Voodoo is one of the most misconstrued religions in the world. Most people form an opinion on the religion by watching Hollywood movies and shows. However, everything that is shown about Voodoo on-screen is false and somewhat discriminatory.
A religion heavily based on oral traditions with no holy text or set of beliefs; Voodoo is a religion mostly followed in the Caribbean islands. It is the main religion of Haiti and Jamaica. However, some people in the South Eastern United States also follow Voodoo, such as in Mississippi and New Orleans.
Most people do not know what Voodooists believe in. But, just like any other monotheistic religion, Voodoo tradition is centered on one supreme God. This primary God is mighty and cannot be reached by ordinary Voodooists. It is due to this reason that Voodooists rely on other spirits to communicate with their God. These spirits are called lwa or loa in Haiti. They are considered to be powerful spirits that have African roots. There is a hierarchy of spirits, and loa is the primary type of spirit. Some of them even have a holiday dedicated to their name. There are also minor spirits that have different roles. Each community has its loa. It could be in the form of spirits of influential family members or the beloved. It is believed that God gives some of his power to the loa who can communicate with God.
The spirits offer advice, assistance, and protection to Voodooists during observances and ceremonies. There is a reciprocal process as followers need to perform rituals to get the loa to help them. It could be in the form of animal sacrifices. Voodooists also hold ceremonies to thank the spirits for good fortune, blessings, and protection. Followers need to follow the customs of the religion and their community if they want to have a good relationship with the loa. Thus, Voodoo influences daily activities and decisions.
The loa is believed to communicate with Voodooists through possession. The soul of the host is temporarily displaced for the individual to become the medium. Voodooists believe that the possessed do not experience injury or pain while they are possessed. The loa provides advice, prophecies, and instructions. It is also thought that the loa can rebuke followers if they fail to meet their duties to their community, family, or the loa. Becoming possessed is considered to be a privilege in many Voodoo traditions. The loa have the freedom to choose who they want to possess whenever they want. Voodooists that are possessed are said to be elevated in status to others.
With an abundance of observations and rituals, Voodoo is a very diverse religion. It is about personal experience as followers get to experience communication with the loa and other spirits directly.