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African
Roots

Voodoo is the common name for animistic1
cults in the Caribbean, Africa and the United
States. All branches of Voodoo are syncretic:
they combine Catholicism with traditional African
religions, that still prevail in the West African
nations of Benin, Congo and Angola.

1. Belief in the existence of souls and Spirits and in the animality of nature.

Haitian Voodoo

The most orthodox branch of this religion,
that was created among slaves in Haiti.

It all started when African natives were
taken away from their homeland and sent
to the American continent as slaves. Local
Catholics were terrified by the Voodoo
traditions so slaves were forbidden from
practicing their native religion. But the Africans
found a way by giving Christian names
to their Gods and Spirits. Because of its great
ability to adapt, Voodoo survived through
the centuries to the present day. It has preserved
its own traditions and gained hundreds of new
ones, while many other religions and cults were
completely wiped out by Christianity.

Winti in Surinam

Winti is an Afro-Surinamese traditional religion
that originated in South America and developed
in the Dutch Empire.

During the transatlantic slave trade of the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries, members of various West
African tribes were brought to Suriname.

The foundation of Winti is based on three principles:
the belief in the Supreme Creator called Anana
Kedyanpon, the belief in a pantheon of Spirits called
Winti, and the veneration of ancestors.

Brazilian
Candomble

Candomble developed among Afro-Brazilian communities
amid the Atlantic slave trade. Until the middle of the
twentieth century century religion was banned by Brazilian
government. Colonialists had no idea what this cult
was about, they could only hear a distant hum
of ritual drums.

The main ceremony in Candomble is a ritual circular dance.
When the dancer, from numerous repetitions of the same
movements, falls into a trance, it is believed that the dancer
becomes possessed by one of the Gods. Candomble followers
believe that this way you can communicate with the Gods
and cleanse the soul.

Santeria in Cuba.

One of the main ceremonies in Santeria is sacred rocks
“feeding” that takes place three times a year and lasts
for three days. During the ceremony stones are sprinkled
with blood of sacrificial animals. Each stone represents
a certain Spirit or God.

Voodoo
in Louisiana

Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with Haitian
Voodoo. Louisiana Voodoo emphasises Gris-gris,
Voodoo queens, use of Voodoo occult paraphernalia,
and Li Grand Zombi a snake deity. It was through
Louisiana Voodoo that Voodoo dolls were introduced
into American subculture. Voodoo was brought to the
French colony Louisiana through the slave trade
and made popular and fashionable by Marie Laveau.

Main concept

Voodoo is a cult with belief in ancestral Spirits.
According to Voodoo beliefs the soul does not go to heaven
or hell after death, but instead it goes to the land of eternal
hunting, from where it can be called to help descendants.
For example, Spirits can bring illness to the enemy or help with
the harvest or personal life. Some ancestral Spirits are especially
strong and powerful. They serve a similar role as the Saints
in Catholicism. Voodoo also assumes the possibility
of a body without a soul.

Do whatever

Voodoo does not prohibit drinking, drugs, smoking,
sex and all other pleasures. In fact, there are no dogmas
and there is no God who would allow or forbid anything.
Spirits can get angry with you only for disrespecting them,
for not repaying for the service or just because they can.

All religions are cool

Voodoo is very tolerant towards other religions. Most likely
they would say that Jesus was a very powerful shaman. They would
consider any pagan God to be one of the Voodoo Spirits.
Too many Spirits could have been created that way, so they were often
identified with one another: for example, it was absolutely fine to hang
an icon of St. Francis, or, as an alternative – the Spirit of Bananas
to provide help and luck.

Voodoo Gods

Voodoo religion has a huge pantheon of Gods and Spirits.
People believe that they are envious and jealous of each other.
Their attitude towards humans is also very uncertain, so cult
followers are always trying to appease especially mean Spirits
as way to avoid any harm that Gods and Spirits might cause.

Bondye,
the Good God

Voodoo teaches the existence of a single
supreme God, Bondye, which is believed to have
created the universe. He is regarded as a remote
and transcendent figure, one which does not
involve itself in everyday human affairs.

Loa or Lwa

Voodoo priests address questions to the powerful
Gods, which are responsible for different aspects
of life, or to the Spirits of ancestors. Loa are Spirit
creatures with human nature that can be petty and
cruel or kind and loving, similar to the pantheon
of Greek Gods

Loa are part of families that interact
between each other.

01. Rada

The Rada family is responsible
for good and favorable events
(successful hunt, good weather).

02. Petro

The Petro family is responsible for bad
and harmful things (from a simple
bad luck up to the unexpected death).

03. Ghede

The Third family, Ghede is responsible
for the afterworld.

Same Spirit under different name can be
a part of different families.

Baron Samedi

Samedi means "Saturday" in French. He is a Spirit associated
with death, but also with sexuality and childbirth.
He is wearing European clothes: a tailcoat and a top
hat. The most common representation is a skeleton or a skull
wearing a top hat and smoking a cigar. He is very loud,
has a very impulsive personality, sometimes even reckless.
Baron is married to Mama Bridgit - another Loa, who is a keeper
of cemetery calm and quiet. She also keeps her husband calm.

Papa Legba and Kalfu

Papa Legba usually appears as a harmless old man on a crutch
or with a cane. Any Voodoo ceremony starts with summoning
of Papa Legba, because he is a Key and The Gate and you can't get
to The Other Side without his permission. He blows bubbles with
his smoking pipe and he is a big dog lover.

Kalfu is the the evil twin of Legba that looks like Satan.
He is the only Loa who is openly mean to people, but especially
experienced shamans still can take advantage of him.

Voodoo Doll

The Voodoo Doll is the special doll used for Voodoo practices. It is believed
that after completing a special ritual, a doll will be spiritually connected
to the certain person. After a shaman has created this bond, he can affect
targeted person through the doll, usually it's done for bad intentions.

To create the doll you have to use some type of genetic material of the victim
(nails, hair, discharge) and an object (or its part) that belongs to the victim.
Usually the doll would be hidden or buried not too far from the victim.

You can actually draw
on the doll. Nobody will see
it, so feel free to go crazy

If you open this page on
your computer, you will
be able to draw on the doll

Masks
and amulets

Masks are usually crafted by local shamans.
If someone in the village gets sick, he asks the Shaman
for help and after that they spend some time together
isolated in the forest. Afterwards, the Shaman makes
a mask that represents the pain and suffering of this
person. When the mask is ready, the Shaman puts it on
the persons face and then they yell all the things
they want to get rid of into the mask. After the ritual,
the mask will normally be sent to the market to be sold
to tourists.

Gris-gris is a talisman or amulet that protects its
owner from evil. Usually it looks like a tiny bag
filled with a mixture of herbs, oils, rocks, bones,
hair, nails and other ingredients. One of the most
necessary ingredient is something that belongs
to the Gri-gris creator. If the amulet is being passed
to someone else, it means patronage and protection.
Normally Gri-gris would be passed within a family.

Dress the doll up as fancy
as possible by dragging things

How to make
a zombie

Laziness and the urge to make someone do your work
is something very typical and common among humankind.
Zombies in Voodoo are beings that can’t object to doing
work and why they were created in Voodoo culture.
This is how a zombie can be created:

According to another version of Voodoo, all these "Zombies"
are mentally ill people who have forgotten who they are,
since Haiti has no possibility to maintain psychiatric
hospitals. Nowadays, the ritual of creating Zombies
is prohibited at the legislative level.

Trance

In Voodoo, falling into trance is considered the best way
to communicate with ancestors, which allows you to see
things from the third party and a possibility of visiting
the Other Side, while still being able to come back.
The main key to the success of the procedure is to lose
consciousness. There are few way to do that:

01.

Singing and dancing
until passing out

02.

Unrestrained
orgies

03.

Brain
exsanguination

04.

Holding breath
as long as you can

05.

Different drugs,
alcohol

New Orleans
Voodoo

Click and drag

01

Marie Laveau was a free woman of color of African,
Native American, and French Descent. In 1819 she
married Jacques Paris and settled in the mansion
on St Ann Street in New Orleans,that she inherited
from her father. Within a year she became a widow
and got a job as a hairdresser.

02

As a hairdresser, Laveau acquired a wealthy
clientele and began to offer her magical
services including Voodoo. Quickly, she gained
a reputation as a powerful witch, with rumors
spreading beyond the hair salon.

03

By turning Voodoo rituals into grand
performances with dancing and carnivals,
she attracted a rich crowd. Very soon she had
plenty of wealthy clients who were seeking
to get help from the “Other Side”.

04

Marie Laveau was the main developer of Louisiana
Voodoo, famous for the openness and pomp of the
ceremonies. Thanks to her, we know New Orleans
as a Voodoo capital, that to this day attracts
people from all over the world.

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Anna Sherruble

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