Possession through VooDoo


Published on July 27th, 2007, 10:37 am
Rift: X
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I'm woke up this morning, and my son is watching the Skeleton Key on HBO. This is one of my favorite movies of recent times, starring Kate Hudson. Basically the synopsis is she moves into a Louisiana home to care for an elderly man. She is a city-type person who doesn't believe in superstition, but is brought to believe in VooDoo via circumstances that occur to her after taking the job. At the end of the movie, the old lady who hired her as the caretaker tells her "It doesn't work, If you don't believe" and then goes on to steal Kate's body with Voodoo. It's quite a twist.

This got me thinking...

VooDoo is an interesting religion. Yes religion, that seems to strike fear in alot of people. Worst yet, we joke about it in our cartoons like Scooby Doo. Since VooDoo is a 10,000 year old African religion which has encompassed many various aspects of other sub-faiths, and we know the slave trade to America is merely fresh ink on the footnotes of history, then how is America not intertwined with the VooDoo religion? Why when I think Black Person, I think choirs, and Baptists churches with loud yelling pastors and dancing congregations screaming "Amen" after every passage? Where did their VooDoo disappear? Did Europeans basically strip it from an entire group of people? Why wouldn't modern African Americans return to practicing VooDoo, now that they're free?

VooDoo like many other religions has several Gods. A Hierarchy which leads to a head deity named Bon Dieu. The Gods can manifest themselves in participants of the ceremonies via a process of "Possession". The Serpent is the revered religious icon in VooDoo, and this makes me wonder if this relationship, which in Christianity is seen as evil, may have caused many to call VooDoo satanic.

Damballah created all the waters of the earth. In the form of a serpent, the movement of his 7,000 coils formed hills and valleys on earth and brought forth stars and planets in the heavens. He forged metals from heat and sent forth lightning bolts to form the sacred rocks and stones.

When he shed his skin in the sun, releasing all the waters over the land, the sun shone in the water and created the rainbow. Damballah loved the rainbow's beauty and made her his wife, Aida-Wedo.

Seems somewhat familiar doesn't it?

Like the Skeleton Key, one of VooDoo's major components is the possession. The ability to move in out of one's souls, like changing shirt or shoes. Possession is the act of displacing the gros-bon-ange and becoming the animating force of the body.

Young people possessed by an old loa may seem frail and decrepit, while the old possessed by a young loa may dance and cavort with no thought to their disabilities. Even facial expressions change to resemble the loa. That is why when a male loa possesses a female devotee, the pronoun he is used to describe the devotee, and vice versa. A possessed devotee is called a cheval or horse; when a loa takes possession, he "mounts" the devotee.

It's really a captivating religion, and while I'd love to swap bodies with Kate Hudson and see her miserably cry from being stuck in a fat redneck girls body, my guess is the fear, and idea of the VooDoo Religion is ceremonious rather the reality. So it makes me wonder, why, does VooDoo have such malicious undertones for many Christians? Is it misunderstanding, or is it possible there is more to VooDoo then we really know? Is that the reason Europeans made such an effort to erase it from their slaves lives.

But then again... "It doesn't work, if you don't believe it."
July 27th, 2007, 10:37 am

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