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Honoring the Voodoo Queen Marie Laveaux on St. John's Eve

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Each year on St John's Eve, adherents of the New Orleans Voudou religion make their preparations for honoring the great Voudou Queen of New Orleans. A longstanding tradition, Voodoo baptisms have been performed on the banks of Bayou St. John each year at this time of year since Marie Laveau was the reigning Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. Headwashings are performed by Mambo Sallie Ann Glassman of La Source Ancienne Ounfo of New Orleans, and this year is no exception.

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According to Mambo Sallie Ann's Facebook page:

Island of Salvation Botanica and La Source Ancienne Ounfo present the annual St John's Eve Headwashing on the Magnolia Foot Bridge over Bayou St. John on June 23rd, at 7:00 pm in honor of Marie Laveau . A headwashing is a form of Vodou Baptism. St John's Eve celebrates the birthday of John The Baptist and is one of the holiest days in the Vodou calendar.

Another ceremony will take place at The International House Hotel on Friday, June 20th at 6:00 pm

Both events are open and FREE to the public. Please wear all-white with a white headscarf that can get dirty. Please bring an offering for Marie Laveau. She likes: Creole dishes, hair ribbons, barrettes, hair dressing tools (she was a hairdresser), blue and white candles, flowers, Voodoo-esque potions, gris-gris bags, etc.

EXTRA! EXTRA!
Ricky Pustanio's fabulous sculpted shrine to Marie Laveau will make it's debut at this year's ceremony at Bayou St. John. Don't miss it!

Ricky Pustanio's artwork was featured in the premiere issue of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly.

There is also a Feast of St. John Celebration and Ritual Blessing hosted by Priestess Miriam with the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple:

Though Sorrows may flow upon the land, the pure breath of the Great Ancestors will bring comfort, light, and renewal; resurrecting joy in every soul...
Cost $25 Donation to the Temple

Hosted by Priestess Miriam
New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple
828 N. Rampart Street
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 522-9627
Sunday, June 22, 2014
6:00 p.m.

Universal Drummers, Horns, and Strings Invited...
Food and Spirits
by Chef Andy and Heidi of Victoria, Texas

Offerings accepted for St. John...

If you are in the New Orleans area, these events are highly recommended.

Serving Marie Laveaux

Marie Laveaux has many followers; but, few know how to serve her correctly. This stems in part from the fact that she is not recognized by those outside of the New Orleans Voudou religion as the rising loa that she is, as well as from the fact that very little has been written by actual practitioners about how to serve her. In New Orleans she IS the Voudou Queen and IS considered a loa of the New Orleans Voudou religion. In fact, she is considered the Mother of New Orleans Voudou, while Dr. John (Jean Montenee) is the Father of New Orleans Voudou.

Marie Laveaux’s influence and contribution to New Orleans Voodoo and Hoodoo is extremely significant. She smiles favorably upon those who know how to serve her correctly. Others who try and fall short do not have her favor and it is not unheard of for her to wreak a bit of havoc upon their lives as a result. She is a strong female Spirit who knows her worth and commands respect in spirit, as well as in life.

Marie Laveaux’s altar is a three-tiered altar. Three tiered altars are a traditional style of altar in Louisiana for those who work with the saints and candle magic. As with all loas, Marie Laveaux is best served with her favorite things and colors. Below are some of
her attributes to get you started.

Feast Day: June 23-24th St. John the Baptist Day – the most important Voodoo holiday in New Orleans

Birthdate: September 10, 1801

Colors: Blue, white

Offerings: fresh flowers, candles, healing related items like mortar and pestle, herbs, beauty-related items like mirrors, combs, head scarves, gris gris, images of saints, rosaries, chaplets, money, cigars, white rum, French wine, candy, Voodoo dolls, incense, perfumes, silver and gold jewelry, donations to charity in her name.

A photo of her or her tomb in a nice picture frame is nice to have on her altar. Blue candles are used and you can leave New Orleans themed items such as beads, doubloons, Mardi Gras keepsakes. Pumpkins are good, seven day hoodoo candles are good, cakes, and money. Catholic items are good, images of saints, crosses and rosaries are especially good. What she likes the best is for us to donate to the poor, and volunteer our time in her memory as a humanitarian to help those who are less fortunate. Some people say that leaving her pennies is insulting to her; she requires a LOT more than a few pennies.

Foods: Hoppin’ John (see recipe at the end of this article), congris, money greens, gumbo, jambalaya, all Creole foods and soul foods.

To construct her altar you will need:

  • Table (middle tier)
  • 2 elevations for subsequent tiers – can be sturdy boxes, shelves even stacks of books (one will be larger than the other)
  • Blue and white cloths
  • Statues or images of St. Anthony and St. Peter, framed
  • statue or figure of a snake
  • 2 bunches of flowers, blue and white if you can find them if not yellow
  • 6 white or blue glass encased candles - you can use either the saints or plain
  • special blue candle
  • gris gris
  • Beautician-related items like mirrors, combs, brushes perfumes, hairsprays, hair ribbons and the like
  • Rosaries
  • New Orleans themed items
  • Healing related items like mortar and pestle and healing herbs and ointments
  • Image or doll of Marie Laveaux (goes on the top tier)
  • Snake figurine – King Snake, Water moccasin, Rattlesnake, Python or Boa Constrictor (the Python or Boa Constrictor represents Li Grande Zombi, the others represent her signature snake conjure – they are two separate things and are NOT interchangeable)
  • Blue and white dishes and bowls
  • A wooden box to hold your gris gris

First Tier
This is the bottom tier. Most often the bottom tier is the floor. Spread out a blue cloth. On the center front, place an image of her in a frame. On either side of the tier, place fresh flowers in blue or white vases. Place 4 candles at the four cardinal points of the lower tier. Place your various offerings on this level...the arrangement is not as important as its aesthetic appeal (remember she likes pretty – Queenly pretty). Place a plate for her food offerings on this level.

Second Tier
Place the elevation shelf or table on top center towards the back. Drape this layer with another blue or white cloth. On either side of this level, place images of St. Anthony and St. Peter (or you can substitute Legba for St. Peter). Place three more white candles – 2 on either side, and one in the middle. You can place more flowers on both sides of this level. In the center front of this level, place your gris gris box of you have one. Keep any gris gris you make to charge up in this box for 7 days for full consecration.

Third Tier
Place the third elevated shelf on top center and drape with another blue cloth. Place a doll or figurine of Marie Laveaux in the middle of the top layer, with a snake figurine at her feet and the special blue candle next to her but not in front of her. Keep her chaplet or rosary on this level.

Note that these are basic guidelines and you will want to personalize it by placing other items from the offerings list on the altar as well.

Prayer to Marie Laveaux

Holy Mother of New Orleans Voodoo, hear my prayer.
I humbly request your assistance.
Through you I feel the gentle power of Divine Justice.
Give me strength to stand against my enemies and protect me from those who wish me harm,
Sweet Heart of Marie, Show me your wisdom
That I shall speak the truth and elevate the ancestors.
Madame Marie, Bless me with the protection of Johnny Conker
That he shall always have my back.
Holy Mother of New Orleans Voodoo, Bless me with the powers of the Sacred Serpent Li Grand Zombi
That I may walk in balance, equally male and female.
Holy Mother of New Orleans Voodoo, Bless me with the spirit of St. Maroon that I shall never take for granted the freedoms that I have.
And with the light that emanates from your Spirit Mam’zelle Laveaux, all darkness is Obsolete.
Holy Mother of New Orleans Voodoo, pray for me.
Holy Mother of New Orleans Voodoo, hear my plea.
Holy Mother of New Orleans Voodoo, Madame Marie, pray for me.

Ashe!

Marie Laveaux's Hoppin' John

Ingredients

• 1 lb. Black-Eyed Peas
• 8 slices Bacon, cut into fourths
• 1 1/2 cups Onions, finely chopped
• 1 cup celery, finely chopped
• ½ cup bell pepper finely chopped
• 2 1/2 quarts water
• 2 cloves Garlic, minced
• 1/8 teaspoon Creole Spice Seasoning Blend
• 1/8 teaspoon Thyme
• 1 Bay Leaf
• 1/8 teaspoon Rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon Salt
• 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
• 2 cups raw Jasmine Rice

Soak black-eyed peas overnight in water. Fry bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Add 1 1/2 cups onions, and cook until the onions are transparent. Add 2 1/2 quarts water, bring to boil. Add garlic cloves, Creole Spice Blend, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Drain peas and add the boiling mixture. Barely simmer mixture, partially covered, for 1 1/2 hour. Add 2 cups cooked jasmine rice. Serve with crisp French bread and butter.

For an altar doll of Marie Laveaux, feel free to email me with your inquiry at drdalvarado(at)gmail.com.

Additional Links of Interest

The Holy Day of New Orleans Voudou

New Orleans Voudou Hiding in Plain Sight

Recommended Reading about Marie Laveaux

The Mysterious Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveaux: A Study of Powerful Female Leadership in Nineteenth Century New Orleans (Studies in African American History and Culture)

A New Orleans Voudou Priestess: The Legend and Reality of Marie Laveau

Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans

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