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Secrets of Voodoo Paperback – 1985
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In "Secrets of Voodoo", Rigaud has taken it upon himself to make Vodou not only accessible but ACCEPTABLE to his Middle-class white readership who by then only knew Vodou as a primitive cult of devil worship and zombification. His explanations and statements related to the underlying mechanisms of Vodou read like a cheap book written by a 3rd class Chaos magician or a half-baked Thelemite who tries to bend, twist and repaint Vodou in his own understanding of the world...which quite frankly is not even anywhere close to the true nature of Vodou!
The whole book is written as an attempt to elevate Vodou to the level of Levi/Golden Dawn stile classiness - which is a complete degradation in light of the highly sophisticated cosmology of Vodou! The most insulting part of this book is Rigaud's Pseudo-Cabalistic spellings of Loa names and ceremonies and his twisted comparison of Vodou concepts to Cabalistic principles make this book one of the most disappointing reads ever! This book might tickle the taste buds of European "magicians" but it has very little do with the way Vodou is practiced and understood by Haitian priests. This book only functions as a stumbling stone for people who want to learn real Haitian Vodou! Stick to Maya Darren, who doesn't try to make Vodou into Pseudo-European Salon Magic but presents it the way it really is!
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However I really question alot of the links he made. He says the colors used for the spirits are qaballistically appropriate, this is not mostly the case. He belates the use of perfumes which do not have qaballistic links to the spirits planetarily.
He says the trinity is dhamballah legba and erzulie and wasn't really metaphoric about it.
He uses hebrew to delinate parts of the ritual as parts of the soul and plane in judaic theory, but does not describe or translate hebrew, which would be lost on those not of a ceremonial magick backround.
He states moses worked with a petro snake spirit, and I know moses is used for petro dhamballah (not discussed), but he talks likes its literal which is strange since these spirits are historically from the revolution in haiti and some some fairytale land in the middleeast whether or not you beleive in christianity it stands. Maybe a semi-gnostic allusion to the angry god of the old testament?
Yes I am aware how some european traditions and masonry made its way into the diasporic religions, however it is a stretch at times, and would be very confusing to a beginner or novice especially one not immersed in ceremonial magick or qabballah.
Some say he was in secret societies in haiti, but he was educated in france and came back with the UN and NGOs and their doctors, and writes like a blan outsider ethnographer. I would have preferred he only write about what the people themselves think and not his masonic interpretations.
If you're interested in this subject, "Vodou Visions" by Glassman is a better choice for beginners, or "Jambalaya" by Luisah Teish to explore women's spirituality, particularly Voudou- and African-related. Both of those books are vastly easier to read, and more current.
However, for thorough research into Vodun/Voudoo/Voodoo, this book provides extensive information, and some unrelated but insightful notes to lead you deeper into the context of African-based traditions.
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