Appetite for Ancestors: Samhain the Voodoo Way

Happy Samhain from Voodoo Universe

In Afro-Caribbean Religions like Voodoo, Vodou, and Lukumi or Santeria the true spirits of Halloween are the ancestors. Festivities run from October 30th to November 2nd. There are delectable dumb supper feasts, elaborate ancestors altars and offerings galore. It's a time for reconnecting, remembering and honoring all those who have gone before. It is their blood that runs through our veins, they are the primary reason we are here. Les Baron and Les Gede or Whose That Guy With Only One … [Read more...]

Ten Worst Voodoo Films of All Time

The Halloween season is upon us, for us Pagans that means cakes and ale, honoring the ancestors, and grinning and bearing it while the rest of the world tries out our sacred realm for one night only. Most people's exposure to the Voodoo religion comes unfortunately in the form of horribly bad movies. Zombies, possession, and Voodoo dolls crying out to Damballa are only some of the ludicrosity that Hollywood has chosen to display. So I figured if you can't lick them, and who would want to lick … [Read more...]

Sell My Soul: Commodification in Voodoo and Santeria (La Regla Lukumi)

Botanica photo by Daniel Lobo

Sex sells. Sin sells. Voodoo sells. It's true, I didn't make it up. There has always been controversy around money and religion, and when we add psychics and spirits we just up the ante. The current season of American Horror Story Coven uses a bizarre mix of reality and supreme fantasy to get its point across, a major clothing manufacturer places a giant veve ( ritual symbol) for Papa Legba in its store window to sell t-shirts, and I'm left shaking my head. Shantrelle Lewis did a piece on the … [Read more...]

Guest Post: All Under Aida Wedo By Tehron Gillis

Tehron Gillis, slam poet and writer.

  I am very excited today to feature a guest post from Tehron Gillis. Tehron is a Westchester based slam poet and writer, is a voodoo initiate and rootworker. Practicing magic and tarot for over a decade, Tehron works towards exploring LGBTQ and ethnic themes in the craft. There were not many worries I had about entering the African Diasporan religions but among them; “Am I pronouncing the spirits' names right?”, “Where do find functional and chic white clothing?”, “Will I … [Read more...]

New Orleans Ritual Voodoo Coffee

Coffee Art photo by Ted & Dani Percival.

  Coffee, dark, bitter, exotic, rich, alive, there is a lot that can be said about this prized beverage. Many of us thrive on it, depend on it's deep power, and even worship it at the start of every day. Many a dark and dusky morning am I reminded of the words of my dearly departed sage friend Issac Bonewits: It is by Caffeina alone that I set my mind in motion... More information about his ode to Coffee and the ritual bean in general can be found on Witchvox. Hailing from the … [Read more...]

Fire Fire Fireside Chats: The Truth About Zombies

Lilith Dorsey

In honor of this weekend's ZombiCon in Florida, an event which I was fortunate enough to attend last year, I have decided to post the latest installment of Fire Fire Fireside chats. This time I take a look at the realities and the myth of Voodoo and Zombies, and even share a few pictures of me joining in the fun. Please share, comment, like and Zombie on folks!  … [Read more...]

Taking Real Pictures of Ghosts: 10 Tips for Better Paranormal Photography

Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. Photo by Lilith Dorsey

The witchy holiday season is upon us, so I figured this would be a good time to post about psychic and paranormal recording. I studied Film production and Cinema studies at NYU at both the undergraduate and graduate level. No, they don't teach paranormal photography there, but rest assured I know which end of the tripod is up and where to stick the boom. I have long been interested in this topic, probably from the time the universe gave me my first recording equipment at about age five. For the … [Read more...]

Saints, Sinners, Statues and Syncretism in Santeria and Voodoo

Oya Offering Box, featuring picture of St. Theresa. Photo by Lilith Dorsey.

One of the most puzzling things for people both inside and outside the traditions of Voodoo and Santeria, also known as Lucumi, is the inclusion of other religions' iconography. It is not uncommon to see statues for Caridad del Cobre on an Oshun shrine, or St. Patrick during a ritual for Damballa. If you inquire about this to practitioners, you will most likely get a variety of answers ranging from colonial oppression, to secrecy, to beliefs that these individuals were part of the religion … [Read more...]

Honor Your Ancestors: Sweet Potato Mash with Bourbon and Pecans Recipe

Muertos and skullz for the Mexican Day of the Dead- Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam. Photo by Lilith Dorsey.

  Among the Yoruba peoples of West Africa the ancestors are honored as Egungun, while in Haiti the dead are often revered as Les Barons and Les Gedes, in Mexico they are honored as the Muertos, but no matter where one is located , prayers are offered up daily to give thanks to those who have come before. Always present in the blood that courses through our veins, and in the ground on which we walk, the ancestors are venerated in many different spiritual traditions. Samhain or … [Read more...]

The Real Voodoo Queen: Marie Laveau

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau's Tomb, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Photo by Lilith Dorsey.

Queen Marie Laveau of New Orleans Voodoo, the divine lady that started the spiritual revolution. There may have been other Voodoo priestesses before her in the city of New Orleans, but there was no one like Marie Laveau, except maybe her daughter, but I will explain that later. This legendary woman was said to do everything from providing psychic consultations for Queen Victoria to concocting psychedelic gumbo for inmates sentenced to hang in the gallows. She was the first woman to hold open … [Read more...]