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Seeking info re: African religion, Obeah, Haitian voodoo

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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 04:41 PM
Original message
Seeking info re: African religion, Obeah, Haitian voodoo
Like most religions, the original belief systems and practices have morphed, been corrupted and/or evolved throughout the centuries. While I can find a decent amount of info regarding Haitian voodoo, which mentions it evolved from West African obeah influences - and was influenced by Catholicism - I am having a hard time finding info about the practice of Obeah(or Obi, Obiah)in Africa. The original practice.

Any suggestions or links; any students or scholars of African religion?

I'm also interested in how Western culture repressed African religion. I realize voodoo adopted many Catholic rituals in order for the slaves to be able to worship and not freak slaveowners out. I'm in search of a lesser-known issue...if in fact there is one.

Thanks in advance!
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 04:52 PM
Response to Original message
1. Is this related in any way to Santoria, esp. found in Cuba? n/t
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I think so in that....
Santoria, like voodoo, grew out of this original religion from Africa. It evolved into Santoria, voodoo, a few others.

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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. Obeah is an Ashanti word
Edited on Thu Mar-15-07 05:24 PM by Mabus
This means west Africa. If you google "Ashanti" and "Obeah" you'll get a lot of results.

Here's one example http://scholar.library.miami.edu/slaves/Religion/religi...

The practice of harnessing supernatural forces and spirits for ones own personal use, known in some parts of Africa as Obeye (an entity that lives within witches), has taken on many names in the Caribbean islands, such as Shango (Trinidad), Santeria (Cuba), Vodun or Voodoo (Haiti), Ju-Ju (Bahamas), Obeah (Jamaica),. Although African slaves usually practiced Obeah for "evil" or rather self-interested, instrumental purposes, this faith also aided them as a source of strength and clandestine resistance. The practice of Obeah is the belief that one can use certain spirits or supernatural agents to work harm to the living, or to call them off from such mischief. Generally, the British used the term Obeah to describe all slave acts and practices that were considered supernatural or evil in nature, such as rituals and fetishes.

Modern historians believe that Obeah originated from the Ashanti and Koromantin tribes of Africa on the Gold Coast, and that imported slaves introduced it to the Caribbean as early as the mid 17th century. Regardless of its use, for evil or good, the Obeah men were treated with the utmost respect and fear by all whom met him. The Obeah man and women played a prominent role in the Caribbean slave societies from the beginning of the slave trade. They functioned as community leaders and teachers of the African folks cultural heritage. Many Africans believed that the Obeah man had within his power the ability to render someone invincible, resuscitate the dead, cure all diseases, protect a man from the consequences of his crimes, and cause great harm to anyone he wished. Yet the Obeah mans most powerful gift was not his ability to steal peoples shadows , as the act of obeah or "hexing" was described, but his intricate knowledge of herbs and poisons. The term Obeah also suggested the word "poison" in the Caribbean plantations, this being the preferred and most effective tool that this practitioner of "magic" had at his disposal. Through the use of herbs and medicine, the Obeah man, was able to "miraculously" cure or poison (obeah) a person to death. Considering the development and practices (bloodletting) of "modern" European medicine at the time, an ill person had a much greater chance of survival by seeking out an Obeah man rather than a white physician.




You might be more interested in this one: http://www.sacred-texts.com/afr/ppj/ppj001.htm ASHANTI CULTURAL INFLUENCE IN JAMAICA. I compares practices and names used in the religion in both regions.
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Ahhh, thank you so much!!!! n/t
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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-15-07 05:38 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I took a class on the history of West Africa
years and years ago in college. It's amazing what sticks with you and what doesn't.

Glad I could help out. That second link seems more like what you were looking for.
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