Could Voodoo be nothing but evil, black magic, and the work of the devil? Is voodoo really an evil religion that sacrifices humans as well as animals to the demonic Gods? When I first did my paper on Voodoo, the first thing that came to my mind was how Hollywood portrayed Voodoo. When people see something on television or at the movies, they believe it to be reality. Undoubtedly, misconceptions will occur, and unless people are shown evidence against the delusions, it will be taken as fact. I think Voodoo religion is as acceptable as Christianity or any other religion.
Voodoo has been tainted from the true principals and understanding. Voodoo has been shown on screen as evil, black magic, and the work of the devil, rather than as a faith, and most people see spells cast on voodoo dolls like Chucky in Child's Play, who goes around killing people because he is possessed (Child's Play 1988). Is Voodoo a true, spiritual religion, and if so, are people willing to tolerate it? In today's society, religious tolerance of different groups of people or cultures is very important. By understanding and accepting the differences of real versus imaginary using Voodoo as the prime example, people will be able to see these groups as part of actual society and not just a fictitious magical and evil portrayal in entertainment such as Child's Play, Trilogy of Terror, and Chloe-Love is Calling You. Hollywood's portrayals of Voodoo in movies, thus invalid.
Voodoo was founded in Haiti, back when the slaves were brought in from the African homelands. African and Christianity beliefs were easily merged because they are not all that different. Both religions are similar in ways of baptism, or ritual purification. Both believe one God created all people (Hintz 95). In place of God is a Supreme Being called Bondye.
He is the head lo a and is very powerful. Bondye gives individuals their own destinies. He is too busy to be involved in the personal everyday lives. This is why they believe in the spirits or Loa to whom they worship and make sacrifices (Brown 6). Just like other religions, Voodoo has it's own principles, with it's own set of rites. The Voodoo priest is the.
A priestess is a mambo. A religious authority is much more informal then that of a Catholic priest (Hintz 97). A priest has to answer to the bishops and the people. He has a structural church, where as the Voodoo religion does not. The and a mambo are also considered doctors; one of the most important duties is to treat the sick and injured. In voodoo, the saints and Gods of Christianity are translated into lo as, they act as intermediaries between the main Voodoo God, the Gran Met, the, and mambos.
Ceremonies are held in, which can be sheds, or openings in the forest (Hintz 98). All rituals begin by the asking the Loa to open the gate. After the opening, water is sprinkled throughout important places in the, especially at the center where the Po teau-mit in is located. It is a pole where the people communicate with the lo as and God (web). During the ceremonies there is singing and dancing which cause a trance for the lo as to communicate with the and mambo.
Voodoo rituals play an important role in the religion. Practitioners believe that human and lo a depend on one another, they hold many rituals to make contact through spirits, through a very special process (Lewis 123). Rituals can be held to celebrate a special event in the lives of a family or communities, in bad times for guidance from the Loa, for healing of an illness or a disability, births, wedding, and deaths. The ceremony may be held at the end of the day, when the sun is setting.
Men, women, and children walk to the beat of drums rolling off the mountains in the night air. At all ceremonies each spirit called must be offered three to seven songs, along with a particular drum rhythm that ordinarily accompanied them. The verses are repeated until the spirit is properly honored. A is used in temples as a stand in for a Catholic priest to baptize the table (Brown 55-56).
When calling the spirits to do healing work, candles, drums, herbs and other symbols are used. Healing is a high priority of Voodoo and also takes counseling and the doling out of folk remedies like rattlesnake oil. Worship is held on the evening of the new moon and has dancing to the drums and flute, being led by the priest and priestess. As they dance, members go into trances and are said to receive revelations and messages from the spirits.
Most of the important ceremonies require the slaughtering of animals as part of the feasts for the Loa. The food must be cooked to the spirits specifications, and cooked according to strict recipes, along with certain prayers and rhythms. Live animals for the feast include fowl, goats, and sheep. These animals can only be slaughtered by a priest or priestess, in front of the community and to the accompaniment of the correct chants (Lewis 124). Mardi Gras is a blend of Christian and ancient African traditions. The party is traditionally held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
This is the start of the Christian season of Lent, leading up to Easter. Lent is the time for fasting and penance that lasts for forty days (Hintz 104). Mardi Gras provides the chance to celebrate before a long and quiet time of reflection. It is a festival of imagination, fancy costumes, loud music, and artistic floats rolling through the streets. It is easy to see how Voodoo religion can be taken out of context and put into the horror picture shows.
Presenting Satan and black magic as well as the bastardized versions of combining shared religions with the occult, bizarre ceremonies, and animal sacrifices (web). For those who do not understand the religion, this is what they perceive it too be. Voodoo in part is to serve the gods. It is a religion that focuses on healing relationships between the living, the dead, and the spirits. The spirits guide those in making everyday life decisions. Outsiders concentrate on the scary parts of Voodoo, instead of looking at the beauty of life as well as death.
I have found that that Voodoo is a logical religion that is just misunderstood and misjudged by people. Even though it contains some magic, it is not the main point of the religion. By understanding and accepting that one religion will look to Judaism, while another prays to God, and another worships Buddha, society will be tolerant and more open minded. Hollywood glamorizes, and people are fast to trust it. Through Voodoo, it can easily be seen that people are quick to trust Hollywood. I think this just validates what is often said by many, do not pass judgment without actual knowledge.
Annotated Bibliography Bach, Marcus. Had You Been Born In Another Faith. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1964 This book tells about the major religions in the world. Depending on where you are born depends on the religion that you may practice, and what gods you may pray to. Brown, Karen McCarthy. Mama Lola: A Voudou Priestess in Brooklyn.
England: University of California Press, 1991 This book relates to the voodoo that is practiced with the healing of broken relationships with the living and the dead. The practice of voodoo is the believing in spirits and their powers. Bulfinch, Thomas. The Age of Fable. Pennsylvania: Running Press, 1990 This book is about the Greek and Roman Gods. The powers that the gods had and how they chose to use them.
The tales and woes of each mythology deity, their practices and the powers that they have to change things into anything they want for any reason they want. Evans, Bergen. Dictionary Mythology. New York: Dell Publishing, 1991 This book is a great reference to the gods of mythology.
It tells the names of the gods and what they represent. Funk & Waghalls. New Encyclopedia. Funk & Waghalls LP. MCMC.
Voodoo: This article is about the religion of Haiti, it also tells that it is practiced in Cuba, Trinidad, Brazil, and in the southern U.S. especially Louisiana. Hintz, Martin. Haiti: Enchantment of the World. New York: Children's Press, 1998. This book is about the different kinds of religions that are practiced in Haiti.
Voodoo doctors in Haiti use plants and other items for treatment. "A spider web is placed over a cut to stop the bleeding". (98). Murray, Alexander. Who's Who In Mythology. New York: Bonanza Books, 1989 This book gives a description of the Greek and Roman deities and how they are represented.
Neuse ner, Jacob. World Religions in America. Kentucky: Westminster / John knox Press, 1994. This book is about the diversity of religions on America. Among the different religions in America we can get a sense of understanding then and their uniqueness to their culture.
Smith, Houston. World's Religions. New York: Labyrinth Publishing, 1994. This book is about "values" (11). A true understanding of the world points directly to the true understanding of the religions in the world today.
Tart, Charles. Body, Mind, Spirit. Virginia: Hampton Roads, 1997. This book is about the scientific findings of spirituality and the existence of the of a soul. I haven't had time to read much of this book.