The universe is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
Voodoo? What Do You Do?
Some people pick up a book on love and magic and are embarrassed about it, as
if they should feel ashamed for wanting love or the magical secrets that will tell
them how to get it. The world makes us feel guilty, after all, if we haven't already
got the dream house, dream mate, and dream kids-especially if (heaven
forbid!) we're leaving our twenties behind! You've read Cosmopolitan and
watched Sex and the City, so you know you're not the only singleton on the
planet-but, then, everyone else doesn't have your granny asking them a thousand
times a day when they're going to be settling down and giving her a rugrat
to drool over. I think a lot of women have been shamed into very undreamy
relationships and going nowhere love affairs as the result of pressures like
these-which is probably why so many marriages fail. But try telling granny
Forget the shaming! You want and deserve a real love-with a real lover,
not one who's just there for approval. Well, good! You've come to the right place
because this book is all about fun, love, romance, and-to be perfectly upfront
about this-sex, too. It's about enjoying yourself in the bedroom (or wherever
else you happen to be) and enjoying your life-without guilt, without shame,
and without holding back.
But why the Voodoo?
Because Voodoo has been producing results for people for hundreds of
years-in everything from finding a boyfriend to keeping lovers on the straight
and narrow. More than 200 million people worldwide now practice Voodoo
and have used it to find love, make love, and keep love-the Voodoo way. It's
also a lot sexier than just about any other magical practice I can think of-a
Mark Darcy sort of magic: mean, moody, magnificent; brooding, mysterious,
and slightly dark and dangerous. But, despite what you may have heard, there's
nothing black about it-and it's a lot of fun, too.
Now love, they say, is a many-splendored thing. It's not surprising, then,
that in surveys, when people are asked what they most want from life or what
would make them most happy, love comes in at number one, time after time.
What they also say, though, is that the path of true love rarely runs smoothly.
And that's where I come in. I am a practitioner of Voodoo as it's taught in Haiti
(where it's more commonly spelled Vodou, by the way)-a real Voodoo initiate.
But I'm also a psychologist and relationship counselor, so in this book you get
the best of both worlds: genuine Voodoo spells and genuine relationship advice,
both of which have been proven to work. It's a happy marriage that should
lead to . . . well, hopefully, a happy marriage, if all goes according to plan!
I've been practicing magic since childhood. I think we all do, don't we-
blowing dandelions and wishing for lovers, trying to find the love lines on our
palms, all those things that fascinate us when we're young and we know that
magic works-before life beats that knowledge out of us.
I suppose I was a bit of a teenage witch-a phase that lasted well into my
late twenties! Then, in 1998, I went to Haiti with a friend. What I found was an
island where everyone was practicing magic, and-disappointingly as well as
excitingly-their results all seemed better than mine! I wanted to know what
they knew, so I went back a little later and found a priestess (called a mambo)
who would teach me magic that worked.
She said she'd be happy to-but only if I initiated with her and became a
priestess myself, because in Haiti you can't teach Voodoo secrets to just anyone.
I was definitely up for that (I've always been an adventurous spirit!) and said I'd
be happy to oblige. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for!
The process of initiation takes a week and is pretty tough. It involves a symbolic
death and rebirth, which includes having your head cut off with a machete
at your throat, dancing yourself into a frenzy, plunging your hand into
fire, and five days spent in a dark room where you are visited by the spirits.
(Don't worry: you won't have to do any of that in this book!) But even so that's
just the beginning, because an initiation is a start and the real training begins
after that; it can last a lifetime.
I took my initiation at the turn of the century, and now here I am, making
magic to bring back lovers, to keep them on the straight and narrow, to ensure
proposals of marriage, and for just about every other aspect of love and romance
you can think of.
Back in the West, though, I'm also a therapist and counselor, working with
singles and couples who have relationship problems of one kind or another, so
I also see love from the other side: how to make it work when you've found the
person you want but your affair or your marriage has run into difficulties.
Voodoo and therapy go surprisingly well together. One produces an effect
in the universe (e.g., drawing a lover to you) and the other teaches people how
to live with that effect (e.g., how to make the relationship work now that you
and your lover have met).
Using a combination of these skills-Voodoo magic, relationship counseling,
psychology, and plain old common sense-I've helped hundreds of people
to find love, keep love, understand love, and, sometimes, let go of love when
the relationship's run its course and they need to move on with their lives. In
the chapters that follow, I'll teach you some of these skills and show you how to
get what you want from love.
Before we do that, though, let me tell you a bit about Voodoo, because even
though you're holding this book (so I'm guessing you have an interest in the
subject), you probably don't know much about it. Or, at least, most people
In fact, Voodoo likes to keep itself pretty much to itself as well, so it hasn't
done much for its own public relations in that respect. So let's clear up the misconceptions
What Is Voodoo Anyway?
I sometimes give talks on Voodoo, and when I do, the five things most people
really want to know about it are:
(1) Do you stick pins in dolls?
(2) Are zombies real?
(3) Do you kill animals (or is there a vegetarian option)?
(4) Voodoo's evil, right? and . . .
(5) Who's the cat in the hat that I've seen in the James Bond movie?
So let's start with these questions first. And the answers are: no, yes, yes and
no, no and yes, and Baron. And now, in a little more detail . . .
Do You Stick Pins in Dolls?
Everyone's heard of the Voodoo doll, right? It's probably the one thing everybody
knows for sure about Voodoo-they stick pins in dolls. Well, actually,
they don't. Weirdly enough, dolls aren't used in Haiti, which is where Voodoo
There is hardly a place in the world where dolls haven't been used at one
time or another-including America, India, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Australia,
Africa, England, Wales, and Scotland, to name just a few, but in Haiti, no.
In North America, Peru, and Malaysia, dolls are still used to make enemies
sick and weaken love (and other) rivals. In America, for example, sorcerers
make them out of wax and melt them over a fire, a little at a time, for a week,
then throw the remains on the fire at the end of it. At that point, it is said that
the rival will be dead as the result of a mysterious fever that leaves her soaked
in sweat and her temperature soaring. Unpleasant stuff!
Dolls like this (sometimes called mannequins or poppets) are a way of sending
energy toward the person it represents. Bad energy (negative vibes) is
symbolized by sticking pins in the doll (in all those little places where you
want them to hurt). But the next surprise is that this technique can also be used
Dolls are sometimes used in healing, for example-by massaging the place
on the doll where you want to ease someone's pain (or cause some other, ahem,
effect in your lover), or to send someone love, by hugging the doll and sending
kind thoughts and energy toward them. If you can't be with the one you love,
love the doll you're with, in other words (advice that men understand and often
practice on business trips).
In American Voodoo (especially in New Orleans), there is a bit of a tradition
of using poppets like these, but you're still more likely to find them in a
tourist store than an authentic Voodoo ceremony.
So, to summarize: in Haiti, they don't use dolls. In America, they do-but,
then, so do a lot of other people. And sometimes they're being nice when they
do it. Funny, isn't it, that the things we take for granted rarely match up to the
truth (in Voodoo as in many of life's other little lessons).
Are Zombies Real?
They are, but we won't have much call for them in this book (I'm assuming
you're after a lover, not a sex slave), so I'm not going to dwell on them; I'll just
tell you a bit about them.
The word zombie comes from an African word, nzambi, which means spirit
of a dead person and someone whose soul has been lost, so they're living but
not really alive (a bit like women who crochet or enter their children for spelling
To turn someone into a zombie, you give them a mixture of toxic plants and
animal and fish remains, called poudre zombi (or zombie powder). You'd normally
only do this, of course, if they've been behaving particularly badly and
making a nuisance of themselves. That's why it's done in Haiti: as a form of
social policing, like electronic tagging and Anti-Social Behavior Orders here in
The main ingredient of zombie powder is a nerve toxin that comes from a
puffer fish, which produces a deep coma when eaten. The person who takes
this can be raised from the dead using another combination of drugs (bizarrely
called a zombi cucumber) and, hey presto, you've got yourself a zombie.
People take this very seriously in Haiti, but it's not as common as you think.
Haiti certainly isn't a set from a George Romero film. In fact, there have been
only two reports of zombies on the island in the last 100 years (and they've
never been proven). You're more likely to meet the living dead in a Brooklyn
bar on any night of the week, in fact, than you are in a Voodoo service.
And that's about all I want to say about zombies: they're real, but they're not
common, and if people make them it's because they're control freaks, not clever
magicians with supernatural powers. So let's not even go there.
Do You Kill Animals?
A lot of people are squeamish about the idea of killing animals (known as manje-
lwa-feeding the spirits-in Voodoo, or, to you and me, as sacrifice), but
that doesn't stop them from buying a factory-farmed chicken from a supermarket
or a couple of burgers for their dinner. The fact is that most of us eat animals
and are responsible for their deaths, even if it is a second-hand killing.
These animals are sacrificed, too-to our fast-food lifestyles.
In Haiti, the situation is only slightly different, mostly because they don't
have supermarkets (in fact, they don't have a lot of money, so supermarkets
wouldn't be a great deal of use). Most people keep a few chickens for the eggs
or a goat for the milk instead, and when the animal comes to the end of its useful
life, it's killed and eaten, just as in any farming community.
When this happens, the animal is blessed first and offered to God, and its
meat is consumed by the congregation. The sacrifice is not unlike a Jewish
Kosher ceremony, where the soul or energy of the animal is given to the care of
God, and consuming the meat is more of a church barbecue than anything
Wild blood-letting orgies with dead chickens by the dozen just don't happen
in Voodoo, despite the headlines-as much as anything because Haiti is a
third-world country where the people are poor and can't afford to kill off their
livestock willy-nilly. But more than this, Voodoo ceremonies just don't demand
it very often. In most cases, the offering made to the spirits is something much
simpler (and cheaper), like cornmeal, egg white, rum, or even water.
It is, however, important to feed the spirits something because this gives
them the energy to help you: without that, they will become drained. And just
as a cell phone with a dead battery won't get you very far, appealing to a spirit
who has no energy to help you is a complete waste of time as well.
So, you will have to make a few sacrifices in this book in order to get the
spirits on your side. But if you want to offer a vegetarian sausage or a bag of
chips, that's fine as well. Kitty and Rover are quite safe.
Voodoo's Evil, Right?
Voodoo practitioners believe in spirits called lwa, which are aspects of God-
the same God Christians believe in-which makes these spirits angels. If people
think angels are evil, then I guess, to them, they are.
The way I look at it is this: most people would agree that God is a form of
energy or a great spirit (unless you're a fundamentalist and really believe
there's an old man with a white beard sitting in the sky somewhere on a cloud).
This makes the lwa and the angels a form of energy, too.
So instead of asking if Voodoo is evil, you may as well ask if electricity is
evil-and the answer, of course, is yes and no, depending on who's using it and
how. You can use electricity to power a hospital and help the sick and suffering,
you can plug a toaster into an electric socket and make breakfast for the kids-
or you can chuck the toaster in granny's bath and end all the nagging about
babies. In each case, the electricity is not doing anything good or evil by itself,
you are. Of course you can do evil with Voodoo, just as you can with electricity,
but that doesn't make Voodoo (or electricity) evil in itself. It's how you
use it that matters.
And isn't that true of any magic, any religion, or-in fact-any God? There
are plenty of stories in the Bible of God getting tetchy and raining down fire
and frogs, after all, and a few stories where he's a dear, sweet, wouldn't-hurt-afly
sort of chap, so I guess it depends on perspective.
But, no, Voodoo isn't evil and you won't be going to hell for it (as long as you
behave yourself, of course).
Who's the Cat in the Hat?
The gentleman in the top hat who took a starring role in the James Bond movie
Live and Let Die is one of the lwa, a Voodoo spirit called Baron, whose job is to
take care of the cemetery and look after the dead when he's not pursuing his
career in films (I guess, as a day job, it beats washing up at the diner while
you're waiting for your big break in Hollywood).
The thing about the Voodoo spirits is that they're often a bit of a paradox, so
you'd expect the father of the dead to be a gloomy chap at least. Not a bit of it!
When he shows up at ceremonies by possessing one of the crowd, he's actually
a bit of an Elvis, shaking his hips and rattling that pelvic bone. He loves dirty
dancing and has a thing for rum and sex.
I guess if you spend all day being dead, the thing you fancy most is some
wild times and a bit of a party when you get the chance, so he lets his hair
down, just as we all do.
On the serious side, he's also a powerful protector of his people and especially
of children. And if you think of all the millions upon millions of people
who've ever died (from Shakespeare to Casanova), he's got a pretty wide skill set
of people buried in his cemetery and on his side-and so do you, because if
you call on Baron for help, through him, you can be all of these people too. If
you make an appeal to Baron, for example, open yourself to his spirit, and allow
love to possess you, you have access to a lot of knowledge. You'll be able to
woo like Casanova, write poetry like Shakespeare, and become a master of the
arts of love-all of which are benefits that Tom Cruise or many other film stars
won't give you!
The Voodoo Spirits
Baron's far from on his own as a Voodoo spirit. Followers of the tradition reckon
there are more than 500 different lwa, all of them with a specific personality
and purpose. Ogoun is the spirit of power, for example, who brings gifts of
charisma and negotiation (just what you want if you're on the lookout for a
lover or trying to win an argument with a partner). Erzulie is the spirit of love,
and with her on your side you can ask for anything from a raunchy one-night
stand to a life of romance and happiness, depending on if you're of a Paris Hilton
or Paris, France, persuasion. La Sirène (the siren) is an ocean spirit with female
powers of seduction and sensuality. And there are many others, all with
their own special rituals, spells, charms, scented oils, and so on, that can be
used for attracting and keeping love, and for the bedroom, too . . . How about a
little charm for Erzulie, for example, to make your man fall hopelessly in love
with you and turn a one-night stand into a proposal of marriage?
We'll be meeting a few of these spirits in this book, so we'll return to this
subject later. For now, though, I hope I've answered your most pressing questions,
so let's turn to the most important one of all: how is this book on Voodoo
going to help you find love?
How to Use This Book
How you use this book and what you get out of it is really up to you. If you
want to learn magic spells and charms to attract a lover, have a little non-com-
mittal fun, or even say goodbye painlessly, then you can dip into it anywhere
and you'll find a wealth of them.
If you're looking for true love, on the other hand, then chapters 2 and 4-
on finding the man or woman of your dreams and keeping them once they're
found-are probably the ones for you.
If you don't need to find a lover because you're already in a relationship and
just want to keep it sweet, you should read chapters 5 and 6. Then again, if the
relationship you're in isn't floating your boat anymore, take a look at chapters 7
and 8 on how to get rid of a lover (in a good way!) and get back in the game
Or you could do something unique and simply read the book cover-to-cover,
as people used to in the old days before authors decided that readers didn't
understand the concept of a book and insisted on including these how-to
Whichever option you choose, you'll find a virtual Voodoo botanica of
spells, love rituals, and charms that will help you strengthen your love muscles
and put them to good use by finding, keeping, and having fun with your lover,
and you'll be a Voodoo practitioner in no time.
There's also a glossary in the sidebars of most chapters (like the one on these
pages), where I've included more information on some of the terms mentioned
in the text, and a reference section at the back where you can find out more
about Voodoo if this book inspires you to do so.