Voyage Into Voodoo
Voodoo In A Nutshell - Loas & Orishas - Voodoo Dolls - Spirit Doll Venus - JuJu Spirit Dolls - Voodoo Dolls & Pins - Voodoo Chakra Spells - Voodoo Chakra Spell Step By Step - Important Notes
There are more misconceptions about Voodoo than any self respecting shaman might want to shake their rattle at ...
Let us start our brief tourist trip to Voodoo here - the word Voodoo is an Americanized misspelling of original African source words relating to God, and Spirit. Voodoo is actually a religion in its own right, with a complete pantheon of gods and spirits known as loas and orishas under one Creator.
What is particularly interesting about Voodoo is its origins. When Africans were brought to North America, they brought their childhood religions with them; but there were many different variants which became not mixed up, but distilled in a very interesting way. One might say that only those spirits survived and entered into what is now the Voodoo pantheon which were agreed upon, acceptable and recognisable to all concerned.
Later on, Christianity became entwined into the unfolding, living religion of Voodoo or Santaria and in this way, it ended up with those components that were found to be most useful and user friendly to those who practised it.
At the heart of Voodoo magic lies the idea that spirits will help a practitioner achieve their outcomes. It is not the practitioner or priest working alone, but in conjunction with these deities and supported by ancestral spirits. Notably one loa, Papa Legba, the guardian to the gates between the worlds, is addressed to open the door so that the practitioner may enter the spirit world, and there enlist the help of the correct entity for the problem in hand.
Like shamanism, Voodoo concerns itself with all aspects of human existence, from healing to enquiry, from justice to revenge, and from finding love to finding material support in the world.
And here we come to the very infamous "Voodoo dolls".
Unlike the general portrayal in horror movies, the first purpose of Voodoo dolls is to represent a spirit or deity, so that the practitioner may be able to contact that deity and acquire their assistance.
This is no different than praying to the statues found in temples across the ages, and including depictions and altars to Christian angels, saints and martyrs.
However, and probably originally driven by the sheer poverty of those who practised the religion of Voodoo, instead of big marble sculptures provided by the ruling classes, the home made Voodoo dolls are a far more intimate and direct connection to the helpful spirits, making the relationship between a Voodoo practitioner and their loas and orishas deeply personal in nature.
One might say that Voodoo dolls are deliberately raw and primal, for here there is no attempt made to "recreate the deity". Instead, the objective in making the voodoo doll is to create a portal, a link which helps a human being concentrate and make the connection with the spirit.
Thus the construction of a Voodoo doll is not a question of prettiness or artistic merit but one of intent; it is also one that does not exclude those who lack the skills to fashion works from marble, or the money to pay for it.
Voodoo dolls with pins do exist, and of course, a blank doll may be dedicated to represent a connection to another person as well as to a spirit; however, cursing and injuring an enemy is just one item on a very long list of uses for Voodoo dolls.
The pins, traditionally seven in number and colour coded to represent various intentions, are physical representations of intention energy the practitioner is placing on the target. So, for example, if a physical healing needs to take place in the stomach region, a pin of a specific colour may be inserted there by the practitioner to bring about the healing and dispel any negative energy which may reside there. The flipside of this is that one may use the intention like a laser to harm, rather than heal; this is nothing but the truth and acknowledged in Voodoo. It is up to a practitioner how they deal with their own conduct relating to these matters, for it is they who will always pay the ultimate price in the end.
When people first come across the Voodoo pantheon, they are often shocked because it includes spirits that are not at first glance altogether pretty, or even friendly. Especially Christian based traditions seem to have organised their pantheon in such a way that there may be "good" archangels, saints and martyrs, but all the "bad" ones are lumped together amorphously into one big scary "Satan" construct. This could be said to be a device to stop people from being able to contact these other spirits and gain their assistance in seeking progress, personal power and essentially, FREEDOM.
The truth is that life contains many components, and not all are rose coloured. Not all animals and creatures in this world are cute or cuddly, but without them, the ecology wouldn't work at all and they are not just a necessary evil, but in fact an essential part of creation itself.
The older pantheons across the world used to reflect this simple fact, and Voodoo, with its roots going so far back into the history of humanity, has brought this forward to today.
There is an elegance, honesty and simplicity about Voodoo that speaks to the parts of us who don't sit back and fold their arms in scepticism, think and talk everything to death in a very practical sense. There are many lessons to be found in this unique religion that deserve to be met with fascination and interest, not least of all the directness, vibrancy and love of life that is expressed here for those who might like to explore it further.
Voyage Into Voodoo, Part 2:
Making My First Voodoo Doll ....
I truly can't know just how and why it was that I found myself wanting to make some poppets in late February of 2007. It's one of those things once you give over a certain level of decision making to your energy mind that unexpected behaviours start creeping in, and it is often so that at least at the beginning, you have absolutely NO IDEA as to why you might want to do that.
I am pretty sure that there are many people out there who get such strange urges and ideas just the same as I do, but I guess the difference is that when I get these, I do something about it. I call this "following the white rabbit all the way to the light", because to start with, you really do not know where something will lead - BUT if you do follow along with the strange idea, the fascination, the enquiry, and you keep on going bravely, don't talk yourself out of it and just play it out to its conclusion, you will get a PRIZE at some point.
A breakthrough insight, a reality principle revealed, a personal development taking place, a healing sometimes - it varies. But there's always a prize and it's usually a surprise, as well.
So it was with the poppet making.
The first little poppet I made out of string one night; then I went on to make poppets from clingfilm. When I had about five of them, I started wondering what to do with these poppets. As a part of this wondering, voodoo dolls came to mind and I decided to look into Voodoo a little further. I found a fascinating website that spoke to me and spent three nights there, becoming familiar with the idea of gods and spirits, and how to enlist their aid in projects and endeavours.
Whilst I was doing this, I also became aware that over the years, I had certainly started to build up a pantheon of my own - a personal pantheon of entities I'd met along the way and to whom I had a resonance. Many of these bore a striking resemblance to the spirits from the voodoo pantheon, which is very raw and primal compared to the more "evolved versions", such as the Greek, Roman and Egyptian pantheons. I must say though that I had never thought of making what is in essence, a statue *to* a spirit in order to have a more personal relationship with it.
The idea intrigued me, and I decided to have a go at making my own voodoo doll.
I chose a god/spirit/entity that I have been evoking quite a bit for various reasons for the past couple of years, namely Venus. Now "my personal Venus" is not quite what one might generally think of it terms of Venus, as most people have a picture of a nude woman coming out of a shell in mind when you mention that word. Mine is closer to the idea of the star but still, it is there and that's what wanted to have me try and make a portal in the shape of a human figure - a voodoo doll.
I started by making the template doll and as it unfolded, it wanted to be definitely female, with breasts, hips, buttocks and a stomach too. This doll was also larger than what I normally make and designed to stand up for itself.
Now began the process of "dressing" the doll - the act of personalising it both to Venus, in a way, and to me, so that the bridge can be made through the doll. And what a fascinating process that was, indeed. A very three dimensional endeavour that had me choosing colours and shapes, evoking ideas, and finding reversals within myself, places where I would be uncertain or lose track of what I was doing. I had particular problems with getting it straight in my head, and keeping it straight, that I wasn't making a work of art designed to DEPICT Venus, but instead, a simple tool that should help me make a bridging contact with that energy, that essence.
I had to keep reminding myself of traditional voodoo dolls, which are often nothing more than a bag of herbs with crude eyes drawn upon it, and a few relevant coloured ribbons wrapped around, or a couple of sticks and a bit of spanish moss, for that matter.
I wasn't "re-creating" Venus, I was just *contacting that energy*. As I managed to resolve my various reversals on the topic and keep that thought in mind, I found a great sense of relief and a renewed passion to make a good job of this, and also a very childlike JOY in the processes involved.
In a very meditative state where time just slipped away, I did the practical work necessary, guided as one is in the "Art Solutions" process absolutely by feedback from within as to what was right, and what was not. As the light began to fade on that day, my Venus was complete.
And here she is, my first ever voodoo doll.
I am quite surprised by many aspects of her, none of which were "thought out consciously", they just needed to have happened.
She is very regal and glamorous, but also very quiet. More radiant than I thought, and although I wanted to heap jewels upon her, she only wears one nightblue gem and a necklace of five white diamonds, with a big star diamond in the head piece. She also wears a dagger in her belt; or you could call it a small sword, silver set with abalone.
There are clearly things about her that I don't know yet, but I would like to, very much indeed.
This is certainly a most fascinating thing to do.
Whilst I was making the doll, I often had a sense of tapping into a very, VERY old thing, something that people have been doing for as long as they've been people; a very basic religious thing that touches parts of me that are far away, and awakens them.
Very difficult to describe but most interesting.
And I've got a Goddess in the house! Or, should we be more correct about this, a portal to a Goddess.
I look forward to whatever may come next, and wherever the white rabbit will go as it runs and twists and turns. So far, this has been a most unusual delightful trip, very unexpected, very intriguing and nourishing, in a strange and quite exciting way.