Voodoos two religionsVoodoo, which is properly called Vodou or Vodoun is a fairly new religion. It is a mixture of the African "Yoruba" religion and Catholicism (the Catholic church). Black slaves were brought over from the western parts of Africa by the British to work in Haiti. They were forbidden to worship their native Yoruba gods and were forced to adopt the ideas of the Catholic faith. What evolved of course, was a mixture of the two faiths into what we now call Voodoo.
Or more properly, "Vodou"
When someone thinks about Voodoo, dark images come to mind such as evil chanting and little dolls resembling certain people. Dolls with pins stuck in their heads causing people in the street to drop dead with a brain embolism. While these things are certainly true about the Voodoo faith. They are not very common. Of the fifty million people worldwide who subscribe to the Voodoo faith, very few of them practice black magic. Further, not all Voodoo denominations include the black magic in their faith, much less use it. maintains a site called "West African Dahomean Vodoun", which is found at One of the pages at her site seeks to dispel the myths surrounding the Vodou faith. A typical Voodoo church would proceed as follows. First we have the Voodoo community, the "societe'", which is like the members of a small church, which has perhaps ten to one hundred members.
The members gather in a room known as a "hounfort", which is a room with a pe', which is an alter, much like in a typical church. Some of these Voodoo church members have specific roles and titles within the church. At the top of the hierarchy is the "houngan", the high priest of the church. If this Voodoo church practices black magic, this high priest is known as the "bokor". If the houngan is a female, she is known as a "mambo". Below this position is the "houngenikon". This person is the assistant to the houngan or mambo. Their job is to assist in rituals and lead the ritual chanting that takes place during the Voodoo ritual. Below that is the "hounsi canzo" which is a fully initiated member who has underwent the "canzo" initiation which is an intense ordeal by fire. Below them are the hounsi canzo's in training known as the "hounsi bossale". Next, and perhaps at the bottom would be the plain vanilla "hounsi". There are more than one type of hounsi though. We have the hounsi that procures the animal sacrifice, known as the "hounsi ventailleur". Also there is the hounsi that cooks the animal after is has been sacrificed, known as the "hounsi cusiniere".
The members of the Voodoo faith worship a set of African gods known as the "Loa" They believe that the Loa are active all over the earth and that everything they do serves the Loa. The home of the Loa is in an African kingdom known as "Dahomey". The members of the Voodoo church, or the "societe'" give sacrifices to the Loa and entreat the Loa to help them in matters of life or matters of death.
The evil side of voodoo
One very interesting thing the Voodoo church does is Zombification, "turning people into zombies". The bokor, the high priest of black magic in the Voodoo church, finds someone that he does not like very much and poisons them with a very deadly poison made out of toad skin, poisonous plants and seeds, tarantulas, and puffer fish. It's easy for the bokor to poison the person because all he has to do is touch them. The poison is so powerful that it can kill you just by soaking through your skin. After the person is dead, the bokor digs him up and administers a powerful drug to the dead man which turns him into a zombie. They are then used by the bokor as slaves for farm work etc. When the bokor is done with them he gives the zombie salt, which causes the zombie to return to it's grave.
The soul of the dead
Another thing the bokor can do is to throw three pennies and some rum on the grave of a freshly dead person. This brings out the "tibonage", a certain part of the soul of the dead. The bokor makes it a sort of zombie ghost that the bokor can use to posses the body of one of his enemies or command it do all other manner of evil deeds. Another evil thing that the bokor does is to create an "ouanga" which is an object that is possessed by an evil spirit called a "baka". Once this object is possessed by the evil spirit, it can do all kinds of bad things for the bokor. In one instance it could be something like a necklace, which if worn by an enemy would cause him to choke to death. Or the object could be a doll that is sent out to kill an enemy in his sleep.
It is interesting to note that some very familiar monsters originate from the Voodoo faith. The werewolf being one. The werewolf as we all know is a wolfman. That brings us on to werewolf's. If you want to know more about werewolf's go to the news section.
The marks of the dead
Love and revenge play a large roles in voodoo, and one must always be careful who you offend. A houngan made advances to a certain girl, but she, being engaged to marry a man whom she loved, rejected him completely. The enraged houngan was heard muttering threats as he departed, and within a few days the girl fell ill and died. Her family brought the body back to their village for burial and then discovered that the coffin ordered from town was too short; the neck had to be bent to fit the body inside. At the wake someone accidentally dropped a cigarette on one foot of the corpse, which left a small burn. A few months later it was whispered that this girl had been seen with the houngan she had previously rejected, but there was no evidence and the story was soon forgotten. Then, some years later the girl reappeared at here home, the houngan had repented and released all his zombies. She positively identified people who had attended her funeral and who remembered her bent neck and the burn mark on her foot.