Voodoo - African Folklore December 1, 2009 Voodoo In the...

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African Folklore December 1, 2009 Voodoo In the United States, the word “voodoo” has become synonymous with witchcraft. When we hear this word, we think of voodoo dolls and zombies, of black magic uttered over a bubbling cauldron of monkey brains and pig bile. The sad truth is, however, that this conception of voodoo is completely inaccurate, based more on historical misconceptions and Hollywood dramatizations than on fact. However, voodoo is a legitimate religion with many central elements, and has gone through many phases of evolution over the centuries. In order to understand voodoo, one must be acquainted with several pieces of background. First, voodoo is not simply silly hocus pocus, but a legitimate world religion practiced by tens of millions of individuals. It is also not the malevolent practice of black magic, as is the common misconception in the Western world. Voodoo is, for the most part, concentrated on white magic, or good magic. Thought to have originated in Dahomey (currently called Benin), voodoo has spread to the Caribbean Islands and to the United States, and to a lesser extent, across the globe as a whole. Although the face of voodoo varies greatly from place to place, there are several essential characteristics that can be found within voodoo across the globe. Central to the practice of voodoo is the belief in a supreme god who presides over a lower pantheon of deities, called orishas . The supreme god is called Mawu or Mawu-Lisa, the term Mawu encompassing the female and the term Lisa referring to the male. It is believed that Mawu-Lisa is both a dual entity as well as a single one. The male/female aspect of the god is a very important one, and this deity
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This note was uploaded on 09/13/2011 for the course AFRICAN ST 2208 taught by Professor Abarry during the Fall '09 term at Temple.

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Voodoo - African Folklore December 1, 2009 Voodoo In the...

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