More thoughts on cultural appropriation, humility and Vodou

An excellent commentary on cultural appropriation and voodoo.

The Hermit's Journey

I doubt that anyone not born or at least raised in Haiti from a young age can ever understand Vodou in its full depth; the development of Haitian Vodou is so rooted in the history and culture of that country. Those of us adopting the religion can learn as much as we can, but some nuances will be lost on us due to differences in language, concepts and environment. We will never be the ‘experts’ in the way that someone who has always lived in the tradition is.

I am not saying that outsiders cannot be called by the lwa. If I believed that, then this blog would not exist. But I do see the topic of cultural appropriation brought up a lot in the online places where I lurk. This is mostly a good thing, as all of us who are not Haitian need to keep this in mind…

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One thought on “More thoughts on cultural appropriation, humility and Vodou

  1. Hmmmmm… yes. I have thought about this so often and have even asked the Lwa about it. What they told me was this: The Lwa came before Vodou, they bought Vodou into being. They also bought other religions into being. Before Vodou it was something else that became Vodou. It is up to them if they want to open up even more ways for humans to connect with them. Just because a person was not born in a certain place to a certain family does not mean they are unworthy of knowing or understanding the Lwa. They decide who, how, when, what – not us. Continue to learn and continue to evolve and trust their guidance. The Lwa WANT people to build relationships with them, regardless of colour or creed. Its humans that seek to limit it, not them.

    So I just continue to seek them, build a relationship with them and my ancestors. When I do things wrong, I know about it pretty quick. I am led to places and things which help me to learn and understand (your blog is a good example of that ;) ) The Lwa will do what they want. I was once sent a dream after I had asked about this very thing. (again, I was always asking because it really bothered me.) In the dream I was standing on a train track that looked like a crossroad (of course ;) ) the train was headed straight for me and it was all decorated like an huge altar. On the front was a sign that said “Lwa Train – all stops” I felt like I had to stop the train from going down any other path than the one I was on. The train got closer and closer and I was paralysed on the track! I remember feeling panic at all the things I would lose if the train went any other way but mine. Well, it whizzed right around me and I could see it pulling up at a very busy station. And then the dream totally changed to me trying to clean my oven when it was falling to bits lol. But I woke up and wrote down the part about the Altar train straight away and the very next time I started bothering the Lwa about my “right” to believe and connect about them, I was directed to my dream book. :/

    I honestly think that us “Internationals” are the people at the other station. And every time I start questioning what I am doing – I think of this dream. Sorry for the super long post but I just wanted to share. :)

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