My Conversation with a Voodoo Priest
Among the many crowded shops and apartments on Dumaine Street in the French Quarter on that lovely, unsinkable part of the city of New Orleans there sits, almost unnoticeable, the intriguing Voodoo Museum. My footsteps winded down this antiquated street and into this museum; I was hoping to learn more about this rare mixture of religion and superstition called Voodoo.
Inside, the rooms were decorated with all types of masks and little figurines of West African origin. In the front room sat a large, older white man. It is my interaction with this man that is the subject of this article. For though, the man looked as normal as any good-natured grandfather and as banal as a computer programmer, he was a powerful Voodoo priest who related to me some very curious anecdotes.
What is unfortunate is that he gave me his card, but I don't have the card with me and I completely forgot his name. So I will just call him the Voodoo Priest.
This Voodoo Priest lives with snakes. He has about 7 of them that he lets them run free up in his apartment above the museum. Most of them are pythons. One python is an albino. There, he lives, and sort of communes with all these snakes letting them slither every which way they want. I'm sure his sleep procedures are very interesting...well, as a matter of fact; I bet any type of procedure that goes on in his apartment is very interesting. To these snakes he holds absolute control over them. Except one, which is his pet Black Mamba, the most poisonous and deadliest snake in the entire world. With this dangerous pet, he keeps in a cage. All the other snakes respect him though, namely, because....well, and this may sound strange...but they know he to be one of them. Yes, this Voodoo priest is a not only a man but also a snake, a python, himself. That is what he would call his spiritual animal. What is ironic, is that before he told me this, the way he carried himself, his calm demeanor and his mesmerizing speech sort of reminded me of a snake. Then he related to me how during his priesthood initiation, in which he was the only white man to pass the final ceremony in West Africa, among the incense and the fires and the other priests, he took the form of a python. This is how the voodoo priests realize what their spiritual animal is.
Voodoo originally comes from the nation of Benin in West Africa. A large portion of the slaves that were brought over to the New World were into Voodoo. The practice of Voodoo never really died out but spread through much of the Caribbean and into the French settlement of New Orleans. This particular priest was not only a Voodoo priest, but was also brought up a druid, from the ancient Celtic pagan beliefs. His mother was initiated as a druid at Stonehenge. He went from the paganism from Europe to the paganism of Africa. -And finds some type of synthesis between the two.
Of Voodoo Dolls and Hexing People
Voodoo dolls were more or less used for helping people. But particularly in New Orleans the idea of cursing one with the pin-prick became popular. Many of the shops in New Orleans sell these dolls but they also sell their services at hexing people. That witch, that I met earlier had advertisement for this service. This Voodoo priest doesn't agree with the readiness of some of these practitioners of hexing people. He said it was evil to indulge in. I got a since that he didn't really like that witch; that he didn't respect her.
I asked him if had ever hexed anyone. He said that twice he has been mugged in the French Quarter, once with a gun and once with a knife. Well, these thieves touched him and from that point on he can work all types of things. He told me he would hate to be those guys. I asked him what he did to retaliate. He pointed to this African looking figurine up above a mantle shelf and said, "You see that figure. -That little god watches over this place if anybody does me any harm, I can send that god to give that person the worst nightmares...so horrible in fact that they will be induced to commit suicide."
Of Zombies and Bad, Bad Mojo
I have heard stores about how in Voodoo it is possible to raise the dead. I asked him about this. He said that it is done but that it is not a very good thing. They can only do it to a person that they drug with the poison of a blowfish and only within the first 3 days of their death. And then what is galvanized is not the person like they were before. But a zombie that has no will of its own. -A slave that will serve the practitioner in complete submission. He mentioned that there is a very, powerful dark Voodoo Queen that used to live in New Orleans but since Katrina, has moved to a little town in deep Canjun country called, New Iberia. This Voodoo Queen has filed all of her teeth to a point and supposedly has one of these zombies that is her slave. He told me that he has seen her bring back a dog the same way. I asked him about this Queen. He told me that she was the most evil, dark-hearted person that he knows. That she will hex death curses on people at the drop of a hat. He said that one day this Italian man came in his shop asking where he could find this Voodoo Queen. The Priest asked why he wanted to know where she lived. The Italian wouldn't answer directly, but said that he had some business. The Priest wouldn't give him the information because he knew how stupid it was of this Italian man to approach this dark queen. All the while, when the Voodoo Priest is telling me these things that strange sense of calmness and earnestness resonated in all of his speech.
Of Spirit Possession
I always heard about how Voodoo practitioners had evoked a spirit to come into them under certain rituals. I asked him about this. He said that that happens when someone who hasn't researched Voodoo enough suddenly opens that door. For once that door is open to that particular spiritual realm and the person is a novice, anything can come through. Then he told me the creepiest of stories. This priest does exorcisms also. One time he was called up North to cast a demon out. Whatever was inside the girl was extremely powerful. The Catholic priest that had tried to cast the demon out, ended up in an insane asylum. Then, this Voodoo priest looked point blank at me and said that he knew it was to be the spirit of Satan himself. I gasped. He said that he couldn't cast the spirit out but that it ended up killing the girl and thus finally freeing the girl's spirit from that of her capturer.
Of Other Likewise Weird Things
Our conversation bounced around such topics. Eventually he started talking about a great catastrophe that was about to occur in the 2012. What is interesting, is that his predictions correlate, with an ancient Mayan belief that in that same year horrible calamities were to occur. He then said, what many Christians would say, that God just simply wants to be remembered and that we have forgotten Him.
He eventually started to tell me that he knew that I was at a crossroads in my life that I was in a job that I didn't really see as my career...but I was only in it to pay the bills. He told me that I would be one of the survivors of the year 2012. I knew that he wanted me to become a customer of his and pay for a real reading in which he would tell me so much more... I will admit that it was enticing. Why didn't I do it? I simply didn't want to open that door.
The entire religion of Voodoo is based on the fact that the Creator-God is so distant; he doesn't get involved with his creation. But there are spiritual entities between us and him and that man must persuade to do things. That is where rituals occur to manipulate these spirits.
Praise be to the God that I believe in who is not distant. Who is both here and now and is more powerful than the wickedest queen and evil spirit and who is more caring and closer than the kindest little demigod. That persuasion is not an option, nor manipulation. But that grace is everywhere and anywhere. That Jesus Christ is that door to that spiritual realm where none will be forsaken none will be chained, and none will be enslaved. Where His accessibility is open to all. Where darkness doesn't have its shadow and Light has its full day. Where all hope, all truth, all joy, all forgiveness, all wonderment, all beauty, all peace, and all love dwells and calls us His own.