Welcome to the Order of the Sacred Star! This Pagan/Wiccan group, based in Winnipeg, Canada, is committed to teaching the Craft to all those who wish to learn. Our goal is to provide a complete and fulfulling learning experience. Our public classes are offered through the Winnipeg Pagan Teaching Circle.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Exploring Voodoo: Myths and Magick of Vodou

For many people, the word “voodoo” conjures up some rather odd images – curses involving bones and pins stuck in dolls; secret societies making sacrifices to their demonic gods; and evil priests raising zombies from the grave. In reality, none of these commonly misconceptions actually reflect true Vodou practice.

Myths in Vodou

Media has created a sensational but unrealistic view of the Vodoun religion. Although some of these are mildly accurate (sacrifice, animal bones and voodoo dolls, for example) they are but a small part of the religion that is practiced today.

Just as in Wicca and many other religions, the Vodoun make charms and create spells for money, health, and prosperity, among other things. Although many believe the Vodoun are strictly in it for self-gain, that’s not true. According to Vodou belief, magick shouldn’t be employed for selfish gain, especially if it would hurt someone else.

As in every religion, there are a few who use it for wrong or self-serving purposes. Although legitimate priests and priestesses are taught both the good and the bad, they take an oath upon initiation, vowing to avoid causing harm to others.

Magick in Vodou

Legitimate vodoun priests and priestesses can perform a wide range of services. This is generally done for a fee, as they must make a living as well.

These services would include:
  • divination;
  • healing;
  • mixing herbal powders, teas and other recipes;
  • constructing charms, ounga, or pakets Kongo;
  • consulting on your spiritual life;
  • giving luck baths;
  • administering the lave te’t ritual;
  • casting spells or making magickal potions; and
  • officiating over private ceremonies, such as marriage to the Lwa (spirits).
Black Magick in Vodou

Sometimes, those who use magick for the wrong reason are considered to be practicing ‘black magick.’ While this term isn’t really accurate, it is one with which most people are familiar, and so will be used here.

The Lwa most likely to assist in black magick are: Kalfou, Ezili Danto, Marinette, Bosou, Ti-jean-petio, Maman Brijit, Ge’de-Nibo, and Baron Krimine’l.

Once a priest/priestess begins to practice black magick, they are known as a bo’ko. A bo’ko has no temple or devotees and performs all of his/her rituals in secret. Bo’ko are said to serve the Lwa with both hands because they practice both white and black magick.

When a bo’ko buys the powers of one of the dark Lwa, he/she must pay a high price, usually life-long service to the Lwa. This pact between the Lwa and the bo’ko is called an angajan. An angajan is like a shortcut intended to quickly harness the powerful forces of the Lwa. Sadly, it's believed that a majority of the time, the bo’ko becomes the Lwa’s slave and has to be at the beck and call of the Lwa.

There are four types of black magick spells:
  • An air spell (kou le) is the weakest of the black magick spells, usually causing a mild illness or a little bad luck;
  • A powder spell (kou poud) is a powerful magickal powder that causes extreme illness or death;
  • A soul spell (kou nanm) enables the sorcerer to capture the soul of a person; the bo’ko can then use the soul for evil deeds while the soulless body slowly dies; and
  • Sending the dead (voye lamo) is the bo’ko most powerful spell; he/she sends dead spirits to inhabit the victim, causing the victim to go insane or die horribly.
Magick is an important component to Vodou practice, and should not be overlooked. Legitimate practitioners of this religion would never use their magick to cause harm to another, despite the rumors that the media often spreads to the contrary.

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