Updated: Feb 2
You may have noticed one of my treatments available, and it is my recommended "Treatment of the Month" for February, to celebrate Black History Month in the US. My Voodoo-inspired Herbal Fusion incorporates the powers of healing herbs combined with spiritual practice and head massage to help you reach the spirit of the Orishas. If you have no idea what Voodoo is, or perhaps are curious about other cultures, please read on and learn something new...
Voodoo, or "Vodun" (originally named), is a closed religious practice which has origins in African countries such as Togo, Benin & Senegal - one the original tribes can be traced to the Yoruba people who are found in Benin & Nigeria. During the slave trade between the 16th - 19th Centuries, it was brought across the Atlantic to Haiti & Belize, and into North America along with its practicing Africans & Latin-Americans. Most of the slaves that were brought into America came into the South, and as such those who came via Haiti were transported through the Gulf of Mexico and reached Louisiana, Alabama, Florida & Texas. Many of the Haitian slaves came to New Orleans, where you will notice is a hub of Voodoo and witchcraft.
I was first drawn to the city of New Orleans when I visited the States in 2019 - I really fell in love with the vibrant culture and music at every turn. Most people know this place for the jazz scene and Hurricane Katrina, but when you are actually in it you realise just how spiritual and magickal it is. In the French Quarter you will find a whole host of crystal and metaphysical gift shops, tobacconists, curiosity & occult shops, tarot & psychic services, all manner of witchcraft practice can be found around the corner... just on the outskirts and conveniently located in the centre of town can be found the world famous Voodoo Spiritual Temple, which is owned by Priestess Miriam. I found her Temple in a travel book and circled it while on my flight, and it must have been that Black Magick working because I am so glad I carried through with the plan to visit!
Priestess Miriam offers spiritual healing and reading services, although I could only afford a few small gifts at the time. However her presence radiated such warmth and wisdom that I made a note to keep using her business; I am proud to say that all materials used in my Voodoo Fusion treatment are sourced directly from her shop so you can be assured they are authentic and blessed by a real Priestess. I would love to ascend myself in the future but for now I only act as a guide and assistant to your personal magick.
Enough about my story; you may be wondering, what is a "closed practice"? Essentially this means that in order to be fully integrated as part of a certain religious or spiritual group, you must not be aligned with another religion or following and must be initiated by an established priest/priestess or similar. That is not to say you cannot be an ally to members of the community, or take a personal interest in the spiritual practices, but as an example you can practice Voodoo as long as you have a belief in it, but couldn't call yourself a "Vodouist" if you had not been initiated through a priestess.
There aren't many books or useful internet resources available to describe Voodoo in its entirety, but there are a few. There are several sub-cultures or sub-religious groups which include West African Vodou/Vodun, Santería & Haitian Vodou, Belizean Voodoo, and New Era Voodoo & Hoodoo. Due to the ongoing fight for equality of Black and ethnic minorities in the West, a lot of practices have been either lost, misinterpreted or falsely demonized. There are some practices used in tribes within African & Santería Vodou which do incorporate animal sacrifice, but this is quite rare these days as most tribes have either been murdered or reduced in population from natural causes. New Era Voodoo & Hoodoo, which is a bit of a mix of tribal rituals and Christianity is most commonly practiced in America and some in Europe.
Christianity with witchcraft???
It shouldn't make sense, but it does. When you think about it, prayers and blessings when experienced, can feel quite a lot like meditating. Connecting to your Spirit often means being in a quiet, undistracted space and focusing on subconscious thought. Making "magick" happen just means using some form of tools to accompany your meditation or blessing, as a physical offering to your Spirit. So it seems quite fitting that newer generations of Voodoo practitioners would blend the existing beliefs of the West with ancient tribal rituals to create something which can work in harmony, and there is no need for any animal sacrifice!
A common myth about Voodoo are the "Juju", or poppet dolls,
Or what some people view as tools for hurting others. There are many films and TV shows depicting Black magick as a form of harm, or used for evil intentions, and the poppet dolls are featured as replicas of the character's enemies to bring "revenge" upon them. This could not be further from the truth - what a poppet doll is actually used for, is to act as a physical placeholder of the spell-caster themselves for their intended magickal purposes. Colour plays an important role in making poppet dolls, because different colours mean different things in witchcraft, and certain herbs can be stuffed inside to enhance their powers. Pins can be placed in certain areas depending on the spell, which will help target how the Spirit can enter the body or heal specific areas. As an example, if you wanted to make a healing spell to care for your back pain, you would make a blue doll, perhaps filled with lavender, vervain and hemp, and place a few pins around the back and neck of the doll whilst you perform a candle spell.
Another common myth includes the use of animal sacrifice -
Like I said, whilst there are certain rare tribes still performing these rituals around the world, the more commonly practiced form of Voodoo does not incorporate this. It is recommended to use animal bones in certain rituals, however these can be ethically sourced through fossil or taxidermy shops, found in the wild and sterilized, via carcases from food, or just as epoxy replicas from online artists. The bones can be used as decoration on the body (as earrings, necklaces, bracelets, crowns etc.) or larger ones could be used to channel energy through to the space. During my research of animal bones, I found some interesting curiosity creations of terrariums with bones in them - they looked like something out of a mad scientist's basement so maybe not for the average person's taste, but interesting nonetheless.
What, or who, are the Orishas?
They are a group of "gods" and "goddesses" who are worshipped by followers of Voodoo. They are in quotations because they are not exactly spiritual beings, but rather spirits of the elements - Oshun is the Yoruba deity of the river; she represents beauty & feminity, divinity and love. Elegba (otherwise known as Papa Legba) is the gatekeeper of the crossroads, a trickster and master of misdirection. Yemaya is the goddess of the seas and lakes, the Mother of All, representing nurture, fertility and grace. Shango is the god of thunder & lightning, fire and masculinity, called upon through dances and drums. There are many more Orishas, each with their own story, too many to list in one blog post, but they are all governed by the God Almighty, Olodumare. There are many Orishas because they can be called upon at any time and can be invoked within the human being for a number of purposes.
What are anointing oils for? What is "anointment"?
Most common practices of New Era Voodoo include candle spells for divination or to call upon the spirits. As with the poppet dolls, candles require their specific colours for their intended purposes. Using an anointing oil will help increase their powers, just like using herbs will increase the powers of the dolls. The oil can be made using essential oils, a concoction of herbs, and any other elements of magick - perhaps bones, mushrooms, spices etc.. these oils are stored in jars and only a drop is needed at one time, meaning they can be preserved for a long time. You can also use your anointing oil as a small drop on your forehead to connect your third eye, a drop on your pillow to connect you with your Spirit as you sleep, or as a few drops in the bath to connect spiritually with water.
What on earth are those bags for?
Spell sachets, otherwise known as "mojo bags", are made in the same way as poppet dolls, except on a smaller scale and in a simpler shape. They can be handily placed in your pocket to carry around wherever you go, and come in various colours to draw in different intentions - green for luck and wealth, white for peace and purity, black for protection, red for love etc.. As with the dolls they are filled with varying herbs, but rather than using them in a spell you would simply carry it with you to maintain your connection after performing your ritual. Custom mojo bags can be created, which look like small satchels with intricate embroidery, and will last a great length of time - they can be filled with herbs, crystals, or handwritten blessings. You could even include photos to enhance your relationships with the people in your life.
Should I mess with Black Magick?
NO. Absolutely not. You shouldn't "mess" with any magick really, but Black Magick is particularly powerful. Deities are not friends, they are guidance and otherwordly - you enter their realm to be judged and receive what you deserve, so think wisely with what you ask for. Do not force a spell or manipulate situations to give yourself an advantage - this will always backfire on you in ways that are unimaginable. Papa Legba can be called at any time regardless of whether you have chosen him, and he will show no mercy...
Well I think I have covered a few things which you may have enjoyed! What are your thoughts? Would you like to learn more about Voodoo and Black Magick, or have a question about any of the practices? Perhaps you have more information to add? Feel free to leave a comment below...