Voodoo is a religion which took its current form during the time of slavery when peoples of many different African nations and cultures were forced to coexist in the Carribean Islands. The word Voodoo has been roughly translated to mean the snake under whose auspices gather all who share the faith. One of its best-known symbols is the Voodoo doll, which, thanks to Hollywood depictions, has come to represent extreme evil and the hexing or cursing of an individual against whom the Voodoo practitioner may hold a grudge. In actuality however, Voodoo dolls were used in healing rituals with the points where pins were inserted into the doll representing acupuncture meridians or points where healing energy could be focussed. The doll was used as a surrogate to help cure the person it represented.
This article was published in Informed Voice Volume 4#2.