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Secrets of Voodoo [Paperback]

Milo Rigaud , Robert Cross
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2001

Secrets of Voodoo traces the development of this complex religion (in Haiti and the Americas) from its sources in the brilliant civilizations of ancient Africa. This book presents a straightforward account of the gods or loas and their function, the symbols and signs, rituals, the ceremonial calendar of Voodoo, and the procedures for performing magical rites are given.

“Voodoo,” derived from words meaning “introspection” and “mystery,” is a system of belief about the formation of the world and human destiny with clear correspondences in other world religions. Rigaud makes these connections and discloses the esoteric meaning underlying Voodoo’s outward manifestations, which are often misinterpreted. Translated from the French by Robert B. Cross. Drawings and photographs by Odette Mennesson-Rigaud.

Milo Rigaud was born in Port au Prince, Haiti, in 1903, where he spent the greater part of his life studying the Voodoo tradition. In Haiti he studied law, and in France ethnology, psychology, and theology. The involvement of Voodoo in the political struggle of Haitian blacks for independence was one of his main concerns.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful & Informative Dec 31 2003
By A Customer
While most books on voodoo major on 'curses' 'voodoo dolls' spells and other Hollywood-prescribed stereotypes, this book is a very informative and helpful study of roots practices and one of only a handful I would really recommend on voodoo - the others being Voodoo Visions, Divine Horsemen (Maya Deren), Vodou Shaman (Ross Heaven) and Mama Lola (Karen Brown). In this book we have an intelligent yet very readable overview of a normally secretive tradition and one that the world needs to hear more about. Really worth buying.
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This was probably my first book on Voodoo that I purchased, and it still has to be one of my reference guides to the religious beliefs. While other books dwell on magic, curses, and the curio folk magic of Hoodoo, this book gives you a collection of beautifully drawn Veves, excellent black and white photos, and a whole collection of traditional Voodoo prayers and chants. Their is a section on classifying the various Lwas, or Loas, from the various Voodoo Mysteries, such as the Radas, Congos, Petros, Ibu, Nago, and the Dantor mysteries.
This book is not for the beginners and it does not candy coat Voodoo, it gives you a ruff down of what Voodoo's practices, rites, passages, magic, and sacrifices are all about. This book is an overview of the religion, as it is impossible for a Mystery of such vast Knowledge, beauty and Wisdom to be justly explained in 217 or so pages. It is not meant for all, but for those who truly respects and want to honor the Lwas, this is a good start. Although an ordained Houngan or Mambo would be your best bet.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good academic notes Aug. 13 2001
Although this book is not for beginners, it provides a wide and varied assortment of notes from the author's thirty-year study of Voodoo/Voudou, mostly in Haiti but also in the Americas. Originally published in the 1950's, this book includes folklore and legends, as well as academic notes.
If you're interested in this subject, "Vodou Visions" by Glassman is a better choice for beginners, or "Jambalaya" by Luisah Teish to explore women's spirituality, particularly Voudou- and African-related. Both of those books are vastly easier to read, and more current.
However, for thorough research into Vodun/Voudoo/Voodoo, this book provides extensive information, and some unrelated but insightful notes to lead you deeper into the context of African-based traditions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Deep and thought provoking Feb. 14 2002
Milo Rigaud gives a deep and rich account of Vodou. Using theories from geometry, psychology, anthropology, and other academic sources, Rigaud paints a picture of Vodou unlike any other.
His interpretations, while academic and hard to follow at times, give a unique glimpse at how an "earth religion" can be a deep and rich spiritual well, concealing gems of hidden wisdom, profound thought, and beautiful insight.
Maybe not for the neophyte but certainly worth reading. Five stars!
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