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Ritual murder is most often attributed to practitioners of occult ideologies such as Satanism, Palo Mayombe, Santeria, and other magical traditions, which include a wide variety of both sacred and secular acts committed, by both the individuals and groups. It may also be associated with serial killers and sexual sadists who ritually murder their victims. Due to many ethical, practical, and legal controversies, the study of modern-day religious aggression is in its formative years.
There have been no serious experiential studies of ritualistic crimes or categorization that sufficiently differentiate between ritual homicides committed for sacred versus secular motivations. This article presents the results of a research on the phenomenology of image veneration, contemporary blood rituals, and sacred violence. It reflects a continued endeavour to protect the religious freedoms of members of alternative religions while assisting law
enforcement professionals in the investigation of ritualistic crimes.
Keywords: Ritual Violence; Sacrifice; Symbolic Analysis.
Defining religion is one of the prominent but at the same time an intricate concept that cannot be aptly solved. The incumbent situations indicate that assorted religious practices are ever increasing with each adopting different avenues. However, the bottom line of all sorts of religion is worship. In essence, that his/His or her followers pay adulation to a supreme being. The existence of black magic renders the entire scenario an utter intricate puzzle. In this regard, it will be imprudent for one to judge the next-door neighbor of engaging in a “false” religion yet the entire undertaking is merely spiritual and arrest of mind. It is not easy to point out a true faith unless pinned on social grounds. Religion in the Kongo society was typically of a political alignment and affiliation. It was principally associated with the spirits but at the same time engulfing kingship. In light of this, its primary role or obligation was to maintain and uphold the values as well as the existence of the kingdom thus eventually treating the king as sacred. And as a result, religious shifts were a mere shifts experienced in the political wing and control. Palo Mayombe is believed to have originated from Africa somewhere in the parts of the current Congo society and has been argued to be the most feared, dreaded as well as powerful form of the black magic globally (Palo Mayombe). For instance, in the Santeria religion, there is existence of the dark part of the religion known as Palo Mayombe. This leads us to a conclusion that there are individuals who practice this dark aspect. These are the Palero group. Voodoo as discussed here under is also an occult but with catholic inclination.
2.1 Review of Palo Mayombe and Voodoo as Tools of Ritualism and Murder
The history about Palo Mayombe date back in the history of the Spanish slave trade activates. Arguably, the black magic was transported into the Caribbean during this slave trade and was taken to Cuba as well as Puerto Rico as early as the 1500 century. Currently, the extensive influence of this magic has been argued to be in most parts of Central America, some parts of Brazil (locally known as Quimbanda) as well as Mexico. Quimbanda is a muddle of the customary Congo, indigenous India, as well as Latin America spiritualism. For comparative analysis, Voodoo cannot be overlooked in this discussion. A majority of the African slaves that were sent to the Haitian state came from the western as well as Central Africa. Arguably, Vodun followers that were enslaved here have mostly been identified to be descendants of the Ewe, the Anlo-Ewe among most other African groups from the western part. The survival of its religious practices as well as the belief systems has had a remarkable outturn. However, it is important to note that the traditional beliefs have continually been changing as time goes with some even taking after the catholic way of worship. Two prime traits are characteristic of the Haitian Voodoo practice when compared to the other African practices that follow the same religion. These atypical characteristic are that the enslaved Haitian Africans (just the same way the Cuban as well as the Brazilian ones) were obliged to disguise their spell commonly known as “loa” or “lwa”. The other unique character is that spirits such as those attributed to the Roman Catholic saints were disguised in the process called syncretism element (Guynup, 7). Conceivably, the inclusion of the Roman Catholic practice was intended to conceal their paganism so that their masters who had earlier on forbidden them from taking after it could not notice. As a result, this Vodun practice in Haiti has much of its rooting in assorted western African cultures as well as religions which sporadically slot in catholic practices not mentioning the Arawak Amerindian sways. It is a common undertaking for most of the Haitian voodoo devotees to integrate catholic practices into their culture. In essence, the practice is very anti-Christian but it incorporates catholic practices in its culture. The major mission of most missionaries was to repeatedly visit the island and convert the islanders back to Christianity. This possibly may explain the source of catholic culture which has commonly been integrated into their culture. The consequent perception of Christianity has had an impact on most Haitians who now perceive Voodoo as an evil practice coupled with very abusive followers and practitioners.
2.2 Comparative Analysis of Palo Mayombe and Voodoo in a Religious Perspective
Reality, rhetoric, comparison, style, and the general way of life of any given society (in this case Palo Mayombe versus Voodoo) are what can be underpinned in religious analysis and comparison. For instance, taking an example of ritual murder can best portray a comparison between the two religious practices. In essence, the act ritual murder entails a wide range of both sacred and secular motives. Such motives are pioneered by assorted groups of individuals or even persons as single entities most often affiliated to certain ideologies of specific occults. Such groupings include Satanism, Santeria, Palo Mayombe, and many other traditions that compel serial killings. For instance, sexual sadists end up killing their victims for ritual purposes. The incumbent issues on contemporary religion such as legal practices, ethiscal demands set apart such sadist movements. Image worship, incumbent blood rituals, violence in infancy, sacred violence are all but what the two religions involve in one way or another.
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The term Voodoo which is also known as “Vodun”, “Voudou”, “Vodoun”, was derived from a Fon word which basically implies deity or a spirit. This terminology was developed as a disparaging expression that was a reference to a system of sorcery as well as magic. In addition, it could mean certain spells or even charms that were hurled by the systems and its practitioners.
This religion has a massive foundation estimated to be backed by close to sixty million followers globally. Notably, large numbers of its practitioners are found in New York, Miami as well as Montreal Canada. Voodoo is a syncretism religion that as aforementioned was developed due to the incoming African immigrants brought in as slaves. The religion massively evolved among most of the slaves who were taken to Haiti and established themselves on the island. Marked differences do exists between voodoo and other religions more specifically Palo Mayombe.
This religion has a loosely prearranged priesthood that is open to men and at the same time women. Males who become priests are named Hougan while the females are termed as Mambo. The other group comprises of the Captalas who practice the evil sorcery, black magic and other forms of occulted undertakings (Artigo, 14). In essence, it is the representation of the Bokor that habitually provides the orthodox depiction of Voodoo spells that are hypothetical to cause death as well as illness in addition to injury. Furthermore, for individuals to become rich, to cause bad luck to their foes or on the other hand good fortunes to those they perceive loyal to them (clients) or even invoke a zombie are what the black magic is belied to accomplish.
On the other hand, Palo Mayombe is seen as another syncretism Afro-Caribbean faith system that merges the cultural as well as pious belief systems of the antique African Congo ethnic groups along with the devout practices among the Yoruba slaves as well as Catholicism. It utilizes paranormal rituals that stage-manage, enthrall, or even control another human being, most habitually for the practitioner’s malicious purposes. As voodoo is seen evil, Palo Mayombe actually executes the acts of ritual murder as a way of sacrifice and paying tribute to their supreme being.
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3, 0 Conclusion
It is evident that religion is an intricate concept to define. Pointing out a true faith is a mere premise that cannot be that accurate. The existence of Palo Mayombe and Voodoo as separate religious practices can comparatively be analyzed. The major aspect brought out is that both are occults and practice ritual murder, spell hurling, sorcery, not mentioning child violence. However, the distinctive difference is that Voodoo is more socially religious as compared to the Black magic attributed to Palo Mayombe. Thus, the existence of law and order as well as social demands is the only way to curb the anti-social practices of the cults.