3 Non Traditional Religions Voodoo, Spiritualism, Cults

Religion is primary agent of social control in our society. Due to its communally held beliefs and principles, we have a foundation on which we can rest the laws, values, and the main doctrine, of almost any society. Here in America, we have tremendous freedom in both establishing and in choosing the religion of our choice. This freedom has given birth to many non-traditional religions and practices. When discussing the topic of social control and order within a society, these non-traditional religions can be used very strongly to bring about social change within an individual then into the population. On the rise in our nation, is the emergence of voodoo practices, the belief in spiritualism, and many groups of cults. Each one of these religions has the extreme ability to influence the individual in many psychological and physical ways, drastically changing a persons behavioral patterns. While inducing these changes upon the individual, many people can and usually will, succumb explicit exploitation of themselves as well as their economic resources.
Voodoo, whose name derived from the African word for spirit (Origins of Voodoo), came to us through the European colonization of the West Indies. African tribes were forcibly shipped overseas, primarily to Haiti and other Caribbean lands, to be used as agricultural slaves. Upon the arrival in their new country, the slaves were baptized into the Roman Catholic Church. In fear of revolt, the colonists separated the many tribes of slaves and had them dispersed all across the new land. This result was a mixture of African slaves, forced to live together, naturally adapting to each other's lifestyles, habits, and beliefs systems. The slaves were forced to attend a Catholic Mass on a regular basis, however, many of the assimilated tribes continued to practice their native religion. When the colonists found this out, the persecution of many African slaves took place. They were violently beaten and killed for worshiping their own gods, and not the one of the Catholic religion. It was through this persecution that the tribes did not separate; rather, they came together and formed together with the common bond of their religion. The religious beliefs and the rituals from many of the tribes began it integrate, ultimately creating a new religion: Voodoo.
Voodoo is based on the manifestation of the spirit world through the channel of the human being. This is achieved through the acts of rituals in highly structured Voodoo ceremonies, which are preformed by a Voodoo Priest. A male priest is referred to as a Houngan, and a female is referred to as a Mambo.
There are two types of Voodoo or ?magic?, used in Voodoo, White Magic, and Black Magic. White Magic involves the usage of candles, oils, plants, and potions, to obtain certain things in life. For example, one might attend or perform a White Magic ceremony to obtain power, love, or money. This ritual or ceremony is used in a positive manner only, it causes no harm, nor does it pose any threat upon the individual or on others. Black Magic or ?Red Voodoo?, on the other hand, involves evil and harmful acts. Black magic is preformed by a Bokor, which is one who uses evil acts of sorcery, involving death and zombie curses. A zombie curse involves a ritual where the Bokor poisons his human subject, resulting in death. After three days, the dead is revived and becomes the Bokor's eternal slave (Haitian Voodoo Culture).
The followers of the Voodoo religion believe in one Supreme Being, named Bondye. Under Bondye, there are hundreds of minor gods and Loas. A Loas refers to the spirit of someone who has led an exceptional life. The Loas exercise control over nature, health, wealth, happiness, and all prosperity of mortals. The human followers and the Laos exercise a dependency-based relationship with one another. The Loas provide prosperity, and the humans provide food, and other material objects to the Laos as an offering. The altars that are each dedicated to one specific Loa are encompassed with candles, pictures of the Loa, and anything else referring to the Loa. A prime example of a Loa is one named Zaka. Zaka is the god or spirit of agriculture; he provides prosperity over the crops of any given land.