Udja Shems Heryt,
I appreciated your sharing.
I studied Voodoo, Voodou (how my African religious study teacher spelled it…seems to have more than one acceptable spellings) in a religious study class, and developed an appreciation for it as an African Traditional Religion (ATR) as a result of the perspectives of my African Religious Studies teacher, especially after a lifetime of thinking of it as something negative and evil (movies, improper use of the term in our culture, etc.).
Whereas I would not practice it myself, I appreciated many aspects of its history, and we studied it as a resistance movement to slavery and what the slaves were experiencing, and their very limited ability to hold onto their African culture in a society that was literally trying to beat it out of them. Whereas I would not want to engage in animal sacrifice…physically…I was able to understand that process in their religious thought and practice. One year Sebai Maa & I were invited to be part of a program with ATRs…in No Carolina I believe…and the person who put on the conference was both a university scholar and a practitioner of ATR. I did not go to their ritual, which involved slaughtering of animals. That evening, I also found out I ate meat (the slaughtered chickens)…after being told/assured that it was TOFU. As I ate it, I kept telling S. Maa it felt and tasted like real chicken. The lighting was dark so I could not see well. I called someone over to further inquire, and was reassured again, but when the lights came back on shortly after…YUP, it was real chicken…I spat it out…I think it was only my second mouthful thankfully.
Another difference between most religions and Shetaut Neter/Mystical traditions.
Yet, In general, we support African Traditional Religions…we did a lecture in So Africa to a group of ATR healers some time ago.
However,I support it just as I would a child who is learning to read or write…but I would not want spend all my time reading and writing at the child’s level.
From my studies, Voodoo is not a mystical religion. It has “trances” and possessions, but this is not the same as becoming a god or goddess. So I would categorize it as an ATR, but like you, as a Netarian, would not participate in their rituals. It does have the gods and goddesses, and “elements” reminiscent of Shetaut Neter…but possessions by spirit is not the same as transcending.
This was a point Sebai Maa made…that just because many religions have descended, directly or indirectly, and may have some elements from KMT, it does not mean they are the same.
Now this can be confusing because you may hear on some of the recordings that S. Maa and or myself say, all religions are one, or all religions come from the same place, etc. Context is everything. From a higher mystical perspective, this is correct. However, and this was emphasized by Sebai Maa, all religions are not equal, and most have limited or no capacity to lead their followers to Nehast…in this lifetime.
People from other religions tend to say this…when they hear a KMT proverb, they may say, Oh, that is in the bible. Something similar may be in the bible, but the context is TOTALLY different (does not have a mystical insight or basis), and that makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.
And yet, if I’m in the company of family and friends who are Christian, I may use that point of commonality of the teachings of the two traditions to speak to them as they understand. I recall students at FIU doing this to validate their own orthodox regions…oh, that is in the bible, or Koran or ? For example, if they need to forgive someone for a mistake, I may say, As Jesus said, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
The main point is to recognize that although ATR’s and other pagan or native traditions and orthodox religions have their own validity and may have some common teachings with SN, if they are not an authentic mystical tradition…and don’t have an authentic spiritual preceptor…it’s very different from SN and other mystical traditions.
Thanks for sharing!