Drawing Down the Moon

Orleans, where he found work as a cotton roller on the docks. He noticed he had the "power," and his bosses made him overseer.

Doctor John's fame spread, and he found he could get money for his tricks and services. He built a house on Bayou Road and bought female slaves. He married some of them, performing his own ceremonies, eventually boasting 15 wives and more than 50 children. New Or-leanians stared at him in public, for he rode in a carriage with horses as fine as any white man. When Doctor John rode horseback alone, he wore a gaudy Spanish costume. Later he affected an austere black costume with a white, frilly shirt and grew a beard.

Leaving the Voodoo (see Vodun) meetings to the administration of the queens, Doctor John specialized in fortune-telling, healing and making GRIs-GRIs. His house was filled with snakes, lizards, toads, scorpions and human skulls stolen from graveyards. Blacks and whites came to him for advice, love potions and the placing or lifting of curses. Others followed his commands out of fear of Doctor John's secret knowledge. Most of his wisdom did not come from the spirits, however, but from a huge network of black servants placed all over town. He either bought or took information from them, thereby giving him an advantage when thickly veiled white girls came to him desiring to know if their lovers were faithful.

One of Doctor John's specialties was the starting or stopping of poltergeist phenomena, usually showers of rocks and stones on the victim's home (see UTHoboly). Policemen stood baffled as the rocks rained down, apparently from nowhere. Naturally, Doctor John could stop such harassment, for a fee. One case reports that the slaves of a Samuel Wilson paid $62 to stop a shower of rocks, but Wilson took Doctor John to court to retrieve the $62. A few days later, the rock showers began again.

Unable to read or write, Doctor John supposedly amassed a fortune, even burying $150,000 on his property, according to local stories. He never forgot his poorer neighbors, however, dispensing food to anyone who needed it. But by the end of his life, his poor business sense caused his financial demise. He didn't trust banks, convinced that once he gave a bank his money he would never see it again. His investments turned sour, and his wives and children were continually leaving with part of his assets. Others cheated him outright. Finally, Doctor John employed a young black to teach him to read and write, and he spent long hours learning to sign his name. One day, a con artist had him sign his name at the bottom of a long paper, and Doctor John lost all his Bayou Road property.

Doctor John tried to regain his prestige, but younger people—principally his protégée, MARIE Laveau, then her daughter of the same name—had taken over the voodoo business. At age 80, he was forced to move in with children from his white wife, though he despised mulattoes. New Orleanians gossiped that Doctor John was "fixed,"

or the victim of spells greater than his. He died in August 1885 at age 82, four years after the death of the first Marie Laveau.

Further READING:

Rigaud, Milo. Secrets of Voodoo. San Francisco: City Lights

Books, 1985.

Tallant, Robert. The Voodoo Queen. Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishing, 1983.

Drawing Down the Moon An important ritual in some traditions of WICCA in which a coven's high priestess enters a trance and becomes the Goddess, who is symbolized by the Moon. The transformation may be accomplished with the help of the high priest, who invokes, or draws down, the spirit of the Goddess into the high priestess.

The origins of Drawing Down the Moon can be found in classical times. Ancient Thessalian witches were believed to control the moon, according to an old tract: "If I command the moon, it will come down; and if I wish to withhold the day, night will linger over my head; and again, if I wish to embark on the sea, I need no ship, and if I wish to fly through the air, I am free from my weight."

In the modern rite, the high priestess may recite the CHARGE of the Goddess, a poetic address written by Do-REEN VALIENTE, high priestess in the Gardnerian tradition (see GERALD B. Gardner), or she may deliver a spontaneous address.

Drawing Down the Moon is considered one of the most beautiful of all rituals in Wicca. Depending upon the high priestess's trance state and the energy raised, the words that come forth can be moving, poetic and inspiring. Through Drawing Down the Moon, many women connect with the power of the Goddess and therefore with the power within themselves.

Greek Vase Drawing Down Moon

Greek vase ca. second century b.c.e. depicts Drawing Down the Moon ceremony (NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY)

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Fundamentals of Magick

Fundamentals of Magick

Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.

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