“Gods always behave like the people who make them.”
-Zora Neale Hurston, Tell My Horse
The Bata’a were one of the largest Crafts in North America which made them a high-priority target for Technocratic pogroms during the Reckoning. At first, Bata’a were caught off guard, and a few died or families were fractured. The shock lead some to join the Council of Nine Mystic Traditions vanishing into the Verbena, the Sahajiya, the Chakravanti, the Kha’vadi and even the Order of Hermes. The rest of the Craft went to ground following Les Mysteres to paths to the old paths to sanctuary shedding their sacred vestments and meeting to honor les mysteres in secret. The revolution always begins in secret places, and it was the Bata’a who offered some of the first meeting places and safehouses for the Disparate Alliance, opening its remaining Houses, cloaked under the protection of the Invisibles.
Now the revolution is on, and the Bata’a fight the same way they always have, on the streets and among the Sleepers. Their’s is a religion of service and need, not just of the spirits but also of the people – they protect and serve their communities and cultures, but also all people. All humanity came from Gineh, the primordial Africa, and though the hearts of some have wandered far away, they are still of Gineh and of God, and that makes the Bata’a their protectors.
The Bata’a in Los Angeles
The Bata’a are arguably the largest magickal society in Los Angeles. Sprawling across Los Angles County, they operate a loose network of temples, botanicas, independent practitioners, and spirit houses all yoked together by a series of secret spirit paths they call Le Oubliette. These houses practice a variety of Afro-Indigenous faiths including Haitian Vodou, Espiritismo, Las Reglas de Congo, Louisiana-Style Voodoo, Lucumi, Santeria, and Obeah, and each House is an authority unto itself. The largest Bata’a circle in the city is the Temple of the Twin Serpents, a shared Vodou and Santeria temple located in Inglewood dedicated to the rainbow serpents Damballah and Ayida-Wedo, but also to the Orisha Obatala.
The Bata’a of Los Angeles concern themselves with the needs of their communities and the needs of their clients, who run the gamut of ethnicities, religions and social strata. Like any service, the practice of Magick uses up resources and sometimes involves great risks, meaning that it always has a price which must be paid. To those who understand that and are respectful and helpful, the Bata’a do their best to be sincere spiritual guides and protectors.
It was the Bata’a to whom the Les Mysteres revealed the Oubliette, and their generosity in sharing that secret allowed the Crafts of Los Angeles to survive the Pogrom. As such, the Bata’a have a place of status among the Alliance, and often act as its diplomats and fixers. Without the refuge of the Oubliette and its many safe paths through the Storm-ridden Umbra, the Pogrom in Los Angeles would have cut much deeper and been much bloodier. Because of their links to so many other groups and their ties to the spirits, the Bata’a of L.A. operate as the Alliance’s foremost intelligence service. The Craft sees far and wide from its many eyes, and the spirits bring tidings that only they can piece together and make use of for the benefit of the Alliance.
Like the Taftani and the Djinn, the Bata’a have ancient relationships with Les Mysteres. Bata’a gain a -1 on any rolls related to anything involving the Les Mysteres spirit-family.