Thursday, April 5, 2012
I would like to talk about Gris Gris.
Sounds funny doesn't it?
Pronounced: "Gree Gree".
I was first introduced to this Charm...or Hoodoo Talisman while Harry & I were in New Orleans 12 years ago, back in 2000. It was before Katrina stormed through, and the city was amazing!! We went with friends to stay in "N'orlans" for 4 days before taking a cruise to Jamaica, Mexico and the Grand Cayman Islands.
But that's a whole 'nuther story :)
The story today (A story! A story!) is about our meeting with the voodoo Queen Marie Laveau!Ok, so she'd been long entombed by the time we got there but Gris Gris (or "hoodoo" as it was called in New Orleans) played a big part.
So....there we were, Harry & I touring a most awesome city, New Orleans! As wandering musicians by our occupation, we drifted from street corner to corner and soaked up the music and all the sites!
We came upon a sign that said, "Voodoo Gift Shop". Ok, "Let's go in!" and see what we can see while we are here. When in Rome and all" and we opened up the door and walked right in. It was a lovely eclectic alternative bookstore and gift shop. I bought a beautiful pack of Russian Tarot cards for my collection...and while looking around I saw a basket filled with little wee fabric bags and a sign on it that said,
"Gris Gris-Hoodoo" Magic Charms."
I said, "Can you tell me about these?"
The nice clerk said, "They be "Hoodoo." CHARM BAGS. "Gree Gree" be charms for good magic."
So not wanting to tempt fate, and always needing good luck, we each bought a bag of Gris Gris for a souvenir and absentmindedly stuffed it our pockets. We continued on our exploration and so thoroughly enjoyed our time there as we wandered some more streets....
eating, drinking, making merry, wandering through shops, and listening to other musicians for a change....till we got to our destination, the Spirit Cemetary and VoodooTour.
Now, right up front I will tell you that I do NOT like cemeteries and don't usually visit.
I am much too sensitive and can feel spirits and need to switch off my "open" sign when I go to them, which is RARE. But a cemetery tour in New Orleans is a historic and fun thing, and it wouldn't bother me too much during the daytime, I thought, and so I agreed to go.
Interesting enough, but they don't bury people in New Orleans!
They entomb them. They learned long ago that their location is below sea level... and when they buried caskets, in the past, the first flood would bring them all up to surface again.
So they started placing the dead in vaults, or tombs, where in a short time of the emmanating tropical heat they would be "cremated" inside the vault. Families would often have just one crypt and would share it with all family members to save money and save space on the limited grounds in town as well. So...no pesky redigging and reburying the dead, cost effective funerals and space limitation issues were addressed all at once. Problem solved in typical common sense fashion!
While on this fascinating tour of old burial grounds, Harry and I thought we recognized one of the other tour guides who was leading a different tour through the cemetery.... I said, "I'm SURE that's "Charlie the Pretzel Guy" and he was sort of looking at us, pretty sure that he knew us as Renaissance Faire minstrels from several other faires...
But we were dressed in "mundanes" (street clothes) and he was wearing an old fashioned Funeral directors top hat with black bow and a vintage long tailed tux...(read: not his kilt)
so we "sorta" recognized each other...but weren't quite sure if it was "us" or not.
Sometimes you just don't recognize other rennies "w/o their clothes on" (which is our joke about appearing in mundanes and not in costuming/garb).
Well, he was leading his tour around one side of the cemetery and our tour snaked around the other side until both tours wound up together...at the same time (coincidence? I think not :) at the tomb of Marie Laveau, the famous Voodoo Queen.
It was interesting indeed! There were trinkets and gifts and flowers and whiskey in unopened bottles left all around her tomb, as "tributes". She was still the legendary leader even from the grave, it seemed!This is where it gets even MORE interesting:
The other tour director (read: "Charlie the Pretzel Guy") looked at us and pointed quick to us and said aside to us, "Rennie?"
To which we nodded "yes" and pointed back lightly and said, "Rennie?" and he nodded "yes" and gave us a wink. (We didn't want to blow his cover here at his other job :)
Charlie then continues his spiel about the tour, but now we are 2 tours lined up together listening to our found acquaintence telling this story about Marie Laveau the Voodoo Queen.
Harry and I happen to be standing right next to her tomb, while we were listening to the lecture.
Charlie says, "It is said that if you leave a trinket or an offering for Marie Laveau....."
(we instantly place a dollar under someone's single serving plane bottle of scotch left there at her tomb)
He continued, "And if you happen to have some Hoodoo in your pocket....."
(we put our hands in our pocket and just then remembered the gris gris ("hoodoo") that we purchased only an hour before!)
Charlie went on, "And if you place your right hand on Marie Laveau's grave...."
(both Harry & I placed our right hand on her grave, while most of the other tourists stared at us in disbelief and sort of frighteningly moved away from us....)
"And tap 3 x....."
(we tapped our fingers 3 times on the wall of her tomb...now the strangers standing by us were wearing their "alarmed facial expressions"...)
"It is said that if you ask for a WISH, that the Queen herself will grant it and BLESS YOU".
(We closed our eyes and both made a Secret Wish.)
I instantly felt ELATED! So did Harry! We felt Immediately CHANGED for the better!
It was like some sort of base cellular change had happened to our bodies or something!
So check this out....
*We had "COINCIDENTALLY" bought some gris gris (hoodoo) at a random shop...
*We had also taken the Cemetery Tour on a WHIM that day....
and bumped into someone we KNEW 1700 miles from home....
*At a precise moment when HE was giving a tour (that we didn't know he worked)
and we "HAPPENED to have" some Hoodoo in our pocket....
*at the right time...
*at the right place....
(I will tell you another AMAZING MAGICK story about when we toured the Voodoo Temple after this Cemetery Tour when we get to the letter "V" down the road a spell :)
So, in conclusion...
As you can tell from my own personal story....Gris Gris IS a MAGICK charm.
It can be used for Good or Ill...as most things can be.
But I tell you true now, that Magick happens!
To this day, I STILL carry that same Gris Gris in my Ren pouch.