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Vodou. Worldview. Monistic Ashe Ritual actions effect the world (magic) Animistic &/or Panentheistic? Lwas/loas associated with natural as well as cultural things Multi-tiered – Heaven; world; Ginen Relational – universe viewed as complex web of relationships & dependencies.

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worldview
Worldview
  • Monistic
    • Ashe
    • Ritual actions effect the world (magic)
  • Animistic &/or Panentheistic?
    • Lwas/loas associated with natural as well as cultural things
  • Multi-tiered – Heaven; world; Ginen
  • Relational – universe viewed as complex web of relationships & dependencies

Ginen - land of loa and ancestors

theology
Theology
  • Monotheistic or polytheistic, depending on definitions
  • Bondye (God) – Distant, unapproachable
  • Loas (lwas):
    • Many “Nanchons” (nations) pantheons
    • Two most recognized = Rada & Petro
      • Rada = “cool” (Dahomean)
      • Petro = “hot” (Haitian)

Bondye – God (faceless, unknowable)

theology4
Theology

Lwas/loas (gods, spirits, saints) – very approachable

- les invisibles, les mysteres

  • Two main “nanchons” = Rada (calm, cool, African) and Petro (fierce, hot, Caribbean)
  • Some main Rada loas are:
    • Legba (Christ or St. Peter) = Crossroads, communication
    • Erzulie (Virgin Mary) = love, motherhood, sexuality
    • Damballah (St. Patrick, God the Father) = wisdom, support
    • Ogou (St. James) = defense, iron, alchemy
    • Gede/Baron Samedi (St. Gerard) = cemetaries, death, family, sexuality
    • The marassa (Christ) = honoured dead, ancestors

Erzulie and daughter Anais (or Mary and Jesus)

theology5
Theology
  • Main Petro Loas:
    • Kafou Legba = trickster figure, aggressive defense of gateway to Ginen
    • Ezili Je‑Rouge (red eye) or Ezili Danto = rage and mother’s defense of threatened child
    • Ogou Ferary – fierce pleasures, fierce defense, aggression, strategy
    • Baron le Koa = harm to enemies, punish wrongdoers, death
    • Dan Petro = “father” of Petro loas - revenge

Ogou Ferary

other supernatural beings
Other Supernatural Beings
  • Baka
    • - spirits who serve both the loas and human magicians (bocor)
  • Ancestors
    • Souls:
      • Ti Bon Ange (little good angel)
      • Gros Bon Ange (big good angel)
      • Met tete (master of the head = guardian loa)
  • Mermaids, Loup Garou, Zombies
ethics
Ethics
  • Ethics are situational and relational
  • Ethics are communal and consensual
  • No set ethical code – based on consensus on what equals morally reasonable, socially acceptable behavior
  • “Reasonableness” governed by principles of generosity; respect
  • Some acceptance of Biblical ethics: 10 Commandments, Golden Rule
organization
Organization
  • Oum’phor (hounfor)
  • Konesans
  • 3 levels of participation:
    • Ordinary parishioner
    • Ounsi (hounsi) - initiated “spouses” of loas
    • Houngan (male) and/or Mambo (female)
varieties
Varieties
  • New Orleans Voodoo
    • Li Grand Zombi (Damballah)
    • Papa Limba (Legba)
    • Doctor John (1803-1885)
      • Hoodoo
      • Gris-gris
    • Marie Laveau (1794-1881)
      • Folk Catholicism elements
      • Marie the Younger
    • New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads

Marie Laveau’s Tomb

varieties10
Varieties
  • Haitian Vodou
    • Direct initiatory links to Haiti
    • Most dominant form in North America
    • Roots Without End
varieties11
Varieties
  • Vodou (Eclectic)
    • Predominantly follows Haitian model
    • May or may not have initiatory links to Haiti
    • Draws on other sources of inspiration, i.e. other Afro-Caribbean traditions, Kabbalah, Tarot, Astrology
    • Voodoo Spiritual Temple
    • Book: Voodoo Visions
rituals
Rituals
  • Oum’phor
    • Peristyle
    • Poteau-mitan
      • Veves
      • Fire & iron = Ogou
      • Mound & cross = Gede
      • Pool of water = Damballah
    • Djevo (initiation room)
    • Pe (altar room)
      • Loa symbols
      • Offerings
      • Pots de tete
ritual tools
Ritual Tools
  • Drums
    • Rada drums
    • Petro drums
    • Assato drum
  • Asson
    • Calabash & wooden handle, snake vertebrae
  • Clochette
rituals14
Rituals
  • The Kanzo (initiation cycle)
    • 2 week cycle
    • Bat ge
      • Petro ceremony
      • Priye Ginen
      • Loa drum rhythms & songs
      • Spirit possession
      • Pakets
rituals15
Rituals
  • The Kanzo
    • Ritual Baths
      • 3 days, 7 baths per day
      • Herbal baths
      • Funeral songs
    • Kouche Kanzo (lying down Kanzo)
      • Confined to the djevo
      • 4-5 days
      • Kouri Ayizan
      • Spirit possession
    • Afterwards, baptism, wear white, abstain from sex & certain foods for 41 days, one year later, sponsor a ritual to honour their lwa