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What is Voodoo ?

The word "voodoo" has several meanings. It applies both to a form of traditional African religion and to religious forms developed outside of their place of origin, such as the Haitian Creole tradition and southern Louisiana religiosity. Ultimately, it has been used interchangeably to allude to any religious practice associated with Africa, such as Palo May0mbe Cuban Magic, Santeria, Quimbana, and other traditional magical systems.

"Voodoo" comes from the term vodoun , which designates the group of divinities and spirits of the natural world , such as the waters and the earth, with whom human beings interact to win their favor. The vodoun resemble the orishas of the Yoruba religion , with which it is often confused. Mawu is the main goddess , creator of the other entities. She is called "the inaccessible one", because she does not participate in human affairs and she is never represented in an image. The voodoo pantheon also includes the loas, inferior divinities, such as Erzulie , linked to love and desire, or Azaka , who watches over agriculture.

Voodoo religious cults were (and still are) practiced by West African populations such as the Fon, Gun, and Ewe, especially in the areas of Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, and Congo , and especially in the ancient kingdom of Dahomey. Music, dance and possession constitute some of the basic pillars on which their practices are based.

Voodoo cults crossed the Atlantic as African populations were enslaved and forcibly transported to the Americas. This is why forms of voodoo are found in places like Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic , Brazil, and the state of Louisiana, and other southern states which remain hidden.

 

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, voodoo merged with elements of Christianity and underwent a regional evolution, with variants throughout the West Indies and American territories such as candomblé, Hoodoo, and Haitian voodoo.

 

Voodoo priests and priestesses can receive an oracle or spiritual call at any time in their life. When this happens, they are integrated into the family congregation, where they assume their religious responsibilities. In voodoo there is also a priesthood of women , passed down through a matriarchal lineage in which the firstborn is given the position of Queen Mother. She is responsible for managing the relevant ceremonies of the clan, from marriages to funerals.

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