Voodoo History on Cajun Nights
Up until very recently, a spate of powerlessness crept over New Orleans for all Voodoun that lasted from 1998 to 2000. This has been called “The Drought.” It saw the diminishing of all voodoo magic, and has been going on for some time. Ancient artifacts that were made a hundred years ago lost their power forever. Clergy were unable to eck even a little Mojo from the Orisha. Even sacred places became suddenly mundane. Many voodoun left New Orleans for places South, to Cuba, to Haiti, to Miami. Only since last Mardi Gras 2000 has the mojo begun to trickle in, and now this Mardi Gras has seen the return of the power of the Mysteres.
No one knows why exactly this Drought has occurred, and the Orisha aren’t saying, except that it’s true that something deep in the swamps has been re- awakened and seems to be linked in with the resurgence.
Since the local traditions are mostly oral traditions, and since most of the old people took the opportunity to leave the city, nobody knows if a Drought has ever happened before, and if it will happen again.
This has made many voodoun quite nervous. However, post-Drought New Orleans is now a brand new frontier for Voodoun – a blank slate. The Old Guard of voodoo power has left for warmer, more potent climes or has retired. The Orisha have come back in force to re- claim that which was once theirs fully. This is a new age of Voodoo.
The Barons are a group of trickster Orisha who are affiliated with Death. Baron Samedi is the most famous of these, both others are Baron La Croix and Baron Cimataire. They are loud, wild, raucous, perverse, and dark. These Orisha are the wild cards in the deck – you’ll never know when they’ll show up and cause trouble. They serve no one but themselves, and only rarely Touch mortals, preferring to consort with perverse undead and corrupt sorcerers.
The Lost Ones
There are powerful voodoun who have retired to the swamp to meditate. The Drought struck them hard, but most were powerful enough to simply understand it was time to move on. The Lost Ones are out there somewhere. They don’t actually exist all the time in the real world – they fade in and out like shadows. You never know when some old woman or man will be a Lost One, so you better be nice to every one of them! Especially if they come from the swamp.
Because the power of voodoo itself has been virtually nonexistent during the Drought, the powers of Hex have been also tamped. Now that voodoo magic is back, Hex is back again, active. There are quite a few folks who have been deluded into thinking they were no longer Hexed, and are now going to discover, much to their chagrin, otherwise.
There are so many ancient voodoo objects of power that were thought destroyed when the Drought came and are only now re-surging in power and awareness. These Heirlooms have all but been lost. A few of them have Ancestor Orisha of their very own to watch over them and power them. Heirlooms such as the Mirror of Laveau, Doctor John’s Rattle, the Petro Drum, and the White Dagger of Ogoun are still at large and may still be powerful, or regaining power in the resurgence after the Drought. More common juju bags and the like were destroyed, except for a few housed in special tombs and crypts protected from the Drought.
La Baton Morte
One voodoo society which may still be active, though no one knows for sure, is a group of non initiate but still powerful voodoun who have always flaunted voodoo society in New Orleans. They’ve done what they damn well pleased. Rumors that they were involved with a drug ring, and that they conducted child prostitution may very well be true. They have been known to use a combination of drugs and dark Mojo to create zombi slaves. Who knows where these Baron followers will show up, now that the Drought is over?
Harriet McNamara’s mother Sarah is one of the many voodoun who left for Miami when the Drought came on. Since then, Harriet has become full owner in her mother’s root shop, and has renamed it and re-styled it to be more of a herbal and new age place than a purely Voodoo oriented botanical. Some wonder if Sarah’s legacy of strong voodoo power and healing ability have bred true in Harriet. Since none of the former societies or ritual circles are around any longer to say one way or another, no one’s quite sure if Harriet has been properly Initiated or not. So she may or may not be a Mambo. One thing is for certain, however, Sarah was a potent Voodoun, and her daughter is likely to also be.
Voodoo Places of Power
In New Orleans Currently there are no places of power in New Orleans. The Drought wiped out any sacred ground that had been created, and all the hounfors of the previous clergy have been desecrated or destroyed by the fleeing voodoun. In addition, all of the “traditional” voodoo places in the city are now being run by folks who have no real idea of true Voodoo. Places like Marie Laveau’s, Whodo Voodoo, and the St. Louis Cemetery are no longer places of voodoun magical power. However, there’s nothing that says these places can’t once again become powerful – and it may be possible that there are some places of power in the swamp which have escaped the influence of the Drought.
The Orisha Manifest
The resurgence of the power of voodoo has meant that, for a time, the Orisha themselves have been trying to make contact with humanity again. That means their level of activity is almost frenetic, and they are starting to develop spontaneous relationships with mortals. This means that a Mambo might stumble upon an otherwise normal person, with no formal training or initiation, who might have a Knowing and be a voodoun by default. As well, there have been rumors that the Orisha have actually materialized – manifested in the real world – in the form of seemingly normal looking humans, but very recognizable to those voodoun who know what to look for. This is an exciting time for the voodoun for this reason alone – how many worshipers get a chance to meet their deities face-to-face and tell the tale!
Both Mysteres and voodoun have a serious tradition of silence about that is broken only at dire peril. Although the power of the old voodoo societies is now negligible, it’s quite clear that the Mysteres only tolerate a certain amount of knowledge being passed on to the non initiated, especially now that their hold on reality is just now returning. As a result, conversations about the Mysteres are held in private, and only the most circumspect of clergy chooses to speak to the Media, and what they share to the world is nothing of the total truth. There are some things only an Initiated is meant to know.