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THE VODU (AFRICAN GODS)


Official Names: Vodu
Nicknames: African Gods, Gods of Africa, Voodoo Gods, Gods of Voodoo, Dahomey Gods, Yoruba gods, Fon gods, Ewe Gods, "Black Gods," et al
Former Aliases: None
Other Current Aliases: Orishas, Loa
First Appearance: (glimpse) Thor #301, (actual) Doctor Strange III #17/Firestorm #95

==Origin==

Dimension of Origin: Ife (Afe)
Habitat: Tropical
Gravity: Earth-like
Atmosphere: Earth-like
Population: 500-800 (estimated)
Other Associated Dimensions: The Vodu preside in the other-dimensional land of Ife, also known as Afe, possibly having relocated there at some point in the Earth's past. Resembling a realm similar to but not identical to Asgard or Olympus, it is also linked to the other-dimensional realm of Iku, the realm of the dead dominated by Damballah, the god of the dead and one of the Loa, although Nyambe, in his role as the Malagasy god, Ndriananadhary, reserved a part of heaven for the selected spirits of the honored dead. The realm of the African gods is also filled with other beings such as dragons, demons subservient to the gods and a race of beings similar to but not identical to the elves of Alfheim and Momur.

==History==

The Vodu or Gods of Africa are a race of superhumanly powerful humanoid beings worshipped by the native indigenous aborigine tribes of inland Africa. Worship of the Vodu possibly began around 2900 BC when the ancient Afrikaans first began showing signs of civilization. Unlike the majority of Earth's pantheons of gods, they are still worshipped today, but they are not nearly as active as they were in ancient times. The Vodu dwell in Ife (also called Afe or Ala), a small "pocket" dimension adjacent to Earth; an interdimensional nexus between Ife and Earth exists somewhere near Mount Kilimanjaro in modern Tanzania, considered a mystical location among its neighboring tribes. (Ife was also the name of the sacred ancestral lands of the Yoruba.) The human worshippers of the Vodu often had separate names for their gods that varied by tribe and region; for example, the Yoruba of Benin called the ancestor of the gods Buluku, whereas the tribes of Mozambique called him Muluku. 

The precise origin of the Vodu, like that of all of Earth's pantheons of gods, is shrouded in legend. It is unknown if they originated on Earth or from some other dimension. The earliest known African god was Buluku (or Bouclou), known as Olorun to the Yoruba, who took the earth-goddess, Nana, as his wife. It is believed that Nana was actually Gaea, the primordial earth-mother who had survived the destruction of the Elder Gods of Earth by infusing her life into the life-giving essence of the Earth. Many of the Elder Gods had degenerated into demonic status and were destroyed by Atum or had fled Earth for other planes of existence. Atum had been born from Gaea by mating with the sentient biosphere of the Earth known as the Demiurge. Atum later departed the earth after shedding the excess demonic energies of the Elder Gods he had slain; some of these energies becoming demonic beings like Mephisto, Satannish, Sutur and possibly Mikaboshi, who became the eternal enemy of the Japanese gods. Whether Buluku was another form of the Demiurge or of Atum himself is unrevealed.

According to the ancient myths, Buluku mated with Nana and sired the first generation of the African gods known as the Orishas, who then became the ancestors of the later African gods. As a result, the tribes of Africa have never had a truly defined pantheon. Separate aborigine tribes respected separate deities, all of whom descended in some way from Buluku who was known by several names. Several deities, like Shango the thunder-god and Damballah, the god of the dead, were respected and honored by several different tribes. The gods of West Africa worshipped by the Dahomey, Fon and Yoruba tribes, became the most recognizable deities to European and Asian invaders, who sometimes brought their own gods and religious beliefs with them. At some point, Buluku departed from Earth or decided to retreat from human affairs and named Nyambe, one of the Orishas, as his successor over the African gods.

By now, the Third Host of the Celestials occurred and Nyambe was approached by Odin, Chieftain of the Asgardian gods, to meet with the rulers of the other gods once worshipped on Earth to discuss the threat of the Third Host of the Celestials. The Celestials had threatened to seal off the portals of each of their godly realms unless they promised to stop interfering in mortal affairs. Nyambe swore to this pledge and even made a vow to Odin to donate the necessary life energies to the Asgardians slain during the Fourth Host of the Celestials. When Thor came to Ifa to petition a portion of the required life energies as part of this vow, Nyambe saw that a debt had been paid to his realm and offered Thor the necessary energies to restore the slain Asgardian gods to life.

With European exploration of Africa, several Afrikaans, particularly the Yoruba and Dahomey, were taken as slaves in other lands, such as Rome, Egypt and the West Indies. The captured Afrikaans called upon their gods for solace, but due to their pact with the Celestials, they were unable to intervene on behalf of their worshippers. Furthermore, Sagbata, the god of death and misfortune, made a pact with Chthon, one of the exiled Elder Gods, for a spell to create legions of undead beings from the dead or "zombies." Legba, the son of one of the Orishas, petitioned among his siblings to create a force of good against the evil of Sagbata, thus creating the religion now known as Vodu, combining elements from Catholicism and the Holy Roman Church. The chief gods in the Voodoo religion became known as the Loa. Beliefs and tents in Voodoo subsequently spread through the West Indies, Southern United States and the Pacific rim of South America where their practitioners, both Afrikaan and European in origin, clashed with the native gods of those regions, notably the Mexican and Incan gods. One of the most powerful Voodoo priestesses in history was Marie LaVeau.

In modern years, a few of the African gods have made efforts to reconnect with humanity or with the foreign gods of other pantheons. Shango teamed up with Thor and several warrior-gods to battle the Demogorge, released by several under-world gods, and even lived among mortals for a short time, becoming allies with the costumed hero, Firestorm. Nyambe and the Council Elite (sometimes referred to as Council of God-Kings) came together to discuss the threat of Thanos, one of the Eternals, and judge Thor's worthiness to join their council after the death of Odin. Nyambe also met with the council to examine the threat Akhenaton posed to the gods of Earth, but he did so under the guide of Ndriananadhary, the Malagasy god of the afterlife.

Much like the Olympian and Asgardian gods, the Vodu are represented on Earth by a number of costumed adventurers paying tribute to their legacy. Brother Voodoo is the chosen representative of the Loa while Vixen of the Justice League of America utilizes a mystical talisman passed down through her ancestors from Anansi, the spider-god, who also extends his protection over Spider-Man. The Santerians, a Hell's Kitchen vigilante group, also pay tribute to their memory.

Relations with Other Pantheons: The disputes the Vodu have had with the Coatli and the Incan Gods have already been documented, but Nyambe has had greater exposure with the gods of other pantheons through the Council Elite. The connections with the Gods of Egypt are undefined; some Egyptian gods, notably Mihos, were sometimes imbued with African characteristics.

==Characteristics== 

Body Type: Humanoid
Avg. Height: 6' 0"
Eyes: Two
Hair: Normal
Skin: Normal
Limbs: Two
Fingers: Five with opposable thumb
Toes: Five
Special Adaptations: The African gods are exceptionally long-lived, but they are not immortal like the Olympian gods; they age very slowly upon reaching adulthood, but they are not invulnerable to death. They are physically more durable than human beings; their skin, bone and tissue being three times more durable and dense than similar tissue in human beings.

==Powers== 

Avg. Strength Level: All African gods are superhumanly strong with the average male being able to lift (press) about 30 tons under optimal conditions and the average female being able to lift (press) about 25 tons under optimal conditions.
Known Powers: The African gods possess superhuman strength, stamina , longevity and resistance to harm. They are also inclined to tap and manipulate mystical energies for feats of magic, mostly for altering their appearance, communicating over long distances, teleporting through dimension barriers and casting spells. The scope of their powers mostly limited to one object, idea or field, usually tied into their personality. For example, as the African god of thunder, Shango, has dominance over the powers of storm and weather, whereas, Sagbata, the African death-god taps into powers of the underworld, such as curses and misfortune upon mortal man. 
Known Abilities: The African gods are tribal in nature and are excellent hunters, warriors and trackers, much more adept in spears and poison darts than in swords and archery. 

==Miscellaneous== 

Type of Government: Tribal
Level Of Technology: Magic
Cultural Traits: The African Gods were worshipped as gods in throughout the African continent and Madagascar, later spreading to the Southern Continental United States, West Indies, Gulf Coast and the Eastern rim of South America. Most of their cultural patterns reflect those of their worshippers, possibly due to living with their worshippers on Earth in ancient times before they departed Earth.
Names of Representatives: Ananse, Anaya, Asase Ya, Avlekete, Ayaba, Damballah, Erzulie, Eschu, Faa, Gou, Kibuka, Legba, Loco, Lusa, Maou, Mawu, Mukasa, Nana, Ndriananahary, Nyambe, Ogun, Olokun, Orishako, Sagbata, Shango, Zaca, et al.

==Trivia==

==References==

==External Links==

 

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