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What are Voodoo Dolls?

Brief History & Information On Voodoo Dolls

The term Voodoo doll commonly describes an effigy into which pins are inserted.

Such practices are found in various forms in the magical traditions of many cultures across the world. Although the use of the term Voodoo implies that the practice is linked to Haitian Vodou or Louisiana Voodoo.

Voodoo Dolls? More Like Vodou Dolls.

Voodoo is a real religion, and the proper spelling for it is Vodou. It is practiced in Haiti and some other places in the Caribbean. The idea of effigy dolls used for evil purposes, such as hurting others, is a myth originating from the ancient Middle East. They are used to help people with healing and as a way to communicate with deceased loved ones.

New Orleans – Souvenir Voodoo Dolls

New Orleans is known for the voodoo queens and kings who were spiritual and political figures of power in the 1800s. Voodoo came to Louisiana via the slaves from West Africa. Their religious rituals and practices merged with those of the local Catholic population to create something that is known today as Voodoo-Catholicism. The religion is all about a connection to nature, spirits, and one’s ancestors. Even today, voodoo remains important in New Orleans. You can take tours to learn the history, etc.


“The Voodoo dolls that are sold in shops in New Orleans and elsewhere are small human effigies, made from two sticks tied in a cross shape to make a body with two arms sticking out. The shape is often covered in a brightly colored triangle of cloth and sometimes Spanish moss is used to fill out the body form. The head is of black cloth or wood, and it often has rudimentary facial features: eyes, nose, and a mouth. They are often decorated with feathers and sequins, and they come with a pin or a dagger, and instructions on how to use it.

These Voodoo dolls are strictly made for the tourist market in places like New Orleans or the Caribbean, where they are sold as inexpensive mementos in tourist shops, in open-air markets, and thrown during parades. They are not used by actual Vodou practitioners.”

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How are Voodoo Dolls Used?

Dolls are an important part of voodoo rituals in West Africa, Haiti, and New Orleans. They are always used for healing purposes. When they are hung from trees in cemeteries, this is said to open and maintain communication lines between the recently deceased and those they left behind. On the other hand, when tacked to the trees upside down, they are supposed to make their creator stop caring for someone bad for them.

The word ‘voodoo’ actually means ‘spirits.’ The Voodoo religion is a macro-religious practice aiming to connect spirits with mortals. According to their beliefs, this is only possible by using a gris-gris through a magical process. Gris-gris is defined as either the magical act itself or the object used for magic. The voodoo doll is an example of a gris-gris.


Voodoo is often feared in today’s society. However, it has a lot of fascinating history, and the purpose of objects such as voodoo dolls is not meant for evil purposes or revenge. They are meant to heal and connect you with deceased loved ones who are in the spirit world. With healing, you can insert specific herbs inside of the doll and use anointing oils to help aid you with the desired intentions of the doll. The pins are to help you direct attention/energy to specific areas, and you can anoint the pins with oils as well. 

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