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Eyeing Tourism, Haiti Battles Its Violent Reputation - HISTORY

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Author Topic: Eyeing Tourism, Haiti Battles Its Violent Reputation - HISTORY  (Read 3106 times)
Bianca
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« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2008, 11:30:02 am »









Values and ethics



The cultural values that Vodou embraces center around ideas of dishonor and greed - to the family
and society, and to oneself. There is also a notion of relative propriety — and what is appropriate to someone with Dambala Wedo as their head may be different from someone with Ogou Feray as their head. For example, one spirit is very cool and the other is very hot. Coolness overall is valued, and so is the ability and inclination to protect oneself and one's own if necessary. Love and support within the family of the Vodou society seems to be the most important consideration. Generosity in giving to the community and to the poor is also an important value. One's blessings come through the community and there is the idea that one should be willing to give back to it in turn.

There are no "solitaries" in Vodou, only people separated geographically from their elders and house. A person without a relationship of some kind with elders will not be practicing Vodou as it is understood
in Haiti and among Haitians.

In the view of some the Haitian Vodou religion is an ecstatic rather than a fertility based tradition and because of this, the religion has technically no prohibitions against gay men and lesbian women.

Although homophobia is a world-wide phenomenon and may be prevalent in Vodou-practicing countries, a homosexual can practise Vodou with no doctrinal issues. In Haiti, for example, Vodou is normally the only spiritual outlet a homosexual will have.





Orthodoxy and diversity



There is a diversity of practice in Vodou across the country of Haiti and the Haitian diaspora.

For instance in the north of Haiti the lave tèt ("head washing") or kanzwe may be the only initiation,
as it is in the Dominican Republic and Cuba, whereas in Port-au-Prince and the south they practice
the kanzo rites with three grades of initiation – kanzo senp, si pwen, and asogwe – and the latter is the most familiar mode of practice outside of Haiti.

Some lineages combine both, as Mambo Katherine Dunham reports from her personal experience in her book the 'Possessed Island'.

While the overall tendency in Vodou is very conservative in accord with its African roots, there is no singular, definitive form, only what is right in a particular house or lineage. Small details of service and the spirits served will vary from house to house, and information in books or on the internet therefore may seem contradictory.

There is no central authority or "pope" in Haitian Vodou since "every manbo and houngan is the
head of their own house", as a popular saying in Haiti goes.

Another consideration in terms of Haitian diversity are the many sects besides the Sèvi Gine in Haiti such as the Makaya, Rara, and other secret societies, each of which has its own distinct pantheon of spirits.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.
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