Priests and Magicians

The priests of Voodoo are Initiates or would-be Initiates who use rituals and ceremonies to appeal to and manipulate loas. These sorcerers do not work in hiding, and are not hated by the people around them. Quite the contrary: they are as much a part of some communities as a doctor or a lawyer would be. This is true not only in Third-World countries like Haiti and Jamaica, but in many areas in the "developed world." Voodoo is alive and well in many communities in North America; it tends to exist in the poorer sections of society, unnoticed and scorned by the rest of population. In the barrios of New York, Little Haiti in Florida and the slums of Chicago, Voodoo priests, or houngans, ply their trade in the open.

Voodoo Initiates know the secrets of magic, both "white" and "black," but are expected to use the latter only for defensive purposes. To do otherwise would turn the houngan into a Bokkor or palo mayombe sorcerer (see p. 37). The Voudounistas are the intermediaries between the loas and humanity, and use this supernatural link to heal disease, bring about good fortune, discover secrets and guard the community against evil spells and entities. At many times through the history of Voodoo, its priests have also been revolutionaries, warriors and heroes. As the power of the Corruptors grows, more priests have had to abandon their relatively comfortable and peaceful lives to try to stop the monsters.

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