A Little Backtracking
The practice of Voodoo is as old as the continent Africa itself. In today's society the craft is seen as a means for selfish acts and sacrifice of humans and animals. Even New Orleans has been stamped with Voodoo. But the true meaning is to heal through anomalistic, spiritual instincts. Gathering certain bones for certain rituals, depending on what you needed ailing.
The Voodoo's belief is in one God, but not to be the kind that Catholics or Christians believe. Rather a supreme being, a force, a higher power, like that of a Buffalo Lodge. Ancestors are also brought into the mix by calling upon them for guidance and protection through out the ritual. This code of practice is which African life was primarily ruled by. There is long training involved, everything they learn is passed from father to son.
Taking it to the Streets
Lomé is the largest and capital city of Togo, located in the gulf on Guinea, home to Togo's Akodessewa Fetish (the term fetish means something else entirely to me but we wont go into that) Market and recognised as the largest in the world. A place where Voodoo practitioners can find anything and everything they need for their rituals. Just like your local drug/pharmacist you can stock up headache tablets and at the Akodessewa Markets on their eerie supplies to get the job done and the job at hand is beyond a simple tablet for a simple headache.
The first thing you notice at the Akodessewa markets even long before you get there is the stench of decaying animals. You can and will find anything here from bat skulls to small statues. The statues are sold to tourists who come from all over the world. The sellers know just how to target the tourists, get under their skin and make the sale and usually out of pocket of 50 US dollars.
600-BC - A Prophet had a Dream
Pure white, blood all over its face. He has an obligation to find the rest of the pack. A death has occurred with in the pack, he stops, he looks, he listens. He finds a pure white pup, skin peeled off its face and a slit in its throat. He holds the small pup in his hands and sees the breath. The pup is not dead. The pup did not dare to fight the warriors in its pack.
He covers the pups head with a hessian sack, he thinks of breaking its neck but decided upon pressure over its mouth and nose to suffocate it. He did not expect the greater warriors to attack their young. He rounded up the rest of the troops in the pack and fed them raw meat so they wouldn't instinctively eat the young. He created a snowball effect, it only made the warriors of the pack hungrier for blood than ever before. And thus the vicious cycle continues.
Credit: National Geographic
Rituals in their Rite
We see someone has a serious illness and regular doctors cannot help, they come to Togo's Akodessewa Fetish Market. Many believe the healers here can use animal skeletons to invoke spirits to 'fix' the ailment.
To make the medicine they grind up the skulls and/or bones of the animals, add herbs and place them over a fire until all that is left is a black powder. Three cuts are made into the person seeking healing. Either three in the chest or three in the back. The black powder is rubbed into the wounds. Healing with fertility, couples seek help. Struggling with having a baby after many years.
Every bone/skull is used for a different purpose. If you are a goal keeper,monkeys skulls are used and gorillas for speed. If I was a marathon runner they would use the heart and legs of a horse. The bigger bones are used to protect houses.
Whatever your want, whether it be to lower your cholesterol, find true love or sell your house. The Voodoo Chief will talk to the local spirits. And you will take home an experience of your own.