Voodoo is a religion brought to America by black slaves from Nigeria, a country that became a central resource of slavery boom for colonial powers, which all started with massive transport of slaves from West Africa to America in about the year 1500 with cruelest forms of humiliation. Of course, these human beings were not slaves, but only forcibly made that way.
Many of them were killed and flogged to death like animals. Among the barbaric nations were Spain (which colonized countries like Cuba, Venezuela, Peru…), Portugal (Brazil), and United Kingdom (which colonized Northern America). Other countries built their economy on slavery too, but the above ones expanded the yoke hand in hand with Christianity and with the cruelest impact on other native nations like American Indians.
Voodoo originated in Nigeria, which has more than 250 ethnic groups – the largest one Yoruba or Igbo with a variety of religious systems such as Olorun or Vodun. Nigeria was a cradle of prehistoric civilizations such as Nok. The Nok culture had developed many years before Christ and it is known to have had contacts with the then ancient Egypt. Various archeological excavations confirm this. The Nok people used symbols which epitomized the authoritative representations of the Egyptian culture.
Dr. Kwame Nantambu (Kent State University) says that black Africans in ancient Egypt wrote the Bible (Old Testament) as scribes, which is a fact that the Catholic Church hides from the public. Even today, in Ethiopia, you can meet “black Jews” – black Ethiopians with Judaism as their faith.
Maybe it will surprise some people, but the Catholic Church is an organization that resembles the Roman Empire in a certain way. It is divided all over the world to provinces in the same way as the Roman Empire; it has its Emperor and a lot of the Catholic heraldry resembles the one used in the Roman Empire. Similar analogies exist in our history and Voodoo is not an exception.
Voodoo together with some other contemporary African religions is the only living religion in the world which contains some elements of the ancient Egyptian beliefs, particularly the cult of Isis, which had been still very popular up to the 4th century AD also in Europe until Christianity became the official dogma. A logical support for the above statement is that Isis was the Goddess of Magic, which is the same element of Voodoo. Of course, there are other “magical religions”, but the cult of Isis and Voodoo (African Vodun) are territorially closer, and both very old.
Voodoo is an offshoot of a variety of religions practiced in the then Nigeria and not only the result of the presently living Vodun in Africa, but conditioned by history in which it developed from after the year 1500 off the African continent. Presently we have a Haitian-type, but also its offshoots in other parts of Latin and Northern America.
The basic concept of this religion is based on magic, spirits, and worshiping of God. Some parts of it merged with Christianity – for example, Candomble in Brazil. Louisiana Voodoo is just another offshoot, which appeared in New Orleans. Except for Haiti, the Haitian-type Voodoo can also be found in Brazil, Trinidad, or the Dominican Republic (we could certainly mention some other countries as well).
Voodoo as a religion can be either described from the inside or the outside and many parts of it are secretive. Voodoo is a spiritualistic religion, which means that a practitioner may be exposed to spirits or a spiritual experience; some spirits can help (cure, give predictions), or harm (a curse used against an enemy). Voodoo believes that there is one God and its practitioners give a strong accent on behavior of nature and adjust their attitudes to it accordingly. Spirits are understood to be God’s or Devil’s helpers.
Of all mainstream religions, only Hinduism can be comparable to Voodoo, as it is open and draws its power from aboriginal cultures too. A similar practice found both in Voodoo and Hinduism is, for example, Kolam or Rangoli – the Hindu traditional pictures drawn on the ground (auspicious signs), either on the floor or in front of the threshold. Another similarity between Hinduism and Voodoo is belief in snake people. Hindus believe in the Nagas and have Naga Gods (like Khodiyar Maa); practitioners of Voodoo have a snake god (or god closely associated with snakes) called Damballah Wedo.
Voodoo as a religion became famous with its Zombies, which are mentally dead persons (made such by a Voodoo sorcerer). In association with Voodoo, we can also meet with the term Hoodoo, but the difference is like between a religion and practice (or Wicca and Witchcraft).
Voodoo has spirits, gods and goddesses (like Erzulie), but its Egyptian aspect probably survived in the form of Goddess Yemaya – Yoruban Orisha or Goddess of the ocean, which was brought to America by the African Diaspora. Yemaya brings fish to the fishermen and her sign is the crescent moon, which gives us a strong association with Hindu Goddess Durga. In Brazilian Candomble, she is known by the above name, which may slightly differ (Yemanja); in the Haitian Voodoo she is worshipped as the goddess of moon.
Voodoo is a religion not to play with. It must be approached with respect and not with derision, otherwise we may soon find out that its power really works. The consequences can be either good or bad.