Podcast 32 – Voodoo Hoodoo with Denise Alvarado

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 32-

Summary
This episode looks at the particular practices of Voodoo and Hoodoo around New Orleans. We have an interview with spellbook author Denise Alvarado, several excerpts from folkloric and magical texts, and even some music.

Play:

Download:  New World Witchery – Episode 32

-Sources-
First, my apologies for the sudden cut-off in the interview. That was a technical difficulty on my end, but we still got almost a full 30 minutes of discussion with a stellar guest, so enjoy!

Books
Mules & Men, by Zora Neale Hurston
Voodoo in New Orleans, by Robert Tallant
Black & White Magic of Marie Laveau, by NDP Bivens
Music
All songs were taken from the Florida Folklife collection, and are available here: http://www.floridamemory.com/collections/folklife
The songs were “Crow Dance” and “Oh Mr. Brown,” both sung by Zora Neale Hurston, and “Sissy in the Barn,” sung by the children of Carver Elementary School in 1954.

Guest & Announcements
Denise Alvarado can be found at her website, Mystic Voodoo.

Please also check out her books, The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook (soon to be released in an expanded edition by Weiser Books), Voodoo Dolls in Magic & Ritual, and The Voodoo Doll Spellbook. You should also subscribe to her journal, Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly.

Don’t forget about the Second Annual Pagan Podkin Supermoot in Salem, MA, on the weekend of Sept. 17th, 2011.  Find out more details about the event and opportunities to come meet us in person at the PPSM2 Website. [Laine respectfully asks that she not be in any photographs, due to privacy concerns—Cory will be happy to wear a wig and pretend to be Laine, however].

I’ll also be at the West KY Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival (event site) teaching a course on “Biblical Magic & Sorcery.”

Promos & Music
Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.
Promo 1 – Conjure Doctor Magical Supplies
Promo 2 – Lakefront Pagan Voice
Promo 3 – Druidcast

Blog Post 41 – Zombie Dust

Good morning everyone!  Today I’m going to be talking about one of the most interesting magical ingredients available on the market today:  Zombie Dust.

This particular magical supply is the stuff of legends, and has long been used in Voodoo and hoodoo ceremonies involving resurrection of the dead.  The powder is sprinkled over a recently deceased corpse, which then rises in the thrall of the one who did the sprinkling, becoming a sort of slave to the magician.  The use of Zombie Powder was chronicled in the 1986 documentary film, Zombie Nightmare.  In the movie, we are allowed to witness an actual resurrection ceremony performed by a Voodoo priestess.  The powder is never shown in great detail, but it is clearly used to perform the rite.

The ingredients are usually a closely guarded secret, however I can share at least a few of the most “active” components with you here today.  Some traditional ingredients include:

  • Bone of the father unwillingly given
  • Flesh of the servant willingly sacrificed
  • Blood of the enemy forcibly taken

These ingredients, however, may merely be for show, as the key ingredient seems to be moon dust.  Moon dust is lunar detritus which falls to the earth after the dozens of meteors which strike the moon’s surface daily send up plumes of the stuff which then make their way to earth.  Moon dust can only be collected during a full moon, however, when you can see the little particles making their way down along the silvery beams.  The easiest way to collect moon dust (though there really is no “easy” way) is to stand in the light of the full moon with a glass jar held up to catch the falling particles.  It takes a good bit of moon dust to make Zombie Powder, so it’s possible you’ll be standing in the dark for quite a while.  Just remember that moon dust is very light, so don’t shift the jar at all or it may cause the particles you’ve already captured to float out of the container.

There are many who speculate (and I am among them) that it is the moon dust which actually leads to resurrection of the dead.  This is why so many cultures want their dead buried before the light of the full moon can touch the corpse.  Further evidence of this idea comes from Cambodia, where certain swamps receive more nights of full moonlight than anywhere else on earth.  The swamps are also home to a particular type of mosquito, which breeds in the moon dust-filled waters.  In 2005, these mosquitoes began biting people and causing outbreaks of zombism in the area.  A BBC article on the subject explains the phenomenon in more detail.

I have only rarely used Zombie Dust myself, and I always put my zombie servants back in their graves when I’m done with them—it’s the responsible thing to do, really.  If you’re interested in seeing an actual zombie raising performed on video, you can see the dead being raised here.   A somewhat more bizarre version of the rite is available here as well.

That’s it for today!  Thanks for reading everyone!

-Cory

P.S.  Oh!  And Happy April Fools’ Day!

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