Obeah (sometimes spelled Obi, Obea, or Obia), is a term used in the West Indies to refer to folk magic, sorcery, and religious practices developed among West African slaves, specifically of Igbo origin. Obeah is similar to other Afro-American religions including Palo, Vodou, Santería, and Hoodoo. Obeah is practiced in Suriname, Cuba, Jamaica,Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Belize, The Bahamas, and other Caribbean nations.
Obeah is associated with both benign and malignant magic, charms, luck, and with mysticism in general. In some Caribbean nations, Obeah refers to folk religions of the African diaspora. In some cases, aspects of these folk religions have survived through syncretism with Christian symbolism and practice introduced by European colonials and slave owners. Casual observation may conclude that Christian symbolism is incorporated into Obeah worship, but in fact may represent clandestine worship and religious protest.
During slavery, Obeah was directed against the European slave masters. However, with the end of slavery, Obeah became considered taboo, and the term has pejorative associations.
In parts of the Caribbean where Obeah existed, slaves were taken from a variety of African nations with differing spiritual practices and religions. It is from these arrivals and their spiritualisms that Obeah originates. The theory of origin that is most accepted and is supported by the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute database traces obeah to the dibia or obia(Igbo: doctoring) traditions of the Igbo people.
Specialists in Obia (also spelled Obea) were known as Ndi Obia (Igbo: Obia people) and practised the same activities as the obeah men and women of the Caribbean like predicting the future and manufacturing charms. Among the Igbo there were oracles known as ọbiạ which were said to be able to talk. Parts of the Caribbean where Obeah was most active imported a large number of its slaves from the Igbo dominated Bight of Biafra.
In another theory, the Efik language is the root of obeah where the word obeah comes from the Efik ubio meaning ‘a bad omen’. The last theory of the origin of Obeah lies with the Ashanti who called their priests Obayifoɔ and their practices Ɔbayi (pronounced “oh-beh-ee”, the word was an anglicized distortion like many other Akan words, e.g., “bɛsɛ” becoming “bissy”, thus the pronunciation of “obeah”) (Akan: witchcraft).
There is also evidence of Akan names among Obeah men of the Caribbean in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Akan origin of Obeah has been criticised by several writers who hold that an Igbo origin is more likely. However, in colonies where Bight of Biafra slaves were less represented and Akan were plenty (Suriname and Guyana), Obeah is thought to be more of a mixture of Akan and European Christian beliefs.
According to Edward Long a slave-master and historian, the Akan culture dominated Jamaica and even other newly arrived enslaved Africans had to conform to it and that only Akan gods and customs were observed, because Akan people were the majority of the slave population on the island. The first time in Jamaican history the term “obeah” was used was to refer to Nanny of the Maroons an Ashanti-Akan queen as an old ‘witch’, to slander her because of her defeating the British.
Obeah came to mean any physical object, such as a talisman or charm, that was used for evil magical purposes. Referred to as an Obeah-item(for eg. an ‘obeah ring’ or an ‘obeah-stick’, etc translated as: ring used for witchcraft or stick used for witchcraft respectively).
Obeah incorporated various beliefs from the religions of later migrants to the colonies where it was present. Obeah also influenced other religions in the Caribbean, e.g. Christianity which incorporated some Obeah beliefs.
In ‘The Serpent Myth’, William Wynn Westcott, one of the founders of the 19th century Golden Dawn magical order, claims “Ob was an Egyptian word for serpent’ and is the source of the term ‘Obeah’.
Obeah – What does it mean and how does it work?
“Obeah, on the other hand, is NOT a religion in the classical sense. That is to say, there are no meeting places such as churches, mosques, synagogs or other religious buildings or shrines – or any underlying infastructure replicating such a system. Nor is there any sort of congregation or parishioners, although there are what may be called followers, albeit scattered.
Obeah is instead, a focused application of “occult power” tapping the virulent source of God’s own access – employed without sanction to facilitate or induce spells, call up answers, predict the future, or garner assist or knowledge from planes other than the conventional and implemented through the individual skill, cunning, and artistry of the Obeah practitioner – usually beyond the guidelines of traditional witchcraft, sorcery, shamanism, voodoo (voudon), or tribal magic.”
OBEAH AND ORISHA:
The Seven African Powers
Generally, the most common manifestation of Obeah found today, although maybe not practiced on an individual basis, is blended with Orisha-worship. Orisha is a monotheistic faith brought to the Americas via the slave trade and most commonly associated with Yoruba. The two main fractions of Orisha in the new world are Spiritual Orisha and Baptist Orisha, both of which, on the surface, carry a very heavy Christian ring or appearance about them.
Obeah is thought to be the remnant core of a once very powerful and SECRET religious order originally brought to the greater West Africa area thousands of years ago from ancient African civilizations to the east. The priests that brought the hidden core of Obeah with them migrated along with a larger general population to Ancient Ghana and Nigeria looking for fertile land and water, establishing themselves in the region through power and trade. As the centuries wore on they found themselves assimilated deeper and deeper into the local indigenous cultures – with later generations becoming almost unrecognizable in relation to their eastern ancestors.
In the process of that assimilation some members continued to hold on to surviving segments of their original religious beliefs – with the new culture picking and chosing, absorbing and casting off bits and pieces of the once powerful eastern beliefs, creating in their own way what has come down to us today. Eventually the strengths of the religious beliefs diverged, with one track embracing the indigenous tribal healer or root doctor side – with SOME aspects of what one might consider more coventional shamanism and minor bits of tribal sorcerey – and the other branch increasingly going more and more underground, manifesting itself toward the occult and darker side, cloaking itself in the ever more secret only to emerge centuries later in present day Obeah.
How much Obeah and Orisha are truly intermixed or integrated is not fully known, however, it is known BOTH can stand alone as neither is dependent on the other. In some respects it is like Zen Buddhism and Buddhism. Zen may be considered a sect or part of Buddhism, but both Buddhism and Zen – in their present form — can stand alone without the need of the other.
Although similarities abound in both branches of Orisha, Baptist Orisha is a more pure and ancient line of Orisha-transmission and accepts blood-offerings, functioning very much like Orisha-worship you will find almost anywhere in the world. Practitioners of both branches worship one Supreme Being, Oludamare — sometimes called Olofi. However, Oludamare/Olofi is comprised of various aspects, which are represented by the different forces in nature. The personifications of these forces are called Orisha.
Orisha are considered spirits of nature as well as powerful ancestors who represent a concept or idea. Orisha are prayed to, asked by the layman, practitioners, priests, spellcasters or Obeahman – not unlike an Ally is in shamanism or sorcery — to intercede and in certain instances, BUT, unlike a familiar or an ally, actually take possession of practitioners.
There are said to be 17,000 Orisha. Chief among them are the Seven African Powers listed below, the main Orisha focused on by both practitioners and laypersons alike. The Seven African Powers are:
I. PAPA LEGBA:
Also Eleggua, Elegua. The trickster, the opener of the way and the guardian of the crossroads, both physical and spiritual. Comparable to Hermes or Mercury in the European tradition, Legba makes the impossible possible. He lifts us beyond the limitation we impose upon ourselves in daily life. He is identified with portrayals of St. Peter and St. Nicholas. His favorite offering is candy and tobacco and coconuts. You have to ask him to carry your words to the other Orisha: he is the first one asked.
Also Obatalia. From the same root-word as the word Obeah. The Mother-Father responsible for the creation of our physical bodies. Literally “chief of the white cloth,” the integration of ALL colors into one as found in white light shields for example. Obatala’s help is sought in ethical dilemmas and the problems of self-discipline. He is generally identified with the crucified Christ. Obatala is androgynous and sometimes depicted very old, sometimes quite young. Obatala taught the people how to do Ifa, the table divination system. He is gentle, a sky-god, but corresponds to Damballah, the primordial serpent as well. Notice the heavy ring of integrated opposites in his being such as mother-father, androgynous, young-old, dark-light, good-evil, right-wrong — paralleling such deep religious themes as the concept of Sunyata for example.
Also Yemalia, Yemalla. Literally “mother of fishes”. She rules birth and the surface of the oceans, and works closely with Olokun, who rules the depths. She works through dreams and intuition. Her waves wash away all sorrow. Her compassion nurtures her children through any spiritual or emotional crisis. Her love sustains life. She is identified with Mary, Star of the Sea.
Also Ochum. The Goddess of love and abundance. The power of desire is hers, and she often uses s this power to transform. She is beauty, laughter, and generosity. The erotic is her sacrament. She is often compared to Aphrodite, and is identified with the portrayal of Our Lady of Caridad. Oshun likes to heal hurt with love, and plants seeds of change in people.
Oshun is also associated with Ibu Kole, the vulture. It is said in ancient days Oludamare/Olofi became disgusted with humans and their behavior, turning away from their needs and prayers. Resources were depleted and famine spread throughout the world. As far as Oludamare/Olofi was concerned the human race could end forever. Because vultures fly higher than any other winged bird, Oshun transformed herself into the form of a vulture in order to fly to the heavens and intercede on the behalf of humans and save her children. Olodumare was so compelled by such spiritual virtue that he fulfilled her request. See: The Vulture as Totem.
A revolution in constant progress, Oya brings sudden change. She is a whirlwind, an amazon, a huntress, and a wild buffalo. Lightning and rainbows are signs of her presence. She also rules communication between the living and the dead. Think of Hecate or Artemis. She is identified mostly with Saint Catherine. The Spanish name for Saint Catherine is Santa Catalina. Interestingly enough, ‘la Catalina,’ who is cited as having similar powers and attributes as OYA, was the name of the infamous sorceress that bedeviled both Don Juan Matus and Carlos Castaneda.
Also Shango. Chango is a king, and his name is synonymous with justice. He lived in historical times and ruled as the fourth Alafin (or chieftain) of Oyo, a city in modern-day Nigeria. He is a knight in shining armor. He uses lightning and thunder to enhance the fertility of the earth and of his followers. Myths concerning his death (or rather the fact that it did not occur) link him to the European figure of the Hanged God. He is identified with representations of Saint Barbara.
Also Ogum. God of iron and machines, Ogoun is a smith, a soldier, and a politician. In modern times he has come to be known as the patron of truck drivers. He is the spirit of the frontier cutting paths, through the wilderness with his ever-present machete.
Although Ogoun clears the way for civilization, he does so through constraints. The more spiritual aspect of the small path one-on-one approach of the machete rather than the broadstroke abusive the use of iron and machines. He often prefers to dwell alone in the wilderness seeking solace and meditation. See Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery. He is identified with Saint Anthony.
- CHANGO: Top Center
- OYA: Top Right
- OGOUN: Middle Right
- PAPA LEGBA: Bottom Right
- OBATALA: Bottom Left
- YEMAYA: Middle Left
- OSHUN: Top Left
—OBATALA—PAPA-LEGBA—CHANGO— OSHUN——JUST JUDGE
CENTRAL FIGURE: Just Judge, crucifixion of Jesus. Watched over by a
rooster on a pedestal. Inside the circle the word “Olofi” sometimes appears.
The rooster is thought to signify betrayal as in Mark 14:30: And Jesus said
to him, “Truly I say to you, That this day, this very night, before the cock
crows twice, you shall deny me three times.”
In and around the world of the supernatural, the occult, and the underground dark-eddies of things spiritual, there are mystics, shamans, tribal elders, wizards, sorcerers, spellcasters, diviners, necromancers, witches, and all other types and kinds of controllers and purveyors of occult abilities, drawing strength and operating in other dimensions along the edges of the conventional plane. In the realm of all those practitioners the most powerful, the most dreaded, and the most feared is the Obeah.
In the first few sentences of the rather extensive paper OBEAH, by Azuth Kalafou and presented by the Wanderling, Kalafou writes: “The word Obeah or Obi is it self a word obscured and clouded in secrecy.” What he is saying is, not only is the originating SOURCE of the word unclear or not fully known, it’s obscurity mirrors precisely the mystery and secrecy of the phenomenom it is intended to represent.
Now, while it is true that the ORIGIN of the word is indeed obscured and clouded in secrecy, it is primarily because Obeah, as implied above, is in itself clouded in secrecy — being the remnant of a once very powerful and celebrated SECRET religious Order lost in the mist of time.
Even so, slowly over the years clues have surfaced that indicate THAT particular secret religious Order emanated from a certain general geographical area. Those clues, few in number that they may be, strongly point to the fact that the Order originated in or around an area where the Egyptian language was either born, dominant, or used by the priests or religious class – much as Latin is used by certain religious orders today – with the power and knowledge of Obeah maintained and rising from the underground ashes of that dispersed Order over the centuries.
Considering such a background, it is very probable the etymology of the word sprang from the Egyptian word Ob or Aub, meaning “serpent.” Oph is a winged serpent or dragon; and Ab means wisdom/understanding, and together means “Serpent of Wisdom” or “Serpent of Knowledge.” To this day Obion is still the Egyptian name for a serpent.
Moses, who escaped with his people out of Egypt with the full might of the Pharaoh’s army hot on their heels all the way to the Red Sea – where the army reportedly then drowned – forbade in the name of God, the Israelites even to enquire about the demon Ob, which is translated in the first testament as a necromancer, wizard, or diviner. In today’s world the various translations are wide enough to encompass the type shaman-sorcerer that the infamous Yaqui Indian Don Juan Matus apprenticed under, a Diablero, a new-world tribal spiritual elder known to embody a sense of evilness and the ability to shapeshift – in the process spawning such creatures as the insidious sorceress la Catalina and the inorganic being, the Death Defier.
Moses himself carries a great deal of importance in all those translations, including right up to this day with Obeah. Even though Moses forbade enquiry into Ob amongst his people, he is seen as the ultimate snake-charmer and among the greatest of magicians. When Moses doubted he was really hearing the voice of God, he was asked what he was holding in his hand. When he replied that he was holding a rod, he is commanded to throw it to the ground. When he does, the rod becomes a serpent. When he picks it up it becomes a rod again. Later, under the direction of Moses, when Aaron throws his rod down before Pharaoh, it becomes a snake as well.(Exodus 7:1-16)
“The majority of commentators, however, based upon the narrative of the Bible itself, and the Talmud, believe that necromancers in ancient times sometimes possessed occult powers, and this fact should not be denied just because such phenomena are not within the realm of our own modern experience. As evidence of this, Pharaoh’s two magicians were able to turn their own rods into serpents, as Moses had done, although Moses’ serpent swallowed up those of Pharaoh’s magicians (Exo.7:10-12). They were also able to turn water to blood, copying Moses’ miracles. We read: “Then the magicians of Pharaoh did so with their enchantments [“secret arts,” margin]; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard” (Exo.7:19-22).”
Throughout the ancient world, the Middle East and Egypt, because of the brilliantly clear desert night skys, the stars and the constellations carried deep significance, both for the wandering tribes such as those following Moses and the great civilizations and city-states such as Babylonia, Sumeria, and Egypt. Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer is one of those desert-sky constellations. Most people pretty much know what the Zodiac is — the constellations on the plane of the ecliptic through which the sun passes in the course of a year — and what their “Sun Sign” is in relation to the Zodiac (i.e., Sagittarius, Taurus, etc.).
What most people don’t know is that there are actually thirteen Sun Signs, NOT twelve. According to the official modern constellation boundaries that astronomers use today, the sun passes through thirteen constellations, not twelve. The Greeks chose to remove one of the original thirteen constellations from the Zodiac in order to accomplish their desire to have each sign rule for an even 30º of sky, so they selected Ophiuchus to be eliminated. It can only be because of his origins in Egypt as one of their most powerful dieties, on par with Osiris and Thoth, all of whom answered only to Ra. Mysteriously enough, just like Obeah is secret, hidden, and unknown, the “thirteenth constellation” of the Zodiac, Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer is secret, hidden, and unknown. About one person in twenty is an “Ophiuchus,” and they don’t even know it.
In today’s world the most common manifestation of Obeah is blended with Orisha worship. Orisha are spirits of nature as well as powerful ancestors that are prayed to, asked to intercede, and in certain cases, actually take possession of practitioners. Among the top ranking Orisha and one of the Seven African Powers, using another ob word AND serpent related as well, is Obatala. His color is white, literally “chief of the white cloth,” the integration of ALL colors into one. Corresponds to Damballah, the primordial serpent; sky-serpent; he is the Orisha of peace, harmony, and purity and owns the world. When he possesses his children, they move about on the floor in the manner of snakes.
Obol, also obolus (Latin obolus, from Greek obolos), is a silver coin or unit of weight equal to one sixth of a drachma, formerly used as coin of the realm in ancient Greece. Greek legend had it that for the dead, crossing the River Styx was the only way to transition into the underworld. In order to cross the Styx you had to pay Charon, the boatman. The cost was one obol placed under the deceased person’s tongue. After Charon received his compensation he would take you across. Those who could not afford the passage of one obol — or NOT admitted by Charon for whatever reason – were doomed to wander the banks of the Styx for hundreds of years.
The peoples of ancient times (most typically the Pythagoreans, but others as well) had a legend that a kind of Light, described as a “living fire,” flowed through all living things. Guarding this Flame was the serpent Ophioneus, very similar in respects to his nearly same namesake Ophiuchus.
He was said to lay coiled in the Waters of Life. If anyone obstructed or hindered the Light of the Flame, Ophioneus would rise out of the water like a monster and consume them. The Greek philosopher Pherecydes (circa 600-550 BC) wrote a great deal about Ophioneus, having obtained the doctrines from the Phoenicians, also known as Ophites (Greece was first colonized by Ophites, serpent worshippers from both Egypt and Phoenicia).
The Ophites venerated a serpent by the deity-title Ab, sometimes rendered Ob and Ob Aur, meaning Father — as in the procreator of All. They also had the watery serpent Leviathan or Thiavat, which is same as Ophioneus. All of this ties into Abaddon that appears in Revelations as the Angel of the Abyss. It is unclear if the forces of the Abyss are fully good or evil in any way. The Obic forces that guard the Light and keep it flowing apparently take it by whatever means necessary and return it back to where it belongs when a person fails to let it flow or obstructs it.
Continuing, Oub or Ob, and Oubos (sometimes: Oubaios, although it should be rendered Oubos for oubaios is a possessive, and not a proper name) was the name of the Basilisk or royal serpent, emblem of the sun, and an ancient oracular deity of Africa.
This derivation, which has come down from one particular sect – and as stated previously, the remnant probably of a very celebrated religious Order in remote ages – has now become the general term to denote those of African decent who practice Obeah. Although Obeah is found in some degree throughout a wide area of the islands of the Caribbean, it is most typically found where a strong concentration of descendants of West African slaves who spoke Ashanti are found.
Nearly 90 percent of Jamaicans are descendants of West African slaves who spoke Ashanti, brought to the island by Spanish and English settlers, and the focal point in the Caribbean where Obeah has the strongest presence and most adherents. The Ashanti word for witch was obayifo. Obayifo, a derivative bayi (sorcery) is synonymous term ayen, a wizard, or more generally witch. Men and women possessed of this black magic are credited with volitant powers (ability to fly), being able to quit their bodies and travel great distances in the night sky (see).
Over time, Ashanti words were mixed with English to create Jamaican patois. It is especially applicable to those who by means of a hallucinogenic potion made with the juice of a herb refered to as Branched Calalue, occasion a trance or profound sleep of a certain duration to convince followers of their power. Branched Calalue is said to be a species of SOLANUM (Davis, W., 1988), a primary ingredient oft cited in ancient recipes for Flying Ointments.
What is interesting is how the word “Oph,” “Ob,” and other similar words and root-words with meanings of snake-gods, winged serpents, dragons, and god of the Egyptians and various other cultures – morphed through the ages to no longer be related to snakes per se’ but instead to the evil that the snake represents (the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, etc.) – and thus then encompassing such meanings as sorcerer, witch, wizard, diviner, ending up applied to Obeah.
How the etymology of Egyptian words in such ancient times was able to spread or be incorporated into the language of a West African sub-Saharan tribal culture and eventually bleed down into the patois of the Caribbean islands is not known – although one must admit there are incredible conincidences in both meaning and pronunciation.
The general theory runs thus: Ashantis are one section of the people known as the Akans in Ghana. The Akan can trace their history in West Africa back some nine hundred years, to 1076. Before that their history becomes murky, however they are thought to have originated in the Middle East — as the Akkadian people of Babylon. Akan is believed to be a corruption of Akkane or Akkana. As to the Yoruba peoples, who were in a sense territorial neighbors of the Ashantis, there are some very well grounded theories that make a very strong connection between them and that of ancient Egypt.
The various theories say Egyptians migrated to Nigeria looking for fertile land next to water bringing their ideas and knowledge with them, eventually establishing themselves and assimilating into the indigenous cultures. As well, adding to the mix, the Phoenicians, also known as Ophites, serpent worshippers from both Egypt and Phoenicia if you recall, were great seafarers. They are known to have taken their ships out of the Mediterranean beyond the Gates of Hercules and to have sailed south along the coast of Africa, possibly as early as 2500 BCE — taking their words and culture with them.
In 1076 the Ashantis were driven from their ancient home in the Empire of Ghana by the Almoravids, a militant Berber party of strict Muslims, to their current West African locations in the modern nation of Ghana. From there, some six hundred years or so later, thousands upon thousands of Ashantis as well as Yorubans and others along the coast were rounded up against their will and transported in slave ships to the Americas — in turn bringing their thoughts and religious beliefs with them. Two things were at work here.
First, the slave traders sought out individuals that were young and strong. Typically the fully ordained and experienced religious leaders in tribal cultures are older, hence those more experienced in the various religious crafts were left behind. Secondly, those that did make it to the new world, young or old, experienced or beginner, used their knowledge as their only way to gain the upper hand or power over their slave masters. In the process the strengths of the religious beliefs increasingly manifested itself toward the occult and cloaked itself in the ever more secret.
For present day doubters who may question the power of Obeah, by the mid-1700s the strength and power of its practitioners amongst the slave population of Jamaica had become way too apparent and disruptive, undermining the rule of the land. The following is from the ACT OF 1760 which was an attempt by ruling members of the Colony of Jamaica to outlaw Obeah, punishable by death. It was never printed and failed Royal Assent, consequently never becoming official Law of the Colony — yet it was still put into effect for all practical purposes by the colonist as though it had:
“And in order to prevent the many Mischiefs that may hereafter arise from the Wicked Art of Negroes going under the Appellation of obeah-men and women pretending to have Communication with the Devil and other Evil Spirits whereby the weak and Superstitious are deluded into a Belief of their having full Power to Exempt them whilst under their Protection from any Evils that might otherwise happen; Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid that from and after the first Day of January which will be in the Year of our Lord One thousand Seven hundred and Sixty one Any Negro or other Slave who shall pretend to any Supernatural Power and be detected in making use of any Blood, Feathers, Parrots’ Beaks, Dogs’ Teeth, Alligators’ Teeth, Broken Bottles, Grave Dirt, Rum, Egg-Shells, or any other materials related to the practice of Obeah or Witchcraft in Order to delude and impose on the Minds of others shall upon Conviction thereof before two Magistrates and three Freeholders suffer DEATH or Transportation, anything in this Act or any other Act or any other Law to the Contrary notwithstanding, etc.”
In 1780 an Obeahman that went by the name of Plato the Wizard terrorized people, both black and white, throughout the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica. He declared that anyone who dared touch him would suffer extreme physical and spiritual torments. He was captured by the authorities and taken to Montego Bay and condemned to death. He prophesied that his death would be avenged within a year by a storm that would ravish the whole island. He told the jailer who tied him and burned him at the stake that he, the jailer, would not live long enough to triumph over his death because he had taken care to “Obeah him.”
One of the most violent storms to ever hit Jamaica broke over the island that year, while the jailer, brooding over the curse of the Obeahman, declined in health, and in spite of medical aid and a voyage to America, died within the year.
The following is from a report by The Governor of Jamaica, Colonel John Dalling, to the Government in London regarding the hurricane that struck the island on October 3, 1780. Notice, besides the severity of the hurricane, the Governor reported that there were earthquakes as well — and that the quakes totally demolished every building in the parish of Westmoreland and that remaining inhabitants were faced with famine:
I am sorry to be under the disagreeable necessity of informing your Lordships of one of the most dreadful calamities that has happened to this colony within the memory of the oldest inhabitant.
On the morning of the 3 instant, the weather being very close, the sky sudden became very much overcast, and an uncommon elevation of the sea immediately followed. Whilst the unhappy settlers at Savanna-la-Mar were observing this extraordinary Phenomenon, the sea broke suddenly in upon the town, and on its retreat swept every thing away with it, so as not to leave the smallest vestige of Man, Beast, or House behind.
This most dreadful catastrophe was succeeded by the most terrible hurricane that ever was felt in this country, with repeated shocks of an Earthquake which has almost totally demolished every building in the Parishes of Westmoreland, Hanover, part of St James and some parts of St Elizabeth’s and killed, members of the white Inhabitants as well as of the negroes. The wretched inhabitants are in a truly wretched situation not a house standing to shelter them from the inclement weather not clothes to cover them, every thing being lost in the general wreck. And what is still more dreadful Famine staring them in the face.
Obeah is the most dreaded and most powerful of all occult practices. For both purveyors of the craft or the recipients of its outfall, it can be either deadly or compassionate. The path of the Obeahman is lethal in that a true Obeah has at his command a full range of tools and formulates that manifest themselves in a direct and instant function that infuses his abilities with the power to severely destroy whatever comes within his realm of comprehension. He also has the power to do the opposite. It depends on intent.
Although a majority of practioners today are questionable, members of the old order, then or now, neither know nor see good or evil.
An Obeahman can use ANY system and fuel it with the power of Obeah without the danger of disrespect FOR the gods, but, depending on circumstances, not necessarily without repercussions FROM the gods. Even white light shields can and do weaken, collapse, or be rendered impotent, buckling under to another’s stronger power when pitted against each other in tests of strength. Spoken from experience.