Voodoo The Haitian Religion Research Paper Essay

Juju: The Haitian Religion Essay, Research Paper

Juan Diez

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Juju: The Haitian Religion

To a individual who may be unaware of the instructions and history of Voodoo, it may look apparent that it is a negative faith. To do such accusals without larning about the faith is non right. Voodoo is a faith. It is the dominant faith of Haiti. Many of the patterns and descriptions of Voodoo belief may sound like rank superstitious notion, but it is merely to those who know small or nil about the faith. In Haiti, Voodoo is taken really earnestly, non simply practiced by nonreader provincials, but by many intelligent and learned members of the Haitian society. It is a faith that has endured many adversities throughout its being, from bondage in Africa all the manner to prosecution from Protestants in modern twenty-four hours Haiti. This paper will seek non to give a defensive or condescending attitude towards the faith of Voodoo, but more of a presentation of facts that will enable the reader to make up one’s mind of what he or she thinks about the faith. Voodoo is non the cannibalistic, child-sacrificing faith that modern twenty-four hours society has made it out to be, but more of a faith in touch with its ascendants and its liquors. Advocates of Voodoo have worked difficult to alter its image because it has been slandered by many people. Some authors of Voodoo have even attempted to alter the spelling of the word Voodoo to vodun, vaudin, vodoun, vodou, or vaudoux, in an effort to mask the faith. Changes in the name of Voodoo besides stem from the manner many of the people in Haiti pronounce the word Voodoo. To get down a treatment on Voodoo and its elements, a history of Voodoo and how this faith came to be is needed.

Fist and foremost, Voodoo is likely the best illustration of African syncretism in the Americas. Although its indispensable wisdom originated in different parts of Africa long before the Europeans started the slave trade, the construction of Voodoo, as it is known today, was born in Haiti during the European colonisation of Hispaniola ( Anonymous ) . Ironically, it was the implemented in-migration of African slaves from different folks that provided the fortunes for the development of Voodoo. European settlers thought that by destructing the assorted folks, they could non come together as a community. However, in the wretchedness of bondage, the transplanted Africans found in their religion a common yarn. They began non merely to include their ain personal Gods, but besides to pattern rites and rites other than their ain. In this procedure, they combined and modified rites of assorted folks. The consequence was that the different spiritual groups integrated their beliefs, thereby making a new faith. Voodoo the Afro-Caribbean faith mixes patterns from the Fon, the Nago, the Ibos, Dahomeans, Congos, Senegalese, Haussars, Caplaous, Mondungues, Mandinge, Angolese, Libyans, Ethiopians, and the Malgaches. These were fundamentally all the major folks that made up the faith of Voodoo. The strength that the Africans in Haiti gained from their faith was so strong and powerful that they were able to last the barbarous prosecution of the Gallic swayers against Voodoo. When the Gallic proverb that the faith of the Africans was a menace to the colonial system, they prohibited all signifiers of African spiritual patterns and badly punished the practicians of Voodoo with imprisonment, tonss, and hangings. This spiritual battle continued for three centuries, but none of the penalties could snuff out the religion of the Africans who kept their faith in secret. It was in the thick of this battle that the revolution was conspired. The Voodoo priests consulted their prophet and learned how the political conflict would hold to be fought in order for them to be winning. The revolution eventually gained Voodoo its independency in 1804. Through the old ages of 1815 through 1850 there was quiet diffusion. Under emperor Soulouque, Voodoo became acceptable to the government and emerged publically ( Leyburn ) . After the release of 1804, all white people were kicked out of Haiti and many were killed, which included Roman Catholic priests. Therefore in 1804, the Vatican broke with Haiti and did non set up dealingss with her once more until 1860. During this 56 twelvemonth period, houngans ( male Voodoo priests ) and mambos ( female Voodoo priests ) built up the public faith of Haiti, which was Voodoo in a sexual intercourse of African spirit faith and Catholicism ( Corbett, Introduction to Voodoo in Haiti ) . Virtually all Voodoo liquors, or loa, became associated with Catholic saints. The most of import effect of this is that Haitians see nil incorrect with practising Voodoo and Catholicism side by side and are frequently devout about each of them ( Corbett, Voodoos Relationship to Christianity ) . From the 1860 s to the 1940 s, some elements of the Catholic Church waged an all out holy war against Voodoo. They burned peristyle, Voodoo shrines, round and killed houngans and mambo, and demanded their banishment signifier society. However, they lost because Voodoo went underground to some extent, but it grew in popularity, in big steps due to the subjugation. By the early 1950 s the Catholic Church hierarchy halted the war and got rid of the oppressors and made its peace with Voodoo. Voodoo membranophones and tunes were incorporated into Catholic Church services. The Catholics have maintained a comparative peace with Voodoo serviteurs of all time since ( Corbett, Voodoos Relationship to Christianity ) . Then in the 1970 s, Evangelical Protestantism came to Haiti due to the fact that after Reagan came to power, Evangelization mushroomed. Evangelical Protestants are acrimonious enemies of Voodoo and denounce it and its ways as being devil worship and devotion. Many of these Protestants claim that Haiti s wretchedness is because God is penalizing it for the wickednesss of its Voodoo serviteurs, which is a really serious issue for Voodoo in Haiti. Evangelical Protestant groups have grown massively and ain seven of Haiti s eleven radio Stationss and have made important additions in transitions. Today, most perceivers believe that at least 15 per centum of the Christians in Haiti are Protestant Evangelists. Now an exigency reform for Voodoo is present as a force in the peasant motion toward progressive reform in Haiti. Voodoo s history is a difficult 1. It has been persecuted and oppressed even to this twenty-four hours. What makes the faith so forbidden in eyes of many people? The faith of Voodoo is an intricate 1. It combines spots of civilization from other African faiths, therefore doing it complex.

The word Voodoo, which is a deformation of the Dahomean word for vodu means God or spirit, but unluckily, in popular literature and shoot the word has been misconstrued as black magic, witchery, and in some instances, cannibalistic patterns. All of these accusals are false and have sparked many biass non merely about Voodoo but besides about Haitian civilization in general. Voodoo is a monotheistic faith. Its follower s reply to merely one God, they call him or her Bondye. This God is really similar to the God of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. The features of their other religious beliefs in entities include the undermentioned: Loa, the Twins, and the dead. Loa are the assorted liquors of household members ; the liquors of major forces of the existence, which include good, evil, reproduction, wellness, and all facets of day-to-day life. Loa interact with people on Earth, they do this by mounting them now and once more during spiritual ceremonials and give messages while making so. They even cause assorted good and bad things to go on to people, depending on how they feel. Mounting, when mentioning to loa, is the case when a loa comes and takes over a individual s organic structure from clip to clip. This is normally done in spiritual ceremonials or when a loa is seeking to pass on with a individual. When the loa enters the organic structure, the individual is gone. The organic structure is the organic structure of the single individual, but it is truly the loa. For case, if a male loa enters the organic structure of a female individual, he is referred to as a he and non as a she, merely during the climb. The following entities of Voodoo are the Twins. These are much like the ying and yang. The liquors are funny and instead cryptic forces of contradictories: good and evil, happy and sad, right and incorrect, and other balances. If honored now and once more in spiritual services, they will be given to assist one have the better side of life. The concluding entity of Voodoo is the dead. These are chiefly the psyche of one s ain household members who have died but have non yet been reclaimed by the household. Ignored household dead can be unsafe, frequently keeping gr

udges and doing bad things to go on. Honored and cared for household dead are helpful and really nice. All three entities of Voodoo are shown great regard and treated with self-respect, because it is unsafe to anger any of them. Loa liquors are everyplace, but no 1 is responsible for every individual one of them. Merely personal loa need to be honored and remembered. Other loa that are important are the popular 1s. These include the loa that a individual marries, followed by Legba, who is the gatekeeper between the two universes, the World of Earth and the universe of the Invisibles. He is the beginning of life, and the Sun is one of his symbols, but he is besides the beginning of regeneration and uses the symbol of the Phallus. Kalfu is the following loa, whose name means hamlets and is the Petro opposite number to Legba. He is the spirit of the dark, the beginning of darkness. The Moon is his symbol. He can be placated, but is a unsafe loa. Papa Ghede is the loa of decease and Resurrection. He is an absolute buffoon, really titillating and amusing. He is the Godhead of erotism. Dumballah is the male parent figure. He is the good serpent, the beginning of peace and repose. He is much loved and sought after. Agwe is the crowned head of the seas, she is particularly esteemed, as 1 might good anticipate by people who live near the sea. Ogoun the warrior, is the voice and the force of political relations, who is really violent. Erzulie is the Earth female parent. She is the spirit of the goddess of love, the Muse of beauty, and is strongly identified with the Virgin Mary. Her visual aspect is one of cleaning, dressing, delicate nutrients daintily eaten. She can read the hereafter in dreams and is really esteemed and loved ( Corbett Loa ) . Along with honouring liquors and loa, Voodoo practicians, called serviteurs, besides provide many services in their faith.

The cardinal and cardinal facet of Voodoo is mending people from unwellness. Such healing activities likely constitute 60 per centum of all Voodoo activity. Therapists heal with herbs, faith healing with the aid of loa and other liquors, and today, even with western medical specialty. The priesthood of Voodoo contains both work forces and adult females. The male priests are called houngans, and the female priests are called mambo. Both have equal duties and are every bit of import. The maps of mambos and houngans include mending, executing spiritual ceremonials to name or quiet the liquors, keeping inductions for new priests ( Kanzo ) , stating the hereafter, reading dreams, projecting enchantments and making protections, and making potions for assorted intents. These include love and decease enchantments. For any of these services there are fees, depending on the mambo or houngans. Another cardinal characteristic of Voodoo is the service, the spiritual rites of the faith. The service is normally held outside, under a unsmooth roof around the potomitan, the centre pole. A houngan or mambo about ever directs these. Drums are used extensively to supply music, and dance is perfectly indispensable to the whole service. Servicess are to the full participatory, which means that non merely the houngans and mambo participate but about everyone present. The maestro of ceremonials called La Place is frequently present, along with the hounganikon whom directs the music and gesture. Hounsi, whom are the functioning ladies, are normally dressed in white. All those in attending are about all participants and most can be mounted. About every juju service has carnal forfeit. By killing the animate being, one releases life. The loa are exhausted by the taxing undertaking of running the existence. Therefore, they can have this life sacrificed to them and are rejuvenated. This act makes them rather happy. This type of Voodoo is known as Rada Voodoo. This is household spirit Voodoo and the Voodoo of the comparatively peaceable and happy loa. Another type of Voodoo is called Petro ( Congo ) Voodoo. This is black charming Voodoo and the Voodoo of angry, average, and awful loa. Dangerous things happen in Petro including decease expletives, the devising of zombi, and wild sex binges. By virtually all scholarly estimations, it is found that Rada Voodoo histories for more than 95 % of all Voodoo. Thus the narratives of black thaumaturgy, while really existent, are highly limited. Petro is non the typical Voodoo but it does be. Harmonizing to Voodoo, worlds have two liquors and a organic structure. The ti-bon-ange ( small good angel ) is similar to the scruples in the Western apprehension of people. There is besides gros-bon-ange ( large good angel ) which is similar to the psyche of a individual in Western theories. Except the psyche is so much more separate from the individual than is a western psyche. For illustration, when a individual goes before God for judgement it is the gros-bon-ange which presents the individual to God and makes the individual s instance ( Leonard, Overview of Haitian Voodoo ) .

There are many hyperboles and false strong beliefs that have been stated about Voodoo and its patterns. Much of this stems form the fact that there exists Petro Voodoo, which is the black thaumaturgy sector of Voodoo. In Petro Voodoo, a bokor, which is a priest gone bad, performs fundamentally the same maps as a regular priest but with bad purposes. These maps range from projecting enchantments on people to zombification. These enchantments are performed with the purpose to do bad fortune on person, whereas zombification causes a regular individual to be dazed and impotently confused for the remainder of his or her life. It is done by administrating a few drugs and non with wands or totems. Although Voodoo does hold a dark side, it is nowhere nigh every bit horrifying as it has been portrayed in the yesteryear. Several myths about Voodoo that have been displayed before include lodging pins in Voodoo dolls to seek to ache or kill person. This is a definite hyperbole on normal Voodoo and is merely an exclusion in rare instances. Another hyperbole are the sex orgies that take topographic point. Harmonizing to Hugh B. Cave, this impression of sex binges is disenchanting, because there is really small sex in Voodoo. Erzulie, the love loa, when possessing a female participant at a service, may command the sexual attending of a chosen male. This is a signifier of sex, no uncertainty, though ritualistic instead than orgiastic. As for animate being forfeits, the lone animate beings that are sacrificed are poulets and cocks and are merely killed to offer life force to the loa s. Forfeits are non made unless they are necessary. Many other false and overdone accusals toward Voodoo include cannibalism and kid forfeit. Due to these biass, Voodoo is much criticized by aliens in Haiti. Sometimes it is merely because they profess another faith and do non desire Voodoo to acquire in the manner. At other times, they claim it to be devil worship. When talking about Rada Voodoo, these claims are nonsensical and have no virtue. In Petro, nevertheless, it is less clear how to depict. There are no Satans in Voodoo, but it does hold its evil liquors. Many of the non-religious facets of Voodoo that people frequently criticize, truly look to be more the consequence of Voodoo s overpowering fatalism. The position is that to an amazing grade, the loa determine their lives. The Haitian serviteur has little or no usage for anything like free will or personal duty. Rather, whatever has happened, it is the loa who have caused it ( Corbett, Fatalism of Voodoo ) . If a individual would wish to alter anything in their life, they would hold to inquire the loa. A individual does non move on his or her ain. Furthermore, the loa are non really mutable. Thingss are the manner they are because the loa have decided it. This fatalism contributes significantly to the provincials unwillingness to fight for release.

While Voodoo has been fighting with a repute as a detested faith, working on this paper and researching the faith has made me recognize that it is non at all what I thought it was. The construct I had for this faith was a negative 1. First of all, I thought Voodoo was a polytheistic faith holding more than one God, but now I realize that I made an mistake. I grew up with the impression that Voodoo was the black faith that used dolls with pins in them to do other people suffer. While it is a portion of Voodoo known as Petro Voodoo, I know now that it is a really rare circumstance. As are many other hyperboles made about this faith. Having read carefully the many functions a serviteur of Voodoo has, I have greatly developed a regard for this deceasing faith. It is such a shame that more people do non hold the unfastened mindedness to see that it is alone and should be treated like so. Armed with a newfound cognition of this faith, I will set forth my best attempt to do others cognizant that Voodoo is non the sadistic faith that society has made it out to be.

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