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#2540: Dolls in Voodoo : A reply to Teshteh (fwd)

From: madison bell <mbell@goucher.edu>

well yeah, dolls are sometimes used in practical magic of Haitian 
Vodou.  the sticking of pins in the dolls is sort of a Hollywood Cliche and 
Kathy Grey is right, I think, it derives from the practice of European 
witches.   Of course there is probably some conflation of the two...

About teshteh's specific episode.... You don't seem worried about it.  So 
don't be.

There is a concept that if you are sent a spiritual attack and your spirit 
is stronger than that of the attacker then the attack will be deflected or 
reflected from you to the attacker.  The term for this event is choc en 
retour.  I have been on the receiving end of that a couple of times and... 
suffice it to say I found it very convincing.  And what's interesting is 
that the response-- the boomerang shock-- was precisely to the measure of 
the original attack, as if it had simply been cycled through the intended 
target and returned to the sender.  One finds very similar phenomena in 
internal martial arts.

My guess if that if you are not guilty of anything connected to the story 
you tell, you don't have a weak point for an attack and therefore you won't 
be harmed.  Still, I'd agree with your Haitian friends to this extent: next 
time you see one of those things at the crossroad, don't open it.  Don't 
touch it.  Just leave it alone.

If you assume the effect of magical attacks is entirely based on the power 
of suggestion, then disbelief is a sufficient defense.  I think there is 
something to that attitude but I don't subscribe to it a hundred 
percent.  I once had a discussion with someone on this subject and the 
example I used was: "if you grab hold of a live power line, how much will 
your belief or disbelief in electricity affect whether or not you get 

In other words, I am inclined to think this stuff is real.  But what I 
believe is that your own spiritual state is what either lays you open to 
magical attack or protects you from it.  To the extent that your intention 
is clear, you are safe from such harm.

By the way, these ideas are my own, based on limited personal 
experience.  I don't pretend that they represent any orthodoxy.