Monday, September 6, 2010

A Lesson in Voodoo

Being Voodoo Rob and all, I figured it would be good to teach the fine ghouls of blogland a bit about Voodoo.

Voodoo itself, is a religion which origins trace back to Africa. It was brought to the American south in 1719 where it would merge with the Catholic religion. Slowly it would take shape and form to what is now known as Louisiana Voodoo. Which is different than Haitian Voodoo. Being my focus is Southern Voodoo, I will mostly be talking about it.

Voodoo is a religion with one god who does not interfere in the affairs of man. That is left up to many spirits, some of which have Catholic origins. It is nether good nor evil.

Hoodoo is the magic we see associated with Voodoo.  Most of the Hollywood view of Voodoo is in fact Hoodoo. Rituals are performed for luck, money, love, revenge, health, and necromancy.  It can be used for good or evil.

Gris-gris  are Hoodoo amulets that protects the wearer from evil or brings luck. Usually they are small cloth bags with a mixture of one or more of the following inside: herbs, oils, stones, bones, hair, nails, grave dirt, or other personal items.

Loa, or Lwa, are the spirits served in Voodoo and Hoodoo. Also known as the Mystères and the Invisibles, they are the  intermediaries between Bondye, the Creator. There are different families, or nations, of Loa. Some are more pleasant than others and each has their own set of practices. The Ghede are the spirits of the dead. They are known to be loud, rude, sexual, but also fun.
                       A table prepared for the Ghede

Bokor, which are usually Haitian,  are the sorcerers of Hoodoo who specialize in the making of  Zombis and talismans that house spirits. Zombis are generally created by the use of a deadening brew or puffer fish poison. This potion makes the drinker appear to be dead. They are often buried and later, the Bokor will return for the "corpse" and force it to do his bidding.

Baron Samedi, aka Baron Saturday Night,  is my personal favorite of the Loa. He is the head of the spirits of the dead. He is usually shown wearing a top hat and tails with a skull-like face or even a fully skull face. He is frequently represented by phallic symbols and is known for disruption, obscenity, debauchery, and he loves rum and human women. Not only is he strong in black magics, he can also heal and give life.

A Veve  is a religious symbol  used in Voodoo that acts as a beacon for the Loa. Sacrifices and offerings are usually placed upon them, with food and drink being most commonly used in the West.

                                The Veve of Baron Samedi

And that is all for now! More to come in the future. For more info on Voodoo check out New Orleans Voodoo Crossroads.

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