Tuesday, October 17th 2017

Spiritual Surf: Haiti, a spiritual Rorschach

Voodoo shamanism turns to self-blame; Pat Robertson into the mix; Ditto, Danny Glover and Catholicism


Haiti’s voodoo turns against itself and into spiritual self-retribution

Haiti’s devastating earthquake has left thousands dead, injured and homeless, causing a psychic after-shock about suffering, poverty, international relations, death, and God. Amidst the pain and chaos, Haitians and the world are seeking to understand and respond to the consequences of this earth shattering event.  In light of Haiti’s turbulent history of colonization, rebellion, corrupt governments, and natural disasters, all people are prompted to ask “Why did this happen?” and “What can be done now?”

pat_robertson1Pat Robertson on the “pact with the Devil”

Pat Robertson has caused another stir with his recent comments on the “why” of the earthquake in Haiti.  Recounting a Haitian folk legend, Robertson stated that Haiti’s consistent problems, including the recent earthquake, are caused by a “pact with the Devil”.  According to the legend, as Robertson claims, Haitians cut a deal with the infamous fallen angel in the hopes of successfully removing French control over the western half of the island of Hispaniola.

alg_haiti_worshippersHaitians call survival a gift from God

Many in the media were quick to attack Pat Robertson’s comments, calling his view hostile to those outside the US and presumptuous to interpret natural events as God’s will or divine retribution.  However, this appears to be only half the story. Some Haitians are interpreting the earthquake as divine retribution from God, claiming that the Haitian people have turned away from God.  However, this interpretation is not always bleak; Haitian impromptu preachers and Catholic clergy are reassuring earthquake victims that God has not abandoned them but is with them in their suffering. Survival has become a divine gift for some Haitians.

danny_glover_madison31Danny Glover: global warming is lethal weapon

Actor Danny Glover has recently stated that global warming and climate change is the cause for the devestating earthquake in Haiti.  Glover also made charges that the US should not have a relation of ”dominance” over Haiti and the climate summit in Copenhagen had some role to play in the disaster. This is not Glover’s first commentary on Haiti.  In 2008 Glover directed and produced a film on Toussaint L’Ouverture, the man who lead an armed struggle for independence against the Spanish, French and British in what was called the Haitian Revolution.

vodou101_c_2004Voodoo economics, almost

Some spectators of the earthquake’s devastation attribute the multitude of deaths and injuries to the earthquake (naturally) and the rampant poverty that has plagued the island for nearly two centuries.  Compared to the relatively few deaths and limited destruction wealthier cities suffering earthquakes, Port-au-Prince’s poverty allowed for unstable buildings, limited emergency medical treatment, and weak infrastructure to deal with the crisis.  Moreover, the same critique includes voodoo beliefs and practices as a cause, helping inspire a climate of poverty and encouraging an econimic fatalism.

haiticrossvoodoo1Haitian Voodoo Catholicism

The Vatican quickly turned to US Catholic charities to send aid to Haiti.  While Haitians are predominately Roman Catholic, the majority of Haitians practice Voodoo, often called a “spirit religion” because of its beliefs and practices involving a multitude of spirits in day-to-day life.  Voodoo practitioners communicate with spirits through dance, song and sacrifice, and the spirits often communicate through possession.  Having its origins in Africa, and brought over to Haiti through the slave trade, Voodoo blends many of its practices with Roman Catholicism.  In 2003 the Haitian government officially recognized Voodoo as a religion.

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One Comment on “Spiritual Surf: Haiti, a spiritual Rorschach”

  1. The Devil Sues Pat Robertson for Breach of Contract


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