One of the most unique aspects of our city, other than the above ground cemeteries, a never ending supply of live jazz, and our…favorite leisure activities…is the unofficial religion: Voodoo. Although the majority of the population of New Orleans identifies as Catholic, the history of Haitian and Creole Voodoo is embedded in how this city functions. In the French Quarter, you can’t walk fifty feet without seeing advertisements for “Authentic Voodoo Tours” or “Voodoo Dolls,” but don’t fall for those tourist traps. Modern Mmdia shows Voodoo as a manipulative curse that can harm your enemies by poking a straw doll. In reality, it’s an entire spiritual faith that is meant to provide support, love, and a sense of clarity in this nonsense world we live in. So, join the cult and add some of these Voodoo traditions into your routine to finally tell your parents you’ve connected to something holy and can get out of Sunday morning Mass (or synagogue, temple, mosque, church, whatever floats your boat!)
Quite possibly the best way to learn about the religion, I give you the “OK” to sign up for a tour on Voodoo, even though it is a bit touristy. You can walk through Congo Square, a recreation of a ceremony, and learn about Voodoo symbols throughout the Quarter. My recommendation is to go through “Walking Tours By Foot” which is technically a “free” tour where you pay your guide at the end for what you thought the tour was worth. It’s a nice stepping stone into Voodoo, or if anything, an entertaining way to spend a Sunday.
Gris Gris Bags
Think of these like your little bag of protective goodies. Gris Gris bags are special blends of herbs, coins, small crystals, and other little belongings that are meant to channel a certain energy. They can be used to find love, wealth, protection, intelligence, essentially all the things you wanted for Christmas. You put them under your bed at night, set an intention on how the Gris Gris bag can support YOUR life, and wait for the magic to happen.
No, you can’t stab them with sewing needles and expect your enemy to start wincing in pain—voodoo dolls are actually meant to channel positive energy, like a Gris Gris bag. The color of each doll correlates with a different purpose, like blue for peace, white for healing, and black to dispel or summon negative energy. There are pins in the doll, however they are designed to promote these intentions. If you want to summon or channel a certain spirit, you can place a belonging or lock of hair on the doll…if you choose. It’s a lil creepy but certainly sounds like a lot of fun!
A shockingly simple way to incorporate Voodoo is Tarot. Many people don’t realize what the spiritual qualities of Tarot have in relation to the infamous religion. This original form of Voodoo from Haiti uses tarot cards to address higher powers and invoke a psychic interaction into your future. If you’re curious about getting an A on that chem final, you can easily find Tarot readers all over the Quarter.
An everyday Voodoo type of thing. Certain essential oils and herbs are believed to address specific properties and invite a feeling or intuition in your body. In fact, some herbs are believed to enhance natural traits like pheromones, weath, and charm. Switch out your perfume for a scent that will help bring a needed quality into your life.
COVER PHOTO: Disney