Voodoo in Benin
In much of the western world, voodoo is taboo. We joke about it lightheartedly, unaware that voodoo practices and rituals are still very much alive and well in many parts of the world. Benin, Africa, claims to be the birthplace of voodoo, and here mystical rituals remain a prominent part of villagers lives. If you are lucky, and have the stomache for it, your travels in Benin may lead you to witness an unearthly spectacle.
“The drums resume, and a man pulls a young, white goat by a rope. The goat screams like a young kid, and leans back onto his haunches. The goat is believed to be full of good spirit.
The drums pound faster and a priest hoists the goat above his head, tapping the House of Python. Then he bends and touches the goat to the ground. He repeats this process several times. Afterwards, he slices the goat’s throat – difficult to watch, but I ignore the drums vibrating that lump in my throat, and try to maintain an open mind in order to appreciate this fascinating witness.
He hands a bowl of the goat’s blood to a family member, who dips his thumb into it and then taps the top of his knee. He dips again, and douses his lips, before passing the bowl to others who repeat the gesture. Afterwards, a Voodooshi holds the goat high, and leads a dancing line, circling the entire complex. Women and children follow her. The goat rids any remaining bad spirit from the grounds.”
By Ron Mitchell, travel writer for GoNOMAD.com