Thursday, February 19, 2015

Who Do That Voodoo

There is a part of the south I've been reluctant to talk about and that is voodoo.  In part  because I knew so little about it, but mostly because it falls into that realm of 'religion' and my mother always taught me that there are three things you do not discuss in public, and that's politics, sex and religion. But this blog does not shy away from such things so after a long research project (I Googled a bit) I feel I can bring some of this unique Southern Religion into focus.

Let's start by making sure you understand what Voodoo is and what it is not. Voodoo is not Magic.  No one is waving around a magic wand.  Voodoo is, in fact a recognized religion in many areas of the world.  Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun. (You still with me, Bubba?)  Its liturgical language is Louisiana Creole French, the language of the Louisiana Creole people.  (AHA, Southern Folk!)

Now, the reason I bring this up and get particular about it, is that I don't want you to mix things up as there is also Haitian Vodou, which is a bit different. Haitian Vodou is a syncretic religion practiced chiefly in Haiti scattered Haitian peoples. Practitioners are called "vodouists" or "servants of the spirits". Vodouists believe in a distant and unknowable Supreme Creator, Bondye.

Neither of these is to be confused with Hoodoo. Yes, Hoodoo is a recognized religion too.  The word Hoodoo is usually used to describe jargon one doesn't understand like legal documents or political rantings. Unlike Mumbo Jumbo, Hoodoo is real. AND Hoodoo is the one of the three that, to me is the most interesting.

Hoodoo has some spiritual principles and practices similar to spiritual folkways in Haitian, Jamaican, and New Orleans traditions. It is believed Hoodoo evolved in the Mississippi Delta where the concentration of slaves had been dense. Hoodoo then spread throughout the Southeast as well as North along the Mississippi as African Americans left the Delta beginning in the 1930s. Hoodoo is an ever-evolving process, continuously synthesizing from contact with other cultures, religions, and folkways. What is notable about the hoodoo folk process is the use of biblical figures in its practices and in the lives of its practitioners. Most practitioners of hoodoo integrate this folkway with their Christian religious faith. Icons of Christian saints are often found on hoodoo shrines or altars.

Now, let's not get into any discussions of sticking pins in dolls or people who walk around like extras in a horror movie.  I like to bring up things about the South that people just might not know about and might like to know a bit more.

Southern hospitality is like that.  

No comments:

Post a Comment