Like many other forms of African folk magic, Obeah spells are one of the most powerful available, yet complex to cast. Obeah, despite some similarities to Voodoo and Santeria, is much less known, thus does not share their bad publicity. Obeah spells involve complex rituals and the use of certain materials that have a powerful influence on a spell. Spells are passed down through generations only by word of mouth. The spells are a closely guarded secret that Obeah practitioners use for the benefit of mankind. Obeah spells are considered a spiritual contract between the priest and the person who desires a spell to be cast. They may involve the use of bodily fluids, herbs, personal possessions of the person on whom the spell is to be cast, as well as certain incantations. Very often, a dance is performed to invoke the spirits.
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The Origins of Obeah and its Spells
Obeah Spells are solely practiced in Obeah, which is a form of magic/sorcery practices derived from Central and West African traditions mixed up with Christian influences, although in much less degree than in Voodoo. It is practiced mostly in the Caribbean region, and is considered as both white magic and black magic. It was brought to America by the Central African slaves, and was in mild conflict with another form of folk magic, Myal, delivered by the slaves from West Africa. The peak of this conflict took place in the mid of the XIX century in the English colonies, as the side effect of fanaticism and spiritualism caused by the appearance of the comet combined with Christian millennialism, resulting in disorders and violence. Many Myal men were arrested and sent to prisons, and because the world survived despite the fate, their beliefs were weakened, putting Obeah in the place of power.
In general, Obeah means not only a form of magic but also physical objects like talismans or charms used for magic by the priests (Obeah men). Contrary to common belief, which made Obeah fearsome and evil, the bad reputation is mostly overestimated, as, like in many other forms of African-originated religious practices, Obeah contains also many forms of positive magic, like love spells, luck spells and healing practices.
As in many other forms of folk magic, Obeah derives power from contacting spirits (positive or negative) during rituals involving minerals, herbs, individual possessions, bodily fluids or animal parts, as well as chants or other verbal actions.
How Obeah Spells Work
The exact form of Obeah spells still remains a mystery to those not initiated, but some rules are well known to all and they are no different from all other African traditions of magic. Obeah spells cannot harm anyone, cause negative side effects in the long term or trick the subject of the spell. The one wanting a spell to be cast is responsible for the effects, as the spell caster is only a medium to the spiritual forces of the world and is not personally involved in any way (The same rules apply of course to curses and any other negative spells). Still, just like in the case of other magic systems involving the spiritual world, Obeah spells can sometimes work not as we expected, so we must be very careful what we are wishing for. The effects will be beneficial, but unless we make our wishes clear, we may still be a bit disappointed. An example for such surprises is a woman who wished for a truly loving companion. In a week after the spell was cast, she found a dog. A good thing, to be sure, but not entirely what she wanted.