Connecting with the Divine…Where in the Hell to Begin?

Dia de los Muertos Shrine for honoring the ancestors, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. Photo by Lilith Dorsey.

The struggle to connect with the Divine energies is a timeless one. Clearly it is difficult to know exactly where to begin. A wise young gentleman who attended my lecture this weekend at NYC Pagan Pride, asked me what I recommend for people just starting out who wish to reach out towards the ashe or energy of the different gods and goddesses of the Afro-Caribbean traditions of Vodou, Voodoo, or Lucumi (Santo.) Good question. I think that there are a few respectful and beneficial practices that … [Read more...]

Sexy Ghosts in the City: Pagan Pride 2013

Ancestor statues , Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. Photo by Lilith Dorsey.

No doubt about it there is sex in the city, and there are ghosts in the city. Lots of ghosts in this city, my city, New York City. In the Voodoo tradition our ghosts are sexy, they are lusty, they are funny, they are lewd. That's just the way they are. It probably stems in part from the fact that procreation is life and therefore very precious to those who have passed. All Afro-Caribbean pagan traditions: Voodoo, Vodou, Candomble, Obeah, hold the dead and the ancestors who have gone before in … [Read more...]

Voodoo Veves: Sacred Cell Numbers for the Gods

Marassa veve tattoo, for the Voodoo spirits represented by divine twins unifying the universe.

Invented by chickens? Exploding art to deter gang violence? Mysterious corn drawings appearing from the beyond? What in the universe am I talking about, why veve drawings of course, the sacred symbols of Vodou. No one is precisely sure how they initially came to be, but folklore abounds on the topic. Some believe that they were created originally from the patterns in the dirt that were formed by the chickens and other animals during ceremony. I have even spoken to some scholars who believe that … [Read more...]

Gumbo is Gumbo: The Enmeshment of N.O. Voodoo Performance and Ritual

Offerings left at the possible site of Marie Laveau's tomb, St. Louis cemetery No. 1.

Performance and ritual, these entities can be as far apart or as close together as one's vision. The earliest written records of Voodoo Ceremonies in New Orleans are in the Times Picayune. They describe scantily clad rites that are both scary and sinful. Oh mainstream media, is it a guarantee that they miss the point? In the early to mid 1800's these public ceremonies were run by legendary Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Accurate or not, the earliest historical record of public rites are primarily … [Read more...]

King Chango Cashew Chili Recipe

Altar for Chango Feast and Ritual, photo by Lilith Dorsey

King Chango is the Santeria Lord of fire, passion, and the drum. His consummate masculinity shines through in all that he does, even when he wears his wife's clothing as a disguise. Chango is a warrior god, said to wield a double edged sword of justice. If you are interested in more information about Chango, I recommend the book Santeria: A Practical Guide to Afro-Caribbean Magic by Luis Manuel Nunez. This recipe is suitable to use for any Chango feast or ceremony, or when you just want to spice … [Read more...]

Divination Space Station: Dorothy Morrison

Psychic. Fifth Avenue, NYC. By Timothy Krause.Licensed under CC 2.0

 Welcome to the Voodoo Universe's first installment of the Divination Space Station, our guest interview series on all forms of divining. Divination: it's in the cards, the stones, the bones, the future. I have participated in quite a few divination panel discussions or roundtables over my twenty years of involvement in the Pagan community. Several interesting discussions came from these sessions, which were both led and attended by practitioners from all walks of life. On many … [Read more...]

Cleaning House with Voodoo and Santeria

Oshun altar for the feast of Caridad del Cobre.

“Let everyone sweep in front of his own door, and the whole world will be clean.” -Johann Wolfgang von GoetheI have been lecturing on Voodoo and Santeria for over fifteen years, and believe me I get a lot of weird questions. Many people wish to connect with the energies of the religion but are not initiated or under the proper guidance of their spiritual godparents. I had one woman after I became distracted after the end of my workshop come over dip her finger in the liquified candle wax fro … [Read more...]