While there may be some similarities between exorcism and some aspects of Voodoo, such as the belief in supernatural entities and the use of ritual and ceremony to address spiritual afflictions, they are distinct practices with different cultural and religious contexts.
Learn more about Exorcisms, Evil Spirits & Possession in the Voodoo: Comparing Exorcism Beliefs & Rituals with this brief overview as part of Erzulie’s “Spiritual Summary Series™” for those curious about various Voodoo, Occult and Spiritual topics.
Again, this is just a brief summary on a very extensive topic, (which varies tremendously by faith or belief) written from a Vodou perspective and how it compares to the approaches we use in Voodoo Rituals for banishing Evil Forces, Evil Spirits and even, performing Exorcisms.
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Exorcisms, Evil Spirits & Possession in the Voodoo: Comparing Exorcism Beliefs & Rituals.
Exorcism is a religious or spiritual practice in which a person is believed to be possessed by a malevolent supernatural entity or spirit and is therefore subjected to a ritual or ceremony to expel the demon or evil spirit from their body. Exorcisms are typically performed by religious leaders, such as priests, ministers, or shamans, who have been trained in the practice.
The belief in possession by evil spirits or demons is found in many cultures and religions around the world. In Christianity, for example, and especially in the Catholic tradition, possession is believed to be caused by demonic forces and is considered a serious spiritual affliction that requires intervention. Other religions, such as Islam and Judaism, also have their own traditions and practices for dealing with possession and evil spirits.
While the concept of possession and exorcism is not universally accepted or recognized it is absolutely recognized in the Vodou traditions and belief systems, but in a few different ways and we will explore that later in this article.
IS SPIRITUAL POSSESSION EVEN REAL? WHAT DOES MEDICAL SCIENCE SAY?
Many people in the secular realm believe that possession is a psychological phenomenon, and that the symptoms associated with possession can be explained by mental illness, such as schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder. In such cases, medical and psychiatric treatment is often recommended in lieu of an exorcism.
This is indeed true; many people exhibit symptoms of possession that are indeed suffering from severe mental afflictions. However, there are cases where even the medical experts turn to spiritual experts in extreme and inexplicable cases. Makes one wonder: what else may be going on here? In the Vodou, we take a more holistic approach on these matters and factor in the mind, body, AND spirit into every situation.
An interesting note on medical science and their perspective on exorcisms; some in the medical world have expressed concerns about the potential harm that can be caused by actual exorcisms, particularly when performed by untrained individuals or in a coercive or abusive manner. This sort of infers Science and Faith are not so far apart in some matters.
Final notes on this section, we don’t disagree on the hazards of working with untrained priests or priestesses for ANY spiritual service and most specifically, any exorcism ritual. Our Mambos and Hougans at Erzulie’s have fixed an incalculable number of spiritual maladies and misalignment due to untrained Spiritual Workers.
It is important to seek out qualified and experienced practitioners if you believe that you or someone you know may be experiencing possession or spiritual affliction.
ARE EXORCISM RITES & RITUALS PERFORMED IN THE VOODOO RELIGION TOO?
Yes, exorcisms are performed by Vodou priests and priestesses, as they are in many traditions. However, Christian exorcism rites and Voodoo exorcism rites have different approached.
- Exorcism is a religious or spiritual practice that is usually associated with Christianity and involves the expulsion of malevolent spirits or demons from a person’s body or soul using very particular prayers, tools, and specifically trained priests for performing exorcisms.
- In Voodoo, there is a belief in a complex pantheon of spirits or deities, and practitioners may use various rituals similar to those in other faiths. But the perception of possession isn’t quite the same. It is not uncommon in Vodou rituals for one to take possession themselves, to communicate with spirits and seek their guidance or assistance.
- Possession in Voodoo is not necessarily seen as a negative or malevolent phenomenon, but rather as a way for the practitioner to connect with the spirit world and receive spiritual guidance or healing. This is a very important distinction in that some spirits can be removed by using specific Vodou spirits in a formal ceremony.
EXORCISMS, EXORCISTS AND VODOU PRIESTS OR PRIESTESSES
Exorcists and Voodoo priests/priestesses are two different types of spiritual practitioners with distinct roles and practices.
- Exorcists are typically trained religious leaders, such as priests, ministers, or pastors, who specialize in performing exorcisms to expel malevolent spirits or demons from a person’s body or soul. Exorcists often work within the framework of a particular religion, such as Christianity, and their practices may involve prayer, the use of holy water or other sacred objects, and the recitation of religious texts.
- Voodoo priests, on the other hand, are practitioners of the Afro-Caribbean religion known as Vodou, Voodoo priests, also known as Houngans or Bokors and Voodoo priestesses known as Mambos, serve as intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds, and may perform various rituals, such as drumming, dance, and even possession as we mentioned above, to communicate with the spirits and seek their guidance, assistance, or resolution.
- Voodoo priests & priestesses often use similar tools such as holy waters and sacred objects in formal ceremony, but also can channel certain spirits directly during certain ceremonies to facilitate spiritual information, solutions, and remedies.
While there may be some overlap between the practices of exorcists and Voodoo priests/priestesses, such as the belief in supernatural entities and the use of ritual and ceremony to address spiritual afflictions, they are distinct practices with different cultural and religious contexts.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EXORCISM & AN UNCROSSING, ANTI-HEX or Reverse a curse ritual?
We are often asked in our spiritual consultations the differences between an exorcism and Voodoo Spells & Rituals for Uncrossing & Anti-Hex, Reverse a Curse or Undoing Spiritual Warfare? Short answer: the purpose and scope of those rituals.
- Both Exorcism and uncrossing/anti-hex or banishing rituals for example, are both practices that involve the removal of negative spiritual energy or entities, but they are often associated with different cultural and religious traditions.
- Like we discussed above, an exorcism is typically associated with Christianity and involves the expulsion of malevolent spirits or demons from a person’s body or soul. Exorcisms are performed by trained religious leaders, such as priests or ministers, and may involve prayer, the use of holy water or other sacred objects, and the recitation of religious texts.
- Uncrossing and anti-hex rituals, or rev on the other hand, are often associated with various forms of folk magic and spiritual practices, such as Voodoo, Hoodoo, Santeria and other African Traditional Religions. These rituals involve removing negative energy, spiritual warfare or breaking curses that have been placed on an individual.
- The aforementioned Vodou rituals address the immediate need to remove dark force and destructive energies in a person’s life causing serious misalignment and endless struggle. This is a bit different than one in full blown possession and all that goes with such a supernatural phenomenon.
Interestingly enough most all of the rituals both in the Voodoo and Catholicism for example, involve the use of holy water, herbs, oils, candles, and other objects, as well as prayer, meditation, and chanting of sacred words and texts.
SUMMARY of Exorcisms, Evil Spirits & Possession in the Voodoo: Comparing Exorcism Beliefs & Rituals
While there may be some overlap between the practices of exorcisms and uncrossing/anti-hex rituals, reverse a curse ritual or undoing spiritual warfare rituals, they are distinct practices with different cultural and religious contexts and for distinct purposes or scope of spiritual needs.
It is important to approach these practices, and all religious practices, with respect and an open mind. Further, it is vital to seek out qualified and experienced practitioners if you are interested in having ANY spiritual work or rituals performed for you or participating in a ritual or ceremony. This is just a matter of spiritual safety! If you feel you are under dark spiritual forces or feel that malevolent spirits are gripping your life, please seek expert spiritual guidance as soon as you can to discuss the symptoms, root causes, and spiritual ritual solutions to set yourself free.
Exorcisms, Evil Spirits & Possession in the Voodoo: Comparing Exorcism Beliefs & Rituals, much like many spiritual and religious topics, are often vast and complicated subject matters. We offer these fun and informative Spiritual Summary Series™ to acquaint those with some preliminary information on various spiritual topics.
At Erzulie’s Voodoo in New Orleans, we always strive to provide educational resources for our guests and friends visiting us, and truly hope you enjoyed our “Spiritual Summary Series™” article. Please let us know if there are any topics you’d be interested in learning more about too by emailing email@example.com!