Practictioners of voodoo can be either good or evil (those claiming that all are only evil are probably Christian dogmatic propagandists). But the black arts of voodoo are very deadly, and can cause blight, disease and other curses, communication with the dead, as well as steal souls and reanimate dead bodies to do evil bidding -- to such an extent that there are laws on the books forbidding the practice.
Hoodoo is a related ancient concept, harkening back to Moses, 'the finest Hoodoo man' to have ever lived. While Voodoo is a set of religious beliefs, hoodoo is a system of magical practices. These beliefs are not monolithic, culled from various other traditions, and vary by region and followers.
It has influences in African, Native American, French and South American tradition.
These occult sciences are practiced by little old ladies in swamp cottages and snazzy dudes who may or may not be James Bond villains. There are many International Houses of Voodoo where one can procure rare elements, juju charms, potions, enchantments, powders, and artifacts like amulets or gris-gris, necklaces of eyeballs and rubber chickens. (These various 'tricks' may be combined in a 'mojo bag' for portability.) Hotspots of Voodoo activity include Haiti, West Africa, New Orleans, the Caribbean and parts of Brazil.
They also earn an income by administering charms, amulets, and magical powders guaranteed to cure ailments, grant desires, and confound or destroy one's enemies. Most noted for her achievements as the Voodoo queen of New Orleans in the 1830s was Marie Laveau. Once the news of her powers spread, she overthrew the other Voodoo leaders of New Orleans.Voodoo doctors, or "jazz funeral chasers", often don skeleton makeup and trick local tourists into meeting them in cemetaries at night, never to be heard from again. Their pacts with spiritual forces from beyond are not to be reckoned with by mortal minds.
Spells and incantations must be done with extreme care with the proper ingredients, or else an attempt to reanimate the dead may, say, result in them only reanimating when music is playing.
Traditional voodoo chant:
- I'm not the one who's so far away
- when I feel the snakebite enter my ve-eins
- Never did I wanna be here again
- and I don't remember why I came
Finally, in order to construct a proper voodoo doll, it need not look like the person (though this is a bonus) but must consist of something of the Thread, something of the Head, something of the Body, and something of the Dead. You will find that many aspects of voodoo culture involve coffins, above-ground graves, and spooky forces from the other side.
One must be very careful when meddling in the affairs of the underworld, as you can lose your home, your soul, your life, or even your precious mojo.
Voodoo Rain was a powerful and unique line of herbally enhanced beverages that combined herbs, great tasting flavors and a little magic.
Voodoo, hoodoo, and mojo all continue to be celebrated and immortalized by blues icons and weird teenagers the world over.
Voodoo was used to overthrow many plantation owners during American slavery, and may have been part of the success of the Haitian revolt and Toussaint Louverture (though he would later discourage its use).
Western Christian Imperialists are usually weirded out by all things Voodoo due to its inherent nature dealing with ancient dead family members, dessecated animal corpses, the feminine goddess-head, sex, the physical embodiment of death, menstruation, serpents, and black people. Uptight Christian prudes.