In the centuries-old African American culture, we have often called the people practicing the magical traditions carried into the New World from their ancestors residing in the areas of West Africa as Voodoo, Vodou, Vudu or the Vodun. The people practicing this religious tradition are mostly found in, or descended from, Ghana, Central Togo, Lagos, and Ogun, which is situated in the southwest of Nigeria. They actually worship the divine elements present on the Earth, and their cosmological aura revolves around the Vodun spirits. They have a similar doctrine as that of Christianity since it also believes in saints and the angels.
Coming To America
It is seen that Voodoo is one of the oldest religions to still exist in the New World, and started with the setup of European civilization and subsequent slavery therein. It spread into many American countries, especially those in the Caribbean, from where it was first originated. Notable voodoo traditions are longstanding in the island nation of Haiti and the Louisiana city of New Orleans in the United States. It was believed that these Vodun-believing slaves were brought from West African countries to these settlements, and their beliefs were said to have become mingled with those of the Christian planters. However, still these people did not give up on their old religious beliefs. In the American countries even, they continued their communications with the dead and the spirits of the natural world.
Influence of Christianity
The Voodoo religion is said to be polytheistic (believing in multiple deities), and it has varied names like Vodun, Vodou, and Vudu, but their religious beliefs are all based on old African culture, and have largely never changed. These include the worship of free spirits in the form of the masculine gods and the feminine goddesses, and they also practiced animal sacrifices and the worship of ancestors. But it is seen that Voodoo in Haiti and Louisiana cities mostly have their African beliefs mingled with those of Roman Catholicism, and they started worshiping the “loa”, which were spirits who were associated with the canonized Catholic Saints. These people do so worshiping the spirits of Christian saints in a fashion which is in fact prohibited in Christianity. Their God is also said to be a remote God, and not the Biblical one, as per strict interpretations of the Western Christian beliefs.
Voodoo Facts and Myths
It is mostly seen that the Voodoo are said to be similar to the ones who call upon spirits, and are into the occult practices which are condemned across the globe by many different religions. Many people have their own perceptions, and they think these Voodoo believers to be practicing things like witchcraft, making crude dolls in which pins are stuck, and dealing with zombies firsthand. But more than that, this religion is actually one of the oldest and most important in the Americas, and one deeply imbibed into traditional West African culture. They believe that their ancestors inspire them in the form of spirits, and that their actions possess valuable qualities for the sake of community development.
Voodoo in the Modern World
As seen in the modern world, many people have accepted Voodoo as a legal religion which has its own values and works for the betterment of the community. Many voodoo practitioners are seen as actually honoring the Judeo-Christian God, even if they are doing so with their African "pagan" dances, just as the people from other religions are said to worship God in their own unique ways. They also believe on their ancestors, so they are worshiped for their core values and wisdom. In the modern world, this religion has spread to most of the American countries which have learned a lot from its historical presence.