A History of Voodoo in New Orleans | survivethewalkingdead.com

In America, New Orleans is often associated with two things: Mardi Gras and Voodoo. Although only approximately 15-20% of the population of Louisiana practices the religion of voodoo (also known as Vodou), its dark allure has captured the attention of many. Tourists visiting New Orleans regularly seek out voodoo attractions and shops selling voodoo-related items, tantalized by stories of voodoo dolls, possession by evil spirits, voodoo curses, and zombies.

While such fare undoubtedly serves to entertain tourists, it does an injustice to the true meaning of traditional voodoo. Some sects of modern voodoo are indeed occultist in origin, but traditional voodoo has much more in common with wicca and Native American beliefs, and even Christianity.

Traditional voodoo is intended to help practitioners achieve a higher state of consciousness through trancelike communions with the natural spirits of the earth, called Loa, and to attain peace and wisdom.

The reemergence of voodoo in New Orleans and its widespread acceptance in Louisiana can be largely attributed to Marie Laveau. Marie Laveau was the daughter of a Frenchman, Charles Laveau, and a Caribbean, Marguerite Darcantel, who was a practitioner of voodoo. Modern voodoo in New Orleans today is a combination of Marie Laveau's practices and other influences from Haiti, Christianity, and Native Americans.

While Marie Laveau was certainly not the first nor the last voodoo practitioner to be held in high regard, she was certainly one of the most influential during a time period when voodoo was beginning to be accepted again.

Marie Laveau was very well known for her expert knowledge of herbal remedies, and was sought out for her preparation of gris-gris bags. These were small pouches that contained a variety of herbs that were worn by the recipient, and were intended for a number of purposes. The correct combination of herbs could effectively ward off evil spirits or hexes, bring good luck to the wearer, or to cause harm to enemies. Gris-gris bags are still very common today in New Orleans, and can often be seen being worn attached to individuals belts.

Marie Laveau also told fortunes, captured evil spirits in specially prepared jars, and helped cleanse a home of negative energy and bad luck. Her fame spread far beyond the borders of New Orleans, and people traveled far to seek out her services. Her gravesite is a popular tourist attraction, but is well respected. Many who visit the location to pay their respects often make a wish as well, believing that Marie Laveau was so powerful that her spirit is still capable of granting help to those who require it.

Because of Marie Laveau, voodoo in New Orleans is taken very seriously, and there are many who fear its power. Voodoo is not something to be taken lightly and dabbled with by the uninitiated. It is a powerful force best left to those who possess a strong understanding of its natural aspects and are well versed in the sacred rituals.

Source by Julia Roslyn Antle

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