Quote with 109 notes
Like most clichés, “pinpricked Vodou dolls” owe more to wild imagination than reality. There is indeed a long history of magicians using effigies in baneful magic; but it is a history from Europe, not Africa or the Caribbean. Allegations of malefic magic performed with dolls were common in seventeenth-century Britain, and “hex figures” have been found in the ruins of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century homes in New England. This practice survives even today among the folk witches of the Ozarks and Appalachians. But in Vodou, most practitioners spend far less time casting curses than they do defending against them. Vodou is not an aggressive tradition so much as a defensive one. For most Vodouisants, the best offense is a good defense.