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Category: *Vodoun's Origins
  1. Why do you worship underground or in secret?
  2. Is "Beninoise Voodoo" the same as Dahomean Vodoun?
  3. Is Vodou a CULT?
  4. is vodoun older than christianity, islam or the jewish religion?
  5. Is Vodou the result of a mixture of Catholic and local native faiths?
  6. *Is Haitian Vodou and Dahomean Vodoun the same?
  7. *Is Vodou a Belief system? Does one have to beleive in the Vodou for them to work?
  8. Why is Voodoo so scary and mysterious?
  9. I know there is the Voodoo as it is practiced in Wedo (West Africa), in Haiti, in New Orleans in New York and Chicago. But there are some forms of Voodoo by definition not very powerful. What voodoo do you practice and how can it change my life?
  10. Is Voodoo about performing MAGIC SPELLS?
  11. I am a member of the yourba/ ifa tradition would that be considered voodoo
  12. Is the Vodoun religion an off-shoot of the Yoruba?
  13. There is an African religious organization which claims that the Yoruba religious center Ile Ife is the "holy home of all African-based religions," and that the Vodoun religion descends from there. Is this true?
  14. I read on a religious organization site that they have been recognized by the U.S. court as the offical voice of the Vodoun religion. Is this possible?

  15. Is there such a thing as a person being the official voice of a "Voodoo Doctrine?"




  1. Why do you worship underground or in secret?
    In pre-colonial traditional African societies, religion was a way of life. The practice of Vodoun and the veneration of evolved Ancestors has never been a secret or hidden tradition. Most village kingdoms were actually miniature theocracies, in which the Clan Elder, or village king and "Queen mother" assumed the role of priest/ess. There were no distinct separation of the secular from the non-secular world as it is in the West. However, with the advent of slavery, and (later) colonialism, came religious persecution; forcing all Africans brought to the New World, and colonized to convert to Christianity. This "conversion" was conducted under the specter of threat, torture, death and punitive laws which forbade any public practice of African religions. This hostile environment coupled with a deliberate and extensive propaganda campaign led by Hollywood and Christian evangelists sealed the fate of African religions in the New World, forcing all practitioners to either practice underground, or abandon their ancient religions out of fear and shame. Today, with more than 40 million adherents world-wide, many are proudly reclaiming their ancestral traditions, and presenting their historical truths, transforming power and beauty by openly practicing their faith as all other major religions are allowed in a free society. It should also be noted that two years ago, the Pope finally acknowledged and apologized for the persecution of Africans and for demonizing African Religions. You may read more about it HERE
    Additionally, OATH: Organization of African Traditional Healers, recently won a victory with the Library of Congress, which no longer classify African Diaspora Religions under the prejorative categories of "Cult" "Satanism", etc. To read more about it, CLICK HERE. Finally, you may visit here for more historical background on the suppression of Slavery in America
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  2. Is "Beninoise Voodoo" the same as Dahomean Vodoun?
    Yes.
    However, to refer to the Vodoun as practiced in West Africa and the Diaspora as "Beninese" (both noun and plural) would be to limit its practice to one specific geograpahical location, which would be present day Benin, and exclude its much broader scope and practice in both Togo, and Southwest Ghana, and more anciently in Egypt, East Africa, Ancient Ionia (Greece), ancient Aisa Minor (now Turkey), and in Afro-Rome.

    VODOUN RELIGION IN TOGO


    What is more devastating, is that to attribute the practice of the Vodoun religion only to Benin and Haiti, would also deny the millions of Africans througout the diaspora their birthright, by negating the more than 51 different ethnic groups (and Spirit pantheons brought) from the surrounding territories of Dahomey, who developed, practiced and brought this tradition to the New World in their blood. Thus, limiting the development of the Vodoun religion to only the Fon of Benin, who themselves are a subgroup of the Ewe (Yeveh), of which more than 3 million (Ewe) were brought to the American South alone.

    Because most anthropologists have spent the greatest amount of time, and research "studying" the Fon (mainly sent to Haiti), they thus mistakenly atrribute to them the entire development of the Vodoun religion which is neither historically, ancestrally nor presently accurate. A new article is in the works which will shed further light on the "Dahomean" myth as being the "birth home" of the Vodoun religion.

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  3. Is Vodou a CULT?

    No. Neither are the use of "magic," "spells" "hocus pocus" i.e.,. These are Western concepts that demonstrate their misunderstanding of the nature of the Vodoun religion. It has no theoretical or practical foundation in Vodou, nor its it used. Vodoun is an ANCESTRAL & NATURE tradition, in which spiritual transformation is achieved via the direct communion with specialized Vodou gods (of nature), born within the respective African lineage's, and the ancestors who severed them for eons.

    Honor and supplication is also bestowed to those ancestors who have evolved, and those who are in the process of evolving, as well as those who have lived lives that were both distinguished, and infamous/notorious . . . for it si believed that lessons can be learned equally from all paths.

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  4. is vodoun older than christianity, islam or the jewish religion?

    Yes to all of the above.

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  5. Is Vodou the result of a mixture of Catholic and local native faiths?

    By far the most commonly held misconception about the origins and cosmological structure of Vodoun is the mistaken notion that it arrived in the New World as a fragmented hodgepodge of unintelligble beliefs, until it incorporated Western and indigenous religious practices into its body corpus in order to legitimize and offer it structural integrity.

    In truth, Vodoun is a 10,000 year old tradition which PREDATES Christianity, and is replete with all the elements that would define it as a "religion" proper. With ANCESTOR veneration, and service to the Nature gods at its core, it is arguably the oldest religion in Africa. "Voodoo" was also secretly practiced amongst the slaves of the South long before the influx of Haitiain immigrants to Lousiana. Though highly adaptable to wherever African descendants migrated or were taken and enslaved, the Vodoun religion incorporates the flavor of its local surroundings largely for its survival.

    This was especially the case during the height of the religious persecution of the African during slavery and colonialism in Africa. Thus, one might find in some denominations of Vodoun, superficial aspects of Western religion, liturgy and indigenous practices incorporated into its local practices.

    An example of this in the New World, is the use of Catholic Saints or the use of communion by some shrines/denominations in the Vodoun religion. However, the Saints are NOT the Vodou gods, nor is communion (such as is practiced in some parts of Benin) necessary in actual Vodou practice. It is also critical to note that, everywhere the Vodoun or African religions have spread in the New World, the indigenous traditions have quickly incorporated many of its major aspects and gods, and have flavored it with their own unique culture as well. Today, in the New World, Haitian and American "Voodoo" have blended with some elements of both indigenous and Western Christian beliefs and practices. However, this is NOT the case in Dahomean Vodoun as it is practiced in Togo, and many parts of Benin and Southwest Ghana. Additionally, what is important to keep in mind is that if one were to remove the indigenous and Christian elements from the Vodoun religion it would NOT loose any of its integrity, for ALL the major aspects of the Vodoun religion throughout Africa and in the diaspora remains uniquely AFRICAN. For more insight into this issue, you can visit the links below: About.com Interview:African Origins of Voodoo
    The Religion of the Slaves

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  6. *Is Haitian Vodou and Dahomean Vodoun the same?

    To begin, it should be noted that in spite of the oversight by many Western historians, & scholars etc., in mistakenly crediting Vodoun's development to Haiti, Vodoun is an ancestral religion that some anthropologists have dated to be as old as 10,000 years . West African Vodoun is the oldest of these Vodoun religions, and as it is today,was a fully developed and complex system of ritual, theology and worhsip long before it arrived in the New World. It is the official religion of Benin, and is the dominate religion in Togo, and Southwest Ghana, the original people/founders of the Vodoun religion. All of the Vodoun practice in the New World have their ancestral and spiritual roots in West Africa, including Haitian Vodou which [Haiti] has only been an independent republic since 1804. In West African Vodoun (which includes the Vodoun systems of Benin, Togo, and Southwest Ghana) no Priest or Priestess, Afavi, Voudsi, Sofo, or Senterua is restricted to their own Houses or clans. Outside of ones ethnic , totemic and personal divnities, there are literally hundreds of gods that they can and do invoke, and conjoined Houses that we work. from the Mina, Ewe, Fon, Gwa, Tchamba, Adja, Yoruba, Nago, Goun, Holli, Aizo, Congo, Mahi, Bariba, Phila-Phila, Asante, Anlo-Ewe,Taneka, Dindi, Peulh just to name a few--and the ancient Ancestral, Nuseuwex/Loko, Gorovodu, Mamaissii & Atikevodou denominaitons, etc., not to mention the multitude of new divinites that are born at any given moment that we can and do acquire when one has the level power and skill to handle. Haitian Mambos and Hougons with ancestral lineages and connection in the Arara (Allada) and Quidah ethnic lineages come to Togo and Benin to relearn to work with the Yeveh Vodou that no longer exist in Haiti. There are new Clans that spring up so often that we have given-up on counting them. Well cover 50% of all African-Americans have their ancestral roots in West Africa, and whose ancestors were practitioners on some level within the West African Vodoun tradition. To learn more about Vodoun early history please go here
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  7. *Is Vodou a Belief system? Does one have to beleive in the Vodou for them to work?
    By Euro-Western definitions, the Vodoun is really not defined as a religion by its native and diaspora practitioners. This is so because it is not founded upon religious dogma, messianic promises (second comings), dichotomous thinking (hell vs. heaven, good vs. evil, etc.), nor scriptural/doctrinal interpretations. It is not headed by a "pope," nor dependent upon "prophets of doom," or fear. Again, Vodoun is centered on ANCESTRAL veneration, guided by the direct intervention of NATURE deities whom have come directly to them to offer guidance, spiritual evolvement, and blessings since the beginning of time. These "demigods" and ancient blood ancestors are experienced directly through divination and various forms of trance possession (not channeling!). The knowledge gained and the spiritual lessons acquired are then passed down through the blood and community through the offspring of the African and the diaspora. Faith, experiential belief, ritual, worship and other components are involved in the development of ones spiritual character in the Vodoun. The Vodou gods of each African lineage are specific to them, though some of the same principles and outer characteristics may be the same.
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  8. Why is Voodoo so scary and mysterious?

    During the Maafa (holocaust of African slavery) in the "New World," it became absolutely essential to rip the African from all familiar ties to their native Africa. This especially included disconnecting them from the main source of their ancestors, spiritual power and inspiration which were their religions. The Europeans both abhorred and feared African religions because they worked. Not thru "dark magic and trickery, but rather due to the intimate relationship of service, devoutness, and worship the Africans cultivated over the centuries with their gods and divine ancestors. And since these religions are connected through the (ancestral) blood of the African, this power could not be exploited and sold as a commodity. As a result, African religious practices were brutally suppressed. Their tutelary spirits were labled "demonic", their sacred shrines were destroyed, and its priesthood murdered. They were prevented from honoring their ancestors, erecting shrines, performing initiations, carving sacred images, making sacred drums, etc.,--- The Europeans fear was such that harsh laws were enacted (and enforced through imprisonment, torture and death),to prevent the transmission of this sacred knowledge to future generations. A carefully concerted campaign of hostile distortions and brainwashing, coupled with belittling imagery was waged (spearheaded by Hollywood and fanatical Christian evangelicals), to destroy the credibility of African indigenous religions throughout the world. Thus is the "dark scary and mysterious" image that African religions suffer today; forcing those who still possessed the knowledge to practice the religion in secret, and in many cases literally in the dark, earning the reputation of being "dark, cultist, evil, " etc., It must also be noted that this ANCESTRAL RELIGION and its 6,000 year history in PRECOLONIAL West Africa has always been an open religion; inextricably intertwined with the daily life, and moral and social practices and development of the people. Thankfully today, these images are being challenged and are slowly retiring to America's hall of shame, as had the ministrels, mammys, and blackface. Many in the diaspora are reclaiming their ancestors and honoring their African gods, as all other people do, openly defying conventional boxes, and racist stereotypes. Finally, the library of Congress no longer classifieds African Religions as CULTS, opening the door for educators, religious scholars, and others to include African religions in textbooks, and its rightful place amongst the World Religions taught in schools.

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  9. I know there is the Voodoo as it is practiced in Wedo (West Africa), in Haiti, in New Orleans in New York and Chicago. But there are some forms of Voodoo by definition not very powerful. What voodoo do you practice and how can it change my life?
    To assume "Voodoo as practiced in Wedo" is the one practiced in West Africa is a misnomer. Though most are only familiar with the Vodoun of Benin, the Vodoun religion was developed and is practiced all throughout West Africa, and not thru import from Benin. Your statement that "some forms of Voodoo are by definition not very powerful," is not clear. Proper initiaiton, training and experience is what will determine ones mastery in most cases. I am a priest of the Yeveh Vodoun and Mami Wata tradition. It is not a "practice" for me as it is not for most in West Africa. It is who and what we *are* as well as who our ancestors *are.* No one can "change your life" with any tradition. Only *you* can do that.
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  10. Is Voodoo about performing MAGIC SPELLS?

    No.

    The use of "magic," "spells" "hocus pocus" i.e., are Western concepts that demonstrate their misunderstanding of the nature of the Vodoun religion. It has no theoretical or practical foundation in Vodou, nor its it used. Vodoun is an ANCESTRAL & NATURE tradition, in which spiritual transformation is achieved via the direct communion with specialized Vodou gods (of nature), born within the respective African lineage's, and the ancestors who severed them for eons.

    Honor and supplication is also bestowed to those ancestors who have evolved, and those who are in the process of evolving, as well as those who have lived lives that were both distinguished, and infamous/notorious . . . for it is believed that lessons can be learned equally from all paths.

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  11. I am a member of the yourba/ ifa tradition would that be considered voodoo
    All indigenous traditions of Africa, at their cosmological, cultural and moral core; are the same in design, philosophy & practice. They are ancestrally dictated. They are merely known by different names, and emphasis is placed on the deities and ancestors that are unique to a specific ethnic and cultural group. \"Vodou\" is merely the Ewe and Fon name for \"Spirit\" in their language.
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  12. Is the Vodoun religion an off-shoot of the Yoruba?

    No.
    The Various ethnic groups of Western Nigeria who have been collectively named by western anthropologists as "Yoruba," are practitoners of the Ifa'Orisha tradition.

    The Ewe groups who occupied ancient Ketu in Western Nigeria from the 11th-13th century, pre-date the arrival of these Yoruba groups. The religions of West Africa are ancestrally connected, and the Ewe are not ancestral cousins of the Yoruba.

    The Ewe groups are the descendants of the Vodoun religion in ancient Ketu long before the Yoruba Oyo Empire began its expansion into the region.

    Today the Vodoun religion has its most recent ancestral roots in various West Africa cultures, namely Togo, Benin, Ghana, Burkino Faso, Senegal and other regions throughout West Africa.

    There is one small Yoruba-Fon "Vodoun" mixture in southern Benin known as the "Anago." However, this group is very small, and are a product of the forced migrations and attempts at reconcilation between the warring Yoruba and Dahomean kingdoms during their fight for hegemony in West Africa.

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  13. There is an African religious organization which claims that the Yoruba religious center Ile Ife is the "holy home of all African-based religions," and that the Vodoun religion descends from there. Is this true?

    No.
    Ile Ife is the "holy Mecca" for the Ifa'Orisha faiths. There is not one single Vodoun faith in West Africa that takes "holy pilgrimages" to Ile Ife. The majority of the West African Vodoun Egbes do not even speak nor understand the Yoruba language, and none certainly do not recognize Ile Ife as the ancestral home of the Vodoun religion.

    As close as one might get to a "holy pilrimage" in the Vodoun religion are the anual celebrations held in Benin every January sponsored by the CNCV (National Community of the Worship Vodoun) and other local Beninoise Egbes.

    However, these are local celebrations that have become a public tourists money making event for Benin. The Ewe, Mina, Kaybe and other Vodoun groups do not participate in these events. They hold their own ancestral celebrations in Togo. The Vodoun religion is very diverse and is far from the monolithic depictions portrayed in the West.

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  14. I read on a religious organization site that they have been recognized by the U.S. court as the offical voice of the Vodoun religion. Is this possible?

    No. (lol).

    They can only be recognized as the official tribunal in eforcing the laws, and protocols of their own Egbe. Any legitmate, knowledgable practitioner knows that it is naive, cosmologically, ancestrally, and literally impossible for one group/entity to proclaim themselves the sole governing body in any African-Diaspora religion.

    When one reads such impossible proclamations, they are to be taken as "political" and not literal. There is usually an economic and power-centered incentive behind such statements.

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  15. Is there such a thing as a person being the official voice of a "Voodoo Doctrine?"

    No.
    Outside of the universal protocols ultilized to verify ones initiation and lineage (i.e. by whom, what, where and when a person was initiated), the spiritual laws and house protocols established for the Vodoun religion both in West Africa and in the Diaspora, are developed by each Egbe based upon the Vodoun deities and ancestors which govern them.

    It is dangerous and disrespectful, not to mention ancestrally, and cosmologically impossible for anyone to establish and impose their own self-made "Vodoun doctrines" on any legitimate Egbe.

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