Saturday, February 11, 2012
The Use of Vodoo Dolls in New Orleans Voodoo
The use of Voodoo dolls, gris-gris, and mojo in hexes and curses in New Orleans reportedly peaked during the reign of the infamous Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. The origin of the practice of sticking pins into dolls as a curse can be found in European poppets and West and Central African nkisi or bocios. It has been suggested that making Voodoo dolls and sticking them with pins was one way in which slaves exercised some form of control over their masters. The malevolent use of Voodoo dolls is considered a form of Bokor (Black) Voodoo that perpetuates the damaging stereotypes associated with Voodoo. Today, many practitioners of the Voodoo religion make a concerted effort to disassociate from the malevolent use of Voodoo dolls, and instead create and use them for positive purposes. Approximately 90% of the use of Voodoo dolls is centered on healing, finding true love, spiritual guidance, and as focusing tools in meditation. In New Orleans, Voodoo dolls are largely sold as souvenirs, curios, and novelty items.