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Voodoo in translation from the language of the von people (who lived in the African kingdom of Dahomey, which existed on the coast of West Africa from 1620 to 1900) means "spirit", "deity". In addition, the formation of the Voodoo religion was greatly influenced by the beliefs of the inhabitants of central Africa (Guinea, Angola, Congo, Senegal, etc.)
On the island, which since 1492 was called Hispaniola ("little Spain"), later - Santo Domingo ("Holy Sunday") and only in 1804 named Haiti (from "aichi", which means "mountainous island ”), And from there subsequently - to America and Mexico - the Voodoo religion was introduced by black slaves. Starting in 1503, the Spanish colonialists had to bring them to Haiti, who almost completely exterminated the local population (the Tainos Indians) and were in dire need of cheap labor.
Most of the slaves, according to researchers, were prisoners of war and people accused of any social offenses, in particular, for witchcraft (lese-majeste). It was thanks to the latter (among whom there were many priests) that the Voodoo religion spread throughout Haiti, and at the beginning of the last century penetrated into the United States. These days, in New York alone, there are about 100 stores, where customers are offered cult supplies and even sacrificial animals for voodoo ceremonies.
The terms Voodoo, Voodoo, Hoodoo are synonyms. This is not entirely true. These terms are used to name various spiritual systems. The religious movement in Haiti is called voudou, and the servants of this cult refer to themselves as “servants of loa (“ spirits ”)," and not “vodouisant” (this term is often used by foreigners). In some cases, the name mentioned is written as "vodoun" (vodun, voudun). And, since not everyone knows the rules of French spelling (according to which the final "n" in this case is not pronounced), the Haitian religious trend is sometimes mistakenly called Voudan.
Vodou (vodou) - the name of the whole system of beliefs of several peoples of Benin (a state in West Africa, formerly called Dahomey). The adherents of Dahomey (Benin) Vodou also call themselves "servants of loa"
Voodoo is a religious tradition of African Americans. It differs from the above in that the original system of beliefs and knowledge has been lost, the emphasis is shifted towards witchcraft rituals.
Hoodoo (hoodoo) - in some regions this term is used to refer to witchcraft rituals.
There are not so many voodoo followers in the world. Completely erroneous opinion. According to the most rough estimates, today in the world there are more than 50 million adherents of this religious movement.
Voodoo is a religious tradition contrasted with other beliefs actively propagated by the colonialists. Both Voodoo and similar shamanistic traditions have often been assimilated into other religions, as open worship of "pagan gods and symbols" was severely persecuted. Therefore, for example, Santeria (santeria - "the path of holiness", from the Spanish. Santo - "saint"), widespread in Brazil, Cuba and the Caribbean, is a synthesis of Spanish Catholicism and African shamanism. Under the guise of venerating Christian saints, spirits (orisha) are worshiped in the temples of this religion, and each of them corresponds to a certain dance, emblem, color, number, offering (in the form of food or a sacrificial animal), etc. For example, the gatekeeper Legba is revered under the name of St. Peter, Damballah renamed to St. Patrick (these personalities have in common the ability to handle snakes), and, worshiping the Virgin Mary, the followers of Santeria actually praise the goddess of fertility and love Erzuli. This fusion of beliefs was accompanied by the fact that among the symbols of Voodoo, Santeria, etc. there is a cross (for example, it is laid out of flour on the back of an animal sacrificed to a loa), which, however, has nothing to do with Christianity. In this case, the cross is an ancient shamanistic symbol representing the 4 cardinal directions.
In Brazil, forms of belief are also popular under the term "Macumba". These include Candomble, which differs from Santeria in that the saints who are "devoutly worshiped" by the adherents of this religion have Portuguese names, and Umbanda is the result of a fusion of shamanism, Buddhism and Hinduism. In some cases, Brueria practiced in Mexico is considered to be a variety of Voodoo, but it should be borne in mind that this tradition is the result of the unification of Christianity and the religious beliefs of the Aztecs.
However, it should be remembered that the aforementioned assimilation took place only externally, and, in fact, Christianity and the varieties of shamanistic religious traditions are different. For example, the followers of Voodoo do not accept the concept of the Last Judgment, they believe that a person has 2 souls (one is an imperishable individuality, and is called gros bon ange - "big good angel"; the second, ti bon ange - "little good angel" - something like a guardian angel or conscience), etc.
In Voodoo shrines, both men and women dance naked. In the Voodoo religion, both actions (dances, chants, sacrifices, etc.) and attire are strictly regulated. Women are required to appear at religious ceremonies in white robes, and men in suits.
Voodoo religious ceremonies often turn into an orgy with a pronounced sexual orientation. Although in some cases during the ceremony, women possessed by Erzulie (Erzulie, a spirit that personifies love passion) can vividly show sexual interest, however, firstly, this impulse will be focused only on the chosen one of a beautiful lady (groom or husband), and secondly , will not be of an orgaistic, but a ritual character.
A person who, during voodoo rituals, becomes possessed by one of the spirits, behaves very aggressively or falls into prostration. Not necessary. Much depends on what kind of loa are introduced into a person. For example, Obatala (Obatala, in Santeria - the spirit of purity, opposing evil) gives the possessed one calmness and confidence in behavior and speech, charm, witchcraft skills and love for white clothes. The instillation of the spirit of prophecy orunla into a person is manifested in the fact that the possessed one utters advice or predictions (in this case, the voice will always be masculine, sonorous and deep, regardless of who exactly the mentioned spirit possessed). But those ruled by Legba (Legba, the guardian of the crossroads, the spirit that guards the gates to the underworld and gives a person the opportunity to communicate with the loa and the souls of ancestors) lose their ability to move and most often lie as if paralyzed.
Only African loa inhabit the followers of the Voodoo religion. More often than not, this is true. However, there are exceptions. For example, Mademoiselle Charlotte is a spirit that presents itself in the form of a white-skinned woman and infests most often in white-skinned followers of the Voodoo cult. Obsessed with this loa, they acquire charm, secular manners, etiquette and a perfect knowledge of French (even if they have not spoken it before).
The obsession acquired during the Voodoo ritual can only interfere with a person in everyday life. Not always. For example, people possessed by Ochosi (the spirit of healing and hunting) gain energy and speed of movement, the ability to track enemies and prey, which allows them to succeed in the role of spies or hunters. And those who have fallen under the power of Shango (the spirit of storm, lightning and thunder) lose sensitivity to the effects of fire and electric current, demonstrate remarkable physical strength and skills in using firearms. And although people under the influence of these spirits must make a lot of effort in order to keep themselves from destructive actions, in some cases this kind of obsession is very useful (for example, during military operations or uprisings).
In some cases, people possessed by loa commit actions that are dangerous to their life and health. Yes, this happens if, for example, a person is possessed by Dumballah (Dumballah, the spirit that protects snakes and is the guardian of the marriage bond). Since this deity adores water, the possessed person can get to the nearest body of water, and simply drown. To prevent such a sad outcome, large containers of water are placed directly in the sanctuary, plunging into which the possessed will appease the spirit and remain alive. People ruled over by Gede (Ghede, god of the kingdom of the dead, patron saint of cemeteries and sexual attraction) are distinguished by a great love of rum, spiced with several pods of hot pepper, and during the ritual they easily empty a whole bottle of the mentioned drink with one breath (which is not so useful for the stomach of the possessed).
The main thing in the religious Voodoo ceremony is the falling of the parishioners into a sacred trance. In some areas of Voodoo (for example, in Santeria), obsession is relegated to the background, and the most significant role is given to the prophecies uttered by a professional priest named "the father of the mystery" (babalawo), who was trained in the art of talking with the spirits of ancestors and patron deities no less 10 years.
Voodoo love spell is a very effective and at the same time not a particularly difficult ritual (although it is associated with cemeteries and bloody sacrifices), which can be performed independently. Yes, in magic, Voodoo love spells are considered the most powerful and long-lasting in effect. However, firstly, this type of magic is not associated with either cemeteries or the dead. And the sacrifices performed to appease the spirits-helpers in love affairs (for example, the goddess of love Erzuli), most often consist in the offering of sweets, cakes and other sweets. Secondly, the sacrifice made is not at all a guarantee that the spirits will fulfill the desire of the person who turns to them, because they are distinguished by waywardness, inconstancy, and sometimes they can interpret the request in their own way. Therefore, it is almost impossible to predict the consequences of such treatment. And, finally, people who have no experience of communicating with spirits, in the event of an error in the ritual, risk not only not getting what they want, but also worsening the existing state of affairs or becoming possessed by the summoned spirit (which can sometimes have very sad consequences). After all, Voodoo priests have been learning to communicate with spirits for more than one year, go through several stages of initiation - and only after that start their activities. Therefore, if a person is going to use Voodoo magic to solve his problems, the best choice would be to turn to a professional.
All Voodoo priests practice black magic. Misconception. The priests, depending on the level of initiation, specialization, etc., can be divided into several categories: male priests receive the title of Hungan, Hungan Si pwen or Hungan Asogwe, women - Mambo, Mambo Si pwen or Mambo Asogwe. Their activities mainly consist in the preparation and conduct of rituals, as well as in the transmission of prophecies and predictions from the spirits who inhabit the participants in religious ceremonies or the priests themselves. Assists the priests in their work Unsi. People who are professionally engaged in black magic are called Bokors, while it should be noted that the Hungans and Mambo not only disapprove of their activities, but often do not consider Bokors to be adherents of the Voodoo religion.
Voodoo sorcerers are able to zombify people and raise the dead, turning them into their slaves. Voodoo adepts are not involved in raising the dead. And the scary tales of the zombie dead came about for several reasons. First, some sorcerers actually use the so-called "zombie powder" either to punish apostates who left secret societies, or to carry out revenge, or simply to get free labor at their disposal. The composition of the mentioned drug, among other things, includes tetradotoxin - a potent poison of animal origin (for example, it is found in puffer fish), which in small doses causes a mild narcotic effect, and in case of an overdose - paralysis resembling death. Having tasted the "zombie powder", the person falls paralyzed and goes through the burial ritual. Under cover of night, the sorcerer makes his way to his victim, "revives" it with the help of a plant called a "zombie cucumber" - while the "revived dead" can move, but does not acquire memory and ability to speak. However, both speech and memory can return to the "zombie" if he eats salt (it is sodium chloride, according to the researchers, that can neutralize the effects of tetradotoxin and unblock the transmission of nerve impulses).
Secondly, mentally ill people are often passed off as "zombies" (some states simply do not have enough funds to maintain them in specialized clinics). This gives the family that has sheltered a "resurrected relative" some advantages: both free labor and respect for neighbors (according to Haitians, the gods return a deceased relative to those to whom they want to show favor). However, the DNA tests carried out each time prove that no relationship is found between the "resurrected dead" and the family containing them.
And, finally, rumors about "zombification" were spread by dictators who ruthlessly dealt with their opponents, and all the blame for the "mysterious disappearance" of people was shifted to Voodoo adherents. Sometimes rumors of this kind were used to intimidate subjects and gain a special reputation as a ruler. For example, the dictator Francois Duvalier, who came to power in Haiti in 1957, declared himself the embodiment of Gede or Baron Samedi (patron saint of cemeteries and the kingdom of the dead), and also founded a secret police, whose employees were called "tonton macoute" ("Tonton macoute" - an evil entity , according to adherents of the Voodoo religion, combining the features of a werewolf and a vampire). Rumors were spread that these people were all sorcerers, and capable of zombifying any person who dared to oppose the government.
During Voodoo ceremonies, magical rituals are often performed - that is why there is always a doll on the altar, studded with pins and symbolizing a person who is being negatively influenced, designed to worsen the health of an individual, or even take life. On the altars in Voodoo temples, you can indeed often see dolls, however, these images are not associated with magical effects on people. They can symbolize the spirits-loa (orishas) and serve as an object of worship. In the healing practice of Voodoo, "boheo" are used - figures of people carved from wood and provided with small holes in certain places of the body and limbs. Small twigs are inserted into these holes during the healing session - this ritual is designed to normalize the flow of healing energy in the human body and thereby improve its health, restore vitality, etc.
Conducting magic rituals, accompanied by the manufacture of a doll symbolizing the person who will be influenced (often to enhance the impact, it is supposed to fix a hair, a piece of clothing or a thing that belonged to a specific individual on the doll), followed by sticking needles into it with the aim of causing harm, are performed by sorcerers ( Bokory). Moreover, this kind of influence is not at all the prerogative of Voodoo.Such dolls, made from wax, clay, grain, fruit and matter, were called kolossoi, and were the object of witchcraft in ancient Greece. Later, the ritual of influencing a person by harming his image, called poppet (from Latin pupa - "doll"), was actively practiced by black magicians in many countries of the world.
Sometimes animals are sacrificed to spirits, and sometimes children are sacrificed, and the murder is carried out with special cruelty and bloodthirstiness. First, children have never been victims of Voodoo religious ceremonies. The myth of human sacrifice arose at the beginning of the 19th century, apparently for the reason that in some cases, when referring to the spirits of the ancestors (called ara orun - "people of heaven"), the ritual begins with an imitation of their death. In fact, the main principle of this religion is “do no harm (both to yourself and to those around you),” therefore it is not prescribed to sacrifice oneself or other people even in order to appease the gods. Secondly, animals (most often - chickens, and only at special ceremonies in which only priests take part - sheep, bulls or goats) are killed quickly, twisting or cutting off their heads. The stories about the bloodthirstiness of the Voodoo priests, allegedly biting off the heads of sacrificial animals, appeared because in Haiti, for the amusement of tourists, some people (whom the local population calls geeks) actually perform the mentioned actions, but they have nothing to do with Voodoo.
At Voodoo shrines, human skulls can be seen used for various purposes. Skulls during the actions of this religion can indeed be used, however, we can only talk about turtles of sacrificial animals. Parts of human skeletons are not used in Voodoo ceremonies.