All Beliefs are Welcome Here!
Ayibobo toute le monde!
Hope every single one of you are doing wonderful!
So I’ve posted around a few times on this particular group and everyone has been very helpful and encouraging (last year I believe when I first started to post), and now I come to you with a question that gots me scratching my head in confusion. Now this has happened before where I am left confused with the Pagan community (especially the Outer Courts of Wicca, basically the eclectics).
Before I noticed it with Hinduism, where Pagans and Wiccans a like started to take from the religion and incorporate it into their workings. Now my first thoughts are simple: the Gods/Goddesses aren’t lost, they are part of an already existing religion, why not just convert to Hinduism?
It makes me a bit uncomfortable when I hear/see it, and I’m not entirely why.
Now there seems to be a fast growing trend that hit me face first at full throttle of Wiccans/Pagans incorporating Vodou in their workings.
Early this week I walked into an occult shop and I saw a woman reading “Urban Voodoo” she was the store clerk. When I approached and asked her if she was interested in Vodou (you know just kind of see where she is at and compare notes as of far of our experiences) she said remotely, she was a Wiccan/Ceremonial Magician, but she admitted that Santeria and Vodou interest her and she wanted to start incorporating the ideas, she explained how she has already drawn the veves using cornmeal and starting calling out to her Lwa that “feels” right to her—she said it was Erzili Freda, and that she is the same as Oshun from Santeria.
This made my red lights go off and I kind of let it be, bit my tongue and walked away. Who am I to say if she is right or wrong? I’m no Hougan or Mambo, but from my experience and the wonderful sosyette I have come to know, this has nothing to do with Vodou.
So before I continue on to the main issue, here is one more story.
In an old forum I was in that dealt more with Louisianan Style of Voodoo, there were members of that group who have been practicing “Voodoo/Vodou” for over 20 years, but in that time have never gotten a reading, initiated, leve’tet etc. BUT insist that the lwa have called to them, that they have been working with them for years etc. etc.
Now this is what I don’t understand as well.
With my experience, you cannot do anything without a reading first and foremost.
The second thing is, it is really dangerous to just start working with lwa just because they feel right for you.
So one of my questions to you who are reading this and are far more advanced in Vodou than I, is that why are these people who haven’t gone through the motions (lave’tet, readings, initiation etc.) able to work with these lwas without being punished by the lwa, or why is it working for them?
Is it because they guessed the right lwa? Or what?
Lastly, just my very last question for you all is this, why do Pagans/Wiccans insist or believe they can incorporate Vodou in their practices? How do you handle it? Why do you THINK they do it? Is it ignorance? Out of their convenience? They aren’t sure where to go to? What do you think or believe these people do what they do? Is it a pet peeve? Or do you just shake your head and let it go?
The reason why I ask these questions is because well… do you feel insulted when they do so? Because I can understand as to why you would be. I don’t know, I guess it makes me a bit nervous to be around those kinds of people who incorporate already deities/spirits from already existing religions of date.
Anyways, thanks for listening to my rant,
Oh no Ross I completely agree! I think I should have been more specific on what I am trying to say, I mean I come from a Wiccan/Witchcraft background but will hopefully after a reading be getting into Vodou, and in no way am I ashame of my background what so ever.
But let me try to further explain myself if you will.
I see no problems that you can be Wiccan and Vodou, as long as those practices are separate if you know what I mean.
What I was trying to ask is in the sense of Wiccans incorporating the lwa into their Wiccan circles etc. or implor them through Wiccan or pagan means etc. I remember a good Hougan who said to me, "Vodou is more concerned with correct worship", so my question wasn't whether one could be both Wiccan and Vodou (although I don't see how you could, me personally it would be one or the other but that is just me) but as a saparate religion and should be respected as such.
Like I said I am at ease with those who are both, but I get uncomfortable when the Wiccans or pagans start to bring them into those kinds of circles or worship, because every Hougan and Mambo I've ever talked to says the same thing: do not do it!
Hopefully Hougan Matt will come around to put in his two cents, he is just a bundle of wisdom when it comes to this topic considering (if I remember correctly) he too practices witchcraft.
Uh huh. Well that's what I mean when I say serve the spirits respectively, don't go calling Papa Legba into a Wiccan circle to celebrate Lammas. I'm sure he would be flattered to have the invite but that's just not how he is traditionally served. Not that i'm a huge expert on the matter or anything.
I don't know if you've ever read Phyllis Currot's Book of Shadows before? There's a part in the book where Phyllis and another coven member practice a binding ritual invoking Oya into a circle...according to the author & the story, the ritual was a complete success.
No I have never read Phyllis Currot's Book of Shadows before, but will probably look into it.
Oya is an Orisha, not a lwa. Two very different things. Lwa are Vodou, Orisha and Santeria in my experience but I could be wrong because I'm not to terribly knowledgeable in either or yet.
Lwa are elevated spirits (like Angels and Saints) whereas, again don't quote me because I could most definately be wrong, that the Orisha are deities reflected as a mansifestation of Olodumare in the Yoruba spiritual or religious system.
So where Bondye (Good God) in Vodou is separate from the world and gave man Spirits (the lwa) in Santeria (again don't quote me because I could most definately be wrong!) the Orisha are just manifestations of Olodumare. Each one approached them differently, Satneria isn't Vodou and Vodou isn't Santeria, to my understanding Santeria is actually far more complex than Vodou (source: a Hougan I have been talking with for well over a month or two who is also a Santero) and although they may appear similar at the core are very different practices and beliefs.
In the Yoruba mythos, Oya is the Undergoddess of the Niger River. Oya has ben sycretized in Santeria with the Catholic images of the Virgin of Candelaria. She is seen as warrior-spirit of the wind, lightning, fertility, fire and magic. She creates hurricanes, tornadoes, and guards the underworld. Husband is Shango. Of course, like Vodou, the Orisha can't exactly be set into profolios (like Goddess of love etc.)
So from my understandings between the two, Vodou lwa and Santeria Orisha, is that the Orisha are deities which are much different than spirits all together. But again don't quote me because I know less about Santeria than I do about Vodou.
I don't doubt someone couldn't have success, but I think those experiences are slim in most other cases. I think you need a good knowledge of those practices if you ever want to incorporate them in that sense. I don't know, personally I would never mix them, because of all the warning signs that every Mambo/Hougan I have spoken to have told me as of far.
Honestly, despite what you might think you may or may not be called to Oshun, in reality the traditional way to really know what's up is to get a creditable reading from a reliable Hougan/Mambo or Santero (not sure what you call Santerian priests/priestesses) because Oshun isn't Lwa, she is Orisha. In those religions only a reading can determine which spirits walk with you, and from there they teach you the appropriate ways of how to serve these spirits.
One doesn't need to be a priest/priestess of these religions to serve the lwa (in this case Vodou), you just need to understand which ones walk with you.
However, Aueril you must understand that Vodou and I believe Santeria as well has many Christian (specifically Catholic) concepts that you may not enjoy. Many of the practitioners of Vodou still go to church on Sundays, and Vodou is a monotheistic religion.
Really depends on what kind of Vodou you want to get into. Both Creole and Haitian Vodou are pretty expensive, Haitian is more your "fundamentalists" and Louisianan kind of like your New Age with new ideas and work differently. Both are pretty pricey though from my experience, Haitian more so than Louisianan.
All depends on which one you want to get into.
Sounds like you might want to look into Santeria, Oshun is an Orisha not a Lwa.
I do know of some New Orleans houses which serve a wide variety of spirits, including the lwa of Haiti and the Yoruba Orishas (which more or less correspond to the lwa of the nanchon Nago in Haitian Vodou) as well as sprirts unique to New Orleans. To my knowledge, Oshun is not served in Haiti, but she is served in at least a couple of New Orleans houses.
I am what they call around here a "natural witch". Sparing citings of my early childhood, I first began to give any organization to my shamanistic qualities in raw Vodun, though at the time, I had no clue what this was. I thought I was crazy. I kept the voices to myself and later ran across a magazine article on African tribal art that was suddenly spewing all these names and stories from my head and mentioned bits of rituals I had been performing in secret as if my life were depending upon it. I went forth and tried my best in my pubescent years to read up on the occult, witchcraft, and mysticism, but in the beginning I retained a solitary path with the Lwa in practice. I was confused as to why this was the way set before me because, well, I'm white. Pretty damn Irish on my daddy's side although his adopted brother, my uncle Arthur, and his siblings (scattered in different homes around town in the 60s but still in good contact and part of my family) are black Cherokee. Then, when I was 17 and nearing high school graduation, my Nana on her deathbed, compelled to make a final account of the family history of my mother's side, told us of the young runaway slave harbored on the old farm in Virginia who bore a son from the youngest boy of the family. She left (circumstances unknown) and they kept the baby, raised him "as their own", and that baby grew up to marry a woman who begot the great grandfather that left the farm and was until then, the furthest patriarch I could identify on those branches of my family tree. Is that how the Lwa found me? (Undoubtedly.) Anyway, after leaving for Savannah the next year, I came into contact with groups of Hoodoos and neo Pagan covens and have over the years come to incorporate little things of those traditions into a craft that is now all its own, though all other elements are steeped into what Vodon/u traditions I came to follow. I think it's mostly my mutt blood that makes it work out so well with me, but to get back to initial topic- I think the "broad spectrum" approach when it comes to Vodou being an element works best when Vodou is the sphere in which the other elements work, not vice versa (trying to interject the Lwa into Ero-centric Wicca). And, as it often is with Vodou, such success in these interminglings depends alot on the bloodlines and family ties as well as inherent abilities- a simplification of what one of the few Mambos I've met irl explained to me about my unusual circumstances. I was read and initiated and later encouraged to continue on said unusual path once I emerged the Kanzo, as an ambassador of sorts- and here I am! Something important I remember from that time: "Vodou is for all but not all are for Vodou." The truth is, the Lwa ARE calling out to those outside the traditional community initiates and to dismiss such divine, generous will through sour skepticism is certainly more disrespectful than the naive curiosities of Wiccans. I know it's been a while since the OP, but I happened to spy this thread and felt compelled to throw in my two cents as somebody the topic relates to so much. Blessings upon you all, and especially to you, Brother John! I hope if you find this, you're able to gain some acceptance as to how a manifold and incorporative magical path can and does work for some of us circumstantially. One thing is truer than any: BE CAREFUL! GET EDUCATED! (That's two, I reckon, haha.) Your concerns seem to really come out of a good place. Love and light!