Ross Heaven - Vodou, Hobs and the Loa
Type of Spiritual Experience
His interpretaion is not actually correct, but the description of the vodou beliefs is OK, as far as it goes, although he doesn't seem to quite understand coming from a Christian perspective
A description of the experience
Enduring Beyond Oppression - The Truth About Vodou - Ross Heaven
Despite its somewhat exotic reputation, and the "wars of faith" between the Haitians and their Catholic masters, Vodou has much in common with Christianity. There is one creator-God, known as Gran Met ("Great Master"), or Bondye ("Good God" - from the French Bon Dieu), an entity concerned with the grand cosmic plan and the order of the universe, who can therefore seem somewhat distant from everyday human affairs.
Gran Met has therefore assembled a pantheon of ambassadors for his work on Earth ..... These are the loa (or "lwa"), who are at once separate entities with specific roles and functions - somewhat like the angels of Christianity - and, at the same time, aspects of the same God-energy and representative of his will.
The loa are directly available to man through the mechanism of possession, a trance-like state where the follower gives over the control of the physical body to the spirits who will then "mount" him so that he becomes their cherval ("horse"). The loa are then immediately visible among the people, dispensing wisdom, advice and healing to the congregation. With Vodou, you do not pray to the ods, you become the gods themselves.
The character and function of the loa, varies enormously, like some grand cosmic division of labour. Gran Bwa (literally, "Big Wood"), for example, is revered as a great healer, while Erzuli, the goddess of love, is concerned with emotional and relationship issues, and Ogoun, the warrior-loa and diplomat, is called upon to resolve legal matters and personal conflicts. In this way, the loa have a psycho-spiritual and pastoral role to perform as well as a religious function - helping to resolve conflicts directly, and dealing with fundamental human issues of love and belonging.