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7261: Comments/questions regarding Voodou (fwd)

From: archim <archim@globelsud.net>

     Dear List Members,
        Greetings from Haiti. I have been following with great interest the 
     many recent postings on Voodoo/Vodou/Voodou/Vaudoo (I hesitate to use 
     only one spelling of the word because there has been so much 
     controversy over how it is to be spelled.) I write now to ask some 
     questions, prefaced by my feelings/approach to it as a religion.
        Firstly, I do not write from an antagonistic point of view; I write 
     for information and answers to several questions. I am certain that one 
     of the more-enlightened/instructed leaders of that religion will be 
     able to help me in my quest for further knowledge. I do not write as 
     one wishing to embrace Vodou (forgive me if I used the spelling which 
     is incorrect), but as one wishing explanations. I have no difficulties 
     with Vodou and am quite friendly wiith several houngans and mambos, I 
     approach it as a viable religion for those who wish to follow it, and I 
     do not work toward its destruction nor wish to demean it in any way. I 
     am a former university professor of Comparative Religions, and a Greek 
     Orthodox Priest. I am from New Jersey and have lived in Haiti for 15 
     years. I am also a former Episcopal clergyman!
        That introduction being made, my questions follow:
           1 - Is it correct to assume that there are various "sects" of    
               Vodou in Haiti? By that, I mean, are there different and 
               opposing groups of Vodou followers, some of whom use Vodou for 
               evil(*) purposes and some of whom use it for good?
           2 - The various "liturgical" or ceremonial practices of Vodou    
               are surely interesting, but I am more interested in knowing  
               more regarding the "intellectual" or "philosophical"         
               approach in Vodou. What does it do for its followers, and does 
               it have any sort of eschatalogical understanding?
           3 - Is Vodou opposed to other religions in the sense that it     
               wishes to destroy or berate them?
           4 - Why is it that a number of persons who are considered to be  
               Vodou followers appear to be somewhat demonic in their       
               relationship to others? (And in this instance, I do          
               understand that many  persons of many other religious        
               persuasions are equally-demonic in the same manner.)
           5 - Why have there been those in Haiti who "embraced" Orthodoxy, 
               but for evil purposes? (eg. To attempt to cause it to fail,  
               stumble, etc, and who are proud of their Vodou connections?)
           6 - Is it correct that Vodou followers must also have a          
               connection/relationship with sacramental religions (eg.      
               Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy)?
           7 - Can an Orthodox Priest be a follower and user of Vodou? (Not 
               me; I'm quite happy being an Orthodox Priest!)
           8 - What good things does Vodou do for its followers, other      
               than satisfy their needs for "other-worldly" satisfaction    
               and/or control?
           9 - Why do some Vodou followers go to Houngans to have "spells"  
               cast on others whom they wish to harm?
          10 - Can those who do not believe in Voudo and its abilities to   
               control or direct others, be controlled or directed? In      
               other words, if I don't believe in Vodou, and if I do not    
               allow myself to believe in it or its power; can it harm or   
               control me?
        I probably have more questions, but maybe these are good-enough for 
     starters. I will be anxious for the responses or abswers.
                   Most sincerely,