The Vodun Religion Essay

997 words - 4 pages

VodunVodun is a large religion which has been misunderstood by millions and millions of people. These millions and millions of people believe that Vodun is an evil practice, an uncivilized religion and is simply inhumane. However, this is not Vodun. This evil religion does not exist anywhere in the world, except in the movies of Hollywood. This essay will attempt to show how Vodun is a civilized religion and gives peace of mind for many believers.BeliefsVodun consists of three different levels of divinity. The highest level of divinity is placed in the 'Bondye'. This word is related to the French term 'bon dieu' meaning 'good god'. They believe that Bondye is an invisible spirit that is found all over the world, however, Bondye is not worshipped directly, instead through 'Lwas'. Lwas are the second-highest form of divinity. They are the lesser-gods of Vodun. On current record, there are over 1,300 Lwas, as each Lwa has its own personality and symbol. The dead spirits are the last form of divinity. Voduns believe that the spirits of every person who has died. They dead can be called during specific rituals which will be discussed later on.The religion of Vodun believes in three positions which a person may be. The first is 'Kanzo'. Kanzo is basically a person who believes and practices the faith throughout their lives. The second is 'Sur Pointe'. Sur Pointe is a person, who has been training through a specific 'Lwa' (Lwa being a type of lesser-god) and is now considered a priest. In Vodun, males and females can become priests. Males are called 'Houngan' and females are called 'Mambo'. The final position is the 'Asogwe' which is the supreme person that can make final judgments on many issues.SymbolsVodun itself does not have a symbol for others to recognize it by. However, the religion itself is surrounded by thousands of different symbols. The main reason why they have many symbols is to compensate the fact that Vodun does not have any type of official texts. Each Lwa has its own unique symbol. As shown on the diagram, we can see that there are 6 Lwa with their own symbol. Zaka, the god of agriculture, has a rectangle that is divided into many pieces with a dagger and a hook either side; while Legba, the god of the gate, has a small symbol in the centre circle. This is to represent that Legba controls the what goes in and out of the circle.RitualsLike all faiths, Vodun has many different rituals for many different occasions. The main ritual is the ritual where the people feed the spirits and Lwas. The ceremony begins with a prayer, drumming and song. Each Lwa has, like its symbol, its own lyrics, melodies and rhythms to which it responds to. The houngan or mambo will attempt to greet the spirits and Lwas coming to the ritual. Although, before they can do this, they have to call for Legba, the god of the gate, to open the gates between this world and the divine world. After the greetings, vèvès are drawn on the ground to represent the...

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