Some of the more important nations of lwa are the Rada, the Nago, and the Kongo. The Ogou family are soldiers, the Ezili govern the feminine spheres of life, the Azaka govern agriculture, the Ghede govern the sphere of death and fertility. There is a plural idea of proper and improper, in the sense that what is appropriate to someone with Dambala Wedo as their head may be different from someone with Ogou Feray as their head, for example.. Since Vodou has such a community orientation, there are no "solitaries" in Vodou, only people separated geographically from their elders and house. West African or Beninese Vodun is similar to Haitian Vodou in its emphasis on the ancestors, however each family of spirits has its own specialized clergy that is often hereditary. In fact it has more basis in European traditions, as the nkisi or bocio figures used in Africa are in fact power objects, what in Haiti would be referred to as pwen, rather than magical surrogates for an intended target of sorcery whether for boon or for bane. There is no central authority or "pope" in Haitian Vodou since "every manbo and houngan is the head of their own house", as a popular saying in Haiti goes.
Most experts speculate that this was done in an attempt to hide their "pagan" religion from their masters who had forbidden them to practice it. The best survivals of possibly Haitian-influenced religion in the southern US, however, are most likely to be found within the African-American Spiritual Churches of New Orleans, a Christian sect founded by Mother Leafy Anderson in the early 20th century which incorporates Catholic iconography, ecstatic worship derived from Pentacostal forms, and spiritualism. There are seven direct sons of Mawu, interethnic and related to natural phenomena or historical or mythical individuals, and dozens of ethnic Voduns, defenders of a certain clan or tribe. The spirits also come in "families" that all share a surname, like Ogou, or Ezili, or Azaka or Ghede. Spirits include Mami Wata, who are goddesses of waters; Legba, who is virile and young in contrast to the old man form he takes in Haiti; Gu, ruling iron and smithcraft; Sakpata, who rules diseases; and many other spirits distinct in their own way to West Africa. There are literally hundreds of lwa. A person without a relationship of some kind with elders will not be practicing Vodou as it is understood in Haiti and among Haitians. In addition to the Fon or Dahomeyan tradition which has remained in Africa, there are related traditions that put down roots in the New World during the days of the transatlantic African slave trade. New World Voodoo and its derivatives is a razor sharp case of religious syncretism between the ancient religion imported together with West African slaves, the Christian beliefs of their masters and local religions. It would also be ignoring the large influence of European paganism in Roman Catholicism and its pantheon of saints. After a day or two of preparation setting up altars, ritually preparing and cooking fowl and other foods, etc. In addition to the Fon or Dahomeyan tradition which has remained in Africa, there are related traditions that put down roots in the New World during the days of the transatlantic African slave trade. Part of this harmony is membership in and maintaining relationships within the context of family and community. However all Vodouisants also serve the spirits of their own blood ancestors, and this important aspect of Vodou practice is often glossed over or minimized in importance by commentators who do not understand the significance of it. Vodou as we know it in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora today is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispanola during the African slave trade. In the southern United States, it has also influenced the system of folk magic and folk religion known as hoodoo which derives primarily from Congo and Angolan magical practices from Central Africa. For instance, "Ezili" is a family, Ezili Dantor and Ezili Freda are two individual spirits in that family. There is no central authority or "pope" in Haitian Vodou since "every manbo and houngan is the head of their own house", as a popular saying in Haiti goes. Plus the modern Voduns, mostly coming from Ghana. The Ogou family are soldiers, the Ezili govern the feminine spheres of life, the Azaka govern agriculture, the Ghede govern the sphere of death and fertility. As stated before, Vodun is a Theist and magical form of Animism that developed among West African tribes predating Historical times. Vodou as we know it in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora today is the result of the pressures of many different cultures and ethnicities of people being uprooted from Africa and imported to Hispanola during the African slave trade. Rada spirits are familial and mostly come from Africa, Petwo spirits are mostly native to Haiti and are more demanding and require more attention to detail than the Rada, but both can be dangerous if angry or upset. The practice became closely associated with the Vodou religions in the public mind through the vehicle of horror movies. A Vodou house or society is organized on the metaphor of an extended family, and initiates are the "children" of their initiators, with the sense of hierarchy and mutual obligation that implies. Such things fall under the auspices of the "bokor" or sorcerer rather than the priest of the Lwa Gine. The Haitian Vodouisants believe, in accordance with widespread African tradition, that there is one God who is the creator of all, referred to as "Bondye" from the French "Bon Dieu" or "Good God", distinguished from the god of the whites in a dramatic speech by the houngan Boukman at Bwa Kayiman, but is often considered the same God the Roman Catholic Church talks about.
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