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THESE SPIRIT BOTTLES HAVE NO CHOICE – THEY’RE
BOUND AND MIGHT KILL TO PLEASE
Most traditional hoodoo
or voodoo spirit bottles are created and used
for protective or healing purposes. In many instances
the spirits trapped within the typical Voodoo
Spirit Bottle are benevolent and are easily encouraged
to act on behalf of their keepers, either in bringing
luck or love or in keeping evil far away.
There is, however, a tradition among the vodusi
and the hoodoo conjure men of using similar bottles
for other, less wholesome purposes; because these
bottles are easily mistaken for their more positive
cousins, it is important to be able to distinguish
between the two.
Common spirit Ghost bottles, houses
According to many voodoo priests and mambos, most
of their followers go to them for help in troubling
situations when issues of sickness, loss of income,
troubled children and other family troubles become
too much to be handled without the help and intervention
of the Lwas, the powerful spirits of Vodoun.
Baron Samedi spirit lwa zombie
In some instances, however, the source of the
problem is not temporal, that is, it has no root
in the material world. This includes cases where
evil or malevolent spirits are plaguing a family
or an individual and will not respond to the prayers,
invocations or pleadings of the person or people
it is terrorizing.
Often, these people take recourse in the powers
of the voodoo priests and mambo, or of the familiar
hoodoo conjure man, to rid themselves of the evil
spirits they feel are making their lives a living
Just as the power of spells and ritual can be
used to encourage Lwas or spirits to act benevolently
in a person’s life, so spells and rituals
can also be used to bind and control malevolent
forces at work on the unseen levels of spiritual
One of the weapons in the voodoo and hoodoo arsenal
to combat and contain these destructive entities
is the common and multi-purpose spirit bottle.
When used by a powerful priest or mambo in the
process of exorcising the troubling spirits, the
bottle is designed to be the prison for these
entities. The voodoo worker can trap several evil-minded
spirits in the ritually prepared bottle (the usual
number is from one to thirteen) and, through the
use of powerful invocations, visual effigies and
ritual talismans, can keep the spirits bound in
this way indefinitely.
Once accomplished, the imprisoned spirits are
bound to their keeper and are subject to his or
her command. Usually, the priest or mambo will
demand that the spirits immediately undo the harm
they have caused. Often, however, the priest or
mambo will demand that the trapped spirits identify
whether they have acted independently in the plague
of the persons involved, or whether, as is too
often the case, the malevolent spirits are acting
on behalf of some other individual who has used
them to bring harm and discontent to others. In
many instances, the spirit of the evil worker
is also captured within the bottle, assuring that
he or she will never be able to work harmful magic
against others ever again.
In this instance, it is not uncommon for the priest
or mambo to command the bound spirits to wreak
their havoc in the life of the person who sent
them, and it is often found that the original
sender will suffer in the most terrible manner
when his or her own malevolent magic has been
redirected in this way. The priest or mambo will
then create an effigy of the evil worker, usually
as a stopper or image on the spirit bottle, and
will place the bottle, with the spirits bound
inside, on the altar of a protective Lwa for safe-keeping
and to ensure that the potent positive magic of
the Lwa will assure that the commands of the priest
or mambo are carried out to the letter. Of course,
the keeper Lwa is usually selected from among
the Rada, or positive energy Lwas since the fiery
energy of Petwo Lwas is believed to be too volatile
to keep such evil contained for very long.
In whatever instance, the spirits inside these
effigy voodoo spirit bottles are generally of
a sort that cannot be contained in more simpler
and straightforward bottles. Because of this,
an effigy voodoo spirit bottle will always appear
more elaborately decorated or marked, as this
is very important to keeping the evil-minded spirits
inside. An effigy voodoo spirit bottle containing
the spirit of an evil vodusi or hoodoo worker
is also elaborately and ritually bound; these
bottles are equally as dangerous as the bottles
containing multiple spirits, because often what
is trapped inside is pure, evil intent –
a very potent concoction!
Vodoun priests and mambos and positive rootworkers
are understandably reluctant to allow many of
their effigy voodoo spirit bottles to circulate
but as is so often the case, it is hard to keep
such artifacts out of the hands of other practitioners
and students of the supernatural.
Because of this, and the negative nature of the
effigy bottles, the statement “Buyer Beware”
was never more important. Collectors seeking this
particular type of magical voodoo artifact should
do so with a serious commitment to assuring that
the bindings placed by the priest or mambo are
never violated: it goes without saying that the
bottle should never be opened, but it is also
of paramount importance that the materials and
talismans placed on the bottle itself are never
tampered with or broken. The results of such actions
are truly too horrible to relate; suffice to say,
the genie in THIS bottle isn’t thinking
about granting any wish except its own! Not only
this, one should never doubt that the spirits
inside these bottles are ALWAYS looking for a
way out. Perhaps this is why many who have kept
them have quickly returned them to the keeping
of a priest or mambo; many others have stated
that they just don’t like having the bottles
around and often keep them locked safely away,
only viewing and handling the bottles occasionally.
Finally, any collector of such artifacts should
also remember that the effigy voodoo spirit bottle
is more than a curiosity: it is a religious artifact,
first and foremost, and is thus the product of
powerful ritual workings on the part of a serious
practitioner such as a voodoo priest or mambo
or hoodoo conjure worker.
Nevertheless, the effigy voodoo spirit bottle
is a must for the collection of anyone who is
interested in the art and artifacts of Vodoun
beliefs. If treated with respect and honor, no
harm should come from personally owning such a
fantastic and unique, if dangerous, product of
the Vodoun faith.
Remember, however, that you have been warned!
One New Orleans artist
Ricardo Pustanio particularly known for his unusual
sacred constructions of voodoo Zombie bottle dolls
and voodoo doll wedding dolls. His Lavish creations
are highly sought after and extremely the best
New Orleans collectable to own.
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