Voodoo The Haitian Religion Essay Research Paper — страница 4

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(Leonard, Overview of Haitian Voodoo). There are many exaggerations and false convictions that have been stated about Voodoo and its practices. Much of this stems form the fact that there exists Petro Voodoo, which is the black magic sector of Voodoo. In Petro Voodoo, a bokor, which is a priest gone bad, performs basically the same functions as a regular priest but with bad intentions. These functions range from casting spells on people to zombification. These spells are performed with the intent to cause bad luck on someone, whereas zombification causes a regular person to be dazed and helplessly confused for the rest of his or her life. It is done by administering a few drugs and not with wands or totems. Although Voodoo does have a dark side, it is nowhere near as horrifying

as it has been portrayed in the past. Several myths about Voodoo that have been displayed before include sticking pins in Voodoo dolls to try to hurt or kill someone. This is a definite exaggeration on normal Voodoo and is only an exception in rare cases. Another exaggeration are the sex orgies that take place. According to Hugh B. Cave, this notion of sex orgies is disillusioning, because there is very little sex in Voodoo. Erzulie, the love loa, when possessing a female participant at a service, may command the sexual attention of a chosen male. This is a form of sex, no doubt, though ritualistic rather than orgiastic. As for animal sacrifices, the only animals that are sacrificed are chickens and roosters and are only killed to offer life force to the loa s. Sacrifices are not

made unless they are necessary. Many other false and exaggerated accusations toward Voodoo include cannibalism and child sacrifice. Due to these prejudices, Voodoo is much criticized by foreigners in Haiti. Sometimes it is simply because they profess another religion and do not want Voodoo to get in the way. At other times, they claim it to be devil worship. When speaking about Rada Voodoo, these claims are nonsense and have no merit. In Petro, however, it is less clear how to describe. There are no devils in Voodoo, but it does have its evil spirits. Many of the non-religious aspects of Voodoo that people often criticize, really seem to be more the result of Voodoo s overwhelming fatalism. The view is that to an astonishing degree, the loa determine their lives. The Haitian

serviteur has little or no use for anything like free will or personal responsibility. Rather, whatever has happened, it is the loa who have caused it (Corbett, Fatalism of Voodoo). If a person would like to change anything in their life, they would have to ask the loa. A person does not act on his or her own. Furthermore, the loa are not very changeable. Things are the way they are because the loa have decided it. This fatalism contributes significantly to the peasants unwillingness to struggle for liberation. While Voodoo has been struggling with a reputation as a despised religion, working on this paper and researching the religion has made me realize that it is not at all what I thought it was. The concept I had for this religion was a negative one. First of all, I thought

Voodoo was a polytheistic religion having more than one god, but now I realize that I made an error. I grew up with the notion that Voodoo was the black religion that used dolls with pins in them to make other people suffer. While it is a part of Voodoo known as Petro Voodoo, I know now that it is a very rare circumstance. As are many other exaggerations made about this religion. Having read carefully the many roles a serviteur of Voodoo has, I have greatly developed a respect for this dying religion. It is such a shame that more people do not have the open mindedness to see that it is unique and should be treated like so. Armed with a newfound knowledge of this religion, I will put forth my best effort to make others aware that Voodoo is not the sadistic religion that society

has made it out to be.