Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Naked and Possessed

Many people believe voodoo is the practice of black magic, but this is only partially true. Voodoo is a contraction of the word Vodoun, a religion brought to the New World from Africa, primarily by slaves.

Vodoun is a complicated religion that has morphed many times since reaching the New World, adding elements of both Christianity and Native American beliefs. Priests and priestesses of the religion are houngans and mambos, respectively, and they often practice both magic - black and white - and the healing arts.

In my novel Big Easy, Mama Mulate is a conundrum within the religion. She is a practicing voodoo mambo, and has a doctorate in English literature, teaching at Tulane University. Unlike most practitioners of Vodoun Mama uses her talents only for good. In the novel, she comes up against a vicious serial killer that is the embodiment of voodoo deity Baron Samedi.

A turning point in the novel occurs during a ceremony on the banks of Bayou Rigolettes. An influential mambo assumes the persona of Lasyrenn, loa of fishes and Queen of the Sea, to instruct a naked initiate. Homicide detective accompanies Mama Mulate to observe the ceremony, and becomes a possessed and unwitting participant.

I personally think the ceremony scene is one of the hottest, most sexually charged chapters ever to appear in modern mystery fiction. I invite you to read Big Easy and decide for yourself.

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