Voodoo

voodoo (vōō´dōō) [from the god Vodun], native W African religious beliefs and practices that also has adherents in the New World. Voodoo believers are most numerous in Haiti, where voodoo was granted official religious status in 2003, and in Benin, where the religion has had official recognition since 1996. Similar observances are found in Jamaica, under the name pocomania, and in parts of the United States and in the Guianas. A highly developed voodooistic religion known as candomblé is found in Brazil.

Although the magical aspects of voodoo are related to beliefs and practices found throughout the world, the basic features of voodoo were brought by slaves from W Africa, particularly those from what is now Benin, where the beliefs are still widespread (as many as 60% of the people of Benin practice voodoo). Voodoo contends that all of nature is controlled by spiritual forces which must be acknowledged and honored through offerings and animal sacrifice; ecstatic trances (a means of communicating with the gods and spirits) and magical practices play an important role in its ritual. In the New World, Christian elements were introduced, and the African deities became identified with various saints. At various time attempts have been made to suppress voodoo, but voodoo survived and continues to flourish.

See also magic; Santería; zombi.

See A. Métraux, Voodoo in Haiti (tr. 1959); F. Huxley, The Invisibles (1966).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Creole Religions of the Caribbean: An Introduction from Vodou and Santería to Obeah and Espiritismo
Margarite Fernández Olmos; Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert.
New York University Press, 2011 (2nd edition)
Replacing the Term "Voodoo" with "Vodou": A Proposal
Desmangles, Leslie G.
Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol. 18, No. 2, Fall 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
American Voudou: Journey into a Hidden World
Rod Davis.
University of North Texas Press, 1998
Why We Can't Talk to You about Voodoo
Osbey, Brenda Marie.
The Southern Literary Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2, Spring 2011
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Crossing the Water and Keeping the Faith: Haitian Religion in Miami
Terry Rey; Alex Stepick.
New York University Press, 2013
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Vodou in the Magic City: Serving the Spirits across the Sea"
The Black Studies Reader
Jacqueline Bobo; Cynthia Hudley; Claudine Michel.
Routledge, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 31 "Teaching Haitian Vodou"
Voodoo Is Rebounding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; Nine Years after Hurricane Katrina, the Caribbean Religion Is Rebounding in New Orleans but Is Still Misunderstood
Anderson, Stacey.
Newsweek, Vol. 163, No. 9, September 5, 2014
African Mythic Science or Vodou Methodology
Martin, Denise.
Journal of Pan African Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4, June 15, 2012
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Sacred Body in a Clear Mirror: A Comparison of Women's Theologies in Vodou and Neopaganism
Pizza, Murphy.
Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol. 13, No. 1, Spring 2007
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Beyond Rationalism: Rethinking Magic, Witchcraft, and Sorcery
Bruce Kapferer.
Berghahn Books, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Beyond Vodou and Anthroposophy in the Dominican-Haitian Borderlands"
Voodoo Hermeneutics/the Crossroads Sublime: Soul Musics, Mindful Body, and Creole Consciousness
Cartwright, Keith.
The Mississippi Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 1, Winter 2003
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Constructing Africa: Authenticity and Gine in Haitian Vodou
McGee, Adam.
Journal of Haitian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 2, Fall 2008
PEER-REVIEWED PERIODICAL
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Cultures of Color in America: A Guide to Family, Religion, and Health
Sybil M. Lassiter.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Voodoo" begins on p. 122
Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora
Elizabeth McAlister.
University of California Press, 2002
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