top of page
  • Writer's pictureVoodoo Vixen

Bondye: The Unknowable God of Voodoo

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

Voodoo is an African diasporic religion that developed between the 16th and 19th centuries in Haiti and Louisiana as various African traditional religions practiced by people forcibly transported to the Americas from West and Central Africa mixed with French Catholicism.

Voodoo is a monotheistic religion that recognizes the supreme being, Bondye. Bondye is usually described as a “he”, but appears to be gender fluid. The god created everything in the universe and is responsible for all life and maintaining universal order.

Bondye is above human understanding and does not concern himself with the petty human affairs. For this reason, Voodoo practitioners do not work with or call on Bondye directly. Instead, they interact with lesser divine beings also created by Bondye. These lesser deities are called Lwas (or Loas), loosley translated as the word god.

Example of Voodoo altar
Example Voodoo Altar

Bondye as the Source of All Life

The name of Bondye is believed to come from the French Bon Dieu, which means “good god”. But Voodoo practitioners do not believe in a contrasting wicked god. Instead, they believe all things that nourish life, and therefore nourish Bondye, are good, and all things that diminish life and the god are bad.

He is also known as Gran Met, which is the Haitian variation of Gran Maitre, which simply means “grandmaster”, an appropriate name for the supreme creator god. He is also known by Olohoum by some practitioners, ferived from the Yoruba word Olorun, which means "master of the skies".

Bondye the Creator

When Bondye created the universe he started with the sun, since it is essential for all life. He then created the Lwas, divine spirits to care for the world that he had created. Finally, he created humanity in his own image out of clay and water.

Since Bondye is unknowable, there is no specific imagery associated with the god. Instead, Voodoo practitioners work through his Lwas. They believe that there is no point in trying to work with Bondye directly as he is above the concerns of men, and he is so unfathomable that human beings cannot understand how to communicate with him.

Cosmic Order

The existence of Bondye suggests a belief in a kind of cosmic order. It is an order that Voodoo practitioners can influence, but action must be taken within the order. This is why the phrase si Bondye vle, which means “if Bondye is willing”, is incredibly important in Haitian life.

External observers of Haitian vodou equate Bondye with the Christian notion of a single supreme god, or the single supreme deity Bythos in Gnosticism.

199 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page