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Voodoos and Fetishes abound in Togo and Benin



Revealed: February twenty ninth 2024

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These two gadgets are in all probability the ‘huge ticket’ gadgets from this a part of the world. By the use of introduction, our very first go to was to the fascinating, if moderately ugly, native fetish market in Lome, Togo, the place all method of animal components are bought to be used in conventional medicines. A fetish (sorry guys, not the sexual want kind!) is an inanimate object worshipped for its magical powers or as a result of it’s thought-about to be inhabited by a spirit. Animal skins, bones and skulls, tortoises, feathers, powders and varied concoctions, stuffed snakes, amulets and good luck charms, iron bells that “ward off spirits”, dried leaves and vegetation have been all represented at this market. The truth that today was stinking sizzling and the aroma from the market simply plain stinking meant we stored this go to to a minimal. On our additional travels, we repeatedly noticed fetishes dotted across the villages – these have been usually rocks or different strong objects (we noticed tortoise shells at one village) wherein a spirit was believed to reside, usually lined in candle wax, feathers and blood the place sacrifices have been made.

Later, we moved on from Lome in the direction of Lac Togo and Agbodrafo. On the way in which,

we stopped at a distant village to witness a Voodoo ceremony. Voodoo comes from a mix of conventional West African practices of ancestor worship and animism, which is the idea that each object, together with animals and vegetation, accommodates a spirit or a soul. Mainly the ceremony comprised a bunch of males beating a frenetic rhythm on drums, with the chants of the encircling villagers calling the voodoo spirits, who take possession of a collection of dancers, primarily however not solely ladies, who fall right into a deep trance, eyes rolling again, grimacing and even convulsions. Ultimately, they might usually simply collapse onto the bottom if not saved by their fellow dancers. Though we didn’t see it, I perceive it additionally renders these dancers insensitive to fireplace or ache. The villagers have been all very hospitable and blissful to have photographs taken, as have been the myriad of little youngsters that surrounded us as we moved out and in of the village.

Quickly after we crossed the border from Togo into Benin and we headed on in the direction of Ouidah, a stronghold of Voodoo and as soon as an necessary slave port. First cease was the Temple of Pythons, the place a set of snakes are

commemorated as earthly representatives of Voodoo gods. The snakes are a serious totem for followers of Voodoo, as they’re necessary spiritual symbols and are extremely revered. Contained in the temple, there’s a pit full of dozens of snakes from a species referred to as the Royal python (notable for his or her docility) both slinking round or tangled collectively. It’s reported that roughly sixty pythons make this temple their residence. The snakes are innocent and guests are permitted to carry them.

Early the subsequent day, we stopped simply off the roadway on the Dankoli fetish, a reasonably crude setup however one which is taken into account crucial shrine in Benin. Right here, the locals push little sticks into a big conglomerate of fetish as witnesses to the numerous prayers made to the native god. They might usually pray for such occasions as a superb harvest, a contented wedding ceremony, a straightforward supply, successful in school and so on. As soon as the prayers are answered, these similar folks return to sacrifice what that they had promised to the fetish, be {that a} goat, a rooster or a cow, in response to the character of the prayer. Vital portions of blood, palm alcohol and palm oil on the fetish

mound have been proof that lots of pilgrims felt that they had had their prayers answered. By pure ‘luck’, we arrived simply in time to search out two males who had returned to sacrifice a goat every. They slit their throats to unfold blood on the fetish mound, then cooked them on an open hearth and sliced them up into their varied cuts. To be sincere, the world extra resembled a garbage dump and I discovered the entire ceremony moderately ugly and admittedly unappealing. One in every of our group then did the touristy factor and caught in a stick and made a want, however I doubt he can be again with a goat if his want comes true.

That offers one thing of a protection of the 2 cultural gadgets that play an enormous half within the lives of the folks of Togo and Benin.


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