A Trinity of Beliefs and a Unity of the Sacred: Modern Vodou by Elizabeth Thomas Crocker

By Elizabeth Thomas Crocker

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Extra info for A Trinity of Beliefs and a Unity of the Sacred: Modern Vodou Pratices in New Orleans (thesis)

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It is an inbetween space, one that is created for both the living and the dead. Moreover, in our society where death is so far removed from everyday life, it is often the only place the living and the dead meet. Since it is here the living inters the dead, it is the logical place to contact the spirits of the deceased. Offerings made here are placed on a space that connects the remains of the dead and their spirits. Trips to the grave throughout 2007 revealed numerous items that had been placed on and in front of Marie Laveau’s grave.

The first of these differences is that, in Haitian Vodou, the Catholic saints have become associated with specific divine spirits so that, today, they are thought of as one and the same. St. Michael is the warrior spirit Ogou, and an offering made to an image of the saint is to the lwa. However, in The Religion, the saints are intermediaries between ancestral spirits rather than the spirits themselves. “The hierarchy is the living and, among the living, the highest respected are the elderly … because they are closer to the dead and, then, the dead of course are the ones who really matter; and, among the dead, the most valued people are the ones we revere as ancestors.

Frommer’s goes on to explain, “But lost among the kitsch is a very real religion with a serious past and considerable cultural importance… It is estimated that today as much as 15% of the population of New Orleans practices voodoo” (Herczog, 2003:172-4). Presenting Vodou as a current and legitimate practice today makes the sale of related items and services more interesting and relevant. Keith Odom writes in his guidebook, "Voodoo is still widely practiced today. Like New Orleans' high water 29 table, it lies just below the topsoil of daily life” (1994:56).

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