A Voodoo Pilgrimage in Haiti

A scholar went on a Voodoo pilgrimage in Haiti and learned how an oppressive slave past has shaped its religious present. By Guilberly LouissaintPhD Student in AnthropologyUniversity of California, Irvine Introduction In July, hundreds of pilgrims make their way to an isolated town in the northwest of Haiti, called Anse-à-Foleur or Ansafolè. The journey celebrates[…]

Pilgrimage in the Byzantine Empire

Well-worn routes resulted along which regular stopping points allowed pilgrims to sleep, eat, and be cared for in a network of monasteries and churches. Introduction Pilgrimage in the Byzantine Empire involved the Christian faithful travelling often huge distances to visit such holy sites as Jerusalem or to see in person relics of holy figures and[…]

Theocratic Tyranny: The Late Medieval to Early Modern Inquisition

Originally established in the 13th century to combat heretical groups, the Inquisition became a sophisticated, global operation in the early modern period. Introduction From movies to metal bands to Monty Python (“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”), the Holy Office of the Inquisition has retained a powerful place in popular imagination. For many, this image is[…]

Unam Sanctam: Spiritual Authority and the Medieval Church

The medieval Church developed and retained its power by encouraging the innate human fear of death and the Church’s vision of itself as the only path to salvation from hell. Introduction The pagan systems of the past all had some version of judgment after death whereby ‘good’ people were rewarded and ‘bad’ people punished, but[…]

The Origins and Growth of Yazidism since the Ancient World

For thousands of years, Yazidism incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam. By Seth EislundStudentCarleton College Introduction Yazidism is a syncretic, monotheistic religion practiced by the Yazidis, an ethnoreligious group which resides primarily in northern Iraq, northern Syria, and southeastern Turkey. Yazidism is considered by its adherents to be the oldest religion in[…]