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The Llewellyn Encyclopedia

Term: voodoo


Voodoo: Voodoo is both a corruption of the African Fon word 'Vodou' (which means 'spirit' or 'mystery') and now a powerful spiritual tradition in its own right, most associated with New Orleans and the American South.

Voodoo traveled from Africa in the hearts and souls of Africans who were transported to the Americas during the slave trade. There it became blended with the spiritual practices of the indigenous peoples, who often had a shamanic or animistic belief system, and with the Catholic religion of the slave owners. It recognizes one creator-god and a pantheon of angel-like spirits (called Loa) who work on his behalf. The ancestors are a third spiritual force.

All of these spirits may be appealed to for practical help, advice, and support, through prayer, divination, and magic. Herbalism also plays a major role in New Orleans Voodoo, where it is known as Hoodoo or root doctoring, and the Voodoo priest and priestess are often powerful healers, working with herbs and with more spiritual and magical healing tools. Famous names associated with New Orleans Voodoo include Marie Laveau and Dr. John.
source: Ross Heaven


Witchcraft and Voodoo
Voodoo and Witchcraft are the two most misunderstood religions in the world. Each has a public image and an inner reality. Most frequently that public image has little to do with the private, inner and real religion. Voodoo Voodoo is a mixture of ...
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The Work of the Medsen Fey - the Leaf Doctors of Haiti
Loulou Prince is the medsen fey (leaf doctor/herbalist and shaman) for a Haitian community of around 1,500 people who live in the vicinity of Jacmel, a small town close to the border with the Dominican Republic. In his daily practice, he deals with ...
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Creating a rune amulet
Modern rune rituals are sometimes done entirely with visualization - the runes are made in the astral world and are never actually written down or carved on any material. This technique works fairly well, but it is not in harmony with the ancient ...
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Vodou - An African Shamanic Tradition
At first sight, shamanism and Vodou - what Hollywood has introduced into the popular imagination as "voodoo" - seem to have little in common. The former seems based on peaceful co-existence with nature and the elements, while the latter, in so far ...
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The Message from Stone: Stone & Rock Divination
The lessons of quantum physics and its new kid on the block, holographic theory, are that all things are connected through the energy that infuses the universe and all it contains. According to scientists, 90% of the universe is unknown - meaning ...
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The Shamanic Journey
Regardless of other specialities - which may include plant medicine, divination, or healing rituals - the key approach of all shamans both ancient and modern is the shamanic journey. This is a special state of trance consciousness that enables ...
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Shamanic Healing Through Soul Retrieval
Soul retrieval – a contemporary therapeutic practice rooted in the ancient spiritual tradition of shamanism - is attracting significant attention in the modern world as the holistic healthcare movement continues to gather force. Shamans believe ...
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Ayahuasca – the Vine of Souls, the Medicine of Love
Shamanic healing often employs plants to good effect, though it is rarely about herbalism, per se. Indeed, most shamans are explicit that the pharmacological properties of the plants they employ are of far less importance than the spirit which is ...
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Fet Gede - the Vodou Festival of the Ancestors
We carry the past around with us. It is in our memories, in the "ether" that surrounds us, in our family history - and, perhaps, in our cellular memory. Recent studies have shown that transplant patients inherit more than just organs when they take ...
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Enduring Beyond Oppression - The Truth About Vodou
Vodou is a religion born in slavery, which blends together a number of traditional African beliefs with elements from other faiths, notably Catholicism, the religion of the slave-owners, with which it has always been an uncomfortable bed-fellow. It ...
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Sitting here in the dark, watching the moon shine over the autumn landscape (my favorite time of year) I find myself reflecting on the question that is most frequently asked of me: "How do I know if my house is haunted?" The question seems so simple, so endearing and direct, but it is as complex as the human mind or the spiritual realm and it... read this article
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