Voodoo Dolls in Popular Culture
The popular image of a Voodoo doll stuck with pins, nails, or thorns can be attributed in large part to Hollywood’s fusion of folklore with science fiction and the presentation of such images on the big screen. This image is so ingrained in the minds of the general public that the thought of using a Voodoo doll any differently seemingly defies all logic. If you read my books Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual and The Voodoo Doll Spellbook, however, you will discover that working with dolls goes far beyond sticking pins in them for revenge. For centuries, people have been using the ancient techniques of image magick, contagious magick, and sympathetic magick in combination with a doll or effigy to manipulate all aspects of one’s relationships with people, places, and things.
In today’s popular culture, for example, there is a Voodoo doll for any number of problems you may be facing. These are the so-called novelty Voodoo dolls that are designed to accomplish a variety of helpful deeds, all tongue in cheek, of course. For example, you can grow your own Voodoo doll if you have “ever wanted to get back at someone so bad that it consumes all of your thoughts and desires.” You simply take the little doll from the package and place it in some water and watch it grow to 600% its original size in a matter of 72 hours. As it dries, it shrinks down to its original size so you can repeat the process over and over again.
If you have a nagging boss, the Nagging Boss Voodoo Doll will give you the ultimate means for dealing with an annoying employer. Every time you pick up the doll, it emits threats and work-related nags that you can silence by the stick of the pin.
Oh, and we can’t forget the ex Ex-lover Voodoo dolls designed to wreak havoc upon someone who has done you wrong by letting you stick them where it hurts, if you know what I mean. And there are Love Me Voodoo dolls for manipulating someone into a relationship, and Bride and Groom Voodoo dolls, Bad Boyfriend Voodoo dolls, New Husband Voodoo dolls, Over the Hill Voodoo dolls, and even Chocolate Voodoo dolls for our sinfully indulgent consumption. Someone even made an Internet Explorer Voodoo doll to deal with the frustrations of that astonishingly (un)reliable browser. Indeed, the list of novelty Voodoo dolls goes on ad nauseum.
The mass-produced Voodoo dolls of today reflect current sociopolitical concerns, as well. For example, anyone who has ever entered a Barnes and Nobles bookstore has undoubtedly seen the Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush Voodoo dolls. But, political Voodoo dolls are more than just an American cultural phenomenon; they have made their appearance all over the world, from México (Vuducratas Americana), to France (President Nicolas Sarkozy), Iraq (Saddam Hussein) and China. These political Voodoo dolls bear the image of the various politicians and come with needles and a chart that shows exactly where to stick ’em. It’s like long distance acupuncture, except the goal is typically not for the health and wellbeing of the target.
Without a doubt, there is a strong psychological component to the power of the pin. Its effects range from light-hearted fun to extreme catharsis for the one doing the sticking. If you are the intended target, however, just the suggestion of someone hexing you with a Voodoo doll is enough to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if you believe things will go wrong, they often will.
Article copyright 2015 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.