Nearly everyone will think of Voodoo dolls when they first hear the word, ‘Voodoo.’ Popularized by tourist shops and an American writer who saw the dolls on a trip once, these dolls are misunderstood, like so much else in the Voodoo spirituality. What you may not realize is that they are magical workings that are more often used to promote positive outcomes, rather than negative pin sticks. Here are the not-so-scary basics of Voodoo dolls.
The basics of Voodoo
Voodoo is a practice that is thought to be as old as the continent of Africa. It began as a practice of the people and then spread to Haiti and the Caribbean and Louisiana as those same practitioners were taken as slaves to the new lands. With each new destination, the practice of Voodoo shifted, creating a rich history even as it was shrouded in horrible circumstances.
Within Voodoo, there is the idea of one God who is all-powerful and all-knowing, but who is not interested in interacting with people. Instead, there are ancestors and loa (or lwa), spirits, that can communicate directly with the Voodoo practitioners. The spirits are often taken into the bodies of priests and priestesses, aiding in their ability to talk directly to the people. There are also special rituals for the spirits, offerings that can be made, and songs that can be sung to create a divine communion between spirit and human.
In all of this, the practice of Voodoo is often centered on healing. Whether this is healing of the heart or of the body, this spirituality is positive and uplifting, with a goal of generating happiness and balance.
How to use a Voodoo doll
A Voodoo doll can be created to represent a spirit or a human being. It can be created with different colors, depending on the purpose of the doll, e.g. red for love, green for wealth, blue for peace, etc.
This doll is typically used as a focal point for meditation or for prayers and spells. By creating this doll, you create a place for a certain energy to reside. You can then pin charms or other items TO the doll (not through the doll) to help it be more personalized to that person or to the spirit that you’re praying to.
You can create a relationship with the doll by offering it water or by feeling it with more tokens of appreciation. For example, some might like tobacco smoke while others might want offerings of chocolate. You can sit with the doll and ask it questions or appeal to the doll to do something for you.
The question of cursing
In the days of slavery, the practice of Voodoo dolls was interpreted as being a curse against the slave owners. However, in most cases, the dolls instead were used as ways to reach out to certain spirits for support and guidance. These dolls were used more for self-defense not for hurting anyone else.
You might choose to make a Voodoo doll for your own purposes. For example, you might make a doll that is the representation of the love spirit so you can attract love into your life. This doll might be made from red fabric, stuffed with rose petals, and then anointed with a sensual perfume or anointing oil. You might talk to it every day about what you want from love in your life, what it might look like, and how you might feel when you are loved.
The use of a Voodoo doll is far from scary and certainly not an evil spell. While there are always those who might use magic in negative ways, this was never the original intention of the Voodoo doll.
Ayibobo to all,
Mambo Marie-Brigitte La Croix and Mambo La Marassa Lola Donette