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In this documentary we enter the mysterious world of voodoo. Know their origin, beliefs, gods, rites and best kept secrets, "The Mysteries of Voodoo"
00:07 Millions of people were captured in Africa and sold in America. By the end of the 18th Century, in Haiti alone, there was a population of more than 2,900,000 African slaves. After becoming a French possession in 1697, Haiti soon became America's biggest producer of sugar and also one of the places with the highest number of slaves in the world.
03:42 Boukman, the leader of the browns, organised a great secret ceremony in BOIS CAIMAN. That night on 14th August 1891, a black pig was sacrificed and all those present drank its blood. The revolution of the slaves had begun. The message was very clear: cut off heads, burn houses and destroy plantations. In a few days more than a thousand whites were killed. The terrified white settlers started the legend that the blacks had made a pact with the devil that night in BOIS CAIMAN.
Voodoo is a religion that is very closely linked with nature and many of its deities dwell in rivers, valleys and mountains. There are many natural settings which are real sanctuaries. The faithful retreat to these places to meditate and meet their luas, or family spirits, and the principle forces of the Universe. These are spiritual observatories that enable them to communicate with the Great Beyond.
09:40 Limonat beach is a place of pilgrimage. Preachers from the most distant parts of the country come here to perform Guiné ceremonies and beseech the favour of Erzuli, mother Earth, the Goddess of Love, who is identified in syncretism with the Virgin Mary. They mainly offer food and rum and wait for Erzuli to appear, for her to take possession of someone's body.
15:20 The lakús are self-sufficient population cells. Work is communal as is the product obtained from this work. Each lakú is run by a HOUNGAN, or voodoo priest, who is called MAMBO,
18:20 A great deal of ceremonies are performed in cemeteries among the dead. The people are not afraid of these places, and it is commonplace, and considered to be a great honour for someone to sleep on his father's grave. The tomb of Baron Sammedi, the King of the Dead, can be found in all cemeteries, although in some it can only be identified by the people from the village, to stop outsiders working there. Normally, it can be recognised by its large cross and the first burial is made here.
19:25 Tonight, we are witnesses to an "expedition" made by a HOUNGAN from Artibonito, the region of Haiti with the strongest magic. fire is prepared with pine sticks and pieces of paper with someone's name written on them, in order to tie somebody down, so that they cannot leave another person. They also use special powders made by the HOUNGAN. In voodoo these powders are very important. Each HOUNGAN has his own mixtures, which can go from healing powders to zombie powder. This ceremony is performed so that the Baron may deliver justice in a dispute and carry out the sentence on the guilty party. The red and black dolls represent the protagonists, men and women, of the lawsuit that is presented. When this powerful HOUNGAN is possessed, he has the power to eat glass. Baron Sammedi reigns over all the GUEDE, the spirits of the dead. When he mounts someone he acts like a joker and uses obscene language. This is the lua of sexuality and he falls in love with women; his dance imitates the coital act and he always smokes a lot.
39:36 We attended the rite of initiation into Cuban black magic, Palo Monte, by members of the secret society Awuaka. The essential difference between santeria and El Palo, is that here they work with the dead instead of with the saints. Once the initiation is over, the prendas mayombe must be fed. So a goat and two hens are sacrificed. Their blood will satisfy the appetite of the dead, who will help the newly-initiated member to follow the way of Palo Monte.
47:11 Umbanda is based on the worship of the EGUN, beings with great spiritual light, strength and wisdom. Their objective is to attract these beneficial spirits so as to do good. Here, drums and rhythm play a fundamental role. Each spirit has its own beat and its own cadence. Their altars are dedicated to the same deities as in voodoo and santeria: EXU, OGGUN, the warrior, LEMANYA, the siren, OBATALA, the creator, XANGO, and the rest of the African pantheon.
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