When most people think of “Voodoo,” they may have certain practice misconceptions. One may think of New Orleans, Voodoo dolls, and human sacrifices. These are just the myths surrounding what goes on with Voodoo.
Voodoo has become a popular subject in pop culture. From movies to TV shows, people often use it to scare or entertain others. There are many myths surrounding Voodoo you may have heard in your lifetime. The truth is that Voodoo is an extremely misunderstood religion and that there are very few concrete facts about it in existence.
Voodoo is often misrepresented and misunderstood as a religion. Voodoo is a religion, and it involves many rituals, like making offerings to the spirits, using animal sacrifices, and having priests conduct ceremonies.
One of the myths is that Voodoo originated in New Orleans. It didn’t.
Voodoo originated in Haiti, and there are significant differences between Haitian Voodoo and American or New Orleans Voodoo. There are two primary schools of Voodoo in New Orleans: the white school and the black school. The difference is that white magic is peaceful, whereas black magic is used for harm.
Does Voodoo use Human Sacrifices?
The 2nd myth is that Voodoo practitioners use human sacrifice. This belief stemmed from a misunderstanding in the 1800s of its everyday practices. It was believed that some practitioners used human sacrifice in their rituals, but evidence has shown otherwise.
Sir Spencer St. John, a consul to Haiti, further propelled these claims. We have proven these claims false in our past research. The reality is that human sacrifice is entirely against the moral code of Voodoo which gives guidance as to how to live morally righteously and justly in society.
Voodoo dolls are another of the myths surrounding this tradition. They are often depicted with pins and needles sticking out to hurt their victim (although this is an apocryphal story).
The actual term “Voodoo doll” was invented in America by an author who created it after being told the folklore of Voodoo. The first use of a Voodoo doll stems from European witchcraft.
A poppet is a representation of an object used for spellcasting. You may make one yourself, or many companies sell these. The term “poppet” comes from the Middle English poppet, the French poupee, and the Old French word.
The second prohibition is that using a voodoo doll to cause pain to another person is also against the moral code. A Voodoo doll represents a loa, and those who still have one have given it respect, power, and compassion.
The Voodoo Beliefs
What is the reality of Voodoo if it’s not the glamorized Hollywood perception many are led to believe it is? The central tenets of Voodoo are strikingly similar to other faiths, including Christianity. Voodooists believe in a single god that is responsible for everything.
Voodooists also believe in some lesser gods and spirits that they call orishas or loa. These “spirits” control different areas within the Voodoo realm, like St. Patrick, who is asked for protection against snakes, or St. Christopher invoked for safe travel. The central figure is called Oloddumare.
Voodoo requires an initiation ritual that a Voodoo priest may perform. They do this to determine if someone’s issues in life are caused by loa. If so, the initiate’s ceremony will make amends with the loa they have angered.
Voodoo initiation often makes any dead relatives of the victim happy. These people may be haunting the victim because they feel their potential is being wasted.
In reality, the participant only pretends to die, but this myth could come from this ceremony.
One use of Voodoo is for good or evil purposes. A Voodoo priest will usually know both the respective types of magic and what it can be used for.