Category: What is Voodoo?

@journaledge

Voodoo- The world’s most misunderstood religions.

In the centuries-old African American culture, we have often called the people practicing the magical traditions carried into the New World from their ancestors residing in the areas of West Africa as Voodoo, Vodou, Vudu or the Vodun. The exact origins of Voodoo are unknown, it is generally agreed that this religion has its roots in West Africa. Modern day Benin is regarded as the birth place of this religion, and the name ‘Voodoo’ itself means ‘spirit’ in the local Fon language. It has been suggested that Voodoo in West Africa evolved from the ancient traditions of ancestor worship and animism. The forms of Voodoo practiced today, however, are the results of one of the most inhuman episodes in modern history – the African slave trade that took place between the 16th and 19th centuries.   According to the Voodoo tradition, there is one supreme god, who is known by different names in different parts of the world. In Haiti, for example, he is called Bondye, which comes from the French bon dieu, meaning “good god.” Regardless of which name people use, the primary god is immensely powerful and beyond the reach ordinary followers. For this reason, Voodoo practitioners must rely on hundreds or thousands of other spirits to communicate with god. That is appropriate as Voodoo is a religion of spirits. Practitioners of Voodoo (who are called Voodooists) believe that the world of humans is shared by the world of the spirits. When a person dies, his spirit passed to the world of the unseen but is still able to see the human world, the visible world. Spirits, it is believed, in some cases can even impact the world of the living. Voodoo in popular culture, especially in the Western world. Zombie movies, of course, have distant roots in Haitian Voodoo. Novelty stores sell pin-filled dolls to target anyone from miscreant romantic partners to unreasonable bosses. Even World of Warcraft has its own brand of Voodoo, found in Zul’Gurub’s Hakkari witch doctors, jinxed hoodoo piles and punctured voodoo dolls. As seen in the modern world, many people have accepted Voodoo as a legal religion which has its own values and works for the betterment of the community. Many voodoo practitioners are seen as actually honoring the Judeo-Christian God, even if they are doing so with their African “pagan” dances, just as the people from other religions are said to worship God in their own unique ways. They also believe on their ancestors, so they are worshiped for their core values and wisdom. In the modern world, this religion has spread to most of the American countries which have learned a lot from its historical presence. Animal sacrifice has always played an important part in voodoo rituals, but the reason is not because of a morbid fascination with death or blood. The loa use energy in their communication with mortals, along with the general running of their day-to-day affairs. By sacrificing animals and offering them to the loa, practitioners believe they are combining the life force of the animal with the life force of the loa, rejuvenating the spirit.The meat and blood of the animal is often cooked and consumed as part of the ceremony. Some spirits have animals that are typically associated with them in sacrifice; chickens, for example, are often offered to Damballa.