Voodoo or rather as spelled originally – Vodou with it’s black magic conotations, Voodoo dolls, and above all – zombies, conquered not only Hollywood but also imagination of many artists, writers and game designers.
Becouse of this most of people know what the stereotype of Voodoo is.
But as I am not a person who likes to make his judgement on what people say, or what the stereotypes are, I was always wondering…
Is Voodoo really so frightening as it is used to be shown?
Once in Stockholm, in Etnographic museum visiting a special Voodoo exhibition from Hatiti, I had a chance to confront my previous assumptions with the reality.
And the conclusion were far more disturbing than I would expect.
If you want to feel the atmosphere before getting more into my story about Voodoo, see this:
One of the first things that the exhibition made me realise is that Voodoo is not a game of some dumb, adrenaline seeking teenagers who decided to do some black magic on Saturday night.
Voodoo is a real thing, and it makes an actual practice and influences the daily life of tens of thousands of people. Mainly in Haiti. But not only.
The roots of Voodoo come to 16th century, when European colonisators started bringing slaves from Africa to the New World.
Africans brought their beliefs to Haiti, and those were mixed with native mithology and catholicism.
That’s how Voodoo emerged.
Practicing Voodoo means to interact with lwas – spiritual entities or energies, which although dwell in a separate realm, can influence people in many ways. Lwas have many names and many powers, they are legions of them.
It is common for Voodoo practioners to become possesed by lwas, especially during the dancing ceremonies.
Below you can see figures representing one of the lwas. The exhibition presented a few of them.
It was bit disturbing to get to know that the artist that carved it, followed the images that haunted them in their dreams.
It got even more peculiar, when I got to know which of lwas is considered to be the most powerfull in Voodoo.
He is called Damballa – the great snake.
Europeans know him with a different name – Lucifer.
But this story will be continued in the next log.
End of Vodou log 1