Voodoo in Haiti
Written and researched by Margaret nee Knight-Sypniewska

Haitian coat of arms
Motto: Strength Through Unity


The purpose of this page is to give a very brief overlook of the religion called Voodoo as it exists in Haiti.

This is a supplementary article to the series on the Polish in Haiti.

As I have shown in my other articles, Poles can be found in many places around the world. Poles in Haiti has been a well-hidden fact in most history books. However, the descendants of these abandoned soldiers still remember. Perhaps the reason they were ignored was because they were considered "cowards" by the French. The Polish did not choose to fight this war, and most records confirm that they were taken on board ships by gunpoint. In this circumstance you can forgive those that deserted. They were fighting a morally wrong war. The Haitians had already been given their independence and then Napoleon decided to take it back for his regimes' own personal profits:

White supremacy still reared its ugly head in times of early colonialism.

If you read the page called "The Lost Polish Brigades in Haiti" you will have read about Amon Fremon of Casales, Haiti. Amon was a Voodoo priest.


Some researchers thought that the word Voudou/Voodoo came from the French word Vaudois meaning "witchcraft," as they were called by the Waldensian heretics. Remember this would make sense because Haiti was a French possession, so they would have named this religion in French terms.


However, other scholars think Voodoo is a West African corruption of the Yoruba word for "god." Voodoo as a religion was brought to Haiti by slaves from Dahomey (Mair, 234). The first humans to appear in the lands of Dahomey (Benin) were worshippers of the goddess Mawu-Lisa. Since that time, certain Christian rituals were incorporated into Voodoo, because of the missionaries who wished to eradicate these practices.

Polish soldiers most likely tried to practice their Catholicism in the early days. They even built a stone church in Casales. However, later on, as more generations of mixed blood entered their offspring's veins. Many descendants adopted a blend of Catholic and Voodoo beliefs.

The fact that their copy of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa was still among their church relics tells us this. However, many of the other traditions from their Polish blood had been forgotten. Amon Fremon, who claimed descendant from Polish soldiers, was a Voodoo priest and he worked his rituals while taken to Poland and France by Jerzy Detopski. Therefore Voodoo is a modern part of their descendant's lives.


In the early days of Haiti [we can not re-write history], the slave owners feared the sorcery of their slaves. They felt that the "black carbonaro" were dedicated to the destruction of whites. This fear still exists today. In fact most Haitians still see whites as their enemies. Remember Francois Duvalier ("Papa Doc") was reputed to have used Voodoo as a tool to control his people. He also stressed "negritude" which is explained as a pride in blackness and African heritage.

The fear whites held for their slaves, that practiced Voodoo, were brought on by the early writings:

....."In the 16th century Spencer St. John (a 19th century British consul) wrote a book (in 1884) saying that Voodoo rites assisted in the murder and eating of children, in honor of the serpent god. W. H. Seabrook was in Haiti in the twentieth century. He saw Voodoo rituals from 1915-1933, and wrote about his observations of what he called "sinister practices."

However, one of the strongest writings against Voodoo were written by Dennis Wheatley, an Englishman. Wheatley wrote many books about witchcraft, satanism, and other black arts, in his lifetime. His interest in occult sciences was his life. He researched this most of his life.

Wheatley writes:


It seems that Wheatley was right about Voodoo in England. There was said to be a Voodoo temple near the Strand. In July 1964, a white cockerel with its throat cut was found in Watford Park. A Jamaican remarked to the Press. DO NOT go near that bird. It was used as a sacrifice in a Voodoo initiation ceremony.

There is much more explaining the sexual ceremonies of humans copulating during their ceremonies and the sacrificing of chickens and more sinister offerings. All these stories would be terrifying to the casual reader.

These Voodoo rituals were totally foreign to the European mind. They did not understand them. Remember in Europe witchcraft was thought to be the tool of the devil and his demons. Many innocent women and men were killed during the frenzy of the witchcraft trials all over the continent.

In 1494, Pope Innocent VIII isssued a Papal Bull:

"It has come to our ears that numbers of both sexes do not avoid to have intercourse with demons, Incubi and Succubi; and that they by their sorceries, and by their incantations, charms, and conjurations, they suffocate, extinguish and cause to perish the births of women, the increase of animals, the corn in the ground, the grapes in the vineyard and the fruits of the trees, as well as men, women, flocks, herds and various kinds of animals, vines and apple trees, grass, corn, and other fruits of the earth; making and procuring men and women, flocks and herds and other animals should suffer, and be tormented both from within and from without, so that men beget not, nor women conceive; and they impede the conjugal action of men and women."

This Bull was directed towards witchcraft in general, not just Voodoo.


"Jesus, Mary, and Christian saints are mingled with the African pantheon. The main act of the religion is sacrifice of animals: fowls, doves, turkey, goats, and on some important occasions, bull. The pig is never used. The original sacrifice (in the past) was no doubt human" (Seabrook, 58).

The Middle Ages was where this fear began. The devil idea was at its peak in the Middle Ages or Kali Yuga (dark era). The duality of good and evil was said to have originated in Persia. Even King James I (of England) wrote a book on demonology and made his own version of the Bible. King James I feared witchcraft. He wrote Daemonologia in 1597. There have been many writings about Voodoo. Most of these books were written with the intent of helping other whites to understand. However, these books were based on personal truths, and not necessarily the truth as seen through Haitian eyes. Books on Voodoo vary in their views. However most agree to the following:

The use of Christian icons was a way to practice Voodoo without raising suspicion from their slave masters. If whites saw an altar with Christian figures their minds seemed to be at rest. They thought their slaves had converted. However, this was merely a tactic used by the Voodoo community. No one is really positive what their ceremonies are really like. Many ceremonies are performed as a tourist attraction even today.

One thing we do know is that black Voodoo practices, were punished via tortures and were branded by their owners. Victory in war, they were convinced, was one of the aims of their rituals, and slave masters always had this as their concern. They feared that their slaves would rise up and kill them.

For the past two hundred years this hatred has done nothing but fester.

The Haitians have a saying: The Catholic goes to church to speak about God, the vodounists dance in the hounfour to become God (Davis, 170).

Voodoo Flags (art) ... Haiti: Voodoo
Voodoo in the Republic of Haiti ...


Allan, Tony. Voices of the Ancestors: African Myth USA: Time-Life Books, 1999 (Myth and Mankind Series).

Buckland, Raymond. The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism

Crow, W.B. A History of Magic, Witchcraft, and Occultism. Hollywood, CA.: Wiltshire Book Company, 1970.

Davis, Wade. The Serpent and the Rainbow. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Diederich, Bernard and Al Burt. Papa Doc: The Truth About Haiti Today. New York: Avon Books, 1970.

Doktor Snake. Voodoo Spellbook. New York: St Martin's Press, 2000.

Mair, Lucy. Witchcraft New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1969.

Mapes, Eric. The Domain of Devils. New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, Inc., 1966.

Seabrook, W.B. The Magic Island London, 1929, 276.

Wedeck, Harry E. A Treasury of Witchcraft: A Source of the Magical Arts. New York: The Citadel Press, 1969.

Wheatley, Dennis. The Devil and All His Works. New York: American Heritage Press, 1971.

You are the visitor since September 29, 2002

Webmaster: Margaret Sypniewska
Email Margaret: Maggie973@aol.com"> Margaret

This page was last updated on January 22, 2019

This page is hosted by