Voodoo Beliefs

You're thinking about the voodoo doll aren't you?!

Well i'm afraid you're far from the truth. As it happens most people that practice Voodoo, have probably never even seen one of those dolls.

Voodoo is poorly portrayed in most movies, TV shows and books. There have also been many serious documentaries that have totally missed the point of Voodoo. It is usually misrepresented as a cult, black magic or devil worship. People who practice Voodoo are not witchdoctors, sorcerers or occultists. Voodoo isn’t a practice intended to hurt or control others. 

voodoo image, what is voodoo?

Vodoo is primarily practiced in Haiti, New Orleans, and other locations within the Caribbean and is also known as Vodoun, Vodou, and by several other names. Voodoo can be seen as a mixture of Roman Catholicism and native African religion, particularly from the religion of the Dahomey region of West Africa.

Vodoo is thought to have began when African slaves brought their native traditions with them as they were forcefully transported to the new world. However, they were generally forbidden from practicing their religion. To get around these restrictions, the slaves started to pair their gods with Catholic saints. They also performed their rituals using the items and imagery of the Catholic Church.

If a Voodoo practitioner considers himself Christian, he generally professes to be a Catholic Christian. Many Voodoo practitioners also consider themselves Catholics. Some see the saints and spirits to be one and the same.
Loa (also spelled lwa) are the spirits of Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo. They are also referred to as "mystères" and "the invisibles" and are intermediaries between Bondye (from French Bon Dieu, meaning "good God")—the Supreme Creator, who is distant from the world—and humanity.
voodoo ritual. voodoo explained

Rituals and Practices

There is no standardized dogma within Voodoo. Two temples within the same city might teach different mythologies and appeal to the lwa in different ways.

As such, the information provided in overviews of Vodou (such as this one) cannot always reflect the beliefs of all believers. For example, sometimes lwa are associated with different families, Catholic saints, or veves. Some common variations are included here.

  • Animal Sacrifice A variety of animals might be killed during a Voodoo ritual. It provides spiritual sustenance for the lwa, while the flesh of the animal is then cooked and eaten by participants.
  • Veves Rituals commonly involve the drawing of certain symbols known as veves with cornmeal or another powder. Each lwa has its own symbol and some have multiple symbols associated with them.
  • Voodoo Dolls The common perception of Vodouisants poking pins into Voodoo dolls does not reflect traditional Vodou. However, Vodouisants do dedicate dolls to particular lwa and use them to attract a lwa's influence.

 

- Beyer, Catherine. "An Introduction to the Basic Beliefs of the Vodou (Voodoo) Religion." ThoughtCo, Jun. 22, 2018, thoughtco.com/vodou-an-introduction-for-beginners-95712.

-Saumya Arya Haas, Updated May 25, 2011, Huffpost