Contradictory to popular notion that Voodoo is associated with magical spells, Voodoo is a type of religion practiced by millions of people mainly from southeastern Ghana, southern and central Togo, southern and central Benin, and southwestern Nigeria.
Voodoo is a traditional Polytheistic religion in West Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana. The word came from “vodun,” which means spirit in African language. When it is capitalized, it refers to the religion. Vodun is distinct from other animistic religions. In Vodun, the temple of gods and goddesses is complex. They believe the entire creation is divine. Therefore, everything is divine. Such belief explains the varied objects used in religious rituals.
Vodun is known as Voodoo in non-African countries, mainly referring to Voodoo practices. Today, it has become a mixture of Catholicism and African religions. Hence, varying groups of voodoo practitioners were formed, each using different traditions. However diverse their traditions are, there is only one basis for their religion.
Because Voodoo is polytheistic, Voodoo practitioners believe in several gods and goddesses. The practitioners believe that there are two spirits in one soul. One spirit stays in the body while the other wanders. This led to the belief that the soul can be trapped into another being or object. Several rituals are done to keep this wandering soul from remaining earthbound. During this ritual, gifts are sacrificed to the spirits.
The curses and spells usually associated with voodoo beliefs are part of the rituals. It is important to note that in performing rituals, Voodoo focuses on health, happiness, and good fortune. They rarely believe in spirits promising a better afterlife. That is why, voodoo practices are used in health and success spells.
Nevertheless, voodoo spells are not bound only to these positive energies. The rituals can also be used against enemies. These spells are only effective if the wisher believes in the power of the religion.
In performing a spell, either bad or good, voodoo practitioners traditionally use voodoo dolls. However, these dolls are usually utilized when one wishes harm toward the person the doll represents.
There is a process considered in making a voodoo dolls. The first step is to make a body for the voodoo doll by placing two twigs in a cross shape. In wrapping the moss around the body of the voodoo doll, start in the middle and work your way up, around the head and arms then back down the other side. Use one piece if possible and stuff it tightly. Create eyes, nose, and mouth using buttons, beads, sees, or peas. Thread these materials onto the voodoo doll.
During ritual, voodoo believers chant and dance to connect with the spiritual forces. They would know spirits are called when one of the dancers is being possessed. Because the spirits choose whom to possess, voodoo followers believe it is a gift from god. Thus, the possessed believer is treated with reverence during the course of the ritual. In fact, several believers say that simply touching the possessed person during possession can lead to death.