A study of voodoo a common practice of the negros of the west indies of african origin

Many people seem to confuse the Voodoun of Haiti with that of Santeria from Cuba. There seems to be a general misconception that in fact "Voodoo" implies all of black african religion, and is synonymous with black magic, sorcery and witchcraft. Beside the fanatical practice of christian "religious politics" which have grossly misinterpreted african customs in comparison with their european traditions and morality, the cinematographic industry has also capitalized on the "aura" of fear and deception inherited by the ignorance and prejudices of the alleged civilized Muslim, and European mercenary that has enjoyed a good profit from their slave trade.

BI LBY The medicinal complex of Barbadian and other Caribbean slaves fundamentally rested on African beliefs and practices in which the supernatural played a major role. What was called Obeah formed part of this medicinal complex even though Europeans who wrote about Obeah often confused and misunderstood many of its features.

The supernatural force or forces which the Obeah practitioner attempted to control or guide was essentially neutral. However, for the enslaved in Barbados as elsewhere in the British Caribbean the force, as accessed by the practitioner, was largely directed toward what the slave community defined as socially beneficial goals such as healing, locating missing property, and protection against illness and other kinds of misfortune; it could even be directed against slave masters, which, from the perspective of the slave community, was a beneficial goal.

Although Obeah could also have negative or antisocial dimensions in the form of witchcraft or sorcery, the entirely negative view of Obeah that whites largely promulgated during the period of slavery probably exacerbated by the fact that it was sometimes directed against themand that has endured until the present, has distorted the social role that Obeah played in the lives of many enslaved persons, whether of African or New World birth.

Slave medicine, including the practices associated with Obeah and the meaning of the term itself, changed over the two centuries of plantation slavery in Barbados.

Slavery and Abolition, Vol. One of the authors, Handler, has discussed the role of the Obeah practitioner and other healers who did not involve or access supernatural forces in their curing activitiesas well as the medical system of Barbadian slaves and its relation to Obeah, at length elsewhere.

The Oxford English Dictionary, citing the Journals of the Assembly of Jamaica, gives as its earliest attribution.

Obeah is mentioned in several letters written from Barbados between November and September by Thomas Walduck, an English army officer stationed on the island, to a correspondent in London.

Although it appears in the Chesapeake and Carolina low country during the eighteenth century, it was more rarely employed than in the British West Indies and it seems not to have been a conventional linguistic feature in the British North American colonies.

Wherever the term was first used in the Caribbean, linguists and other scholars agree that the term itself ultimately derives from some African language or languages.

In an earlier study, Bilby offered a very different perspective of the etymology of the term and the variety of meanings attributed to it.

Although we focus in this article on Igbo, similar parallels might be found in any of a number of related languages in the same general area. First, it is important to stress the historical evidence from Barbados. The fact that this root form, obia or abia, is not readily recognizable to non-speakers of the language when it occurs in this common contraction may help to explain why so few etymological searches have taken note of it.

He argues that Igbo slaves in British America influenced the development of the complex of beliefs and practices associated with Obeah in the British Caribbean. To call him a traditional Doctor is to straitjacket him or her into a jacket too narrow to be meaningful at all. To call Dibia a herbalist is to pick up a drop from the Ocean and call it the Ocean.

Similarly, calling the Dibia a psychologist or healer or destroyer of witches or mender of broken bones or any such single or a group of curative activities, would fall seriously short of the full sa Dibia is holistic and so is knowledge and wisdom.

A study of voodoo a common practice of the negros of the west indies of african origin

They have no end … The fact that the Dibia is Di Abia, the expert in knowledge and wisdom, in a holistic sense, immediately places him or her head and shoulders above every other expert or adept that exists in society.

As a matter of fact, many Dibias attained expertise in several fields of endeavour simultaneously. These include, but go beyond, curative techniques and healing powers; and they are normally associated with socially positive ends.

The generality of the term dibia also means that it could easily have been applied to a wide range of similar beliefs and practices belonging to other African ethnic groups.

The adopted term referred, or was related, to a type of slave healer who was involved with spiritual or magical practices, or the practices themselves which, although not fully understood by Europeans, were known to be of non-European origin.

On the other hand, it is also possible that, among the general slave population, the term underwent semantic expansion early on no longer being restricted to speakers of the language from which it was derived, or to its original, ethnically-specific meanings and began to be applied to a broad variety of overlapping African beliefs and practices.

Over time the term was adopted in the Caribbean by other enslaved persons from various African language groups or of creole birth.

A study of voodoo a common practice of the negros of the west indies of african origin

The term diffused throughout the British Caribbean and came to be employed more widely by whites as well as by the enslaved themselves. However, whites and blacks tended to place different emphasis on its meaning and functions, and the latter viewed the practices associated with Obeah in much more socially beneficial terms than the former.

This appears to have been true in other parts of the Anglophone Caribbean as well. Clarendon Press,p. For other eighteenth-century attributions in the West Indies, but none earlier thansee, for example, Richard Allsopp, Dictionary of Caribbean English Usage Oxford: Oxford University Press,pp.

Cambridge University Press,pp. Several early sources that mention or briefly discuss Barbadian slave religious practices do not mention Obeah e. Hakluyt Society, ], p. Southern Illinois University Press,p.

The John Carter Brown Library,p. Although the term may have been used in Barbados much earlier, the evidence is more ambiguous. The Barbados Department of Archives contains many volumes of official records dating from the seventeenth century.

From the late nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries, scribes recopied some of the original seventeenth-century Deed Books that were becoming increasingly fragile.A Study of Voodoo, a Common Practice of the Negros of the West Indies of African Origin.

words. 1 page. Account of the Life of St. Catherine of Siena. 1, words. 2 pages. An Analysis of Christian Belief.

Contrary to popular beliefs, in West African Vodun, spells are not cast upon someone. Vodun is a religion in which an important part is devoted to the cult of the ancestors. Even if the origin of humanity and the world are explained in Vodun mythology, it is not a centered question of the faith. A Study of Voodoo, a Common Practice of the Negros of the West Indies of African Origin PAGES 1. WORDS View Full Essay. More essays like this: negros, african origin, voodoo. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University. Exactly what I needed. Dec 05,  · The origin of Haitian voodoo goes beyond the West Indies to Africa. It can be traced, as vodun or vaudun, to an African derived cult or religious system of belief. These beliefs can be traced directly to the old French West African colony of Dahomey, now modern Benin.

2, words. 3 pages. A Look at the Protestant Reformation. 1, words. 3 pages. also known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of spiritual folkways that developed from the traditions of the African diaspora.

It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by enslaved West Africans and the French, Spanish, and Creole populations of the U.S. state of Louisiana. A Study of Voodoo, a Common Practice of the Negros of the West Indies of African Origin PAGES 1.

WORDS View Full Essay. More essays like this: negros, african origin, voodoo. Not sure what I'd do without @Kibin - Alfredo Alvarez, student @ Miami University.

Exactly what I needed. Apr 03,  · CARIBBEAN MUSIC Introduction: Caribbean music originated from the Caribbean Islands, also known as the West Indies, and is a mixture of West African and European predominantly Spanish influences.

The music has its origin when West African slaves were brought to . In addition, the authoritative historian of West Africa, Robin Law (pers. comm.), is not aware of the term ‘in any of the coastal West African sources’, including records of .

Yet, the evidence does show that, at the level of the lowest common denominator, African slaves in the Caribbean created drinking customs, which embraced their shared West and West Central African beliefs about the spiritual meaning of alcohol.

Haiti: African Religion syncretism