Voodoo is a popular religious practice in Western Africa and Haiti which dates back to thousands of years. It historically originated from the western African and has spread into the diaspora of Africa such as the southern parts of the United States during the slave trade era. It is a spiritual practice that is hugely misunderstood as it is attributed to spooky practices such as witchcraft and dolls. Voodoo religion conduct ceremonies that are associated with magic conjuring with spiritual rituals and casting spells most performed in the middle of the night. Associated with the dark, and mysterious religion where animal sacrifice, spell casting and using the dolls to hurt others are its standard practice. The list identifies and explains ten things about Voodoo that you probably did not know.
There is No Black or White Magic in Voodoo
Voodoo is hugely associated with witchcraft. Generally, many cultures across the world associate white magic with goodness, for instance, healing people and healing sort of magic. On the other hand, black magic is believed to be darker things, evil spells that hurt people, among others. However, in Voodoo, there is no difference between white and black magic. The occurrence of evil spirits, bribed and manifesting in evil persons to commit evil, they term it red magic instead.
The color of the evil spirit is red according to voodoo beliefs as it explains that when a practitioner invites or allow a harmful Loa to possess them, their eyes turned red, depicting the presence of evil. Excellent and benevolent spirit turn evil because of the wishes that are imposed on the spirit, which is an outright contradiction to the teachings of Voodoo, which revolve around deeds of good and charity. The power to stop the red magic from striking is vested in male practitioners known as ‘a Doctor’ and the female practitioner ‘a Queen.’
Voodoo is Accepted by the Catholic Church
Different study reveals the fact that the existence of parallels between Christianity and Voodoo is strong to the extent that there is no animosity between them, and in some places, Christianity and Voodoo coexist peacefully. In a strict Christian setting, it is expected that a baptized Christian should not take part in traditional rituals, rites, and ceremonies like those conducted by Voodoo, which involves sacrifices and backward practices. It is strange to note that many Christians from the church are practicing voodoo rituals and ceremonies without expecting any repercussions from their respective churches.
In some places, for instance, it is said that Christian priests and voodoo priests are working in collaboration to for prosperity and peace in Africa, which is like promoting Voodoo in the world! The Catholic church for one accepted Voodoo through Pope John Paul II who has demonstrated how the Catholic church holds voodoo practitioners in high esteem by acknowledging its fundamental goodness, beliefs, teachings, inherent practices among others. In 1993, for instance, Pope John Paul II attended a voodoo ceremony cementing the catholic church acceptance of Voodoo as a religion.
Snakes in Voodoo
The culture and practitioners of Voodoo involve people dancing with snakes during ceremonies and spiritual rituals which have no relationship with shock. The snakes are at the heart of essential voodoo mythos. The adoration and extreme involvement of snakes in the lives of voodoo practitioners are based on the fact that one of their gods Danballa, or Damballa who is considered the serpent god and titles as the oldest Voodoo pantheon. According to voodoo religion, Dumballa was believed to the one who created the world and probably all things in the world. One of the most bizarre attributes associated with the serpent god, Dumballa, created water from his skin shed and his coils represented the tars in the sky according to voodoo beliefs.
The serpent god affiliated to the rainbow, Avida Wedo, through marriage in eternal love which illuminates the balance and relationship between male and female in the society. As a god, Dumballa represents understanding, knowledge, mind, and wisdom, which are attributed to symbols such as the white color, bones, eggs, and ivory. He is considered and worshiped because Dumballa was the protector of the minority, weak, helplessness and children, handicapped and deformed people in the society, and is in charge of transporting the souls of the dead to the afterlife. According to the voodoo religion, the priests and priestesses are believed to be possessed with Dumballa spirit, and they are triggered to hiss instead of speaking.
Animal Sacrifice in Voodoo
Voodoo, as a religion was based on superstition and religious rituals. Animal sacrifice is an instrumental component and element in the Voodoo, especially in conducting religious ceremonies, rituals, rites but the animal sacrifices were not rooted in a morbid fascination with blood and death. The Voodoo practices involve communicating with mortals that entails using a significant amount of energy in maneuvering through their day to day activities. The animal sacrifices and offerings to the Loa practitioners believe and hold a faith that sacrifices and offering of animals enable to combine the life force of Loa with the life force of animals in rejuvenating the spiritual powers.
As part of the ceremony and ritual of animal sacrifice in Voodoo religion, the animal blood and meat are cooked and consumed together. There are particular spiritual attributes associated with the sacrifice; for example, chicken sacrifices are offered to Dumballa, a black pig sacrificed when going to war. The birds are the most common animals that are sacrificed during the Voodoo ceremonies and rituals; however, other animals encompass goats, sheep, dog, chicken, pigs, among others. The animal sacrifices were believed to be offered to gods for appeasement and prayer.
Healing in Voodoo
The many modern and contemporary society people hold that Voodoo is an evil dark religion because of the welding power that damage the body and the spirit. However, much of the Voodoo focuses on herbal-ism and healing. The voodoo practitioners say that the importance and reason for summoning the spirit during voodoo ritual are primarily to help in healing the injured and the sick in the society. The healing entails both physical and spiritual ideas; therefore, voodoo practitioners mend broken hearts, luck changing, and body healing. When it comes to healing and diagnosing in voodoo religion, its about the spirit responding and stating that they are not all-powerful, recommending modern treatment along with their rituals.
Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen
Marie Laveau is one outstanding name associated with Voodoo because she was considered the Queen of Voodoo and has become the surreal figure in this religion. The Queen was believed to born as the illegitimate daughter of Creole plantation owner and his half Native American, half African mistress, and even the self-evident things surrounding the longer than life figure in Voodoo is debatable. For instance, she was married at 25 years, and her husband mysteriously disappeared six months into their marriage.
The second common law marriage yielded 15 children. Marie Laveau II, one of her daughters, followed in her footsteps and she became voodoo priestess highlighting that her mother lived longer than any mortal person should. She was born and lived in New Orleans, her skills and talents such as gris-gris selling and hairdressing gave her access to influential people in the region. She was recognized for promoting Voodoo into the public eye through her public performance of voodoo rituals, rites, practices, and ceremonies in New Orleans city.
Practitioners Are Servants of the Spirits
The investigation in voodoo practitioners reveals that people practicing Voodoo are potent individuals with the powers and ability to order the spirits to fulfill their bidding. However, the voodoo practitioner’s belief the opposed of the findings above. The religion is based on the possession with the spirit; therefore, it is believed that voodoo practitioners are servants of the spirits with no power to order the spirits to do anything. The voodoo practitioners have a mandate to offer sacrifices and offerings and honor the spirits then ask for favors.
Voodoo religion priests and priestess undergo intensive and long-term training and mentorship before they are allowed to perform rituals for spiritual possession. It is believed that an individual body is made of two souls or spirits—the Ti Bon Ange and the Gros Bon Ange — and during the ritual, one of these spirits depart to create the space for Loa spirit to possess it, usually the Ti Bon Ange which needs protection when one is hosting a Loa. The remaining spirit is the one that is shared among all living people based on voodoo religious beliefs.
The dolls of Voodoo are complicated in many ways. For one, the dolls in the Voodoo do not depict or symbolize the person based on what usually happens to the person. The voodoo dolls as painted and interpreted in research reports, books, films, and oral history are depicted as objects of violence and bloodthirsty people seeking revenge. The dolls in voodoo religion are used for different reasons encompassing evil and cruel purposes such as soliciting revenge through casting spells and secondly used for healing purposes. The belief attached to the dolls representing a particular individual or familiar objects associated with the individual in question.
The dolls are made, and things added depending on the purposes the doll was supposed to serve for instance pins, and the target person is cursed with a host of misfortune, mystery, pain, and even death. On the other hand, voodoo dolls are also used for healing purposes by acting as a link of communication with spirits and ancestors, such dolls things such as perfume, flower petals, or money and other good things added on them. The Pleasant things added are meant to appeal to the spirit to consider the dolls wishes. Voodoo dolls can be used for different reasons, the wishes that are attached to the dolls determines whether the doll is for dark evil wishes or benevolent and good purposes.
The Voodoo Pantheon
The similarity between Christianity and Voodoo religion is also vested in the voodoo pantheon, which has three tiers. For one, at the peak of the Voodoo Pantheon is a single god that is ever-present yet distant. The other tiers encompass the Loa, which make up the other tier as the spirits that interact or create a connection between God and the mortals through regular interactions. The ancestors and deceased forms instrumental part of spirits in voodoo practices. The mortal people fill the third tier. Voodoo religion is fundamentally built around the relationship between the tiers; for instance, Papa Legba is the gatekeeper between divines and mortal realm, meaning all mortal contacts with Loa goes through Legba. In Catholic, St. Peter is considered the guardian of the home, therefore, similar to Legba.
Strong Parallels to Christianity
Based on research findings around the subject of Voodoo, it shows that there is no relationship or connection between Voodoo practices and Christianity. A religious tradition that is heavily associated with spiritual possession, ancestor worship, and potions have little or no association with Christianity. There are, however, strong parallel in Voodoo practiced in Haiti and Louisiana where Signiant Christianity traditions, culture, beliefs, and Christianity figures have been used in this flexible voodoo religion. The spirits are at the heart of Voodoo practices, and many characters have been attributed to Christian counterparts.
For example, Aida Wedo is a virginal figure of Mary, while the guardian gatekeeper, Legba; is the representation of St. Peter in Christianity. In Voodoo, the spirits that believers connect with known as Lao have been attributed to the Catholic saints that represent along with their families in the same locations. For example, in places like West Africa voodoo holds a belief that there is one supreme god reign for all things which is similar to Christian beliefs.