Africa Togo

Pleasing the Gods by Voodoo in Togo

When I arrived at the Voodoo ceremony in Togo in West Africa, two white powdered-faced women in grass skirts shuffled around and around to the beat of pulsating African drums.

In progress was a traditional Voodoo ceremony and hundreds watched the 10 participants performing in 3-ring circus style. Fifty million world-wide voodoo followers believe in one immensely powerful supreme god beyond their reach, causing them to rely on hundreds of spirits to communicate with their god.

During a ceremony, the Voodoo followers ask the spirits for advice, protection or assistance. The followers show respect to their god by performing rituals, some in the form of animal sacrifice.

A live chicken was buried with a clay pot in a 2-foot deep hole. Ten minutes later, they dug the chicken out alive. Then, the chicken was put on the head of a young boy and a sling shot rock caused the chicken to fall limp. The chicken’s head hung down to the boy’s nose and a final shot was fired at the boy’s face, hitting the chicken. The sacrifice was complete.

Then a 2-year-old child was taken from its mother and put in a plastic basket by the chicken hole. Screaming and crying, the baby was rescued suddenly by the mother. After weaving vines into a 5-foot rope, 2 men hang the screaming and crying young boy on the rope and carry him, then let him go. In another ritual, a grass skirted man heated an orange liquid on a fire and rubbed it over his upper body. Color, food and plants are used to pay tribute to their god.

Another part of Voodoo is possession and participants fainted, fell to the ground rubbing their faces in dirt, and ran screaming waving arms in belligerent manner. Witnessing the cradle of Voodoo for hoursĀ in Togo, West Africa, with Regent Seven Seas Cruises almost put me in a possessive trance, without the white powdered face and grass skirt.