By James Calemine
Alabama born author Zora Neale Hurston wrote Tell My Horse: Voodoo And Life In Haiti And Jamaica in 1938. The vivid stories reveal how voodoo is interwoven within the cultures. It’s a strange tale. Tell My Horse exists as a first hand guide–Hurston experienced most of the stories she wrote–to the power voodoo wields in these countries as well as unforgettable photos, drawings and illustrations. Also included in this book are political outlines, song lyrics and even an eerie recipe for poisoning an enemy by using lizards, spiders, dust of bamboo, black sage and other unsettling ingredients…
Her family moved to Florida when she was a young girl. Hurston wrote short stories, novels and folklore. In her story “Black Death” she wrote of a “hoodoo doctor” in Eatonville, FL. Her novels included Jonah’s Gourd Vine, Mules & Men, Tell My Horse and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston, a dedicated folklorist and anthropologist, called folklore “the boiled down juice of human living.” All her works represent folklore, and especially the mythological rural South. Hurston was also a singer, her best known rendition–“Crow Dance”–which is a ‘story’ of the sacred African buzzard swooping to eat and flying away. She ranks as a great American storyteller…
Chapter titles of Tell My Horse reveal the fertile soil of where Hurston participated in the studies of voodoo’s weird mysteries: “The Rooster’s Nest”, “Curry Goat”, “Hunting the Wild Hog”, “Night Song After Death”, “Women in the Caribbean”, “Rebirth of a Nation”, “The Next Hundred Years”, “The Black Joan of Arc”, “Death of Leconte”, “Voodoo and Voodoo Gods”, “Isle de la Gonave”, ”Arcahaie and What It Means”, “Zombies”, “Sect Rouge”, “Parlay Cheval Ou (Tell My Horse)”, “Graveyard Dirt and Other Poisons”, “Doctor Reser” and “God and the Pintards”. The book also contains songs of worship to Voodoo gods.
Ishmael Reed wrote in the book’s introduction: “…But Tell My Horse, the result of Hurston’s travels to Jamaica and Haiti, is more than a Voodoo work. She writes intelligently about the botany, sociology, anthropology, geology and politics of these nations in a style that is devoid of pompous jargon and accessible to the general reader. It is an entertaining book.”
If you want a first-hand, authentic account of real voodoo…then pick up a copy of Tell My Horse.
(From Insured Beyond The Grave Vol.2)