Haitian vodou is a syncretic religion practiced mainly in Haiti. It originated in the French slave colony of Saint-Domingue in the 18th Century when the African slaves were forced into Christianity. Vodouisants believe in a supreme being called Ioa. The priests are usually people chosen by dead ancestors and sometimes use their powers to hurt or kill people.
There are many forms of Vodou and each new people that practice add their own slant on the religion. As these practitioners were Christianized their deities were made “Saints” of Catholicism for example and were still worshiped in the same way, only adding the elements of Christianity.
When looking at Vodou today we can see elements of these saints intergraded into many of the rituals. Popular culture has embraced Vodou and produced several movies that detail many of the rites of the religion.
In 1997 a movie based on John Berendt’s novel “Mid-night in the Garden of Good and Evil” set in Savannah Georgia featured a Vodou Priestess and Root Doctor named “Minerva”. Minerva was based on a real priestess named Valerie Fennel Aiken Boles who was known to provide “work” for those that were willing to pay. She passed away in 2009.
Root Doctors are still alive and well and practicing today. I have had a personal bone throwing and spent time with a wonderful Root Worker named Sister Sarah. Working primarily in Wilson County, Sister Sarah will do a bone reading for you by appointment at a quaint little shop called “Truley Unique”. Sister Sarah’s web store offers blessing oils ranging from blessings to protections.
Vodou spells, Rum and dolls are the commonly known things of this fascinating religion. I recommend taking a minute to chat with a real root worker or maybe reading up on the religion to separate fact from fiction.
Namaste and Blessed Be