Voodoo's History

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Forums -> General Info -> Voodoo's History

Voodoo's History
Post # 1
The practice of Voodoo is probably as
old as the African continent itself.
Sometimes written Voudou, Vodou or
Voudun, the word itself means God
Creator or Great Spirit. It has been
greatly distorted and misused; human
sacrifices, vampires, dripping blood and
devil worship all make the stuff of
spooky novels and Hollywood movies.
Yet none of these originated with or
ever belonged to Voodoo!
Voodoo is a life affirming practice that
encourages its participants to better
understand the natural processes of life
and their own spiritual natures.
If one looks at the dictionary, Voodoo is
likely to be defined as an ancient
religion from Africa that involves the
cult of Ancestors, of various animistic
spirits, and the use of trances to
communicate with such spirits. It is
true that Voodoo did originate in Africa.
Today it is practiced by millions
throughout the world, in Africa, the
Caribbean, Central, North and South
America, in various forms, often with
elements of catholicism mixed in.
However, its main purpose remains as
always to heal: to heal the individual in
relationships within himself or herself,
with others and ultimately with God.
Around 1510 the slave trade began,
slaves being taken from the West Coast
of Africa (Gulf of Guinea) from what is
now Senegal and Gambia to the Congo
region. The slaves who were torn from
their native lands brought with them
their beliefs and regional practices.
Many were first brought to the
Caribbean islands to work the
plantations and be forcibly
Christianized. Their owners (''masters'')
did not recognize the mystical qualities
of their native ceremonies. Rather they
considered them to be savages,
incapable of abstract concepts or
spirituality. Of course the denial of their
humanity made it all so much easier to
keep them as slaves. Yet in the terrible
conditions of their enslavement, the
Africans' only hope lay in their very
faith. Amidst broken tribes and
families, they found unity and solace in
God and ancient rituals. It certainly
also gave them a deep sense of inner
Although African slaves came from
many different regions, most influential
were the tribes from Nigeria and
Dahomey. In 1729 the Dahomey
conquered their neighbors the Ewes and
sold their prisoners to the slave ships
often in exchange for European goods.
Many from Dahomey were also
kidnapped. Both tribes had
incorporated snake worship into their
rites and some priests of the religion
unwillingly found themselves on route
to Haiti and the new world. Within one
generation of their arrival, these priests
had already established temples
(hounfors) and developed a following in
spite of their captivity and severe
opposition of the French and Spanish
churches. The term Vo-Du came from
the Fons of dahomey. The other great
influence came from Yorubaland
(Nigeria), the site of the sacred city of
Ile-Ife. Among the Yorubas, the Loa
(Lwa or Spirits) are known as Orisha.
Other people that contributed to
modern Voodoo in the new world are
the Aradia, Nago, Ibo, Congo,
Senegalese, Mandingo, Ethiopians,
Sudanese and Malgaches.
The Voodoos believe in the existence of
one supreme God, a very abstract,
omnipotent yet unknowable force.
Below this almighty God, Spirits or Loa
rule over the world's affairs in matter
of family, love, happiness, justice,
health, wealth, work, the harvest or the
hunt etc. Offerings are made to the
appropriate Loa to ensure success in
those areas. Each Loa has its preferred
fruits or vegetables, color, number, day
of the week, etc. The Loa also manifest
through elements of nature such as the
wind and rain, lightning and thunder,
the river, the ocean, springs and lakes,
the sky, the sun, certain animals, trees
and stones. Furthermore every element
of nature, animal, tree, plant, fruit or
vegetable is sacred to a certain Loa or
Ancestors are consulted for guidance
and protection. A rich and deep body of
mythology and tales exists attesting to
the amazing memory and poetic ability
of the ''Griots'' who passed it orally
from elder to youth and so on
throughout the ages. It is truly a
remarkable body of spirituality and a
code by which African life was ruled. A
very complex system of divination also
exists known as ''Ifa''. It is said that the
word Loa or Lwa itself derives from the
French ''Loi'' (Law).
Upon their arrival in the West Indies
and the New World, the slaves found
themselves unable to continue the
practice of their ancestral rites,
sometimes under penalty of death. But
they quickly understood the essential
similarities between their beliefs and
those of the Catholics; the Catholics
praying to their Saints to intercede to a
higher God in their favor. That is in fact
the exact criteria used to ''make a
Saint'', the ability to obtain miracles. A
substitution took place: the Loa often
taking the name and some of the
attributes of the Saints. The elaborate
ceremonies and costumes of the church
also had great appeal for the Africans.
I do not think that the Africans and
their descendants would have seen it
as a direct substitution rather than as
an added path of expression of their
deep-seated faith and beliefs.
In the Spanish Islands, the new religion
became known as Santeria (the
worship of the Saints). In other islands
and in New Orleans, the term Voodoo
remained. Because of its unique blend
of French, Spanish and Indian cultures,
New Orleans offered a perfect setting
for the practice and growth of Voodoo.
In 1809 many Haitians who had
migrated to Cuba during the Haitian
revolution found themselves cast out
and came to New Orleans. They
brought with them their slaves who
incorporated their rites and beliefs to
those of the existent slave population -
Africans from Senegal, Gambia and
Nigeria previously brought to Louisiana
by the Companie des Indes. Voodoo in
Louisiana was enriched and revitalized.
It also incorporated the worship of the
Snake Spirit (Damballah Wedo / Aida
Wedo). To the Africans Voodoo was not
only their religion, it was also their
natural medicine, their protection and
certainly a way of asserting and
safeguarding a sense of personal
freedom and identity.
Today about 15% of the population of
New Orleans practices Voodoo. Modern
Voodoo has taken several directions:
Spiritualist Reverends and Mothers who
have their own churches, Hoodoos who
integrate and work spells and
superstitions, elements of European
witchcraft and the occult, and
traditionalists for whom the practice of
Voodoo is a most natural and
important part of their daily lives, a
positive search for ancient roots and
wisdom. The practice of Voodoo
involves the search for higher levels of
consciousness in the belief that -as
indeed all of the ancient scriptures
teach - it is we who must open the way
towards the Gods. for when we call out
from our hearts, the Gods hear and
indeed are compelled to respond.
Voodoo is a powerful mystical practice
between (Wo)Man and God thus saving
him/her from further estrangement
from the very universe that (s)he is
born into.
CREDITS:- Reveren Severina Karuna Mayi
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Re: Voodoo's History
Post # 2
Voodoo is Louisiana Voodoo Vodou is Haitian Vodou and Vodun or Voudun is african Voudun
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Re: Voodoo's History
Post # 3
The idea of creating a post, is that you write it yourself. What you have done is basically copied and pasted another website completely.

The idea of writing an informative piece of text is that you read many sources and take what you need from each source. You then use SHORT pieces of text from the sources when necessary and reword the rest into your own words and interweave it that way. Then cite the sources at the end.

If I was to do what you have just done at my university it would still be classed as plagarism, even though you have given the source.
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Re: Voodoo's History
Post # 4
I will do that surely from now
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