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African American lodge-oriented magic

From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: African American lodge-oriented magic
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 17:46:30 -0800

Eoghan Craig Ballard wrote:
> In article <>, catherine yronwode
>  wrote:
> > Here is where my research is again "indicative," but not truly
> > informative. Let me consider the case of Henri Gamache. This man was 
> > a popular author on the subject of folk-magic during the 1930s. His 
> > books are comprised of gleanings from the works of others (often 
> > credited, sometimes not) and deal with the cultural practices of 
> > Africans and African-Americans indiscrimately -- and he also rings 
> > in ancient Greek and Roman customs as well... [I] am left with the
> > impression that (a) Gamache was probably Creole, not purely French, 
> > (b) he had come to the USA as an immigrant
> > [...]
> I don't pretend to know anything about Gamache other than having seen 
> some of his titles in shops. I have not read his works because they 
> don't reflect my specific interests, which is of course only a comment 
> about my interests and not his worth. I would however like to hazard a 
> guess that he may well have either come from Trinidad or had some 
> contacts there. It was for a while under French influence, and more to 
> the point there is a significant integration of Hinduism and Orisha 
> worship to be noticed in contemporary Shango as practiced in Trinidad.
> Further, Cabalism, as filtered through "European High Ceremonial 
> magic" is also practiced there. Houck depicts Cabalism as occupying, 
> although he doesn't comment upon or develop this idea to any extent, 
> the same sort of subaltern relationship to Orisha worship as Las 
> Reglas de Congo has with Santeria or Kimbanda has with Umbanda and 
> Candomble.

Further comments: i just purchased a copy of Gamache's 1940s book "The
8th, 9th, and 10th Books of Moses" and again found clues to the author's
Creole background. After recounting the story of Moses from the Bible
and explaining the role that Jews played in disseminating kaballism in
Toledo, Spain in the era before their expulsion of 1492, he proceeds to
refer to Moses as "The Great Voodoo Man of the Bible" and to propound
two rather far-out theories: 

In the first, which he terms "The Hebrewism of West Africa" -- he opines
that the same ancient Egyptian occultism that inspired Moses and the
Israelites also worked its way through Africa to emerge in the tribal
religions of West Africa.

In the second, he discusses the role that kaballism played in the
frmation of the composite African-European religions of the West Indies
and opines that Voodoo is in part a derivative of the occult writings of
Moses, the master magician. 

The book concludes with translations of 44 Syrian "nostrums" (spells and
rituals using "spirit" names to effect magical purposes) found in texts
of the late medieval era, and said to be long-lost writings of Moses.

At this point i am guessing that Henri Gamache was from the West Indies.
Any further input would be greatly appreciated. 

catherine yronwode
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