Voodoo as a religion? (2)

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Gifrants

Voodoo as a religion? (2)

Post by Gifrants » Fri Apr 11, 2003 8:44 am

Now that Voodoo is a religion, let me consider myself a novice. Let me start by asking questions, and a lot of questions.

What is Voodoo?
How do I learn about Voodoo?
Does Voodoo tell me who I am?
What does Voodoo teach about God?
Who is a Ginen?
Where is Ginen?
Who is a "Bonzanj"
About praying? Whom do I pray?
Who are those Gods?
Do they have a gender?
Who is a male? Who is a female?
Why do they have a gender?
Can people be "possessed"
How does it happen?
Why does it happen?
Can this God, in the mind of his or her servant, be everywhere or somewhere else at the same time?
Do those gods eat?
Why do they expect to give them a "manjay"?
Why do they want me to keep a black bottle somewhere?
What is the meaning of those symbols, if they are symbols?
Is it possible to marry those Gods or Goddesses?
Can there be same sex marriages?
Why should I marry th
em?
How do we consummate this marriage?
Am I going to sleep with them?
Why, if I marry one of them, or many of them, can I still have a human wife?
Tell me about the nights when I"m supposed to be alone in my bed, even though I"m married to my wife?
Why do we call upon them instead of God?
Why are they the focus of those ceremonies?
Why do we call them "Papa" or "Manman" if they did not create us?
Did they create us?
If they did not create us, who created them?
What did they create?
What do they know about time?
Do they control space?
What is space?
What is universe?
Do they control the universe?
Who else is there?
Where do those Gods go?
Can they fly out of this planet?
What is their purpose in life?
About the white people, who the hell are they?
Can they be possessed?
Why do they live, and explore their potential more than we do?
What a hell those Ginen, and lwa are going to do about it?
We are killing each other in Haiti? What can
they do nothing about it?
We are being humiliated around the world, what do they do nothing about it?
DO I have or need to praise them, to pray them, celebrate their divinity, their power in order to get their attention?
How many are they?
Who is the leader?
Who is more powerful?
Gede? Ti Jan? What one can say about the indecent language, totally inappropriate for children, of Gede and Ti Jan during their divine manifestations?
What are they going to write about Voodoo? What are we going to read about Voodoo? What do those gods tell us about themselves?
What do they want from us?
Can they dispose of us the way they want or please?
Where is this going to take us? Why do we have to do this?

Do neighbors have the right to sleep quietly in the middle of the night?
How many times a week those voodoo ceremonies will be allowed? Is it all day? Is it all night?
Holidays to celebrate the gods and goddesses? National holidays?
What are the implications of such a
decision?
What do Haitians really know about Voodoo?
Who knows what?
Who is going to teach whom?
Who is going to teach what?
Is the role of the State limited only to the declaration of Voodoo being a religion?

What are the implications for some fields of science such as psychiatry, psychology, psycho-analysis? Whose diagnosis will prevail, the Voodoo priest's or the scientist's?

Voodoo as a religion? God, have mercy for the distorted irresponsible minds of the Haitian leadership, and ignorant Haitian intelligensia. Please, protect the weak among us, and strengthen your servants in their duty of spreading the Truth about you, and your faithful, loyal, immortal, and perfect children of all hierarchies of your Creation.

Please, remember, if voodoo is a religion, I should be able to walk in without fear to any voodoo temple, and pray God, not the gods. You would say then that voodoo is a polytheistic religion. I would tell you then, if there is an initiation ritual, bey
ond baptism, that suggests that a member is gradually exposed to mysteries and spiritual knowledge, we are dealing then with a spiritual sect.

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Post by admin » Fri Apr 11, 2003 1:43 pm

Thank you for all those thoughtful questions, the scope of which, however, is not limited to Vodou as a religion but to all other religions who make use of saints, prophets and other sorts of intermediaries between Man and Divinity.

Foremost in mind, the cult of saints/angels/archangels in the Catholic church and the Lwas in Vodou... We see many similarities, what are the differences if any? Are the various "appearances" of La Sireine or Erzulie through time and across lands functionally the same as those of "Notre Dame de Lourdes, de Fatima, La Vierge Noire, La Vierge Qui Pleure, etc..." ? How do St. Jacques, St John the Baptist and ALL OTHERS weigh or differentiate the invocations they receive from the Catholics and the Vodouisants? Are those invocations equally important or equally useless?

Lots of questions, so very few intelligible answers.

However, some attempts have already been made on this forum. For a list of
questions and answers, click on this link:
http://haitiforever.com/bbs/relijyon.html

Gifrants

Post by Gifrants » Fri Apr 11, 2003 3:42 pm

Thank for your reply, and the info.

I have to say that I disagree with your regarding the Saints within the Catholic religion. Those Saints were human beings like us. The way they lived among us, the way they cared for their fellow human beings has moved the Church to present them as role models for future generations.

The Lwa, the Zanj are immortal beings who are in contact with us thru the phenomenon of possession. I do not expect Voodoo to answer most of my questions for many reasons, and the two most important are

1o) Those beings can communicate with us at the level of spiritual perception of those they are in contact with

2) How many "servants" or "sèvitè" really bother to ponder the great mysteries of God, life and existence? The notion of primum vivere is so strong among Haitians that most of their energy is focused on their physical survival.

I am not going to mention at all the state of mind of our Vo
odoo priests. My family is Ginen. We are forbidden to go to a humfò. That does not imply at all that all Voodoo priests are malicious. We are taught to be cautious with those who deal for money in exchange for good services from the lwa.

The bottom line is, and this is my personal belief, Voodoo is not a religion. Voodoo has to be redefined in order to even be a serious spiritual sect. The current interpretation of Voodoo has more to do about prayers, secret recipes, and symbols for self-protection, for good luck, for a better living standard than the salvation of the soul. The survival of the soul is the essence of religion. How does Voodoo help the believers secure their spiritual survival?

Take care.

Post by » Thu Apr 17, 2003 10:39 am

Many convert Haitian Christians still practice Vodou covertly. Most of them do, because they believe in Vodou more than the new religions. If Haitian Authorities kept that policy since independence, the country wouldn't be in such condition today.

After taking such measure, the government should provide some basic info to the public as...where church, religion, spirituality, trinity...come from; who started them... how they reach what became our shores eltr. Once the public gets acquainted to those stories, the rest will be history.

Novices will no longer be in position to lecture the public, nor will it let local/foreign charlatans keep it away from its roots.


Bouli

Gifrants

Post by Gifrants » Tue Apr 29, 2003 12:31 pm

Hi, Polanve,

It is not enough to believe in something. As you said it yourself, religion has to be defined. Religion is not about fullfilling our material or physicals needs in order to survive. Religion, as far as I know, teaches us about our spiritual life, and specially life after death--the survival of our soul.

I've never, in my whole life as a Ginen , witnessed a Voodoo ceremony where the focus has been about teaching anything about the soul. Most voodoo ceremonies happen for asking the lwa or zanj for help, protection, for luck, for a better life DOWN ON EARTH, and sometimes to thank them for some good deeds. NEVER IN MY WHOLE LIFE, I'VE HEARD AND BEEN PART OF A VOODOO CEREMONY WHERE THE BELIEVERS WANT TO LEARN ABOUT THE MYSTERIES OF GOD AND EXISTENCE.

What kind of religion is this? Is this really a religion? The truth, as far as I know it, is that the perception and interpretation of Vooddo the way, 99% of Haitians
practice is just an escape to face their responsibilities, and ask the "gods" for help in their misery. Voodoo for Haitians has nothing to do with learning about our spiritual life as children of God or children of the gods.

Gifrants

Post by Gifrants » Wed Apr 30, 2003 10:12 am

Hi, Polanve,

How did I define religion? Narrow definition?

If you read again carefully, I mention that Voodoo has to be defined. The "belief" of Haitians regarding their lwa has nothing to do with regarding their spiritual life, but rather their basic needs to live. During the slavery, the gods were called upon for freedom. I've been playing guitar for more than 30 years, I can hardly believe that music can be my religion.

Regarding my being a "Ginen", this is another story. Do I believe the zanj or lwa exist? Yes. Do I practice Voodoo? Not in the way my other fellow Haitians practice it. Do I call them gods? You bet I do not! Do I know who they are? Yes, I do. Do I know how they were created? Yes, I do. Do I need them?

They are and they have been very helpful in guiding me. I'm very grateful for their help. Do they want to be called gods? Absolutely not. Do they want to be adored? Absolutely not. Does their existence
imply that they should be called gods? Absolutely not. I'm still a "Ginen"? Yes, I'm.

Religion has nothing to do with our physical life. The way Haitian practices Voodoo focuses only on the help from the lwa for anything and everything. This translates the poor mental level ramping among the collectivity. No wonder Haiti is such a land of misery. That has nothing to do with Bwa Kayiman, or any contract signed with the lwa. It has to do with how we see ourselves as a people, as a community, and as Children of God.

JBHonore

Post by JBHonore » Wed Aug 27, 2003 5:59 pm

I have heard that there are new Vodoo churches in Haiti that use the christian bible as their main text. Is this true? And if it is how do they actual use the book when the bible tells us not to practice witchcraft

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Post by admin » Thu Aug 28, 2003 10:13 am


[quote]I have heard that there are new Vodoo churches in Haiti that use the christian bible as their main text.[/quote]Probably some malicious propraganda. I am the furthest thing from being an expert in Vodou (I won't yet qualify myself as a beginning learner), but I have enough foundation in the Haitian culture to smell a rat. For one thing, the liturgy of Vodou is passed on orally. Nobody reads from a book in any Vodou ceremony I ever heard of, so this information appears to me to make no sense at all.

You might say, since I am not an expert on Vodou, why should I be the one to answer your question? I'd say that you are probably right on that score. However, there is a lot written about Vodou on "Ann Pale" and "Fowòm Ayisyen" (the current and previous Windows on Haiti forums). So much has been written that I am afraid that it may be too much to ask those who have knowledge of Vodou and have expressed their knowledge on the forum to answer every uninformed notion about Vodou. It behooves us, who know much less, to sit back and read what has been written, what is there already on this medium that we are currently accessing, so that our knowledge and the wisdom that derives from it keep increasing. If you read Ezili Danto's posts, you will also discover much more comprehensive sources for learning about Vodou if this interests you. It is important that we do not always go back to the point of countering every ill-conceived notion or charge against Vodou or we will never leave the starting gates.

[quote]Is this true? And if it is how do they actual use the book when the bible tells us not to practice witchcraft.[/quote]The question makes it plain that you equate Vodou and witchcraft. Is your mind open to another vision of Vodou? If it is not, we obviously do not need to go further in our discussions, as this would prove to be a waste of time for everyone. If on the other hand your mind is truly open, then you should continue to ask questions that do not so clearly encapsulate a virulent rejection and/or condemnation of that you are trying to inform yourself about.

By the way, welcome to the forum. I hope that many Haitian students like you will join it. The future of our nation will be brighter from an expanded dialogue between our youth and our elders, the decision makers of today and those of tomorrow.

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