Monday, July 26, 2010

True Blood : Do do that voodoo that you do so well

Blog reader JeremyofKansas weighs in with some info on on the scene ffrom last nights TB when we find that Jesus sure knows lots about Voodo gods....
**Dallas wonders if Jesus knew Miss Jeanette !

Voodou and Santeria are two distinctly related religions, however they are also very, very different. They share the core belief though- a monotheistic belief in a distant creator deity who is responsible for existence, who is in all essence of the word God. However, to take care of the day to day existence there are beings who are responsible for the every day things. in Santeria they call them Orisha's, in Voodou they call them Lwa's. Although the beings in question are called different things, and often times completely different beings, they share essentially the same general purpose. Baron Samedi is a Voodou Lwa of death- probably the most famous of their Lwa's. One of the Orisha's we saw tonight was Shango, an Orisha of thunder. Again- to correct your guest, these are NOT gods. Not at all. Powerful begins, absolutely- deities they are not. There is no belief in these two religious movements in other gods other than the one god.

Each religion has its basis in African religions that slaves brought from Africa with them. Santeria is now a South American religion, Voodou is essentially the state religion of Haiti and practice heavily in Lousiana. Santeria is different from Voodou in one aspect though- that it is completely syncretized with Catholicism. In order to be a practitioner of Santeria you will believe in the Bible, believe in Jesus, Mary, the devil, the whole shabang. Voodou is also practiced by many, many practitioners in a syncrotized method. You can practice Voodou and still believe in Jesus, Mary, the Saints, etc. However, you can also practice Voodou and not in any way be a Catholic and not believe in any of those practices and it would still be perfectly acceptable. When you do practice this syncratization what happens is that the Orisha's and Lwa's become interchangable with the Catholic Saints. In Voodou for instance, Papa Legba(The gatekeeper between our world and the spirit world/world of the Lwa's) would become the essentially the same being as St. Peter.

A lot of folks in chat were trying to call Jesus a Wiccan- because you know, we worship Orisha's(not). Some we're describing him as a witch even. However, Santerian's that do practice any sort of magic wouldn't look at it probably as witchcraft. With the Catholic connections I think they'd look down on the concept of witchcraft- or define the practice in such a manner to think of it as being evil. That's not to say they don't practice some sort of magic- or that Jesus wouldn't.

I'm not telling you this to talk down to you or anything- just blame it on the fact that I'm a college student at the University of Kansas with 75 credits and that I'm majoring in the academic study of religion!

Jesus may be a believer in a Santeria, he may well be a supernatural, and it's possible the True Blood creators are doing something unusual with him and perhaps fictionializing the Santerian religion in an unfactual manner(This seriously makes me gag/semi-offends me)- thus far though they've tried to mirror our world with the TB world in a way that makes everything relevant save for the actual supernaturals. I suspect they'd keep the practice of Santeria in such a way to as mirror the real world beliefs. Maybe this will give you a little more insight to Jesus and his motives as some more hints and bread crumbs are dropped along the way!

Hope you enjoy my academic nerd rage! :)

**In Vodou, (the Voodoo religion), Bacalou is a feared loa (or spirit), represented by a skull and crossbones


Rita said...

This was a very interesting ,thanks Dallas
for putting it on your blog.

Alicia said...

Really interesting info! But in my defense, most of the sources I'm finding (most notably Professor Wikipedia, who I freely admit is not always correct) refer to the Orisha as "gods" or "deities." So really, this is a semantic distinction that I'm not so sure the writers of the show intend to make.

Anyway, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't portray the practice of Voodoo or Santeria-- to say nothing of Wicca-- in an entirely accurate fashion. They made a bit of a mockery of Greek mythology last year-- albeit one that suited the story-- so I wouldn't be surprised if "magic" in this season is portrayed in an equally plot-convenient manner.

Either way, it should make for an interesting story... which is the point, after all.


Katherine said...

As a santera, I found the mention of Ellegua and Chango interesting, but looking at his altar, I think he just bought statues that he felt supported his ethnic identity.

There is a problem translating the word "orisha" into English, as we have no good word for this level of divinity. Demi-god just doesn't do well, saint implies Catholicism. I know many pagan santeros who wouldn't appreciate that. Most santeros know that there is one God. The orisha support and implement the will of God. They work as intermediaries.

As a True Blood fan (both books and HBO) I'm going to be watching to see what direction this goes!