Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Voodoo 'R' Us

Voodoo from A to Z is alive and well in pockets of many countries. Usually viewed 
as an unholy step-sister to established religions, voodoo can pop up as a marketing tool for movies, records, city tours, and even beer.
 But this 'other' religion is important to many cultures.

Oakland, California has an active underground voodoo culture.  While living there, 
I went to a couple of worn out looking stores where supplies and potions can be purchased cheaply. Every now and then there is a headline in Bay Area news that goat skulls or freshly killed chickens smeared with blood have been found. A lot of speculation and worry is spread focusing on theories that perhaps a serial killer is on the loose-- until voodoo, or its 
cousin, santeria, is discovered to be the source of the unholy remains.

Of course we cannot leave out New Orleans--and Louisiana--in our post. Delicious N.O. is a 
hotbed (so to speak) of voodoo and has many shops selling scary-looking items throughout the French Quarter.  The old graveyards are fun to visit and a couple of ten years ago my family went to one while on a "Voodoo Tour" and put little flowers on Marie Laveau's grave. 

 Voodoo can latch onto our primal instincts where fears can germinate. It can also help 
us express deep rooted passions such as love and hate. Nothing is better than the feeling 
of sticking a needle into a doll while pretending the doll is a lover who spurned you 
or the employer who turned down your raise--or vacation!

Mixed with Catholicism, Voodoo can be a magic cocktail indeed. Lent begins
 tomorrow and is the start of Christian holy days ending with Easter. These
events also coincide with pre-Christian festivals announcing that it is time to 
commence planting while celebrating spring's fecundity.

Today is Mardi Gras. It's carnival season too. Birds are mating, tree buds 
cautiously peaking out at the sun and life is good. The circle is unbroken.

 So let's chant, dance, imbibe, eat like 
there is no tomorrow. Fears and chilly winter days are 
gone for the moment, the Voodoo gods are appeased.

Let the good times roll.

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