Mami Wata Healers Society of North America
Because the Vodoun religion was a driving force in fighting against slavery andoppression, it was always viewed as a threat to colonial power and rule.
What is the relationship between "Vodun" and "Voodoo?" Are they one and thesame thing?Mama Zogbé:The relationship is largely one of regional, linguistic, cultural, ethnic and evenpolitical variations in both its spelling and meaning. In the Fon language, the word"Vodou" simply means "Spirit." The word "Spirit," simply is a term used to describethe specialized Nature divinities served in the Vodoun tradition. This is the term andmeaning that the majority in the West are familiar with.However, in the Ewe language the word "Vudu" not only describes the divinities of Nature, but the entire philosophical and metaphysical essence of the African'sexistence, and their relationship with both the world of matter and how it interacts with the world of spirit. This world is viewed as both divine and efficacious, in whichthe quality of life is predicated upon maintaining a harmonious balance between thetwo. When the Africans were transported to the New World, the religion becameconsiderably maligned and actively suppressed by the colonial government. This wasso because the Vodou's philosophical and political structure and culturalmanifestation emphasized the warrior gods who sustained and directly aided the Africans in their numerous slave rebellions, and ultimately their freedom from the brutal system of chattel slavery forced upon them.Unfortunately, Vodou's image was controlled by the media of these respectivecolonial governments, and their orthodox religious clergy, whom presented it assomething "dark, evil and subversive." It is also they who coined the spelling"Voodoo." Nevertheless, Vodou's meaning and hidden practice by the AfricanDiaspora continued to symbolize their active resistance to oppression, as well as aspecial intimacy with Africa, their ancestors, and the gods that would not leave their blood.
Dr. Austin Ogunsuyi:
What's the origin of Vodun?Mama Zogbé:To begin, most in the West have been taught to attribute both Vodoun's existenceand subsequent development exclusively to the Fon, a West African ethnic group