For your info., Vodoun, Voodoo, Vodu etc is not an Orisha tradition. Vodu is
a Fon word from the Fon Vodu people. They are the originators of the Vodu
religion which is the root of all Voodoo including Hatian Vodoun. They are in
southern Republic of Benin, southern Nigeria (Cross River States region) and
Orisha is a tradition of the Yoruba peoples of neighboring Nigeria. The
religions are similar in that they worship spirits and practice a shamanistic
type of healing, but the structure of the religious systems is different.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different religions practiced
throughout black Africa, but it has become common to name them all Voodoo or
more recently, Orisha.
I have two books on Voodoo coming out, one is academic and the other is in
story form. Although that won't help you now, please keep an eye out for them
towards the end of this year. Most of the stuff available is scholarly.
Mama Lola, A Vodoun Priestess in Brooklyn by Karen McCarthy Brown
Tell My Horse by Zora Neale Hurston (Voodoo)
The Serpent and the Rainbow by Wade Davis (Vodoun) there is also a movie of
the same name in video stores.
Voodoo by Gert Chesi (a photo-journal)
Vodoun Fire by Dennings and Phillips (Llewellyn pubs.)
Divine Horseman by Maya Deren (video also avail)
Dahomean Narrative by Melville Herskovits (Fon mythology incl some Vodu myths)
The Religion of the Yorubas by Olumide Lucas (acad but readable and accurate
- Althelia Henrietta Pubs))
Indaba my Children by Mutwa Credo (So. African but incredible mythology)
Of Water and the Spirit by Malidoma Some (about Neigboring peoples -Tarcher
African fairy tales by kathleen Arnott (Mueller pubs-There are several books
abt black African tales available in used bkstores or on the shelves of B&N)
Tales of Yoruba Gods and heroes by Harold Courlander
Flash of the Spirit by Robert faris Thompson (he has several avail. titles
that are acad but fascinating reading as he is an art historian so he writes
from a humane perspec and uses lots of pictures)
Oya:in praise of the Goddess (Orisha) by Judy Gleason (She has other titles
also, she is superficial but ok)
I forgot to comment on Santeria. It is a combination of African Orisha and
Catholicism and is practiced throughout the U.S., the Caribbean and some
parts of Central and South America. The Santeria practitioners practically
run Southern Florida, and in the last decade petitioned the supreme court and
won their right to do animal sacrifice in the US as a religious practice.
Santeria is very strong in Cuba.
Robert faris Thompson writes about Santeria in the Us and Cuba...Faces of
the Gods, Mask of the Spirit, etc
There is a woman who grew up in the tradition and has several titles out on
Santeria..Wipples-Gonzales or Gonzales-Wipples. You can probably find her
titles at Amazon.com. Any one of them is fine. She is very readable and
accurate. If you want more Santeria titles let me know and I will search my
I hope these are helpful. If I can be of further assistance my email is
[log in to unmask]
(Chief in Vodu)