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New Orleans Voodoo Handbook [Paperback]

Kenaz Filan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2011
In THE NEW ORLEANS VOODOO HANDBOOK, initiated Vodou priest Kenaz Filan covers the practices, tools and rituals of this system of worship as well as the many facets of its origins. Exploring the major figures of New Orleans Voodoo, such as Marie Laveau and Dr. John, as well as Creole cuisine and the wealth of musical inspiration surrounding the Mississippi Delta, Filan examines firsthand documents and historical records to uncover the truth behind many of the city's legends and to explore the oft-discussed but little-understood practices of the root doctors, Voodoo queens and spiritual figures of the Crescent City. Including recipes for magical oils, instructions for candle workings, methods of divination and even directions to create gris-gris bags, mojo hands and Voodoo dolls, Filan reveals how to call on the saints and spirits of Voodoo for love, money, retribution, justice and healing. Includes recipes for magical oils, instructions for candle workings and directions to create gris-gris bags and Voodoo dolls to attract love, money, justice and healing and for retribution Explores the major figures of New Orleans Voodoo, including Marie Laveau and Dr. John Exposes the diverse ethnic influences at the core of Voodoo, from the African Congo to Catholic immigrants from Italy, France and Ireland

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New Orleans Voodoo Handbook + Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook: More Than 200 Spells Plus Over 100 Authentic New Orleans Formulas For Conjure Oils, Sachet Powders and Gris Gris
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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Destiny Books (1 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594774358
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594774355
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"I recommend "The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook" for those who want to learn more about the culture and beginnings of the spiritual tradition. "

About the Author

Kenaz Filan (Houngan Coquille du Mer) was initiated in Société la Belle Venus in March 2003 after 10 years of solitary service to the lwa. A frequent contributor to PanGaia, Planet Magazine and Widdershins, Filan is the former managing editor of newWitch magazine and lives in Short Hills, New Jersey.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voodoo/Vodau 21 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you are into vodau/voodoo,give this book a read. i found it interesting. it gives you good insights to the vodou traditions.and with respect, if your from new orleans, you will be able to give a better review than mine, as i live in the u.k. but my desendants still live in Nawlins. i love anything about vodau. a fasinating subject in itself.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite a Handbook, but a primer for sure. 15 Sep 2011
By Brother Ash - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With the "New Orleans Voodoo Handbook" Kenaz Filan gives readers a guide not only to Voodoo as it is practiced in the city, but also the culture and history that has shaped it. Someone looking for a simple cookbook of spells and formulas will be sorely disappointed. The author being an initiate of Haitian Voudon knows that the way the religion is truly taught is through its stories, and this book has plenty of them. Part 1 of the book uses the first six chapters to cover the colorful history of Louisiana, and New Orleans. Beginning with La Salles Expedition, and covering topics such as the beginning of the industrial revolution, Jim Crow laws, and Hurricane Katrina along the way. This section also details the works of writers that have contributed to the study and preservation of local Voodoo lore, like Zora Neal Hurston with her seminal work " Of Mules and Men", and Robert Tallant author of "Voodoo in New Orleans", and the novelization of Marie Laveau's life, "Voodoo Queen". The author manages to pack a lot of information into the first 56 pages of this book, and gives the reader a real feel for the roots of Voodoo in the Crescent City.

Part 2 of the handbook covers the various colorful traditions of New Orleans. There is a great primer on Mardi Gras, the party that the city has become famous (or infamous) for. You'll learn not only the Roman and pagan history of the festival, but also how the celebration as we know it today has come to be. From there, Filan moves on to music with great stories about Dixie Land Jazz, Delta Blues, and Zydeco. Of course no book about New Orleans, Voodoo or otherwise would complete without discussing the cuisine that is made there. Covering local fare such as Pralines, Crawfish, Coffee with Chicory, and my personal favorite Gumbo, you really get a taste (bad pun intended) for the local flavor. The food many not seem to have much to do with Voodoo on the surface, but dig a little deeper and there is a correlation. Much like the rootwork that took shape in the city, the food of Louisiana took whatever they had available and made magic not only for the individual, but for the community as well. To this day, even though I learned some of my conjure formulas from my mother she is still more proud of, and secretive about her Gumbo recipe. That should tell you something right there. This part of the book also acts a guide to many of the local businesses and institutions that help preserve the local Voodoo customs and add character to the city. Included are places such as The Voodoo Spiritual Temple, Island of Salvation Botanica,and Boutique du Vampyre (if you look in the background of a documentary on "Real-life Vampires shot by ABC in 2009 you will see a certain conjurer standing in the background out front of the boutique). Part 2 ends with a section about "Priests, Priestesses, Houngans, Mambos, and Chicken Men" that have graced the city over the years. This includes the Legendary Dr. John, the Seven Sisters, and Fred "Chicken Man" Staten. I found the part about the Seven Sisters to be one of the best parts in this section as there is very little information on these legendary sisters that is readily available.

Parts 3 and 4 of this book cover the Spirits and practices of New Orleans respectively. While I was surprised at the omission of certain Lwa and spirits such as Ghede, I understand that this a book on Voodoo and it's spirits that are unique to that region and not those that are also traditionally given service in Haiti. The Spirits sections give lore and details for petitioning and developing relationships with figures such as the Virgin Mary, Li Grand Zombi, Papa Labas, Black Hawk, and folk Saints like St. Expedite, and St. Marron. There is plenty of prayers, and information on offerings to get you started working with these powerful spirits. I already plan on making petitions to some of these spirits real soon myself. Even though the Ghede may have not been talked about, Importance of the dead, and the city's cemeteries is covered. The practices section also briefly covers the use of oils, candles, creation of mojo/gris gris, and spirit dolls. The novice will find some useful recipes for oils and basic info on using candles but there isn't much here for the experienced practitioner. Even still the information on the roots of these practices is as important to know as the how so I appreciated that aspect of this chapter. There is also a brief look at divination but with very little instruction. The book ends with a guide for those visiting the city, and stories of citizens of note that have called the city home. There are great tips for dining for those of expensive taste and others on a budget. Of course Music venues and the legendary cemeteries are covered for tourist as well.

Make no mistake about Kenaz Filan's , "The New Orleans Handbook" is the book that many have been waiting on in regards to the subject. It is a must have for anyone interested in New Orleans Voodoo either as a solitary practitioner or folklorist. I personally don't think it quite hits the mark as a "handbook" but it is a great primer that his given a lot to go on, and more places to visit when I make my way to "N'awlins" this November for the Folk Magic Festival.

Brother Ash
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lives up to its title 13 Sep 2011
By M. Couvillon - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a member of the Vodou community of New Orleans, I was quite pleased with Kenaz's book. As he states in his introduction, to understand New Orleans voodoo, you must understand New Orleans. He mentions food, jazz, drink, and architecture to show how voodoo and those who practice it, has influenced almost every aspect of New Orleans' culture. One of the most important aspects of Kenaz's book is where he explains how New Orleans voodoo is different than the vodou practiced in Haiti, but that it is just as viable a religion. How Vodou has been able to survive and even grow is its ability to adapt to new cultures and absorb aspects of other religions. For those who are upset with the book-remember its title: New Orleans Voodoo.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book! 15 Oct 2011
By Laura P - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook is a thoroughly well researched and well written book that takes you into the history, culture and spirituality of New Orleans. The writer really brings the history, the place and the people alive and gives a solid context for the reader to get an appreciation and understanding of New Orleans Voodoo. It was a great read and a valuable resource.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I was expecting 12 Mar 2014
By danielle - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While this is still a good book to read with lots of information it is more of a history lesson for why there is Voodoo in New Orleans and who brought it there. I was expecting a beginners guide to practicing. If you are looking for a how to handbook this is not the book for you. Still I suppose if you want to practice a religion especially one as complex as Voodoo it is very important to learn the history before you can begin to learn the rituals. Still an excellently written book very well researched and has a great guide for spots to visit if you are ever in the Big Easy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 50/50 part magic part tour guide. 2 May 2013
By Witchypoo Bats - Published on
This book teaches you of Voduo, hoohoo, calture, history, and describes places and people apart of New Orleans. It does have spells, descriptions of candles, colors and other basics. Good for getting your feet wet. I enjoyed reading it and found it's information both useful and interesting.
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