Tuesday, November 28, 2006

My Roots

My roots are doing their own thing and I'm loving the way my parts are turning out.

And since I'm on the roll about my roots I wanted to respond to Bygbaby's question..."Did anyone in your family practice Voodoo with reference to your Haitian side?"

My response was, "I was trying not to go there" but then I thought it would be an interesting post. So, I'll share a couple of my experiences.

While growing up in Louisiana I was involved with almost every sport school offered and ending up on the 1982 Converse All American Basketball Team along with Cheryl Miller, a high honor in my opinion.

I had weak ankles and more than my share of injuries. Before every game our trainer had to tape my ankles as if they were mummy's. Well, down in the Bayou my mother would send me up the street to Mr. Moujean (pronounce mo-jan) instead of paying for a doctor's visit when I had an injury. To this day I'm not sure what Mr Moujean did to me.... but it worked.

He too was Creole and spoke very little English, he was a very handsome but mysterious man. As a child I never questioned my mom, I just did what she told me to do, so after injuring my ankles during practice or a game, they would be blue/black where the blood vessels had broken from sprangs. I would walk to Mr. Moujean's house and all I did was point to the injury, take off my socks and gym shoes and Mr. Moujean would do his thing.

He would first get some string and whisper words I could never figure out, do some kind of movement with his fingers over my ankels and then blow on each knot (about five or six) until he had a full anklet. He would then tie the knotted string anklet around my ankles and he would tell me to cut it off after so many days depending on the severity of the injury. This my freinds was linked to VooDoo Healing.

Marie Laveau, read more about her here, is one that I was always curious about while growing up, I remember the first time I visited her store in the French Quarters. I was 18 years old and when I walked in, there were chicken feet, snake skins, skeletons and a host of other Voodoo religious stuff, every hair on my body stood up and I felt a eeerie vibe. I immediately ran out never to return.

I often ask my mom why she would send us to Mr. Moujean and she said "because my mother told me to and I didn't question her either." Wow, wow, wow! Everybody believe in Mr. Moujean!!!

My mother now is a wife of a Baptist Minister but let me tell you...back in the day she kept a fresh Ouija Board as our family game like it was a Monopoly board. Remember that game? They took them off the shelves several years ago. We even played Ouija in college until it spelled out my husbands name when no one at the table knew I was dating him at the time. That was the last time I played the Ouija Board game.

I'm sure many of you have also heard rumors of how some Louisiana women would get their husbands by serving them red sauce in a nice Louisiana meal...well let me tell you it's no rumor. Use your imagination, I don't want to make anyone sick.

I also have a uncle that many people in my family believe a neighbor put a curse on him for disrespecting her. Today, he still jumps and twitches while he talk/cuss and the family rumor is that he started jumping and twitching the same day he disrespected the old lady. She supposedly pointed at him and said a few words and that was the curse. Personally, I believe he has Tourette Syndrome!!! He's a funny kind of guy too and his nickname is Shakey! LOL! I love my uncle.

Don't get it twisted, I profess Jesus Christ as Lord and while some Louisianian's still believe in the Voodoo practice they truly believe it is the right thing to do. I sometimes still find it hard to break old habits that I grew up believing so deeply in and it is only by faith that I do not follow my original ways. Below are some of my crazy favorite superstitions:

Don't spilt a pole while walking with a friend - bad luck
Don't spet on a crack in the floor - you break your mothers back
Don't throw away your hair without buring it because if a bird gets one string, you'll go crazy
Don't ever put your purse on the floor because you'll never have money

Beignet is from New Orleans and I could never burn my candles when his people visited us. I love candles and they always thought I was burning candles for Voodoo spells on him. Little did the know, I did not need candles to get that brother!!!! He and I were born to be together and no force could stop this love affair......yes, I said it!

While Voodoo, known to some as a good religion it is Hoodoo that is looked at as evil. I won't elaborate, check it out for yourself, a sista has got to go....the Lord is my shepard, I shall not want, he maketh me to lie down in greens pastures, he restoreth my soul.....

BTW, I can't wait to see Déjà Vu with Denzel Washington, filmed in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina.







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25 comments:

brunsli said...

Creyole,

I really enjoyed this post! There is some overlap with Trini Obeah for sure.

I know what you mean about changing ordinary things like candles for other people. My sister & I don't wear all black around Cuban friends.

I know (and follow) most of the superstitions you mentioned ... I am supserstitious for some odd reason. Here's how I know them

Don't spilt a pole while walking with a friend - bad luck (unless you cross your fingers, and it only applies to poles taller than both of you. I learned this from my French side)

Don't spet on a crack in the floor - you break your mothers back (I know from NJ)

Don't throw away your hair without buring it because if a bird gets one string, you'll go crazy (I learned to burn the hair so no one could take it to the Obeah Man, obviously Trini)

Don't ever put your purse on the floor because you'll never have money (I learned this is Mexico)

I also have a bunch of New Year's Eve superstitions - have money in your pocket, wear red underwear, throw water out the window, etc.

Brenda said...

This was so interesting. I don't consider myself to be very superstitious, but there are several things you just do because you've always done them, never actually knowing the origination of it. Come new years day, I'll be eating greens, black eyed peas and pork!

BlaqKofi said...

Wow! What an interesting post, particularly Mr. Moujean and your husband's name and the Ouija Board. Fascinating stuff. I have relatives from Louisiana and my maiden name and my mom's name is Lafayette. My mother and grandmother were both superstitious and taught us many of the things you listed, not splitting poles, steppin' on cracks and specifically, I couldn't clean a comb or brush and throw my hair away! But like you, I love Christ our Lord and Savior. Thanks for sharing, Creyole and abundant blessings to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

This past summer I had major issues with my ankle & no I am facing surgery, I definitely need Mr. Moujean in my life now. There are times when I do not want to step out of bed because of the pain.

I recently watched a story on the Witch Doctors of Africa and how many people prefer to see Witch Drs vs "Professional Medical help. As seen in your link Voodoo has deep roots.

My dad was bewitched by his 1st wife, who was a true piece of work. After she died a horrible death, he and my aunt started to get rid of her things & they uncovered all sorts of ritualistic paraphernalia, bones, dolls etc.

My Grandma always said that that woman put something on my dad & I feel strongly after her death that she did. My mom & Grandma said it was Karma coming back on her.

My Grandma to me to never eat anything with a red sauce from a woman because of the obvious.

The information on Marie Laveau is very fascinating & she was no joke!!! You have me wanting to see Eve's Bayou again now.

soontobenatural said...

Great post! I have an uncle that married a lady from Louisiana, and even though I've never been there, I have always been intrigued by the rich history there. I have read 'Cane River' and plan to read 'The Feast of all Saints' when I finish reading my current book. I'm from SC, but we also have LOTS of superstitions. My grandmother always told me about the proper disposal of hair, different things about eating certain people's cooking, herbal and also not-so-herbal remedies, etc.

PS: I also enjoyed your family pics in your previous post. And you do look very much like your grandmother!

Andrea(myte1) said...

good post lachanda.....

lashaune said...

interesting post I've learned so much about you and your family I saw The movie "Dejavu" the movie was great!

Goodnapps said...

Not the red sauce rumor. OMG!

I'm glad your roots (on your head) are doing better.

Enlightening post.

locizm said...

wow very interesting stuff! i am familiar with Santaria growing up in Brooklyn which (from my understanding)is similar to Voodoo. i believe all of these traditions were brought over from the mother land and due misunderstandings the practice was frowned upon and dubbed evil. the "healers" of these traditions have always caught my fancy. they are no different than the holistic healers of today

Ritagirl said...

My family is Jamaican & have similar superstitions/rituals. I was taught not to leave my cut hair at the salon because someone can come along & use it to make a doll. As for New Year's ritual- come the 1st of the year you must have a CLEAN house.

Chosen Vessel said...

Very intriguing post. Of course since I come from a Creole background as well I can relate to most of what you said....the Ouija board, superstitions, especially regarding the hair...etc. But I to declare that Jesus Christ is Lord over my life and if it is not in the word of God, then a Sistah ain't believing it "period."

Deja Vu was good, my husband and I went to see it over Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy.

Tra said...

Excellent post miss lady! I loved reading and seeing "A Feast For All Saints". I plan to check out "Cane River" ASAP.

I must admit that I am really sorry to hear the red sauce is NOT a rumor (lol)...shaking my head!

Again this was a phenomenal post and as a very happily married woman I can relate to and love the passion of your statment "He and I were born to be together and no force could stop this love affair......yes, I said it!" That is definitely What's Up!

Creyole's Sisterlock Exodus said...

Hey ya'll thanks again for the comments left.

Blaqkofi,
I am so familiar with your last name "Lafayette", what's up cuz!

Bygbaby, I'm so sorry to hear about your fathers situation. Like I mentioned, VooDoo can be used for good or bad and those that use it for the bad will get their's in the end.

Another thing my family believed in was praying over water and spritzing everything that they suspecting as having evil attachments.

Eve's Bayou....I totally forgot about that one. I may have to get it too.

Sister-in-Locks said...

Nice post. I don't have time to read but I enjoyed this one greatly. Especially the tribute to your husband. I am also proud of those Basketball skills!

Jen said...

It's amazing to read people history... I enjoyed very much this post... I have alot of friends from the Bayou.. And one of them still carries a chicken's foot in her purse...

Blessings to you,

CloudNine said...

Okay you better stop! I was never allowed to throw away my hair, for the exact same reason. I am sure that we could exchange notes!

Once my mother and I were shopping and we passed a store with "odd" looking things in the store front. I made a comment that was very dismissive. My mother turn me around and corrected this, "misunderstanding" promptly. Her belief is that you should never be disrespectful of things you do not understand. Needless to say...I left that conversation alone.

Detra said...

This was a very interesting post, and oddly enough I too was bought up on those same superstitions, passed down from my mother.

I never knew to burn the hair, but to NEVER throw it in the trash, so we flush it. I dont EVER put my purse on the floor and have a fit if one of my kids put it on the floor. Funny that Brunsli said that she learned of that in Mexico, made me think of all the clever ways, children were used to ask me for money when I was there last. So it now makes sense, if your purse is on the floor, it's easy access for someone (a child) to go through it and take your money out. hmmmm?

My hubby, being from the Islands, have shared some very very interesting stories about VooDoo, but they call it Jumbee (sp?)

I'm a very homopatheic, herbal type of person, so I would have been fine with the healings of Mr.Moujean!

BTW, LOL...I remember the Ouija Board and I got the snot scared out of me too, and never played it again!

Vee said...

Very interesting post. Southern customs are so similiar to West Indian, also my island is french so the superstitions are almost identical.
I still find myself not putting my purse on the floor or not putting a hat on a table. Better be safe than sorry........

Bless

Cluizel said...

Great post!

I have heard of a lot of those thing before but in college I heard something else. A few of us were just sitting around the dorm one day (I was sitting on the floor with my legs stretched in front of me) someone walked over my legs and both of my friends from New Orleans yelled at her to walk back over them immediately! They explained that if someone crossed over your legs without crossing back you wouldn't get married?

I don't know true that is...but I always curl my legs under me when I know someone wants to get past. lol.

Jeri said...

Great post, Creyole. I'm sure it's fun to look back at the superstitions and not feel "bound" by them for any spiritual reasons.

Even though I'm from Denver, I'm familiar with many of these traditions, but I never took them seriously. I was always scared to death of the Oujia board. But I do keep my purse off the floor. I picked that up in college.

I'm with you though. Jesus Christ is Lord.

Chi-chi said...

That was a great post! I didn't know about my purse and the floor, is that why I'm a student? (J/K)! I saw Deja vu last weekend, it was great. I hope you enjoyed it.

Take care,
Chi(:

Valenciajaz said...

Girl, dark as I am I Know I ain't no creole and I'm not from Louisiana. But some of those same superstitions my momma said when I was a kid. Do you know the one about spitting on the broom when somebody sweeps your feet? Or if you hand itches you gone get some money or the best one which scared me to death when I was 21. My momma had a dream about fish and that was suppose to mean that somebody was pregnant. Maybe It's just a Black thang. I grew up in the Baptist church couldn't nevah understand how Jesus could walk on water and clean sins but couldn't protect us from from the broom!

Creyole's Sisterlock Exodus said...

Valenciajaz,
Girl, whacha mean "dark as I am," that's one misperception about Creoles also, skin color has nothing to do with it. I have many dark completion cousins that were more Creole than me which is why the white Creoles called us "Creoles of Color" I'll have to post on that one one day!

Anyway, yes, I've heard all of those and you are too funny withyour Jesus comment!

funmi said...

The hair thing must be universal. Africans don't leave their hair around. Someone might use it to make juju against you : )

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating. I am familiar with many of the superstitions people have spoken about, although they seem to vary as they travel around the world.
There are also some that I have grown up with that I think might be specific to England

Break a mirror - seven years of bad luck
Never open an umbrella inside.
Always say "hello" to one magpie to prevent something bad happening.
See two magpies = something good will happen
Never walk under an open ladder.
Sleeping with your back to the bedroom door allows bad spirits in.
Never put shoes on the table.

I never really considered myself to be particularly superstitious, but having read this post I am amazed at how many of these things are instilled in me and that I do or don't do without even thinking about it!