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African Spirituality

Vodoun Books Vodoun is a religion based on ancient African rites and Catholicism, and has 50 million followers worldwide. The word "vodoun" derives from vodu meaning spirit or deity in the Fon language of Dahomey, now part of Negeria. Creole slave masters in the New World translated the word into vaudau. Eventually, the word became voudou, voudoun, vodoun, voodoo, and hoodoo; the latter two terms are now considered pejorative. The Vodoun pantheon of gods, called loas, is enormous, with hundreds of deities. Vodounists acknowledge an original Supreme Being who made the world, but he is too remote for personal worship. Instead, devotees "serve the loa," seeking to please the gods and receive favours in return. Vodoun worshipers may not all practice black magic, but darker aspects of Vodoun do exist. A houngan (priest) more involved in sorcery than healing was known as a bokor, or "one who serves the loa with both hands." The greatest fear of the bokor is not a death curse but zombification.

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