Louisiana Voodoo known as New Orleans Voodoo, describes a set of spiritual folkways developed from the traditions of the African diaspora. It is a cultural form of the Afro-American religions developed by the West and Central African populations of the U. S. state of Louisiana, though its practitioners are not of African-American descent. Voodoo is one of many incarnations of African-based spiritual folkways, rooted in West African Dahomeyan Vodun, its liturgical language is the language of the Louisiana Creole people. Voodoo became syncretized with the Catholic and Francophone culture of New Orleans as a result of the African cultural oppression in the region as part of the Atlantic slave trade. Louisiana Voodoo is confused with—but is not separable from—Haitian Vodou and Deep Southern Hoodoo, it differs from Haitian Vodou in its emphasis upon gris-gris, Voodoo queens, use of Hoodoo paraphernalia, Li Grand Zombi. It was through Louisiana Voodoo that such terms as gris-gris and "Voodoo dolls"' were introduced into the American lexicon.
Voodoo was brought to French Louisiana during the colonial period by enslaved Africans from West Africa. From 1719 to 1731, the majority of African captives brought to, enslaved in, Louisiana were Fon people from what is now Benin. All of the groups contributed to the development of Louisiana Voodoo, their knowledge of herbs and the ritual creation of charms and amulets, intended to protect oneself or harm others, became key elements of Louisiana Voodoo. Many Fon were taken as slaves to the French colony of Saint-Domingue in the Caribbean Sea. Louisiana Voodoo has existed since the early 1700s; the enslaved community outnumbered white European colonists. The French colony was not a stable society when the enslaved Africans arrived, the newly arrived Africans dominated the slave community. According to a census of 1731–1732, the ratio of enslaved Africans to European settlers was more than two to one. A small number of colonists were planters and slaveholders, owners of sugar plantations with work that required large labor forces.
Because the Africans were held in large groups isolated from interaction with whites, their preservation of African indigenous practices and culture was enabled. In the Upper South and other parts of British Colonial America, slave families were divided. However, in southern Louisiana, families and languages were kept more intact than in the north; this allowed cultural traditions and religious practices of the slaves to continue there. Under the French code and the influence of Catholicism, officials nominally recognized family groups, prohibiting the sale of slave children away from their families if younger than age fourteen, they promoted the man-made legend of wake tuko of the enslaved population. The high mortality of the slave trade brought its survivors together with a sense of solidarity and initiation; the absence of fragmentation in the enslaved community, along with the kinship system produced by the bond created by the difficulties of slavery, resulted in a "coherent, well integrated and self-confident enslaved community."The practice of making and wearing charms and amulets for protection, healing, or the harm of others was a key aspect to early Louisiana Voodoo.
The Ouanga, a charm used to poison an enemy, contained the toxic roots of the figuier maudit tree, brought from Africa and preserved in Louisiana. The ground-up root was combined with other elements, such as bones, roots, holy water, holy candles, holy incense, holy bread, or crucifixes; the administrator of the ritual evoked protection from Jehovah and Jesus Christ. This openness of African belief allowed for the adoption of Catholic practices into Louisiana Voodoo. Another element brought from West Africa was the veneration of ancestors and the subsequent emphasis on respect for elders. For this reason, the rate of survival among elderly enslaved peoples was high, further "Africanizing Louisiana Creole culture." Following the beginning of the Haitian Revolution in 1791, the lives of Voodoo practitioners in the North American colonies became more difficult. Due to the revolution being started by slaves who were possessed by a deity during a Vodou ritual, the French colonists became aggressive in trying to suppress Voodoo rituals as a precaution against uprisings.
Unlike their Haitian counterparts, the slaves in Louisiania did not rebel in great number against their slavers. Instead, Voodoo followers used charms in their daily lives; the people used them for healing, guidance, to keep a connection with their loved ones. Some charms were used to hurt enemies, involved the deceptions of curses; the U. S. Embargo Act of 1808 ended all legal importation of African slaves to the United States. Voodoo queens were known to exercise great power in their communities, had the role of leading many of the ceremonial meetings and ritual dances; these drew crowds of thousands of people. They were considered practitioners who made a living through the selling and administering of amulets, or "gris-gris" charms, magical powders, as well as spells and charms that guaranteed to "cure ailments, grant desires, confound or destroy one's enemies", their power and influence were widespread and incontestable. It was recognized by journa
Ifá is a Yoruba religion and system of divination. Its literary corpus is the Odu Ifá. Orunmila is identified as the Grand Priest, as he is who revealed divinity and prophecy to the world. Babalawos or Iyanifas use either the divining chain known as Opele, or the sacred palm or kola nuts called Ikin, on the wooden divination tray called Opon Ifá. Ifá is practiced throughout the Americas, West Africa, the Canary Islands, in the form of a complex religious system, plays a critical role in the traditions of Santería, Candomblé, Umbanda and other Afro-American faiths, as well as in some traditional African religions; the 16 principle system seems to have its earliest history in West Africa. Each Niger–Congo-speaking ethnic group that practices it has its own myths of origin. Other myths suggest that it was brought to Ilé-Ifẹ̀ by Setiu, a Nupe man who settled in Ilé-Ifẹ̀. According to the book The History of the Yorubas from the Earliest of Times to the British Protectorate by Nigerian historian Samuel Johnson and Obadiah Johnson, it was Arugba, the mother of Onibogi, the 8th Alaafin of Oyo who introduced Oyo to Ifá in the late 1400s.
She conferred on him the rites to initiate others. The Alado, in turn, initiated the priests of Oyo and, how Ifá came to be in the Oyo empire. Odinani suggests that Dahomey Kings noted that the system of Afá was brought by a diviner known as Gogo from eastern Nigeria. Orunmila came to establish an oral literary corpus incorporating stories and experiences of priests and their clients along with the results; this odu corpus emerges as the leading documentation on the Ifá tradition to become a historical legacy. In Yorubaland, divination gives priests unreserved access to the teachings of Orunmila. Eshu is the one said to lend ashe to the oracle during provision of direction and or clarification of counsel. Eshu is the one that holds the keys to ones ire, thus acts as Oluwinni, he can grant ire or remove it. Ifá divination rites provide an avenue of communication to the spiritual realm and the intent of ones destiny. In Igboland, Ifá is known as Afá, is performed by specialists called Dibia; the Dibia specializes in the use of herbs for healing and transformation.
Among the Ewe people of southern Togo and southeast Ghana, Ifá is known as Afá, where the Vodun spirits come through and speak. In many of their Egbes, it is Alaundje, honored as the first Bokono to have been taught how to divine the destiny of humans using the holy system of Afá; the Amengansi are the living oracles. A priest, not a bokono is known as Hounan, similar to Houngan, a male priest in Haitian Vodou, a derivative religion of Vodun, the religion of the Ewe. There are sixteen major books in Odu Ifá literary corpus; when combined there are total of 256 Odu believed to reference all situations, circumstances and consequences in life based on the uncountable ese relative to the 256 Odu coding. These form the basis of traditional Yoruba spiritual knowledge and are the foundation of all Yoruba divination systems. Ifá proverbs and poetry are not written down but passed down orally from one babalawo to another; the Ifá Divination system was added in 2005 by UNESCO to its list of the "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity".
21 Savage, British-American rapper Osunlade, record producer, DJ Wande Abimbola, Nigerian linguist Babalawo Iyalawo Orunmila Chief FAMA Fundamentals of the Yoruba Religion ISBN 0-9714949-0-8 Chief FAMA Practitioners' Handbook for the Ifa Professional ISBN 0-9714949-3-2 Chief FAMA Fundamentos de la Religion Yoruba ISBN 0-9714949-6-7 Fama, Chief. Sixteen mythological stories of Ifá =. San Bernardino, CA: Ilé Ọ̀rúnmìlà Communications. ISBN 9780964424722. Chief FAMA FAMA'S EDE AWO ISBN 0-9644247-8-9 Chief FAMA The Rituals ISBN 0-9644247-7-0 Awo Fasina Falade Ifa: The Key to Its Understanding ISBN 0-9663132-3-2 Chief Adedoja Aluko The Sixteen Major Odu Ifa from Ile-Ife ISBN 978-37376-6-X Chief Hounon-Amengansie, Mama Zogbé Mami Wata: Africa's Ancient God/dess Unveiled Vol. I ISBN 978-0-615-17936-0 Chief S. Solagbade Popoola library, INC Ifa Dida: Vol 1, ISBN 978-0-9810013-1-9 Chief S. Solagbade Popoola library, INC Ifa Dida: Vol 2, ISBN 978-1-926538-12-9 Chief S. Solagbade Popoola & Fakunle Oyesanya Ikunle Abiyamo - The ASE of Motherhood ISBN 978-09810013-0-2 C.
Osamaro Ibie Ifism the Complete Works of Orunmila ISBN 1-890157-05-8 William R. Bascom: Ifa Divination: Communication Between Gods and Men in West Africa ISBN 0-253-20638-3 William R. Bascom: Sixteen Cowries: Yoruba Divination from Africa to the New World ISBN 0-253-20847-5 Rosenthal, J. ‘Possession Ecstasy & Law in Ewe Voodoo" ISBN 0-8139-1805-7 Maupoil, Bernard. "La Geomancie L'ancienne Côte des Esclaves Alapini, Julien. Les noix sacrées. Etude complète de Fa-Ahidégoun génie de la sagesse et de la divination au Dahomey Dr. Ron Eglash American Anthropologist Recursion in ethnomathematics, Chaos Theory in West African divination. Bàbálàwó Ifatunwase Tratados Enciclopédicos de Ifá, ISBN 978-0-9810387-04
Protestantism is the second largest form of Christianity with collectively between 800 million and more than 900 million adherents worldwide or nearly 40% of all Christians. It originated with the 16th century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be errors in the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants reject the Roman Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy and sacraments, but disagree among themselves regarding the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, they emphasize the priesthood of all believers, justification by faith alone rather than by good works, the highest authority of the Bible alone in faith and morals. The "five solae" summarise basic theological differences in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism is popularly considered to have begun in Germany in 1517 when Martin Luther published his Ninety-five Theses as a reaction against abuses in the sale of indulgences by the Roman Catholic Church, which purported to offer remission of sin to their purchasers.
However, the term derives from the letter of protestation from German Lutheran princes in 1529 against an edict of the Diet of Speyer condemning the teachings of Martin Luther as heretical. Although there were earlier breaks and attempts to reform the Roman Catholic Church—notably by Peter Waldo, John Wycliffe, Jan Hus—only Luther succeeded in sparking a wider and modern movement. In the 16th century, Lutheranism spread from Germany into Denmark, Sweden, Latvia and Iceland. Reformed denominations spread in Germany, the Netherlands, Scotland and France by reformers such as John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, John Knox; the political separation of the Church of England from the pope under King Henry VIII began Anglicanism, bringing England and Wales into this broad Reformation movement. Protestants have developed their own culture, with major contributions in education, the humanities and sciences, the political and social order, the economy and the arts, many other fields. Protestantism is diverse, being more divided theologically and ecclesiastically than either the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, or Oriental Orthodoxy.
Without structural unity or central human authority, Protestants developed the concept of an invisible church, in contrast to the Roman Catholic view of the Catholic Church as the visible one true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Some denominations do have a worldwide scope and distribution of membership, while others are confined to a single country. A majority of Protestants are members of a handful of Protestant denominational families: Adventists, Anglicans, Reformed, Lutherans and Pentecostals. Nondenominational, charismatic and other churches are on the rise, constitute a significant part of Protestant Christianity. Proponents of the branch theory consider Protestantism one of the three major divisions of Christendom, together with the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodoxy. Six princes of the Holy Roman Empire and rulers of fourteen Imperial Free Cities, who issued a protest against the edict of the Diet of Speyer, were the first individuals to be called Protestants; the edict reversed concessions made to the Lutherans with the approval of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V three years earlier.
The term protestant, though purely political in nature acquired a broader sense, referring to a member of any Western church which subscribed to the main Protestant principles. However, it is misused to mean any church outside the Roman and Eastern Orthodox communions. Protestantism as a general term is now used in contradistinction to the other major Christian traditions, i.e. Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy. During the Reformation, the term protestant was hardly used outside of German politics. People who were involved in the religious movement used the word evangelical. For further details, see the section below. Protestant became a general term, meaning any adherent of the Reformation in the German-speaking area, it was somewhat taken up by Lutherans though Martin Luther himself insisted on Christian or evangelical as the only acceptable names for individuals who professed Christ. French and Swiss Protestants instead preferred the word reformed, which became a popular and alternative name for Calvinists.
The word evangelical, which refers to the gospel, was used for those involved in the religious movement in the German-speaking area beginning in 1517. Nowadays, evangelical is still preferred among some of the historical Protestant denominations in the Lutheran and United Protestant traditions in Europe, those with strong ties to them. Above all the term is used by Protestant bodies in the German-speaking area, such as the Evangelical Church in Germany. In continental Europe, an Evangelical is either a Calvinist, or a United Protestant; the German word evangelisch means Protestant, is different from the German evangelikal, which refers to churches shaped by Evangelicalism. The English word evangelical refers to evangelical Protestant churches, therefore to a certain part of Protestantism rather than to Protestantism as a whole; the English word traces its roots back to the Puritans in England, where Evangelicalism originated, was brought to the United States. Martin Luther always disliked the term Lutheran, preferring the term evangelical, derived from euangelion, a Greek word meaning "good news", i.e. "gospel".
The followers of
Religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions. It is contrasted by the idea of polytheism, respectively; this can occur for many reasons, the latter scenario happens quite in areas where multiple religious traditions exist in proximity and function in the culture, or when a culture is conquered, the conquerors bring their religious beliefs with them, but do not succeed in eradicating the old beliefs or practices. Religions may have syncretic elements to their beliefs or history, but adherents of so-labeled systems frown on applying the label adherents who belong to "revealed" religious systems, such as the Abrahamic religions, or any system that exhibits an exclusivist approach; such adherents sometimes see syncretism as a betrayal of their pure truth. By this reasoning, adding an incompatible belief corrupts the original religion, rendering it no longer true.
Indeed, critics of a specific syncretistic trend may sometimes use the word "syncretism" as a disparaging epithet, as a charge implying that those who seek to incorporate a new view, belief, or practice into a religious system distort the original faith. The consequence, according to Keith Ferdinando, is a fatal compromise of the dominant religion's integrity. Non-exclusivist systems of belief, on the other hand, may feel quite free to incorporate other traditions into their own. In modern secular society, religious innovators sometimes create new religions syncretically as a mechanism to reduce inter-religious tension and enmity with the effect of offending the original religions in question; such religions, however, do maintain some appeal to a less exclusivist audience. Discussions of some of these blended religions appear in the individual sections below. Classical Athens was exclusive in matters of religion; the Decree of Diopeithes made the introduction of and belief in foreign gods a criminal offence and only Greeks were allowed to worship in Athenian temples and festivals as foreigners were considered impure.
On the other hand, Athens imported many foreign cults, including those of Cybele and the Thracian goddess Bendis, in some cases this involved a merging of identities: for example, who had traditionally been regarded as a mortal hero, began here and elsewhere in the Aegean world to be identified as a divine figure under the influence of Eastern counterparts like the Tyrian Melqart. Syncretism functioned as a feature of Hellenistic Ancient Greek religion, although only outside of Greece. Overall, Hellenistic culture in the age that followed Alexander the Great itself showed syncretist features blending of Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Egyptian elements within an Hellenic formula; the Egyptian god Amun developed as the Hellenized Zeus Ammon after Alexander the Great went into the desert to seek out his oracle at Siwa. Such identifications derive from interpretatio graeca, the Hellenic habit of identifying gods of disparate mythologies with their own; when the proto-Greeks first arrived in the Aegean and on the mainland of modern-day Greece early in the 2nd millennium BCE, they found localized nymphs and divinities connected with every important feature of the landscape: mountain, cave and spring all had their own locally venerated deity.
The countless epithets of the Olympian gods reflect their syncretic identification with these various figures. One defines "Zeus Molossos" as "the god identical to Zeus as worshipped by the Molossians at Dodona". Much of the arbitrary and trivial mythic fabling results from mythographers' attempts to explain these obscure epithets; the Romans, identifying themselves as common heirs to a similar civilization, identified Greek deities with similar figures in the Etruscan-Roman tradition, though without copying cult practices. Syncretic gods of the Hellenistic period found wide favor in Rome: Serapis and Mithras, for example. Cybele as worshipped in Rome represented a syncretic East Mediterranean goddess; the Romans imported the Greek god Dionysus into Rome, where he merged with the Latin mead god Liber, converted the Anatolian Sabazios into the Roman Sabazius. The degree of correspondence varied: Jupiter makes a better match for Zeus than the rural huntress Diana does for the feared Artemis. Ares does not quite match Mars.
The Romans physically imported the Anatolian goddess Cybele into Rome from her Anatolian cult-center Pessinos in the form of her original aniconic archaic stone idol. When the Romans encountered Celts and Germanic peoples, they mingled these peoples' gods with their own, creating Sulis Minerva, Apollo Sucellos and Mars Thingsus, among many others. In the Germania, the Roman historian Tacitus speaks of Germanic worshippers of Mercury. Romans were familiar with the concept of syncretism because from their earliest times they had experienced it with, among others, the Greeks; the Romans incorporated the Greek Apollo and Hercules into their religion. They did not look at the religious aspects that they adopted from other cultures to be different or less meaningful from religious aspects that were Roman in origin; the early Roman acceptance of other cultures religions into
Umbanda is a syncretic Afro-Brazilian religion that blends African traditions with Roman Catholicism and Indigenous American beliefs. Although some of its beliefs and most of its practices existed in the late 19th century in all Brazil, it is assumed that Umbanda originated in Niterói and surrounding areas in the early 20th century due to the work of a psychic, Zélio Fernandino de Moraes, who practiced Umbanda among the poor Afro-Brazilians slave descendants. Since Umbanda has spread across southern Brazil and neighboring countries like Argentina and Uruguay. Umbanda has each one with a different set of beliefs and practices; some common beliefs are the existence of a Supreme Creator known as Olodumare. Other common beliefs are the existence of deities called Orixás, most of them syncretized with Catholic saints that act as divine energy and forces of nature. Umbanda practitioners believe in a supreme creator god; the opposite side of the Umbanda, i.e. black magic – the practices that intended to cause evil doings, became known as Quimbanda.
Umbanda is juxtaposed with Quimbanda which now reclaims its identity as a separate religion and distinct from Umbanda. One hundred years after its establishment, Umbanda divided itself into several branches with different beliefs and practices; some of these branches are Umbanda d'Angola, Umbanda Jejê, Umbanda Ketu, Umbanda Esotérica. The three major beliefs claimed by Umbandists are: The Pantheon, the Spirits' World, the Reincarnation. Umbanda has one supreme god known as Olorum and many divine intermediary deities called Orixás. Orixàs and spirits are organized in a complex hierarchy of legions, sub-phalanges and protectors; the exact order of the hierarchy varies by region and practitioner, but a agreed upon structure are the Seven Lines, or Sete Linhas da Umbanda. The first line is the top associated with Oxalà, the bottom is always the Linha das Almas, or Line of Dead Souls; the other patrons associated with the lines are listed in 2-6 below. The lines are divided up further into a multitude of spiritual beings.
Main Orixás Oxalá Iemanjá Xangô Oxúm Ogúm Oxóssi Ibeji Omulu/Obaluayê Iansã Nanã Oxumaré Exu Most followers of Umbanda believe that there are three distinct levels of spirits. 1. Pure Spirits This level includes the spirits known as the angels, archangels and seraphim, spirits that reached spiritual perfection. 2. Good Spirits This level includes the spirits that possess mediums or initiates during the Umbanda ceremonies and act as Guias advising and helping the believers; these are the following spirits: Caboclos Those are spirits of deceased Indigenous Brazilians or Mestizos. They are knowledgeable about medical herbs prescribing inexpensive remedies to ill people, their speech is always based in truth and courage, are sought after in cases you need strength, counsel. When a caboclo speaks, you listen; when the medium incorporates a Caboclo, he/she, begins to walk around and the feature becomes more severe. They smoke cigars and drink a mix of herbs the mediums make. Preto Velho Those are spirits of old slaves who died enslaved.
They are wise and kind spirits that know all about suffering, compassion and hope. Some of them are considered to be from Angola and Congo, others are considered to be the old Yoruba priests that were first brought to Brazil, they often prescribe herbal remedies. The female counterpart of this spirit is the Preta Velha who demonstrates maternal compassion and concern. In the beginning of Umbanda, Preto Velho introduced himself as an old slave who died after being flogged for some unjust accusation, they are the most loved entities in Umbanda and is common to see a person consulting with the same preto velho year after year, develop a love for them. When the medium incorporates a Preto Velho, he can not stand straight, has difficulty walking, has to make consultations sitting down, they drink coffee and smoke pipes. Crianças/Erês Those are spirits of great evolution, appearing as children, to reveal the pure side of life, they are not children. They speak of hope; when they talk, they always intend to make you look at the bright side of things.
They are characterized as being pure and joyful. Most people make the mistake that, since the medium speaks funny, uses candies and ribbons in his head, that he is
Haiti the Republic of Haiti and called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres in size and has an estimated 10.8 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole. The region was inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people. Spain landed on the island on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic; when Columbus landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or China. On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria ran aground north of what is now Limonade; as a consequence, Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could from the ship, he created the first European settlement in the Americas, naming it La Navidad after the day the ship was destroyed. The island was claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century.
Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue. Sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, were established by colonists. In the midst of the French Revolution and free people of color revolted in the Haitian Revolution, culminating in the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's army at the Battle of Vertières. Afterward the sovereign state of Haiti was established on 1 January 1804—the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt; the rebellion that began in 1791 was led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture, whose military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into an independent country. Upon his death in a prison in France, he was succeeded by his lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared Haiti's sovereignty and became the first Emperor of Haiti, Jacques I.
The Haitian Revolution lasted just over a dozen years. The Citadelle Laferrière is the largest fortress in the Americas. Henri Christophe—former slave and first king of Haiti, Henri I—built it to withstand a possible foreign attack, it is a founding member of the United Nations, Organization of American States, Association of Caribbean States, the International Francophonie Organisation. In addition to CARICOM, it is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, it has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Most in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti; the name Haiti comes from the indigenous Taíno language, the native name given to the entire island of Hispaniola to mean, "land of high mountains."
The h is silent in French and the ï in Haïti has a diacritical mark used to show that the second vowel is pronounced separately, as in the word naïve. In English, this rule for the pronunciation is disregarded, thus the spelling Haiti is used. There are different anglicizations for its pronunciation such as HIGH-ti, high-EE-ti and haa-EE-ti, which are still in use, but HAY-ti is the most widespread and best-established; the name was restored by Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines as the official name of independent Saint-Domingue, as a tribute to the Amerindian predecessors. In French, Haiti's nickname is the "Pearl of the Antilles" because of both its natural beauty, the amount of wealth it accumulated for the Kingdom of France. At the time of European conquest, the island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western three-eighths, was one of many Caribbean islands inhabited by the Taíno Native Americans, speakers of an Arawakan language called Taino, preserved in the Haitian Creole language.
The Taíno name for the entire island was Haiti. The people had migrated over centuries into the Caribbean islands from South America. Genetic studies show, they originated in Central and South America. After migrating to Caribbean islands, in the 15th century, the Taíno were pushed into the northeast Caribbean islands by the Caribs. In the Taíno societies of the Caribbean islands, the largest unit of political organization was led by a cacique, or chief, as the Europeans understood them; the island of Haiti was divided among five Caciquats: the Magua in the north east, the Marien in the north west, the Xaragua in the south west, the Maguana in the center region of Cibao and the Higuey in the south east. The caciquedoms were tributary kingdoms, with payment consisting of harvests. Taíno cultural artifacts include cave paintings in several locations in the country; these have become national symbols of tourist attractions. Modern-day Léogane started as a French colonial town in the southwest, is beside the former capital of the caciquedom of Xaragua.
Macumba is a word that has a dual meaning. It can be used when describing a form of witchcraft. Before it was used for a single religion Macumba was used to categorize all religions who practiced or believed in animistic-syncretism during the 1800s. In the 1900s Macumba became a slang term among Brazilians who aren’t affiliated with these religions; the religions that are referred to under the umbrella term Macumba are Candomblé, Mesa Blanca. Although the word Macumba may be used among Afro-Brazilian religion praticioners to kindly refer to their practices, it is used as a pejorative and a racial slur by evangelical hate groups against these religions. Brazilian Macumba is the name, used to designate all Bantu religious practices in the Brazilian state of Bahia in the nineteenth century; these practices were organized in what is now called Umbanda and Omoloko. Macumba became common in parts of Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina; this word is used by some people as a pejorative word meaning black magic.
The word macumba is used in Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, to refer to any ritual or religion of Afro-American origin, although its use by outsiders is derogatory and it is considered offensive, among its practitioners it is not seen negatively. Macumba is practiced in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. There appears to be a relationship with the concept of the Boto having shape-shifting abilities and while in the form of a human male having sexual relations with young women; this belief was noted in several Indigenous American villages along the Amazonas River, Rio Negro, Rio Japurá. Macumba is practiced throughout the Southern Cone. Many practitioners continue to practice their traditional religions but practice Macumba in violation of the tenets of their official religious affiliations but which their social environment appears to accept; some practitioners purport to use Macumba to inflict harm, financial failure, death, etc. on other people for various reasons. A Macumba spiritual leader will ask for a picture of the person on whom retribution is sought, with the name of the person written on the back of the picture.
This kind of practice is seen as sorcery or black magic. Out of all the religions grouped into Macumba only followers of Candomblé sacrifice animals during their rituals. Animals are sacrificed during Consultas. In Candomblé blood is a sacred and symbolic item and is used as as possible. Blood to these followers represents life pure essence and a bond that unites them all together as family. Giro on the other hand use palm tree oil in their rituals, this is because using blood has formed a negative stigma around Candomblé as many people associate animal sacrifice with savagery and see it as backwards; this dependence on blood and animal sacrifice has led to a loss of converts and a stigma to form around Candomblé and its followers. Since dendé is a similar hue to blood it works well as a replacement in many rituals that would require it; this allows followers of Giro to practice without fear of being stigmatized. Mesa Blanca on the other hand believes that blood and dendé can bring evil and misfortune on those who dare to use it in rituals.
Dendé for example is linked to aggressive spirits of slaves, as well as other evils that the group has shunned and removed from their practices. The movement away from these two mediums can be seen as a way to distance themselves from Afro-Brazilian religions and the Macumba itself. Honey is important to these religions as it represents the spirits of Native Indians, the use of honey can be for healing as well as reconciliation. Honey is an different color than blood and Dendé so it is not associated with the evils of first two liquids. Water is the final liquid and is the main symbol for most religions other than Candomblé. Water can be used to gaze into during consultas as it is believed looking into water can help attain wisdom or information. Water symbolizes life as it has the ability to heal but it can represent the ability to avoid death; the hierarchy of many of these religions is family based and can be seen by the addressing of leaders in Candomblé as "mother" and "father". Many leaders of these religions are female as a mother figure is needed.
Candomblé Umbanda Quimbanda Kelly E. Hayes, "Black Magic and the Academy: Macumba and Afro-Brazilian “Orthodoxies," History of Religions, 46,4, 283–315. “Macumba - Definition and Synonyms of Macumba in the English Dictionary.” English Dictionary, englishdictionary.education/en/macumba. Shapiro, Dolores J. “Blood, Oil and Water: Symbolism in Spirit Possession Sects in Northeastern Brazil.” Wiley, November 1995 "BBC - Religion: Candomblé". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-05-07. "Macumba Definition". Retrieved 2017-11-01. Shapiro, Dolores J.. "Blood, Oil and water". American Ethnologist. 22: 828–847. Doi:10.1525/ae.1995.22.4.02a00090