November 15th, 2011 | No Comments »

This is an incredible photo shoot from LIFE magazine showing some great images from Haitian Vodou. There are no secrets exposed and the photos are mainly of people – but you can never deny the quality and emotional impact of the photos that appear in LIFE. Next to National Geographic they are just wonderful at these things.

WARNING – There are a few photos of animal sacrifice. Animal sacrifice is a normal part of Haitian Vodou, so this is simply reality. Any time animal sacrifice comes up I always like to remind everybody that the animals are consumed afterwards, that they don’t suffer and actually live more humane lives, and die less painful deaths, than the animals we eat on a daily basis raised and killed in in slaughterhouses.

That being said – enjoy the photos and skip ahead past the bloody parts if you are squeamish.

Posted in Vodou
November 6th, 2011 | No Comments »

Pope Benedict XVI discussed witchcraft today at a conference with Angolan Bishops in Africa. He did not endorse witchcraft, as can be expected from the Pope but a listen to the address does shy away from condemning traditional African practice or rejecting an African spiritual heritage in lieu of Roman Catholicism. This is somewhat of a reaffirmation of Pope John Paul II, who also said that Roman Catholicism was compatible with Vodou in his 1992 meeting with Beninoise Vodou Houngans.

This is, however, one of Pope Benedict’s many conservative swings away from the former stance of Pope John Paul II. Compare what Pope John Paul II said in his meeting with African Houngans in 1992 to that of Pope Benedict today;

 

 

[The Vatican Council II] recognized that there are truth and good, seeds of the Word, in the various religious traditions.

 

You are strongly attached to the traditions which your ancestors transmitted to you. It is legitimate to recognize the ancestors who transmitted to you the sense of the sacral, faith in a one and good god, your tastes for celebrations, and consideration for moral life and harmony in society.

Pope Benedict XVI modified the stance and reconciled by saying;

The heart of the baptized is sometimes shared between Christianity and traditional African religions.

He did strongly condemn any form of violence in witchcraft, especially toward children and the elderly. We also agree at Bondye that any abuse of children, the elderly or anyone at all has no place in religion – be it Roman Catholic or Vodou.

Most Vodouisants, particularly in Haiti, are both practicing Catholics and believers in Vodou.

Posted in Vodou
October 20th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

Stay Out of Jail SpellIn the American South at any Botanica, or Magic Shoppe, you always find an assortment of powders and oils. Some of the more common have names such as “Law Stay Away” or “Win A Court Case.” The intent is, of course, to help people avoid legal trouble and to beat any court case that they are already a part of. This has been an integral part of Vodou and, in the examples above, Hoodoo. In fact it is found all over the world. An example from the English version of Ennahar Onilne:

Do not be surprised if you ever come across a Herz (talisman or amulets), a tuft of hair or pieces of sugar in a court. These are only the remains of some strange rituals practiced by some Algerian women in order to avoid prison for their relatives.

All means are good for the poor mothers who want to avoid the hole for their children, who face prison for a particular crime or offense. As if the lawyer is not enough, they want to increase the chances that their children benefit from the release, return to the heat of the home instead of going rot in a cold cell.

She gives a Harz (talisman) to her son so that he leaves prison in Bab El Oued

Believing firmly that it works, some women resort to all sorts of magic to save their offspring from the tentacles of justice, even the African voodoo if necessary, provided that their beloved sons do not go to jail.

Candle for Beating Court CasesMany may question the ethics behind this. Is it wrong to use Vodou to free a person from the grasp of justice? This central question revolves around the assumption that in a court case it is truly justice that is being served. Recall that in Haiti, Vodou was used to protect black slaves from the justice of their abusive white masters. If they broke a rule, they would be subjected to a trial and punishment often involving the torture of a whip. In the example above, in the prisons of Algeria, it may be safe to assume that we are looking at exactly the same type of justice.

It would not be ethical to use Vodou to free a rapist or murderer. I think we all agree on this. But in countries where the justice system is a complete mockery I sympathize with those who find ways to fight against the odds. Even in countries such as the Untied States, where due process is promised and courts considered reasonably fair, we see new people every day being set free based on DNA evidence –  from death row nonetheless – for crimes they did not commit.

Law Stay Away IncenseIs it fair to use Vodou to win a court case? Every situation has to be evaluated differently. No two are the same. I cannot say for certainty that this is always wrong nor can I say that it is always right.

But one thing is for sure – it does work. If it did not, the police officer in the above example would not have been so quick to arrest the woman for slipping her son a lucky talisman.

Posted in Spells, Vodou
October 20th, 2011 | No Comments »

 

Palm Islands in DubaiFrom themedialine.org “Black Magic Widespread in the Middle East”:

When Tara Umm Omar was a young bride in her first marriage, she and her Moroccan husband took into their home the youngest sister of a family friend. On the day the young Moroccan woman arrived, she gave Umm Omar a doll, which Umm Omar promptly placed in a dresser drawer.

When Umm Omar told a friend of the doll, the friend suspected it was an item for black magic and suggested the doll be destroyed. Instead, Umm Omar tossed it in the garbage. That’s when household items disappeared, the family dog barked incessantly, Umm Omar started fighting with her husband and she began seeing strange insects in the house. When the guest finally moved out, the couple found their bed sheets and an identical doll to Umm Omar’s among the woman’s discarded belongings.

This is a case that is all too common. I am contacted every day with requests on how to properly destroy a Vodou doll or a break a curse placed by a jealous wife or lover. In the majority of cases where it is not the actual wife or husband placing a curse, it is a close family friend just as in this article. If events take a sudden turn for the negative after receiving a special “gift” – especially a doll – you should be very wary.Dubai Cityscape

Remember that Vodou is active all over the world. It can be found in Dubai just as easily as Kansas or the heart of Haiti. Many people underestimate the roll of Vodou in “civilized” countries – or those with Islamic leanings – but in reality Vodou may be more widely practiced than any mainstream religion.

The only thing I take exception to is the sensationalistic nature of this article. Vodou is not inherently negative. You can curse people with Vodou. In fact, Vodou can even kill people. But Vodou is much more commonly used for beneficial purposes. It is to heal, to protect, to bring love and to repair families. And most importantly Vodou is to fortify our own spirituality and our relationships with God.

Posted in curses, Spells, Vodou
October 18th, 2011 | No Comments »

From the Science section of the New York Times:

Digging deeper in a South African cave that had already yielded surprises from the Middle Stone Age, archaeologists have uncovered a 100,000-year-old workshop holding the tools and ingredients with which early modern humans apparently mixed some of the first known paint.

These cave artisans had stones for pounding and grinding colorful dirt enriched with a kind of iron oxide to a powder, known as ocher. This was blended with the binding fat of mammal-bone marrow and a dash of charcoal. Traces of ocher were left on the tools, and samples of the reddish compound were collected in large abalone shells, where the paint was liquefied, stirred and scooped out with a bone spatula.

A fascinating archaeological discovery that sheds many insights on the artistic expression of early humans. But it is more than that. The description of how cave artisans prepared paints from ocher, animal fat and charcoal in abalone shells, with bone spatulas and pestles, is exactly how many magical pigments are prepared today in Vodou around the world, from Congo, to Benin, to Haiti and even in Obeah in Jamaica. This gives us very strong evidence for Vodou being one of the oldest religions in existence today.

Remember that Vodou is not just a Haitian phenomenon, or a Beninoise, or even African phenomenon. It is a human phenomenon that is a part of the history of every man and woman.

Related: the Ishango Bone that was found in the Ishango region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (also the home of one of our Most Famous Voodoo Priests) has also been dated to 10,000 years and provides an example of advanced mathematics in Africa that predate even the Mayans.

Posted in history, Spells, Vodou
October 16th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

“I love my Vodou Priest – he is even more important than the President of the Republic.”

A very powerful statement from one man interviewed in Cameroon, where Vodou is a daily part of life. Every person – from the humble worker to the Sultan of Bamum himself pay homage to the senior Vodou priest, known as a Tata in Cameroon (just as in Congo, as opposed to the title of Houngan in Haiti and Benin).

Cameroonian society has a social and administrative organization ancestral: the chiefdom. But superior even to this is the Vodou Priesthood. Even the Chiefdom knows that without the power of Vodou as a stabilizing cultural force it will fail.

By ethnic group or geographical situations, the traditional leader, whether sultan, king or paramount chief, represents power and authority over a village or even a region. But the Vodou Tata represents spiritual authority. An authority directly from Bondye, or God.

True to the tradition, descendants and heirs of historical lineages whose origin is often lost in the mists of time, they are the last kings of Cameroon. They still occupy a prominent place in the lives of many ethnicities. They are both the guardians of customary authority and custodians of religious values. Also playing the role of auxiliaries of the administration, they are important people for the central government.

The Vodou Tatas are equally important. Their traditions and lineages stretch back even further than the kings in Cameroon. It is said that the first king in Cameroon was anointed by a Vodou Tata, just as the Abraham was first anointed by Melchezidek, a Priest of the Most High God. While the King represents temporal authority, the Tata represents a higher spiritual authority.

The current Sultan of Foumban, Ibrahim Mbombo Njoya, king of the Bamum, is a former Minister of the Cameroon government for a long time remained in the service of the State. He is also a devotee of Vodou and regularly pays homage to the senior Tata.

The politicians of the country seek support from the Sultan. The Sultan is one of the greatest kings of Cameroon. And the Sultan seeks support from the Tata.

The authority he has over his people is said to determine who is elected in the presidential election as of 9 October. Those who do not pay proper homage to the Sultan – and the Tata – often are never elected. Politics, or spiritual power?

At four meetings of the Sultan we interviewed people on the street to examine their feelings on politics, the Sultanate and the Vodou Priesthood in Cameroon.

Fabrice, shopkeeper in Foumban:

“The Sultan is very important here. He is well respected and has a great influence in the region. It is the law. If the Sultan is a candidate is best for our region, I will vote for that candidate, I will follow his instructions. For I know that the Sultan is directed by the Tata, who is an authority of God.”

Rabiètou, phone vendor in Foumban:

“It’s the King of the Bamum. He has great authority here. Only the Tata has more authority. For my vote, I will follow the choice of the Sultan who rules with the spiritual discernment given by the Vodou spirits.”

Salla, wife and mother:

“I love my King Sultan of Bamum. It is more important than the president. Only the Tata is more important. I’m ready to vote for anyone if the Sultan or my Tata asked me.”

Moustapha, Islamic Imam:

“The people have a duty of obedience, submission in relation to the Sultan which is a religious authority before a traditional authority. Only our spiritual leaders such as the Vodou Priest or the Quran have equal authority.”

These stories give an idea of the weight the King as well as the Vodou Priesthood hold over the elections. They have the power to guide the selection of all his people to elect their next president.

For those who feel that a monarchy or a priesthood have no place in government – consider one fact: in Cameroon the vast majority of humanitarian aid, medicine and education is funded directly by the Vodou Priesthood and the Sultanate. They are the sole sources of educational and medical advancement in Cameroon. Without these traditional institutions the country of Cameroon would be set back many years.

Tags: , ,
Posted in Vodou
September 23rd, 2011 | No Comments »

This was a question that was asked of me just today. I responded and also asked if I could explain the answer here for the benefits of the readers at Bondye.com. Animals are specially susceptible to spiritual influence. They can see both the spirit world and the world of the living. In Africa they are said to “live in the city and in the jungle” because of this. They walk between the realms of the living and the dead.

But more often than not, a curse will not be placed on a pet. Sudden sicknesses in animals and even sudden deaths in animals can be signs of spirits that are angry. This is especially the case if the animal has a specific significance to a spirit, for example a dog to Lebga or a rooster to Kalfu. The issue may rest upon you rather than upon the animal.

The good news is that an animal can also save you from being attacked by spirits. Many people have kept animals to both help develop spiritual ability and bring spiritual protection. To the Native Americans, the eagle was a symbol of spiritual protection, as was the owl. In Africa it has been the serpent, who in Vodou we know as Danballah. Dogs are said to be ‘man’s best friend’ because they protect us against what is not man – but the spirit world. They are able to interact with it and actually drive spirits away.

Tags: ,
Posted in Uncategorized
August 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment »


The Ishango Bone

This is a video from the Ishango Bone exhibit in Brussels, Belgium. The Ishango Bone is a 20,000 year old human relic believed to be the very first example of advanced mathematics in human beings. It was located in the Ishango region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the help of a local witchdoctor. The discovery of the Ishango Bone revolutionized the way historians and anthropologists view the development of mathematics, tool usage and the growth of human civilization.

Tags: ,
Posted in Vodou
August 7th, 2011 | 1 Comment »


African Magick in Football

This monkey hand that I got in the bush is especially for the goalkeeper. Because it has the power to grab and stop the ball.

In Johannesburg, South Africa, a Zulu sorcerer helps to perform rituals for success in an upcoming football game. Porcupine quills are used on the feet to ward away bad luck and rituals are performed to grab the attention of ancestors.

Posted in Spells, Vodou
August 7th, 2011 | No Comments »

African Magick in Football (YouTube)

A fascinating video by the Wall Street Journal describing the use of traditional healing and magic in Johannesburg, South Africa, known locally as muti. Muti is used for healing and good fortune, as well as revenge and bringing bad luck upon enemies. During the World Cup in South Africa, local markets containing magical elements, including animal parts and special powders, are crowded by fans. Muti is common even at the youth level in football and is used by players, coaches and fans alike.

Posted in Spells, Vodou