West-African Religion

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West-African Vodun and Western Catholicism Before we dive into the deep discussion of the relationships between West-African Vodun and Western Catholicism, it is important to understand why I chose to study West-African Vodun. I grew up in a very Lutheran area, but my parents did not raise me with religion. I never really fit in with the Lutheran churches in the area, and I knew that I didn 't believe in God. Although all of my friends were lutheran, and I would often go to church with them and was close with many of the pastors in the area, I never really found my place in the church. When I was about 12 or 13 I watched a movie called The Craft, which is a movie about witchcraft, hence the name. It sounds weird that I found my religion through …show more content…
Glamorized through Hollywood, satirized in Louisiana, and “demonized by christian missionaries” (Voodoo). But it is safe to say that these are very false, stereotypical portrayals of a religion that has depth and importance to millions of people around the world. To many in West-Africa, Vodun is not simply a religion, but a society. A society in which venerating your ancestors and appealing to the spirits is incredibly important. In Vodun culture, all things have spirits; rocks, trees, streams, everything. This is an attribute that you will find in many other Pagan religions as well. In the mainstream Vodun religion, there is a supreme deity, named Bondye (Radford), followed by a multitude of smaller deities that are in charge of their own section of the universe, these beings are called Loa (Vodun). During worship ceremonies to specific deities, it is believed that the dead walk amongst the living in celebratory dances.There is also the belief that a person 's soul may leave a body and/or re-enter a body and that being possessed by other spirits is not entirely uncommon (Origins). Another important factor of West African Vodun is that many of the religious leaders are women called priestesses who are often called upon to heal the sick, and that animal sacrifice plays an immensely important roles in trying to please the overruling deities. Unlike Catholicism, there are no written scriptures of the practices of vodun, instead, west african cultures have transferred these practices through generations of storytelling and cultural practices (Haas). And although no one is entirely sure where this religion comes from (Handwerk), this incredibly diverse religion has seemed to last over time, although being shaped by a variety of things, it is still encompassed by the entity of the human spirit

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