African Religions 101 | Resource List

Thanks to recent accounts in the news about the disrespect of African spirituality – first the media’s reaction to the suicide of actor  Lee Thompson Young (and the subsequent erroneous blog written by Luvvie in rebuttal) and most recently the American Apparel Halloween window display of a makeshift Vodou scene, I’ve created a list of resources from my personal collection that can be utilized by those interested in African spirituality. This list is by no means exhaustive. At some point, I will also add personal commentary to each resource. My interest has developed over the past decade and is informed by my own experiences as a practitioner of Lukumí, my academic studies, research and by the city that raised me, New Orleans. For now, happy reading!

Stephane Keith

Pictured: Mambo Marie Carmel | Photo Credit: Stephanie Keith

General Overview of African Spiritual Systems

Encyclopedia of African Religions | Molefi Asante and Ama Mazama

Of Water and The Spirit | Malidoma Some

African Religions and Philosophy | John S. Mbiti

Flash of the Spirit | Robert Farris Thomspon

The Aesthetic of the Cool | Robert Farris Thompson

The Spirit of Intimacy | Sobonufu Somé

The Trickster in West Africa: A Study of Mythic Irony and Sacred Delight | Robert D. Pelton

Let the Circle Be Unbroken | Marimba Ani

Afrocentricity | Molefi Asante

Yoruba Spirituality (and its derivatives)

Orisa: Yoruba Gods and Spiritual Identity in Africa and the Diaspora | Falola Genova ed.

Altar of My Soul | Marta Moreno Vega

The Way of the Orisa | John Neimark

Olookun: Owner of the Rivers and Seas | John Mason

The Core of Fire:  A Path of Yoruba Spiritual Activism | Aina Olomo


Sacrd ARts of Haitian Vodou |Donald J. Cosentino

Divine Horsemen | Maya Deren

Haiti, History and the Gods |  Joan Dayan

A New Orleans Vodou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau | Carolyn Morrow Long

Voodoo Queen: The Spirited Lives of Marie Laveau | Martha Ward

Voodoo in New Orleans | Robert Tallant

Vodou: Visions and Voices of Haiti | Phyllis Galembo

Vodou Brooklyn: Five Ceremonies with Mambo Marie Carmel | Stephanie Keith

Hoodoo and U.S. retentions

Slave Religion | Albert J. Raboteau

Mojo Workin’: The Old African American Hoodoo System | Katrina Hazzard-Donald

Mojo: Conjure Stories | Nalo Hopkinson ed.

Blue Roots: African-American Folk Magic of the Gullah People | Roger Pinckney


Death and the Invisible Powers | Simon Bockie


Fodoe-winti | Henri J.M. Stephen

Winti: Afro-Surinaamse religie en magische rituelen in Suriname en Nederland | Henri J.M. Stephen

Personal Memoirs

When the Spirits Dance Mambo | Marta Moreno Vega

Tell My Horse | Zora Neale Hurston

Island Possessed | Katherine Dunham


When the Spirits Dance Mambo | Marta Moreno Vega – Santeria

SOUNDRITE | Ja’Tovia Gary  – Haitian Vodou

A Cidade das Mulheres | Federico Fellini – Brasilian Candomblé

Divine Horsemen | Maya Deren – Haitian Vodou


Annual Orisa Conference | Omo Obatala Egbe

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