Morality in Haitian Vodou

Originally published October 6, 2012

I want to talk about something that people new to Vodou seem to have a problem with, especially those who come from the Wiccan/Pagan community.  This isn’t specific to Vodou either, it goes for other African Traditional Religions.  It’s about morality, and how it applies to what we do.

Vodou doesn’t have an equivalent of teh ‘threefold law’.  It doesn’t have karma.  The only concept that is applicable is that in the end, you’ll have to stand before God and account for what you’ve done in this life.

That means that yes, sometimes people end up getting ‘cursed’.  That isn’t what I wan tto talk about here, but suffice  it to say that if a responsible Houngan or Mambo decides to take away someone’s luck and make their life worse, that person deserves it.

What I actually wanted to discuss was how this applies to magical work involving money and love.

I’m aware that in Wicca and other pagan paths, people refrain from casting love spells as they believe this impacts upon the free will of another person, and therefore is wrong.  Vodou doesn’t hold witht his point of view.  Magic done for love is incredibly common.  There are those who work selfishly to steal another’s spouse or force someone to love them, sure.  But there are also those who will work to bring that spouse back, stop someone from cheating, bring someone together with a new partner.  It needs to be said that if you get this work done by a reputable Houngan or mambo, they will first perform a reading to determine if the work ought to be done and what type of work it should be.  They will flat out refuse to bring two people togetehr if doing so goes against the will of God and the lwa.  If this isn’t an obstacle, they’ll do the work.

Same goes for money.  One doesn’t simply put it out there into the universe that they want prosperity.  it isn’t seen as ‘selfish’ or ‘greedy’ to have work done for money, or to pray and ask for it.  You need $1,000?  Ask for it!  Vodou is very practical int his respect.  If you don’t have money, you can’t live.  You need to eat, you need to pay your bills.  If you can’t afford it, you ask for it.  You might ask a lwa directly.  You might have an Houngan or mambo do work to get you a better job or a payrise.  But it’s not selfish to want better things for yourself.

People, I think, misunderstand Vodou and categorise it as ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ partly becaus eof this practicality.  You want love?  You ask for it.  You want your man to commit and marry you?  Okay.  We can do that.  You need enough money to pay all your bills at the end of the month?  Fine.  Vodou takes practical steps to make things happen, but does so in accordance with the will of God.  No amount of magical work can change something if it is against the will of God.  But if it isn’t, Vodou can and does take action.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s the way things are.

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