Cultural Competency and Haitian Immigrants


Spirituality ... page 3: Voodoo

Purnell's Model

  Page 2
  Page 3
  Page 4
  Page 5

  Page 2

Family roles & organization
  Page 2
  Page 3

Workforce issues

Biocultural ecology

High-risk behaviors

  Page 2


Death rituals

  Page 2
  Page 3

Health care practices
  Page 2
  Page 3

Health care practitioners




  • The most important and central tenet of Voodoo is healing people from sickness.60  

  • The ministers of Voodoo include the houngan (priest)  and the mambo (priestess). 4, 25, 26, 60 These practitioners are paid for their services, not unlike Christian religious ministers. The major duties of these practitioners are: 60

    • Healing

    • Presiding over rituals to contact or calm theloa.

    • Initiation of new priests and priestesses.

    • Foretelling the future and dream reading.

    • Spell casting and creating protections.

    • Making potions for a variety of purposes.

    • Voodoo ceremonies

      • Gatherings are outside under a pavilion type dwelling.

      • They are presided over by a houngan or mambo.

      • All people participate in the ritual.

      • Drums and dancing play an integral part.

      • The loa also participate by overtaking the body of some of the humans involved in the ceremony.

      • In order to pacify the loa,  animal  sacrifice is frequently offered..4, 25, 60 

  • Zombification. This is perhaps the most sensationalist facet of Voodoo, and is thought to be well exaggerated in the media. Part of Voodoo black magic, which is not usually discussed among Haitians (see below), zombification has  been documented to be the result of poisoning to a near death level, resulting in burial and later excavation of the living corpse. These "zombies" are theorized to have been brain damaged in the poisoning process and thus walk around "like a zombie".4

  •  Voodoo is divided by practitioners into 2 types:

    1. Rada: peaceful worship of the happy loa; white magic.

    1. Petro: black magic. This is the Voodoo that we usually read about, the voodoo of the angry loa. This is the type of voodoo that results in zombification, death curses and orgies. Petro is reported to represent only 5% of all Voodoo practiced. 25, 60 Black magic is related to Voodoo like Satanism is related to Christianity.4  

  • Voodoo is a fatalistic religion. Those that practice believe that fate is predetermined by the loa. Your destiny is controlled by these spirits and only by contacting them can you control your destiny.26, 60


    <-- Pg 2    Pg 1 -->

Copyright  2003