I love it when I learn something through research. In my latest thriller/romance novel, I researched Voodoo in New Orleans. I discovered that it is closely knitted with the Catholic religion. I read that the slaves, who were brought to Louisiana where Catholicism was forced upon them, adapted their culture in order to appease the authorities. The slaves began to use images of religious saints as a means to continue their voodoo culture. Today, there are more statues, candles and other personified items with the image of Catholic saints than there are African imagery.
Even now, there is no conflict between Catholicism and Voodoo. In Voodoo, the role of the spirits is separate from that of God, whereas the saints share the same role in a Catholic’s life. Voodoo, it seems, has always been very liberal in accepting and assimilating aspects of other spiritual beliefs.
Take St. Peter, who stands at the door to Heaven. His Voodoo counterpart is Legba, the guardian to the gateway to the spirit world. Aida Wedo, the primary female Voodoo spirit, is their version of the Blessed Virgin. I find it very fascinating that the culture is so adaptable and that those who practice it persevere in keeping it alive despite the changes around them.
When I was a child, I believed that Voodoo was evil and scary, involving blood, snakes, zombies and chicken feet as the movies and books had portrayed. Well, that part is true. But most of the black magic Voodoo is kept underground and out of sight. In fact, until the ‘Seventies, there were authentic voodoo gris-gris shops in New Orleans in plain sight. Now, there are shops that cater those who are interested in the religion. Whether or not they are authentic and not just tourist traps, one can only speculate.
The religion was used for positive practices as well. Like in the Catholic religion, there were spirits for protection and good will. Erzulie Dantor, patron of unwed mothers, protector against domestic violence and patron of lesbians in the Voodoo religion reflects that of the Catholic Madonna.
I found myself delving into the similarities of both religions by reading several websites and becoming quite interested in the information that was offered. In the bibliography of my upcoming novel, you will find a list of these websites to peruse as well.
I am one to weigh each side of the scale before making any decision on which way to vote. Being a Christian, naturally, I will still practice Christianity. But, as a teen, our church was thoughtful enough to expose us to different religions. As Ambassadors, we visited a Jewish Synagogue and several other religions and learned about their beliefs. The reason for this, our Youth Counselor told us, was that we were all created by one God and that we should embrace our neighbors no matter what their religion.
So, I embraced the Voodoo culture, if only for the few weeks of research. And now, hopefully, I have portrayed it accurately in “LInked”, my thriller/romance novel. It is due to be released in October, in time for Halloween. I have incorporated Black Magic, giving the story some heart-stopping moments, so be warned! Don’t worry. I’ll hold your hand, in the virtual sense, of course. I might even embrace you! J
Cover design by yours truly using images from these two websites (and a few of my own): http://www.dreamstime.com/res3186598-stock-pictures & http://www.public-domain-image.com/