November 6th, 2011 | No Comments »

Pope Benedict XVI discussed witchcraft today at a conference with Angolan Bishops in Africa. He did not endorse witchcraft, as can be expected from the Pope but a listen to the address does shy away from condemning traditional African practice or rejecting an African spiritual heritage in lieu of Roman Catholicism. This is somewhat of a reaffirmation of Pope John Paul II, who also said that Roman Catholicism was compatible with Vodou in his 1992 meeting with Beninoise Vodou Houngans.

This is, however, one of Pope Benedict’s many conservative swings away from the former stance of Pope John Paul II. Compare what Pope John Paul II said in his meeting with African Houngans in 1992 to that of Pope Benedict today;

 

 

[The Vatican Council II] recognized that there are truth and good, seeds of the Word, in the various religious traditions.

 

You are strongly attached to the traditions which your ancestors transmitted to you. It is legitimate to recognize the ancestors who transmitted to you the sense of the sacral, faith in a one and good god, your tastes for celebrations, and consideration for moral life and harmony in society.

Pope Benedict XVI modified the stance and reconciled by saying;

The heart of the baptized is sometimes shared between Christianity and traditional African religions.

He did strongly condemn any form of violence in witchcraft, especially toward children and the elderly. We also agree at Bondye that any abuse of children, the elderly or anyone at all has no place in religion – be it Roman Catholic or Vodou.

Most Vodouisants, particularly in Haiti, are both practicing Catholics and believers in Vodou.

Posted in Vodou
October 18th, 2011 | No Comments »

From the Science section of the New York Times:

Digging deeper in a South African cave that had already yielded surprises from the Middle Stone Age, archaeologists have uncovered a 100,000-year-old workshop holding the tools and ingredients with which early modern humans apparently mixed some of the first known paint.

These cave artisans had stones for pounding and grinding colorful dirt enriched with a kind of iron oxide to a powder, known as ocher. This was blended with the binding fat of mammal-bone marrow and a dash of charcoal. Traces of ocher were left on the tools, and samples of the reddish compound were collected in large abalone shells, where the paint was liquefied, stirred and scooped out with a bone spatula.

A fascinating archaeological discovery that sheds many insights on the artistic expression of early humans. But it is more than that. The description of how cave artisans prepared paints from ocher, animal fat and charcoal in abalone shells, with bone spatulas and pestles, is exactly how many magical pigments are prepared today in Vodou around the world, from Congo, to Benin, to Haiti and even in Obeah in Jamaica. This gives us very strong evidence for Vodou being one of the oldest religions in existence today.

Remember that Vodou is not just a Haitian phenomenon, or a Beninoise, or even African phenomenon. It is a human phenomenon that is a part of the history of every man and woman.

Related: the Ishango Bone that was found in the Ishango region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (also the home of one of our Most Famous Voodoo Priests) has also been dated to 10,000 years and provides an example of advanced mathematics in Africa that predate even the Mayans.

Posted in history, Spells, Vodou
August 8th, 2011 | 3 Comments »


World Cup Witchcraft

Transcript:

The use of muti, a Zulu word that refers to witchcraft and traditional medicine, is commonplace in South Africa. People here turn to it for health and good fortune. But also to serve up bad luck to enemies and foes.

Materials for muti’s potions and spells can be found in places like this, the Faraday Market in central Johannesburg. Look one way and you’ll see stacks of herbs and bottles of chalky liquids. Look another and there is an elephant trunk, a rhinosaurus leg and a pair ofcow hooves.

Traditional diviners and herbalists, called Sangomas and Nyonkas, carefully guard their recipes.

Some traditional healers say World Cup fans have been coming to them in recent weeks for a competitive edge. One Sangoma offers a powder that fans can blow at their beloved team to ensure a victory. Others have remedies that can help the athletes themselves.

Earlier this year, the medical committe at FIFA expressed concerns that some herbal remedies may contain performance enhancing stimulants, but the matter was left to local authorities. The South African Institute for Drug Free Sport says any stimulants used in muti can’t be detected in standard doping tests and that the ingreidents are hard to come by.

The South African national team, known here as Bfana Gobona, has denied any of the team has used muti. But professional trainers, like Tondo Makal, who have worked with top ranked players, say Muti is used at all levels of the sport in South Africa, from casual weekend games to top-flight teams.

“You look at all of the teams n the country. They do it.”

Fellow instructor, Akili Zakali, says that muti is prevelant even at the youth level. One time, he recalls, when he was a young athlete at an amateur club his team began losing and the coach ordered all of the players to turn in their cleets. When the shoes were returned, the muti was right there, he says, plain as day.

“They had all sorts of markings, inside and out. With something that’s white, sort of like chalk or something like that. Cooled off we went into our match and we won. Guess what. From now on this is the way to go.”

Posted in Spells, Vodou