The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa

The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa

Paperback

By (author) Kenaz Filan

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  • Publisher: Destiny Books,U.S.
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 224mm x 25mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 30 November 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Rochester
  • ISBN 10: 1594771251
  • ISBN 13: 9781594771255
  • Edition: 1
  • Sales rank: 312,642

Product description

In The Haitian Vodou Handbook, Kenaz Filan, an initiate of the Societe la Belle Venus, presents a working guide to the proper methods of interacting with the full Vodou pantheon, explaining how to build respectful relationships with the lwa, the spirits honored in Haitian Vodou, and how to transform the fear that often surrounds the Vodou religion. Until recently, the Haitian practice of Vodou was often identified with devil worship, dark curses, and superstition. Some saw the saint images and the Catholic influences and wrote Vodou off as a "Christian aberration." Others were appalled by the animal sacrifices and the fact that the Houngans and Mambos charge money for their services. Those who sought Vodou because they believed it could harness "evil" forces were disappointed when their efforts to gain fame, fortune, or romance failed and so abandoned their "voodoo fetishes." Those who managed to get the attention of the lwa, often received cosmic retaliation for treating the spirits as attack dogs or genies, which only further cemented Vodou's stereotype as "dangerous." Filan offers extensive background information on the featured lwa, including their mythology and ancestral lineage, as well as specific instructions on how to honor and interact fruitfully with those that make themselves accessible. This advice will be especially useful for the solitary practitioner who doesn't have the personal guidance of a societe available. Filan emphasizes the importance of having a quickened mind that can read the lwa's desires intuitively in order to avoid establishing dogma-based relationships. This working guide to successful interaction with the full Vodou pantheon also presents the role of Vodou in Haitian culture and explores the symbiotic relationship Vodou has maintained with Catholicism.

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Author information

Kenaz Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated in Societe la Belle Venus in March 2003 after 10 years of solitary service to the lwa. Filan's articles on Vodou have appeared in "NewWitch," "Pangaia," "Planet Magazine," and "Widdershins."

Review quote

"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 Societe 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."

Back cover copy

SHAMANISM / INDIGENOUS CULTURES"This highly readable book will be valuable to every reader interested in Haitian Vodou, and essential for those who want to make the transition from intellectual knowledge to personal experience of a profound and unfairly neglected religion." --John Michael Greer, author of The New Encyclopedia of the Occult, A World Full of Gods, and The Druidry Handbook The Haitian Vodou Handbook explains how to build respectful relationships with the lwa, the spirits honored in Haitian Vodou, and how to transform the fear that often surrounds the Vodou religion. Until recently, the Haitian practice of Vodou was often identified with devil worship, dark curses, and superstition. Some saw the saint images and the Catholic influences and wrote Vodou off as a "Christian aberration." Others were appalled by the animal sacrifices and the fact that the houngans and mambos charge money for their services. Those who sought Vodou because they believed it could harness "evil" forces were disappointed when their efforts to gain fame, fortune, or endless romance failed and so abandoned their "voodoo fetishes." Those who managed to get the attention of the lwa, often received cosmic retaliation for treating the lwa as attack dogs or genies, which only further cemented Vodou's stereotype as "dangerous." Kenaz Filan, an initiate of the Societe; la Belle Venus, offers extensive background information on the featured lwa, including their mythology and ancestral lineage, as well as specific instructions on how to honor and interact fruitfully with those that make themselves accessible. This advice will be especially useful for the solitary practitioner who doesn't have the personal guidance of a societe available. Filan emphasizes the importance of having a quickened mind that can read the lwa's desires intuitively in order to avoid establishing dogma-based relationships. This working guide to successful interaction with the full Vodou pantheon also presents the role of Vodou in Haitian culture and explores the symbiotic relationship Vodou has maintained with Catholicism. Kenaz Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated into Societe la Belle Venus in New York City in 2003 after ten years of solitary service to the lwa. Filan's articles on Vodou have appeared in newWitch, PanGaia, and Planet magazines and in the pagan community newspaper Widdershins.