Floo Network

🌷 Spring 70
[Inverness] The Voodoo That They Do

Started by Dominique Miller, August 08, 2021, 11:21:44 pm

Eoghan MacLiuthar

To say it was fascinating, that individuals whose families derived from other parts of the world found themselves in the United Kingdom, was an understatement. Listening to Dominique talk about her family of origin was more then interesting. She seemed to have a deep appreciation for her roots, and he could hear the pride that she had in recalling her ancestry. Similarly, Eoghan's mother's magical and muggle family alike immigrated to the United Kingdom. However, he couldn't say he felt the same pride she had. "We're kind of similar! Mum's never insisted on us knowing anything about the practice, though I remember watching my aunties practice when we was little." He looked down, "Me dad's a scots man, though."

Dominique introduced him to, and began explaining the proper practice of vodou. Some of it he was aware of, he knew from watching his aunties that you didn't necessarily need a wand as a a conductor to channel magical powers. He'd also been vaguely aware of the use of items that represented or functioned closer to individual symbols created or passed down by the practioneer. In that way, vodou was more intimate then the magic of this world.

Nevertheless, the memories were not strong, and he couldn't recall them in a meaningful context. It was shameful for him to recall, and he wasn't sure where that feeling and thought derived from. "Aye, I remember reading the passage about the practice of vodou and it's complementary nature to the muggle's religion...Catholicism?" It felt good when he could make connections. Assigning data to other data points would make the information stick further in his mind.

The food arrived, and she paused to let the server plop the plates and bowl down in front of them. "Come up if you need anything else." They replied before walking back towards the kitchen. Steam came off the soup in front of him, and he'd have to wait for the food to be temperate for him to eat. He was not the biggest fan of hot food. "What's a gris-gris?" He inquired curiously. Perhaps he'd understand more with context. The addition of 'spirits and blessings' interested him, too.  Much of the contemporary wizarding world was agnostic/secular from what he could tell. Eoghan had attended churches on Sundays when he stayed with his either side of his muggle family. They'd adopted the Protestant church and attended Sunday sermons.

He looked at her and her plate of haggis with neeps and tatties, watching to see if she'd actually enjoy the food. Maybe she'd be like him, and not actually enjoy it too much. Eoghan wasn't opposed to switching his plate with her to be polite if she couldn't eat it. It wasn't his favorite, but he could stomach it.

Dominique Miller

When it arrived, the food smelled... interesting. The neeps and tatties - common, hearty fare in the form of earthy vegetables. Haggis on the other hand... she wasn't quite sure what to make of it, but knowing that she was coming to Scotland, had read up on it a little, and as she understood it, eating the outermost layer, the stomach lining, wasn't particularly recommended.

"Well, this is rather flavourful!" she exclaimed.

She had a curious memory of a meal when young of some kind of gumbo with lamb sausages, that had been mis-made and lacking proper stock in which to stew. It hadn't been awful, and somehow that was what she was reminded of. Flavoursome, but less spicy than perhaps she might have preferred - but it was tastier than she'd expected once stripping back the stomach lining...

"So, a gris-gris. You might call it a talisman, or an amulet. A more... technical explanation would be to say that it's a physical object with what we might call a charm embedded in it. The tradition is to use them for healing, or for warding, for protection. Some of them are what we might call curses. Amulets and talismans wishing harm on another."

She took a large bite of haggis and lapsed into silence for a few moments, to think it over. "People talk about voodoo dolls, but they're not really either Haitian vodou, or Louisana voodoo. Sticking a pin in it... far as we know, that's actually from Europe."

"As for vodou integrating with muggle religion? It's always been historically shunned, at least on the surface. There's some under the surface stuff about worshipping higher powers, but Haitian and Louisana beliefs are about the higher powers being for guidance and blessing, and it's not formally organised. The Catholic church from what I've seen... it's a lot more fire and brimstone and Old Testament judgement."

She finished the neeps and tatties, and left only a modest amount of haggis lining on the plate. "Well, I don't know about you, but that was some fine food right there." She had been surprised at how tasty it was, once the outer lining was removed, because that wasn't particularly appealing.

"If you don't mind my asking, where do you stand on the higher powers situation? Seeing that we're wizarding folk and all, it's gotta have a slightly different perspective to the folks you went to church with?"

Eoghan MacLiuthar


It would be a lie to say he wasn't impressed by Dominique's ability to master the Haggis. "Don't eat the outer lining." He motioned as she began cutting into it. "It's best to leave that bit." He didn't want her first taste of Brea's Loch's traditional dish to be an unpleasing journey for her. Noting that she knew how to tear away the outside lining without assistance, he went back to his own meal and added a generous helping of black pepper to his soup. Testing the flavor, he took a careful sip. It was satisfactory and cool enough for him to eat. 

"Ah, I see. That makes sense." He'd originally assumed that perhaps the gris-gris would be used as a mechanism to empower and embolden the magic within it's practioner, like a conduit as wands were, but it's purpose differed from what he'd assumed. "Have you used a gris-gris before? What's it like?" In all probability, she'd most likely had. Eoghan was curious about the way magic felt as one used a gris-gris, wondering if it felt at all different from the magic he was so used to using on the daily basis.

"Of course that bit's fake. It sensationalized the practice and demonizes practioners in the eyes of the European, don't you think?" He asked, rhetorically. It may have been a reason why he wanted to distance himself from it's practice as a young lad. That, and having foreign food his mother made him feel ostracized from his peer group.

He finished his meal about the time that she finished hers. She posed a question he hadn't thought much about. "I suppose I don't really believe in God or a higher power. I understand the function of it for muggles, though. It builds a sense of community to believe that there's something after death." He paused, "Even growing older, we live a bit longer then them. Me mum's in her 60's and you couldn't tell she's a day over 40. I don't know if that has to do with her occupation though." He mused.

Getting up, Eoghan went to pay for the tab for the meal before Dominique could object. He felt indebted to her that she was providing a lecture on her realm of expertise. Coming back to the table, he stated, "We can walk around a bit before heading towards the Cathedral if you'd be alright with that. Like a tourist?"  He shrugged his shoulders and pointed across the River Ness to the Cathedral that was in sight.

Dominique Miller

It was kind of Eoghan to warn her about the lining on the haggis, but she deftly avoided the casing. It didn't look especially appetising anyway so no great loss there.

Eoghan seemed confused about the whole topic of the gris-gris and she struggled to think through how to answer it meaningfully. "Hmm, well, yes I have made and used gris-gris over the years, warding evil from the house, or for mother when she broke her leg a few years ago. But what it feels like? That's a mighty fine question indeed."

She looked out the window at the clouds gathering. "It's like turning on a lamp in the winter. You don't feel it directly, but you're aware of it. Only the light it shines isn't visible. As for making, that's really no different to any other magic, it's still charmwork with what we might call transfiguration or perhaps other crafts."

She smiled ruefully at the mention of the Catholics. "If I had to guess, I'd say it was about demonising everyone who stood in their way to being the conduits for what you might call a 'higher power' but I ain't never had that much to do with the church. Especially as the church preaches its own line on life after death and, well, we've seen folks who didn't exactly fit the trend. Though," she paused, "I never quite squared away the Fat Friar, though I was most assuredly fond of him."

Fetching her purse to pay for her food, she found that Eoghan had already gotten to his feet to pay before she could stop him. It was too kind of him to do that, and she found herself considering that while Scotland might not be the most outwardly hospitable of places, the people were by and large very much so.

"It was very kind of you to pay for lunch, I'm much obliged to you - and if you have the time, I'd love to see the Cathedral with you. I don't think the bookshop is in any hurry for me to get back to."

Eoghan MacLiuthar

He calculated the meaning of her definition, imagining himself finding the warmth of lamp on a winter day. The visual metaphor was helpful, it allowed him to conceptualize the premise and store it in its appropriate place. He supposed if he was thinking of it another way, he might imagine it as day old goat curry, allowing the flavors and spices to evenly distribute and soak into the vegetables and meat. Yum, and he finishing his lunch as the thought became visual in his mind. "It's funny you mention a lamp in the winter, mum talks about missing the endless summer." Her description of gris-gris seemed something worth trying himself at some point.

Maybe her new book would manualize the process? "Are there examples of gris-gris creation in your new book?" Warding away evil? Would that work against the impeding Death Eaters? Could he use a gris-gris as a protective charm for his mother? Eoghan became overwhelmed at the applications and hit the reset button in his mind. He needed a moments break.

Shutting down the program without properly turning off the instrument caused him to buffer. Delayed, he responded, "True! I forgot about the spirits living at Hogwarts. We had our own nearly headless Nick. I nearly shat myself first time I seen him." Eoghan shuttered at the memory. It was unexpected as the ghost let his neck hang loose and began talking to him in the grand hall. The bloody baron was even worse...

As he came back to the table, he nodded behind his thick framed glasses. "It's the least I can do! You're giving me an inside look at the concepts you'll be covering in your new book. This time, though, I won't," he made quotation marks with his middle and ring fingers, "steal it." The man chuckled at himself. That was probably not the best admission to make in front of the author! Even if he did eventually pay for it.

"Looking for any trinkets for your trip back to London?" He inquired. As she stood from her chair to leave the establishment, the color in his skin drained. They were going to do something he hadn't well prepared for and he wasn't sure he could do it successfully. He'd gone to the cathedral plenty of times, but that was a Saturday night or Sunday morning feat if he visited his father's family. He knew facts about the cathedral he could share? It was Saturday after lunch and a few hours before the evening mass. Oh lord. At least Brea's Loch was a familiar and safe place.

Plan ahead, plan ahead. Eoghan visualized the walkway to the cathedral that they could take. Two options to take, this would be easy. Wait, stand to be corrected, there were three he pulled up. "Theres an underground shopping path that could bring us to the other side of the River Ness, we could walk but it might rain or apparate?" He suggested. Eoghan didn't know why making new plans was so hard.

Dominique Miller

Would there be discussion about creation of a gris-gris? That was a question she hadn't thought of, not in blunt technical terms at least. There was a level of intimacy attached that she hadn't wanted to talk about - it wasn't just an object, at least she didn't think of it that way, even if others around her might have.

"I wasn't exactly planning on writing it down in detail how to make one... just like most books on enchanted objects don't really talk about how to make one so much. It's also, I think, a little more personal - everyone in my family makes them slightly differently. Ma tends to work with trees and earth to make hers, mine seem to come from the air - just whatever feels right... it's as much about the practioner as it is the practice really."

She thought about it for a moment. "There are some more... what you might call general gris-gris, though they're not exactly that. More general wards and talismans that have some common basis in all the magical arts - garlic keeping vampires at bay, the sprigs of silver birch for stay-nots for ghosts. I've heard it said that rowan and white heather bundles are good all-round wards against evil but I have no proof of that."

Eoghan suddenly looked pale while talking about the cathedral, though it wasn't clear why. "I wasn't looking for souvenirs, I just wanted to see the place - it looks beautiful from the outside." She wasn't sure what might have made him nervous but didn't want to ask.

"I'm not sure apparating is a good idea, unless we can come out in a place where the muggles won't see us... I don't know about you but after that hearty lunch, a walk would be rather nice even if it does end up raining on us... if that works for you?"