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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/680

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

house is struck by lightning, a mob of priests, kosio, and worshipers of Shango rush into it and plunder it, while pretending to search for the sacred stone. When the house is stripped the priests produce a stone implement, generally an axe, which they pretend to have found, and which justifies their pillage. Blood, mixed with rum, is commonly drunk by the votaries of Shango on days of festival; and this is the drink used in the secret ceremonies of the cannibal "vaudoux" worshipers of Hayti.

In the Century Magazine for April, 1886, Mr. George W. Cable mentions some "voodoo" charms; but these have no connection at all with python-worship. They are superstitious practices, such as are found everywhere; survivals of the religions which gave birth to them, and in which each had a definite meaning and intention. Thus, on the Slave Coast, each god has his own distinguishing badge or amulet, made by his priests and sold to his worshipers, who wear them so that the god may be reminded that they are under his protection. From the priests of malevolent gods people can also obtain charms to work evil; and these are either harmless rubbish, such as parrots' feathers tied together, small bunches of human hair, etc., or powders which are reputed to possess magic properties. To keep up the reputation of the efficacy of such preparations, the priests occasionally secretly supplement them with poison, which they contrive to have placed in the food of the person against whom the spell was directed; and the purchaser, finding that his enemy has died, attributes it to the action of what he obtained from the priest, and consequently regards all such preparations with great dread. The hollowed-out acorn, mentioned by Mr. Cable, seems a copy of the cutch-nut charm of the Gold Coast, whose chief use there however, is to restrain the slanderous tongue; the dough or waxen heart, stuck full of pins, is evidently an idea borrowed from mediæval witchcraft; and the pouring of champagne on a moonless night at the four corners of a square seems a corruption of the form of invocation of Shugudu, a malignant god, who will lend his aid to any one who on a dark night will pour a libation of rum into a hole dug in the ground, or bury a fowl alive.

The different words given by Mr. Cable, as used in connection with võdu-worship, are difficult to identify; they have, no doubt, changed at least as much from the original as the Creole French has from European French. As the word võdu and the snake-worship are both peculiarly Ewe, one might expect to find words belonging to that language predominating; so, at a guess, one might suppose the words tigui li, in the võdu song, given at the foot of page 820, to be tigewola, "a maker of charms" or "medicine-man"; and the concluding sentence, Do sé dan go-do, to be Do dsi dañh godo, "O curved snake, may you be fat," i. e., "have