Questions about Voodoo

Religion and beliefs make up the foundation of all humanity. Many of the original religions in West Africa represent different forms of animism or other nature religions. Many elements in these cults are the same as in the Scandinavian religions before the arrival of Christianity.

The museum of Villa Karo consists of objects that have been collected in West Africa: it’s exhibition focuses on illustrating old beliefs and especially on depicting the different forms of Voodoo that exist in southern Benin, Togo and Nigeria.

Villa Karo also has the pleasure of having a Vodou expert as its managing director, Kwassi Akpladokou. On this page, in the comment section, you can ask him all the questions that have been bugging your mind about Voodoo. Welcome! Bienvenue!

6 thoughts on “Questions about Voodoo

  1. Pingback: Vodou day in Grand-Popo | Akasia News from Villa Karo

    • Vodoo is the foundation of our existence. As far as I know we never learn vodoo but we get involved daily as long as we exist and practice. All I know about vodoo was allocated to me when I was very young by my grand parents who were chief fetish priests and priestesses. During ritual ceremonies, my grand parents often get into trans and during this state messages and knowledges were parted to me in a very discrete manner. It’s just like a spiritual injection in form of religeous dictionary that one consults in case of any problem.

  2. Hi Kwassi! I have a question that has been bugging me for a long time. Could you elaborate on the differences between names of divinities, for example Egou, Ogun, Gun and Egungun/Ogungun or Shango-Heviosso?

    It seems to me, that the Yoruba-tradition is different in many ways from, for example, what is represented at the Python temple in Ouidah…

    And also, in Porto Novo (at musée Honme) I noticed, that they had a different interpretation for Assin – but I forgot what it was… a different kind of idea of ancestors in the Yoruba-tradition, perhaps. Do you have any idea what it could be?

    • Or actually, I just realized that now I’m confusing Egungun to the God of iron… which brings me to another question: is there some kind of a connection between Egungun and Zangbetos?

  3. There are vast differences in many divinities that have same pronunciations but found in different regions.
    Egungun /Ogungun: is the divinity that represents the ancestral spirits in Yoruba land. These ancestral spirits are believed to live eternally in the spiritual world. Ceremonial dances are periodically organized to rekindle the spirits of the dead. These ceremonies are frequent in Porto-Novo and in Yoruba land. These spirits are supposed to be risen from their graves after burial and are living in a special place waiting to be invited for some special spiritual missions.
    Egou/Ogun; is the divinity that represents the god of iron: Egou is Mina language and Ogun is Yoruba. This divinity is used to galvanized the fighting spirits of warriors and hunters. Before a hunting expedition, all objects billed to be used for hunting are deposited before the divinity on the eve. Libations are then poured to awaken all allied spirits involved to implore their benediction.
    Shango/Heviosso: Shango is Yoruba and Heviosso is mina/eve language. This divinity which represents the god of thunder is what we collectively call the JUSTICIER for its remarkable way of rendering justice impartially.
    Assin is a portable alter on which ancestors are given food during ceremonies especially when there is the need to travel far away from home. In this special case one does not invoke the ancestral spirit away from home without using a special conceived assin, well prepared spiritually. In the musée Honme in Porto-Novo, their assin is different because they have never been travelling far away so there was no need for them to move their alter. The Fons travelled a lot waging war here and there against other communities and enemies which obliged them to move with portable alter called assin. In Yoruba land, the same kind of tradition is followed but with different representation like in mina/eve land with the name “togbezikpe” meaning the grandfathers stool.
    Egungun and Zangbetos?
    Egungun is the connection between the living and the dead. The ancestral spirit called egungun is invoked by the living for many reasons: for example to seek for invisible protection and blessing.
    Zangbeto is totally different from egungun. It is a vodou spirit meant to protect the communities wherever they are mostly during the night. They are mostly called the night guard or peace makers. During day time they are supposed to preserve and restore peace by imposing sanctions on those who break the law through breach of peace and during the night they are very active in their mission of protection but spiritually and mostly spiritually (invisible) to the ordinary man..
    Kwassi AKPLADOKOU

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