The Haitian Vodou Handbook
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The Haitian Vodou Handbook : Protocols for Riding with the Lwa

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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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152.4 x 223.5 x 25.4mm | 408.24g
  • Inner Traditions Bear and Company
  • Destiny Books,U.S.
  • Rochester, United States
  • English
  • 18 b&w illustrations
  • 1594771251
  • 9781594771255
  • 419,359

Review quote

"This is an excellent introductory text for folks of any background. . . . honest and respectful, and has a good balance of information and respecting of oathbound material. If you've any interest in this religion whatsoever, even just curiosity, this is a great place to start." * Pagan Book Reviews, April 2007 * "I wasn't sure what to expect when I got this book, but I was very pleased with it, even the parts I disagreed with. It is informative, well-written, and well worth the price." * Mike Gleason, Witchgrove, Mar 2007 * "Kenaz Filan has succeeded where many before have failed. The Haitian Vodou Handbook (emphasis on the "handbook") is a highly practical and informative starter's guide. . . . Filan's book provides all the necessary information, and then some, to get one started in serving the Lwa. For those wishing to continue their exploration of the subject, the author provides extensive references and pointers to sources of information, internet resources and suppliers. * Ashe Journal, Vol 6, Issue 1, Spring 2007 * "This book made me think. And because it did, I give it my highest recommendation. Great for anyone who has an interest in this subject." * Sapphoq Reviews, Feb 2007 * "There is a sense of excitement which runs through this book, and the reader is caught up in its facts and material in an enjoyable manner. This is a good reading experience about what Haitian Vodou truly is, with nothing left out." * Lee Prosser, Ghostvillage.com, Feb 2007 * "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." * Publishers Weekly, 11/13/06 * "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 Drui * "Filan's clear and sensible approach shares the rudiments of Vodou, and gives us a fascinating introduction to the history and culture of Haiti. This book will be important to all who feel that religious practice makes a practical difference in our lives." * Judy Harrow, author of Devoted to You: Honoring Deity * "Refreshingly original, well-documented, and just plain fun. Kenaz brings just the right combination of insider insights and skeptical observations to this must-read for anyone fascinated by the world of Afro-diasporan religious movements. Highly recommended." * Anne Newkirk Niven, Editor in Chief, SageWoman, PanGaia, newWitch *show more

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.show more

About Kevin Filan

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.show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgmentsPrefacePART ONE Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been? Introduction to Part One1 Some Words of Caution . . . The Dangers of Haitian Vodou2 The Roots of Haitian VodouPART TWO Vodou Today Introduction to Part Two3 The Mysteries: Bondye and the Lwa4 The Peristyle: Sacred Space in Vodou5 Implements: The Tools of Vodou6 Practices: The Techniques of Haitian VodouPART THREE The Lwa Introduction to Part ThreeThe Rada Lwa7 Legba8 The Marassa9 Loko and Ayizan10 Damballah 11 Agwe and La Sirene12 Ezili Freda13 Filomez and Klemezin14 Zaka 15 Ogou The Petwo Lwa16 Kalfou17 Ezili Danto18 Bossou19 Simbi 20 Gran Bwa21 Ibo22 The Djabs The Ghede Lwa23 The Ghede24 The Bawon and Brigitte25 The AncestorsPART FOUR Ceremonies and Wanga Introduction to Part Four26 Illuminations27 Actions De Grace28 The Lave Tet29 The Garde (Gad)30 The Maryaj Lwa31 Kanzo32 WangaConclusion: The Next Step--Seeking a TeacherResourcesNotesGlossaryIndexshow more

Review Text

Protocols for Riding with the Lwa.show more

Rating details

152 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 34% (52)
4 45% (69)
3 13% (20)
2 5% (8)
1 2% (3)
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