What exactly is Vodoo?
There are many meanings and connotations to the word ‘voodoo.’ The word refers to a religion, a mixture of religion and superstition, or just ‘spirit,’ the original meaning for the term ‘voodoo.’ Westerners often see the term and associate it with zombies, voodoo dolls and other evil, horrifying things. They think of characters in movies and books who are closely connected to the devil. The traditional voodoo (also written as Vodoun and Vodou) was connected to Roman Catholicism, blending this with African religion from the Dahomey area particularly (today this country is known as Benin). Mostly, Voodoo is witnessed in locations such as New Orleans, Haiti, and the Caribbean in general. Believers, called Vodouisants, follow a single god. Followers of Vodou, known as Vodouisants, believe their god is similar to the Catholic God. He is referred to as Bondye.
Vodouisants believe in lesser spirits such as lwa, or loa, as well as Bondye. These are also gods, but take part in the everyday lives of believers. Bondye is thought of as a distant figure; the main god, too important to be a part of mundane living. Vodouisants typically ask a lwa to inhabit one of their bodies and interact with the community directly through a mortal participant. This relationship has advantages for the lwa as well as his followers, including the provision of food and anything else which humans believe the lesser spirit would like.
There are many people who associate voodoo with psychics and the way in which one of these Vodouisants use psychic energy to inflict or prevent pain. This is the popular belief and image of a voodoo priest. Modern day tales indicate that hair, fluids, and nail clippings from the person to be afflicted or protected are used to create a doll. The voodoo priest inflicts pain using pins in specific areas of the doll’s form representing regions on the person’s body.
In reality, a voodoo psychic believes that she has a kind of energy which is more than just the ability to put fear into the hearts of characters in movies. The person afflicted by this energy has the choice to feel fear, terror, or pain according to believers.