Essay on voodoo in haiti

Arboo, Madam, as told to Harold Preece. The Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye was founded in the early s and incorporated in in Miami, Florida, by Ernesto Pichardo, its president, and his brother Fernando Pichardo in an effort to provide a public center for the largely secretive Santeria religion. Santeria has become a significant practice in the Cuban-American community of southern Florida, where it was introduced by refugees from the Cuban Revolution under Fidel Castro.

The church existed in relative quiet for many years, with its main public appearance being in a class Pichardo conducted at Miami-Dade Community College. The practice of Santaria also featured in a series of cases in the city courts in which the church defended its members. Then, in the mids, a decision was made to open a Santeria church that would hold public services in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, and this helped make the religion more well known, though it also created controversy.

Santeria is based upon the worship of the orishas, African deities from the country of Nigeria.

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This worship was brought to the Americas by the many slaves transported to the region from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. In Spanish colonies such as Cuba, the Nigerian religion took on a veneer of Roman Catholicism , and many of the orishas became identified with Catholic saints. During this time of possession, the possessed person will take on the characteristic of the particular divinity involved.

Integral to the worship of the deities, especially on special occasions such as a marriage ceremony, is animal sacrifice. This characteristic has made Santeria controversial in the otherwise very tolerant religious environments of Miami, New York, and Los Angeles , the three cities with the largest number of Santeria practitioners. Shortly after announcing the opening of the church in the s, the city of Hialeah passed four ordinances outlawing ritual animal sacrifice, ostensibly to protect residents from the spread of disease, to prevent cruelty to animals, and to prevent traumatizing any children who might witness the death of an animal.

The case became the subject of a court battle that went to the U. Supreme Court, which struck down the ordinance in Resnick, Rosalind. The Church of the Seven African Powers is one of several churches founded during the s through which the largely secretive Santeria community could reach out to the public at large, especially those who had become curious about it and wanted to experience it first hand.

The church promotes the worship of the orishas, the African deities whose actions form the heart of the Santeria faith. The church offers a correspondence course for people wishing to become knowledgeable about the faith.

Each lesson contains instructions for ebbos spells designed to aid the believer. The church also provides a means for seekers to come to Miami and to experience direct contact with the orishas through meetings with a Santeria priest-ess or priest. Church of the Seven African Powers.

A housewife and mother, she began her magical career in in a Kabbalistic system. She continued her study in the ritual magick systems of Aleister Crowley and Israel Regardie and, in , reached the point of mystical communion with her holy guardian angel. That communion led to the founding of the order. According to her textbook, Magick, High and Low, the order was focused on Kabbalistic magick with a strong emphasis on astrology, Egyptian mythology, and the Tarot.

They did not worship it, but rather what it symbolized: the magical light of universal intelligence always available to people when they learn how to use it, the belief that sacrifice must come before complete illumination, the balance between justice and mercy, eternal life, and the dual masculine-feminine nature of the body, among other things.

Prior to her death, Toups created several Wiccan priestesses who continue her lineage at different locations around the country. Samantha Corfield a.

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Haitian Voodoo Essay

Mambo Sam, b. She and her husband operate Sheer Goddess and www. They also sponsor an annual Voodoo Convention. The Witchcraft Shop Toups operated in New Orleans continued under new management, but did not survive the Katrina hurricane disaster of Its importance lies in its openness to people not of African lineage, especially visitors to New Orleans, and its willingness to introduce outsiders to the often secret world of Vodou.

During the slave trade, Africans taken from these regions kept their traditional spiritual practices alive despite constant attempts to destroy the spirit and traditions of those who had been captured and sold into slavery. Vodou devotees believe in an Omnipresent Creator and the loas, or orishas forces or saints of the universe. The loas act as intermediaries between the creator and the human world, comparable to saints in Catholicism. Each loa interacts with people and things to help create and maintain a spiritual balance. The temple was founded in by Priestess Miriam Chamani b.

A native of Mississippi, Miriam had experienced the power of mysterious forces since childhood, and she was led to various spiritual orders, culminating in the attainment of vast spiritual and metaphysical knowledge. Costonie, Toni. New Orleans: Voodoo Spiritual Temple, It is also practiced by a sizable minority of the two million Haitian immigrants and a small number of converts of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the Dominican Republic , the Bahamas , and North American cities like Miami , New York , and Montreal. Vodou emerged in the sixteenth century among enslaved Africans and their descendants in the western region of the Spanish Caribbean colony of Santo Domingo, which became the French colony of Saint-Domingue in and eventually the Republic of Haiti in As such, the lwa are deeply enmeshed in nature, and each lwa is associated with some natural force or feature, like rivers, rainbows, the earth, and the sea.

Numbering relatively few and facing opposition by slaveholders, Catholic missionaries managed little success in evangelizing slaves beyond administering the legally required sacrament of baptism. The syncretism that would thereafter characterize Vodou thus resulted, as Catholic saints merged with African spirits, and crosses, holy water , and rosaries joined spiritual forces with amulets that slaves refashioned from African traditions, which proved remarkably resilient in the face of the unspeakable oppression of slavery.


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After the schism, the Catholic Church , in alliance with the Haitian government, orchestrated several formal campaigns to suppress Vodou. These ultimately failed, however, and today the religion enjoys protection under the Haitian constitution, while in its baptisms and marriages gained legal recognition in Haiti. Vodou has always been heterogeneous and decidedly uncentralized, relying on neither the teachings of a founder, nor scripture, nor formal doctrine.

In some parts of Haiti, for example, the religion is primarily characterized by ancestor veneration, and elsewhere by cults of spirits of West African origins, such as Ezili, the female lwa of love, sensuality, and feminine power, and Ogou, the male lwa of iron and all powers associated with metals. Many lwa have manifestations in each rite. Further drum ceremonies may be prescribed, while others are held according to a liturgical calendar derived from Catholicism.

Healing, meanwhile, often involves herbalism and ritual baths. Leaves, water, song, dance, drums, blood, healing, and communion with the sacred are thus what Vodou is truly about. It is a dignified and complex religion of survival, resistance, and African roots that is quite the opposite of the ignorant and racist stereotypes that malign Vodou in Western imagination and media. Desmangles, Leslie G. Voodoo: Search for the Spirit. Lory Frankel.

New York : Abrams. Hurston, Zora Neale. Folklore, Memoirs, and Other Writings. New York : Library of America. Voodoo in Haiti. Hugo Charteris. New York: Schoken. Voodoo is an animist religion that consecrates a cult to Loas gods and to the ancestors — the cult of ancestors constitutes a system of religious beliefs and rites which are used principally to reinforce the social system as well as the dependence of the family — and at the same time, voodoo spirits, guardians, deities, or forces of nature.

Voodoo originated in Africa, specifically with the Fon, Yoruba, and Ewe tribes.

Voodoo cleansing ritual at Haiti waterfalls

Geographically, those ethnic groups can be found throughout Ghana , Togo , Benin, and Nigeria. More than a religion or a cult of death, voodoo plays a major role in everyday life through the symbolization of the African traditions for the Haitian people.


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  6. Voodoo is far from a uniform worship, but evolved differently from one region to the next. Voodoo is more than a synthesis of different African beliefs because it incorporates significant influences from Christianity. The word voodoo comes from the Fon language, spoken in Benin, meaning "a kind of power which is mysterious and, at the same time, fearsome. The voodoo pantheon consists of many Loas, which are generally associated with a Catholic saint. Despite the existence of these Loas, voodoo is essentially monotheist; in their conception, the Loas are neither more or less than the intermediaries between God and the human ones.

    The cult of voodoo appeared in the New World with the African slave trade, which began in Haiti during the s. The slaves brought with them these African traditions. There are also some variations of this cult in Brasilia and in Islands of Antigua.

    Haitian Vodou essay

    Voodoo involves a mix of different ethnic beliefs and it rapidly became an important element of cultural cohesion for the slaves, who came from different cultures and used different languages. According to the tradition of voodoo, humans enter into communication with the Loas in a very ritualized manner.

    The Loas are capricious and they will only be of help if one comes into contact with them correctly through the elaboration of different rituals according to the Loas one wishes to contact. Voodoo adherents attribute illnesses and deaths to the wrath of angry ancestors — hence, the considerable importance given to the ritual and appeasement ceremony. The voodoo ceremony embraces several elements, including music, dance, food offering, drumming, and animal sacrifices.

    The ritual Rada, which is used in the initiation rite, involves the "Good Loas" who have come from Africa, and who represent the lost mystic world. Inside the voodoo ceremony, the Rada Loas are the first to be served; they represent the guardians of custom and tradition. The Rada Loas play an important function through the different healing processes and their principal characteristic is the fact that all of their actions are directed toward good. In opposition, the ritual Petro involves "Bad Loas," which originated in Haiti.

    The Petro Loas are considered to be the masters of magic. They embody a kind of relentless force. The Rada and Petro rituals use both defensive and offensive magic, and can help to obtain justice for someone who has been wronged.