Tag Archives: vodun faq

Should I buy anti evil eye pendants for myself?

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Normal Evil Eye Pendant

Normal Evil Eye Pendant

If they are part of a ceremonial working or it is specifically sacred, you can and should if you need them.  If it is just a stand-alone item, you should not.  The reason why is that these sorts of items are activated by being given as gifts.

Evil eye is caused by a buildup or strong projection of negative energy from other people looking upon you with envy/jealousy or possessiveness.  When you buy a non sacred amulet for yourself, it is just another possession.

Sacred Ayatal Kursee Pendant

Sacred Islamic pendant with Ayatal Kursee for protection from the evil eye

On the other hand, when you buy an amulet that has a prayer or sacred symbol inscribed on it, or it has been properly consecrated, the protection factor is more than psychological or impulsive.  It is a gift from the Spirits.

So normal protection talismans such as eyes, figas, Italian horns, and the like should be received as gifts or bought to give to others.  Prayer inscribed amulets, small nkisi, and consecrated items can be bought for yourself.

What is a mirror box?

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Eshu Protection Mirror Box

An Eshu mirror box to house protection talismans.

In modern Vodun and diaspora systems, a mirror box has a variety of uses.  Basically, it is a box that has mirrors on the inside.  The purposes of these depend on why they are there.

Mirrors, aside of being sacred to Oshun, and to some degree Boyuto, capture and reflect a person’s image.  This captures and reflects Ashe in some cases, or aspects of a person’s Ori in others.  It can also shield or amplify, as the mirror itself has its own Ashe and natural characteristics.  Much like crystals, they can be given a purpose depending on their natural options.

Inside a box, it can shield the outside world from the box’s contents by reflecting the energy of the object inside back to itself.  It can capture a person’s image while making a request or prayer in order to “program” objects such as crystals or nkisi.  It can aid in imprinting a talisman housed in a box onto its possessor.  It can also help to amplify the power of an object.

Mirrors in a mirror box are numbered and arranged according to their purpose for being there.  Their shape is also relevant.  Square or diamond shaped mirrors are generally used for protection, containment, and sometimes “hexing” when a curse is for justice or preventing someone from doing harmful things.  Round mirrors are generally used for love and emotional issues, and also for radiating energy.  Triangular mirrors or mirrors arranged in a triangular pattern are often used for fertility, charisma, and worldly power.  Different people may have different ways of doing things, but these are generally the standard.

Vodun F.A.Q. – How can a person who is not a priest make workings more effective?

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Eshu on the balcony As I’ve said in previous articles, some things are best put in the hands of a priest/ess or someone of that level.  However, I understand that not everyone is going to take that advice.  Also many people in the diaspora live in areas with no priests, or they’ve encountered one too many charlatans.  Whatever reason you want to take things into your own hands, there are some things you should know before you do that.

First of all, the Orishas are not Santa Claus.  You need them every day to survive.  They are in you, in your blood, in the air all around you, in the earth, and everywhere.  If you think you might ever want to make a specific request from them, you should be doing daily observances.

Also, if you know who your head is, you should be walking your natural path, and living a life that glorifies them and glorifies God/Olodumare/Mawu-Lisa.  You can’t be living counter to Nature and expect to get good things from her.  It just doesn’t work that way.

For example, if your head is Oshun, you should be living beautifully.  Even if you are dirt poor, the dirt should be elegant, organized, and the softest, nicest dirt anyone was ever poor in.  Clean your house.  Repair your clothes.  Make what little you may have sparkle, and take care of yourself and the people around you.

If your head is Eshu, you might be able to get away with some trickiness and hustling, but you’d better treat the children and the elderly well.

If your head is Shango and you don’t stand up for yourself, you’re doing it wrong.

If your head is Ogun and you are lazy, you are messing up.  Get where I’m going with this?

Live Vodun.

Next, there is community.  If there is something specific you need from the Orishas, it helps to get the word out to trusted people.  Don’t try to go it alone.  Get others directing energy and offerings towards the same goal.  If you are sure that you are not the priestly type, then forming a community may encourage someone to step up and put some time and energy into study.

Ebo or community feasts are very important.  If there are no priests, you and other Vodun observant or friendly friends should still be having them.  Don’t worry too much about formality so much as respecting the Orishas.

While you’re respecting the Orishas, don’t forget that the Egungun is important as well.  You should keep photos or other tokens of your departed relatives and loved ones in a special place in your house or room.  Visit their graves, bringing them flowers and some of their favorite foods from time to time.

If you do all this then your DIY workings will have a greater chance of success because you are at least being observant and living in line with Nature.

Vodun F.A.Q. – Can a person have a head Orisha of the opposite gender?

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Contrast by Sis. Nicole T. Lasher Leaving aside the fact that in most west African cultures, there can be three or more genders, they most certainly can. Some Orishas have a dual gender, and some have various paths, personas, or character traits that are comfortable for people of varying genders and orientations and styles in daily life.

Spirits in general, unless they are not so much Spirits as alterdimensional beings, don’t have what can be described as a physical gender so much as a “feel”.  The way they express themselves will be more associated in humans, with maleness, femaleness, or intersex, transgender, or nonbinary, and some tend to be embodied in avatars of a particular gender.

So, as an example, it is entirely possible for a straight, cisgender man to have Oshun as his head or a straight, cisgender woman to have Ogun as her head.  Your gender has no bearing on who will choose you.

It may have some bearing on how you express gender or really what is comfortable for you regardless of gender. It’s people around you who may take something a certain way, and this is not your issue but theirs. For example, some children of Ogun who are classed female at birth may appear masculine or butch in some cultures, but in a more understanding culture, they would just be seen as more aggressively feminine than average. So in one place, they would say the reason for one’s expression is the maleness of their head, but in another they would assign the behaviors to the warrior like qualities of their head.

Suffice to say, gender is not something to worry over in African spirituality. Some of the language around it may need updating or clarification, but as we move further away from colonial mentality in general, we also move away from colonial language around gender. Even this very article has changed because of that growth.

Blessings and Ashé!

What is Four Thieves Vinegar and what is it used for?

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Four Thieves Vinegar is an infusion of lavender, sage, rosemary, and thyme in cider or wine vinegar.  It is widely used in the Voudou, Hoodoo, and Conjure in the African diaspora.  Like the Voodoo doll, its origin is European, but it has been very well adopted.  So the legend goes, four thieves during the black plague in Europe gave the recipe in exchange for their lives.  They said this is how they managed to rob plague victims without catching the disease themselves.

It is a very powerful antiseptic that can be used to heal, to purify, to bless, and to curse depending on how it is applied.  Recipes vary, and sometimes the ingredients are completely different.  So if you buy it from somewhere, and you need specific things to be in it, ask about the recipe used.

Aside of using it as an antiseptic and for root work, the non toxic recipes make an excellent salad dressing.  Just mix it with oil.

Making your own is relatively easy.  Just half fill a jar or bottle with herbs, then pour vinegar over it to fill the bottle.  Cap it tightly, and keep it in a cool, dark place for three months.  During that time, shake it vigorously every few days.  Strain out as much as you need, or strain all of it and store it.

Basic Four Thieves Vinegar

  • 1 part lavender flowers
  • 1 part sage
  • 1 part thyme
  • 1 part rosemary
  • 2 parts cider or wine vinegar

Internal Cleansing or Justice Vinegar

  • basic herbs plus:
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 30 peppercorns

Compassion Vinegar

  • 1 part lavender
  • 1 part tea roses or rose petals

Oshun’s Hot Love Vinegar

to put in your lover’s food/salad to make them more amorous

  • two handfulls tea roses or chamomile
  • two teaspoons fenugreek crushed or powdered
  • one teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • a half finger’s size ginger root
  • two heaping tablespoons of stevia
  • 1 liter of white vinegar

Psychic Protection Vinegar

Protects against psychic attacks.  Use it in the shower when you are preparing to go into an adversarial situation or a crowded place or when jealous or exploitive people may direct negative energy towards you.  It is also a great acid rinse for the hair and body.  Pour it on, let it soak in for a minute, then rinse off.

  • 1/4 cup lavender
  • 1/4 cup rosemary
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 chip dried garlic
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 liter of white or white wine vinegar

There are many kinds of vinegar infusions that can be used for many things.