The African American practitioners drew on the mainstream Christian religious practices around them--including cretain prayers. According to Denise Alvarado in Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook (2011):
In hoodoo and New Orleans Voodoo, some prayers are central to many and ritual activities. ... For example, the Litiany of the saints will often procede the opening of a Voodoo ceremoney, as will the Rosery for the Dead, Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Apostle's Creed. ( p. 77).Until the 15th century, it was widely believed that the Apostles' Creed was written by the apostles. The present Apostles’ Creed was probably formulated around 450 CE. Even though it was formulated long after the death of the twelve apostles, the Apostles' Creed is accepted as an expression of Christian truth and viewed as fitting with doctrines taught by the apostles. This statement of faith transcends the differences between Christian denominations, as it is used by the Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Presbyterians.
The NIV Teen Study Bible, Paperback Deluxe Edition, published by Zondervan 1984, 2008, provided a guide to scripture in connection with the Apostles' Creed. Each phrase is related to a book and chapter for further reading in order to deepen the understanding of Christian faith. I've included this guide to emphasize that the Apostle's Creed is very much a part of Christian devotions and is very much founded in Christian scripture.
|Phrase from the Creed||Bible Reference|
|I believe||John 3|
|in God the Father||Psalm 103|
|Creator of heaven and earth.||Genesis 1|
|And in Jesus Christ||Colossians 1|
|his only Son||John 1|
|our Lord;||Romans 14|
|who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,||Luke 1|
|born of the Virgin Mary,||Isaiah 7|
|suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,||Issiah 53|
|dead, and buried.||Matthew 27|
|the third day he rose again from the dead;||Luke 24|
|he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father||Hebrews 9|
|from thence he shall come||Mark 13|
|to judge the quick and the dead.||Revelation 20|
|I believe in the Holy Spirit,||Acts 2|
|the holy Catholic Church,||1 Peter 1|
|the communion of saints,||Ephians 2|
|the forgiveness of sins,||Jeremiah 31|
|the resurrection of the body||Daniel 12|
|and life everlasting. Amen.||Revelation 21|
The Apostles' Creed might not be used in hoodoo quite as much as the Psalms. Yet the Credo was being used as a healing charm as far back as the 15th century. It was one of the many verbal healing charms and viewed as particularly effectacious in neutralizing malign magic.
For we hear of a certain poor and very devout virgin, one of whose friends has been grievously bewitched in his foot, so that it was clear to the physicians that he could be cured by no medicines. But it happened that the virgin went to visit the sick man, and he at once begged her to apply some benediction to his foot. She consented, and did no more than silently say the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed, at the same time making use of the sign of the life-giving Cross. The sick man then felt himself at once cured, and, that he might have a remedy for the future, asked the virgin what charms she had used. But she answered: You are of little faith and do not hold to the holy and lawful practices of the Church, and you often apply forbidden charms and remedies for your infirmities; therefore you are rarely healthy in your body, because you are always sick in your soul. But if you would put your trust in prayer and in the efficacy of lawful symbols, you will often be very easily cured. For I did nothing but repeat the Lord's Prayer and the Apostles' Creed, and you are now cured.It should be noted that the "devout virgin" in the story above would have silently prayed the Lord's Prayer and Apostles' Creed in Latin.1 There are also references to the Apostles' Creed being written on papers and worn around a person's neck in a small bag both before and after the rise of Protestantism.
--Heinrich Kramer, The Malleus Maleficarum, Part 2, Chapter VI, 1486. This quote found on p. 179, in the English Reprint in 2007.
In hoodoo, there are references to an English version of the Apostles' Creed. For example, while preparing to take an old style conjure or hoodoo bath, a practitioner might recite either the Apostles' Creed or the Lord's prayer while rubbing her/his whole body down with an uncrossing candle or a white seven day devotion candle from head to foot. I emphasize again that these practices were blessings used by hoodoo practitioners who consider themselves Christians.
As Haiti is a Catholic country, Haitian Voudou ceremonies may begin with a French version of the Apostles' Creed.
In Curanderismo, the Apostles' Creed may also be used in spiritual cleansings or healings with fresh raw egg. The egg is ritually passed over a person's body while the practioner recites the prayer.
Traditional English: Apostles' Creed21 Healing prayers and charms were often muttered softly or whispered over those who were injured or sick.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Amen.
French: Le Symbole des Apôtres
Je crois en Dieu, le Père tout-puissant, créateur du ciel et de la terre.
Et en Jésus-Christ, son Fils unique, notre Seigneur, qui a été conçu de Saint-Esprit, et qui est né de la Vierge Marie. Il a souffert sous Ponce Pilate, il a été crucifié, il est mort, il a été enseveli, il est descendu aux enfers. Le troisième jour il est ressuscité des morts, il est monté aux cieux, il siège à la droite de Dieu. Il viendra de là pour juger les vivants et les morts.
Je crois en l'Esprit-Saint. Je crois la Sainte Eglise catholique, la communion des saints, la rémission des péchés, la résurrection de la chair, et la vie éternelle. Amen
Spanish: Credo de los Apóstoles
Creo en Dios, Padre todopoderoso, creador del Cielo y de la Tierra.
Creo en Jesucristo su único Hijo, Nuestro Señor, que fue concebido por obra y gracia del Espíritu Santo; nació de Santa María Virgen; padeció bajo el poder de Poncio Pilato; fue crucificado, muerto y sepultado; descendió a los infiernos; al tercer día resucitó de entre los muertos; subió a los cielos y está a la diestra de Dios Padre; desde allí ha de venir a juzgar a los vivos y a los muertos.
Creo en el Espíritu Santo, en la Santa Iglesia Católica, la comumión de los Santos en el perdon de los pecados la resurrección de los muertos y la vida eterna. Amen.
Italian: Credo degli Apostoli
Io credo in Dio, Padre onnipotente, Creatore del Cielo e della Terra.
Credo in Gesù Cristo fu crocifisso il suo unico Figlio, nostro Signore, il quale fu concepito per la grazia dello Spirito Santo, nacque da Maria Vergine, patì sotto Ponzio Pilato,, morì e fu sepolto, discese agli inferi, il terzo giorno risorto dai morti, salì al cielo, siede alla destra di Dio Padre, da là verrà a giudicare i vivi ei morti.
Credo nello Spirito Santo, la santa Chiesa cattolica, la comunione dei santi, la remissione dei peccati, la risurrezione dei morti e la vita eterna. Amen.
Latin: Symbolum Apostolorum, also Symbolum Apostolicum
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae, et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam aeternam. Amen.
2 An earlier form of the Tradtional English version of the Apostles' Creed used the term "Holy Ghost" rather than "Holy Spirit."
copyright 2013 Myth Woodling
Denise Alvarado Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, 2011.
Starr Casas, MAKING FLOOR WASHES AND BATHES, accessed 5/28/13.
Rev. Carolina Dean, The Egg-Roll, 2010, accessed 5/28/13.
Heinrich Kramer, The Malleus Maleficarum, Part 2, Chapter VI, 1486, English Reprint, 2007.
The NIV Teen Study Bible, Paperback Deluxe Edition, published by Zondervan 1984, 2008
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