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Author Topic: Vodou.  (Read 4034 times)
Satsekhem
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« Topic Start: June 23, 2011, 06:58:49 pm »

I was wiki-clicking the other day and stumbled into the hoodoo/voodoo/zombie pages that proliferate over there. Of course, I became immediately engrossed. So, I am looking for some help in the books about 'the basics' as well as any 'history of' books that can be recommended.

Thanks.
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schwertlilie
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« Reply #1: June 24, 2011, 11:49:26 pm »

I was wiki-clicking the other day and stumbled into the hoodoo/voodoo/zombie pages that proliferate over there. Of course, I became immediately engrossed. So, I am looking for some help in the books about 'the basics' as well as any 'history of' books that can be recommended.

Thanks.

For Haitian vodou, the only practical introductory book I know of is Kenaz Filan's Haitian Vodou Handbook. I like it because it addresses the issues of being not-Haitian while practicing a Haitian religion and serving Haitian spirits, doesn't completely glaze over the consequences of doing things wrong (like using something you've given as an offering for yourself), and has a large suggested reading list. Kenaz also runs a yahoo group called Tristate Vodou, which is pretty beginner-friendly.

After that, most of the writing I've found is academic. I really want to get my hands on Mama Lola, an ethnography of a Haitian vodou community in New York City, by an anthropologist who became a participant instead of just an observer. (That will have to wait until September, though, when I move to a city with university libraries. Smiley )

Other books I've read include Wade Davis' The Serpent and the Rainbow (an ethnobotanist's account of vodou in the early 1980s, when he visited Haiti to try and learn more about zombis) and Phyllis Galembo's Visions & Voices of Haiti (which is a photo book of vodou ritual, altars, and practice).  I'm still trying to track down copies of Tell My Horse (a 1930s travelogue which includes a section on zombis; the author is black), Alfred Metraux's Voodoo in Haiti (white ethnologist in the late '80s), and Maya Deren's Divine Horsemen (1950s book by the avantgarde filmmaker). All of these I've seen listed as "go-to" books, and most of these have previews available on Google Books. Alternatively, you can try doing an inter-library loan from university libraries.

(If you have a chance to get your hands on a copy of the Divine Horsemen film, do it - for all that it was shot in the '50s & edited in the '80s, it's pretty respectful and avoids a lot of the traps people filming ~exotic things~ tend to fall into.)

I don't know much about New Orleans voodoo or hoodoo/rootwork, but I've heard good things about Sallie Ann Glassman. ymmv.
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« Reply #2: June 25, 2011, 08:29:12 am »

After that, most of the writing I've found is academic. I really want to get my hands on Mama Lola, an ethnography of a Haitian vodou community in New York City, by an anthropologist who became a participant instead of just an observer. (That will have to wait until September, though, when I move to a city with university libraries.  )

It's on Thriftbooks.

I don't have a lot of experience with Vodou, but I thought Mama Lola was a great book. It seems to give a pretty thorough introduction, and it reads very intimately (though the author is careful to not reveal any of the mysteries she experienced during her initiation).
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #3: June 25, 2011, 09:27:56 am »

For Haitian vodou, the only practical introductory book I know of is Kenaz Filan's Haitian Vodou Handbook.

I definitely have to second this book - I've read through most of it and found it to be beginner friendly without watering things down.
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Satsekhem
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« Reply #4: June 25, 2011, 05:09:08 pm »

For Haitian vodou, the only practical introductory book I know of is Kenaz Filan's Haitian Vodou Handbook. I like it because it addresses the issues of being not-Haitian while practicing a Haitian religion and serving Haitian spirits, doesn't completely glaze over the consequences of doing things wrong (like using something you've given as an offering for yourself), and has a large suggested reading list. Kenaz also runs a yahoo group called Tristate Vodou, which is pretty beginner-friendly.

After that, most of the writing I've found is academic. I really want to get my hands on Mama Lola, an ethnography of a Haitian vodou community in New York City, by an anthropologist who became a participant instead of just an observer. (That will have to wait until September, though, when I move to a city with university libraries. Smiley )

Other books I've read include Wade Davis' The Serpent and the Rainbow (an ethnobotanist's account of vodou in the early 1980s, when he visited Haiti to try and learn more about zombis) and Phyllis Galembo's Visions & Voices of Haiti (which is a photo book of vodou ritual, altars, and practice).  I'm still trying to track down copies of Tell My Horse (a 1930s travelogue which includes a section on zombis; the author is black), Alfred Metraux's Voodoo in Haiti (white ethnologist in the late '80s), and Maya Deren's Divine Horsemen (1950s book by the avantgarde filmmaker). All of these I've seen listed as "go-to" books, and most of these have previews available on Google Books. Alternatively, you can try doing an inter-library loan from university libraries.

(If you have a chance to get your hands on a copy of the Divine Horsemen film, do it - for all that it was shot in the '50s & edited in the '80s, it's pretty respectful and avoids a lot of the traps people filming ~exotic things~ tend to fall into.)

I don't know much about New Orleans voodoo or hoodoo/rootwork, but I've heard good things about Sallie Ann Glassman. ymmv.

Thank you so much!
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Sekhemib-Nymaatre; spiritual blog.
Thanks For All the Fish; opinionated ranty blog.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I intended to be. - Douglas Adams
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« Reply #5: June 25, 2011, 08:54:49 pm »

Thank you so much!

from what I've read,it seems to be that to use a simplistic example: hoodoo is to voudou the same way that witchcraft is to Wicca.
but all the literary suggestion you've been given I would second,I've read bits of divine horsemen and seen bits of the movie of the same. enthralling.
also a lot of the inner contents of divine horsemen is available to read right on the net thru the google book search.
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