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
August 8th, 2011 | 3 Comments »


World Cup Witchcraft

Transcript:

The use of muti, a Zulu word that refers to witchcraft and traditional medicine, is commonplace in South Africa. People here turn to it for health and good fortune. But also to serve up bad luck to enemies and foes.

Materials for muti’s potions and spells can be found in places like this, the Faraday Market in central Johannesburg. Look one way and you’ll see stacks of herbs and bottles of chalky liquids. Look another and there is an elephant trunk, a rhinosaurus leg and a pair ofcow hooves.

Traditional diviners and herbalists, called Sangomas and Nyonkas, carefully guard their recipes.

Some traditional healers say World Cup fans have been coming to them in recent weeks for a competitive edge. One Sangoma offers a powder that fans can blow at their beloved team to ensure a victory. Others have remedies that can help the athletes themselves.

Earlier this year, the medical committe at FIFA expressed concerns that some herbal remedies may contain performance enhancing stimulants, but the matter was left to local authorities. The South African Institute for Drug Free Sport says any stimulants used in muti can’t be detected in standard doping tests and that the ingreidents are hard to come by.

The South African national team, known here as Bfana Gobona, has denied any of the team has used muti. But professional trainers, like Tondo Makal, who have worked with top ranked players, say Muti is used at all levels of the sport in South Africa, from casual weekend games to top-flight teams.

“You look at all of the teams n the country. They do it.”

Fellow instructor, Akili Zakali, says that muti is prevelant even at the youth level. One time, he recalls, when he was a young athlete at an amateur club his team began losing and the coach ordered all of the players to turn in their cleets. When the shoes were returned, the muti was right there, he says, plain as day.

“They had all sorts of markings, inside and out. With something that’s white, sort of like chalk or something like that. Cooled off we went into our match and we won. Guess what. From now on this is the way to go.”

Posted in Spells, Vodou