Other Religions Alternative Religions Vodou Spirits Types of Spirits in African-Diaspora Religions Share Flipboard Email Print Tim White / Getty Images Alternative Religions Mythological Figures Overview Beliefs Satanic Beliefs and Creeds By Catherine Beyer Wicca Expert M.A., History, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee B.A., History, Kalamazoo College Catherine Beyer is a practicing Wiccan who has taught religion in at Lakeland College in Wisconsin as well as humanities and Western culture at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. our editorial process Catherine Beyer Updated August 18, 2018 In New World Vodou, the spirits (or lwa) with whom believers interact are divided into three main families, Rada, Petro, and Ghede. Iwa can be viewed as forces of nature, but they also have personalities and personal mythologies. They are extensions of the will of Bondye, the ultimate principle of the universe. Rada Ioa Spirits Rada lwa have their roots in Africa. These were spirits or deities honored by slaves who were brought to the New World and became the major spirits within the new religion synthesized there. Rada lwa are generally benevolent and creative and are associated with the color white. Rada lwa are often considered to also have Petro aspects—which are harsher and more aggressive than their Rada counterparts. Some sources describe these different personalities as aspects, while others depict them as separate beings. Petro Iwa Spirits Petro (or Petwo) lwa originate in the New World, specifically in what is now Haiti. As such, they do not appear in African Vodou practices. They are associated with the color red. Petro lwa tend to be more aggressive and are more often associated with darker subjects and practices. To divide up the Rada and Petro lwa in terms of good and evil, however, would be highly misrepresentative and rituals dedicated toward assistance or harm of another can involve lwas of either family. Ghede Iwa Spirits Ghede lwa are associated with the dead and also with carnality. They transport dead souls, behave irreverently, make obscene jokes and perform dances that mimic sexual intercourse. They celebrate life in the midst of death. Their color is black.