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Tetradoxin and Hot Foot Powder style magic

To: alt.religion.orisha,alt.magick,alt.lucky.w,alt.occult.methods
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Tetradoxin and "Hot Foot Powder" style magic
Date: Tue, 09 Oct 2001 18:25:42 GMT

Mambo Racine Sans Bout wrote:
> [X] wrote:
> > Tetradoxin, a substance extracted from the extremely poisonous 
> > puffer fish, was shown to be the main constituent of the zombie-
> > making formula, given that it results in a death-like coma from 
> > which people can be revived (after burial and digging up) with the 
> > antidote, though they are often left with brain damage which 
> > results in zombie-like sluggish movements.
> Actually...
> First, I believe the name of the substance is correctly given as
> "tetrodotoxin".
> Second, the powder also contains other ingredients, and although 
> part of the *magic* involves spreading some where the person will 
> step on it, it actually has to be rubbed in, there is no way it 
> could get through the callouses on the feet of most people.  Many 
> times we add itching ingredients to make the person scratch, thereby 
> opening the skin and permitting the powder to enter more fully.
> This is not a function of the Vodou clergy, by the way, but rather 
> it is a punishment inflicted on people we would consider 
> "criminals". The punishment is inflicted by members of the Sanpwel 
> (see ) .
> If a person recovers from tetrodotoxin poisoning - this happens in
> Japan, too, in a non-magical context because the fish is considered 
> a delicacy and in small doses it makes people "high" - they recover
> completely, the person is not left brain-damaged.  That is why
> research on this drug was so interesting to American ethnobotanists
> and others, such as Wade Davis.  He wrote "The Serpent and the
> Rainbow" and the scholarly companion volume "Passage Into Darkness:
> The Ethnobotany of the Haitian Zombi".
> The docility of Haitian zombis results from the psychological
> conditioning of Haitians in general.  A person who has been made a
> zombi knows how they are expected to behave, and they know that to
> their family they are "dead" and will not likely be received back 
> into their family again - especially since the Sanpwel rarely 
> undertakes zombification without the consent if not the express 
> request of the family.
> Peace and love,
> Bon Mambo Racine Sans Bout Sa Te La Daginen
> "Se bon ki ra" - Good is rare
>      Haitian proverb
> The VODOU Page -
> (Posting from Jacmel, Haiti)

Thanks for an interesting post, Mambo Racine. I already replied to
[X]'s mistaken belief that Hot Foot Powder would contain some sort of
pufferfish poison, but after reading your post, i got to thinking about
the subject some more and i wanted to add two further notes:

1) Sulphur is usually a part of Hot Foot Powder, hence one is instructed
to wear a silver dime on a string arund the ankles or to place a dime in
the insole of one's shoe in order to diagnose stepping in it. Sulphur
turns silver black; if the dime is black at the end of the day, you
stepped in Hot Foot Powder and you need to take a cleansing bath to
mitigate its effects. This is explained at my web site, but i forgot to
mention it in the post i made. 

2) Racine -- or anyone else with knowledge on this subject -- Is the use
of pufferfish poison found among any ATR practitioners in Africa? If so,
presumeably they would be in coastal West Africa, not the Congo, right?
Is the making of zombis by any means a part of Dahomeyan Voodoo? If not,
how and when did the slaves of Haiti come up with this idea? 

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --

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