe I remember my days with him today

  8. Aboudja was really a loving human being. We first met in May 2011 at a voodoo ceremony at our father’s house Freddy Senat. I at that time been a new voodoo priestess, he made me feel so at ease as we were saluting the loas together. We kept in contact via phone or email. He would always refer to me as “solange Cherie”. I had not spoken to him for a prolonged period of time and I decided to call him. He always returns my call if not right away at the very least in a day or two. Since he was not returning my calls, I started emailing him to no avail. The day he passed away, without knowing of it, I was compelled to go visit my spiritual father whom I had not spoken to for a long time. The first phrase that he uttered was Aboudja has passed away this morning. I could not believe it. Due to the demands of life, we did not communicate often enough. However, when we did, it lasted hours. I did not know that I was going to loose my brother so early in life. He believed in and loved the loas. I often asked him how does he do it. “French or Creole not been your primary language. I speak French and Creole and it is not easy to learn those liturgies and songs.” He would laugh. I still keep his phone number programmed on my phone. Thank you for such a beautiful homage. I am honored to have known Aboudja and the world has suffered a great lost.

  9. Everything is very open with a very clear clarification of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your website is very useful. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Although I only know Mark for a couple of years he charged my life! I miss him greatly he was one of those great men that you can never forget.

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