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Looking for some Information! "Vodun"


Cristofernicholas
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Hey guys! I've been looking for any information, books etc on West African tradition "Vodun". I'm finding bits and peaces of information but noting I can sit and begin to learn from. Please don't refer me to any of those "Lucky Mojo" people I just can't bother to believe or take them seriously, for many reasons I will not get into here.

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Why do you keep putting these threads into, "Starting a Traditional Path?"  None of the ones I have seen are remotely relevant to traditional witchcraft.

 

Vodun is a closely held tradition.  It differs from Haitian Vodou, which is also an initiatory tradition  If you want information, look into Vodou or Ifa.

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A good beginning book on IFA is The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts by Baba IFA Karade. For West African Vodun, look for information on traditional African religions ofthe Fon and Ewe.

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Thanks a lot. I just found a copy of that. I just recently finished "Voodoo Sorcery Grimoire by Brujo Negro" I found a lot of material and am reading through it all slowly. The only issue I've been finding in most of the text I've found so far is, there's no dogma. Not that that's a problem but many text are just "How too's" I need a little more historical substance and etymology.

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In order to get authentic information on the original spiritual path, you're going to have to do research. I don't pay much attention to African Diasporic religions. I understand why our ancestors formed them and have nothing but respect for them for doing their best to try to preserve our culture, but it's not my preference. Do you work with your ancestors? My ancestors always send me to the Motherland for answers.

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In order to get authentic information on the original spiritual path, you're going to have to do research. I don't pay much attention to African Diasporic religions. I understand why our ancestors formed them and have nothing but respect for them for doing their best to try to preserve our culture, but it's not my preference. Do you work with your ancestors? My ancestors always send me to the Motherland for answers.

No not yet, but I really been wanting to setup my altar to them but my girlfriend and I live in a small bastment apartment and I just can't find any room, believe me I've been looking. I don't even have a working altar setup.

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You don't have to have an altar to do any type of working. You can have something simple that you put up when you're ready to talk to your ancestors. For instance, place white cloth on a table or floor, place a picture or another representation of the ancestor on top, a little dish of water and an offering. When finished you can put everything away in a safe place for the next time.

 

You can also make contact through meditation or while laying in bed - I get a lot of messages from my mom through dreams. Don't worry about getting everything setup. I got hung up on that when I first started and it did nothing for me spiritually. After a while I said f*ck it and came up with my own way of doing things. The main thing is contacting them, working with them, strengthening your connection and working on protecting yourself. Everything else will fall into place on its own.

 

And always remember that everyone's path is different. No two people practice the same. Once you start working with your ancestors and other spirits (if you choose) your individual path will unfold.

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The Catholicism in Vodou and Vodun came from when the Congo was Catholic.  It shouldn't really be a block to you if you are really interested.  There are very many spirits to work with, ranging from African ones to ones from from the Masons.  

Edited by Aurelian
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So I asked one of my friends who is a very well known Mambo, and she said there are no legit works that you can read.  If you want recommendations on Haitian Vodou, I can give some.

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So I asked one of my friends who is a very well known Mambo, and she said there are no legit works that you can read. If you want recommendations on Haitian Vodou, I can give some.

Yes I've been told that before. Ive been hesitant on everything I've read thus far. And yes, thank you! I would greatly appreciate any information you could provide.

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The Catholicism in Vodou and Vodun came from when the Congo was Catholic.  It shouldn't really be a block to you if you are really interested.  There are very many spirits to work with, ranging from African ones to ones from from the Masons.  

 

I thought the Catholicism was adopted as a means of self-preservation during slavery in the New World. Slaves were prohibited from practicing their religion, so they'd pray to "saints" as a cover for actually working with Lwa/Orisha. My understanding was that that's where the epithet "Santeria" came from - the Spanish Catholics caught on that the slaves weren't really practicing Christianity, but were worshiping saints. Anyway, that's what I've always read, I don't mean to contradict. I know the history is obviously different in West Africa than it is in the diaspora, and that in modern West Africa there's a wide spectrum between practicers of the traditional religions on the one hand, and Christians and Muslims on the other, with many shades of syncretism in the middle. 

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Yex, it's complex.  Saints were indeed conflated with indigenous spirits, just as happened in Europe.  There is more to it, though.

 

Christoper, I'll ask my Vodou friends for their best recommendations.  

Edited by Aurelian
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Sorry, I didn't mean to oversimplify. Thanks for pointing out the complexity of it on the spirit side of it. 

 

I personally am very attracted to Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun, and to a lesser but also significant extent Yoruba religion, as well as Ifá - it fascinates me, I feel the vibrance of the spirits involved, its rich sensuality is captivating to the senses... I could go on. In the past, I harbored a desire to study Vodou, but I've reached a point that I realize that it wouldn't be right for me, as someone whose ancestors have no connection to West Africa, to attempt contact with those spirits or try to seek out initiation into lineages to which I really have no right. I still find them to be beautiful religions, though. 

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Strangely I think I'm going to be ok with all the Catholic syncretism. It would kinda only make since I was raised Roman Catholic and was in their system all the way until I graduated Catholic HS, and plus it may add well with my ancestor veneration, they we're all mostly Catholic as well. at the moment these are the books i've found online.

 

Hoodoo Conjuration Witchcraft & Rootwork Vol 1-5 (Harry Middleton Hyatt) - Difficult to read, so many layers.

Secrets of voodoo (Milo Rigaud)

Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition (Yvonne Patricia Chireau)

The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook (Denise Alvarado)

The Voodoo Doll Spellbook (Denise Alvarado)

A Guide to Serving the Seven African Powers (Denise Alvarado)

Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course (catherine yronwode)

urban voodoo (Christopher S. Hyatt)

Kindoki - A Manual of African Witchcraft and Brujeria (Afefe Ogo)

Voodoo Sorcery Grimoire (Brujo Negro) - Currently Reading!

Voodoo (Dennnis Wheately)

Everything by Draja Mickaharic

Yoruba-Speaking Peoples of the Slave Coast of West Africa (A.B. Ellis)

Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Conjure: A Handbook (Jeffrey E. Anderson)

Exu, Divine Trickster and Master Magician (Denise Alvarado)

Edited by Cristofernicholas
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Ok, so I asked my favorite Houngan.  He said that there are only three books that he recommends his students read, those being:

Mama Lola:  A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn, by Karen McCarthy Brown

Divine Horseman:  The Living Gods of Haiti, by Maya Deren

Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou, edited by Donald J. Cosentino

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He said he would recommend Haitian Vodou by Mambo Chita Tann, but in her ritual food offerings, she includes taboo ingredients.  Which is....a very, very bad thing.  So, note that and don't use her recipes.  

 

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I was raised Catholic as well, and went to Catholic HS.  In Vodou, the Catholicism mostly comes in as 'god' being the godhead.  Some of the saints holidays are celebrated, but I don't think that the Catholicism plays a heavy role. As far as I know, but this is just from knowing lots of Vodou practitioners. I could be wrong.

Hope this is helpful!
 

Edited by Aurelian
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My husband has mentioned this in the past. I'll ask him after his nap (I'm going to follow this anyway) and let you know what he tells me. As for right now, the World History Archives seems like a good place to go! They have a lot of scholarly journals over Vodun, which may be a bit of reading, but it's definitely worth the look.

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  • 2 years later...

Sorry, I didn't mean to oversimplify. Thanks for pointing out the complexity of it on the spirit side of it. 

 

I personally am very attracted to Vodou/Voodoo/Vodun, and to a lesser but also significant extent Yoruba religion, as well as Ifá - it fascinates me, I feel the vibrance of the spirits involved, its rich sensuality is captivating to the senses... I could go on. In the past, I harbored a desire to study Vodou, but I've reached a point that I realize that it wouldn't be right for me, as someone whose ancestors have no connection to West Africa, to attempt contact with those spirits or try to seek out initiation into lineages to which I really have no right. I still find them to be beautiful religions, though. 

 

_____________________

 

If you're interested and attracted to it, I would say to look into it. Just because it isn't in your dna ancestry doesn't mean it isn't right for you. As long as you're honest about your interest and intent. My understanding is the gods came to the new world by choice (although the salves didn't). Cultures met and eventually mixed to an extent. If you actually get initiated, although your dna ancestors remain the same, you are adopted into the house and the ancestors of the house become your "ancestors" too and part of your lineage.  

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  • 1 month later...

I don't think Ifa: A forest of mystery has been mentioned, but a friend of mine recommended it. It's not vodun specific, but contains overall information about the belief system. It's published by Scarlet Imprint. I can't speak to it's accuracy, having not been initiated into that system, however my friend seems to agree with what's said. I wondered if there's someone you could contact in the area who could help you with it? I can't help much with that as my friend travelled to another country for initiation.

 

Just wanted to add, it's not a 'workbook', but a study/discussion on cosmology, philosophies and so on. For context, the author, Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, is from Norway but now lives in Brazil, so I would be aware of the fact these are not traditions he has grown up in and read with that awareness. (For clarity, I believe he isn't clear on some differences between traditions/Orisha.)

Edited by BlackbirdSong
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