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Vodous & Devas: The East African Connection

Nana

Neophyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
24
Points
13
A few years ago my godmother (the woman that facilitated my initiation into Vodou), Mamishie Zogbeshie Densushie posted a picture of an Indian pictograph displaying a monkey-man, clothed in finery, between Heaven & Hell, beating demons with a iron cudgel with one hand and feeding people (or gods) pears with the other hand and in the caption she wrote, "This is Gu".
People lost their shit! Hindus and orientalists accused her of cultural appropriation. The Pan African and Afrocentric crowd accused her of syncretism. She stuck to her position offering no explanation while I laughed at the incredulity of it all. The difference between Gu and Hanuman ends with the language. Even their stories are similar. This isn't the only overlap or even the most striking one. Shiva and Lakshmi are two devas I was introduced to in West Africa as vodous with temples predating Dahomey, long before European or Indian incursions into West Africa. So how is it that Shiva, Lakshmi, and Hanuman are worshiped 9,448 from where the Upanishads were written.
The answer is frustrating to scientific racists but for most anthropologists it's as obvious as why the Native Americans, Oceanic Aboriginals, and West Africans all have Rainbow Serpents; these spirits relationship with humanity, much like the Inundation, predates human migration from the Great Rift Valley. The people who moved east and north would eventually write about the devas in the Vedas and Upanishads. My ancestors who traveled west never wrote anything about them, but they observed their covenants with the vodous known as devas in Asia without interference until the late 1500s.
It's unarguable that Vodou is an African spiritual system, but that distinction is not discrimination. Rather it affirms global kinship while celebrating and maintaining the diversity and differences that has made us, as individuals and groups, who we are today.
 

SkullTraill

Glorious Light of Knowledge and Power
Staff member
Custodian
Librarian
Joined
Apr 12, 2021
Messages
226
Points
43
I completely agree with you, and I abhor spiritual/religious "patriotism" and gate keeping. Only a fool would ignore the deeper roots and connections found among most religions and cultures.
 

Fausto

Neophyte
Joined
May 1, 2021
Messages
44
Points
18
A few years ago my godmother (the woman that facilitated my initiation into Vodou), Mamishie Zogbeshie Densushie posted a picture of an Indian pictograph displaying a monkey-man, clothed in finery, between Heaven & Hell, beating demons with a iron cudgel with one hand and feeding people (or gods) pears with the other hand and in the caption she wrote, "This is Gu".
People lost their shit! Hindus and orientalists accused her of cultural appropriation. The Pan African and Afrocentric crowd accused her of syncretism. She stuck to her position offering no explanation while I laughed at the incredulity of it all. The difference between Gu and Hanuman ends with the language. Even their stories are similar. This isn't the only overlap or even the most striking one. Shiva and Lakshmi are two devas I was introduced to in West Africa as vodous with temples predating Dahomey, long before European or Indian incursions into West Africa. So how is it that Shiva, Lakshmi, and Hanuman are worshiped 9,448 from where the Upanishads were written.
The answer is frustrating to scientific racists but for most anthropologists it's as obvious as why the Native Americans, Oceanic Aboriginals, and West Africans all have Rainbow Serpents; these spirits relationship with humanity, much like the Inundation, predates human migration from the Great Rift Valley. The people who moved east and north would eventually write about the devas in the Vedas and Upanishads. My ancestors who traveled west never wrote anything about them, but they observed their covenants with the vodous known as devas in Asia without interference until the late 1500s.
It's unarguable that Vodou is an African spiritual system, but that distinction is not discrimination. Rather it affirms global kinship while celebrating and maintaining the diversity and differences that has made us, as individuals and groups, who we are today.
Just answer me one question, please...does vodu has a strong connection with ancestors, doesn´t it ??
Thanks in advance.
 

Nana

Neophyte
Joined
Apr 25, 2021
Messages
24
Points
13
Your question suggests a simplicity that doesn't exist. As westerners and English speakers we have a tendency to conflate similar ideas without acknowledging or comprehending the differences articulated in their representation.
Ancestry, heritage, ethnicity and race all appear to be interchangeable but they aren't. Ancestry is simply blood lineage, who begot who. It's a straight line progenerating from parent to child.
Ethnicity is an identity based on ancestry, culture, geography, and history. It has biological and historical reality and membership within a group is determined by rules within the group.
Heritage is an entitlement based on ethnicity. It is a measure of 'belonging' and its concomitant duties, rights, and privileges.
Race, in the United States at least, is a 17th century social construct designed to create an innate, 1st tier barrier between social stratum. It's sole purpose is to limit what entitlements society will deem legitimate in the hands of someone outside of the group.
So to answer your question Vodou has a strong connection with ancestors, the strongest actually. However, heritage largely impact what vodous are accessible or more accurately the conditions under which certain vodous can be accessed. Race however is neither a barrier nor an invitation to the vodous.
Everything in the world is descended from MAWU SOGBO LISA. Likewise all humanity descend from common ancestors and the vodou have been with us since before we cultivated the power to articulate our ideas. These bloodlines have genius, spirits, vodous that call MAWU SOGBO LISA mother and father. It is through them, the Togbɛ, that we interact with what is commonly understood to be God, that we command a modicum of protection from the forces we manage when we attempt Work in the world.
 
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