This year I have begun to really envision (2020) and see how my past experiences have attributed to my evolution as a professional designer, coach and personally as a little, singular human identity on this magical planet.
When I launched my jewelry business back in 2012, I was set on making "New Orleans" inspired jewelry. While this was fun for a while, eventually I started becoming called to make much more meaningful jewelry after experienced a spiritual awakening after healing myself from years of emotional trauma, guilt, and shame.
On some level, I felt torn, at a crossroads about what my jewelry collection would look like. I couldn't just abandon my original base, attracted to my line from all of my New Orleans inspired designs to go off into an unfamiliar realm of creative expression. There had to be a happy medium.
There's a deep desire within me to explore all the spiritual cultures of the world and commemorate them all through my artistic expression of jewelry design. And perhaps, one day many years from now, my jewelry collection will reflect those explorations. But first, I needed to find a bridge between my New Orleans roots and my calling to educate about the spiritual origins of the world's cultures and what our ancestors practiced to keep them connected to Mother Earth.
The answer had been within me all along, and I had actually already played with this theme before - New Orleans Voo Doo or Haitian "VoDou".
Designing a collection of jewelry inspired by the authentic spiritual practices of Haitian VoDou & New Orleans Voo Doo was the bridge of creative expression I felt a calling to fulfill in order to create a strong foundation upon which I can continue to explore ALL spiritual cultures of the world.
What better place to start than my own backyard?
I started designing this collection in the Spring of 2019 while traveling through the Arizona desert with my husband while trying to find a nice piece of property to build our getaway home. I love to read and draw while I'm traveling because it gives me a creative outlet in the midst of the daily work I must maintain.
Being surrounded by the vastness of the desert was the perfect place to sit in serenity to explore this intention.
On my trip, I had brought Denise Alvarado's VooDoo HooDoo Spellbook with me so I could do my research first. When designing using the power of symbolism, I take this extremely seriously, as to get the slightest details correct and to also respect the culture I intend to honor.
Most of the information in this blog post about the loas, veves and historical context is referenced from this book. Interested? Purchase a copy on Amazon! Other sources are also cited within this post.
In an effort to explain the inspiration, symbolism and stories behind the designs from my newest collection, I will be referencing Alavardo's book to define certain terminology I feel is important to understand.
One of the first things I learned when conducing my research is that:
"The spirit forces in New Orleans Voodoo and Haiti are referred to as loas (lwas), mystères, and invisibles."
"It is not unusual to refer to spirits, saints, angels, and archangels as loas. The voodooists' relationship with the loas differs from saints and angels in that the loas are not merely petitioned with prayer - they are served. They are distinct entities with their own personal preferences and individual sacred rhythyms, songs, dances, ritual symbols, and special forms of servitude."
There were so many loas mentioned in this book, there are too many to name here. But if you are interested in learning more, I highly encourage you to purchase Alvarado's book to learn more for yourself. It's quite fascinating!
Nevertheless, the three loas that caught my attention the most are:
- Erzulie Dantor
- Erzulie Freda
- La Sirène
So now that you know what the term "loas" refers to, you can understand what the "veves" are.
Encyclopedia Brittanica defines the Vèvè as,
"in Haitian Vodou, geometrical drawings that represent the lwa (spirits).
The production of vèvè is a tradition of African origin. In Dahomey, an ancient kingdom in the region that is now southern Benin, palm oil was used to draw certain geometrical figures, such as rectangles and squares, on the ground. The practice of drawing ritual emblems on the ground is also attested in Central Africa, and the practice of producing vèvè in Haiti may owe its origin to a western African and Central African cultural convergence. Some scholars have also pointed to the existence of a similar practice among the Taino and Arawak peoples, with whom Africans came into contact in Haiti.
Vèvè can be quite elaborate or simple. They are drawn on the earthen floor of the peristyle (temple), using cornmeal or ashes, and their realization, usually by an oungan (priest) or manbo (priestess), requires a great deal of expertise. Vèvè are central to Vodou rituals because they are meant to compel the descending or ascending of the spiritual energy associated with a particular lwa.
Each lwa has its own emblem, and vèvè are therefore numerous and varied. The central elements are a heart, for Èzili Freda, the lwa of femininity and love; two snakes, for the cosmic snakes Danbala Wèdo and his wife Ayida Wèdo; a boat, for Agwe, the lwa of the sea; a cutlass (sabre), for Ogou, the lwa of war; and a cross, for Papa Legba, the guardian of crossroads."
As I flipped through the stories of many different loas for my jewelry collection, I closely inspected the veve symbols. They were beautiful, intricate, and mentally stimulating.
My mission for this collection is to help my audience and the wearers of my pieces discover within themselves the essence and energy these pieces symbolize. Each of these three new designs was inspired by a specific loa and veve that I truly resonated with.
Metaphysically, the energy of the symbol is reflective of the story behind the symbol. There is a lesson to be learned from each piece. Respect and honor is required to wear these pieces in order to be conscious and aware of the essence of what you are wearing. These are not merely for adornment, they are for honor, reverence, gratitude, respect, and a deeper connection with our own spirit.
The intention behind wearing such pieces requires us to develop a constant, continuous, unshakable connection with our own Higher Authority, Higher Self, and Source. The jewelry helps create conscious awareness.
You are wearing a form of energy. If questioned about your piece, give the piece recognition it deserves by expressing how your jewelry is serving you as more than a simple accessory. Allow the jewelry to elevate your vibration through conscious power over choices you may have made differently if you were not conscious. Awareness is power.
Erzulie Dantor is the VooDoo goddess of everything the Divine Feminine represents - all aspects of love, creation, Venusian energy, the yin to the yang. But remember, what one rules, they also rule the polar opposite. So, while Erzulie Dantor represented romance, she also ruled jealousy. Passion, sex and art are also symbolized.
Often expressed as the Black Madonna in paintings, she is half white and half black. She is the Roman Catholic's St. Barbara Africana. In New Orleans, she is often called Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Click here to shop products of the Black Madonna pictured above. The throw pillows and stickers are awesome!
She loves women intensely, but is considered heterosexual because she has children. Across her right cheek bare tribal scars, and she's efficient with knives.
She is considered the protector of newly consecrated VooDoo priests and priestesses and any woman who has experienced disloyalty, suffering a broken heart.
Her energy and presence is commanding. She is not afraid to fight. Some fear her but all respect her.
Many women invoke Erzulie Dantor against their partners should they become violet, whether male or female.
Her personal story is tragic. She was a warrioress who fought defending her people during the Haitian Revolution. However, because of her powers and knowledge, her own people cut out her tongue do that she would not tell their secrets should she be captures. Thus, she is mute and can only produce a licking sound with her tongue. She is often pictured with her daughter, Anais, who serves as her translator and interpreter.
Erzulie Freda is the loa of intimate, romantic love. She is pure Venusian energy, feminine, compassion, sensuality, beauty, grace and love. When she cries, she is expressing sadness, joy or frustration.
She is called upon when seeking lovers or when there is a desire to renew love within an existing relationship.
She is said to offer wealth, prosperity and luxury to those who serve her.
In certain aspects, Erzulie Freda is the spirit of beauty, jewelry, dancing, luxury and flowers.
Her symbols are a heart, a mirror and a fan. Her animal is a white dove.
Known as "Queen of the Choir" La Sirène is the enchanting loa of the sea and all the treasures that lie therin. She is often depicted as a mermaid, sitting on a rock, gazing at her reflection in the water while combing her long black hair.
She is sometimes considered an aspect of Erzulie Freda or an aspect of the loa La Baleine, the spirit of the whale. La Sirène is the loa of wealth, musical arts, love, beauty and dreams. She is the queen of the sea and has the ability to hypnotize people with her beautiful songs.
She is known to grant gifts when petitioned, she is offered shrimp, seaweed, and seawater. In return she blesses her followers with gifts of music, wealth, and beauty. La Sirène's ritual colors are blue and green, and her offerings include sea glass, pink champagne, combs, sacred songs and chants, and sweet white wine - but never fish, as these are her children.
La Sirène epitomizes seductive power. Petition La Sirène when you need luck and money, or when you need to enhance your deductive power, sensuality, and sex appeal.
Cali KREWE Exclusive
All of these designs are Cali KREWE exclusives, which means only members may access to purchase online.
KREWE members will find these pieces available in the KREWE home page' plus, you may always apply your default 15% off discount OR, your monthly bonus offer - whichever saves you more at that time.
Blessing Your Jewelry
To truly make these pieces serve you best, I not only encourage you, but as the designer & producer of these pieces, I kindly request that you create an anointing oil with a loving intention, and bless your piece.
Blessing Ritual Preparation
Between a waxing crescent and a first quarter moon, gather the following oils while holding love for yourself and the world in your heart chakra.
Light a white candle and stare at the flame while focusing on expanding your love. Envision in your mind's eye opening your heart and light radiating outwards in all directions, touching every living thing on Mother Earth.
Candle "magick" is relative in rituals due to the subconscious stimulus. For example, the color of the candle has correlations to our psyche (subconscious/spirit) which helps establish a setting for the energy that is about to take place. Secondly, the act of lighting a candle sends a message to your subconscious mind about the intention that is about to take place. Third, the flame can be hypnotic focal point to keep your attention in the present moment.
Voo Doo Anointing Oil
This recipe was taken from Denise Alvarado's VooDoo HooDoo Spellbook as a basic formula for anointing oil for acts of consecration and blessing:
✅ 35 drops of frankincense
✅35 drops of myrrh
✅ Blend with 1 ounce of extra virgin olive oil that has been fixed with benzoin or vitamin E
✅ Gently wash excess oil off with warm water and dry thoroughly with a cloth
Treat your jewelry with respect, as if it were a living conscious entity to serve and protect you. There was a whole lot of love and intention into designing, creating, crafting and producing these pieces.
The more you believe in its potential to serve you, the more energy you charge and attract to the item, and the more power it contains within your consciousness. It doesn't matter what anyone else believes - only you.
I 'd love to hear from you!
Please leave a comment for me below! If you've done your research, are there other loas & veve symbols you would like to see honored with a jewelry design? How do you feel about incorporating a little bit of voo doo into your life? What do you appreciate most about the information provided?