American Voudou: Journey into a Hidden World by Rod Davis

By Rod Davis

Voudou (an older spelling of voodoo)—a pantheistic trust procedure constructed in West Africa and transported to the Americas through the diaspora of the slave trade—is the wide-spread time period for a few comparable African religions which mutated within the Americas, together with santeria, candomble, macumbe, obeah, Shango Baptist, etc.

Since its violent creation within the Caribbean islands, it's been the least understood and so much feared faith of the hot World—suppressed, outlawed or ridiculed from Haiti to Hattiesburg. but aside from Zora Neale Hurston's bills greater than a half-century in the past and a smattering of lurid, usually racist paperbacks, reports of this effective West African theology have centred virtually completely on Haiti, Cuba and the Caribbean basin. American Voudou turns our gaze again to American beaches, largely in the direction of the South, an important and enduring stronghold of the voudou religion in the US and location of its old but hardly ever stated battle with Christianity.

This chronicle of Davis's decided look for the real legacy of voudou in the USA unearths a spirit-world from New Orleans to Miami in an effort to shatter long-held stereotypes concerning the faith and its position in our tradition. The real-life dramas of the practitioners, precise believers and skeptics of the voudou global additionally provide a noticeably diversified entree right into a half-hidden, half-mythical South, and through extension into an alternative soul of the United States. Readers attracted to the dynamic relationships among faith and society, and within the offerings made via humans stuck within the flux of clash, might be heartened by way of this specified tale of survival or even renaissance of what could have been the main persecuted faith in American history.

Traveling on a criss-cross path from New Orleans around the slave-belt states of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, dipping all the way down to Miami the place the voudou of Cuba and the Caribbean is endemic, and as much as big apple the place monks and practioners elevate every year, Rod Davis made up our minds to determine what occurred to voudou within the United States.

A interesting and insightful account of a bit recognized and infrequently misunderstood point of African-American tradition, American Voudou information the author’s personal own reports inside the program of trust and formality, in addition to descriptions and stories of different humans, starting from those that reject it solely to ardent practitioners and leaders. Davis additionally locations voudou in a large context of yankee cultural historical past, from slavery to the Civil Rights stream, and from Elvis to New Age.

Current curiosity in voudou is expounded, partly, to the coming of enormous numbers of individuals into the USA from the Caribbean, in particular Cuba. Blacks in that state have been capable of continue the African faith in a syncretic shape, often called santeria. The tensions that experience arisen among Cubans and African americans over either the management and the idea method of the faith is discussed.

Davis increases questions and provides perception into the character of faith, American tradition, and race kin. The booklet includes an intensive bibliography for additional studying and a word list of voudou phrases for readers unusual with the subject.

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Extra resources for American Voudou: Journey into a Hidden World

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Until it closed, another victim of the New Orleans economy, it was the only voudou establishment in the Quarter with any claim to authenticity. Lorita's Lazarus Spiritual Church Supply, and the other authentic ones, were all elsewhere in the city. A small, voluptuous, articulate purveyor of both her faith and her talent, Ava became the center of attention whenever she walked through the Quarter in her white dress, big earrings and white kerchief, as striking a picture of a m'ambo, a Haitian priestess, as even the long-time residents were likely to encoun- 28 THE GODS AND THEIR WAYS - 29 ter.

Lorraine, in a loose white cotton smock, sat in a comer of the porch on what was called her "throne," actually a small wooden post covered in silver wrapping paper. Around her a special canopy had been arranged with draperies of yellow, red, blue, silver and white cloth. Superas and offering bowls lined the walls. Some contained entrails; one propped up the head of a pig. Maybe a goat. In the center of the floor, a wooden chopping block and knife lay next to a tub filled with the remnants of sacrificial fauna.

It was funny-Lorita never liked the word voudou, feeling it had long ago been propagandized as the stuff of evil and sorcery. "Santeria" was okay, because the Cubans had convinced her santeria was something else. But santeria is voudou as surely as Catholicism is Christianity, and in her own way, forging untutored but determined into the nearly vanished world of the orisha in America, Lorita Mitchell was as true a daughter of the African powers, the vo-du, as had ever landed on these shores. Next time I saw her, near the end of initiation week, she had poured herself into a form-hugging denim sheath and was in full Oshun-sensual, stunning, a volcano of vanity, all hallmarks of the goddess whose mythological links include Venus, Isis and Aphrodite.

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