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Modern Day Voodoo

Modern day Voodoo, or Hoodoo, is an underground religion or cult that is now known to be present within the United States. The exact date or place of origin is unknown; “Nobody can say where it begins or ends” (Hurston 1970:231). The name Voodoo is said to be derived from the Yaruban Deity; Vodun. Voodoo has its heritage in Africa. This means that Voodoo has its roots in West Africa. Voodoo is seen as a part of cultural and medical beliefs that were practiced by West Africans and which subsequently gained a foothold in other nations.

Voodoo is surrounded my many myths and secrecy and for most people, it stands for evil. Voodoo is said to have come from Africa with slaves and is practiced in countries such as Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad- and Tobago and several South American countries. It is also said to be practiced in the deep south of the United States. Voodoo practices were brought to the United States by Slaves and continues to be a part of the religious landscape today. Georgia and Mississippi are two states that are recorded in modern times an having firm believers who subscribe to all the rites and practices handed down over the Centuries.

As a religion, it is said to be widely practiced is some countries by persons of all color. It is viewed as a folk religion that is concerned with the physical, psychological and spiritual health of believers. In the United States, Voodoo continues to be a part of black medicine and steeped in matriarchy as written by (Tallant 1946: 31). Voodooism seems to have a matriarchy almost from its first day in Louisiana. The King was always a minor figure. Papa didn’t count. Mama was the entire show. The only men of importance were the Witch Doctors.

Women seem to have made up at least eighty percent of the cultists, and it was always the female of the white race who entered the sect. When white men were present, it was usually because they sought handsome yellow girls rather for any reason of any belief in the Zombie. In modern day, Voodoo, as shown in films made in Hollywood, is all about Zombies, Devil worship and putting curses on people that you hate. This is really a distortion of the facts, albeit it sometimes results in interesting movie plots.

In reality, Voodooism captures rites and other elements similar to other religions such as Catholicism. The practitioners also claim to believe in God and have faith in miracles. In New Orleans, Voodoo is said to be a stable religion with many believers. There are now Voodoo Doctors who offer spells for every problem and situation. You may get a spell for love, wealth and happiness. You may even get a spell to cast off bad luck. They claim to have the powers of persuasion and the ability to heal.

Interestingly, Voodoo, after centuries of being called a sect or just plain devil worship, is gaining mainstream recognition. You can find Voodoo “doctors” and other worshippers easily online. The propagation or proliferation of Voodoo mysticism has become a raging conflagration across the internet. Access to previously secret data has now made the practice seem almost normal and currently, Voodooism is becoming a Tourist attraction! New Orleans now offers tours to view Voodoo rituals and the new commercialism may have changed the entire landscape of this religious order.

However, there are many who now seem to believe that Voodoo is just mumbo-jumbo, an arcane and interesting art which has moved from the deeply spiritual into mainstream entertainment. During recent years, the practice has been and continues to be a provider of many jobs in the film industry and theatre. There are those who now practice the religion chiefly and a means of earning a living and so has no real faith in the mysterious past or the deity to whom worshippers pray. This religion has gone from a deeply-rooted African origin, steeped in rites and sacred practices, to a widely use tool of commercialism and entertainment.

The relevance and continued viability of Voodoism is one that is uncertain. Voodooism may have lost its ability to seriously cater to the deeply religious.

Works Cited

Watson, Wilbur. Black Folk Medicine. Transaction Publishers: Edison, NJ. 1998. 1 Turlington, Shannon R. The Complete Idiot’s guide to Voodoo. Petersons: Topeka, Ks. 2001 Haunted New Orleans Tours. 2009. The top ten most powerful New Orleans Voodoo rituals. Retrieved March 9, 2009 from http://www. hauntedneworleanstours. com/toptenhaunted/toptenvoodoorituals/

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