Voodoo In West Africa

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ABSTRACT Voodoo is an old religion that finds its roots in west Africa. Remnants of its physical history can be found throughout the West African Coast where major slave trading markets were located. An Example of this are locations contain trees of forgetting in which slaves were “Zombified” by administering herbs to make them more compliant. Today these historical sites draw tourist learning about the horrors of the slave trade Voodoo beliefs originated from African animist religions that predate Islam and Christian influences and were not understood by the European slave owners who forbid its practice. It created a fear in the Europeans and is misunderstood even today. Its travel to the Caribbean, Haiti and America had a lasting impact and is still practiced. In A.D. 64, a great fire broke out in Rome for six days, and devastated much of the city. According to the writer Tacitus, “Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the people of Rome.” (Church, A. J. and Brodribb W. J. (trans.), 1888). The “abominations” practiced by early Christians were said to be cannibalism and incest, based on rumors circulating in Rome at that time. This originated from a lack of understanding of the Eucharist. This incident in the history of the early Christian Church shows how a religion, especially a secretive one, can be misrepresented and misunderstood. A similar example can be seen in the religion known as Voodoo (also known as Vodou or Voudon). For many, the word Voodoo conjures up images of magical dolls with pins stuck in them to inflict pain on one’s enemies and the resurrection of the dead as zombies. These images are the result of the misunderstanding of Voodoo by popular culture, and does not accurately represent Voodoo as understood those who practice it. Most people associate Voodoo with dolls filled with pins created to inflict pain on a cursed person. Voodoo refers to "a whole assortment of cultural elements to include personal creeds and practices, a system of folk medical practices; and ethics transmitted across generations including proverbs, stories, songs, and folklore. “Voudon is more than belief; it

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