Before you begin any hoodoo work, you will need a place to do your rituals. This means you will need a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed, and a surface such as a table, box, chest, or even a large flat stone. Some people set aside a portion of the floor to use as an altar, or they use a dresser top, with ritual supplies stored underneath. You will need basic items and some extra items to personalize your altar.
Cover your altar with a white cloth, and place two white candles at the back on either end. Figures or pictures of saints or other religious images should be placed at the back, between the two white candles. Place your incense burner in front of the image and in the middle of the altar, and to the right of that keep some holy water or a bowl of water that you have blessed. These are the basics of the hoodoo altar.
You can add fresh-cut flowers, special stones, a dish of salt, and a small dish of graveyard dirt, if you wish. The important thing is to not place anything on your altar that doesn’t belong there. Altars can range from the very basic to the extremely elaborate.
Your altar and everything on it should be blessed or consecrated. Your candles should be blessed and dressed. All of the bowls and other containers should be washed with salt water, conjure water, Florida water, or Holy water.
As you become familiar with working with the various spirits, you will learn how to set up altars for each spirit or family of spirits. For individual magickal works, however, the altar will be as individual as the work is itself.
As portrayed in modern media, the idea of a Voodoo doll is simply a doll or a figurine representing a person in one’s life. It is then created by using personal objects with attachments to said person (for example, hair) and then using the doll to enact all kinds of spiritual acts. The most popular acts that people associate with Voodoo dolls are that of vengeance and mayhem.
In western media, it’s often shown that people with hate towards another person create the doll to hurt and curse people instead of what the dolls are initially intended for. Once a staple of West African traditionalism and Haitian beliefs, it is now reduced to nothing more than a tourist novelty. Voodoo Dolls have a terrible reputation. It is always depicted in popular media as a small, stitched-up doll that you imbue with your enemy’s essence. It then uses a needle prick, causing pain and inconvenience. And while it’s not unheard of that the dolls are used for curses, it’s doubtful that they are commonly used for this purpose.
The process of making the dolls has nothing to do with stitches and stuffing. Instead, the dolls are customarily made from sticks, straws, or any personal and organic material of the people that you’d like represented in the image of the figurine. As with West African spirituality, they are physical representations of the spiritual realm around people. Taking place on altars and surrounded by objects of interest. These physical conduits to family, friends, and loved ones are there to bring connection with that of the Lwa and to leave prayers and petitions of goodwill unto those that people are close to.
Source:Marie Laveau: Life of a Voodoo Queen. Monique Joiner Siedlak
A gris-gris, sometimes known as a grigri, is an object that most Voodoo practitioners craft for their patrons. This talisman or amulet has its origins out of Africa and is designed and crafted for various uses. It is commonly created to ward off evil or as just essential protection against anything classified as a spiritual attack on a person. However, this isn’t its only use since, in the more western area of Africa, they can be used for birth control. The practice of wearing a gris-gris was surprisingly used by believers and non-believers alike. Its appearance, while varied, was usually a small cloth bag inscribed with African verses that contained small ritualistic objects. Allegedly, it was also used in the Islamic faith as protection against evil spirits called Djinn.
In Haiti, they are seen as objects of good fortune used to improve the external lives of the wearers and imbued with some sort of incantation. New Orleans has its version of a gris-gris. While they may be inaccurately represented as a form of black magic, they are, in fact, a much more positive item in the arsenal of Voodoo objects. Unlike the belief that it was designed to bring ill-will on patrons’ enemies, records indicate people tampering with other’s amulets as a form of vengeance. It is believed that, in actuality, the gris-gris was just sources of healing and protection. Why would its original meaning change so much in the course of Voodoo history? Many believed Marie Laveau used these talismans to curse people, but odds are, she simply used them to improve the way of life of those around her.
Source:Marie Laveau: Life of a Voodoo Queen. Monique Joiner Siedlak
The Originals is the first spin-off from the supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries, and it further expands the universe by providing a rich background story to many of the characters first met in the parent series.
In particular, we learn more about Klaus Mikaelson and his family, the first vampires to ever exist.
Their story unfolds in the French Quarter of New Orleans, a neighborhood they built and once ruled over but has since been taken over by Klaus’ own protege, Marcel.
Klaus is determined to regain control, but must also fight to keep his daughter safe from external threats against his family and the entire supernatural world.
In a city with a culture rich with ties to the occult, it’s no surprise that there’s a TV series about witches.
From Ryan Murphy’s renowned American Horror Story franchise is its third season subtitled Coven, which follows a secret institution of young witches who are descendants of those persecuted during the Salem witch trials in the late 1600s.
The girls are learning to harness and strengthen their powers at a boarding school run by witch Cordelia Foxx.
However, that also means they’re all contending to become the next Supreme, the most powerful witch, while battling external threats from voodoo practitioners as well as interior threats.
The term Voodoo hoodoo is commonly used by Louisiana locals to describe our unique brand of New Orleans Creole Voodoo. It refers to a blending of religious and magickal elements. Voodoo is widely believed by those outside of the New Orleans Voodoo tradition to be separate from hoodoo magick. However, the separation of religion from magick did not occur in New Orleans as it did in other areas of the country. The magick is part of the religion; the charms are medicine and spiritual tools that hold the inherent healing mechanisms of the traditional religion and culture. Voodoo in New Orleans is a way of life for those who believe.
Still, there are those who separate Voodoo and hoodoo. Some hoodoo practitioners integrate elements of Voodoo, and some do not. Some incorporate elements of Catholicism or other Christian religious thought into their practice, while others do not. How much of the original religion a person decides to believe in and practice is left up to the individual. Some people don’t consider what they do religion at all, preferring to call it a spiritual tradition or African American folk magic. The term Voodoo hoodoo is in reference to the blend of the two aspects of the original religion as found in New Orleans Voodoo and as a way of life. A fellow New Orleans native and contemporary gris gris man Dr. John explains it this way:
In New Orleans, in religion, as in food or race or music, you can’t separate nothing from nothing. Everything mingles each into the other—Catholic saint worship with gris gris spirits, evangelical tent meetings with spiritual church ceremonies—until nothing is purely itself but becomes part of one fonky gumbo. That is why it is important to understand that in New Orleans the idea of Voodoo—or as we call it gris gris—is less a distinct religion than a way of life.
According to “The Country Justice”, that was responsible for the legal aspect of witchcraft prosecutions in the New England colonies, owning a hare could be seen as a witch mark for hares were considered magical familiars.*
* Based upon European folklore of the medieval and early modern periods, familiars (sometimes referred to as familiar spirits) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.
In Sweden it was believed that witches would celebrate the Devil’s Sabbath (‘Blåkulla’) on Maundy Thursday. The Devil would entertain the witches by playing the harp, and engage in carnal acts with the ones he liked best in a special chamber.
Morgan le Fay first steps into Arthur’s mythos in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Vita Merlini, written in 1150. Here, she is the eldest of the nine sisters who rule the ethereal isle of Avalon and is a powerful healer. This Morgan could shape shift into animals, manifest as a crone or a maiden and fly. She’s also clever – a skilled mathematician and astronomer. Arthur’s men trust Morgan and take their mortally injured king to her to be healed. Geoffrey’s portrayal of her is sympathetic and he creates a strong, rounded female character.
In Chrétien de Troyes’ French romantic interpretation of the myth, she is presented as Arthur’s sister and described as ‘Morgan the Wise’. She is no longer the ruler of the island, but is in a relationship with its ruler, Lord Guigomar. And so her power starts to be subsumed, manipulated by medieval writers, reluctant to believe a woman could be knowledgeable, powerful or clever.
She remains a relatively benign character until Arthur’s tale is dramatically rewritten in the French Vulgate Cycle (c. 1210–30), thought to be composed by fundamentalist Cistercian monks. Cistercians were crusaders, dedicated to eradicating heretics. They despised women – some even argued against the existence of a female soul – and used the Arthurian tales as propaganda for the Christian religion. Morgan embodied everything that terrified them about the old forms of worship – a knowledgeable, gifted woman, unashamed of her flesh and desires, existing in a society that acknowledged a female presence. They twisted the benevolent character of Morgan Le Fay into a more sinister seductress and obsessive witch.
Using her looks and sexuality, she persuades Merlin to teach her the dark arts. She exposes Guinevere’s affair with Lancelot and later tries to seduce the knight. In the order’s later works, Morgan’s character becomes more overtly evil: she uses her powers to steal the magical sword Excalibur and its scabbard to use against Arthur and plots his downfall, only to be thwarted by the new witch Ninianne, the Lady of the Lake. However, at the end of Vulgate Cycle, Morgan is one of the ladies who escort Arthur on his final trip to Avalon.
By 1485, when the definitive Arthur book, Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory, appears, the Cistercian template is set. Malory’s Morgan is even more reductive. There is no affair that initiates her conflict with Guinevere; instead she’s just a fundamentally wicked person, malevolent, Arthur’s nemesis, a mistress of the dark arts, manifesting the medieval world’s fear of the knowledge and power of women.
In Germany, the Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) was about to be published near-simultaneously and these books helped to whip up anti-magic fervour and presaged a spike in UK witch trials. One last vestige of Morgan’s earlier incarnation remains – she is permitted to transport Arthur’s body to Avalon.
Morgan has remained a powerful figure in literature – she appears in Italian Renaissance poems, French literature and English writer Edmund Spenser’s epic poem The Faerie Queen. She has smouldered on the big screen, memorably portrayed by Helen Mirren in Excalibur (1981).
Her character is strong enough to bear endless reworking. The image of a sexually confident woman, clever, and gifted with magical healing abilities has been reimagined from benevolent to evil, yet still retains its power. Medieval authors turned Morgan into an evil, vengeful caricature – the only way they could deal with her independence, her power, her sexuality.
The story surrounding this grave is pure legend, yet it continues to lure visitors to Glenwood Cemetery in Yazoo City, Miss. A woman thought to be a witch is reportedly interred in a plot surrounded by chain links, which led to a legend printed in 1971 in the book “Good Old Boy,” written by local Willie Morris, who died in 1999 and is buried 13 steps south of the witch’s grave.
According to the legend, the old woman lived on the Yazoo River, and was caught torturing fishermen who she lured in off the river. The sheriff is said to have chased her through the swamps where she was half drowned in quicksand by the time the sheriff caught up with her. As she was sinking, she swore her revenge on Yazoo City and on the town’s people. ‘In 20 years, I will return and burn this town to the ground!” No one thought much of it at the time. Then came May 25, 1904… The Fire of 1904 destroyed over 200 residences and nearly every business in Yazoo City – 324 buildings in total.