My search for the meaning of Vodoun for myself... a journey towards religious and cultural knowledge...
Vodouists serve the lwa and beseech their assistance for all kinds of problems. The hundreds of lwa are divided into nations and families, much like human beings. The largest nations are:
• Rada—benign spirits derived from ancestral West Africa
This section showcases the characteristic iconography of some important lwa from the Rada and Petwo nations. These items are the kinds likely to be placed on altars or sold as popular art. Many are used during ceremonies, when the spirits are attracted by the sound of their favorite rhythms, or the flash of their favorite objects.
You will note that the lwa are often represented by chromolithographs (mass produced images) of Catholic saints, or by ritual items appropriated from the Masons. Two hundred years ago, spiritual recycling helped African people survive slavery. Now it is a way of life. Vodou is a religion of tolerance. It freely borrows from other traditions to keep alive African beliefs.