Peace be with you, my friends! Today I have decided to blog a bit about an interesting and widely misunderstood element of Voodoo: The Voodoo Doll.
A widely misunderstood element of Voodoo is the Voodoo Doll.
We have all see old black and white movies where the Voodoo priestess filled with rage lifts a rag doll into the air and moving in time to the pounding drums that surround her plunges a needle into the fetish causing her victim, usually miles away, to drop to the floor in agony. This scene is a work of pure fiction. While it is possible to cause an enemy physical pain with a Voodoo doll, it requires a tremendous amount of energy and is not a traditional practice in Voodoo. In fact, I have only seen it done twice in all my years as a Voodoo doctor. Dolls do however have their use in Voodoo, which is what I would like to explore a little today.
I must say that dolls are rarely used in Haitian Vodou, only occasionally when making offerings to certain spirits an Hougan or Mambo will use a doll to represent the spirit in question. Even this is quite rare, since most people prefer to make ornately decorated spirit bottles to house the actual spirit rather than merely represent it. In New Orleans, on the other hand, dolls are widely used for a variety of purposes. Many anthropologists believe that the presence of dolls in Louisiana Voodoo and Southern Hoodoo can be traced to the influence of European magic and also the presence of Senegalese slaves in southern Louisiana during colonial times who came from regions where fetishism was heavily practiced as opposed to Dahomey and Nigeria where more emphasis was placed on communal drumming ceremonies which today are a fundamental component of Haitian Vodou yet extremely rare in Louisiana Voodoo.
Dolls in Voodoo are more frequently used in Lousiana Voodoo. Voodooists in Louisiana use dolls for two purposes. The first is to represent a spirit guide or to serve as a “home” or point of focus for a disembodied spirit. When I am working with a spirit, I will often sew a doll by hand to represent him or her and dress it according to the spirit’s instructions in colors that make it happy and will bring peace, luck and harmony. Then I will place it on my altar and make offerings of food, rum or cigar smoke to the spirit and ask for its favors and blessings. This is also a common practice in Spiritism, a spiritual practice common throughout Latin America and the Caribbean based on the writings of the 19th century French philosopher and medium Allan Kardec.
It is equally common to use dolls to represent a living person when doing spell work. For example, if I were doing a spell for marriage I would make two dolls, either out of cloth or wax, and I would consecrate or baptize them in the name of the people I am trying to influences. In this way, what is done to the dolls would be felt on a spiritual, mental and physical level. Then I would bind the dolls with string and cover then with honey and various herbs and of course perform the magical service over them. Secondly, a doll can also be used for cleansing purposes. If a person feels troubled by bad luck or is the victim of a curse or negative magic, I will often perform a cleansing with a doll to act as the “host” to take on all the negativity attached to that person and after the cleansing I will destroy the doll by burning it or burying it at a crossroads.
I hope this post has been educational and I thank you for taking the time once again to read my blog. As always, I wish you peace, happiness and the sweetest of blessings! A la prochaine!