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8505: Vodou, Voodoo, Vodu...etc., from Mambo Racine (fwd)
You know, there is a very active online Vodouisant community composed of the memberships of many discussion lists, forums, congregations and study groups. Some of us are initiates in Haitian Vodou, some practice in the American branch of the Afro-Caribbean religious diasporan tree. Some are affliated with houses in Africa. We are of various nationalities, we are literate since we are online, and many of us are bilingual
We've grappled with the spelling issue too, and here is the current common usage of the various spellings
Vodou - Haitian Vodou, the denomination of Haitian traditional religion in which initiates undergo the kanzo ceremony and clergy take the asson. Naturally it is proper to capitalize this word, just like "Islam" or "Buddhism".
Voodoo - American Voodoo, centered around New Orleans, with a long history of it's own, some of which derives from Haiti and immigrants from Haiti, some of which is completely indigenous to the descendants Africans who were imported directly to the area and to whites, mixed race people and others who participated in this tradition since it's formation
Vodu - African Vodu, that traditional religious practice which are indigenous to Benin and surrounding areas. (Nigerian Yoruban traditional religions are referred to in English as Orisha service and as Ifa service; and their New World derivatives as Santeria and Lukumi.)
voodoo - Hollywood voodoo, a hodgpodge of malevolent magic bearing no resemblance to anything else on earth.
Spellings like voudoun, vodun, etc., are derived from French orthography where a final 'n' is frequently silent. Of course these spellings confuse English speakers - they come to Haiti asking for Vo-DONE, and we just can't help laughing. But the spellings I have given above are the English or Creole (Kreyol si ou ap pale Kreyol, pa vre?) spellings commonly in current use by (literate) members of these religions.
Peace and love,
Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
"Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
The VODOU Page - http://members.aol.com/racine125/index.html
(Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)