Slavery… the enslavement of Black Africans, and their dispersion throughout Europe and the Americas… caused the development of several African based religions: Santaria, Palo, Candomble, Obeah, Vodun, Winti, Macumba and many more. When Black people were stolen.. And that’s what it was because they didn’t walk up to slavers and say, “Please lock me up in the hold of your ship and force me and my progeny to do your bidding for the rest of our lives.” If you notice all of the above listed faiths have origins OUTSIDE the United States. Do you know why????
Slave holding had different philosophies in different locales. In other countries, they wanted the slaves to practice Catholicism since that was what the owners practiced. But the owners weren’t super diligent about the manner in which it was practiced. Catholicism, by nature is polytheistic. There is a Supreme god then a bunch of saints, angels and the like. That is polytheism no matter how you slice it. And if you have ever seen a feast day, you know that that is some pagan ritualing going on right there. But that’s not surprising if you examine the history of how the Catholic church became so all encompassing.
The US, however is not a Catholic country. US origins are English and the English broke from Catholicism a long time ago with 1st the formation of the Church of England and then the Protestant movement.
African religions were able to be maintained outside the US because it was easy to front them or “syncretize” them as Catholic. But not really so much in the US. Plus the US holders were nosy enough to be super involved with the day to day activities of slaves in order to stamp out all remnants of their indigenous faiths… Or so they thought…
Hoodoo/Conjure/Rootwork… Is and ATR without the religion. Religion consists of a (1) dogma/belief, (2) ritual and (3) experience. You are taught and forced to believe about the mystery god, you experience god through external activities and internal feelings. What happens if you remove the dogma/belief part? You just get the activity and experience. And that is what Hoodoo is. We work ‘roots’ and see results.
So did enslaved Africans miss out on their indigenous faiths???? Nope. 1st generation slaves never fully adapted to being slaves. They had memories of being free. Subsequent generations did make it work for them. Black religion is different from white religion. I’m not being discriminatory (Black folks can’t be racist by definition of the word). It is what it is.
Dr. King said the most racist hour of the week is 11am on Sunday morning. Black folks tend to worship with Black folks and white with white. Unless you’re Catholic. Do you know why that is? Reason 1…. Worship is an intimate experience. And folks only want and only should want to do that with people they trust. Reason 2… Worship is done differently among the races.
Remnants of African Culture can still be found in US Black religion today. Black folks get “slain in the spirit.” “Catch the Holy Ghost.” Do Holy Ghost dances. Shouting. That’s not from white folks. That is spiritual possession. White services are plain, the church is plain, and they last about an hour. Folks don’t dress for white services unless it’s a special occasion. Black folks put on the entire hog when they go to church. But, more particularly Black women wear hats. That hearkens back to African ritual where all the women come with their heads covered. These experiences are not confined to church. Go to the club on Saturday night and you will see the same activities there.
This whole “Gospel of Prosperity” that seems to be so prevalent in the Black church these days is nothing but Ebos. Malachi 3:8-10 sets it up. Cursed with a curse? White folks don’t jump on this scripture like trampolines like Black folks do. Black folks recognize that sacrifices must be given to appease the energy. The most important sacrifice that can be given in the US is money. This is what we live and die for. And if your not giving… Your not in order.
My grandmothers and ancient people used to have spots on the mantle with picture of loved ones, knick knacks, and the “trinity” MLK, JFK and Jesus. That was an altar. White folks didn’t do that. Not never. Have you ever seen a Black funeral. High Drama! And we put so much stuff in the coffin there isn’t room for the deceased. We go all out… even when we can afford it. Burial policies and lodge memberships are all so that Black folks can get in the ground with not just dignity, but flourish. That’s how we do.
Our parties, our children’s names, the way we share a meal with the people we love, the way we are family because we say so; not just by blood. Our African culture is intact… even without us noticing.