Is it a religion or just something we watch in the movies?
The religion of most of the population of Haiti is voodoo. its origins ar ein Africa, especially in Benin (formerly Dahomey). The term voodoo is from vodum, which means, god of spirit in the Fon language of Africa. The beliefs of the Afican slaves gradually mingled with the Roman Catholicism of the white French plantation owners of Haiti.
Voodoo combines a belief in one god with a belief in various kinds of spirits. The purpose of voodoo is too serve spirits and keep their good will. The god Bondye (from the French 'bon dieu') is identified with the Christion god. He is considered remote and unapproachable. Real devotion is given to the spirits (loa, or lwa, in the Yoruba language of Africa). The spirits ar enot evil. They serve as intermediaries between people and Bondye.
Each person is believed to have several souls. After death these souls becomes spirits that take possession of another individual. When possessed, a believer does ritual dances, accepts animal sacrifice for the spirit, and offers valuable counsel and advice. Otherwide the role of the spirit combines the functions of guardian angel and patron saint.
Male voodoo leaders are called Hungan and the female Mambo. They serve small congregayions as counselors, healers of the lively voodoo ritual. Annual festivals are held in honor of the major spirits.
There are traditions of private magic and sorcery that have been sensationalized by outsiders - especially stories about Zombies. These are presumably souless bodies raised from the grave to be slaves. It is probable that they are actually persons who have been drugged into insensibility and revived. (but not everything is so Black & White)
So whats peoples opinion on this subject then?
Religion? or just hocus pocus?
Voodoo has over 50 million followers worldwide. Voodoo is a word of dahometer origin meaning spirit or god. Voodoo is a system of beliefs and rights of African origin. This popular religion, which miles pagan rites and beliefs with catholic practises, has sad to say long stood in bad repute. In Brazil and Cuba, where voodoo flourishes under the names of candomble - macymba - chango - santeria or naniguismo, has millions of followers. Types of voodoo also flourish in Trinidad and Jamaica and even New Orleans, where black and wite magic is still called Hoodoo.
In the practise of Voodoo, the Voodoo Doll represents the spirit of a specific person. You refer to the Voodoo Doll the same as if You are talking direct to the person the Voodoo Doll represents. You can give directions to the Voodoo Doll to change an attitude, change their ways, etc. Voodoo Dolls are mostly used for positives, but can also be used for acts of revenge. If you wish to attract the love of another, you can stick a pin the heart of the Voodoo Doll. You can also request the voodoo doll to call upon powerful forces known as Loa.
Was just looking up the meaning 'Loa' then before I carried on then, as I hadn't heard of the term before .................
Spirit in voodoo. Loas may be male or female, and include Maman Brigitte, the loa of death and cemeteries, and Aida-Wedo, the rainbow snake. Believers may be under the protection of one particular loa.
In a ritual the Loa are summoned by the Houngan (Priest), Mambo (Priestess) or Bokor (Sorcerers) to take part in the service, receive offerings, and grant requests. The Loa arrive in the peristyle (ritual space) by mounting (possessing) a horse (ritualist) - who is said to be "ridden." This can be quite a violent occurrence as the participant can flail about or convulse before falling to the ground, but some Loa will mount their horses very quietly - Ayizan is one such Loa.
Certain Loa display very distinctive behaviour by which they can be recognised, specific phrases, and specific actions. As soon as a Loa is recognised, the symbols appropriate to them will be given to them. For example Erzulie Freda will be given a mirror and a comb, fine cloth or jewellery; Legba will be given his cane, straw hat and pipe; Baron Samedi will be given his top hat, sunglasses and a cigar.
Once the Loa has arrived, fed, been served, and possibly given help or advice, they leave the peristyle. Contrary to the Western perception of possession, a Loa has no need to remain in the horse (possessed ritualist). Certain Loa can become obstinate, for example the Ghede are notorious for wanting just one more smoke, or one more drink, but it is the job of the Houngan or Mambo to keep the spirits in line while ensuring they are adequately provided for.
Very interesting subject to read up on as well .......................