What is Voodoo?

Voodoo is also called vodou or vaudoux and is magic performed by individuals who practice the art and practice of voodoo.  It is a merging of beliefs stemming from West African nations and Roman Catholic beliefs.  It was created prior to the introduction of African slavery to the US and was brought over the Atlantic by African slaves.  Voodoo is practiced by people known as vodouisants.

The Primary Belief in Voodoo

The primary belief in voodoo is that there is one true God and many lesser deities or gods called Loa.  These are subordinate to the main god who doesn’t interfere with the affairs of humans.  It is through the use of the Loa that humans are interceded with.  It also includes the veneration of the dead and personal protection against the evils of other forms of witchcraft.

The Types of Voodoo

There are several different types of voodoo, including Haitian voodoo, Louisiana voodoo among other types.  The magic of each is similar but have local qualities unique to each type.  It is practiced in all countries but is especially popular in the New Orleans area, in the Caribbean islands and in areas of South America and Africa.

Deities and Loa

The major deity in voodoo is called Bondye. This is believed to be the one true God.  There are several named loa as well.  If the  magic is particularly connected to Christianity, the Supreme Being is the same as the Judeo-Christian god and the loa are, in fact, the same as the saints.  The Supreme Being is considered to be the creator of all things but that he or she is distant from the creation.  The Bondye is aloof when it comes to the daily affairs of man and, if you are a vodouisant, you don’t believe it is possible to call on the Bondye for help in any voodoo magic.

The loa are the connection between the people and the Bondye in voodoo. Some loa include the guardian of the crossroads, called Papa Legba, and the spirit of love.  There are spirits of agriculture and spirits of rain and magicians.  There are twenty-one nations that divide the loa including Rada, Petro, Congo and Nago. Some oppose one another, such as the Petro and the Rada.

There are families of loa that are related to one another.  Each family has a different job to do when it comes to dealing with life activities.  Some families are considered soldiers, others are concerned with women and others are concerned with death, fertility and agriculture. The spirits are considered to be hot or cold, depending on their characteristics.   Coolness is valued in general over hotness.

Voodoo Rituals and Spells

The Voodoo religion involves many different spells, rituals and ceremonies. Among them are voodoo love spells, protection spell, banishing spells, and many more. It takes a great deal of belief and practice to become a true vodouisant and there is a strict moral code that is against greed and dishonor to the practice of voodoo.

Voodoo magic is practiced differently from one area to another. The names of the loa can be different and the types of rituals that are practiced can be geographically dissimilar, even among practices in the same country.

Voodoo is a folk practice in which deities are celebrated and asked for guidance.  Unlike other spiritual practices, the structure of deity can be a bit more complex, causing new practitioners to be a bit confused as to who to pray too.  What’s more difficult with this spiritual practice is that the Voodoo beliefs have been changed and altered as the belief system spread.  There are many different types of Voodoo practiced now, and each has its own ideas of what is ‘right’ and what is not.

The Structure of Deities

The basic idea of deity in Voodoo is this – there are many deities, but only some can help the humans who contact them.  There is a supreme being who is not one who concerns themselves with the affairs of men and women.  They simply are there to run the universe as they see fit to do so.  Lesser deities are helpful in connecting with the humans on earth, allowing the humans someone to talk to and to pray to.  In giving offerings and in giving energy to these gods, the prayers may be answered.  Pleasing the gods is always a good thing in any practice, but especially in Voodoo.  By building colorful altars, leaving offerings, and being respectful of the deities’ needs, a person can enhance their luck, banish bad things, and bring good opportunities to them.

The Concept of Greed

Within the practice of Voodoo are clear ideas about the notion of greed.  When a person is too greedy, they will not be able to get all they want – and the deities may become angry with them.  There is a clear understanding of right and wrong within the practice of Voodoo.  Those who are simply trying to better themselves without doing anything in return will not be pleased with the results they see in their lives.  The gods are angry and swift in their anger, so bad things can happen if things are done in their name without proper guidance.  In addition, if a deity doesn’t like the way a person is handling their spell work or rituals, they might not be able to help others in healing.  Being able to practice Voodoo without having a self-centered focused is essential.  One can not do the work of the Voodoo deities without making sure to honor them at all times, reciting their names, having sculptures of them, etc.

Voodoo is not a Scary Practice

That said, the idea of Voodoo sounds scary to make people because most people have no idea what it is and what it encompasses.  Though this might seem to create a mood of fear, Voodoo is a very celebratory practice as well.   With hours of prayers and dancing, the person who is practicing Voodoo can be ecstatic in their devotion to the deities, helping to please them as they witness the actions of those on earth.  Practitioners are able to create vibrant altars and ritual dress, helping to please the deities as they do their Voodoo work.  Many people don’t realize that a lot of Voodoo is about healing and about asking for spirits to be removed from the bodies, as it is thought that sickness is caused by evil spirits and not necessarily by germs or viruses.

Within Voodoo are many practices an everyday spiritual seeker can use.  Though many people shy away from the idea of using Voodoo in their life, many Voodoo love spells are effective, even more so than other spells which might be available. Voodoo is a practice which gets results, but only when a person is respectful of the deities and seeks to please them.

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