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Khepri

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Louisiana Voodoo
« on: April 22, 2015, 01:37:49 am »
Louisiana Voodoo

"New Orleans Voodoo" redirects here. For US Arena Football League team, see New Orleans VooDoo.
Not to be confused with Hoodoo (folk magic) or Haitian Vodou.
Louisiana Voodoo, also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of spiritual folkways that originated from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by enslaved West Africans and the French, Spanish, and Creole populations of the U.S. state of Louisiana. Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun. Its liturgical language is Louisiana Creole French, the language of the Louisiana Creole people.

Voodoo became syncretized with the Catholic and Francophone culture of south Louisiana as a result of creolization in the region resulting from the Atlantic slave trade. Louisiana Voodoo is often confused with—but is not completely separable from—Haitian Vodou and southern American Hoodoo. It differs from Vodou in its emphasis upon gris-gris, Voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo paraphernalia, and Li Grand Zombi. It was through Louisiana Voodoo that such terms as gris-gris (a Wolof term) and Voodoo dolls were introduced into the American lexicon.

Gris-gris by Charles Gandolfo

Voodoo was brought to French Louisiana during the colonial period by workers and slaves from West Africa and then by slaves and free people of color who were among the refugees from the Haitian revolution. From 1719 to 1731, the majority of African captives brought as slaves to Louisiana were Fon people from what is now Benin; they brought their cultural practices, languages, and religious beliefs rooted in spirit and ancestor worship. Their knowledge of herbs, poisons, and the ritual creation of charms and amulets, intended to protect oneself or harm others, became key elements of Louisiana Voodoo.[1] Many Fon were also taken as slaves to the French colony of Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean Sea.[2]

The enslaved community quickly outnumbered white colonists. The French colony was not a stable society when the enslaved Africans arrived, and the newly arrived Africans dominated the slave community. According to a census of 1731-1732, the ratio of enslaved Africans to European settlers was more than two to one.[3] As a relatively small number of colonists were planters and slaveholders, the Africans were held in large groups, which enabled their preservation of African practices and culture.[4] Unlike in the Upper South, where different groups were brought together and slave families were frequently divided among different plantations, in southern Louisiana families, cultures and languages were kept more intact.[5]

The U.S. Embargo Act of 1808 ended all importation of African slaves to Louisiana.[2] Under the French code and the influence of Catholicism, officials nominally recognized family groups, prohibiting the sale of slave children away from their families if younger than age fourteen. They promoted the man-made legend of wake tuko[clarification needed] of the enslaved population.[6] The high mortality of the slave trade brought its survivors together with a sense of solidarity and initiation. The absence of fragmentation in the enslaved community, along with the kinship system produced by the bond created by the difficulties of slavery, resulted in a “coherent, functional, well integrated, autonomous, and self confident enslaved community.”[7]

The practice of making and wearing charms and amulets for protection, healing, or the harm of others was a key aspect to early Louisiana Voodoo.[8] The Ouanga, a charm used to poison an enemy, contained the toxic roots of the figuier maudit tree, brought from Africa and preserved in the Caribbean. The ground-up root was combined with other elements, such as bones, nails, roots, holy water, holy candles, holy incense, holy bread, or crucifixes. The administrator of the ritual frequently evoked protection from Jehovah and Jesus Christ. This openness of African belief allowed for the adoption of Catholic practices into Louisiana Voodoo.[9]

Another component of Louisiana Voodoo brought from West Africa was the veneration of ancestors and the subsequent emphasis on respect for elders. For this reason, the rate of survival among elderly enslaved peoples was high, further "Africanizing Louisiana Creole culture."[10]

Voodoo queens

During the 19th century, Voodoo queens became central figures to Voodoo in the United States. Voodoo queens presided over many of the ceremonial meetings and ritual dances. They also earned an income by administering charms, amulets, and magical powders guaranteed to cure ailments, grant desires, and confound or destroy one's enemies.[11]

Most noted for her achievements as the Voodoo queen of New Orleans in the 1830s was Marie Laveau, a mulatto woman. Once the news of her powers spread, she overthrew the other Voodoo leaders of New Orleans. Also a Catholic, Laveau encouraged her followers to attend Catholic Mass as a strategic way to protect their true beliefs. The influence of her Catholic strategy facilitated the adoption of Catholic practices into the Voodoo belief system.[12] Marie Laveau is remembered for her skill and compassion for the less fortunate, and her spirit is considered one of the central figures of Louisiana Voodoo, but not the only one.[2]


Tomb of Marie Laveau
Across the street from the cemetery where Laveau is buried, offerings of pound cake are left to the statue of Saint Expedite; these offerings are believed to expedite the favors asked of the Voodoo queen. Saint Expedite represents the spirit standing between life and death. The chapel where the statue stands was once used only for holding funerals.[2] Marie Laveau continues to be a central figure of Louisiana Voodoo and of New Orleans culture. ****rs shout her name when throwing dice, and multiple tales of sightings of the Voodoo queen have been told.[2]

Voodoo kings

Doctor John, also known as Bayou John and Prince John, was one of the most prominent Voodoo kings in New Orleans. He was the student of Sanite Dede, a spiritual leader in the city prior to the period of refugee immigration from the Haitian revolution. He was said to be the mentor, instructor, and, as some say, "power behind the throne" of Marie Laveau herself.

Frank Staten was born in 1937 to a family of Haitian descent and lived his entire life in the city of New Orleans. He called himself Prince Ke'eyama. His success as a Voodoo prince gained him fame in New Orleans. He was practically worshipped as a powerful Voodoo priest until his death in December 1998. His ashes were donated to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 12:12:26 pm by Ra »

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