Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whodoo the Voodoo?

After Pat Robertson drew attention to the practice of voodoo in Haiti, a couple of things have popped up in my searches of the Internet about voodoo.

In a story at NPR entitled "Voodoo Brings Solace To Grieving Haitians," Barbara Bradley Hagerty uses as sources Max Beauvoir, "the supreme servitor of Voodoo, or the highest priest, in Haiti," Erol Josue a Voodoo priest from New York, and Elizabeth McAlister, a Voodoo expert at Wesleyan University.

Erol Josue is quoted as saying,
"Haiti is not a Catholic country," he says. "Haiti is a Voodoo country...They never made a pact with the devil, and Voodoo does not engage in devil worship. And yet, he says many Haitians are asking why the spirits, who are supposed to protect their country, let so many die. He believes the spirits are angry with how Haitians have denuded the forests and mistreated the Earth.

"Haitians believe Haiti, she's a woman," Josue says. "We believe she's a mother, and [when] that woman got that pain, she [said], 'Enough.'"

And then there is this quote from Max Beauvoir,
"After a person dies, he or she goes underwater for a year and a day, then passes on to the next life.

We believe that everyone lives 16 times — eight times we live as men, and eight times as women. And the purpose of life is to gather all kinds of experiences..."

Only male and female? How non-inclusive. At least voodoo is open to experimentation.
"During those 16 lives, a person moves from body to body, country to country, attaining wisdom until he or she merges with God."
This article does not go into much depth, and it would be interesting to see some other references as to the scope of voodoo in Haiti. The article, is rather one sided and does appear to suggest that people can find solace in voodoo. I would have preferred seeing a statement from a Haitian Christian on the subject for balance.

The article, in citing a N.Y. voodoo priest, drew my attention to the matter of voodoo in America which meant a brief sojourn into the darker corners of the web.

One web page purporting to tell the truth about voodoo is selling a book, "The Art of Voodoo: All is One."

Does any of that sound familiar? How about this quote from the,

"Vodou is one of the world’s oldest religions. While there are various forms of Voodoo in practice today, there are simple universal truths common to all forms of the religion. Although the Haitian practice of Vodou is different from the practice of Voodoo in New Orleans, there are fundamental beliefs and practices that remain the same in all parts of the world."

Yes, voodoo has denominations, and universal truths. The truth about it is that it is an indication of our propensity to worship other gods and nature. Voodoo is just another sign of our "brokenness."

Do you think the Episcopal church could come up with a voodoo Eucharist? Don't laugh, just look back to the Episcopal church General Convention of 2000 where David Virtue of "Virtue Online" reported,

"Consider the booklet Resources for Jubilee, which was distributed
to delegates with the commendation of convention secretary, the
Rev. Rosemari Sullivan, at the July 5 Jubilee Eucharist, presided
over by Bishop Griswold. The booklet included within it the
summer 2000 issue of Spirituality and Health, published by
Trinity Parish, Wall Street, which presented to ECUSA such
'resources' as witchcraft, voodoo and the neo-pagan pentacle of
iron. In one story, the director of Trinity Institute described
his 'shamanic journey into the underworld,' guided by a raccoon

Following some complaints, the booklet was no longer made
available at the convention, but was not repudiated."

("Spirituality and Health" is currently a non-church publication, but I get the picture).

Remember that all this Internet browsing began because of Pat Robertson's comment about early voodoo practice in Haiti perhaps being related to the recent earthquakes devastating that country. A few clicks of the mouse shows that voodoo is also alive and well in America. Exactly how many voodoo priests and practitioners are active in the U.S. is not the issue. Of course, practicing voodoo violates God's commandment, and is sinful, but we talk about it now because it is the sin du jour, the one in the news, no greater and no less than all of our sins that are not being addressed, but for which we fall under God's judgement. I am trying to point out that sin is sin and there is probably no hierarchy of sins, and when one of us sinners points out that God's wrath is being displayed against some other individual or group of sinners, we had better be on the lookout out for that wrath ourselves.

So "Whodoo the Voodoo?" If voodoo practice, or any other sin, might bring on earthquakes or some other manifestation of the wrath of God, then it is 'we'doo whodoo the voodoo (or it's equivalent), and perhaps we should start thinking about moving out of our homes and office towers and into simpler structures.

I am thinking about buying a yurt.

I hope the neighborhood association understands. I also hope that God does not send a flood.

Or maybe there is another option to undoo the voodoo of sin.

That just might be the structure I need.


  1. It's amusing to see how the media bends over backwards to legitimize virtually any spiritual practice so long as it is not Judeo-Christian in origin. I hate conspiracy theories, but the more religions are minimized/legitimized/equalized the less likely people will investigate any, much less Christianity.


  2. R.,

    It is interesting that the core questions, of the power of God and His relation to creation, and the role of religion in such disasters, is being brushed aside. The resulting implication is that non-Christian religions provide solace and are therefore legitimized in the minds of the audience.

    If by conspiracy theories you mean a media conspiracy to try to avoid any appearance of support for Christian doctrine or truths, I tend to agree that there is probably not a true conspiracy in the main stream media's "don't ask/don't tell" approach to Christianity. The many factors involved that have resulted in the appearance of a media conspiracy would make for an interesting blog post.

  3. I decided to have a little fun--and get some education--regarding voodoo, the Bois Caïman ceremony (where this whole thing got started,) KJS and TEC with this piece.

  4. Anonymous4:24 PM

    Having watched hours of coverage of Haiti, one of the things that stands out to me is the deep (Christian) faith of the Haitian people. One might expect they would curse God but instead they bless him. They are an inspiration to us Americans who are so blessed.