New Orleans Voodoo – Magic in Louisiana

Louisiana is located in the southern region of the United States, and was introduced to black magic in the 18th century from the slaves that were brought over from Africa. Most African cultures at the time had religious beliefs which were deeply rooted in the worship of spirits. The slaves brought to Louisiana were from different parts of Africa, but had the same beliefs, and used a variety of rituals in their praise. Many of these included the use of herbs and the creation of amulets in order to protect or harm. These spells, rituals and practices became the foundation of what is called Louisiana, or New Orleans, Voodoo.

Unlike many others, the state allowed most of the slaves to remain with their families enabling them to preserve their African culture. Plants had been brought from Africa and many of these were used in poisons, such as the figuier maudit tree. Ritual performance was openly combined with Catholicism, with spells invoking saints and Jehovah.

shutterstock_412972846-2Voodoo queens were highly respected in the community, and led ceremonial dances and rituals. They openly charged for those performed on behalf for others, including slave masters. These services included spells which would control a lover, charms to harm an enemy and rituals designed to attract power. Growing from being slaves to exerting a powerful influence over the community, voodoo queens were vocal about challenging white supremacy. This meant they were feared by the slave masters because of both their supernatural abilities, and the authority they had over the masses.

Voodoo kings also became quite popular, although they weren’t believed to be as powerful as most voodoo queens. During the early 20th century Frank Staten, aka Papa Midnight, was identified as possessing a talent for witchcraft. He began his training during his early years in Louisiana, and travelled to other areas of the United States and Haiti to further his knowledge of the field. Papa Midnight would perform rituals in public, including in his act ceremonial dances and biting the head off of a chicken. He acquired many followers, perishing under mysterious circumstances in 1976. His ashes were donated to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple in the hopes that he would continue his work through them.

By the 1930s Louisiana had evolved into a popular tourist destination, and the openly practised voodoo religion began to decline. In 1932, the film White Zombie invoked fear into many people by portraying voodoo as sticking pins in dolls and performing hexes. Many scammers also began claiming to be voodoo kings and queens, selling fake potions, charms and powders in order to make a profit.

In spite of this the traditions still continue, with a large public ritual taking place in 1995. Many voodoo practitioners came together and performed spells in order to rid their community of drug abusers, robbers and other criminals who had been creating havoc. It is believed that the spirits of the deceased voodoo kings and queens, definitely helped their followers make the environment safe again.

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