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Origins of Voodoo

http://www.africawithin.com/religion/origins_of_voodoo.htm



Voodoo is a derivative of the world's oldest known religions which have been around in Africa since the beginning of human civilization. Some conservative estimates these civilizations and religions to be over 10 000 years old. This then identify Voodoo as probably the best example of African syncretism in the Americas. Although its essential wisdom originated in different parts of Africa long before the Europeans started the slave trade, the structure of Voodoo, as we know it today, was born in Haiti during the European colonization of Hispaniola. Ironically, it was the enforced immigration of enslaved African from different ethnic groups that provided the circumstances for the development of Voodoo. European colonists thought that by desolating the ethnic groups, these could not come together as a community. However, in the misery of slavery, the transplanted Africans found in their faith a common thread.

They began to invoke not only their own Gods, but to practice rites other than their own. In this process, they commingled and modified rituals of various ethnic groups. The result of such fusion was that the different religious groups integrated their beliefs, thereby creating a new religion: Voodoo. The word "voodoo" comes from the West African word "vodun," meaning spirit. This Afro-Caribbean religion mixed practices from many African ethnics groups such as the Fon, the Nago, the Ibos, Dahomeans, Congos, Senegalese, Haussars, Caplaous, Mondungues, Mandinge, Angolese, Libyans, Ethiopians, and the Malgaches.

The Essence of Voodoo


Within the voodoo society, there are no accidents. Practitioners believe that nothing and no event has a life of its own. That is why "vous deux", you two, you too. The universe is all one. Each thing affects something else. Scientists know that. Nature knows it. Many spiritualists agree that we are not separate, we all serve as parts of One. So, in essence, what you do unto another, you do unto you, because you ARE the other. Voo doo. View you. We are mirrors of each others souls. God is manifest through the spirits of ancestors who can bring good or harm and must be honored in ceremonies. There is a sacred cycle between the living and the dead. Believers ask for their misery to end. Rituals include prayers, drumming, dancing, singing and animal sacrifice.

The serpent figures heavily in the Voodoo faith. The word Voodoo has been translated as "the snake under whose auspices gather all who share the faith". The high priest and/or priestess of the faith (often called Papa or Maman) are the vehicles for the expression of the serpent's power. The supreme deity is Bon Dieu. There are hundreds of spirits called Loa who control nature, health, wealth and happiness of mortals. The Loa form a pantheon of deities that include Damballah, Ezili, Ogu, Agwe, Legba and others. During Voodoo ceremonies these Loa can possess the bodies of the ceremony participants. Loa appear by "possessing" the faithful, who in turn become the Loa, relaying advice, warnings and desires. Voodoo is an animist faith. That is, objects and natural phenomena are believed to possess holy significance, to possess a soul. Thus the Loa Agwe is the divine presence behind the hurricane.

Music and dance are key elements to Voodoo ceremonies. Ceremonies were often termed by whites "Night Dancing" or "Voodoo Dancing". This dancing is not simply a prelude to sexual frenzy, as it has often been portrayed. The dance is an expression of spirituality, of connection with divinity and the spirit world.

Voodoo is a practical religion, playing an important role in the family and the community. One's ancestors, for instance, are believed to be a part of the world of the spirits, of the Loas, and this is one way that Voodoo serves to root its participants in their own history and tradition. Another practical aspect of Voodoo ceremonies is that participants often come before the priest or priestess to seek advice, spiritual guidance, or help with their problems. The priest or priestess then, through divine aid, offer help such as healing through the use of herbs or medicines (using knowledge that has been passed down within the religion itself), or healing through faith itself as is common in other religions. Voodoo teaches a respect for the natural world.

Unfortunately, the public's perception of voodoo rites and rituals seems often to point to the evil or malicious side of things. There are healing spells, nature spells, love spells, purification spells, joyous celebration spells. Spirits may be invoked to bring harmony and peace, birth and rebirth, increased abundance of luck, material happiness, renewed health. The fact is, for those who believe it, voodoo is powerful. It is also empowering to the person who practices it.

Voodoo and its fight to survive.

Despite Voodoo's noble status as one of the worlds oldest religions, it has been typically characterized as barbaric, primitive, sexually licentious practice based on superstition and spectacle. Much of this image however, is due to a concerted effort by Europeans, who have a massive fear of anything African, to suppress and distort a legitimate and unique religion that flourished among their enslaved Africans. When slavers brought these peoples across the ocean to the Americas, the African's brought their religion with them. However, since slavery included stripping the slaves of their language, culture, and heritage, this religion had to take some different forms. It had to be practiced in secret, since in some places it was punishable by death, and it had to adapt to the loss of their African languages. In order to survive, Voodoo also adopted many elements of Christianity. When the French who were the colonizers of Haiti, realized that the religion of the Africans was a threat to the colonial system, they prohibited all African religion practices and severely punished the practitioners of Voodoo with imprisonment, lashings and hangings. This religious struggle continued for three centuries, but none of the punishments could extinguished the faith of the Africans. This process of acculturation helped Voodoo to grow under harsh cultural conditions in many areas of the Americas.
Voodoo survives as a legitimate religion in a number of areas of the world, Brazil where it is called "Candomblé" and the English speaking Caribbean where it is called "Obeah". The Ewe people of southern Togo and southeastern Ghana -- two countries in West Africa -- are devout believers. In most of the United States however, white slavers were successful in stripping slaves of their Voodoo traditions and beliefs. Thus Voodoo is, for most African Americans, yet another part of their heritage that they can only try to re-discover.

The Power of Voodoo


The strength that the Africans in Haiti gained from their religion was so strong and powerful, that they were able to survive the cruel persecution of the French rulers against Voodoo. It was in the midst of this struggle that the revolution was conspired. The Voodoo priests consulted their oracle and learned how the political battle would have to be fought in order for them to be victorious. The revolution exploded in 1791 with a Petr"” ritual and continued until 1804 when the Haitians finally won independence. Today the system of Voodoo reflects its history. We can see the African ethnic mixture in the names of different rites and in the pantheon of Gods or Loas, which is composed of deities from all parts of Africa.
Egungun, Egungun ni t'aiye ati jo! Ancestos, Ancestors come to earth and dance! "I'm sick of the war and the civilization that created it. Let's look to our dreams, and the magical; to the creations of the so-called primitive peoples for new inspirations." - Jaques Vache and Andre Breton "Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone." -John Maynard "You know that in our country there were even matriarchal societies where women were the most important element. On the Bijagos islands they had queens. They were not queens because they were the daughters of kings. They had queens succeeding queens. The religious leaders were women too..." -- Amilcar Cabral, Return to the Source, 1973
Original Post

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What historically happened (suppression and resurgence of beliefs) is only proof that one reaaaally can't force a particular religion on a people. They will believe what they want and pay lip service to the dominant belief system.

Hmmm I wonder how much lip-service concept this applies to countries that have been forcibly converted to Islam...
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
Hmmm I wonder how much lip-service concept this applies to countries that have been forcibly converted to Islam...


African people who practice traditional spirituals systems know Islam is also the foreign invader religion of the Arabs.

As far as the Zoroastrians in Iraq(the original religion of the area)...You would have to ask them.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
Hmmm I wonder how much lip-service concept this applies to countries that have been forcibly converted to Islam...


African people who practice traditional spirituals systems know Islam is also the foreign invader religion of the Arabs.

As far as the Zoroastrians in Iraq(the original religion of the area)...You would have to ask them.


None of this determines the "Truth" of any belief system, however.
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
I swear, I must have ESP. This morning, checking out Oshun's post, I swear I thought about Shebakoby. I wondered how her "voodoo is evil" stuff would play in the Age of Oshun.

And sure enough, this very same day, Sheba rejoins the fray. That's amazing. This should be interesting...


I'm back like a bad case of herpes Wink Razz Big Grin

Voodoo isn't uniquely "evil"; it certainly isn't "more" evil than say, Hinduism or Atheism. The issue is not whether it is "evil" but whether it is true.
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
None of this determines the "Truth" of any belief system, however.


Dedicated to Truth
yet always mindful that

All faith is FALSE, all faith is TRUE
TRUTH is the shattered mirrors strewn
In myriad bits; while each BELIEVES
his LITTLE BIT the whole to own

(From: "The Kasidah of Haji Abu el-Yezdi"; as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton)

Unlike Christian zealots...I do not claim my ancestors have the ONLY way, just a way. A way that works for my culture and person. Each people developed a different way. God revealed hiself/herself to us all at different places and different times in different ways. Only prostelatizers like you say you actually know "the" way. And that yours is the ONLY way.

Religion is the deification of culture

-Dr. Ben

My ancestors ways work well for me. Yours work well for you. Only inollerant people want to FORCE their way, which is one of many, on other people.

It is only logical for us to discuss and post about African based religions on a forum with the word AFRICAN in the title.

Beware of those who don't want us to know of our people's traditions...
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
None of this determines the "Truth" of any belief system, however.


Dedicated to Truth
yet always mindful that

All faith is FALSE, all faith is TRUE
TRUTH is the shattered mirrors strewn
In myriad bits; while each BELIEVES
his LITTLE BIT the whole to own

(From: "The Kasidah of Haji Abu el-Yezdi"; as translated by Sir Richard F. Burton)

Unlike Christian zealots...I do not claim my ancestors have the ONLY way, just a way. A way that works for my culture and person. Each people developed a different way. God revealed hiself/herself to us all at different places and different times in different ways. Only prostelatizers like you say you actually know "the" way. And that yours is the ONLY way.

Religion is the deification of culture

-Dr. Ben

My ancestors ways work well for me. Yours work well for you. Only inollerant people want to FORCE their way, which is one of many, on other people.

It is only logical for us to discuss and post about African based religions on a forum with the word AFRICA in the title.


You won't know for sure that your ancestors "work for you" until the day you die.

I don't want to force anyone to believe anything. Hell, I can't. And it is not my duty to do so. I do however feel a duty to warn about the proverbial cliff you are headed towards. If you go over this proverbial cliff it is not my fault for pointing the cliff out.

Is there, or is there not, "Absolute" morality? Or is morality only subjective?
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
You won't know for sure that your ancestors "work for you" until the day you die.


I don't worship in the cult of death. My ancestors are working with me right now in life.

quote:
I don't want to force anyone to believe anything. Hell, I can't. And it is not my duty to do so. I do however feel a duty to warn about the proverbial cliff you are headed towards. If you go over this proverbial cliff it is not my fault for pointing the cliff out.


You have already jumped dear...

quote:
Is there, or is there not, "Absolute" morality? Or is morality only subjective?


Only arrogant men think they know what is absolute. The wise man knows, he knows nothing at all.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
You won't know for sure that your ancestors "work for you" until the day you die.


I don't worship in the cult of death. My ancestors are working with me right now in life.


The cult of death has got jack to do with this. If you do indeed wind up in Hades instead of whatever afterlife your ancestors told you about, then you would know that you weren't following the correct belief system. That is what I am saying.

quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
I don't want to force anyone to believe anything. Hell, I can't. And it is not my duty to do so. I do however feel a duty to warn about the proverbial cliff you are headed towards. If you go over this proverbial cliff it is not my fault for pointing the cliff out.


You have already jumped dear...


What "cliff" have I jumped off of, and what are the consequences? Roll Eyes

quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Is there, or is there not, "Absolute" morality? Or is morality only subjective?


Only arrogant men think they know what is absolute. The wise man knows, he knows nothing at all.


Then I guess you are saying that murder, rape, robbery, and slavery are ok...in certain instances? Confused Confused
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
(Biblical)Literalism is the first line of defense of a mind that wants to put itself to sleep.

Shebakoby,

I suggest you read this...

http://africanamerica.org/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=60260642&f=96970854&m=5051047402


lol. Dealt with in another thread. I am not a "fundy."


But you are a literalist, and the article deals with that part of you...I would like to see what you think of it.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
(Biblical)Literalism is the first line of defense of a mind that wants to put itself to sleep.

Shebakoby,

I suggest you read this...

http://africanamerica.org/eve/forums?a=tpc&s=60260642&f=96970854&m=5051047402


lol. Dealt with in another thread. I am not a "fundy."


But you are a literalist, and the article deals with that part of you...I would like to see what you think of it.


You clearly have no idea what you're talking about. You don't even know what fundamentalism actually means. I am a Lutheran, and the Lutheran Church is NOT fundamentalist in doctrine.

Fundamentalism actually means basing doctrine on certain fundamentals--regardless of whether or not the Bible teaches it.

Literalism is a misleading term. Certain parts of the Bible use obvious metaphoric and similic language (such as "the storehouses of snow" in Job), and common sense tells us how to read these things. However this does not detract from the truth of what is said. (e.g.: the use of the phrase "storehouses of snow" does not mean that snow does not exist, nor does it mean that there is no place where there is currently a lot of snow. Glaciers and high mountains bear out the truth of that.) The best explanation of my position on the Bible is "Plain Reading". Jesus saying the kingdom of heaven is LIKE a Mustard seed does not mean that the kingdom of heaven IS a mustard seed. However, the analogy he applies using the similie is accurate.

I do not believe that any part of the Bible is "myth". Parables are a special case, but Jesus clearly identifies his little stories as Parables.

And the phenomenon of Theomatic numbers tends to dismiss the idea that the Bible was written ONLY by men who were just cooking up a nice story to tell people. And the fact that it was the Pharisees, not the disciples, that first believed initially that Christ had risen from the dead tends to eliminate a manmade story. If it were a manmade story, the opposite would be portrayed because it would make more sense to anyone just writing a story.
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
I swear, I must have ESP. This morning, checking out Oshun's post, I swear I thought about Shebakoby. I wondered how her "voodoo is evil" stuff would play in the Age of Oshun.

And sure enough, this very same day, Sheba rejoins the fray. That's amazing. This should be interesting...


I'm back like a bad case of herpes Wink Razz Big Grin

Voodoo isn't uniquely "evil"; it certainly isn't "more" evil than say, Hinduism or Atheism. The issue is not whether it is "evil" but whether it is _true_.


Welcome back Skoby how's your health?
I always thought you were a "five point calvanist" you live and learn. At least some do. You know as much about Vodun as I do about Chinese,not much.Real African spirituality is taught mouth to ear.I'll give you one thing though you are an inexpugnable cuss. Some of you xtians are so boring. The "my way is right and everything else is demonic or a lie" thing is so tired to me. Those postings from the apologetics websites(yawn)they need to apologize.
I just wanted to say hello and wish you the best of health. I'll leave this thread to Kresge,VOX and OA they have the energy and expertise for this type of thing.I'm like Cindi Lauper (sic.)now. I just wanna have fun.


I am without the need to assert
I am without the need to confront
I am the essence my divinities
Can't you see what IFA has made me?
Myself as earth and sky.
quote:
Originally posted by Fagunwa:
quote:
Originally posted by shebakoby:
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:
I swear, I must have ESP. This morning, checking out Oshun's post, I swear I thought about Shebakoby. I wondered how her "voodoo is evil" stuff would play in the Age of Oshun.

And sure enough, this very same day, Sheba rejoins the fray. That's amazing. This should be interesting...


I'm back like a bad case of herpes Wink Razz Big Grin

Voodoo isn't uniquely "evil"; it certainly isn't "more" evil than say, Hinduism or Atheism. The issue is not whether it is "evil" but whether it is _true_.


Welcome back Skoby how's your health?
I always thought you were a "five point calvanist" you live and learn.


ROFLMAO. Calvinist???? OMGOMGOMG!!!1!!!!!111!!!!NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Health, getting better. Dropped 4 pounds on the Awareness "Slimfast".

quote:
Originally posted by Fagunwa:
At least some do. You know as much about Vodun as I do about Chinese,not much.Real African spirituality is taught mouth to ear.I'll give you one thing though you are an inexpugnable cuss. Some of you xtians are so boring. The "my way is right and everything else is demonic or a lie" thing is so tired to me. Those postings from the apologetics websites(yawn)they need to apologize.


IF I knew any more about it, would that tend to change my opinion of it? Prolly not, since I know enough about it to know that Jesus is not the Savior in Vodun and that's aaaaaaaall that matters.

quote:
Originally posted by Fagunwa:
I just wanted to say hello and wish you the best of health. I'll leave this thread to Kresge,VOX and OA they have the energy and expertise for this type of thing.I'm like Cindi Lauper (sic.)now. I just wanna have fun.




Cheers bud. Big Grin

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