Sunday, May 17, 2009

Most Religious Practices Originate from Vodun

The Vodun religion is practiced by over 60 million people worldwide. "Today, there are two virtually unrelated forms of the religion:
• An actual religion, Vodun practiced in Benin, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Haiti, Togo and various centers in the US - largely where Haitian refugees have settled.

• An evil, imaginary religion, which we will call Voodoo. It has been created for Hollywood movies, complete with violence, bizarre rituals, etc. It does not exist in reality."1

Vodun's roots trace back 6000 years directly to the Yoruba people of sub-saharan Africa. They lived in Western Africa in The Kingdom of Dahomey from 1690 - 1901. Dahomey occupied parts of today's Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Enslaved Africans brought the Yoruba religion or Vodun with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies.

The Nok: Vodun's ancient practitioners
"In 1928, archaeologists unearthed artifacts from an amazing culture that flourished from about 500BC to AD200. The archaeologists referred to the ancient culture as the Nok, the name of a modern Nigerian village where they made their discovery."2

The Nok was the first known iron-smelting civilization in West Africa, and
the first known art-producing civilization in sub-saharan Africa.

This video is a "summary of all the essential information concerning the geography,
history, culture, technique and aesthetics of the Nok civilization." – mémoire d'afrique

How the Nok are connected to Ancient Egypt.
Sub-Saharan Africa's [Nok] relation to ancient Egypt can be substantiated [for one] via sociological means such as: "religion, which reveals the Egyptian/Nubian pantheon replicated in Benin, Togo and Nigeria from the Fon, Ewé and Yoruba cultures."3 The Nok culture predates Ancient Egyptian, and evidence from artifacts of Nok civilization shows "that a shamanic religion was established in the Nok society. Certain representations of bird-men, half-sphinx and half-sphinge can be linked to the animism of ancient Egypt."4 Also, "archeology, with the excavations carried out in Upper Egypt and Sudan, highlight[ing] the southernmost origin of Egyptian civilization."3

How Vodun/The Ancient Egyptian Cult of Isis connect to Christianity's Cult of the Virgin Mary.
There are a number of points of similarity between Roman Catholicism and Vodun:

• Both believe in a supreme being.

• The Loa [Lwa] resemble Christian Saints, in that they were once people who led exceptional lives, and are usually given a single responsibility or special attribute.

• Both believe in an afterlife.

• Both have, as the centerpiece of some of their ceremonies, a ritual sacrifice and consumption of flesh and blood.

• Both believe in the existence of invisible evil spirits or demons.

• Followers of Vodun believe that each person has a met tet (master of the head) which corresponds to a Christian's patron saint.1

There is little doubt that early images of the Madonna & Child are based on that of Horus & Isis. "In addition to being the fertile wife of Osiris, Isis is honored for her role as the mother of Horus, one of Egypt's most powerful gods. She was also the divine mother of every pharoah of Egypt, and ultimately of Egypt itself. She assimilated with Hathor, another goddess of fertility, and is often depicted nursing her son Horus. There is a wide belief that this image served as inspiration for the classic Christian portrait of the Madonna and Child."5

(left) A bronze statue of Isis nursing Horus from Ptolemaic Egypt;
(right) A famous mediaeval icon of Mary and Jesus.
"In the Roman Empire, the cult of Isis was very popular throughout the Mediterranean area. It focused on the celebration of the mysteries of the death and the resurrection of Osiris. Isis, had been the consort of Osiris, and after his murder she recovered the scattered parts of his body and restored them to life. Osiris then became king of the dead and his son Horus became king of the living. The story of Isis, Osiris and Horus parallels the Christian mysteries of the virgin birth and the resurrection. It is also the origin of the certain [sic] Christian symbol of the Madonna and Child."6

Hadrian's Roman coin honoring Isis.
Also indicative of the African influence on Christianity is the fact that there are numerous sites dedicated to the Black Virgin Mary in France, Spain and Italy. The Cult of the Black Virgin reflected the "deeper senses and beliefs of newly Christianized Western Europe at the end of the Roman Period." The Black Madonna of Czestochova, the "queen" of Poland, is a well known religious icon representative of this widespread & dense network of shrines dedicated to the Black Madonna/Virgin Mary.
The Black Virgin Mary of Poland
Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism and many other monotheistic religions (a single omnipotent creator-god rules over the universe along with several hundred lower gods [saints]), can trace their origins back to the religion of Vodun. This is because Vodun is a religion of a single creator-god [Olorun/God] and lesser "spirits" [lwas/saints] that promises eternal life through worship and has many other similar religious traditions reflective of the modern religions that developed later. It is therefore possible to conclude that most major religions are generally derived from Vodun.

    Mounted by the spirit of the Lwa.

    Mounted by the spirit of the Lord.


thezenhaitian said...

It is a fascinating subject that really deserves a more thorough investigation.

I've updated the post with a couple of photos. The photographer Stephanie Keith portrays Haitian Vodouist at a Vodun ceremony in Brooklyn, NY and young women at a Christian event.

AL said...

What is your pre middle passage lineage? My father took an african ancestry DNA test and it came back yoruba.

thezenhaitian said...

Most of the enslaved Africans of The Middle Passage came from West Africa, so it is not surprising that your father's ancestors are from the Yoruba tribe now residing in Nigeria and Benin.

I have a strong belief that my African ancestors (on my father's side) came from Senegal. I have no real evidence, just family lore. Of course, that does not say what tribe in Senegal he is from.

I often think about the fact that I am extremely fortunate to have come from such strong stock as I did -- the enslaved Africans of The Middle Passage. Enslaved Africans survived the horrors of slavery after the indigenous Indians had been exterminated by the Spaniards. There is a chilling eyewitness account of the Spaniards' barbarity by a contemporary of Columbus, Bartolome de las Casas, in Howard Zinn's book, "voices of a people's history of the united states."

"All the people were slain or died after being taken into captivity and brought to the Island of Hispaniola [Haiti] to be sold as slaves. When the Spaniards saw that some of these had escaped, they sent a ship to find them, and it voyaged for three years among the islands searching for those who had escaped being slaughtered... of these [escapees] there were eleven and these I saw.

More than thirty other islands in the vicinity of San Juan are for the most part and for the same reason depopulated, and the land laid waste. On these islands I estimate there are 2,100 leagues of land that have been ruined and depopulated, empty of people.

...We can estimate very surely and truthfully that in the forty years that have passed, with the infernal actions of the Christians [Spaniards], there have been unjustly slain more than twelve million men, women, and children. In truth, I believe without trying to deceive myself that the number of the slain is more like fifteen million."

The common ways mainly employed by the Spaniards who call themselves Christian and who have gone there to extirpate those pitiful nations and wipe them off the earth is by unjustly waging cruel and bloody wars. Then, when they have slain all those who fought for their lives or to escape the tortures they would have to endure, that is to say, when they have slain all the native rulers and young men (since the Spaniards usually spare only the women and children, who are subjected to the hardest and bitterest servitude ever suffered by man or beast), they enslave any survivors. With these infernal methods of tyranny they debase and weaken countless numbers of those pitiful Indian nations.
-- Bartolome de las Casas, Two Readings on the Legacy of Columbus (Reading from 1542)

AL said...

Maybe one day you can take an african ancestry test and you can find out about your mothers side or your fathers side, the test does the original dna strand. I think the web site is I recently watched judge hacthett take the test on her show and it was a nice experience.

Osama Zain said...

So good topic really i like any post talking about Ancient Egypt but i want to say thing to u Ancient Egypt not that only ... you can see in Ancient Egypt Ancient Egyptian Godas and Goddess and more , you shall search in Google and Wikipedia about that .... thanks a gain ,,,

Related Posts with Thumbnails