The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa

Kenaz Filan, Author . Inner Traditions/Destiny $16.95 (283p) ISBN 978-1-59477-125-5

Vodou is not what most people think. It's not "devil worship, dark curses, and drumbeat-driven orgies performed at midnight," poking needles at dolls or simple superstition. With over a decade of service to the lwa (the deities of Vodou) and membership in Societé la Belle Venus #2, a Vodou temple in Brooklyn, Filan sets out to right these pulpy perspectives of what in reality is a complex African diaspora spirituality and a form of worship that marries the secular and the spiritual. Of course, Vodou is not without its dangers, since "the lwa can wreak a frightening vengeance." It's not foolproof, either; without proper initiation into addressing the lwa, they will simply ignore you. But Filan aspires to give potential initiates the proper tools for communicating with the deities of Vodou (like Mama Danto, who protects, and Papa Damballah, who brings peace). In the process, he shares the rich and at times disturbing history of its practitioners (especially the oppression and racism faced during slavery) and offers a litany of everything necessary to practice Vodou on an individual level, from knowledge of the tradition's most important symbols, rites, myths and spells to an extensive list of further resources and Vodou-related Web sites, music and even charities. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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