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Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
01-07-2010, 03:05 PM
Post: #1
Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
So, I felt weird posting in the Polytheism section about spiritual encounters because -- well, Vodou is monotheistic, and Holy Babylon asked a few questions because they didn't know much except what comes from Hollywood movies, so I saw that Hinduism has a Q&A thread, and thought I'd start one for Vodou. I am Kanzo in Haitian Vodou, and have experience with NOLA Voodoo, and have been to Vodun rituals in Benin. So I can touch on just about anything -- and if you ask a question I can't answer, I can call up my Mambo.

So...altars, animal sacrifice, zombies, Voodoo dolls -- any misconceptions or rumors you want to ask about, or anything you want to know, just ask! I've heard it all before, I'm not going to get offended, you aren't going to hurt my feelings -- I don't think anyone here is going to top the ridiculous "You sacrifice children," schlock I've gotten in the past.
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01-07-2010, 03:08 PM
Post: #2
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
To get the ball rolling and get this one out of the way...

What the real deal on zombies?
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01-07-2010, 03:20 PM
Post: #3
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
(01-07-2010 03:08 PM)Parousia Wrote:  To get the ball rolling and get this one out of the way...

What the real deal on zombies?

Zombies In Vodou result due to the two-part sectioning of the soul, the ti bon ange, and gros (or gwe) bon ange. These two parts of the soul form a complete person. The ti bon ange enters the body with it's first breath, and leaves the body while sleeping, or during possession by the lwa, and passes on immediately after death.

The gros bon ange is present at conception, and leaves the body between six to nine months after death. If the gros bon age were to ever leave the body, it would result in complete and utter death, even if the ti bon ange were present.

What happens with Zombies, most of the time, is that people who were dead in a specific way, like pulled off of machines, are resuscitated and without the ti bon ange, have no sense of self or personality -- they're mindless, basically. This form of zombie making is completely forbidden in Vodou and only undertaken by people who are not respected. These people are usually called bokors.

Another form of Zombi is when near death someone willingly and permanently gives up their body to a lwa, until such time as they would have died.
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01-07-2010, 03:52 PM
Post: #4
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
Clementine,

Thank you for the clear explanation of the zombi concept. Smile

Are there many differences between Haitian vodou, NOLA voodoo and West African vodun? How are these different from santeria, if you know?


PS: For anyone who has not figured it out, NOLA is the city of New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana (postal abbreviation LA), in the USA.
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01-07-2010, 04:36 PM
Post: #5
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
(01-07-2010 03:52 PM)Parousia Wrote:  Clementine,

Thank you for the clear explanation of the zombi concept. Smile

Are there many differences between Haitian vodou, NOLA voodoo and West African vodun? How are these different from santeria, if you know?


PS: For anyone who has not figured it out, NOLA is the city of New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana (postal abbreviation LA), in the USA.

Yes, there are. West African Vodun is basically the root religion, the basics are there, but you're not going to find any syncretic elements, and the only lwa served are the root African lwa. Mostly the Rada family.

Haitian Vodou is the first syncretic variant. It was forced to incorporate Catholic saints and imagery, and it's in Haiti that the main prayer, the Priye Ginen was formed. There are also new lwa added, as the religion is like people, evolutionary. Haitian rebel hero Marinette is added, as is the white lwa Maman Brigitte, from the Irish sugarcane workers. Vodou is also more widely practiced in Haiti. There's an old saying "Haiti is 80% Catholic, 20% Protestant, and 100% Vodouisants".

In the NOLA variant, hoodoo is considered more important than in either Haiti or West Africa, Zombies are of little to no importance, and this is where you'll generally see the infamous "Voodoo dolls" in use, since they generally aren't used in Haiti or Africa. There are also more lwa added, such as Marie Laveau. NOLA also uses the spelling loa instead of lwa, and generally ignores or downplays animal sacrifice. They also generally consider the lave tet ceremony to be a degree of initiation, as opposed to the other two, which consider Kanzo the first degree of initiation.

Santeria is very similar, they come from the same African root, but branched off. Divination is very important to Santeria, especially by cowrie shells, and the spirits in Santeria are called Orisha. Some of them are shared, obviously coming from the same family, but some are not. Oya, for example, is a Santerian Orisha -- she has no equal in Vodou. Practises however, are very similar, as far as I know.
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01-07-2010, 04:42 PM
Post: #6
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
Thanks much, Clementine!

I will stop 'challenging' you for now as I have to go visit the real world. Sad

But perhaps some others can join in. Hmm?
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01-07-2010, 08:48 PM
Post: #7
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
Most Americans think vodou is evil. "Enlightened" Americans tend to think that most vodou practitioners are not evil, but that some follow evil lwa, and these are the ones who mess about with zombis and voodoo dolls.

Is this an accurate view, or are the lines of good and evil more blurred in vodou?

I'm back baby! Thanks for everyone who sent me PMs asking what had happened to me.
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01-07-2010, 09:08 PM
Post: #8
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
(01-07-2010 08:48 PM)GTseng3 Wrote:  Most Americans think vodou is evil. "Enlightened" Americans tend to think that most vodou practitioners are not evil, but that some follow evil lwa, and these are the ones who mess about with zombis and voodoo dolls.

Is this an accurate view, or are the lines of good and evil more blurred in vodou?

There's no real such thing as evil lwa. Which is one major problem I had with the Princess and the Frog's portrayal of it. There may be lwa associated with death and the like, but they are by no means evil. The lwa present balance is all.

Voodoo dolls are not the majority of the time, negative. That, like zombis, is far more rare than Hollywood would have you believe.

There are Bokors who do negative spellwork for harm, but this is usually outside of the lwa, they rarely invoke a lwa for the sake of harm, except sometimes in the case of revenge for rape or murder, and even that's frowned upon.
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01-16-2010, 02:15 AM
Post: #9
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
Very interesting thread!
I wonder, do the ti bon ange and gros bon ange go to the same places after death, and do they have seperate origins? The idea of a dual soul is familiar to me, but this is quite an original take on them in regard to zombies and the iwa posession.
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01-16-2010, 10:18 PM
Post: #10
RE: Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun Q&A
(01-16-2010 02:15 AM)Venedi Sporoi Wrote:  Very interesting thread!
I wonder, do the ti bon ange and gros bon ange go to the same places after death, and do they have seperate origins? The idea of a dual soul is familiar to me, but this is quite an original take on them in regard to zombies and the iwa posession.

The gros bon ange is basically the base spirit, which always exists from conception, the combining of the parents and ancestors spirits. The ti bon ange is the spirit child of a lwa, however, and that is the part that joins the ghede after death. There are debates about where the gros bon ange goes after death.
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