Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/266

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256 Obeali in the West Indies.

cross-reference to "ju-ju," which is defined as "an object of any kind superstitiously venerated by West African native tribes and used as a charm, amulet or means of pro- tection ; a fetish." Hence "jujuism" is the system of beliefs and observances connected with the juju religion. Sir James Murray's great dictionary has not yet progressed so far as to reach the word " Voodoo " or " Voodooism." When it does it will probably be found that both " obeah " and "jujuism" connote, and in some branches include, " Voodooism."

But fortunately for our British colonies in the West Indies, I think I am warranted in accepting, with one terrible exception that has occurred in recent years — to be later referred to — the second definition of" obeah " given by the Oxford English Dictionary , " and as having no part in the blood ritual" that obtains in the "Juju" and" Voodoo" cults of other countries. T^at, I am glad to say^, is my own personal experience of the practice in my own part of the West Indies.

But outside the British dependencies, even in the West Indies, no such distinction or amelioration can well be drawn; and it is necessary, in order to understand the later development of obeah, to realize the forms and often the terrible ceremonies which it took under the name of " Voodooism," which designation will suffice for the West Indies, the cognate form of "Juju" not having, I believe, left the mainland of West Africa.

In order to achieve my object I have- called in aid the accounts and opinions of several writers, more or less well known, from sources some of which may still be examined ; others, more ephemeral, may soon be lost.

I think that those of us who have any knowledge of this subject will agree that no better or more trustworthy account of this worship or cult of " Voodooism," extending at times to its most serious form, is to be found than in Sir Spenser St. John's Hayti, or The Black Republic, first