Monday, 26 October 2009

Voodoo Hoodoo

“Stopped?” Ryan went past them and into his daughter’s room. He stepped back as the nurses rolled the crash cart out of the room. “Doc?” He approached the man who was listening to Shayna’s little chest. A nurse was injecting a liquid from a syringe into the plastic tubing leading into his child.

“She’s weak, Mr. Hunter. I can’t make any promises.”

Deanna turned to her mother in fright. “Araignée du matin - chagrin. I saw a spider on the windowsill when I woke. I woke when Shayna was gurgling.”

Grace Blair stroked her daughter’s hair and reassured her. “Araignée du soir - espoir. That was still night time.”

“It was after midnight. Oh momma...”

Ryan looked confused. Grace looked at him and explained. “A spider seen in the morning is a sign of grief; a spider seen at noon, of joy; a spider seen in the evening, of hope. Deanna saw a spider, but even though it was after midnight, it was still the evening.”

Caleb Blair shook his head. “That’s just old Cajun superstition woman. It’s just rahdoht.” He was standing behind Ryan and put his hand on his shoulder to help steady him. “It’s just nonsense.” He turned towards his wife. “Mother, you take Deanna to the chapel. I think we can use a bit of prayer.”

(from Hostage Heart)

Superstitions… omens… curses - Are they nonsense, or are they real? People live their lives letting superstitions and omens make their decisions. Knock on wood, our superstitions help to guide us along the right path. If we are careful to never step on a crack, if we always remember to throw a pinch of spilled salt over our shoulder to hit the devil in his eye, we stop an empty rocking chair from rocking, and we don’t open umbrellas in the house, maybe we can avoid misfortune and tears. Will all of our good living be for naught if someone sticks a pin into a likeness of us? Does a voodoo doll really transfer pain and suffering to its victim, or is it just the knowing that does us in? How willing are you to risk it?

What of the number 13? How much evil can a mere number carry with it? Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names – pure evil or coincidence? More than 80% of high rise buildings do not include a 13th floor, most airports won’t use 13 as a gate number, 13 people at a table are considered unlucky. Have you ever woken from a dream shuddering and wondering if it was premonition or just bad food the night before? How often have you labeled an unexpected occurrence an omen and changed your plans because of it? Do you believe in Karma?

There are many people who will cross their fingers for luck and yet deny that they are superstitious. What is superstition? Beliefs. People believe that some habit or happening will make a difference to their fate. Chain letters get passed on because readers are warned of dire consequences if they “break the chain”. For as much as we want to believe that we are in control – we really don’t know; and we really don’t want to chance it.

Louisiana Voodoo is a spiritual belief in one deity and many less powerful spirits, spirits that can be channeled to cast spells. Professional spell casters are called bon couer’s. “The main focus of Louisiana Voodoo today is to serve others and influence the outcome of life events through the connection with nature, spirits, and ancestors.” (Wikipedia) Deanna Blair, the heroine of Hostage Heart, grew up in Louisiana among Cajun beliefs. Ryan Hunter is a wee bit skeptical, but even he begins to wonder about her premonitions and superstitions.

If you are worried that you might befall some harm or a voodoo curse has been placed upon you, here’s a simple preventative remedy to keep you safe: “To stop a Voodoo spell being placed upon you, acquire some bristles from a pig cooked at a Voodoo ritual, tie the bristles into a bundle and carry them on you at all times.

See, nothing to it.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Thanks, Chelle!

I am very supersititious, I'm afraid - I knock on wood and cross my fingers for luck and I write with 'special' pens.

Fascinating blog on other customs! And about beliefs concerning spiders.

Chelle Cordero said...

13 has always been my LUCKY number, lol.

Savanna Kougar said...

I used to not be that superstitious. Until I noticed a consistent pattern of every time I'd tell someone my doggies are okay, then something bad would occur to one of them. So, I figured why not knock on wood... well, it actually seems to work
Course, everything is vibration... and knocking is certainly a type of vibration.

Excellent Excerpt.

Sun Singer said...

The usual superstitions don't bother me. It's the little rituals that do, like always putting my right shoe on first.


Chelle Cordero said...

Actually Malcolm, so long as you put your shoe on AFTER you put your sock on, you are ahead of the game. ;>

Savanna, I noticed whenever I get deer in my backyard, I am going to hear something good (not necessarily spellbinding, but still good) - Fortunately they visit my yard frequently.

Lindsay we all seem to have "superstitions" or habits that wihtout doing them we'd feel uncomfortable.

LK Hunsaker said...

I knock on wood and joke about not sweeping under my daughter's feet until after she's married. The sweeping bit is for humor. For me, the knocking on wood is just to remind myself that we are hardly invincible and shouldn't be arrogant enough to tempt fate.

Superstitions do have purpose. ;-)

Nice post!