A working guide to the proper methods of interacting with the full Vodou pantheon
• Includes the myths, cultural heritage, and ancestral lineage of the lwa and how to honor and serve them
• Provides an introduction and guide that is especially useful for the solitary practitioner
• Discusses the relationship between Vodou, Haitian culture, and Catholicism
Until recently, the Haitian practice of Vodou was often identified with devil worship, dark curses, and superstition. Some saw the saint images and the Catholic influences and wrote Vodou off as a “Christian aberration.” Others were appalled by the animal sacrifices and the fact that the Houngans and Mambos charge money for their services. Those who sought Vodou because they believed it could harness “evil” forces were disappointed when their efforts to gain fame, fortune, or endless romance failed and so abandoned their “voodoo fetishes.” Those who managed to get the attention of the lwa, the spirits honored in Haitian Vodou, often received cosmic retaliation for treating the lwa as attack dogs or genies, which only further cemented Vodou’s stereotype as “dangerous.”
In The Haitian Vodou Handbook, Kevin Filan, a Vodou priest, explains how to build respectful relationships with the lwa of the Vodou pantheon and how to transform the fear that often surrounds the Vodou religion. He offers extensive background information on the lwa and instructions on how to honor and interact fruitfully with those that make themselves accessible, emphasizing the importance of having a quickened mind that can read the lwa’s desires intuitively in order to avoid establishing dogma-based relationships. He also discusses the role of Vodou in Haitian culture and explores the symbiotic relationship Vodou has maintained with Catholicism through the connections between the lwa and the Christian saints.
Kevin Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated in Societé la Belle Venus in March 2003 after 10 years of solitary service to the lwa. His articles on Vodou have appeared in NewWitch, Pangaia, Planet Magazine, and Widdershins. He lives in New York City.
Page Count: 304; 6.00 (width) x 9.00 (height)
18 black-and-white illustrations
Imprint: Destiny Books