Morality

Morality within the Haitian Vodou Tradition

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Vodou tradition, in Haiti, has quite the different sense of morality than that of other religions around the world. Deciding what is right and wrong, you must look at not only what is best for you but also for your community. Unlike what many think about Vodou, Vodou is not centered around doing harm. We do believe in taking the defensive position rather than the offensive position actually. We work on keeping ourselves spiritually clean but also spiritually protected. This is not to say that some individuals do not do evil acts using Vodou, but that can be said of all the world religions. Many use religion as a weapon rather than what it is meant for, that is connecting with the Divine. In Vodou tradition, one does what one can to protect and help the family, the community and one’s Spirits. It is very important. And before just thinking of oneself one must also think of how one’s actions may affect the whole.

This is the proper way things were taught. Just because everyone doesn’t practice that way though doesn’t make it right. There are certainly people out there that do use Vodou in a negative way, that seek to harm and destroy others. But this is not as common a practice as it is often made out to seem. Honor and Respect is a common phrase repeated constantly throughout our ceremonies and are maxims that all Vodouisants should work towards. We say . . . We show respect and we are honored, or we act honorably and as such we are respected. As Vodouisants we should always be working towards bettering ourselves, but also towards showing that we are both honorable and respectable people.

It is easy to believe that using Vodou practices to harm another is the way to go. Unfortunately these days, it has become all too common. However, in the long run, it never works in a person’s favor. Due to the fact that it is so common, it is easy for Vodouisants or new Vodouisants to believe this is the way to practice. And this is the way to be, but this often leads one down a path of more and more trouble. It is also easy to draw a Vodouisant into using the tradition in this negative way.

In Vodou, a person who is considered to be blessed by the Lwa are characterized as those that are able to make money, be powerful, be in proper health, become successful, and much more. But these blessings should not be at the expense of others. An unlucky person, is a victim, is poor,unable to attain goals, etc. This makes it easy to fall into the trap of harming others to reach one’s own goals. But Vodou tradition and the Lwa do not advocate or support this way of being.

The amount of power one holds is relative to the connection and trust one has with their Lwa and their ability to follow their regulations. It is “good” to be able to be successful and prosperous. However the Lwa support the natural laws but are neutral in nature. Therefore one can use one’s power for ill, and gain some success, but the success is rarely, if ever, permanent. Also a person acting in this way, needs to constantly work on maintaining their power and ability because in such a world, it is very cut throat.