History of New Orleans Witchcraft & New Orleans Voodoo
A brief history and comparison of New Orleans Witchcraft and Voodoo in New Orleans by Priestess Kalila Smith
Ms. Kalila Smith, native New Orleans Voodoo and Witchcraft practitioner, provides us a glimpse into the history of Witchcraft and Voodoo in New Orleans. She has published so many books, papers and historical tours on this topic; I couldn’t have found a more renowned expert on New Orleans Witchcraft and New Orleans Voodoo.
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New Orleans Witchcraft and Voodoo! New Orleans is one of the most magical and mysterious cities on earth, in addition to being one the most occult active cities in America. Home not only to its own brand of Voodoo, and its derivatives, but a home to European Witchcraft as well! Its magical ambiance has attracted a melting pot of magical beliefs and cultures from literally all over the world. Having grown up in New Orleans, I was exposed to vast array of magical practices.
Throughout my life, I experimented with numerous forms of Witchcraft Spells and Magic. My journey has been a long, fascinating one.
I began my Witchcraft studies with simple love spells, candle spells and magic and eventually branched out into an intense interest in Voodoo, which had become ingrained in New Orleans’ history. After years of study, I began to see, like so many before me, the similarities between Voodoo and other natural religions such as Witchcraft. It was at that point that I started to seek out Voodoo beyond New Orleans. My journey took me to several states and into the Caribbean.
Through the years, I have spent time with different practitioners, as well as ventured down numerous paths. Although New Orleans Voodoo flourished in the city, a growing number of practitioners began to return the purer Haitian form of Voodoo. Many a book had been published on the religious aspect of Voodoo. Few concentrated on the importance of the contributions made by those who evolved the specific brand of Voodoo that had become familiar to New Orleans.
My intent is to preserve the lineage of the melting pot of Voodoo from the famed practitioners that made it famous in New Orleans. One cannot walk down the streets of the French Quarter without seeing the commercialization of this misunderstood religion. New Orleans Voodoo is so much more than cheesy T-shirt shops and little dolls with pins. There is a rich history that is ingrained in the spirit of New Orleans. This specific heritage of Voodoo had become so blended with other traditions and practices. But to understand the connection that New Orleans has to these magical practices, one must understand the complete history of early religions throughout time.
One of the most feared and misunderstood religions that the world has ever known alongside Witchcraft, is Voodoo. In New Orleans, Voodoo raised such fear and superstition that the church ultimately banned it from being practiced within the city limits. Throughout the 1800’s, the church and city officials waged war on the Voodoos that rivaled the Witch trials of Salem. There were countless newspaper accounts of arrests made on those who practiced this religion. Unlike the alleged witches of Salem, however, the Voodoos always seemed to mysteriously escape judgment.
What do you think about when you hear the word “witch”? To some, thoughts of a toothless hag, with warts on her nose riding a broom comes to mind. Others envision satanic worshipers congregating in secret ritualistic meetings. Yet, still others think of something they may have seen on the television screen or heard in fairy tale.
In spite of the fact that we are at the beginning of the 21st Century, the vast majority of Americans to this day do not understand Witchcraft and Voodoo. Many still believe that Witches and those practicing Witchcraft are satanic worshipers. Some still believe Witchcraft and those that practice Witchcraft inflicts harm on others. And there are still a few that believe that they are supernatural creatures, stalking humans in the night!
It surprises me that going into the 21st century; many people continue to cling to beliefs that were established in the 15th century and before! I have actually spoken to people who are afraid of Witchcraft and Voodoo practitioners. Others believe that it is all fake, something to amuse tourists. Rest assured Witchcraft and Voodoo are nothing to fear or scoff at. Those who practice Witchcraft and Voodoo along with other natural based religions, take it quite seriously, and are proud of their beliefs. Albeit, there are some who remain secretive about their religious affiliations. But this reluctance to be open is not because what they are doing is evil, but rather that it is misunderstood and others tend to fear it.
Many Witchcraft practitioners and witches have remained in the closet, so to speak, because there was once a time when our ancestors were imprisoned and even
killed for their beliefs. Those who practiced Witchcraft in days of old hid their religion as a way of surviving. If being a witch meant being hung or burned alive, secrecy became part of the craft itself. Voodoo on the other hand, had a completely different history. Because of New Orleans, and its ties to Voodoo, this religion was always practiced openly and gained acceptance early on within our magical city!