The Haitian Vodou Handbook

Until recently, the Haitian practice of Vodou was often identified with devil worship, dark curses and superstition. Some saw the saint images and the Catholic influences and wrote Vodou off as a Christian aberration. Others were appalled by the animal sacrifices and the fact that the Houngans and Mambos charge money for their services. Those who sought Vodou because they believed it could harness evil forces were disappointed when their efforts to gain fame, fortune or endless romance failed and so abandoned their voodoo fetishes. Those who managed to get the attention of the lwa, the spirits honoured in Haitian Vodou, often received cosmic retaliation for treating the lwa as attack dogs or genies, which only further cemented Vodou's stereotype as dangerous. In The Haitian Vodou Handbook , Kevin Filan, a Vodou priest, explains how to build respectful relationships with the lwa of the Vodou pantheon and how to transform the fear that often surrounds the Vodou religion. He offers extensive background information on the lwa and instructions on how to honour and interact fruitfully with those that make themselves accessible, emphasising the importance of having a quickened mind that can read the lwa's desires intuitively in order to avoid establishing dogma-based relationships. He, also, discusses the role of Vodou in Haitian culture and explores the symbiotic relationship Vodou has maintained with Catholicism through the connections between the lwa and the Christian saints.

Review:

Vodou is not what most people think. It's not devil worship, dark curses, and drumbeat-driven orgies performed at midnight, poking needles at dolls, or simple superstition. With over a decade of service to the lwa (the deities of Vodou) and membership in Societe la Belle Venus #2, a Vodou temple in Brooklyn, Filan sets out to right these pulpy perspectives of what in reality is a complex African diaspora spirituality and a form of worship that marries the secular and the spiritual. Of course, Vodou is not without its dangers, since the lwa can wreak a frightening vengeance. It's not foolproof, either; without proper initiation into addressing the lwa, they will simply ignore you. But Filan aspires to give potential initiates the proper tools for communicating with the deities of Vodou (like Mama Danto who protects, and Papa Damballah who brings peace). In the process, he shares the rich and at times disturbing history of its practitioners (especially the oppression and racism faced during slavery), and offers a litany of everything necessary to practice Vodou on an individual level, from knowledge of the tradition's most important symbols, rites, myths and spells, to an extensive list of further resources and Vodou-related Web sites, music and even charities.
Author:
Kenaz Filan
Format:
Paperback

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Description

Until recently, the Haitian practice of Vodou was often identified with devil worship, dark curses and superstition. Some saw the saint images and the Catholic influences and wrote Vodou off as a Christian aberration. Others were appalled by the animal sacrifices and the fact that the Houngans and Mambos charge money for their services. Those who sought Vodou because they believed it could harness evil forces were disappointed when their efforts to gain fame, fortune or endless romance failed and so abandoned their voodoo fetishes. Those who managed to get the attention of the lwa, the spirits honoured in Haitian Vodou, often received cosmic retaliation for treating the lwa as attack dogs or genies, which only further cemented Vodou's stereotype as dangerous. In The Haitian Vodou Handbook , Kevin Filan, a Vodou priest, explains how to build respectful relationships with the lwa of the Vodou pantheon and how to transform the fear that often surrounds the Vodou religion. He offers extensive background information on the lwa and instructions on how to honour and interact fruitfully with those that make themselves accessible, emphasising the importance of having a quickened mind that can read the lwa's desires intuitively in order to avoid establishing dogma-based relationships. He, also, discusses the role of Vodou in Haitian culture and explores the symbiotic relationship Vodou has maintained with Catholicism through the connections between the lwa and the Christian saints.

Review:

Vodou is not what most people think. It's not devil worship, dark curses, and drumbeat-driven orgies performed at midnight, poking needles at dolls, or simple superstition. With over a decade of service to the lwa (the deities of Vodou) and membership in Societe la Belle Venus #2, a Vodou temple in Brooklyn, Filan sets out to right these pulpy perspectives of what in reality is a complex African diaspora spirituality and a form of worship that marries the secular and the spiritual. Of course, Vodou is not without its dangers, since the lwa can wreak a frightening vengeance. It's not foolproof, either; without proper initiation into addressing the lwa, they will simply ignore you. But Filan aspires to give potential initiates the proper tools for communicating with the deities of Vodou (like Mama Danto who protects, and Papa Damballah who brings peace). In the process, he shares the rich and at times disturbing history of its practitioners (especially the oppression and racism faced during slavery), and offers a litany of everything necessary to practice Vodou on an individual level, from knowledge of the tradition's most important symbols, rites, myths and spells, to an extensive list of further resources and Vodou-related Web sites, music and even charities.

Product details

Author:
Kenaz Filan
Subtitle:
Protocols for Riding with the Lwa
ISBN:
9781594771255
Audience:
General
Pages:
283
Width (mm):
160
Length (mm):
228
Additional Info:
Kenaz Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated in Societe la Belle Venus in March 2003 after 10 years of solitary service to the lwa. Filan's articles on Vodou have appeared in NewWitch, Pangaia, Planet Magazine, and Widdershins.
Weight (g):
417

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