25 True Things You May Not Know About Voodoo

Few things conjure up more thoughts of spells and ritualistic ceremonies than Voodoo. The history of Voodoo has its roots in West Africa, transferring to the Americas via the slave trade. But something that has become clear to us is there are two kinds of voodoo: the real kind and the Hollywood kind. Hollywood has, in typical fashion, exaggerated various parts of the story to sell more movies; it has mixed various religious traditions and has overstated (or wrongly attributed) various practices such as the making of dolls and dark arts. Even the recent Disney movie “The Princess and the Frog” used the character of Dr. Facilier as a black magic trickster and the character of Mama Odie (the “Voodoo Queen of the Bayou”, a reference to legendary Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau) as an example of a positive magical conjurer. Voodoo is, in fact, a community based religion which recognizes one supreme being and various lesser spirits. (Sound familiar?) Voodooists emphasize a moral code and refrain from hurting others. They are also known for their energy-filled drum and dance ceremonies. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Dig into the real facts about Voodoo in this list of 25 True Things You May Not Know About Voodoo.

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Voodoo's roots

N'angaSource: Religion Facts, Image: Wikipedia

Voodoo is a spiritual expression that blends together indigenous African religions with animism and spiritism. Sometimes, shamanism and witchcraft are also thrown into the fray.


The two worlds

Voodoo_Altar_New_OrleansSource: Huffington Post, Image: Wikipedia

Voodooists hold central to their belief that there are two interrelated worlds: the visible and the invisible. Death separates us from the invisible world where our ancestors still watch over us.


The most famous versions of Voodoo

Ceremonial mask dance, Egungun, voodoo, AfricaSource: Religion Facts, Image: Shutterstock/Dietmar Temps

Voodoo is most known in three places: West Africa, Haiti, and Louisiana. Beyond there, it is sometimes practiced in places which had many West African slaves such as Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.


One god

Damballah_La_FlambeauSource: Huffington Post, Image: Wikipedia

Most Voodooists believe in a supreme being, though the deity is more distant and less accessible than lesser spirits. This monotheistic religion refers to god as Bondye.


The "lwa"

voodoo dancerSource: Religion Facts, Image: davidstanleytravel via Flickr

All voodoo practitioners are known for interacting with lesser spirits, often called “lwa”. The spirits often differ between branches and some have even been merged with Catholic saints after the collision of European Christianity and African Voodoo.

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