Voodoo can be summarized by saying it is focused in rituals, ceremonies and superstitions. Within these you see possession by, marriage to and dissociation with the gods. The word actually comes from the West African word vodun in the Fon language. It means god, spirit or sacred object. Voodoo is largely practiced in Haiti by descendants of African slaves sent to Haiti for enslavement, and likewise by descendants of African slaves in the Caribbean, America and Brazil all locations where plantation slavery was plentiful. Their ancestors brought with them their traditions in magic and over the years formed into the formal practice of voodoo.
Voodoo is the practice and belief by which the gods possess the worshippers to provide a myriad of powers, blessings, or to perform certain acts which can only be accomplished by possession. It is also the practice through which ancestors are called upon to provide magical ability, guidance, powers or to provide psychic divinations for self or others.
The second aspect of Voodoo is obeah; the practice of voodoo dolls, black candles, Baron Samedi, calling the dead and zombies. This is the more publicized and commercialized side of Voodoo that the general public is familiar with. However, it is not the primary side but merely a part.
Those who are born into and grow up in Voodoo life are taught to be honest and good by being made afraid of the unseen and paranormal entities that will "get them" if they are not good. They are told never to get their head wet or moist with dew because water is a vehicle for spirits and since a human's spirit resides in their head getting the head wet can release or make vulnerable their spirit to attacks. They are taught to lock up their homes tight at night; all windows and doors shut and sealed to keep out the bogies. If they fail to do this the loupgarous (witches) can come into their home and suck the children's blood. They are not safe even in the sun because at the peak of the day humans do not cast shadows and therefore their soul has temporarily disappeared leaving the human open to the wandering spirits who are looking for a home. And children are told not to play with their shadows by candlelight at night because they may tie their soul in knots. The most fearsome Voodoo entity to children is the tonton macoute, a magician who travels with obeah tools and steals children for less than welcome uses. Therefore mothers threaten the tonton when their children misbehave.
Obeah is used by "good" believers in Voodoo to counteract the "bad" believers only and never use it for their own gain, to do so would be perilous to their soul. And good believers can be inflicted by bad believers to such a point they have to seek out a practitioner of obeah to help them. In these cases a tonton macoute, bokor, sorcerer or houngan will be consulted to alleviate the infliction of the person. They work magic to discover who the antagonist is, what magic was used, why it was cast and to send it back to the person who begat it.