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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Haitian Voudou: Some misconceptions

Voudou Banner (by George Valris)
The very word "Voodoo," which is often used by those who know little about this religion, is a misnomer.  However, it is
relatively innocuous compared to some of the rampant misconceptions that exist about Haitian Voudou.

David Rosenberg of Slate reports on the direct experiences of photographer Anthony Karen.  Karen has made many trips to Haiti, "often for medical missions and volunteer work."  He also began attending, and later documenting, Voudou rituals. 

Although sensationalistic accounts of Voudou focus upon its "black magic" aspects (which involve "conjuring evil forces") - Karen states that these aspects are exceptionally rare, and are often disdained by practicing Vodouisants.

Instead, Voudou hinges upon a "full compliance with the laws of nature."  It is far more in tune with the blessings of Creation and with cosmic harmony than it is with evil forces.

Voudou has also been overly identified with animal sacrifice.  Many adherents don't get involved with that at all; others afterwards share the sacrifice with the community as food.  Karen compares this latter practice with the routine butchering and eating of meat that many other human omnivores engage in.  

Copyright November 10, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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