Last week I released a blog post about Witchcraft around the world – here’s the second part…
The belief in magic has been a part of the Mexican culture for many years. Much of their witchcraft practices have come from the ancient cultures of the Inca and Mayan communities which thrived there. Many of them believed in human sacrifice, and this has extended into a modern day association of witchcraft being highly associated with death. Santa Muerte, the Mexican Saint of Death, is often depicted as a woman wearing a skull mask, and donning a long cloak. Practitioners use her sculptures in their rituals, painting them black for curses, and white for those that involve cleansing. They worship the saint, believing that she is the intermediary between god and man.
African slaves who were brought to the Caribbean were forced to become Christians, but many of them secretly maintained their traditional African beliefs. They incorporated their deities into Christian worship and formed different religions based on the area that they practised in.
Originating from the Igbo word obia, meaning working as a healer or doctor, obeah is believed to be one of the most powerful forms of witchcraft in existence in the modern world. Its main roots are the African religions of vodun and odinani. One of the major differences between obeah and many other forms of witchcraft is the fact that practitioners believe that we serve the spirits, and not the other way around. These orishas are given gifts, which can include crystals, food made in special ways and even animal sacrifice. In return they help humans attract what they desire in terms of love, prosperity, protection and spirituality. Their knowledge has been transferred over generations, from teacher to student, and most of the rituals are kept secret. Many sorcerers rarely take on apprentices, only accepting them when they display the necessary spiritual requirements. Obeah is practised in many English speaking islands including Jamaica and Barbados.
Another form of witchcraft which is widespread in the Caribbean is voodoo, with Haiti being the country most well-known for its evolution. Many films depict the religion as dark and focused on worshipping Satan, which can be very misleading as much of the practice is for the benefit of the community. The religion creates a strong bond amongst the practitioners, and there is also a great emphasis on promoting individual empowerment. The basis of the religion teaches that the spirit world is completely intertwined with ours, and our ancestors continue to help with our prosperity and the direction our lives move in. They remain with us after ‘passing on’ and work in conjunction with other spirits called Lwa.