Origins of Voodoo
In Western Africa Voodoo, or Vodun, is actually their traditional religion. It is an indigenous organized religion that stretches from Togo to Nigeria. Although it is practiced by many people of western Africa each culture has variations of it. It’s said that West African voodoo was transported to Haiti in the Caribbean and the southern United States, namely Louisiana. Here it became intertwined with Catholicism.
What is Voodoo
Voodoo is a religion like we’ve already discussed, but it’s based on a belief that animals and inanimate objects have spiritual powers. These objects are known as fetishes, and are used in various voodoo rituals. The voodoo priests, or bokors they are called, will create powders made from various animal parts and when administered seem to send people into a trance like state. These voodoo concoctions have been associated with reports of real-life “zombies” in Haiti, some said to be in a trance for many years.
There is one such case involving a man by the name of Clairvius Narcisse. He was actually declared dead by Haitian doctors and buried in 1962. But amazingly he returned from the grave and was seen 18 years later. He claimed that he’d been poisoned by a bokor which caused impaired brain function. He says he was then put to work as a zombie on a plantation. After examination of the toxin administered by the bokor, it was said to contain poison contained in puffer fish. It’s a deadly neurotoxin that can cause paralysis or even coma. This of course would explain how Clairvius was buried alive.
Voodoo Priests and Healers
The voodoo healers of the tribe say they can cure a huge number of sicknesses by inserting their black powder into an open wound. Or possibly by slicing open human
flesh and inserting it. This black powder is made from body parts of dead animals. Now I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near a cure like this. That definitely doesn’t sound sanitary, and surely would only make things worse. Oh well, who am I to judge…
Anyway, in order to concoct these “magical powders”, they have to grind up the animal parts and add herbs and bur the mix over a fire. They then make three incisions in the patient’s back or chest and rub the powder inside. It’s said the voodoo healers drift in and out of trances while performing these rituals. Supposedly they use animal parts that correspond with the type of person they are healing. For instance a long distance runner may need a powder made from the heart and lungs of a cheetah in order to make them strong and fast. You get the idea.
7 Voodoo Superstitions
- You will have bad luck for the rest of the week if a woman visits you first thing on a Monday morning.
- Laying a broom across the doorway will keep witches away during the night.
- It is bad luck to lend or borrow salt.
- A widow may not remarry if you cut all of her husband’s shoes into small pieces upon his death.
- Turn someone’s photo upside down to give them a headache.
- Shaking a tablecloth outside after dark will cause someone in your family to die.
- If a woman adds a little of her blood to her husband’s coffee, it will keep him faithful.
So this of course is all very different from my culture, I guess that’s why it can be construed as interesting. But there are still areas of the world where these are common practices. Just so everyone understands where I’m coming from on this, I do not accept or condone these practices, it just simply isn’t a part of my culture. I just thought some of this information may be of interest to some. It’s always cool to learn about things that are out of your realm.
7 thoughts on “HooDoo VooDoo, Whatcha Gonna DooDoo”
This is a very interesting article. Although I hadn’t heard of some of the superstitions that you mentioned, there are many others I have heard about. I think some of these superstitions have been incorporated so deeply into my African American culture that they seem common place. The power of menstrual blood is well-known, as well as the power of hair. To this day, when I clean my comb or brush, I burn the hair in an ashtray. Hey…why take a chance that this hair could get into the hands of someone who wants to do me harm. I know it sounds silly, but it’s something my family has always done. Maybe it can’t help, but it can’t hurt either.
That’s all very interesting Susan. I appreciate you sharing your experience on this one. It’s always nice to get some feedback from someone that can personally relate.
As far as burning the hair, I don’t think that’s silly at all…it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
Thank you for some other wonderful post. Where else may just anybody get that kind of info in such a perfect manner of writing?
Many of the islands visited by cruise ships are not as nice as the areas the tourists see. I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such info.
Great, well I’m glad you found something useful here. Should make for an interesting presentation.
Never heard about something that kind of interesting about Western Africa ! Such a nice representations. thanks. Looking for something more like that. Good Luck !
That’s great Janvi, I’m glad you found something of interest on the blog. I love learning about other countries and their culture, very interesting stuff. Good luck in your research.
I filed A lawsuit against A major. Telecomunication company thats when it started. I have experience Voodoo its real. My teeth were pulled out by A white doctor who traveled to Africa he pulled them out with force and anger. I have experienced cold hands and my feet cant warm up unless i place a boiling hot bottle on them. A stabbing feeling in my head like a pin sticking my brain. I seen vision beautiful ones and i have seen dead people theres something are someone attached to me i hear him. Its strange sometime its a constant yell saying go home are stop. Are when im about to harm myself the voice yell stop. I have no idea how this happen to me. Im not crazy its really happening. It goes deeper. I just wanted to share a little information i would like to add. Im not supporting Voodoo because in the wrong hands alot of harm can be done. I believe in God thats what has kept me alive. For those who do good with there gifts more power keep helping people. Please dont show my name. Sorry this world not ready to understand something so powerful and real
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