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by Micha F. Lindemans
In the voodoo-religion of the Caribbean, the loa are a group of divinities who are concerned with the lives of humans and who often personify forces of nature. Their origin lies in West-African traditions, and their leader is Damballa. Some loa protect certain places or areas, such as cemeteries, crossroads, the sea, etc., while other loa are ancestral deities. The loa cult is lead by a priest (hungan) or priestess (mambo) and the divinities are invoked by vévé (magical pentagrams) and by singing and dancing. During these rituals, the names of the loa are often mixed with those of Christian saints (with which they show many similarities). The loa are represented by vévé drawn on the ground.

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