Until the publication of this extraordinary book, I believe it is fair to say that treatments of Haitian Voodoo fell into two categories. There is a huge collection of sensationalist books, mostly by Americans, which mix a bit of fact about Haitian Voodoo with a great deal of nonsense, exaggeration and misinformation. Much of this literature appeared during the American occupation , although one of the most notorious of all, Sir Spenser St. Mainly in response to these sorts of sensationalist and misleading works, the second category can be described as books which recognize Voodoo not only as the dominant religion of Haiti, but as a serious and legitimate religion, every bit as respectable as Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Both these categories share one common feature - each describes the beliefs and practices of Voodoo in literalist detail, the first with the emphasis on the exotic beliefs and magical or erotic practices, the second with concentration on the beliefs of a milder set of religious practices, the "sweet spirits" of the Rada rites.

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Karen McCarthy Brown. Karen McCarthy Brown's classic book shatters stereotypes of Vodou by offering an intimate portrait of African-based religion in everyday life. She explores the importance of women's religious practices along with related themes of family and of social change.

Weaving several of her own voices--analytic, descriptive, and personal--with the voices of her subjects in alternate chapters of traditional ethnography and ethnographic fiction, Brown presents herself as a character in Mama Lola's world and allows the reader to evaluate her interactions there. Startlingly original, Brown's work endures as an important experiment in ethnography as a social art form rooted in human relationships. A new preface, epilogue, bibliography, and a collection of family photographs tell the story of the effect of the book's publication on Mama Lola's life.

Raise That Womans Petticoat. The Baka Made from Jealousy. Dreams and Promises. Plenty Confidence. Sojeme Sojeme. Failure to understand this has led observers to portray the Vodou spirits as demonic or even to conclude that Vodou is a religion without morality—a serious misconception.

If I persisted in studying Vodou objectively, the heart of the system, its ability to heal, would remain closed to me. I was no more than a few miles from my home in lower Manhattan, but I felt as if I had taken a wrong turn, slipped through a crack between worlds, and emerged on the main street of a tropical city. Joseph Binbin Mauvant.


Mama Lola: a Vodou priestess in Brooklyn

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Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn (Comparative Studies in Religion and Society)

For the purposes of protecting the privacy of Alourdes and her family, Brown modified certain details of her life like her birthdate and name and the names of her descendents. Already a prominent leader in her Brooklyn community and with strong ties maintained with her mother's neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Alourdes rose to greater public prominence as she increasingly participated in the arts and culture fields, academia, and other spiritual communities in the United States in the wake of the publication of the book. She increasingly used the nickname in her public appearances and also disclosed her full name at these venues. Alourdes combines the skills of a medical doctor, a psychotherapist, a social worker, and a priest. This Wikipedia entry is derived mainly from information from the book in its first, second, and third editions.


Very informative on probably the most misunderstood religion on the planet. The author gives cultural and historical context to the religion. However, the book veers back and forth between academic Vodou is among the most misunderstood and maligned of the world's religions. Mama Lola shatters the stereotypes by offering an intimate portrait of Vodou in everyday life.

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