I have observed that it is very difficult for the public to perceive the differences between the Vodoun Gnostic and the Haitian Vodou . Obviously, I fully understand where this difficulty comes from. After all, there is a close relationship between the two. The confusion is not at all absurd - at first - but it needs to be clarified. I hope this text can help.
What is Haitian Vodou ?
A religiosity formed in Haiti through the interaction of diverse African spiritualities, Christianity and European mysticism and a little bit of native religiosity. It is a religion of interactions between people and spirits, with phenomena such as the possession. Its organization is dispersed and autonomous: in other words, each Vodou house has its own rules. For this reason, its practice is heterogeneous and diverse, although always maintaining some degree of basic structure.
What is the Vodoun Gnostic ?
A magical and mystical system created by Lucien François Jean-Maine from his experiences as Houngan of Haitian Vodou and ceremonial magician and from traditions entrusted to him. The Vodoun Gnostic is based on Freemasonry (notably on the Egyptian Rites of Memphis and Misraim), Martinism, French neognosticism from the beginning of the 20th century, Western estoric tradition, Oriental traditions and on Haitian Vodou. Bertiaux received from the Jean-Maine family the teachings and initiations related to this system.
What to keep in mind while studing these two disciplines:
The Vodou which is commonly spoken of and which is practiced in Haiti and which we discuss here frequently is the Haitian Vodou. In Haiti, probably few people will be familiar with the Vodoun Gnostic. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that when talking about Vodou in Haiti, the reference is the Haitian Vodou and not the system popularized by Bertiaux .
When reading a book on Haitian Vodou, one should not understand that those notions are valid in full regarding the Vodoun Gnostic. Although the Vodoun Gnostic is based on Haitian Vodou, it presents other notions and a different construction. Remember that within the Haitian Vodou itself there is great diversity, imagine regarding Haitian Vodou and the Vodoun Gnostic ...
When reading about Vodoun Gnostic, it must be kept in mind that the teachings contained therein are not necessarily valid for Haitian Vodou. Here we follow the same logic that we followed in the paragraph above.
In short, Haitian Vodou is a spiritual system (or a cult or religion, if you prefer). Vodoun Gnostic is a magical system with bases in Haitian Vodou (among others). They are different things. Those who dedicate themselves to Haitian Vodou will not necessarily be interested in theVodoun Gnostic systen. The opposite is more likely, but it is not mandatory.