A User Guide like the ones you get with dodgy electronics, perhaps?

Book: Voodoo Rituals: A User's Guide
Author: Heike Owusu
Publisher: Sterling

There's a slight problem with this book, as follows: Voodoo Rituals doesn't actually describe any "voodoo rituals."

However, it is a rambling and incredibly poorly written collection of vague statements that inaccurately covers a smattering of information about Voudon, American hoodoo, Western and Eastern European practices, and various other subjects.

The copyright of the book states that it was copyright 2000 by Schirner Verlag, Darmstadt, Germany. The publishing house, Sterling, is responsible for an absolutely terrible translation into English. Some sentences simply don't make sense, while others are cumbersome and confusing. For example, in regards to the subject "Dog Magic," we are told: "This invoked magic with animal spirits is sent in a dream." Thanks for the info, there, Heike. There are more examples of the same in the text, but you get the idea.

I am, by far, not an expert in Haitian Voudon. However, if the Voudon information covered in this book is comparable to the information contained in it regarding Western European magical practices, the entire book is filled with vague statements and horrid inaccuracies. Hands of Glory and the entymology of the word demon are just two examples of complete inaccuracies in the text.

If you don't know much aboug magickal practices, you'll wander away from this book with the vague idea that Vodoun rituals are pefromed in circles, with athames, and in order to create elementals. Yep, you read that right.

It's a sad mish-mash of poorly-described practices that often have nothing to do with "voodoo rituals." This book is most certainly not a "users guide" and will only serve to confuse people who are new to the subject, and to annoy people who are familiar with the material.

(A pared-down version of this review appears on the Amazon.com page.)


Baba said...

Interesting to know.

Phil said...

I purchased this book today, and just flipping through when I got home it made me suspicious. Voudoo is syncretic, and I have heard actual practitioners draw parallels between it and non-African/Afro-Carribean practices such Druidism, Shinto, and both Eurasian and Amerindian Shamanism. However, it's my understanding that all these practices involve interaction with spirits in a very direct and intimate manner, much like Voudoo itself, and very much unlike Wicca or traditional Ceremonial High Magic. Heike Owusu makes it seem like the techniques you mentioned are a part of traditional Voudoo, when they most certainly are not.

I'll be returning the book tomorrow.

Constance Parker said...


Sorry to hear you wasted money on this book. Hope that you were able to return it easily!

Thanks for stopping by and reading!


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