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Voodoo / Voudou / Santeria In The U.S. Of A.

MrRING

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Also, the age thing. They were both supposed to be beauties, but not unaging or unnatural ones... the Widow Paris was infirm in her last 5 years or so, though mentally still pretty sharp. Marie the Second took over most of the voodoo activities when the Widow Paris would have still conceivablly been a hottie (late 40's early 50's) and if they looks enough alike, it could easily led to the idea of eternal youth to people on the outside looking in.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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The Widow Paris?

[edit: Sorry I'm being slow here (I'm tired) this:

Sources conflict but Marie may have been born in New Orleans in 1794

isn't inconsistent with her possibly being born in 1800 and getting married in 1819 and having her daughter (who picked up her mantle) in 1826 - which seems like the bit that most people can agree on. In fact a slightly later date of birth would probably fit better with those dates.

What I'm intrigued by is her mother who seems to have been an African slave arriving in New Orleans via Haiti which would fit with the timing of the slave revolts there. The date of the Haitian slave revolts (1791) meant that Voodoo arrived in New Orleans in the late 18thC and early 19thC depending on the route the plantation owners took - direct or indirect. It would fit either date.

I assume the information is from the book you mentioned?]

[edit2: Some Wikipedia entries:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Haiti#The_Great_Slave_Rebellion_of_1791

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans#Colonial_Era

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voodoo#History

although the later is way wrong about voodoo arriving in the 1960s.
 

MrRING

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Marie the First was also known, (mostly known), as the Widow Paris.

And a bit from the book, pg 10:

Beautiful and multihued, both the Marie Laveaus were a mixture of races and cultures - white, black and red, French, Spanish, West African, and Native American. Marie the FIrst was born in 1801, at the begining of the 19th century and the American regime in New Orleans - a century after the founding of the New World colony of Louisiana...

(cut)

Marie Laveau's color - whatever it was - came from a century of convoluted colonial contacts that began in 1699 when a small group of Frenchmen laid claim to the territory of Louisiana....

(cut)

(Talking about the slave ships going to Louisiana) Each ship sailed directly from West Africa, which meant that - contrary to common assumptions - most Africans in Louisiana did not pass through the Caribbean first.
 
A

Anonymous

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. Any ideas about what this could mean ?
on a wooden board a child`s - baby`s - T shirt laid out with a long carving knife stuck in it, a lighted candle alongside and a rolled up piece of paper tied in the middle . The candle was reflecting off the trees alongside where I live and alarmed a pensioner neighbour into thinking there was a fire. I went to look and then took a photo . . it had gone at daylight.
towards the back of an Indian takeaway
 

Mighty_Emperor

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lookslikerain: It could be from just about any culture or just have a meaning only the practioner (and possibly the victim) know. It could also be just someone messing around. The rituals seem to vary quite a lot as it isn't like a strict recipe things can vary as long as the message gets across.

Mr. R.I.N.G. said:
Marie the First was also known, (mostly known), as the Widow Paris.

And a bit from the book, pg 10:

Beautiful and multihued, both the Marie Laveaus were a mixture of races and cultures - white, black and red, French, Spanish, West African, and Native American. Marie the FIrst was born in 1801, at the begining of the 19th century and the American regime in New Orleans - a century after the founding of the New World colony of Louisiana...

(cut)

Marie Laveau's color - whatever it was - came from a century of convoluted colonial contacts that began in 1699 when a small group of Frenchmen laid claim to the territory of Louisiana....

(cut)

(Talking about the slave ships going to Louisiana) Each ship sailed directly from West Africa, which meant that - contrary to common assumptions - most Africans in Louisiana did not pass through the Caribbean first.

What sources do they give for that as it rather flies in the face of what I've read about this?
 

MrRING

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Emperor, unfortunately I've already turned the book back in - it may take a while, but when it comes back in, I'll list the sources (as there is an extensive bibliography in the back).
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Mr. R.I.N.G. said:
Emperor, unfortunately I've already turned the book back in - it may take a while, but when it comes back in, I'll list the sources (as there is an extensive bibliography in the back).

Righto no worries - I'm not going anywhere ;)

I do have an awful lot of books to get through but I may sneak a peek at that one on your recommendation.
 
A

Anonymous

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the takeaway was a new startup at the time and new faces imported to cook - the background the same I guess to all.
a candle left to flicker amongst that arrangement suggests it wasn`t accidental, and didn`t come cheap.
Not a clue my friends about this, the straight line between my bedroom and that is 25yds and lots of trees around, but none in the way - whoever did that expected it to be private I believe.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Emperor said:
OK this came up over in Play Dead's thread on her book:
http://www.forteantimes.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16262

And it basically touches on the fact that while she uses the Caribbean-style zombies in her book there isn't very much evidence at all for that parctice making it to the States which is a bit odd and I felt worthy of a thread itself as vodou did make it over.

I ran across this:

For example, in New Orleans around 1800, white and black folks alike feared a 'zombie' that was said to haunt the streets. But the zombie involved had nothing to do with rotting corpses. It was the ghost apparition of a deceised French officer holding his head under his arm!

http://www.xs4all.nl/~mke/zombies.htm

Anyone know anything else about this?

[edit: OK found it - it was 1814 and it was a British officer - see Botkin (1955) A Treasury of Mississipi River Folklore.]
 

Mighty_Emperor

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An interesting recent case - although "voodoo powder" and the fear of zombification has been deployed against US troops in Haiti it rare to hear claims for it elsewhere (I'll keep digging as this report is scanty):

'VOODOO' SUIT BACK FROM DEAD


March 23, 2005 -- A former Lower East Side school official who claimed she was unfairly accused of sprinkling "voodoo powder" outside her superintendent's office had her defamation suit against the city reinstated yesterday — as if by magic.

Judge Guido Calabrese, who wrote the appellate decision, suggested the Velez controversy had more to do with a political dispute than voodoo and that she may have been a victim of a smear campaign.

Source
 

Mighty_Emperor

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A more lengthy legal overview:

2nd Circuit Revives 'Stigma-Plus' Dismissal Suit

Mark Hamblett
New York Law Journal
03-18-2005


A school board member who claimed political opponents got her fired by making up a story that she sprinkled "voodoo" powder outside the door of an adversary has had her lawsuit reinstated.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Amy Velez, a New York City Community School District Board member, had a "liberty interest" in her position on District Board 1, and could continue her suit against Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy and several other defendants.

The circuit also found that Velez had stated a plausible First Amendment claim against Levy in Velez v. Levy, 03-7875.

As a member of the board beginning in May 1999, Velez was subject to removal by the chancellor under New York Education Law §2590-1(1)(a) for failing "to comply with any applicable provisions of law, by-laws, rules or regulations, standards, directives and agreements."

Under the law, the chancellor must provide an "opportunity for conciliation" prior to removal unless the board member has engaged in criminal conduct or poses a threat to the "safety or welfare" of a student or staff member.

According to fellow board member Nancy Ortiz, Velez left a Jan. 23, 2002, board meeting after a sharp disagreement on diversity policy and went to the office of Helen Santiago, Superintendent of District 1, and sprinkled a pink, powdery substance in front of Santiago's office door. She also allegedly dropped a plastic bag containing additional powder.

Ortiz and fellow board members Jacob Goldman and Joyce Early wrote to Levy accusing Velez of sprinkling the powder.


The trio characterized her actions as criminal conduct and asked that she be removed.

Their charges were reported in the Daily News two days later, with the reporter noting the alleged sprinkling of "foul smelling," "voodoo" powder. TV and radio stations then picked up the report.

The Chancellor's Office of Special Investigations issued a report in February 2002 stating the accusations were substantiated and, on March 15, 2002, Levy removed Velez from the board.

She successfully appealed the decision to the Board of Education, which found the investigation "incomplete in its conduct and illogical in its conclusions."

Velez was reinstated in June 2002.

She filed suit in the Southern District, claiming deprivation of liberty and property in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's procedural and due process requirements; unlawful retaliation for political positions and expression in violation of the First and Fourteenth amendments; and unlawful "seizure" of her elected office in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth amendments.

Southern District Judge John Koeltl dismissed the case, finding that Velez had failed to state a colorable cause of action and, in the alternative, that the board members, the investigators and Levy were protected by qualified immunity.

At the 2nd Circuit, Judges Guido Calabresi, James Oakes and Ralph Winter first agreed with Judge Koeltl, albeit on different grounds, that Velez did not possess a property interest in her elected position.

But the panel disagreed on Velez's liberty interest claim, which was based on the stigma she allegedly suffered from being publicly accused of criminal behavior together with the loss of her position -- all without sufficient process.

'STIGMA-PLUS' CLAIM

Writing for the panel, Judge Calabresi said a §1983 liberty interest claim of this sort is commonly referred to a "stigma-plus" claim, which requires the plaintiff, under 2nd Circuit case law, to allege a defendant uttered a false statement injurious to her reputation and "some tangible and material state-imposed burden … in addition to the stigmatizing statement."

Typically, Calabresi said, the stigmatizing statement comes from the same "actor who imposes the 'plus,' such as when a government employer defames an employee in the course of terminating the employee."

But here, he said, Velez "complains of a less single-sourced injury" -- the board members created the "stigma" and Levy created the "plus," a combination that would appear to be a fatal flaw in Velez complaint.

However, the judge said, while the circuit has never directly addressed the question, other circuits have approved of "stigma-plus" claims where the "plus" is imposed separately from "explicit stigmatizing statement."

"We now hold that perfect parity in the origin of both the 'stigma' and the 'plus' is not required to state the infringement of a 'stigma-plus' liberty interest," he said, because the important factor was the proximity between the statement and the action taken. And taking the Velez allegations as true, he said, Velez's "stigma-plus liberty interest" was implicated and she had adequately asserted the deprivation of such an interest.

Velez was also entitled to a pre-deprivation hearing before Levy ordered her removed, which states a valid claim against the chancellor as a "high-ranking official," under the due process clause, he said, but not against the individual board members or the investigators.

While the circuit went on to reject Velez' substantive due process claims, it said she had stated a valid claim under the First Amendment, which Judge Koeltl had dismissed.

Koeltl had found that Velez's speech as a community school board member was not protected because the political affiliations of "policymakers" are not constitutionally protected from government retaliation and the 2nd Circuit held in Camacho v. Brandon, 317 F.3d 153 (2003) that elected officials are "policymakers."

But Calabresi said Camacho, which dealt with the firing of a legislative aide to a Yonkers City Council member, supposedly in retaliation for the member's public statements, did not apply to this case.

Here, the judge said, Velez fell "into a category -- an elected officeholder removed from her office, allegedly in retaliation for her (presumably faithful) representation of her constituents -- as to which no exception from general First Amendment protections has heretofore been made."

Therefore, he said, the First Amendment claims survived against Levy because "extending the policymaker exception to this case, and thereby allowing the Chancellor to remove board members on political grounds, would undermine the very object of the position Velez occupies."

James I. Meyerson represented Velez. Assistant Corporation Counsels Stacy Laine Francolla and Francis F. Caputo represented the city.

Source

and an earlier report (as this has been rattling around for 6 years):

Supporters rally for Amy Velez after her dismissal from the Board of Education, claiming “the only voodoo is this investigation,
By Ricardo Leon Pena-Villa, El Diario / La Prensa, 26 March 2002. Translated from Spanish by Telesh Lopez.

Manhattan’s Community School Board District 1 continues to seethe after the dismissal of School Board Member Amy Velez.
Velez, the elected parent representative, was recently dismissed after being accused of practicing voodoo against the School District Superintendent Helen Santiago.
Yesterday, on the front steps of City Hall, organizations including the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, District 1 Parents United, the American Civil Liberties Union of New York, and many officials, including Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) and City Councilwoman Margarita Lopez, voiced their support of Velez.
“I want to send a clear message to the Chancellor and to the special investigators that this public official was elected by parents and voters of the school district, and her rights and those of the voters were violated,” Velasquez said. “It is a shame. It is just incredible, and to me it is a joke. This woman does not need to use dirty tricks like voodoo powder. What she does is what she has done since she was elected, which is represent her constituency in political and public decisions.”
If it becomes necessary, Velasquez will seek a Department of Justice investigation, she said, because the situation is not about Velez, but about the community.
“The one issue here is Chancellor Levy destroying the balance of power on the School Board,” Lopez said. “It is not about voodoo or religion in particular. Chancellor Levy, you need to understand that the School Board has had to fight the last 25 years, and in our district, people of color vote and they have rights to the school they want.”
Regarding the decision, Velez said, “the Chancellor decided this. It is unfortunate that a person in a position of power would use it in such a lowly manner. This is the most nefarious thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”
Schools Chancellor Harold Levy said, “Amy Velez was accused of violating the rules. There are witnesses who say she brought voodoo powder. There are witnesses, and it is inappropriate for her to be on the Board. It saddens me. If she did what the witnesses say, she is embarrassing the community. She did not respect the Board or the education process, and this upsets me. I do not know why they support her or why they don’t, I will not look at that. What is important is that people behave respectfully.”
We tried to locate Nancy Ortiz from School Board 1, who is said to have witnessed Velez’s actions, but her assistant, Elizabeth Dillon, said she was unavailable.


---------------------
El Diario/La Prensa is a Spanish-language daily covering local, national and international news in Manhattan.

This article appeared in Edition 13 of Voices That Must Be Heard.

Translation © 2002, IPA, all rights reserved.

Source
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Annapolis House Yields Clues to Hoodoo Mysteries

By Ray Rivera
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 6, 2005; B01

Sifting through the debris of an 18th-century townhouse being renovated in Annapolis last month, the archaeologist and his students found what they were looking for under the brick floor near the kitchen hearth.

There, in a shallow five-inch pit, lay eight bent nails, a clear glass spindle, a plate of glass etched with a checkerboard design and a white pierced disk the size of a 50-cent piece.

What University of Maryland archaeologist Mark Leone and his team of students had discovered was evidence of hoodoo, a New World variant of ancient West African mystical traditions carried across the Atlantic by black slaves.

The practice, meant to influence healing and ward off misfortune, was continued well into the 20th century by freed descendants who lived and worked in the homes of wealthy white families as cooks, launderers and gardeners.

But Leone's research in Annapolis has raised an intriguing question: Scholars have yet to find hoodoo artifacts in homes owned and rented by the city's emerging black middle class in the 19th and early 20th centuries. In other words, while poorer blacks were keeping hoodoo alive, upwardly mobile African Americans were abandoning it.

"That's not to say that middle-class African Americans were giving up their African traditions, but they were finding different ways to express it," said Leone, who has led much of the research in Annapolis for the past 25 years,

The findings released last week add to the complex picture of black life in Annapolis and throughout the region in the decades before and after emancipation.

Hoodoo, which is practiced today, was widespread throughout the antebellum South.

Like other African-derived folk practices such as Santeria in Cuba and voodoo in Haiti, it mixed elements of Christianity with conjuring rituals involving herbs, dolls, pins and other everyday items bundled together as mojos worn on the body or buried in and around homes.

Frowned upon by Christian slave owners and later by white employers, the rituals were often conducted in secret -- what many scholars now see as a form of cultural resistance.

"In part you're talking about a sense of power and control," said Charles L. Perdue, who teaches folklore at the University of Virginia. "When you have no control over your destiny at all, anything you can do to increase the notion that you can exercise some power over your environment is a benefit to your psychic health."

Leone found the first inklings of hoodoo in Annapolis during an excavation in the early 1990s of the Charles Carroll House, home to a signer of the Declaration of Independence who had vast slave holdings.

Buried in a shallow pit in the northeast corner of the house were crystals, shards of glass, beads and a polished black stone. Researchers then didn't understand their meaning or why it appeared that the objects had been placed deliberately in the northeast corner.

The find drew the attention of Frederick Lamp, then curator of African art at the Baltimore Museum of Art. He suggested the materials might be a kind of nkisi , a grouping of religious artifacts used in religious rituals by the BaKongo people of West Africa.

Subsequent finds in Annapolis were unearthed in the Brice and Slayton mansions and, just last month, the Adams-Kilty House on Charles Street. The earliest materials date to 1790 and the latest to 1920.

Based on the oral narratives of former slaves, African American folklore and studies of West African rituals, researchers theorize that the ritual bundles -- variously called mojos, tobys or "hands" -- contain three key elements:

The first is something to catch and hold the spirit in place. In the Adams-Kilty cache, it was a piece of glass with a checkerboard design. The glass is transparent and looks like ash or water, mimicking the environment spirits travel in, Leone said.

Another element is something that belongs to the person to be affected by the spirit. This latest cache didn't appear to have such an object. Leone theorizes that it might have been the cloth, which disintegrated, used to wrap the cache. In the Brice house, the cache included a button engraved with the letter M, possibly belonging to a member of the Martin family, which owned the home in the late 19th or early 20th century, Leone said.

The third element is something that relates to the problem to be solved. In the Adams-Kilty case, it was probably the bent nails, which might signify arthritis.

Researchers have also learned exactly where to look: Under thresholds, hearths and stairwells -- places spirits were believed to congregate and use as entry points, Leone said. Another common location is beneath the northeast corners of houses, but the reason for that placement remains a mystery, scholars say.

During the same period they were excavating the homes of wealthy white families, researchers conducted digs at a half-dozen homes owned or rented in the 19th and 20th centuries by middle-class African Americans. They included the historic Maynard-Burgess House, home to John Maynard, a free black man born in 1810 who later bought his wife and stepdaughter out of slavery.

Maynard was part of a black middle class that began emerging around the 1830s, buying property and working as carpenters and waiters and running their own businesses.

Leone said the lack of evidence of hoodoo may reflect "the difficult choices facing African Americans who strived for acceptance and advancement, but wanted to remain connected to their traditions."

Swarthmore College religion professor Yvonne P. Chireau, author of "Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition," said she isn't surprised by Leone's findings.

"There was a real split among black folks after the Civil War," she said, "in terms of whether they should abandon these traditions . . . and [move toward] what's called an ideology of racial uplift -- an emerging middle class joining American society."

Still, she predicted that further study would reveal pockets where even middle class blacks clung to elements of the practice, particularly when it came to health.

The move away from folk traditions is not unusual as groups move from one economic class to another, said Perdue of U-Va.

"Obviously when you have some money, you have some control," Perdue said. "Of course, you still had racism to deal with, but you would inevitably developed some ability to control your future."
© 2005 The Washington Post Company

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/a ... 01564.html
 

KeyserXSoze

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Voodoo head found in air luggage
US immigration officials have arrested a Haitian woman after baggage screeners found a human head in her luggage at a Florida airport.
Myrlene Severe, 30, has been charged with failing to declare the head on a customs form and transporting "hazardous material".

She arrived at Florida's Fort Lauderdale airport on Thursday on a flight from Cap Haitien in north Haiti.

Ms Severe said that the head was to ward off evil sprits, officials said.

"Severe stated that she had obtained the package, which contained a human head, from a male in Haiti for use as part of her voodoo beliefs," the US Attorney's Office said in a statement.

'Hair and skin'

A spokesman for Miami's immigration and customs agency told the AFP news agency that the head was not simply a skull.

"It had teeth, hair and skin, and quite a lot of dirt," she said.

Ms Severe, a US resident, appeared in court on Friday in Fort Lauderdale. She could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The practice of voodoo, an Afro-Caribbean religion whose roots go back thousands of years, is still widespread in Haiti.

The Haitian government officially recognised voodoo as a religion in 2003.
 

Yithian

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Voodoo Head Smuggling

Voodoo head found in air luggage

Myrlene Severe and a US official getting into a car

Human head found
US immigration officials have arrested a Haitian woman after baggage screeners found a human head in her luggage at a Florida airport.

Myrlene Severe, 30, has been charged with failing to declare the head on a customs form and transporting "hazardous material".

She arrived at Florida's Fort Lauderdale airport on Thursday on a flight from Cap Haitien in north Haiti.

Ms Severe said that the head was to ward off evil sprits, officials said.

"Severe stated that she had obtained the package, which contained a human head, from a male in Haiti for use as part of her voodoo beliefs," the US Attorney's Office said in a statement.

'Hair and skin'

A spokesman for Miami's immigration and customs agency told the AFP news agency that the head was not simply a skull.

"It had teeth, hair and skin, and quite a lot of dirt," she said.

Ms Severe, a US resident, appeared in court on Friday in Fort Lauderdale. She could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The practice of voodoo, an Afro-Caribbean religion whose roots go back thousands of years, is still widespread in Haiti.

The Haitian government officially recognised voodoo as a religion in 2003.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/4703328.stm

Great name she has!
 
A

Anonymous

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Head.

The funny thing is this morning on BBC radio 5 live an american customs officer said that these types of "fetishes" were being used in Santeria and not Voudon.
Santeria is basically the use of Catholic saints used in a african context for magickal /sorcerous purposes.
 

MrRING

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Found a cool article on the Archive. Org wayback machine that mentions the Atlanta voodoo store I visited...

LINK
BACKGROUND - I spent my childhood among the Geechee-related people of Central Georgia. In the late 1940s and '50s television and interstate highways had not yet come to this area, and on hot Summer nights I would listen, transfixed, to the local ghost lore, early stir- rings that would become the Civil Rights movement, African Methodist Episcopal theology and . . . voodoo. Central Georgia hoodoo was a long way from New Orleans, or Haiti, or West Africa. But the candle-burning ceremonial, and the "lucky hands" (charm bags) blessed by the Seven African Powers were as real and enchanting to me as the winking fire flies and marsh gases of the hot summer nights. One evening I went to meet Papa Limba, and danced his dances to an R&B sound, never suspecting I was being introduced to an ancient West African deity. I think it was this that led me to magick. The hot steamy night in the deep south did not diminish the ardor of the participants. Inspired and liberated by the powerful, evocative "Hymn to Legba," the dancers danced on, absorbed, possessed by their barbaric dancing in the light and shadow of the green and yellow candles. As the priest poured liquid fire over the sacramental foods -- various fresh fruits and powdered sugar -- they burned, and the night reeked of, and was perfumed by the scent of human sweat and alcohol. The air was filled with spirituality...and lust. At various points the priest plucked these delights from the blue fire, offering of them to those present. Later, the remnants would be left under a tree as an Offering. The place was a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, the year was 1975 and the priest was me. The ceremony was derived from a description of a voodoo rite which took place about 80 years before and documented in Robert Tallant's classic work on the subject, Voodoo in New Orleans.

The chant grew, the single line was enunciated in stronger pulsations, and other voices joined in the wild refrain, Danse Calinda, boudoum, boudoum! Danse Calinda, boudoum, boudoum! Bodies swayed, the hands kept time in soft pat-patting, and the feet in muffled accentuation............ The Danse Calinda is perhaps the outstanding example of the nature of Voodoo as practiced in America. It is a strange, very old, eeriely haunting song of synthetic Creole/African origin. In the public, voodoo-tinged displays in what was once known as Congo Square in New Orleans, before the Civil War, the Calinda was present. An inoffensive version survived among the rural white Cajun folk of Louisiana into the 1950s - at least. In the 1960s Dr. John (the "night tripper" that is; the underground pop musician of the period was not, as we shall see, the first "Dr. John') recorded a version of the Calinda on his sub rosa hit record and salute to New Orleans - style voodoo, Gris-gris. Yet the Calinda is known to be part of the "outer" world of voodoo. The darker "inner" world of voodoo is something else again. There are long standing rumors in both American and Caribbean version of the sect of human sacrifice; animal sacrifice is a given part of the long trance - possession dance essential core of voodoo. Rumors of sacrifice of "the goat without horns' -- that is, human sacrifice -- is more conjectural, and have never been proven, though since The Serpent and the Rainbow appeared, it seems more creditable. Certainly, the descriptions available of the most traditional rites, held at night in primitive splendor under the open sky and following the religio-orgiastic practices people of European extraction might associate with the primordial Mysteries of Dionysos, or the people of the Indian subcontinent with the Rites of Shiva, are intensely sexual and sometimes violent, and this of itself might account for the contemporary Western World's love/hate repulsion/attraction relationship with voodoo. The cult, in any case, has often enough fallen victim to persecution and prosecution, so that, from its earliest manifestations, secrecy has been a major factor, and the spread of the cult in the Americas has been no exception to the rule. You see traces in Black and Latin ethnic neighborhoods and, occasionally, at arcane "religious supply stores,"the paraphernalia often billed, as "sold as curios only'.

A "Temple Supply Store" in Atlanta, Rondo's Temple Sales, continuously in business since 1945, has brought this tradition down to the present. In the first half of the present century the public face of voodoo in the United States had pretty much degenerated into a collection of charms and spells. In the early 1970s, I searched New Orleans for traces of voudon with my local very history-conscious contacts, and could find no real trace of it. Two factors, however, have in recent years served to modify this trend. The "occult revival' of the late nineteen sixties/ early seventies created a greater public, and for that matter legal, acceptance of fortune telling, charms and talismans. And, the enormous influx of immigrants from Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean and Latin America during the same period brought with it any number of adherents of various quasiCatholic/voodoo cults and practices to this country. Already, by the middle years of the nineteen eighties, the old voodoo remnants were showing signs of melding with those recently introduced from South of the Border. The magick of brujo sorcerers and the Cult of the Saints, or 7 African "powers ' had made its way North. It can be argued that the older voodoo which reached America in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries - reaching its pinnacle in the 1800s when charm seller and brujo, Dr. John and Madame Marie Laveux were the witch king and queen of New Orleans - was already a watered-down or imperfect version of the cult. Haitian voodoo is usually described as a synthesis of highly complex West African tribal beliefs and Roman Catholicism. But its sophisticated magical practices often reflect a knowledge of European ceremonial magick as well, raising further questions. It is known that two Lodges of the legendary French Illumanati (as opposed to the Bavarian version) had relocated in the late 1700s from France to Port a Prince in Haiti. Little is known of the fate of these lodges in the turbulent decades ahead, but traces of freemasonic republicanism and ceremonial magick can be found throughout subsequent Haitian history, and in the voodoo cult itself.

The experiences of T Michael Bertiaux and the Jean-Maine line of Afro-European magick in Haiti imply an unbroken tradition. In any case, one can follow the African Dahomean religious current passing into American voodoo in the person of Legba, the Dahomean god who resembles the ecstatic, erratic Dionysos and the communicative Hermes combined. In Haiti it is this latter attribute which contributed to his adaptation into the voodoo loa (or god) Papa Legba (or Papa Limba), a kind of earthy version of St. Peter and the "gateway' to the other loa. Thus the "Hymn to Legba" (a rudimentary "hymn to Pan') used at the beginning of my aforementioned ceremonial experiment, in that instance being from a recorded contemporary Haitian voodoo ceremony. In the U.S. Legba was transformed into Papa Limba, apparently something of a curious cross between St. Peter and Satan, thus anticipating the unlikely doctrine of the "unity of Christ and Satan" articulated by the Process Church in the 1960s. The propensity for absorbing whatever seemed appropriate to its needs has always characterized voodoo and marked it as an early manifestation of religious existentialism or spiritual relativism. For a time in America, the land of melting pots and blandness, this also almost proved the cult's undoing. "Voodoo" became "hoodoo"; in part because the various cult leaders such as Dr. John (a.k.a. John Bayou, Bayou John, Jean Montaigne, Voodoo John and John Fecelle), Marie Laveaux (who may have been two people -- mother and daughter) and later "Root Doctors," some of whom are still around today, found the commercialization of charms and potions more expedient and lucrative than practicing primordial folk religion. Even so, "hoodoo' as Tau Michael Bertiaux's deceptively simple course reveals, is far from unsophisticated. But, with the wider audience for, and acceptance of the occult, along with the influx of voodoo practitioners from the South, voodoo is today experiencing something of a covert renaissance in the United States.

CONTEMPORARY EXPERIMENTS - Bubbling beneath the usual tv-and-burger- franchise self-image of the American dream comes, like a call from the collective unconscious, what some would consider the American nightmare. The mystique of voodoo has quite literally haunted the supposedly solidly Christian Western Hemisphere for two centuries or more, raising the most fundamental spiritual issues and questions. During the late Summer of 1992 I led two preliminary voudon workings at Eulis Lodge's Dekalb Avenue temple space in Atlanta. The invocations of Grand Legbha, gate to the loa, began the series with the Hymn to Legba, recorded many years earlier in Haiti, an invocation of Legba, a secret "punch' and fruit offerings, trance dancing and becoming Divine Horsemen ourselves. As I danced around blowing my whistle and beating my drum, the last thing I can remember thinking was that I had not really wandered so far from my Central Georgia roots after all. On Wednesday, August 26, 1992, I conducted the first of the two preliminary gnostic voudon workings at an "open to the public' regular event. The working was conducted at the Temple of Eulis Lodge, a thousand square foot space quite suitable to trance dancing. The purpose of the working was to "open the gate" to the Loa , and therefore Legba as "gate keeper of the spirits' was invoked. Sister Lisa drew the veve flawlessly. Skull candles were placed at key points of the veve. The "Hymn to Legba" followed an invocation; Par pouvoir Saint Antoine de Padoue, Legba Atibon, Maitre Carrefour, Maitre Grand Bois, Maitre Grand Chemin, Legba Barriere, Legba Bois, Legba Caille, Legba Zan- clian, Legba Missebo, Legba Clairhoun'deh, Legba Cataroulo, au nom de Monsieur Avadra Bo-roi, vie, vie Legba. And with fruit essences as sacrifice and Eucharist, a secret elixir provided as inspiration of endeavor, I blew my whistle, beat upon the sacred drum and began the frenzied hour-long trance dance. Participation was VERY broadly based with mixed results -- four people departed, seemingly in great discomfort at the energies generated. The others were all possessed to greater or lesser degree. I became the Priest I was representing, and in that mode gave communion to all remaining. An almost unbearable erotic energy pervaded the working. On the following Wednesday, September 2nd, an invocation of Erzule was conducted along similar lines. The attendance was a bit smaller, but an excellent polarity balance prevailed. After appropriate invocation, the dancing began. The energy was much more sexual, but seemed to effect the males present in a pro- nounced fashion, while females reported a profound erotic reaction which manifested only later. This may be due to my concluding the ritual at a given point, according to the regulations of the host organization. Clearly, the event was on the verge of Sacred Orgy Entranced, or Ultimate Communion. The next working was therefore postponed to a more private occasion. As the group had been working much with Enochian seership, it was proposed by me that the working be an ecstatic invocation of Ghuedhe Nibbho , in specific of Mirroir-des-Sessions in the first grouping of Tau Michael Bertiaux's Grimoire Ghuedhe, the Famille Legba Nibbho.

I felt that Mirroir-des-Sessions was a relatively benign form of Ghuedhe Nibbho for a relatively inexperienced work group other than myself, as well as of specific value to the Work at hand with seership and scrying as major focuses. The form of David Cimochowski's preliminary invocation was proposed as an opening: upright crucifix, two beeswax candles, two taper candles, white and black, frankincense, a glass of water and the altar covered in black. The veves of Legba and Papa Ghuedhe Nibbho , along with the altar paraphernalia would be set up in the North. Legba would be invoked, the white candle lighted, and Legba asked to open the barriers to Papa Ghuedhe Nibbho. The other candles would then be lit, the water used to invoke the water elemental and the dead. The invocation of Ghuedhe Nibbho would follow with meditation, and communication using the water.
 

rynner2

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wembley8 said:
The Cuban version of 'voudou' is called Santeria, and there is a lot of it about.
There is, it seems:

'Priest' arrested after two human skulls and hundreds of pounds of animal flesh, blood and bones found in his shed in Utah
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:01 AM on 16th March 2011

They arrived at the house to search for drugs after arresting three men for possessing methamphetamines.
But police in Clearfield, Utah got a grisly shock when they opened Roberto Casillas-Corrales's backyard shed to find two human skulls and several hundred pounds of animal bones, flesh and blood on the floor and walls.
The remains emitted a strong stench and were surrounded by candles and symbols to form a shrine.
The 53-year-old said it was part of a ritual for his Santeria religion, of which he is a 'santero', or priest.

Casillas-Corrales was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of desecrating of a human body, and police say he may also face charges of cruelty to animals.
According to the Standard-Examiner, earlier in the day narcotics detectives had arrested three men - at least two of whom are relatives of Casillas-Corrales - at a traffic stop as part of a drugs investigation.
They seized two pounds of methamphetamine and arrested Ismael Casillas-Corrales, 46, Marco Casillas-Corrales, 41, and Juan Rosales-Ramos, 38 for possession.
Police then obtained a warrant to search Roberto Casillas-Corrales's home for evidence of drug trafficking.

Instead, they found the animal remains and seized 20 machetes, three knives, a hatchet and a claw hammer.
Mike Stenquist, assistant police chief, said: 'We believe it's a religious ritual at this time.
'He's been performing some type of ceremonies in his backyard shed, and that would include the sacrificing of animals, lambs, sheep, goats, rams and chickens.'

Santeria is an Afro-Caribbean religion which is mostly practised in Cuba but has spread to the U.S.
Casillas-Corrales told police he sacrificed the animals for his faith, which combines the African Yoruba religion with elements of Catholicism.

According to police he has lived at the house for around ten years, but he is not a U.S. citizen.

He told officials he had bought the skulls for religious purposes three years ago in Cuba, where they had been removed from grave sites.

Mr Stenquist told ksl.com: 'We are being careful about his religious rights. We've asked for assistance from the Davis County Attorney's Office, the state medical examiner and ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) to determine if it's a practice they're aware of.'

Utah Medical Examiner's Office is helping to analyse the skulls to establish whether they come from Cuba as Casillas-Corrales says, the Standard-Examiner reports.

A neighbour, Vince Hall, told the newspaper the Casillas-Corrales family were 'excellent neighbours', and had often invited him and other people in the street over for fiestas and dinner parties.
He said he knew they had an altar and took part in religious rites, but had never seen any signs of animal sacrifice.
He told the Standard-Examiner: 'I've never seen the altar.
'I've heard them chanting and heard something like stones or sticks being thrown on the ground.'

According to ksl.com, investigators now have to decide whether the sacrifices are against the law or are allowed as a religious freedom.
Brian Barnard, a civil rights attorney, told ABC4: 'If somebody is using that in a legitimate religious practice there should be an exemption.
'The constitution protects religious rights.'

--------------------------------------------------------

SANTERIA: 'THE WAY OF THE SAINTS'

Santeria - 'the way of the saints' - is an Afro-Caribbean faith which began in Cuba. It is also known as La Regla Lucumi and the Rule of Osha.

It is a syncretic religion based on Yoruba beliefs, with some Roman Catholic elements.

It has spread to the U.S. in the last few decades, especially since the 1959 Cuban revolution.
Santeria centres on building relationships between humans and powerful spirits, called Orishas.

These spirits are manifestations of Olodumare (God). Followers believe if they honour them with rituals, they will help them throughout life.

Animal sacrifice is crucial to the religion, as followers believe Orishas will die without being fed.

Followers eat the meat of the animals after the sacrifice, as they believe they are sharing with the Orishas, who eat the blood.
There are no official figures for the number of Santeria followers, but it is believed it could run into the hundreds of millions

(Source: BBC Religion)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... z1GkuOMoe0
 

Heckler

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The more sensational elements of Santeria were played up in a movie called 'The Believers'. Unfortunately a group in Matamoros Mexico took it a little too seriously and based a sacrifical religion on it and wound up sacrificng 15 people.

Some of the better less sensational books are written by a lady called Migene Gonzalez-Wippler. I've read several by her and whilst the religion demands a level of sacrifice that doesn't personally appeal ( a shaman in this religion really can't be squeamish) it certainly is a very interesting angle on the Yoruba gods.
 

MrRING

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Here's a local news story:
Dead chickens, raw hamburger – what are they doing on local railroad tracks?
ATLANTA - People are leaving dead chickens and food on railroad tracks in Metro Atlanta as part of a religious practice.

Part of the religion Santeria involves animal sacrifices in which people kill birds or goats and bring their carcasses to railroad tracks.

Channel 2 Action News obtained body camera video from the Austell Police Department that shows a woman who told officers her pastor said she needed to be cleansed of evil spirits. She told officers her pastor said she should take a sacrifice to local railroad tracks. Once, she left nine packages of chicken parts, raw hamburger and other food and the bomb squad responded.


https://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/de...n-railroad-tracks-in-metro-atlanta-/915633462
 

Frideswide

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Some of the better less sensational books are written by a lady called Migene Gonzalez-Wippler.

@Hecler :) I've just looked at the author's list and there's a whole lot of them! Could you recommend a particular one or two? they all look interesting and I'm having trouble find my way through.
 

MrRING

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This may be of interest:
https://www.guernicamag.com/the-shape-of-vodou-in-diaspora/

The Shape of Vodou in Diaspora​


Photographer Dieu-Nalio Chery draws a portrait of a religion and migration.
By Dieu-Nalio Chery and Gabriel Noel
Haitian photographer Dieu-Nalio Chery grew up knowing little of Vodou. The son of a pastor, Chery wanted to explore the national religion of the Haitian people to better understand the figures and rites that had historically been syncretized with Catholic iconography during the colonial era and thereafter hidden under the veil of Roman Catholicism. Chery earned a living as a news photographer for the Associated Press, but when he wasn’t working on major news stories — at increasing risk to himself and his
family — he visited sacred sites.


His day job soon overtook everything. In 2021, his ongoing reporting on Haiti’s gangs led to threats on his life. He and his family relocated to New York City, where he studied journalism as his family began its journey to claim asylum. The unexpected move brought him the chance to expand his exploration of Vodou in a new context: the diasporic Haitian community in Brooklyn that practiced Vodou semisecretly. Generally, Vodou is practiced in the open air, deep in the countryside, but the constraints of the urban environment forced worshippers in New York to hold ceremonies in basements, out of public view. Over time, he gained the group’s trust and was invited to glimpse a way of life that is notoriously tight-lipped, holds on to remnants of a colonial past, and openly performs feats that most would consider pure magic.


From Haiti and its diaspora, Chery has drawn a portrait of a religion and way of life. His powers of observance offer a different view than the distorted perceptions that pervade pop culture’s appropriation of Vodou. Chery’s photographs situate a distinctly new-world spirituality formed from the syncretic mix of West African Vodun and Roman Catholicism. Vodou hinges on the mystic connection between practitioners and the loa — ethereal entities somewhat like saints or angels — that are called down to possess a human being and offer advice, healing, and power. Whether one hopes for financial success, recovery from an ailment, or even a spiritual “spouse,” the loa and their actions are understood to be of help in all aspects of human life. Like in Haiti, the Brooklyn ceremonies focus mainly on the possession of practitioners by the loa; however, space constraints and local laws (around, for example, the ritual killing of livestock) have forced practitioners to innovate.


I spoke with Chery in Union Square. My father, who was born in Port-au-Prince, tagged along. Together, we spoke in a hybrid form of English, Haitian Creole, and French, our conversation itself a microcosm of the cultural forces and historical movements that wove together to form the Creole religion that is Vodou. Chery spoke to us of his work in Haiti, of the baffling things he has witnessed at underground Vodou ceremonies, and of his attempt to document the struggles of a Haitian diaspora that strives to maintain its identity far from home.
 
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