Talk:West African Vodun

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Deletion of original article[edit]

We have noticed that the original article that we published has been deleted. The current historical information concerning the origins of Vodoun is incorrect and its definition is inaccurate. It is clear that Wikipedia is not interested in historical accuracy, but rather what is politically correct to justify Western, European inclusion of themselves in an ancient religion of which they are not ancestrally rooted, nor experientially knowledgeable. We have noticed this neo-colonial revisionist’s pattern concerning several of the major religions originating from Africa and brought to the New World exclusively by Africans. We will not even attempt to argue or impose historical accuracy into this article. You may have at it. We are making this point only for the record. Those seeking truth will find ours and other websites authored by African and Diaspora historians and practitioners in the search engines. The historical deteroiation of this and other pertinent articles has already garnered Wikipedia an unreliable source for students and researchers. Anagossii--74.229.102.208 (talk) 12:39, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Deletion of Relevant Link

We have re-added the links which were deleted to the "Mami Wata Yeveh Vodoun page." It was listed under "External References." We do not understand why our links were allowed to be omitted. It is we who have contributed the photo and this article concerning the crucial information on the Ewe global aspects of Vodoun in the original (no deleted) article. The Ewe have a different legitimate historical perspective on the origins of Vodoun which is important to include if we are to finally gain a full understanding of this important African Ancestral Religion brought to the New World by enslaved Africans. Our house consist of native African Ewe priest and Bokonos who know their own history. Please do not just accept our contributions to this article, but omit our resource as an important reference. Anagossii--74.229.102.208 (talk) 12:15, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

They were probably considered link spam. There are lots of junk links added to the vodun articles. If we got over-zealous in removing yours, my apologies. Also, if you have referenced, scholarly material to add, I'd be ecstatic to have it. However, we do not allow original research. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a place to publish a thesis. kwami (talk) 21:42, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
I just took a look. The first was a bad link--it's a blank page. The second is rather specialized, in that it does not deal with vodun as a whole, but on diaspora vodun. We have a separate article on that. The link is fine here, since it ties the two together, but it's generally frowned upon to put a link to your organization at the top of the list, as if you were more important than everyone else. It's arrogant, and may be why it was deleted. kwami (talk) 21:52, 7 October 2008 (UTC)
BTW, you're also adding your comments to the top of the page. No-one reads the stuff at the top of the page. kwami (talk) 21:52, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Unencyclopedic explanations[edit]

This was at the very top of the article, and I removed it- if anyone wants to do anything with it, please do.

'''A Simple Understanding to Voodoo''' Voodoo is a religion commonly used by African-Americans in the southern states of the U.S.A and Haiti, which are only 2 out of quite a few places.

It is often pictured as a sinister religion when actually it is not, it is fully established in Western countries of Africa.

It's often mistaken as Hoodoo, which is very different. Hoodoo is a practice, and Voodoo is a religion.

So called Voodoo dolls are not actually associated with Voodoo but are a part of Hoodoo.

I hope this will be read so that the religion and its followers can be respected and understood.

Squeedlyspooch 19:46, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Proposal about this topic[edit]

I propose that "Voodoo" be set up as a disambiguation page with links to separate articles about Haitian Vodou, African Vodun in Benin, and New Orleans Voodoo. If the African Vodun section of the current article gets expanded to the extent it deserves, the current article will become large and unwieldy.

Mike Rock 25 June 2004

Queer people reference[edit]

I object to the removal of the reference to Queer people and replacing it with the term homosexual and am restoring the reference. The terms are not synonyms -- Queer is more inclusive than homosexual, including transgenders, hermaphrodites, and other genderal and sexual identities and orientations. Also to gay people, gay is the preferred term. Homosexual more properly describes sexual acts than personal identity, and that paragraph was about identity, not sexual acts. As everyone knows, people with non-gay identities can engage in homosexual acts. Mike Rock


I don't think the author of this entry is qualified at all for it. First of all, African Vodou is *not* an obviously syncretistic religion at all; Haitian Vodou is. The syncretism is the common African/popular Catholic sort found as well in Cuba or Brazil. The part that goes "Each Vodun sect follows a different Loa (or Lwa, "mystery"), again confuses African and New World Vodou: the "sects" are an African concept, based on ancestor worship, while the identification of lwa with saints is a New World concept, where the religion syncretises with popular Catholicism. Also, Rada and Petro (concepts which the article does not identify as Haitian) are distorted beyond recognition by labeling them as "good" and "evil". The words denote the major groupings of lwa within the religion; the Rada lwa are the major ones, which have a more generally "pleasant" quality to them, dealing with domains such as courage, love, farming. The Petro are "darker" and more unpredictable, and deal with things such as death. However, the Rada are quite capable of being nasty to you if you don't serve them right, and the Petro will be nice to you if you do; these are not good or evil beings, they are simply beings which represent more or less pleasant or virtuous aspects of life.

The best books for Haitian Vodou are Alfred Métraux's ethnnography of the religion, from the mid 1950's in its French version and with a more recent English translation, and the much more easy to read "Mama Lola" by Karen McCarthy Brown.

If you think there are mistakes and errors in this page, why not edit it and correct them? Jeronimo

To whoever created the articles on houngan and mambo - the articles do not say anything that the originating article on Voodoo doesn't already state. Hence there is no reason to create them. If there is a clear and valid reason for writing a separate article about these two roles that will present information not contained in this article, then do so, otherwise please leave them as is. Mambo is also a perfectly valid topic (the music/dance form) in it's own right, so it doesn't need a fallacious link. - MMGB


The name Vodun is derived from the local african word for spirit, and can be traced about 6.000 years back.

What does this mean? That the word is attested in this usage (describing the religion) in documents from circa 4000 BC? Or that some linguist has estimated the existence of a protolanguage with an ancestor of the word "vodun" meaning something like "spirit" circa 4000 BC? Or, something else entirely? -- Brion VIBBER

Need to merge Voudun and Vodun

Still need to merge. Nov 27 2002

Isn't this more commonly known as Voodoo? I had to admit my ignorance but I'd never heard of these variations. If this is so, shouldn't the article be moved to Voodoo?


I have attempted to merge the former Voudun here, and shuffle the two texts together as best as I was able, with some minor editing to avoid duplications. -- IHCOYC 19:57 Mar 3, 2003 (UTC)


I don't know enough about the topic to write an article (although it would make for an interesting study, and a first contribution to Wik), but "voodoo dolls" are also referred to as "poppets" (at least in the U.S.), and they are still used. See for example http://www.angelfire.com/realm2/amethystbt/poppets.html RL Barrett 17:14 May 6, 2003 (UTC)

See Poppet; also see Voodoo#Myths and misconceptions. Fuzzypeg 05:46, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

6,000 yrs?[edit]

How can a word in a pre-literate culture be traced back 6,000 years? Even in Europe I would be surprised if any word can be traced back that far. Adam 08:17, 13 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Good question, and one I certainly can't verify for you. You can see above that others have questioned and scoffed in regards to the subject before, without recieving much documentation. I would say some research and a citation would be in order. Sam Spade 18:46, 9 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Historical linguists can use the comparative method to make predictions about words in languages that didn't have written forms. Nohat 20:13, 2004 Apr 23 (UTC)
documentation, please? Sam Spade 20:26, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Comparative method Nohat 20:30, 2004 Apr 23 (UTC)

Oh, I didn't mean that, I ment about voodoo in particular. Sam Spade 20:33, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Oh, I don't know. You'd have to look into studies of African historical linguistics. I don't have any hand. The claim does appear to be unsubstantiated, however, and you can go ahead and remove it. Someone can put it back if they can substantiate it. Nohat 20:58, 2004 Apr 23 (UTC)

I tend to assume things are accurate until they are disproven, I guess I'm some kind of anti-skeptic or something. Besides, I can't seem to find the portion we are discussing anymore anyways. Maybe its already been removed and were just being silly ;) Sam Spade 21:41, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

rename of page[edit]

I'm going to move this page to voodoo based on the following evidence that "voodoo" is the more common term, even when referring to the Beninese religion: [1]. Here, "Voodoo" seems to be at least 6 times more common than "Vodun" on pages that contain "Benin" and "religion". Nohat 20:13, 2004 Apr 23 (UTC)

a good decision, in line w the naming conventions. I assume they felt that vodun was less contentious however. Sam Spade 20:26, 23 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Could there be a less stereotypical way to describe the roles of the Ezili than that they "govern the feminine spheres of life"? Perhaps a list? As long as we're being sensitive to LGBT++ people, let's be sensitive to women too.


Hmm.. I agree, you're right in the sense it is more vague than intended, I will try to think of a way to make it more precise. This will not happen immediately so please be patient. - Mike Rock


Are there any major differences in pronounciation among the various spelling variations, 'Voodoo', 'Vodun' 'Vudu', etc.? Turpin

Voodoo and Vudu are ['vu.du]. Vodun is [vo.'dun] (originally [vo.dũ]). kwami 21:27, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

primitivism?[edit]

primitivism, who made u superior?

7 or 30,000,000?[edit]

Maybe I misunderstood but it seems to me that in the opening paragraphs it says 7 million people practise Voodoo worldwide and then under "African Origins" it mentions 30 million in the west African region. Which is correct?

- Actually the 7 million figure Iused applies to Haiti and its diaspora. The 30 million used by a writer to the African roots section appears to refer to the population of Benin. - Mike Rock

- Oh wait I went back and reread, and I meant the 7 million to apply to Benin, I got that info from the CIA information page on Benin at the time. It is the population of Benin itself, and Voodoo is the official religion of Benin. https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/bn.html - the author of the 30 million figure may be referring to the entire region of West Africa, as Voodoo is not limited just to Benin but spills into Nigeria and Ghana etc.Mike Rock

Vodun may be a 'national' religion of Benin, but it is in no way official. It's practiced by somewhat more than half the population, but probably less than two thirds: about 15% are Christian (though many of the Beninese "Christians" I have spoken to have added Jesus to a vodun pantheon), 12% Muslim, and not all indigenous religion in Benin is vodun.
Also, the first international vodun conference held in Ouidah in 1991 was attended chiefly by Fon and Yoruba speakers, and indeed these were the two languages used for the presentations. I know little of Yoruba religion, but wonder if maybe the Yoruba should be included among the people who practice vodun. The only way you're going to get 30M vodunists in W Africa is if you include the Yoruba, though I suspect the figure must be exaggerated regardless. kwami 21:30, 3 October 2005 (UTC)


. According to the 2002 census, the self-identified religious affiliation of the population is reported as 27.1 percent Roman Catholic, 24.4 percent Muslim, 17.3 percent Vodun, 5 percent Celestial Christian, 3.2 percent Methodist, 5.3 percent other Christian, 2.2 percent other Protestant, 6 percent other traditional religions, 1.9 percent other religions, and 6.5 percent no religious affiliation.

Categories could be better organised?[edit]

Some categories associated with Voodoo are 'Category:Vodun deities' and the two pendant categories 'Category:Vodun gods' and 'Category:Vodun goddesses'. The spelling of Vodun indicates Benin, but most of the names listed here are Haitian lwa - and in Haiti at least the lwa aren't strictly considered 'gods'. Perhaps 'divinities' would be better? I also note at least one female lwa has gone under the gods rather than the goddesses; 'divinities' would avoid this confusion. The most useful way of organising would be to have a main category Voodoo divinities containing categories Benin Vodun divinities, Haitian Vodou loa, etc., and even sub-categories such as for the different Haitian nations of lwa... however I don't know if that's quite how Wikipedia intended their category system to be used. I don't know how to go about changing category names, So I'll just leave this as a suggestion for the moment... Fuzzypeg 12:47, 21 January 2006 (UTC)

Clarification[edit]

Someone said it earlier, and I think it is still relevant: what is the difference between Lukumi and Voodoo /Vodun? Lukumi and Voodoo are both listed as being derived from the Yoruba peoples, yet no distinction is made in the article between them. Are they the same religion called something different in varying regions? Also, how are they related to Candomble, Umbanda, Macumba, Quimbanda and the religion Yoruba? Should these other entries be merged, or listed under African religions, or what? If not please explain the differences if you are able in the entry. *Hint* I'm not writing a paper or essay on this subject. I am looking at it solely from the POV of a Wikipedia editor and the fact that this issue is not addressed is confusing to readers. If no one editing the entry knows, I'm going to throw a request for an expert template on the respective page(s). WeniWidiWiki 16:47, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

Answer: Vodun/Vodou/Voodoo does NOT "come from the Yoruba", and this articles does NOT say that it does.. it comes from the Fon originally, and in Haiti has Congo and Taino elements too. Please point out where it says that Vodou comes from the Yoruba. There are some spirits IN HAITI that are Yoruba in origin but the bases of Vodun in Benin is straight up Fon and in Haiti is Fon and Congo/Taino.

It is "related" to Yoruba religion because these two cultures are adjacent to one other in West Africa, and have in common ancestor reverence, rites of initiation, monotheism, and other features that are nearly universal throughout subsaharan Africa. But make no mistake they are different cultures and especially in the New World, Santeria/Lukumi and Haitian Vodou are extremely distinct and deserve separate treatment.

Mike Rock

Voodoo in the occident[edit]

Voodoo in the occident: http://www.fotocommunity.com/pc/pc/display/4954439

Voodoo in Russia?[edit]

Someone inserted this statement: "Since Vodou has such a community orientation, it is sometimes seen as an extention of the beleifs in the old Soviet Union, and, since the dissolution of the USSR, has drawn many Russian initiates." I would either like to see this statement backed up with a citation, or have it removed as a non-sequitur. Mike Rock

Mike, this is vandalism. I saw the same thing recently in the hoodoo page where someone added that the Louis Armstrong song "Wonderful World" contained "invocations to the Loas" and othe bullshit. (See the hoodoo talk page for details). There are people just yanking othes' chains. Get the username or IP address, log it here and if the same name shows up doing lots of similar vandalism, they'll be booted. Catherineyronwode 20:28, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

{{NPOV-section}}[edit]

I added the tag to the section on Neopaganism. The wording on that is beyond the pale of neutrality, it's a completely value laden statement.--Vidkun 01:24, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't know too much about the topic, but I tried to edit this section so it's not quite such an obvious violation of Wikipedia's POV policy (rich white people...come on, who wrote this?). But, is this section even worth having? -SB

The section is too short, but the issue of Neo-Paganism and Voodoo is important, especially to Haitians, and it should be addressed in a neutral manner. I operate an occult shop and i have dealt with many self-proclaimed Neopagans who have asked me to point them to a place where they can "learn Voodoo." What this leads me to understand is that Voodoo has become quite faddish among Nepagans, but many of the Neopagans seeking to "learn Voodoo" are not even aware that it is an initatic religion and, as such, its teachings and practices are not fully accessible to outsiders who do not become congregants. Catherineyronwode 02:08, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Catherine, we get the same thing with Wicca. On the Afro-Carribean/Diasporic side of things, I know of a young woman (I don't exactly know what "level" she is at) who practices Palo (Christiano or Judeo I'm not sure which), who was recently denied something she needed for sacrifice at a botanika in Jersey City. Why? Because she is too white, and dressed too goth. Hell, she is in a band, and those are her normal clothes. She is a Cubana, who evidently "passes" . . . so, I guess I understand the issue, but, sometimes it can go too far, you know?--Vidkun 02:19, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Vidkun, the story of your friend being rebuffed at a botanica due to skin colour and clothing styles is also something i have encountered in African diasporic traditions. There is one Black US-born woman in Georgia (not Afro-Cuban, not African, but African Amerian) who received her initiations in Africa, came back to the US, and now refuses to initiate White people at all -- just flat out refuses. I know this because i continually get calls from people whom she has turned away, and she now has a reputation for racism in the African-diasporic community (which is not notably a racist sub-culture). So tere are racists everywhere. However, that bing said, there are a couple of things your friend could have done: (1) She could have shopped at a botanica friendly to her own house and to her own religion, that is, a botanica that serves Paleros as well as Santeros. I know for a fact that some Santeros deny service to Paleros regardless of skin colour, based on religious competition. This is not racist per se; it is actually similar to a Protstant Christian book store refusing to stock books on Catholic Christian saints or pictures of the Pope. (2) If the shop was friendly to Paleros, she could have given the name of her house, her tata, and so forth, for lineage is of great importance in the African-diasporic tradition, and those who do not give their lineage may be viewed with skepticism or even suspicion until they are personally known to be initiates. I have seen usenet fights rapidly dissolve into smiles when one person gives his lineage, followed by the other doing so. So those are two ideas, anyway. Again, i am not an adherent of these religions, but i know a great many adherents and serve them daily through my occult shop.

Also, kudos to Sonjaaa for adding to the Neopaganism sub-section. I notice with a grin that a bit of my own wording from this talk page was utilized. Thanks for the compliment. :-)

Catherineyronwode 18:09, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Catherine, it was a shop that was Palo friendly, this girl's godfather goes there. Much of this is excerpted from her account: She walked into the polleria, wearing a black hoodie, high boots, nose ring, dyed hair and camo pants. She was denied the sale of live birds for no discernable reason - denied at a place that her godfather regularly purchases birds at. "We don't sell live birds to customers," the man said as they sold a live bird to another customer. She was shorter and darker skinned than my friend was and spoke spanish to him. Maybe she should have spoken spanish instead of english. Regarding giving her lineage, I think mortification prevented her: she was not about to unzip her hoodie and flash her necklaces - how gaudy. They sell to all the babalawos in town, all the brujos and brujas. --Vidkun 20:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Vodou[edit]

I'm taking a class in Caribbean Religions and my professor claims that it is offensive to use the term Voodoo. It's essentially the Hollywood word for the religion. Acceptable versions of the word include: Vodou(preferred), Vodoun, Vodu and Vodun. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Fredwk4 (talkcontribs) 08:36, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

A statement by your professor, reported by you, is not a verifiable source which meets Wikipedia's guidelines for reliable sources. Please feel free to find such a source and post here on the talk page for discussion. As a reminder, please sign your posts with four tildes (~~~~. KillerChihuahua?!? 09:55, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
Nonetheless, the term voodoo is offensive; the name of the religion is Vodou, Vodun or Vodoun. Here are two references for this fact. [2] [3]. By Googlehits, Vodou is by far the most common of the three terms. I'll be submitting a move request. -999 22:10, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move. —Nightstallion (?) 07:47, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

VoodooVodou – The name of the religion is most commonly spelled Vodou; Voodoo is considered offensive and derogatory. — 999 22:12, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~
  • Support per my nom. Vodou is by far more common with 4,870,000 Ghits vs Vodon 211,000 Ghits or Vodoun 187,000 Ghits.
  • Support, of course; an encyclopedia should always use correct terminology. If Vodou is what believers call it, then that is what Wikipedia should call it. "Voodoo" should therefore redirect to "Vodou". Kasreyn 23:46, 8 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support per nom. // The True Sora 00:09, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support per nom. - Superwad 00:13, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support even though Voodoo is the more popular term, Vodou would be the correct one. Voodoo should redirect to Vodou. Vodun has a different (if connected) meaning. Qyd(talk)03:52, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose - please present evidence of the widespread offensiveness of Voodoo (none is given in the nomination) or that English speakers escew the term. Vodou is a French spelling rendition a very similar sound as "voodoo" so I'm not sure how offense could be taken at least in the spoken form. Although the vodou spelling may be used in French/Creole Haiti, "voodoo" predominates in English usage and this is English Wikipedia -- use English. AjaxSmack 18:36, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
    • Comment, here ya go: [4], [5], [6]
      • Thanks for the info but see below. AjaxSmack 21:01, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Sorry, but I've never came across "vodou" or any other spelling until now. Write an article at Vodou and other about the religion(s), and keep Voodoo as an general article that gives an overview.--Matthead 20:55, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
    • See [7], [8]. I must say it's rather common knowledge among students of the subject. -999 (Talk) 21:04, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
      • But evidently not common knowledge among practitioners of the religion -- see below. AjaxSmack 21:14, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
        • Loiusiana Voodoo is, as clearly stated in the article, more distanced from the religion.It'll make a good subsection to the larger article. That doesn't mean that the more religious practitioners themselves use the word. The article makes clear that those who view it as a religion, who are the majority of the practitioners, do not use the word Voodoo. -999 (Talk) 21:20, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
          • That's because a majority of practioners are non-English speakers. A majority of Haitians call their country Ayiti but that's not where the Wikipedia entry is located. AjaxSmack 23:44, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
            • AjaxSmack makes a very good point. Although nobody wants to use a clearly derogatory term when there's a valid alternative (though the only real reason this one seems to be deragotory is due to its commonality, and because Voodoo/Vodou gets a bad rap in general; there's nothing inherent to the word itself that's genuinely offensive, it's just avoided by most practitioners because the religion itself has been so stereotyped and maligned, most often under that name—basically, it's a distancing tactic), Wikipedia is fundamentally an encyclopedia in English, and where there is a choice between the most common term in English and the most common term in another language, the English one should almost always be chosen. If the vast majority of English-speakers will recognize "Voodoo" and the vast majority won't recognize "Vodou", naming conventions strongly suggest using Voodoo, for the same reason that we use "Japan" for Japan rather than "Nihon-koku", regardless of what the Japanese themselves use: common English usage is of paramount importance. -Silence 01:39, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support move. All Most of the scholarly (anthropological) work I've encountered on the religion calls it vodou or voudoun. "Voodoo" conjures images of shrunken heads, zombie reanimators, and devil worship and other irreligious practices--all of the mistaken ideas that nonpractitioners have about the religion. Silence brings up distancing tactics: In the interest of accuracy, the article should distance itself from these notions.--Birdmessenger 12:17, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  • But in the interest of NPOV, it cannot, because to make such a page-move would be to further the idea that "Voodoo" is derogatory, which is not a hard fact, but a certain (common) perspective. We should report it as such, and even include a well-cited section discussing usage issues and variants, but to change the article's name is for Wikipedia to specifically violate NPOV by taking on the POV "Voodoo is offensive, and Vodou is not". Until major English dictionaries start listing "voodoo" as an offensive, incorrect or derogatory term, we should not "take the initiative" in doing so while the original term is clearly much more common in English than the newly-suggested one. -Silence 13:10, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Okay, I can see your point (though I'm never too eager to use dictionaries as the standard for anything); it's difficult to establish the connotations of "voodoo" as hard fact. I still would argue that "vodou" and "voodoo" refer to entirely different things, and "voodoo" is not the exclusive "English term" for vodou. However, if the namechange doesn't happen, your suggestions sound quite reasonable.--Birdmessenger 13:25, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  • OK, I'm glad we can agree on that much. And it's true that dictionaries aren't always reliable on such usage issues, but I'd still feel much more comfortable if we could find an example of the word "voodoo" (in the context of being the name of the religion) being explicitly noted as "inflammatory" or "offensive" or similar in any mainstream dictionary or encyclopedia: the American Heritage Dictionary, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Oxford English Dictionary, etc. all use "voodoo", and moreover use it without even a usage note mentioning that it might, possibly, be construed as offensive! Wikipedia should not go out of its way to be a "trailblazer" on issues like this; in order to maintain neutrality, it should follow and report on developing trends, not participate in or advance them.
  • Although I'm still on the fence on this issue, the fact that we haven't found any indication in another dictionary or encyclopedia of the word voodoo being unacceptable or inflammatory makes me suspicious of whether or not "voodoo" really is unacceptable in an academic resource like Wikipedia. After all, this is a general-usage English encyclopedia; it is more analogous to Britannica (which uses "voodoo") than to specialist papers or books which prefer the term vodou. I'm not saying that means we can't use vodou, but I'd feel much more comfortable with the page-move if the evidence in support of the "voodoo is unacceptably offensive, vodou is not" claim was stronger (or if "vodou" was a more common term; despite its increasing popularity, it's still rarer than "voodoo" by an order of magnitude in the English language).
  • Moreover, it's been pointed out that even if most voodoo/vodou pratitioners prefer the time "vodou" over "voodoo", a significant number are fine with "voodoo" or even prefer it, especially in the English-speaking world (which is the most important population, word usage-wise, for the purposes of the English Wikipedia); that, too, makes me question whether the term is really universally considered unacceptable, or whether this is just a step in a religious PR campaign to distance vodou from a common stereotype (which you yourself agreed is the case above). If the latter, we really shouldn't go out of our way to assist this campaign (even if we agree with its intentions, as I do) until it's already established itself thoroughly in the popular consciousness (i.e. to the extent that it is common knowledge that "voodoo" isn't an acceptable term, at the very least in general academia). Until then, it's certainly acceptable to discuss the controversy within the article, but I'm not sure a rename is really appropriate or necessary. -Silence 13:58, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Support move. Vodou is the correct spelling for the Caribbean religion. Voodoo is a hollywood/pop culture spelling. Claims that voodoo is preferable because it is more widespread are fundamentally flawed, because this article is not written from the point of view of western pop-culture misconceptions (the majority); it is about the religion as practiced by its adherents (the minority). In the modern enlightened age we say Sami instead of Laplander, even though they're a relative minority. We should do the same with vodou. Note: I am a vodou practitioner, the Laplace of Hounfor du Marche in Auckland. I have neither been to Haiti nor done kanzo, but my Mambo is a Mambo Asogwe (was made Asogwe in Haiti of course), and she says the correct spelling is Vodou. What she says goes. Also, look in the Complete Idiot's Guide to Voodoo: from memory, despite the title, one of the things it makes clear right from the outset is that spelling is important and the correct spelling for Haitian Vodou is VODOU. Fuzzypeg 05:02, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Yet it uses the title "Voodoo", because it knows that the vast majority of readers will only be familiar with "Voodoo" and will, if anything, be confused by "Vodou". And such general-usage books, like general-usage articles, are written for the readers, not just for practitioners. It's sounding more and more like a similar practice would be the most practical one for Wikipedia: the article itself should use the most common name, but should make clear from the very beginning that "voodoo" is potentially derogatory or offensive, as a usage note. Thank you for the excellent example; we may be more formal than an "Idiot's Guide", but other than that, there are a number of similarities, and the fact that it and almost all other general-use works (Britannica, dictionaries, etc.) invariably use "voodoo" is compelling evidence for keeping the title, at least until some future time when "vodou" becomes a more widespread term in the popular consciousness. -Silence 12:55, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Actually, Britannica lists the article as vodou and describes "voodoo" as an alternate spelling.--Birdmessenger 14:13, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Thank you very much. That's all I wanted: evidence that the less-common term is in general (not just specialist) academic usage. I must have consulted an out-of-date version of Britannica. I'm satisfied with a page-move. -Silence 15:08, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

We have reprinted Mama Zogbe's article on her website along with additional information specific to the African-American Diaspora and others who respect and are wanting to learn what Vodoun is to their indigenous heirs.--MWHS 13:41, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Add any additional comments
  • Comment Note that "Voodoo" gets 6 and a half times more Google hits than "Vodou" (almost 32 million for "voodoo", vs. less than 5 million for "vodou"). Also, while I'm not disputing that "Voodoo" is derogatory, nor opposing this page-move, I find it strange that the actual Voodoo article never mentions once that the word is derogatory. Surely it would be easy to find a reputable source to back this information up, and add it to the article so that people know better than to use this word. -Silence 20:42, 9 June 2006 (UTC)
    A good point, and the information should be added. However, it's still best to redirect to the appropriate term. Readers will not have problems finding the article, and we can rewrite the first sentence to say Vodou first, and in parenthesis "(or Voodoo in America and other English-speaking countries, or... etc.)" Kasreyn 03:09, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Voodoo as an offensive term: "If this sounds rather unlike the dark, frightening, and even evil 'Voodoo' of Hollywood notoriety, that is because Vodou has been the victim of an extremely successful smear-campaign" (from BBC-An Introduction to Vodou - this is an interesting and well documented article, maybe it should find its place as a reference in the main article). Qyd(talk)18:59, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
    • Interesting reading. However, the BBC piece [9] notes that "Louisiana Voodoo, which developed a less overtly religious form, though this has been changing..." The altreligion piece cited above [10] says "the term is used frequently in New Orleans and other parts of the US by practitioners." Hardly sounds that voodoo is widely offensive in the English-speaking world if its own practitioners use the term. Hollywood is famous for misusing and smearing religions as many Muslims or Christians might attest, but its faults shouldn't force Wikipedia to use a largely unknown term instead of the English form. AjaxSmack 21:01, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
      • I guess that means it is okay to move Christianity to Xtianity then, right? You also seem to be making the US-centric equation that "English-speaking" = U.S.A. How about the practitioners in the U.K. Does the US usage override any offense to them? They are English-speakers too, you know. How about the Australians and other places where English is common? But because a small percentage in the US use it, it must be right, huh? -999 (Talk) 21:22, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
        • The reference to practioners in the US was given in the cited articles. No mention was made of UK or Australian practitioners so i'm not sure what they would call themselves. AjaxSmack 23:44, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
          • In New Zealand, Vodou. In Australia, Vodou. I'm in contact with all the Australian groups. There is only one group in New Zealand, and I'm a member. I should note however, that these groups are all working Haitian rather than New-Orleans style; it is true that some practitioners in the US call it Voodoo. They are the minority though, far outnumbered by Haitians (and the rest of us). The term voodoo is disowned by most practitioners. The incorrect title was the first glaring thing I noticed about this article when I arrived, new to Wikipedia. It looks like the opportunity has arisen to fix it. Fuzzypeg 05:18, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Question for people more knowledgeable than I am about the subject: Would the term "Vodou" adequately cover all of the various traditions described in the article? Or does "Vodou" refer primarily to the Haitian religion? --Birdmessenger 14:32, 12 June 2006 (UTC)

Back in West Africa the term is Vodun, and the religion is significantly different. It is not the syncretic religion of the New World slaves, with the incorporated Catholicism, Freemasonry and Taino influences. The whole system of worship in Haiti is shaped by the special conditions these people found themselves in; for instance, adherents of many different tribal religions were thrust together, each with their own gods and spirits that they needed to honour and keep in their memory, being so far from home. A great deal of the Haitian service is built around protocols of ensuring that the lwa of all these different "nations" are remembered. In Africa however, these different tribal systems were never thrust together in the same way, and presumably these religions have much more similarity to the way it's "always been done". I believe (but I would need to confirm this) that the term "Vodun" has only quite recently been adopted by West African religions as a collective term for their different but similar beliefs and practices. The word Vodun means "Gods" or "Spirits". It's also worth noting that in Haiti this usage as a name for the religion arose gradually too: even now (I believe), the term "Sevice" (service) is more common than "Vodou". Fuzzypeg 02:31, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Born to a clan-group?[edit]

"However, because the Vodou deities are thought to be born to each African clan-group . . . . "

I don't quite understand what this is supposed to mean. What does it mean for a deity to be "born to" a clan-group? — Amcaja 17:44, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Nonsense in the article[edit]

"The Spiritual Churches of New Orleans are a Christian sect founded by Wisconsin-born Mother Leafy Anderson"

Jesus Christ only tasked males (the 12 apostles and the seventy disciplines) with the spreding of christianity, therefore she cannot found a christian sect. She is a heretic at best. Not even the Blessed Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus, was authorized to preach christianity with a priestly character. 195.70.32.136 09:34, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Things have changed since. User:FayssalF/Sign

Naming conventions[edit]

This article still leaves a lot to be desired, and the spellings that are being used are not what is currently put forth by academicians. Please remember that while ethnographies of african diasporic religious groups are over a hundred years old, discourse on the subject is a recent happening.

With the publication of several dissertations in the last two years, and four recent scholarly works on the subject of voodoo in the U.S., it is time to come to some consensus over naming conventions.

These are the generally accepted spellings:

Voodoo - African diasporic spirituality practiced in the U.S.

Vodou - the religion as practiced in Haiti

Vodu(n) - African religion of Benin and as practiced in Togo.


Voodoo is a social construction. The term seems to be used as an umbrella for a wide variety of beliefs and practices - a few of which seem to have rather spurious roots.

Haitian Vodou has been well documented since the thirties. See Harold Courlander, Melville J. Herskovits, Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham, and Maya Deren.

National Geographic has done a wonderful job of documenting Vodou in both Benin and Togo over the years. Also see Robert Farris Thompson for art history and religious symbolism in these cultures.


Dglossop 01:46, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

Voodoo article?[edit]

Aaargh! We discussed this and we came up with a consensus to move Voodoo here, to Vodou, and redirect Voodoo to Vodou. Now I find that there is an article at Voodoo, with different material, posing a challenge of integration. Was there some sort of discussion which I don't see here on the talk page about splitting the article in some way? Or did someone just take it upon themselves to create a new article on Voodoo? I'm confused. Kasreyn 02:32, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Yes, let's discuss major changes to the organisation of information before implementing them. I appreciate the desire to separate three traditions, as well as the popular or fictional accounts of voodoo, but I think there's a better way to do it. It doesn't make much sense to me to have readers type in "voodoo" in the search box and be struck with an extended discussion on spelling. I'd rather see one article as an overview, named Vodou (as per consensus above), with all spellings (voodoo, vodun etc) made into redirects to this article. Then, if desired, more detail could be provided at articles such as Vodou (Haiti), Vodun (Benin), etc. ntennis 03:27, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
I couldn't agree more.  :) Kasreyn 08:06, 26 August 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm one of those people who typed in "Voodoo" in the search box, hoping to find an informative article on the religion. Instead, I find an article that spends five or six disorganized introductory paragraphs talking about word usage issues. I would recommend moving any useful content at voodoo to this article and then creating a redirect. Serpent-A 22:53, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Move to "Haitian Vodou"?[edit]

Since this article is about that, perhaps it should be moved to "Haitian Vodou" or "Vodou in Haiti"? —Ashley Y 07:07, 15 September 2006 (UTC)

Is Vodou really noteworthy enough to merit multiple articles? Because of course what you are proposing is really a split, not just a move. Kasreyn 07:32, 15 September 2006 (UTC)
Why was the primary article on Vodou switched from "Vodou" its proper etymology to "Voodoo" a derogatory name, and "Vodou" confined to strictly Haiti? What the heck is going-on here? VODOU is an AFRICAN ANCESTRAL/DIASPORA RELIGION, and must be respected and categorized in its rightful historical place. What is needed is a separate category etc.,Non-Diaspora Haitian Vodou, Non-Traditional Vodou, Euro-Voodoo, New Age Voodoo, Wiccan Voodoo, Thelema Voodoo etc., or something similar, and not western revisionists Vodou. Serious consideration should be given to this suggestion.Anagossii,23:05, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Revert or Move Vodou back to Afro-Diaspora[edit]

I am requesting to move or revert the original AFRICAN/DIASPORA ANCESTRAL RELIGION "Vodou" article back to its Afro-Diaspora "Vodou" title, and the non-Diaspora Voodoo aherents who are unwilling to respect this, to create for themselves another category i.e.,non-Diaspora Haitian Voodoo, Wicca-Voodoo, Euro-Voodoo, etc.,. Again, serious consideration must be given to the creation of a separate section on “Vodoun/Vodou” , where the legitamte lineage heirs in the African-American Diaspora can publish their own perspectives and research findings on their African/Diaspora Ancestral Religions. Afro-Diaspora religion should be the place where the African/Diaspora benefactors contributions of their religious clergy and scholars can be presented as it relates to their own African ancestral history and spiritual lineages. If there is no feedback on this, I will revert or move the page as was originally voted Anagossii 13:33, 28 December 2006 (UTC).

  • Please please do so. Wachholder0 21:49, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Cleanup[edit]

I added a cleanup tag. First, there is WAY too much emphasis on Vodou in the United States, compared to the number of practitioners there vs. the number in other places. Second, the writing in different parts of the article needs to be checked and brought to meet the manual of style. It seems like some of the historical sections can be merged together, though I'll leave that in the hands of those who know more about the subject.--Cúchullain t/c 20:15, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

This article is 0wned by the MWHS. There's nothing we can do. - (), 08:11, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
The MWHS has made no such claim on any wiki-article. We too agree that the article can be improved. However, we feel there is WAY too much overemphasis on Haitian Vodou, as oppose to a comprehensive overview of the history and practice of Vodoun in the Afro-Diaspora to include Cuba, the Carribean, South America and other places. In time, we believe the article will be improved. Anagossii--MWHS 04:20, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
It cound be imporoved if you laid your hands off it. Fact is, your editing style is a mess, while your stuborness keeps other editors from contributing. I appologize if I seam to be rude, but I don't know how else to put it. --Qyd 15:08, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, your recommendation, as has been most of your comments, is not a constructive option. The article was in serious need of editing prior to our contributions. We may appear stubborn when it come to historical facts, and fending off modern day revisionist, but we are open and cooperative when it comes to editing suggestions and constructive advice of which there has been nil. Since we do plan to continue to contribute, we have no problem working with more skilled editors who display the necessary respect and civility required in order to foster a healthy editor/contributor relationship. Thus far, there are (and has been)none.Anagossii--MWHS 23:14, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, but I've tried to be reasonable (look at your talk page, your sandbox, etc). Would you please consider, for just one second, that what you do is wrong? --Qyd 02:58, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
We have reviewed the talk page, and do see one post by you. Again, we are new to Wiki and only recently discovered features such as the “talk page” and “sandbox.” It is possible that by the time we did discover it, you and perhaps others, had already become frustrated and assumed that we were not willing to be cooperative. We are noticing that oftentimes, editors who have developed some proficiency at Wiki, lack the patience with those of us who are still learning our way around its many unique and wonderful features. Our advice would be that you not become angry and frustrated, and assume the worst. A more productive approach would be to make a note to us in the discussion page, ex. there is a message on your talk page for you,” etc.,. This would be helpful to all newcomers as they become accustomed to Wiki protocol. Lastly, just as you claim no editors allegedly wants to touch the articles we have contributed , this perception works both ways. There are an equal number of people who would like to contribute but sense a fierce ownership of these articles by the more established editors as well. It is good to remind ourselves that we all bring to the table our own unique talents, life experience and unique ways in which we view the world. We believe that a compromise can be achieved during this adjustment phase. Our experience has taught us that that the best approach is to remain respectful (not patronizing), patient and civil. This approach is especially helpful to newcomers. Anything less, will only yield the same unproductive results. Anagossii--MWHS 13:25, 17 January 2007 (UTC)
You're saying you never noticed the yellow bar that notifies you of new messages that appears on top of every page you visit and stays there until you've visited your talk page? - (), 17:49, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
Our page does not have (or we have not noticed) a yellow bar. It was actually quite by accident that we even noticed the "new message" alert in very small red print in the very far right hand top of our talkpage. Anagossii--MWHS 01:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Ancient Origins[edit]

This needs to be presented simply as belief, rather than (as it is) somewhere between belief and fact. Because it isn't factual. 196.25.255.250 21:59, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

It is, to use a British term, complete bollocks. I've removed the section altogether. - (), 23:33, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
And we have replaced it because we have studied our own ancient spiritual history and know it to be true. However, we do not mind prefacing it with "belief" to comply with NPOV. It was not too long ago when the British were demonizing Vodou and other African religions as the "cults of primitive savages." It would prove more respectful to ask for references so that you just might learn something.Anagossiii--MWHS 01:01, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Reading this article, i've found no mention of Vodou being originated in Mesapotamia or Ancient Greece. Indeed, the section is not sourced at all. I support User:Ante Aikio's action. -- Szvest - Wiki me up ® 13:26, 26 January 2007 (UTC)
I've met scholars in Togo who believe similar things, and that the Ewe are the lost tribe of Israel and that Ewe inscriptions have been found in the pyramids. This strikes me as an attempt to justify beliefs slandered by the colonial authorities in the context of the colonial (French Christian) culture. It is only found among people who have been highly educated in the colonial (or post-colonial) educational system, and who seem to be struggling to integrate being African with their European education, in an attempt to restore pride in who they are. It has no foundation in Vodun; uneducated people do not share this insecurity, as their sense of self worth does not depend on being accepted by Europeans. kwami (talk) 19:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Disputed tag[edit]

This article seems to have serious problems: there's a lot of rather strange-looking stuff that is both unsourced and written in an unencyclopedic style. This would need thorough reworking. --194.89.3.31 17:09, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Very true. This article is a mess, a ghastly horrendous mess. - (), 13:26, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Quite right. I just deleted a long passage which full of wild claims and unsourced opinions - it seemed to be so bizarre original research and so unencyclopedic in style that I guess not much else could have been done about it. This article would need to be thoroughly revised by someone who is an expert on the topic; any idea what could be done about this? --AAikio 11:22, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
There wasn't much else anyone could have done about it, I agree. - (), 22:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Don't Voodoo my Vodou[edit]

It seems there is a history of the article on Voodoo/Vodou/Vodoun going back and forth, redirect here, then redirect there. Like it or not, most people think of the spelling as "Voodoo," even though many adherents dislike that spelling for it's "Hollywood bogeyman-zombie" image. But the article for Voodoo and this one currently have a lot of the same information. I think Wikipedia could have either one article that shows the different aspects of Vodou from Haiti to Hollywood, or have a disambiguation linking to the separate ones. Toyalla 08:05, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

I don't think any recommendations for one, two or three articles can be made without more references and perhaps quotes from published, and preferably peer-reviewed sources. Although there are links between West African polytheism and Haitian religion; Haiti Vodou, Brazilian Macumba/Vodou and Santeria (seems neglected here) was heavily disguised and combined with Catholic symbols and Catholicism itself, creating a distinct, separate tradition . What "most people"(Certainly not what the general English-speaking population think) is irrelevant to published, verified information. Cuvtixo 18:47, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

POV fork[edit]

I've taken the liberty of removing Mwhs' old POV fork from the start of this talk page. It's still here if anyone needs it. - (), 21:19, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

move?[edit]

"Vodou" is simply French/Haitian for English "Voodoo". That's a different religion than West African vodun. Therefore I propose that we move this article to Vodun, to help keep the distinction clear, since no one was in favor of merging the two articles. kwami 01:08, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Or should we have three articles, "Voodoo" for the Hollywood version, or an overall summary, "Vodou" for Haitian Vodun-Lemba-Chrisian syncretism, and "Vodun" for the Ewe religion? kwami 01:13, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Voodoo (disambiguation) already exists. See my move proposal here (sorry, didn't notice yours.) :-) - (), 07:48, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

What happened to the 'Myths and Misconceptions' section?[edit]

I was going to cite it on Yahoo! Answers to clear up a misconception about 'Voodoo Dolls', and now there's no reference on here.--Jcvamp (talk) 09:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Check Louisiana Voodoo or Haitian Vodou. I was thinking this article should be renamed West African Vodun, just to keep things clear. kwami (talk) 16:39, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Voudaux[edit]

Someone changed the spellings, and added 'Voudaux'. I'm only getting two Google hits on that, both quotes from the 19th century - hardly seems notable. kwami (talk) 06:04, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Essentially monotheistic[edit]

'Essentially monotheistic' is either an empty phrase, or contradicted repeatedly in the article: 'traditional Polytheistic organized religion', 'major deities', 'pantheon', 'pantheistic quality', 'deities might include' etc. Dickdock (talk) 03:02, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

'Pantheistic' is not in opposition to 'monotheistic'. I agree the rest of the article is inconsistent. However, it is annoying that we perpetuate the idea that European religion is monotheistic (and therefore somehow superior) while 'primitive' religion is polytheistic, when Christianity and Vodun are about equal in the polytheism scale. kwami (talk) 09:06, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the article should just try to give an accurate account of West African Vodun and not be burdened with trying to bump it up some superiority scale which some Christians or Europeans or monotheists may hold. Vodun is not 'essentially monotheistic' so I think the article would benefit from not stating that. Dickdock (talk) 19:52, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm puzzled why some would call vodou a "religion". It doesn't have any characteristics of a religion. It appears to be simply a primitive cult, which some pseudo academics are trying to puff up a bit. Are there any credible sources that can demonstrate why vodou should be classed as a religion on a par with, say, something like Christianity? Santamoly (talk) 07:30, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Santamoly, your provincialism is showing. What you contemptuously call a "primitive cult" is as much a religion as your oh-so-sophisticated Christianity. You would do well to educate yourself on the subject, lest you come across as arrogant and ignorant. Consider wandering over to the Wikipedia article on religion where it says "Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and moral values."
The notion that Christianity is somehow more of a religion than others is entirely outdated. It worked for James Frazer, but that was a hundred years ago. Do try to keep up.
*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 03:43, 1 October 2011 (UTC)

New sources needed[edit]

I am not comfortable relying upon the African Holocaust website as a source. It does not cite evidence and is very polemical. After researching for a while, I added two new academic sources justifying the comment that the Diasporic vodun-derived religions have Kongo influences and justifying the existence of the Ouidah festival.

Can someone take the lead on finding a reputable source discussing the origins in West Africa of vodun and also for the suppression of vodun? That second comment will need to be unpacked as there are many actors, places and variations of vodun involved, not all of which fall under the purview of this article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Wiggin01 (talkcontribs) 12:55, 22 February 2011 (UTC)

The more sources the better, but I dont think the info will conflict. More sources saying the same thing only further prove validity of what is being said. And let the sources come from a diverse place because I have always note how on wikipedia if the source is African its R.S. is questioned. When it is a guy from Scotland writing all of a sudden he is to be trusted on African spirituality. What I find more problematic (and hence the tags) is the comfort with an entire section which is not referenced to anything. --Halqh حَلَقَة הלכהሐላቃህ (talk) 18:21, 22 February 2011 (UTC)