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Vodou Medicine

Vodou is the popular religion of the people of Haiti, brought to the West during the islands French colonial period (1697-1804) by slaves arriving from Africa. As a surviving diasporic religion, Vodou represents a complex amalgamation of multiple African religious and cultural traditions taken from the kingdoms of West Africa (principally the Arada/ Fon, Nago, Ibo, Mahi, etc.), as well as the Bantu speaking peoples of the Kongo basin (principally the Angolese, Mayombe, Mondongue, etc.). With the slaves came highly developed theories of health and healing which were largely responsible for the development of contemporary Vodou’s system of holistic medicine, a system that continues to effectively serve the needs of almost 8 million people in Haiti and in the Haitian Diaspora throughout the World.

The Vodou system of holistic medicine is founded on an understanding of the dynamic movement of energy, both within the human body and throughout creation. Like most esoteric traditional religions, Vodou teaches that the universe contains two worlds, that of the visible or physical world, and that of the invisible or spiritual world. These two are not distinct or in any way separate, as Vodou does not postulate a two-story universe. Both worlds overlap and interact on multiple levels within and without the human body, co-mingling themselves continuously. According to the Vodou worldview, the human condition in the physical world is largely a product, not only of ones temporal relationships, but also of ones interrelations with the spiritual world, which includes the lwa, clan ancestors, and other spirits. As a result, the concept of health in Vodou takes on a much broader meaning than that usually understood in the western world, being viewed as not just the absence of disease. The Vodou definition of health is implicit that not only is the physical organism in good condition, and all its organ...

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