Voodooism Essay Research Paper VoodooismWhen you mention

Voodooism Essay, Research Paper


When you mention the word voodoo to someone, the idea

immediately conjures up those images we all see on the

movies…spooky little black men wearing lots of grass, and poking

pins into ugly dolls. But there is quite a bit more to this group of

religious practices than this simple Hollywood notion. Voodoo as

a practice is obsessed with the occult, primarily the ideas of

possession and spiritualism; and functions quite often within the

parameters of a mainstream religion such as Catholicism. Many

people who practice it think voodoo augments, rather than

contradicts, their belief in God, and the practice of their religion.

The study of voodooism involves many components, and one

of these is the concept of ?animism?. A belief similar to ?mana?,

it is the concept that all objects, whether living or non-living, have

spirits and souls of their own. These spirits are an embodiment of

some vital element which gave the object life. It is a belief that the

soul can, and most usually does, have a purpose and feeling, and

one must always be careful to avoid offending these forces to

avoid some rather nasty consequences.

As with all beliefs, voodooism has its practices, customs, and

traditions. As we have discovered earlier, voodoo deeply involves

the occult and spiritism. Spiritualism is specifically the

communication with the ghosts or spirits of the dead, and more

specifically, any forces these spirits can exert on the world of the

living. In voodoo, magic is seen to draw its power from these

supernatural forces. A large part of spiritualism is the concept of

possession, that is to say the occupation of a living body by

another spirit, which fights for control over the body and manifest

its presence in all kinds of peculiar ways. Some voodoo

priests(esses) feel they can predict the future, by using

supernatural forces to allow their life force to travel around and see

visions of what it to come. These practitioners also believe in folk

medicine to cure illness, but beyond that the use of sometimes

bizarre rituals to prevent or cure ailments and other problems.

They provide charms and the like to ward off evil spirits, and all of

us have heard of voodoo dolls. These practitioners are also very

concerned with death and dying, perhaps because it is seen as a

gateway into the supernatural.

Throughout history, Christianity has had a hard time with

voodooism. For instance the Catholics have made serious

attempts to stamp out voodoo , especially in Haiti. They have

attempted this at certain times by forbidding the beating of the

drums at any temple. But in some ways it is a lost cause.

Catholicism and voodooism are so closely interwoven in Haiti that

to most Haitians they are one and the same. To the average

Haitian, there is nothing wrong in being a good Catholic and a

believer in Voodoo. Voodoo enters the Catholic system because it

is believed that the Catholic religion does not give men and

women direct contact with God and his supernatural powers. It is

a unique integration between the religion that was in Haiti before

missionaries brought the Christian religions, and Catholicism.

After attending the seminar and researching the topic of

voodooism and other such animistic religions; I have come to

realize that there is more to voodoo than sticking pins in dolls and

what we see in the movies. Voodoo is a very complex and

comprehensive set of beliefs deeply rooted in tradition and loyalty

by those who practice it. It is one of those things in which you

become as involved as you want to. There are so many ways and

occasions in which a person can become involved in voodooism. I

have discovered that people who follow these beliefs also have

great respect for their bodies and other deeply-seated feelings

about their beliefs.

As for myself, I do not believe I could follow this religion

because some of the concepts and the foundations on which the

religion is based are not believable to me. They have really

strange ways of worshipping animals and spirits, they do bizarre

things to animals during rituals, and the concept of the

supernatural is to hard for me to accept to the degree that the

practitioners of voodooism seem to. I guess to each his own,

voodooism is an interesting religion, but not something that I

believe in.



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