What comes to mind most times when Voodoo is mentioned is a religions that deals with dolls and zombies, intending to use them as representatives for the humans they want to have effects on. However, Voodoo is more than that. Voodoo is a version of voudon, a religion that originated from Haiti. It includes a collection of beliefs, practices, teachings and traditions passed down from one generation to another. These would also include ceremonies, proverbs, teachings, songs, chants and incantations.
Like Palo Mayombe, Voodoo worshiper’s belief in a supreme Creator who they call Bondyle and the reverence and acknowledgement of other spirits which they call Iwas. These spirits are believed to be responsible and connected to certain blessings. They are believed to be able to cause certain changes in this realm. But Palo Mayombe as a religion, holds its beliefs in the spirits of the dead as well. This for them is a very important part of their religion.
Voodoo practitioners also believe in spirit possession. Unlike other modern religions that perceive spirit possession as an evil occurrence, suggesting exorcism, Voodoo worshipers desire Spirit possession. They believe that the soul or the spiritual essence of man can leave the body for a spirit to occupy it. They view this as valuable experience into the world of the spirit. This has to be done through a ceremony anchored by a priest.
The Origin of the Zombie and Doll Perception:
Across mainstream media, Voodoo is usually associated with zombies and dolls. But there is more to it than is being expressed. The zombie ideology started first as a West African deity and then progressed to represent a body in a soulless state. In Haiti, it is believed that the first zombies were called up from the dead by priests. For some it was to instill fear in the other living worshipers, that a person could still be punished after death. It was even said that these zombies were used to work on the fields, though there is really no evidence of that.
The zombies however, can be said to be a part of the sacred objects used by voodoo worshipers. They also hold ceremonies and rituals that may involve animal sacrifices.
Voodoo as a religion has spread through many countries in different continents; with each city or region having their own unique practices and syncretism with other religions. It is however believed that Palo Mayombe’s power is unmatched by any of these Voodoo versions. Palo Mayombe is known to be the most dreaded and most powerful dark magic practice. It is known that priests of other dark religions including Voodoo would often seek consultations with priests of Palo Mayombe in certain situations and to achieve certain results.
Though there may be similarities between the belief system and practices, Palo Mayombe stands out as a unique religion on its own. Despite its activities being done very discreetly and out of public eye, the religion has gained widespread reputation for the impact of the spells and magic.