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Voodoo

Discussion in 'African Mythology' started by Green Gaia, Feb 21, 2005.

  1. aiouinfo

    aiouinfo New Member

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    nice sharing thank for
     
  2. atropine

    atropine Somewhere Out There

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    I'm sorry if this comes of as argumentative; I have been studying Vodou for about two years, and I see several problems with the original post in this thread... which seems to be a copy/paste of a at least two different websites. o_0

    From what I know...

    1. Voodoo is not Vodou. Vodou is not Vodun/Vodoun.
    2. The Ewe people are not exactly from Benin/Dahomey. The Ewe people are mostly from modern Ghana and Togo, with some people in the lower corner of southwest Benin. The Fon people are largely from Benin, with some from Nigeria.
    3. The Ewe people have a religion different from Vodun; they have a God and Goddess, named Mawu and Lisa. The secondary spirits they believe in are not the Lwa, but the trowo. The Fon beliefs, when crossing the seas and landing in Haiti, did add to Vodou but I'm not sure they were Vodun.
    4. The Fon people are the majority of those who practice Vodun. Their main deity is Nana Buluku, which differs from Vodou, where the supreme deity is named Bondye.
    5. Vodun is, to my knowledge, not in the DR, Puerto Rico, Cuba or Haiti. Vudu is what is found in the DR and PR. Cuba is home to Santeria. Haiti is Vodou. In Brazil, it is Candomblé Jeje. While they are similar and have similar roots, they are not the same.
    6. There are not that many people practicing Vodou in Benin, as per the recent consensus. It is more like one million people, with a few million in other areas like Togo and Ghana.
    7. La Regla Arara, to my knowledge, is not Vodou. It is yet another flavor, with a different name.
    8. From what I know, Bondye isn't really worshiped or served. It is the lwa who are served, and the lwa can act as go-betweens with humans and Bondye.
    9. Lwa are the ones who are the met tet, not "spirits". Maybe the writer meant lwa, but lwa and spirit isn't quite the same.
    10. There are people in Haiti, to my knowledge, that are solitary. Yes, community is HUGE and learning from other people is very important... but some people are isolated. You can serve the Lwa without being part of a house.
    11. The "young and virile Legba" is Elegba/Eshu, an Orisha from the Santeria faith.
    The majority of the article posted was great, but the first part is just... It doesn't seem at all accurate. And maybe I am off, as I am still studying, but some things don't vibe right with what I do know of the history and practices.



    Vodou is not Santeria, also. Santeria is something different, and both Vodou and Santeria draw heavily from Catholicism. Hoodoo is something very different as well.


    I am glad more people are posting about Vodou, at any rate.
     
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  3. painted wolf

    painted wolf Grey Muzzle

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    Thank you for adding more information for us! :cool:

    Would you be willing to explain some of the differences between the different practices for us?

    I too am glad to have more people posting about this family of religious beliefs. It's woefully misunderstood by most people. :D

    wa:do
     
  4. Sylvan

    Sylvan Unrepentant goofer duster

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    What atropine is decribing here is all quite accurate. Atropine are you studying with a house? Where do you live? I travel to Seattle where there is a small Vodou community of several different lineages getting together for Fetes. Its small but they have great drummers.
     
  5. Sylvan

    Sylvan Unrepentant goofer duster

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    I know an Alorisha whose Ile practices Arara alongside Ocha. I do not know much about it but it seems far more consonent with Ocha then say Palo as they can be in the same room as long as they have separate tables.
     
  6. atropine

    atropine Somewhere Out There

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    You're welcome. ^^; And sadly, I really only know about Vodou and NOLA Voodoo. I freely admit I don't know everything and could be wrong on some things (and anyone is free to correct my corrections!), but one thing I do know is that as this belief system has spread across the globe, it picks up things from the culture is finds a home in and becomes it's own entity. Vodun is not Vodou because it is African-based and still lives in Africa; Vodou is not Vodun because it made it's home in Haiti; Voodoo is not Vodou because it spread up into North America and grew there. It's like... wheat, sourdough and potato bread. It's all bread, but different and unique, with it's own flavor. And that's not to say that people in North America can't/don't practice Vodun or people in African can't/don't practice Voodoo, but it should be understood that it's not the practice "native" to that place.

    With Voodoo, you've got voodoo queens like Marie Laveau, bless her. Then you have Gris-Gris and voodoo dolls, which to my knowledge aren't as big of a thing with Vodou. There's a pretty big focus on amulets and various charms. I also think that, on some level, the use of the Saints is bigger with Voodoo than with Vodou, but that might be an inaccurate assumption based off of what I've seen. Another assumption that I might be making is that Voodoo seems to focus more on helping others, where Vodou is more about establishing a relationship with the Lwa in order to survive and keep one's family alive. Helping others happens in both-- it's a community thing-- but Voodoo seems less about the outright struggle for survival. There have been Voodoo ceremonies held in New Orleans to stop things like prostitution and drugs; I've never really heard of something like that happening with Vodou, because people tend to be focusing more on gaining prosperity in order to be able to afford food, clothing, shelter, etc.

    I hope that all makes sense, and is correct. Forgive me if I make any incorrect assumptions or mistakes. I'm still learning.

    I serve as a solitary. I know that's not the way to go about it if I wanted to properly go through the kanzo, but I live in the middle of Oregon and to my knowledge there are no houses near me. Granted, I have had trouble looking, and I worry that even if I found a house... it wouldn't be a really good fit, and I refuse to work with a house just because it's the only house nearby. But someday maybe I can travel better, or get lucky and find one that is around Oregon AND a good fit. :)

    I haven't heard about the groups that get together in Seattle. That sounds interesting. Do you know where I can get more information?

    That is interesting to note. Thank you.
     
    #26 atropine, Mar 26, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  7. Sylvan

    Sylvan Unrepentant goofer duster

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    To clairify some points about what Atropine* has said here... Vodun is the African Vodun, in Benin and other places. It is associated primarily with the Fon people and the the culture of the former Dahomean empire. It has its own cosmology, and practices particular to it that never made it across the waters.

    Vodou is Haitian, and the majority of the lwa of the popular and arguable "central" Rada rite (at least in the 'asson' lineages) come from Benin. It is noted however by many anthropologists who have worked both in Haiti and Benin (including some Vodou initiates!) that the form of Haitian Vodou practices owe more to a Kongo influence. Particularly in the form of the cosmogramic Veves. Keep in mind that the Kongo people had already been converted to a bizarre form of Christianity under the Portuguese with strange emphasis on St. Anthony.. who later in many places becomes the mask of Legba. The primary "opener of the gates" in the system who despite having a name derived from the Yoruba Eleggba/Esu takes many of the roles taken by particular Kongo spirits.

    There are also spirits of the Yoruba there, which take a central part of Ocha (Santeria) practices in Cuba and Candomble in Brazil. They are often incarnated in the persons of the family Ogoun, which contains for instance the unlikely figure of Ogoun Shango... this would cause quite a bit of head scratching in Cuba or Yorubaland as these figures are primary rivals in the mythological system.

    Candomble Jeje is interesting. While the spirits are called Voduns I think the level of pure Dahomean influence has to vary from region to region. I believe a central structure to be common to all Candomble houses regardless of nation which betrays a gradual "Yorubisation" process going on as practices in Candomble Nago houses become the standard. Jeje houses were known for having very long and demanding initiation ceremonies, where one had to live at the temple for sixth months to a year at a time, learning songs, having your head washed with herbs, sleeping in front of the images and having your dreams scrutinized.. there are other things.. What I decsribe is common to all Candomble houses but in Jeje the periods you had to spent in isolation were two to three times as long.

    Another very interesting thing about Jeje. There aren't as many as they used to be for a very specific reason, not just the demanding initiation cycle. Apparently the ruling spirits of the nation came down (possessed mediums) in many houses on the same festival night sometime in the 80's in many different cities and gave an identical message: "We're done". There were to be no more initiates made and when the last initiate died the spirits would withdraw from the earth and return to Aruanda. So there are many initiates, now getting into their 60's and older, who carry a huge body of secret lore and songs they can tell to no one to honor gods who will no longer come down to speak. I don't really know what to think about that.

    *Pm'd.
     
    #27 Sylvan, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  8. Sylvan

    Sylvan Unrepentant goofer duster

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    Another point many of our Native American members may find interesting is that the central use of tobacco in the rites of all of these African derived religions is a new world influence. It is not used in Africa, and there the spirit of choice isn't rum but gin. In the form of Vodou in the Dominican Republic called 21 Divisions, as well as all over Brazil, there are whole lines of "Indio" spirits in honor of vanished peoples of the Carribean held in the collective memory. You can find native Taino spirits in Haiti as well.
     
    #28 Sylvan, Mar 28, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2012
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