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Library - Theology - Vodun (Voodoo, Sevi Lwa)

Vodun (an African word meaning "spirit") is an ancient polytheistic religion that originated at least as early as c. 4,000 BCE, and was a prominent facet in West African culture, and some Haitian and other West Indie cultures (because of the slave trade), both inside and outside jungle settings.  In February 1996 the Vodun religion became Benin's official religion where it has since been freely practiced after a long and arduous history that resisted many attempts by governments and other religions to eradicate it before that.

Deities:   Supernatural agents:   Beliefs:   Traditions:
  • Olorun (the chief deity, albeit remote and unknowable)
  • Obatala (creator of planet Earth and all life on it)
  • Agwe (ocean spirit)
  • Aida Wedo (rainbow spirit)
  • Ayza (protector spirit)
  • Baka (evil spirit who uses animal disguises)
  • Baron Samedi (grave and graveyard gaurdian spirit)
  • Dambala Wedo (serpent spirit)
  • Erzulie / Erinle (forest spirit)
  • Ezili (love spirit who is specifically female)
  • Mawu Lisa (creation spirit)
  • Ogou Balanjo (healing spirit)
  • Ogun / Ogu Bodagris (war spirit)
  • Oko / Zaka (agriculture spirit)
  • Osun (healing streams spirit)
  • Sango (storm spirit)
  • Yemanja (water spirit who is specifically female)
  • Every person is granted a single responsibility or special attribute
  • Every person has a soul with two parts:
    1. A tiny guardian angel ("ti bon ange") which leaves the body during sleep or demonic posession
    2. A massive guardian angel ("gros bon ange")
  • Dancing (especially "spirit dances")

Vodun has been widely misunderstood in North American culture due to the popularity of peculiarly misleading variations of Voodoo (most often involving voodoo dolls and psychotic sadistic witch doctors) being protrayed in certain entertainment sectors, particularly movies and television shows.

See also

 
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