Hoodoo, Voodoo, I do!


“Alafia” from Santeria Orisha Mural in Spanish Harlem, NYC

The Future of the Past

Fairies, Gnomes, Ghosts, and the powers of nature have always been my friends. Unlike many other pagans my age I was raised in these traditions. I am a native New Yorker, like the song, and as soon as my pre-teen legs were allowed to take the subway I made my pilgrimage to Magickal Childe. There I would covet and hover over ritual volumes even wilder than my young conjurer’s imagination. My friends and I joke about how, at that time, we believed the future would be different. More access to information would give birth to more like minded individuals. There would be 50 pagan bookstores in New York City and powerful witches would be everywhere. People would love, respect, and honor the forces of the earth. Did I mention that at one time my rap name was “lil gullible?”

I don’t want to sound cynical, but I must be honest. It is definitely easier to gain access to Pagan, as well as Voodoo information, than it has ever been before. I am reminded of the quote, most often attributed to Albert Einstein “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.”

I have always tried to move in the opposite direction. Active in the Pagan community for almost 3 decades, I have seen some innovation and much more insanity than I ever thought possible. I have literally heard of people scrying in the toilet bowl, smacking their deities in the face, and having bizarre intimate encounters with spirit. I do not recommend any of this, it is not sane, it is not Voodoo, Santeria, or any other Afro-Caribbean Pagan tradition. I guess it’s just the nature of the beast, as my New Orleans Voodoo Priestess Miriam Chamani likes to say, “these [types of] people are crazy, they can’t make a living any other way.” Sadly all to often while quantity of information about these religions may have increased quality had decreased. These facts I have struggled with my entire spiritual life.

I do Voodoo.

My personal spiritual journey includes numerous initiations in Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo, and Santeria. In 1995 I became editor and publisher of the Oshun newsletter, providing accurate and respectful information about Afro-Diasporan Pagan religions. I hold an undergraduate degree in anthropology and my graduate degree comes from a inter-disciplinary program in cinema/television studies and anthropology. Training is vital in any discipline, but takes on special significance in a spiritual context. Voodoo, Vodou, Santeria, Candomble, Ifa, Obeah, Hoodoo, and for that matter any other African based religion survives on it’s lineage, history, and training of it’s devotees. Voodoo Universe, will be my first proper foray into the blogosphere, which Urban Dictionary defines as “a million lunatics wandering the streets mumbling to themselves.” I have been mumbling for years, ask anyone I know, but rest assured my mumbles here will be informed by my spiritual teachers, and my experience as a practitioner and scholar. I look forward to blogging about possession, zombies, voodoo dolls, and anything else folks out there would like to know. Please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to see here.

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