These days there is Voodoo Economics, Voodoo Doughnuts, Voodoo Football, and last, or maybe first, we have the Voodoo Religion. The etymology of the word is almost as dangerously complex as the practices themselves.
Many people hate the word Voodoo, even though they may have beliefs that others would describe that way. No doubt Voodoo has gotten a bad rap in the media, in the papers, in the minds of most people. In Haiti the tradition is properly referred to as Vodou, or Vodoun. The practices are a complex system of worship that gracefully touches every aspect of life. Even though the New World manifestations are more prevalent, this ancient religion is over 10,000 years old by some accounts.
It seems Voodoo’s meaning has historically always been a bit of a puzzle. A Popular Science article from 1891 by Major A.B. Ellis speculates as to “what language the word Vodu belongs, and what it means.” Ellis claims it is simply the word for “God.” This is a belief that many still hold today. Voodoo is a God, or a series of Gods, energies, and divine forces that inhabit the universe. According to the Etymology dictionary, this definition is in keeping with the languages of the Dahomey and the Fon people as well.
Voodoo definitions then it seems are unique to each individual considering them. For some it will always be a scary unknown that they want to demonize and hate on, for others it will be the secret paths to their ancestors, hopefully not lost to them over the barriers of time. For me it is the joining of what was and what will be, with the unique moment that is in existence right now. What is Voodoo for you?