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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and informative
This is a sensible appraisal and description of Haitian voudou, by a white American practicioner(an initiate of the Societe La Belle Venus) aimed at those who would like an introduction to serving the lwa (spirits). Filan gives you some interesting Haitian history, a review of voudou today, and then spells out the way to approach and work with a variety of Rada, Petro and...
Published on 25 Aug 2008 by Tempestas

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a very little use and impractical book
First of all I must say that I have read the book from the first page to the last. According to the contents of the book, the author seems more like someone who has read books about vodun than someone who has been initiated or has attended any real vodun ceremony nor ritual. The classification and explanation of lwas he does isn't exhaustive at all, just anything you can...
Published on 23 Feb 2012 by vodousaint


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Useful and informative, 25 Aug 2008
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This review is from: The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa (Paperback)
This is a sensible appraisal and description of Haitian voudou, by a white American practicioner(an initiate of the Societe La Belle Venus) aimed at those who would like an introduction to serving the lwa (spirits). Filan gives you some interesting Haitian history, a review of voudou today, and then spells out the way to approach and work with a variety of Rada, Petro and Ghede lwa, giving vevers (sigils) for each one.

Voudou is down to earth and practical. It is not, according to the author, "a religion where you sit back and listen to someone else talk about divinity. It's a faith where divinity comes down and talks to you". Filan also puts to rest the common idea that you have to be black to be a practicioner : "You may not be honouring (the lwa) in the way they are honoured in Haiti, but as long as you are honouring them, they will notice and will show their appreciation."

I've read a few books on voudou, and this one seems to me to be the most useful for a westerner and a beginner. It doesn't try and mix voudou with wicca, or any new age nonsense. It offers a common sense background to animal scarifice, but observes that you can, as in many Haitians already do, use food as an offering instead. It points out that although Voudou is an oral religion, initiation can only be conferred by a face to face teacher, and the priesthood is only for the few, it is both acceptable and normal to honour the lwa in your own home. Hundreds of Haitians do just that. With this book as your guide, you can do it too.

Why not five stars? Well, I would have liked a few illustrations (although I appreciate that this would probably have increased the price of the book)and I wasn't very happy with some of the web links, but on the plus side the author does encourage readers to take an interest in Haiti and its history, and gives both the addresses of appropriate charities, and some good information on relevant music and books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for context, 23 Nov 2009
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This review is from: The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa (Paperback)
I have been reading around the subject a lot, and was very impressed with this book. I am not an expert on the spiritual / religious practice dimension (which is why I am researching the subject in the first place), and I found Filan's style accessible, fluid and clear. The discussion of the historical, political and cultural aspects of vodou and its evolution were most enlightening, and grounidng existing practises in the social and evironmental context of the present day (touching on such issues as poverty, deforestation and the experiences of the Haitian diaspora in the West) made the book feel relevant and current. Not many books on the occult would contextualize the subject in references to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs or Rousseau. The introduction to the lwa and the rituals of vodou and the comparative religion aspects of the text are also very helpful to someone researching the subject from scratch.

If you are intereseted in this fascinating religion and its practises, this should by no means be the only book you read on the subject, but as one of the introductory texts it is clear, lucid, intelligent and helpful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a very little use and impractical book, 23 Feb 2012
This review is from: The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa (Paperback)
First of all I must say that I have read the book from the first page to the last. According to the contents of the book, the author seems more like someone who has read books about vodun than someone who has been initiated or has attended any real vodun ceremony nor ritual. The classification and explanation of lwas he does isn't exhaustive at all, just anything you can find on the internet or in other short books about vodun. Regarding the "oh so claimed" protocols that he names in the cover of the book, it's just reduced to some offerings and little more. Even the offerings are sometimes not clearly and exhaustively detailed. For instance when he talks about sacrifices, he does not tell you anything regarding which animals to sacrifice as in the Djabs chapter. In other chapters he talks about animals but always in a very general depiction of the ritual, nothing really practical. He is very general talking about the environment to be prepared for a ritual and says nothing about how to solve a specific problem in your life with the help of the lwas, not even a single prayer in the whole book. I expected this to be a practical guide because the title points in this direction. This book is everything but the handbook the title claims.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Vodou, 27 Dec 2011
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This review is from: The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa (Paperback)
I have to admit to knowing very little about Vodou prior to reading "The Haitian Vodou Handbook" by Kenaz Filan but approached the subject with an open mind. I found the book easy to read with a nice flow and the author also incorporated some of his own real life experiences.

Divided into four parts, the book covers the history of Haiti and Vodou, current day practice, the Lwa (the Spirits of Haitian Vodou) and ceremonies. There is also a glossary together with a wealth of resources. You will also find practical advice should you wish to learn more or even go further and become initiated into the its mysteries.

Vodou provided Africans in the slave society of Haiti with a sense of unity and a way to practice their ancient traditions. The handbook describes how many of those traditions have been incorporated to support and shape the religion over time. What is also very interesting is that today's practitioners and advocates are not just restricted to Africans and their descendents, but are drawn from a much wider audience.

I came away from reading this book with a new found respect and appreciation for the religion and those who practice it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars voodoo, 11 Oct 2010
This review is from: The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa (Paperback)
A real book on voodoo ect, i learnt alot from this book, i like the sections on the Loa
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The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa
The Haitian Vodou Handbook: Protocols for Riding with the Lwa by Kenaz Filan (Paperback - 30 Nov 2006)
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