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.
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Lindsay Fauntleroy, author of the new In Our Element.
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