Wednesday, 23 January 2013

That Old Black Magic

In the course of working on a new novella, I've been learning a lot about something I thought I knew at least the basics on. Voodoo. But as I am discovering, a lot of what I thought I knew isn't technically true.

For instance, Voodoo is a religion. Its not necessarily about magic, much like Wicca. It draws on ideology from both African religion and some of the concepts of western Christianity. However associated with Voodoo but not to be confused as the same thing is Hoodoo, African magic, a set of magical practises.


Another thing I've found interesting in my research is the origins of the Voodoo doll. We see in popular media (book, movies, comics etc.) it being used to hurt a person. When if you look back through the lore it was actual a form of medicine, used to help a person, much like acupuncture is used today.

 

I also found myself very interested in the supposed "Voodoo Queen" of New Orleans - Marie Laveau. Because of popular culture I'd always viewed her as a dark creature but from what I've read of her, she had a hard life, of which she spent a great deal of time bringing help and comfort to the sick. Not the image we get in a lot of the movies we see where Voodoo is involved. Her grave received hundreds of pilgrims a year because of the mysticism surrounding her. I know that if I ever went to New Orleans I would definitely put it on my list of things to see. If you do too, go with one of those tours with lots of people and stick with the tours, there are many warning about thieves who like to prey on people in the graveyards.



In the project that I am working on at the moment (something I originally wrote the bulk of ten years ago) I'm focusing more on the power, the idea of what things could happen if that power is misused. Its certainly more interesting and isn't that really the crux of how Voodoo has been come to be viewed as it is, because it makes it more interesting if its dark and mysterious. I hope to get this projected finished by the spring, so then I can get back to writing the next Cassandra book.


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