Who is the voodoo god

Voodoo religion in West Africa

The Voodoo religion is native to West Africa, Haiti and parts of America. The religion is best known in western countries for offering sacrifices and the practice of white and black magic. Through slavery, the beliefs came from West Africa to the West Indies, with elements of other religions being incorporated.

Voodoo is an originally West African religion. The word "Voodoo" is derived from a word in the West African Fon (the language of the Dahomeyer), for spirit or deity and possibly existed several thousand years ago. Both the hierarchy of the gods within the cult and the name of the supreme god Mawu and other deities, the names of the priests "Huangan" and many cult tools have been taken across the seas from Dahomey and are still identical to those in today's Benin .

Voodoo belongs to the Yoruba tradition. The Yoruba crossed Africa from Egypt via a route that crosses Africa from the middle of the Nile to the middle of the Niger. In this area of ​​today's Nigeria was a culture that today's science calls the Nok culture. Between 200 and 500 BC, the Yoruba peoples met the Nok culture and slowly began to merge with it. Under the leadership of King Oduduwa of the Yoruba, his people settled in the already existing city of Ile-Ife, which was considered a holy city for the local population. The descendants conquered the stretches of land through which they passed and thus laid the foundation stone of the Yoruba Empire, which was to carry on the voodoo.

Voodoo, however, also represents a hybrid religion made up of diverse African, Islamic, Catholic and also Indian elements, which arose from the origin and history of the slaves in the West Indies: Torn from their African village communities and forced to work for the colonialists and to the Christian faith, tried to carry on some of the slaves, their original religion and the hope and identity that they associated with it. For example, images of Catholic saints in voodoo often actually represent African spirits with similar properties or similar symbolic content. These African deities are called loa (spiritual guides).

Voodoo in Africa is now mainly practiced in the West African states of Benin, Ghana and Togo. In Benin, Voodoo is an officially recognized religion, along with Christianity and Islam, and January 10th is a voodoo holiday.

The Voodoo religion is spreading more and more around the world, especially in the continent of origin, Africa, as the black population in particular remembers its roots. he religion Voodoo is spreading more and more worldwide, especially in the continent of origin, Africa, as the black population in particular remembers its roots. It is estimated that around three quarters of the people in Haiti belong to the voodoo. At the same time, however, 90 percent also profess the Catholic faith.

In West Africa there are numerous different forms of the voodoo cult. On the Nigerian coast, for example, the inhabitants revere Mami Wata. This goddess is represented half as a woman, half as a mermaid. Her unusual, white skin color led numerous researchers to speculate that Mami Wata was modeled on the figureheads of European sailing ships, which mostly showed light-skinned women. But in the meantime ethnologists have been able to prove that the light skin of the goddess is said to go back to her stay in the water, where, according to the belief of voodoo followers, the skin does not get enough sun and therefore bleaches. The biggest Mami-Wata festival, however, is celebrated on December 21st each year in Aneho (Togo). Especially in Nigeria there are numerous other voodoo gods, some of which are worshiped in sacred groves. The voodoo cult is also accessible to whites there. A few years ago, for example, the Austrian Susanne Wenger was ordained priestess of the river goddess cult in Oshogbo.

There is no closed religious community, rather the followers of Voodoo are divided into individual groups. Each group worships a particular tradition, sacred figure, or loa.

In voodoo this central core consists of worship of the loa (God, divine being, good spirit), oracles, ancestor worship and rebirth. In voodoo one believes in rebirth. A person's actions affect their next life. If a person has behaved well, righteously and in faith, he has the chance to become a loa. Thus he is given power and influence, but also given the opportunity to help shape the world. If a person has neither behaved too well nor was he bad, then he will be born again as a person and a new cycle begins for him. Again all chances are open to him, but all temptations and temptations threaten him again

If a person was not very good in his life, it is possible that he will be punished by the Loa sanctions in his next life, these can be mental and / or physical handicaps. But this is less the case in the Voodoo belief, and mainly concerns minor offenses. Serious offenses, on the other hand, are punished with misfortune or illness, or rebirth as an animal. If a person has been particularly bad, then he can also be reborn as a diab, a demonic being that only seeks to harm the living or to rule you.

Every loa and diab has its own personality. This includes the character, strengths, weaknesses and certain peculiarities. In contrast to the Christian God, Loa and Diab have human traits. You are in a good mood, but also angry or even offended.

The top loa (in Santeria or Umbanda is spoken of orishas) is Olorun, a very important loa is called Obatala. In addition, there are far more than 200 gods or spirits (or ancestors). The supreme god is "Bondye" (also known as "Le Bondieu" (French: the love of God)), followed by "Papa Legba", as a mediator between gods and humans, "Agowu", a demon who experiences storms and earthquakes able to trigger, "Damballah", the god of snakes, "Ogu" ("Ogoun", the god of wars), "Ghede", "Agwe" ​​and "Erzulie". A priest is called a houngan or babalawo, a priestess is called a mambo.

Alleged zombies are legendary notorious for the voodoo cult. These are said to be robbed, permanently heavily anesthetized people who, living in physical neglect, have to do heavy labor. Since their relatives do not know about this existence and consider them dead and buried, their fate does not attract attention.

In these religions, obsession is part of the ritual union with God. Here it has nothing to do with the passive suffering of a mentally ill person; it is considered an honor to be "ridden" by gods. People who were briefly ingested by gods during trance ceremonies are highly honored in voodoo and questioned by the sick and those seeking help during the trance. From then on, such a "possessed" person is spiritually connected to the god or goddess (key loa) in question for the rest of his life. Often it is this key loa who later wants a closer connection with the believer, which is created through an elaborate ritual.

Time and again, Voodoo is viewed as black magic. These ideas were nourished by the practices of the cult of the dead and the belief in the resuscitation of the long dead (necromancy). There have also been rumors of the killing of children. Voodoo magicians are said to have used the children's blood for mysterious ceremonies. What actually happened of this cannot be explained. Legends of ritual murder can often be found in religious history as atrocity propaganda by competing religions.

As a rule, human sacrifices are not part of the belief in voodoo. But rituals are practiced in which animals are sacrificed. These animal sacrifices serve on the one hand for the spiritual nourishment of the Loa and on the other hand for the nutrition of the believers. It is therefore a matter of ritual slaughter.

As in other cultures and religions, it can happen that priests and believers of Voodoo try to use their supposed powers for harmful spells. Voodoo priests and followers who practice such practices are called bokor. In contrast, there is the houngan, a voodoo priest who rejects such practices without what he sees as a morally appropriate reason. In the case of priestesses, this conceptual distinction is usually not made; they are always referred to as mambo.

A well-known, but mostly exaggerated, custom is the production of voodoo dolls, which are often modeled after a specific person. Sometimes a photo is also stuck on the head of the doll. By pricking the doll or even piercing it with needles, pain is said to be inflicted on the person concerned. Above all, however, voodoo dolls are used to heal the sick. This method was originally used by priests in Haiti.

These dolls were created out of necessity, as the slaves at the American slave traders were not allowed to practice voodoo. Accordingly, images of deities or demons carved out of wood were forbidden. As a result, images of God were camouflaged as dolls.

The West African voodoo

West African voodoo originally came from Benin (Dahomey until 1975). The word Voodoo comes from the African word Vodun from the "Fon language". Voodoo came to America through the slave trade and returned to West Africa through returnees with new ideas. Christian and Islamic elements also appeared in West Africa. Through indigenous reincarnation beliefs, a normal person can be reborn seventeen times. However, anyone who is over 50 years old and has led an exemplary life becomes an ancestor without rebirth. The ancestors (man or woman) receive altars with signs and interpretations of the deceased. The altars are ritually sprinkled with blood.

Voodoo has been a recognized religion in Benin since 1996. January 10th is the voodoo holiday in Benin. The main festival is held at the shipyard of the former slaves at the "Gate of Never Again" in Ouidah. The highest high priest of voodoo resides here and the temple of the snake god Dan is also located here.

The voodoo gods are messengers between the supreme god of ancestors and humans. According to the myth of origin of the "Ge" people, the supreme god and voodoo are descended from a pair of great parents. The Voodoo are both male and female, they have positive and destructive powers, they are the link between man and the unknown. Humans and voodoo depend on and depend on each other. The existence and well-being of the people depend on the voodoo. Sacrificial acts increase the power of voodoo. The voodoo can lose their power when people stop devoting themselves to them. Different voodoo gods are responsible for different areas.

Important Voodoo are Dan, the snake god, Legba, the guardian of the way of the cross, as mediator between the upper and the lower world, further Egungun, the god of the ancestors, who hide behind the masks of the secret society of the Egungun and are represented by its members be effective. The secret society ensures order and social behavior in African voodoo.

Other gods are Ezili, the goddess of love, Gu, the god of iron and war, who has to be satisfied so that one can drive safely, Mami Wata, the goddess of water, often portrayed as a mermaid, but also as a beautiful woman merges with the Virgin Mary, Shango, the god with lightning and thunder, who also appears as Jesus, and many others.

The Voodoo are used to cope with the forces of nature. Figures on the altars are not venerated, only the respective spirits. The will of Voodoo is made known through the Fá oracle, it is the ethical and moral authority of religion. It is a complicated oracle system made of strings and nutshells with 256 different characters, and it contains all possible situations.

The training to become an oracle priest is very lengthy and can last up to six years. This takes place in a monastic district that is closed to the uninitiated. Medical knowledge and political-social aspects are taught, but also songs, dances, laws. The Oracle Master must therefore be very responsible.

The offerings in the voodoo religion consist of things that the voodoo likes. Depending on the type of voodoo perfume, this includes cigarettes. Lemonade or alcohol. Gifts are thrown into the sea in her honor. The gifts are often artfully arranged on altars. However, there are also animal sacrifices that are believed to have replaced human sacrifices. The most important sacrificial animals are roosters, chickens and goats that are slaughtered.

More important than sacrifices are dances that serve as prayer. At the cultic events, prayer, dance, fun and joy go together. This also applies to rites to cope with illness, grief and guilt. Pictures and figures are the visualization of the spirit that affects people. Illness has its cause in the imbalance of the community, which must first be balanced. After that, the symptoms can be treated effectively. This is done through medicinal herbs. There are over 4000 West African plant recipes.

List of some voodoo gods from West Africa and Haiti


God of the sea and water

Aida Wedo:

God of the rainbow


Protector God


Evil god in the form of animals

Baron Samedi:

Protector of the grave

Dambala (Damballah-Wedo):

Snake god


God of the ways, ways of the cross and guardian of the doors


God of the forest

Ezili (Erzulie):

Goddess of love


Plant god

Mawu Lisa:

Creator God

Obatala (Oxala):

Heaven god, god of creation energy


God of the hunt

Ogou Balanjo:

God of healing


God of metals, war, mountains and tools


Goddess of love, motherhood, beauty and wealth

Oya (Yansa):

Goddess of wind, fire, water, rainbows, forces of nature and warriors


God of storms


Goddess of universal motherhood

Zaka (Oko):

God of agriculture