This week found me neck deep in a steaming pit of Voodoo. Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen is getting ever-nearer to completion. It has taken so much longer than I intended but there you go. Life happens. I wanted to share a little of the research in Sorchia’s Universe this week to give you a taste of what I’m cooking up for you.
- Christianity and Voodoo have a lot in common. Because Voodoo has deep ties to Catholic religion, both Voodoo and Catholic Churches coexist quite nicely thank you. In fact, Voodoo ascribes to the belief in one god. The pantheon of Voodoo are the Loa or Lwa, spirits who carry messages between the one god and puny mortals. Mortals are the servants of the Loa and not the other way around. Voodoo Loa are often given names of Catholic saints. And if that isn’t enough, even Pope John Paul II attended a Voodoo ceremony in 1993.
- Voodoo dolls aren’t just a Voodoo thing. In the Middle Ages and before, wise women and witches in Europe and Asia made poppets and used them to cast spells—cures as often as curses. To really spice up your poppet/Voodoo doll, be sure to add something that has a close tie to your
victimclient. Hair, fingernails, bodily fluids, an eyeball—whatever comes handy. Even the dirt from a footprint can add a little kick—see what I did there?– to your spell.
3. Red magic is the worse than black magic any day. Voodoo is a religion of love and healing but people are people and occasionally somebody slips off the path. When this happens the evil-doer’s eyes glow red and they do ugly things. Hence the term Red Magic and it’s connotation with evil. (Note: The term red magic can also refer to sex magic which might be good, evil, fantastic, or indifferent.) It’s the Voodoo Queen’s job to be proactive and stop the evil red magic. In Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen, just the opposite happens. The Loa themselves are not evil. It’s the practitioner who can corrupt a relationship with a Lwa and use knowledge and skills for self gain. These evil sorcerers are called bokors.
- Voodoo teachings are not written down anywhere. Voodoo depends on the community of believers who share knowledge orally. The process of learning Voodoo is a highly personal one which is taught as much by illustration as by formal lessons. It is integrated in everyday activities and tied to the environment and the community. The Druids had such a system and to get rid of it, the Romans had to murder pretty much everyone who had come in contact with a Druid priest or priestess because the teachings were so deeply ingrained. Just because Voodoo isn’t a book-based religion doesn’t weaken it in any way.
- Zombies are more about slavery than they are about Voodoo. Zombies in movies are supposed to be the reanimated corpses of dead people enchanted by an evil sorcerer and made to do the sorcerer’s will and/or the reanimated corpses of dead people brought back to semi-life by a passing comet which also gives them an unquenchable taste for warm human brains. Ok—this could account for maybe ten percent of the zombies wandering around the world today—and I sincerely hope that ten percent are on TV. In the beginning of zombie lore, zombies were the undead souls of West Indies slaves who, rather than face a life of degradation and misery, killed themselves hoping to return to the kind of limbo between lives. Unfortunately, suicide disqualifies you from such a thing and those souls were doomed to walk the earth imprisoned in their corpses because the afterlife was closed to them. A much worse story.
- Animal sacrifice—Ok, this really happens. The energy of the animal is thought to be useful to the gods and to those who want to communicate with them. The animal is ritually killed and its energy offered to the Loa as a gift. But nothing goes to waste—the sacrificed animal is usually eaten by the participants in the celebration. Good thing chicken turns out to be a favorite of the Loa as well as tasty cooked nearly anyway but particularly good blackened with a little Cajun red sauce on it.
And it’s back to work for me. See you next week.