My voodoo doll

No, I haven’t given him a name.

I picked up this voodoo doll on a trip to New Orleans last summer.  It was a whimsical purchase at a creepy voodoo shop in the heart of the French Quarter.  The shop’s sign read that these dolls were “authentic” and “blessed by a local practioner.”  The dolls on display carried a price tag that helped to justify the exclusivity — and possibly take advantage of tourists who stumbled upon the shop and were willing to splurge.  (Guilty.)

This one caught my eye.  Not just because of its design, but because of its intention: “to provide spiritual strength.”  This was no evil voodoo.  This doll was invoking something positive (if you believed in voodoo, anyway).  I paid the creepy man behind the counter a ridiculous amount of money and ducked out of the store, believing I had scored a pretty cool novelty — nothing more.

Over the past month, however, this voodoo doll has transformed into something more.  It once sat in my living room alongside other travel treasures, undisturbed — until a mountain of yoga books, Yoga Sutra flashcards and class notes began sprouting up around it.

The tools of my spiritual journey are manifesting itself around a voodoo doll meant to invoke spiritual strength?  That’s eerie and awesome at the same time.  The whimsical purchase suddenly had new meaning.

I now look at this voodoo doll, not as some cool travel trinket, but as a reminder of the spiritual strength required as I forge this yogic path.  The doll may not be casting any specific charms — I think? — but what it helps to reinforce it wonderful.

Just as long as it doesn’t start casting evil spells on me.

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