Saturday, April 02, 2005

Please Meet My Friend Marie Laveau

I've asked my friend, Marie Laveau if she wouldn't mind stepping out of the Curiosity Shop over at the Cafe in order to meet my new friends at the Chamber of Horrors.

I've always been fond of the legend of Marie Laveau and I'm sure you'll find some traces of her in the Werewolf, Radu, in " To Grandmother's House. "

So here she is, please make Marie Welcome and maybe she'll be glad to share a story with you...but a word to the wise, it will probably come at a price.

Anita Marie

Marie Laveau - A Powerful Voodoo Queen

New Orleans Voodoo Queen of 1815 Marie Laveau was an intelligent African American woman who combined Voodoo with Christianity. She informed the press of her rituals on the bayou, where she would dance seductively with her snake, named Zombi. These performances helped her gain notoriety.

Years and years ago I learned a song about the Voodoo Queen named Marie Laveau.

In the song Marie's funeral is held at night, by the light of the moon. As with much of Marie's life, I'm sure poetic license was taken in the writing of this song. But in this case, I'm sure Marie would have approved.

Marie Laveau, it was said was the most Powerful Voodoo Queen of her time, and of our time too. She could look into the human soul and know your secrets, she could right wrongs done to you by an unfaithful lover, or a crooked business partner, or a troublesome neighbor.

She could cure you of terrible illnesses and ask you be protected from harm and curses.

Besides doctoring the sick, it was said she visited prisons too and in one case brought poison to a man about to be hung for murder. She did this so the man would not have to face the executioner noose.

Was she a healer? A magician? A wise woman or a fraud? Whether they were grateful or fearful people from all walks of life in New Orleans knew the answer. Bitter or sweet, Marie Laveau understood things, secret things.

Some say she came by her knowledge because she had a network of spies throughout New Orleans. That she was able to control and manipulate through fear, blackmail and intimidation. An amazing feat, considering she was a black woman and her clients were white people like judges, lawyers, people of means and education.Marie did this work in the mid 1800's. Civil Rights were still several, serveral years away. In fact, they weren't even a possibility in Marie's time.

Be that as it may, these people also stood at Marie's door, shoulder to shoulder as the song says with the poor and uneducated, They were all equals at Marie's doorstep.

And they were all there for the same things.

Justice, revenge, healing.


My favorite stories concerning Marie's powers always involved the wronged lover and revenge. Marie would create an offering, a gift for the Spirits and then ask for their help.

The next day the scoundrel would come home... at dawn.

I could see that person, walking up the steps to their house. I can see them walking slowly, as if they were carrying a heavy weight. I can see them slowly opening the door and I can see the look on their face. I'm sure it was the same look people have when they go to a funeral and force themselves to look down into that open casket.

And I wonder, when the wronged lover saw that person walk through the door did they wonder what Marie did to get their loved one to look that way? Did they feel pity? Were they scared? Did they think, as they saw that horrible look, that combination of fear and perhaps madnessss, did they wonder, is the memory of that look the true price they paid for Marie's help?

Revenge is always the most expensive of tasks you can ask the Spirits to do for you. I don't mean expensive as in gifts or money.

In voodoo, there's this little catch 22 when you take revenge out on another person. In this religion everyone is protected by a Saint or a Spirit whether you practice or not.

If I ask for revenge against you and your Saint is a natural enemy of my Saint or isn't as powerful as your Saint I can suffer horribly for my actions.

Therefore, going to a person like Marie could be a dangerous proposition for everyone involved.

Marie cast a long shadow in her time, yet no one knows exactly the circumstances of her birth or how she died.

I've read that she died a mindless vegetable in a darkened room in her house. Considering she had over a dozen children, I find it odd that know one knows for sure what her last days were like.

However, there are stories about her after her death. Stories began circulating around New Orleans that Marie had returned from the dead. Just as beautiful but not as powerful as before. This was explained away by saying that she had a daughter who looked exactly like her and carried the same name as Marie. She also practiced Voodoo, though it's said not as effectively.

There are also stories that Marie was nothing more then a charlatan, a hustler and that she and another Voodoo practitioner would laugh and drink and joke about the great joke they were playing on the entire population of New Orleans.

Had this story been even remotely true, I doubt if Marie would have lived to old age in a darkened room anywhere in the South.I think she would have come to a quick and nasty end a lot sooner then later.

I guess the only people who really knew what Marie could do were the ones who came to her house, their heads bowed in shame and hurt. What was it like, I wonder, to sit across from her with gifts for the Spirits and give another human being permission to know the most intimate details of your very soul.

And in the end, give them power over your destiny.

Marie did have power, maybe it was simply the power of suggestion and psychology. Maybe it was the power of healing and magic.

I guess there's no way to know for sure, is there?

Unless of course...

What gift would you give the Spirits to know what it would have been like to have been Marie or that troubled person who came to her house late at night for help? There are ways, secret ways to ask the spirits for help, you could ask about Marie.

Just remember, no one really knows where she began or how she ended.

Remember that when something leans over your shoulder and whispers those answers into your ear.

by Anita Marie Moscoso
© anita marie moscoso 2005-text

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