Day of the Dead

  Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico, in particular the Central and South regions, and acknowledged around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In 2008 the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.   The holiday is sometimes called Día de los Muertos in Anglophone countries, a back-translation of its original name, Día…Read more

The Use of Candles in New Orleans Voodoo and Hoodoo

  The practice of using candles, oil lamps, or a flame of some sort to accompany prayer is universally accepted by most religions. While candles are used in many traditions, the act of burning a candle as a focusing tool in prayer is nothing more than an act of devotion.   Candle magick is a primary activity in New Orleans Voodoo and Hoodoo. The intermingling of Catholic, Spiritualist, and African traditions in New Orleans resulted in an evolving form of candle magic that incorporated the saints, psalms, devotionals and vigils, alongside making gris…Read more

Inside Togo’s Thriving Voodoo Fetish Market

  Got a big test coming up? Powdered chameleon will help you pass with flying colors. Training for a marathon? Rather than protein powder, try horse’s skull. Or, is unrequited love getting you down? A simple wayinoue, or love charm, should convince your future partner of your true worth.   Whatever your ailment is, the traditional healers at the Akodessewa Fetish Market in Lome, Togo have a solution. From buffalo skull to antelope horn, desiccated cobra to bear skin, the healers, or fetish priests, in West Africa’s largest “Marché des Fetiches” have a…Read more

St. John’s Eve head-washing honors voodoo and its queen, Marie Laveau

On Magnolia Bridge over Bayou St. John, Island of Salvation Botanica and La Source Ancienne Ounfo will continue a two-decade voodoo tradition with the annual St. John's Eve head-washing ceremony on Tuesday (June 23), with a nod to the famous priestess Marie Laveau. According to historians, the head-washing is similar to a voodoo baptism and can be a precursor to being initiated into the religion. The ceremony leaves the person feeling refreshed, according to New Orleans voodoo priestess Sallie Ann Glassman, who has traced New Orleans' voodoo tradition back to 1719. Read More…Read more

Voodoo Dolls Shed Light on Domestic Spats

Having low blood glucose means you are more likely to stick pins in a voodoo doll that represents your spouse, a new study suggests.   And you are more likely to blast your spouse with a loud unpleasant noise - given the chance, finds a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   The findings could point to a previously unrecognized contribution to aggression between married couples, says lead author Dr Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus.   Preventing…Read more

Tomb of Marie Laveau has been refurbished

Nearly a year after an unknown vandal slathered a thick layer of pink latex paint on the final resting place of Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, the restoration of the Voodoo queen's tomb has been completed and will be unveiled on Halloween.   The Archdiocese of New Orleans and Save Our Cemeteries contracted with Bayou Preservation in August at a cost of $10,000 to return the monument to its 200-year-old original state. But Amanda Walker, executive director of Save Our Cemeteries, said she fears that tomb won't stay in its…Read more

Who was Baron Samedi?

A more modern take on Baron Samedi from James Bond, Live and Let Die     Baron Samedi (Baron Saturday, also Baron Samdi, Bawon Samedi, or Bawon Sanmdi) is one of the Loa of Haitian Vodou. Samedi is a Loa of the dead, along with Baron's numerous other incarnations Baron Cimetière, Baron La Croix, and Baron Kriminel. He is often syncretized with Saint Martin de Porres.   He is the head of the Guédé family of Loa, or an aspect of them, or possibly their spiritual father. "Samedi" means "Saturday" in French. His…Read more

A brief history on Marie Laveau

Marie Catherine Laveau was a Louisiana Creole practitioner of Voodoo renowned in New Orleans. Her daughter, Marie Laveau II, (1827 — c. 1895) also practiced Voudoun, as well as Voodoo. She and her mother had great influence over their multiracial following. "In 1874 as many as twelve thousand spectators, both black and white, swarmed to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain to catch a glimpse of Marie Laveau II performing her legendary rites on St. John's Eve (June 23–24).   Very little is known with any certainty about the life of Marie Laveau. It…Read more