"Voodoo versus acupuncture.
Priest hurt sticking pins in a doll, and acupuncturist offset nailing the recipient of the damage."
- KUYB Team
Incense has been used since time immemorial as offerings to the gods. Man has believed it is pleasing to deities and spirits, and that it is a medium, or channel, for carrying wishes and petitins to the Gods who find fragrant aromas to be most pleasurable. The use of incense is mentioned in the Bible, and has been used by most religions including Voodoo. Voodooist will often use more than one incense in a rtiaul and will also add one or more oils to the burning incense to strengthen its effect.
Voodooist use incense more intensively than other religions. For their own mysterious purposes, they use incenses taken from many climes, cultures, and other religions. The Voodooist will use any religious article, regardless of its origin, if he feels that it will assist his rituals. He bends it, so to speak, to his own mystical purpose.
Meanings given are in general the most widely accepted beliefs. They may vary somewhat from locale to locale.
Although many rituals require candles, oils, powders, etc, in addition to incense, there are also rituals which require only incense. For instance, the first incense listed below, Alfiers Fast Luck Incense, is burned as an offering in the hope that it will bring good luck. One method is to write your wish or need on a small piece of parchment papar, and place the incense on the paper. As the incense smoke and aroma rises it is believed to take the meaning of the words with them. This method can be used at the same time,, with a parchment paper and wish beneath each.
The houngan burns incense any time a need is
felt. The incense is burned
alone or as part of a ritual. From the Voodoo viewpoint, a specific
to be burned for the purpose that it is symbolic of.
Voodoo powders are used in a variety of ways.
They are sprinkled, blown,
used to anoint hands and body, rubbed on charms and other items, and
an important part of the ingredients in conjure bags.
The listed names and beliefs date, in many cases, back into the eighteen hundreds. However, many are of more modern vintage since Voodoo is not static, but is continually evolving with new spells, rituals, and ingredients being added as may be created by various initiates.
Generally accepted beliefs are given, but these will sometimes vary in greater or lesser degree depending on locale and background of the practitioner.
Botanicals, meaning roots, herbs, barks, berries, and the other parts of plants, have been used for magical purposes since the dawn of man. The Bible makes many references to them, and legends regarding them abound in every culture. Voodoo attaches great powers to them. Each of the many botanicals listed has more than one magical power attributed to it. Since a large volume would be required to list them all, only the most prevalent and widely accepted beliefs have been chosen.
As with oils, powders, etc., the Voodooist is likely to use a number of roots and herbs in the attempt to magically gain his desire. The Voodooist believes that if one ritual is good, then more is that much better. As an example: A Voodooist may make and carry a charm bag for good luck, but he will not stop there. Candles, incenses, powders, and oils will also be utilized to further the chances of success.
Wormwood is used to contact spirits of the dead and in divination. It is burned as an incense. A favorite method is to put it in a black paper cone which is lit at the bottom. As the smoke rises, the spirit of the deceased sought is called for and asked to make its presence known. Questions are asked and help requested.
Some Voodoists will burn wormwood while using a pendulum or planchette for divination purposes.