Sunday, July 17, 2011
It wasn't long before someone claiming to be from my hometown of New Orleans created a voodoo doll representing Casey and put it on eBay for sale. What that person did with the money, I don't know. In fact, for the longest time I tried to find out who was making these dolls, but never did find out. It certainly got more than the appropriate share of press which I am certain spawned further sales. And of course, others jumped on the bandwagon with their attempt to make a more "palatable" doll in the eyes of the general public when the Caylee Anthony Sunshine Doll was created in 2009. Fortunately, this distasteful product launch was not met with the public's embrace and the Anthony family attorney demanded it to be taken off the shelf, which it ultimately was.
Now, I am getting Google feeds daily about the demand for Casey and Cindy Anthony voodoo dolls. I have even been approached about making these dolls. After all, I have written articles and have several mini sites dedicated to predators and child sexual abuse AND I make Voodoo dolls. But here is a big difference: I make Voodoo dolls and these other folks make voodoo dolls. Furthermore, my websites that are geared towards predators and child abuse are all not for profit with 100% of the proceeds going to the Polly Klass Foundation.
This whole issue of people profiting off of the murder of others spawns many discussions, the least of which is the question of morality. Is it right to profit from other people's pain? This is a complicated question in the world of hoodoo if one is a two headed practitioner. And the answer would be "yes", if we are to be completely honest. People come to practitioners because they are hurting, desperate, tired, and sick and tired of some person, place or situation. We do what we can to help them change it, whatever it is. But, there is a big difference in this kind of profit as opposed to profiting off of the murder of a child, or any murdered person for that matter.
Many folks will say there is no moral code in hoodoo, usually in reference to the concepts of karma and the Wiccan rede that are not part of the African-derived traditions. But I disagree with this. Of course there is a moral code in hoodoo, and it is as individual as the practitioners themselves. We are all guided by our own set of morals, shaped by our upbringings, beliefs, and life experiences. To say otherwise is just ignorant.
Yet, the whole discussion of "hoodoo morals" is, in my opinion, a good one. All religions and spiritual practices have a set of guidelines governing moral behavior. The idea that in hoodoo or the public concept of voodoo one can do whatever they want because there is not a written or universally determined body that regulates behavior is ludicrous. Typically, this stance is defended because hoodoo is a "magickal system" and the general public has no real understanding of the Voodoo/Vodou religions. If this is true, then why do we always say to perform cleansings after doing such work? Because we aren't worried there will be negative side effects? Because we want to separate our energy from the energy that we have manipulated? Because we don't want to be attached to whatever situation it is we are working? Because we don't want our families and pets to suffer as a result of putting the mojo on someone? Or all of the above? The World of Spirit has its own set of rules, and if you are going to be a player in that world, you had best be ready to deal with the consequences of your choices within that world.
But is revenge ever justified? And is it ever justified to do Voodoo or hoodoo on a perpetrator? Of course it is. Particularly in cases of child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and murder of a child it is justified and we have specific spirits that are more than willing to take on these cases upon request. The best discussion I have ever read to date on this issue is in Luisah Teish's book Jambalaya; The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals. In that book, Chief Luisah Teish discusses the case of rape and how one might going about seeking revenge in a manner that has the desired outcome in terms of punishing the offender and keeping oneself safe from negative consequences of initiating such revenge. If this book is not a part of your library, whether you are a man or a woman, I highly recommend it.
Casey Anthony and Cindy Anthony Voodoo dolls are wrong and I will not be among those people who make them and sell them on eBay. Not only do I hate eBay, I hate the very idea of profiting off of a child's murder. There is nothing in that scenario that I can see to make it a good idea, unless one is doing it for the express purpose of raising money for an appropriate, related organization with the power to do a lot of good in this world. Otherwise, these folks are creating their own bad mojo. Whether you believe in karma or not, or Newton's Law that states all actions have an opposite and equal reaction, or that the actions of a hoodoo has no consequences, none of us live in a vacuum in this world. We are all connected,and as such, we all effect one another.
If you are outraged by the release of Casey Anthony and want to honor Caylee's memory, and the memory of all murdered children, check out the Polly Klass Foundation as a start. There are many things we can do on a personal and social level to make a difference in the prevention of violence against children and to help in finding missing and exploited children. I have listed a few links below for your convenience.
Finally, there is power in numbers. Whether it is a social cause or spiritual cause, when a group of people focus their energy to a desired end, there is a greater chance of seeing the change you want to see. If you wish to effect change on a spiritual level, work in tandem with the people in your magickal circle towards a specific purpose. Help to send light and protection to the children in the world who need it. Bind the perpetrators. Do whatever you feel is within your power to do. The important thing is to take action. Sitting idly by without doing anything is complacency, and that has its own set of consequences.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.(Margaret Mead 1901-1978)
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Image Credit: (Top) http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/crime/orl-casey-voodoo-doll-photo-photo.html
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I am frankly appalled at the apparent increase in fatal flaws of the world's supposed spiritual leaders. Recently, there was James Ray's disaster of a Native American sweat lodge ceremony, the "inipi", where 3 people died. A sweat lodge ceremony is a purification ceremony, a healing ceremony. For those of you who don't know, James Ray is one of the law of attraction gurus who appeared in the movie The Secret and who has made more than a mint authoring numerous books on the subject. I am personally sanctioned to conduct such ceremonies, and I can tell you that I have never heard of anyone ever dying as a result of participating in one. In fact, nothing bad is ever supposed to happen in a sweat lodge. Indeed, if there ever was a safe place on this earth, it would be in the sweat lodge. So what went wrong?
I don't know. Maybe it was the fact that there was a ridiculous number of people crammed into one lodge...69 to be exact. My lodge holds 8. The largest I have ever participated in was conducted by a Lakota elder and there were 20 women in there. No one died. Grandma knew what she was doing because there are centuries of tradition and protocol to follow and you can best believe that she followed them. Or maybe it was the fact that he charged nine thousand six hundred plus dollars for the retreat. Most Native American holy people are lucky to walk away with enough gas money to get them back home. Maybe they only receive an offering of tobacco, or a bag of oranges. Nine thousand dollars...are you kidding me?
Maybe it was the fact that whoever was running the lodge, simply didn't know what they were doing. Five gallons of water (only a bucket is needed) was poured over the rocks and the ceremony lasted for 8 rounds (there are only 4 rounds). Which brings me to my next question: Who was running the lodge? All indicators point to Ray himself. I wonder how many Sundances and hunblechas he participated in to earn him that privilege.
In the world of Spirit, there are consequences for every behavior, every decision, every conjure, and every intention. The Law of Attraction (LOA) is alive and well in magick and ritual. It causes one to wonder what decisions and intentions were driving this event that would draw death and tragedy to something so sacred? Maybe the fact that Ray played "God" in a game during the retreat speaks to his state of mind and perhaps the lack of consideration for the well-being of others. It appears that Ray attracted some pretty nasty energy with him as he crawled into the lodge that day, and he neglected to effectively bless the lodge to keep the nasties out.
And earlier this summer, there was the Hougan Hector tragedy. As you see in the video above, a lave tet was apparently performed for a woman and she ended up dying. A lave tet is a Voodoo ritual that is a cleansing, similar in concept to a sweat lodge only it involves washing the head. According to Hougan Hector himself:
"The Lave Tet is the cleansing, fortifying and finally baptism of one's head. The head being the "seat of the soul" for an individual, which serves as a vessel for the all important Met Tet and the other spirits that walk with an individual. In some non-asson houses the Lave Tet is the initiation into the house and commits the person to that house." (http://www.ezilikonnen.com/services/lave-tet.html)
The lave tet is supposed to improve the life of the individual in all areas, not kill them! So what went wrong here?
I don't know the details. According to one source, it is believed that Hougan Hector may have forgotten to serve his main loa Ogun. In Santeria and in Vodou, Ogun is known to be an extremely dangerous Spirit who has the power to kill and destroy as he sees fit. It is not uncommon for battles of all sorts to ensue when his children do not serve him correctly. Ogun is the God of War, among other very useful things.
Now, I serve Ogun. He has been very helpful to me and my family and my friends. But you can best believe that I do not forget him. In fact, in my recent move, the first altar I set up (after Legba's of course) was Ogun's. He has his iron pot and tools and other favorite things right out my back door in the garden. And, he has a special spot on my cast iron wood stove.
Another theory is greed. There are reports of Hougan Hector's fees increasing with each phone call. I don't know...I have never sought services from him, nor do I keep tabs on his fees. I have, however, turned to his site for information about Haitian Vodou at times. I have always found his site to be very helpful.
I am certainly not one to judge others. I only have my opinions, which are based on scanty information at best. James Ray and Hougan Hector have their own karma to deal with, but I dare say I am confident and relieved I do not share it.
Here is a video with James Ray talking about "Energy flows where attention goes"...
To read more about these incidents see: