"Merry Meet and Blessed Be!"

"Bide the Wiccan law ye must,
In perfect love and perfect trust..."

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Voodoo and Witchcraft

I've been asked if Voodoo and Witchcraft are the same thing or if there are any similarities.

Voodoo refers to a religion brought to the states by Haitian slaves. Voodoo believes in one creator god, Bondye'. This god does not involve in human affairs so most of the rituals in Voodoo appeal to lesser spirits and forces. These spirits are called Loa. The Loa are subservient to Bondye' and they control different aspects of life. When the African slaves of the colonists were forced to convert to Christianity they carried over some of their original beliefs combining the two religions to create Voodoo. Many of the same deities of Voodoo are the same as Christian saints and demons. Voodoo actually allows the harm of others, Voodoo focuses on the individual having the power to call into being anything they may want. There are many various spellings Voodoo, Voodou, Voodoun, and many others. There is no central leader of the religion, like a pope or such, but the priests and priestesses are known as Haugan (priests) and Mambo (priestesses). Those who practice Voodoo form strong bonds with the Loa and appeal to them for their blessings with offerings of food, alcohol, tobacco, and even animal sacrifice. There are several different types of Voodoo around the most famous being Louisianan Voodoo. There is a focus on ritual trance and allowing the Loa to possess the Mambo during these trances. There are many famous many Voodoo Queens who are considered extremely powerful, the most well known was Madame Marie Laveau whose grave is a popular destination for followers who still believe that even after death her powers are so strong she has become a Loa. Marie Laveau is most well known for her skills but also her great compassion for those less fortunate. Thanks to Hollywood, Voodoo has received a bad image of hexing people and sticking pins into dolls to cause pain and loss to others, or turning them into zombies. True practitioners practice behind closed doors in private and focus their time and efforts on learning, devotion, ritual bathing, strict diet/ fasting, and personal ceremony. To perform for cameras and show is considered an insult and blasphemy to the spirits. They seek to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, heal the ailing, and helping those with depression, addiction or loneliness to overcome and find strength.

Witchcraft is a polytheistic religion that for the most part has at least both a male and female deity. Witchcraft originated with the Celts, early Europe, and some with Egyptians. Witchcraft has no basis in Christian beliefs and for those who know Exodus 22:18, know they can not be combined. Witchcraft has a belief that individuals have the power to call into being things they desire with a warning that what ever you do in life comes back to you three times, good or bad. Witchcraft focuses on the individual as a whole and their correlation with the rest of the universe. Witchcraft is a focus on nature worship and understanding and respect of the five major elements, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Spirit. Witches do not sacrifice animals and the practice is viewed as an insult to the Goddess to whom all life is sacred. Witchcraft focuses on helping others and sharing what you may have with those less fortunate than yourself as a way of giving thanks to the God and Goddess for their blessings! Just like Voodoo the media and Hollywood have given a bad misunderstanding to witchcraft. We dress just like everyone else, we don't fly on brooms, and we don't worship the Devil or consort with demons. Witches are usually private people who don't flash about who they are. We tend to practice in private and are strongly devoted to our life's path.

So in answer to your question Voodoo and Witchcraft are two separate religions that are both based in the supernatural. They are not the same thing and they both have their own individual beliefs. There are some similarities but all religions have some!

Blessed be,
Lady Alice