Introduction by Denise Alvarado The making of Voodoo dolls, poppets, fetishes, and ritual effigies has taken place

since antiquity. Though the practice is ancient, their present use remains similar. In order to understand how to use your Voodoo doll or poppet, it is useful to understand them in their historic context. Much can be learned from studying the ancient cultures and mystics who held the esoteric knowledge that forms the very foundation of modern day magick, Voodoo, and witchcraft. The practice of sticking pins in dolls has history in European folk magic, but its exact origins are unclear. How it became known as a method of cursing an individual by some followers of what has come to be called New Orleans Voodoo, which is a local variant of hoodoo, is a mystery. Some speculate that it was used as a means of self defense to intimidate superstitious slave owners. This practice is not unique to New Orleans voodoo, however, and has as much basis in European-based magical devices such as the poppet and the nkisi or bocio of West and Central Africa. These are in fact power objects, what in Haiti would be referred to as pwen, rather than magical surrogates for an intended target of sorcery whether for boon or for bane. Such voodoo dolls are not a feature of Haitian religion, although dolls intended for tourists may be found in the Iron Market in Port au Prince. The practice became closely associated with the Vodou religions in the public mind through the vehicle of horror movies and popular novels. There is a practice in Haiti of nailing crude poppets with a discarded shoe on trees near the cemetery to act as messengers to the otherworld, which is very different in function from how poppets are portrayed as being used by voodoo worshippers in popular media and imagination, i.e. for purposes of sympathetic magic towards another person. Another use of dolls in authentic Vodou practice is the incorporation of plastic doll babies in altars and objects used to represent or honor the spirits, or in pwen, which recalls the aforementioned use of bocio and nkisi figures in Africa. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voodoo) About 80% of the population of Benin, West Africa, about 4½ million people, practice Vodun. (This does not count other ancestral religions in Benin.) In addition, many of the 20% of the population that call themselves Christian practice a syncretism of Christianity and Vodun not dissimilar from Haitian Vodou. In Togo about half the population practices indigenous religions, of which Vodun is by far the largest, with approximately 2½ million followers; there may be perhaps another million among the AnloEwe of Ghana (13% Anlo-Ewe and 38% indigenous beliefs overall out of a population of 20 million.)(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voodoo) Prior to hurricane Katrina, about 15%of the population in New Orleans practiced Voodoo. ___________________________________________
VooDoo Magick (a.k.a. Vodoun, Voudou, Voodoo, Sevi Lwa) is commonly called Voodoo by the public. The name is traceable to an African word for "spirit". VooDoo Magick's can be directly traced to the West and South African Yoruba people who lived in 17th and 19th century Dahomey (Dahomey was the name of a country in west Africa now called the Republic of Benin). Its roots go back 8,000 years in Africa and Europe. Many reports show other countries as well that has "VooDoo" type religions as well. VooDoo dolls were found all over northern Europe in the mid 1900's. Voodoo magick was actively abolished during the Spanish Inquisition. "Many Priests and religious leaders were either killed or sent to jail for life, and their because of the threat they posed to the current religious dogmatic states. This forced some of the Dahomeans to form VooDoo Magick Orders and to create underground societies, in order to continue the veneration of their ancestors, and the worship of their powerful gods." VooDoo Magick was again suppressed during the Marxist regime. Today 33 million people practice VooDoo Magick worldwide. Using items like VooDoo dolls, talismans and more to cast the spells the art of VooDoo exercises. Religions similar to VooDoo Black Magick can be found in South America, Asia, the UK, the Middle East where they are called Umbanda and several other names (some created daily by tribesmen) Magick Facts about Witch Craft, VooDoo, Astrology, and More Voo Doo -- An actual religion, Vodou practiced in South America and Africa To This Very Day VooDoo Black Magick -- An evil, imaginary religion, which we will call Voodoo. It has been created for Hollywood movies, complete with violence, bizarre rituals, etc. It does not exist in reality. VooDoo can be good or evil. If you practice magick that is evil an use your powers for that, your Voodoo will be evil Witch Craft can be good or evil as well. Depending on how you use your magick. Black Magick is just that. BLACK magick. It is dark and purely evil It can only be used for evil and evil spell castings. Spell Casting can also be used for either good or evil. Love Spells, Revenge Spells or Luck and Fortune Spells can all be either good or evil. Depending on the Spell Casters Intent and abilities. You can have training in VooDoo, Wiccan Arts or any Spell casting Religion and, depending on your level of training, will determine your magickal power level. Effective Wiccan Spell Casters spend years training and honing their Wiccan, Spell Casting or Voo Doo skills. Witch Craft, as with any art or religion, must be studied and practiced. It must be mastered over years of training and learning

Voodoo is a belief misunderstood. It originates from the Fon word Voudon which means: the power; that who is invisible; the creator of all things. It is the infusion of Traditional African beliefs with Catholicism. Voodoo, since its conception in the western hemisphere, has been the target of countless opponents depicting it as being a sinister and abominable belief that possesses anyone who dares engage in its practices. Unfortunately this is due to the deliberate misconception of priests (orthodox) and the the misunderstanding of writers, anthropologists, scholars and many more who publish inaccurate and false information. The misconception of Voodoo is then perpetuated when the Holywood producers take advantage of the public's misconception by making movies about blood thirsty Zombies and Voodoo priests and priestesses who buy and sell souls. Voodoo devotees, as in all other religions believe in an Omnipresent Creator and the Loa or Orisha. The Loa act as intermediaries (like the saints in Catholicism) between the creator and the human world. These Loa interact with people and things to help create and maintain a spiritual balance. Voodoo is a religion of the universe. The way it works is through the energies and intelligence which are directed and manifested of ourselves and our universe. There are various aspects of Voodoo: Rada concentrates on the positive side of Voodoo only. Petro concentrates on both the negative and positive sides Secta Rouge concentrates on the negative side Zobop concentrates on the extreme negative The purpose of the Voodoo Spiritual Temple is to educate the community about Voodoo and to dispel the myths and misconceptions associated with Voodoo since time immemorial. http://www.voodoospiritualtemple.org/voodoospiritualtemplepriestessmiriam.htm New Orleans was the number one port of entry for slaves throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Literally hundreds of thousands of Africans and Afro-Caribbean people passed through the port of New Orleans on their way to their masters. This part is often glossed over by tour guides here. No one wants to really dwell on it. Yet it is the basis, the foundation for so much of the wealth of the city today: its mix of races and people, its music, its rich religious diversity including Voodoo. New Orleans was first a French colony. In 1763 it passed over to Spain (Charles III the king of Spain was also a Bourbon and a cousin to the King of France Louis XV). Spain kept Louisiana and New Orleans until 1803 when the colony returned to France. Just 20 days later, Napoleon sold the entire Louisiana territory to the US. So after a Spanish colonial period, Louisiana became French again, then American. Throughout all of those political changes, slaves were being brought up the Mississippi to the port of N.O. from French Africa, Portuguese Africa, French islands in the Caribbean, Spanish islands and British islands. In all of those different provinces, the original authentic spiritual beliefs of the people was to be systematically eradicated by the church. Often under threat of torture and death, slaves already traumatized by their capture, bondage, harsh treatment and terrible journeys were supposed to assimilate an entirely alien belief system taught to them in a language they did not understand!! It is in fact a great proof of their wisdom and strength that they were able to assimilate enough to survive the diaspora but also to recognize the essential similarities between their belief systems and the main teachings of the different Christian churches. Different forms of worship emerged that incorporated the essential framework of African spirituality coated, blended and fortified with elements of Catholicism (French and Spanish) and Protestantism> In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil we find Santeria, Candomble, and other forms of the blend of African mysticism and Spanish Catholicism. Santeria is in fact "the worship of the Saints". In Haiti we have a different scenario. First of all entire tribes were sold out or kidnaped from Dahomey (now Benin) and transported to Hispaniola. This means that Voodoo priests, chiefs and all other echelons of African society arrived on the island and within the space of only one generation, the religion was reestablished with its hierarchy and local hounfors (temples). Though heavily influenced by the Catholic church, it remains essentially true to its Dahomey roots. During the Haitian revolution, many planters fled to New Orleans and many Africans went with them whether as free people of colour or as slaves. So during almost 2 centuries there was a constant influx of people into the city who had been subjected to very varied religious influences. To this day in New Orleans, everyone is free to practice Voodoo as they feel is best in their soul and per the recommendation of their teachers. We have Santeros who are Cuban inspired and Mambos and Hougans initiated in Haiti and others rooted in Obean (rootwork from Belize, the Bahamas, Dominica..) or in the Spiritualists Churches or following the Yoruba tradition of Nigeria. So the influences are very diverse and different. New Orleans was also ringed by a thriving Indian population of many smaller tribes. Runaway slaves often sought refuge with those tribes. Certain aspects of New Orleans Voodoo draw from Native American spirituality. The famous Indian Chief Black Hawk is considered a Voodoo Saint and is often included in ritual work. I very strongly recommend his autobiography which is a wonderful example of dignity under adversity and strength. But the essential spirituality is the same. And this is reaffirmed to me over and over again. We often work together: I have assisted a Santero who was asked to come and make offerings at the house of a Mambo. I often make offerings with two very good friends both aligned with Santeria. I have worked with Obeah men and Spiritualists too. http://www.neworleansvoodoocrossroads.com/voodoofaq.html