Wednesday, November 18, 2015

UL-Monroe professor writes 'Voodoo Encyclopedia'

Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, associate professor of history in the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s School of Humanities, has published “The Voodoo Encyclopedia: Magic, Ritual, and Religion,” which involves both Haitian Vodou and the closely related Louisiana Voodoo practices, according to a press release from the university. In addition to its 150 article entries, the encyclopedia includes photographs, primary sources and sidebars covering facts such as the difference between Vodou and Voodoo.
Vodou and Voodoo share similar deities and ceremonies but remain recognizably distinct.
“The practices came to Haiti and Louisiana during roughly the same time, from the early 1700s to about 1810,” said Anderson. “They have similarities, but they are not the same.”
Though Haitian Vodou and Louisiana Voodoo have their origin in West Africa, they incorporated early on various aspects of Catholicism as a result of their encounters with the New World. Such syncretism is seen in the appropriation of Christian language and figures. Yet, the Hatian and Louisiana traditions often incorporate that language in different ways.
For example, Anderson explains that in Haitian Vodou, the snake god Danbala Wedo is thought to be the equivalent of Saint Patrick, who, according to a popular Catholic legend, banished all snakes from Ireland. Followers of Louisiana Voodoo also worship a snake god named Blanc Dani, but this god, unlike the snake god in Hatian Vodou, is considered to be the equivalent of Saint Michael the Archangel.
The encyclopedia includes entries by Anderson, other scholars who are specialists in the field, and practitioners of Vodou. The encyclopedia can be purchased online at amazon.comFor more information, contact Dr. Anderson at jeanderson@ulm.edu.


Cheré Dastugue Coen is the author of “Forest Hill, Louisiana: A Bloom Town History,” “Haunted Lafayette, Louisiana” and “Exploring Cajun Country: A Historic Guide to Acadiana” and co-author of “Magic’s in the Bag: Creating Spellbinding Gris Gris Bags and Sachets.” She also writes Louisiana romances under the pen name of Cherie Claire, “A Cajun Dream” and “The Letter.” Write her at cherecoen@gmail.com.