a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


magick of African origin

From: "G. Leake " 
Subject: magick of African origin
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 19:00:42 -0600

Hmmmm...I wonder what
Encyclopedia Britannica would have on this.....
*ask and ye shall receive (you have seen the generally crappy entries EB has
on stuff like magic, crowley and witchcraft, right? Written by an
Episcopalian minister from Belfast, to give you an idea):


also spelled OBEAH, in west African folklore, a gigantic animal that steals
into villages and kidnaps girls on the behalf of witches. In certain
cultures of the Caribbean, the term denotes forms of sorcery and witchcraft,
usually overpowering and extremely evil. Potent or bewitched objects buried
for the purpose of bringing misfortune upon a particular party are sometimes
known as obia, and use of the word itself has in some areas been prohibited
by law. A specialist using the power of obia is called an obiama or obiaman.

Search for related Internet links that use the term "obia".

Information about this topic in other articles
obia (W.Af. folklore)

West Indies


Religious affiliation in the West Indies follows a pattern similar to that
of language. Roman Catholicism is the predominant faith in the Spanish- and
French-speaking islands, while Protestantism is the norm in the Commonwealth
Caribbean and the Dutch territories. Among the masses, however, syncretic
cults, a mixture of either Catholicism or Protestantism and African
elements, prevail, notably in Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago,
though elements of the Afro-Christian tradition also occur in Cuba, Puerto
Rico, and the Lesser Antilles.

In Trinidad and Tobago about three-fourths of the East Indian group, which
accounts for some 40 percent of the population, has retained Hinduism and
Islam, and, while the first half of the 20th century was characterized by
Indian conversion to Christianity, the second half has witnessed strong
revivals in Asian religions. In part this has been due to the political
development of the Indian population; but it has also been the consequence
of improved education and the emergence of sophisticated young Hindus and
Muslims who have responded to the more philosophical aspects of their
religions, as distinct from the folk tenets of their forebears.

Hinduism and Islam apart, religion tends to coincide closely with colour and
class. Upper-class whites and browns (mulattoes) in Jamaica tend to be
Anglican, lower-class blacks largely followers of Protestant faiths such as
the Church of God and the Baptist church. Similarly, voodoo (voudou, or
vodun) in Haiti is a folk religion, although its practitioners frequent the
Roman Catholic church for the major rites of passage associated with
baptism, marriage, and death. In the Commonwealth Caribbean, obia (obeah),
which is similar to black magic, is still used against enemies or to enhance
the user's position; other sects, such as believers in myalism, are devoted
to removing spirits and healing the sick.

also spelled VOUDOU, French VAUDOU, national religious folk cult of Haiti.
Voodoo is a mixture of Roman Catholic ritual elements, which date from the
period of French colonization, and African theological and magical elements,
which were brought to Haiti by slaves formerly belonging to the Yoruba, Fon,
Kongo, and other peoples of Africa. The term voodoo is derived from the word
vodun, which denotes a god, or spirit, in the language of the Fon people of
Benin (formerly Dahomey).

Although voodooists profess belief in a rather distant supreme God, the
effective divinities are a large number of spirits called the loa, which can
be variously identified as local or African gods, deified ancestors, or
Catholic saints. The loa are believed to demand ritual service, which
thereby attaches them to individuals or families. In voodoo ritual services,
a number of devotees congregate at a temple, usually a humble meeting place,
where a priest or priestess leads them in ceremonies involving song,
drumming, dance, prayer, food preparation, and the ritual sacrifice of
animals. The voodoo priest, or houngan, and the priestess, or mambo, also
act as counselors, healers, and expert protectors against sorcery or

The loa are thought by voodoo devotees to act as helpers, protectors, and
guides to people. The loa communicate with an individual during the cult
services by possessing him during a trance state in which the devotee may
eat and drink, perform stylized dances, give supernaturally inspired advice
to people, perform medical cures, or display special physical feats; these
acts exhibit the incarnate presence of the loa within the entranced devotee.
Many urban Haitians believe in two sharply contrasting sets of loas, a set
of wise and benevolent ones called Rada loas, and a harsher, more malevolent
group of spirits called Petro loas. Petro spirits are called up by more
agitated or violent rituals than Rada spirits are evoked by.

A peculiar, and much sensationalized, aspect of voodoo is the zombi. A zombi
is regarded by voodooists as being either a dead person's disembodied soul
that is used for magical purposes, or an actual corpse that has been raised
from the grave by magical means and is then used to perform agricultural
labour in the fields as a sort of will-less automaton. In actual practice,
certain voodoo priests do appear to create "zombis" by administering a
particular poison to the skin of a victim, who then enters a state of
profound physical paralysis for a number of hours.

For decades the Roman Catholic church in Haiti denounced voodoo and even
advocated the persecution of its devotees, but because voodoo has remained
the chief religion of at least 80 percent of the people in Haiti, the
Catholic church by the late 20th century seemed resigned to coexisting with
the cult.

*there's a bit more on obeah/obia, and voodoo/voudoun, but not much on
wanga--here's a sample of the closest entry in relevance:



also called LUYIA, or ABALUHYA, ethnolinguistic cluster of several
acephalous, closely related Bantu-speaking peoples including the Bukusu,
Tadjoni, Wanga, Marama, Tsotso, Tiriki, Nyala, Kabras, Hayo, Marachi, Holo,
Maragoli, Dakho, Isukha, Kisa, Nyole, and Samia of Western Province, western
Kenya. The term Luhya, which is short for Abaluhya (loosely, "those of the
same hearth"), was first suggested by a local African mutual-assistance
association around 1930; by 1945, when in the postwar colonial period it was
found to be politically advantageous to possess a supertribal identity, the
Luhya had emerged as a national group.

United as Luhya, members of various small groups were able to gain the same
recognition, voice, and presence in Kenyan politics that was enjoyed by the
larger groups. The Luhya constituted the second-largest ethnic grouping in
Kenya in the 1980s.

Most Luhya groups lack traditional chieftainships, being organized into more
or less politically autonomous patrilineal lineages, each associated with a
stretch of land. With land shortage there has been considerable tribal
interspersal. Luhya grow corn (maize), cotton, and sugarcane as cash crops;
cultivate millet, sorghum, and vegetables as staple crops; and also keep
some livestock. They participate in trade and other activities in areas
adjacent to the great waterway of Lake Victoria. Many Luhya have migrated to
urban areas seeking work.

another possible interesting avenues to explore would be the African
diaspora further into the Americas, as represented in both Brazil and New
Orleans. Obeah is still quite alive in the Crescent City--in fact the first
song on Dr. John's Goin Back To New Orleans album invokes it...

also, of course there's all sorts of shamanic practices throughout Africa
one could look into

I've often thought there are some stunning similarities between the Yoruban
double speaking monkey Deity Esu-Elagbra and Thoth and Hannuman--not too
much of a stretch to think of Hermes while we're at it. Esu-Elagbra is at
the heart of a very interesting academic books by Henry Louis Gates, The
Signifying Monkey--which traces African-American legends of the signifying
monkey back to Esu-Elagbra--and if the connection between Esu-Elagbra and
Thoth is strong enough, perhaps its not too unreasonable to suggest there's
a living Hermetic tradition right here at home very few thelemites are aware

To burn always, with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is
success in life.
--Walter Pater

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races