Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion

Academic journal article Reference & User Services Quarterly

The Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion

Article excerpt

The Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion. Edited By Jeffrey E. Anderson. Santa Barbara, CA: ABCCLIO, 2015. 438 pages. Acid free $100 (ISBN 978-1-61069208-3). Ebook available (978-61069-209-0), call for pricing.

The most striking feature of this volume is its focus on Voodoo or Vodou as a belief system, replete with all the trappings one expects: rituals, ethical considerations, practitioners, and a full history. The preface immediately recognizes the stereotypes and connotations that have become entrenched in the word itself, and promises information on the "full-fledged" religion of Vodou. This resource delivers on its promise.

In preparing to review this work, I set out to discover similar reference works. A search of the catalog at my library, a private, Catholic liberal arts college (with a theology program), proved disappointing. The only incidences of Voodoo or Vodou I encountered were short entries in encyclopedic works on world religions. A search in the consortia catalog yielded mixed, though not surprising, results: fiction, folklore, and several works with a singular focus on New Orleans and a few on Haiti. The most comparable item I discovered, authored by this volume's editor, Jeffrey E. Anderson, Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Conjure: A Handbook (Greenwood, 2008) was nearly eight years old. …

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