Voodoo Brings Solace to Grieving Haitians

January 20, 2010

Author: Barbara Bradley Hagerty

Source: NPR


Erol Josue lost more than two dozen friends and extended family in Haiti's devastating earthquake. The Voodoo priest, who lives in New York, says he has spent the past week saying traditional Voodoo prayers.

"We thank God that we are still alive," he says, "but we also pray to give a good route, to give a good path for the people who passed away. And also we pray to ask the question, 'What happened?' "

Spirit Worship And Revelations

Voodoo is playing a central role in helping Haitians cope with their unthinkable tragedy. Outside of Haitian culture, few know what Voodoo is. Elizabeth McAlister, a Voodoo expert at Wesleyan University, says at its core, the philosophy is really pretty simple.

"Voodoo in a nutshell is about the idea that everything material has a spiritual dimension that is more real" than physical reality, she says. "So everything living — but even rocks and the Earth — is considered to have spirit and have a spiritual nature."