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Thursday, August 28, 2014


AS A RULE, I DON'T POST ANY MAIL THAT LOOKS LIKE SPAM or includes links, but here's part of a note I received the other day. Other than tightening it a bit, I haven't changed the spelling or punctuation. I think that's part of its charm:
"Hi, I am ------ from USA, i went to share my testimony to the world on how i got my husband back after two(4) years of marriage, my husband left me with two kids . I felt like my life was about to end.... Thanks to a spell caster called Dr Johnson which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet, I came across allot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb, cure cancer, and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on....
This is an advertisement for a Hoodoo practitioner. Hoodoo is a variant of Voodoo, one of the syncretized mystery religions that came about as a result of the African slave diaspora being forced to adopt Christianity in the New World.

As it happens, I'm right in the middle of some really interesting research on Voodoo, Santeria, and Obeah. The note above doesn't look as if it stems from any religious practice, but it is an aspect of it. What delighted me was its synchronicity and timing. I had planned on refreshing my mind on what I already knew about Voodoo for my third book, The Tattooed Rose. This note came two days before I was about to start. I am half way through the book's first draft, around the 60,000 word mark. Miriam and company are about to make landfall in the Caribbean.

Here's another coincidence that surprised me today:

In The Tattooed Witch, Miriam carves herself with her first tattoo, a triple goddess symbol that is featured on the cover of the book. In The Tattooed Seer, she receives additional tattoos from her Tribe. These resemble a ring of interlinking snakes swallowing their tails, ourbourus-like. In The Tattooed Rose, (spoiler alert) Miriam encounters Maroons, run-away slaves of mixed Taino, Spanish, and African blood. Understandably, they don't like or trust her because she is both Spanish and white, but her tattoos change things. This is what I found today, from Mysteries and Secrets of Voodoo, Santeria, and Obeah, by Lionel and Patricia Fanthorpe. (For reference, a Voodoo loa is like a type of demi-god):
"Damballah is regarded as the most important of the Voodoo loas. He is at the core of much Voodoo magic, where he is seen as the serpent-god who devours his own tail....a wheel, like the traditional Wheel of Hecate, is used to represent Damballah....right at the top of this complex circle design is a magic square containing representations of the moon in its various phases."
Synchronicity in action? That description is eerily similar to Miriam's tattoos. The triple goddess symbol is well known in pagan circles, but the snake chain came from my imagination. To find that it has an unexpected connection with Voodoo not only surprised me, but to find the two tattoos in tandem blew me away. I am delighted this detail works so well for the plot.

Some say there are no coincidences. I'm not sure what I believe. There is no way to prove or disapprove that. But no matter from where our ancestors come, I suspect their early religious ideas weren't so different. The pagan sources I draw upon for The Tattooed Rose and the rest of the trilogy have much in common with other religious roots.

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