Obeah, Scams and Love Potions: Are You a Believer?

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A few weeks ago, my friend sent me a message telling me about a Guyanese man on a TV Court show. He was suing his palm reader for what I think was false advertising, or providing a disservice. Who sues their obeah man/ or woman)?
Anyway… The gentleman claimed that she promised him a larger penis to attract women, and to remove ‘a dark cloud over him’, if he did exactly what she told him to do. But after weeks of trying, his penis never grew. He argued that what he had to buy to work the magic, and what he paid her cost him a little over a thousand dollars (US), and he wanted his money back.
As I watched the show, all I could think was, “Really? He brought that to court?” But besides the amount of ‘kicks’ I caught at his expense, I wondered… In these modern times, is it truly still believable that someone has the power to help you grow or enhance your body parts, or attract unattainable love? What if it doesn’t work, or the spell wears off? Then what?
Seer man/woman, obeah man/woman, or whatever you want to call them, are quite popular in Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout the Caribbean. But you already know that. Here, in the US, we know them as palm readers, or psychics.
There are many unconventional reasons why someone would choose to seek the occult to resolve a problem. Some do it to get more money, a job, or business prosperity, or to seek healing. But, most times, it has something to do with love – finding and getting that man or woman, fixing up a love potion to marry and keep that man or woman, and finding out why that loved one is staying out later than usual… or for revenge.
I’ve heard stories of women who – when their man is ‘horning’ them left, right and centre, or just won’t stay home – do things like writing his name on parchment paper, inserting it in a cucumber, wrapping it up, and placing it in the deep freeze. Why? To get him to cool down. A friend of mine gave me the score about a male friend whose ex confessed that she’d visited a seer woman to see if they ever had a chance of getting back together, even though he clearly and repeatedly told her he wasn’t interested. Now some of us may laugh at these scenarios, but some people believe in this, along with ‘sweat rice’, and the rest of rumoured potions.
Some people would say they don’t believe in obeah. However, some of these same people sometimes find themselves by a seer man or woman, searching desperately for a solution to their problems. Problems aren’t selective. We all go through them, and however you choose to deal with them is your personal preference.
I am not a staunch believer of the practice, and any ‘work’ being done on me. However, I have joked a time or two whenever something goes wrong in my life. And I probably joke about it just because I grew up hearing that obeah may exist. There’s a great divide between who believes in obeah, and who does not, mostly because of religion. You’d probably assume that practising Spiritual Baptists would believe in obeah more than someone of another religion. However, people of various backgrounds rely on it. Others avoid it like a plague, without any true understanding of the practice, and shun it as a bad thing.
But what could possibly cause someone to try obeah? I mean… other than the reasons mentioned above.  Is it something about the unknown that makes a person curious to find out what they don’t know?  Most of us grow up with some form of religion that teaches us to lean on a higher being. That he or she knows your master plan, and knows your end result in life.  We’re just here to live it. So why pursue obeah to rush what your higher being already knows about you? I’d like to think that desperation, anxiety, and simply being fas’ is what motivates someone to seek an obeah man or woman. But I guess anyhow you try to address it, bottom line is, to each his own.
However, you look at obeah, it’s not a laughing matter, as a lot of Caribbean people (and Africans) take this very seriously. To people who don’t understand the history of obeah, the mystic of it will seem totally baffling to them. It’s been a historical tradition in most, if not all, of the Caribbean islands since slavery. Regardless of its account, the main question that seems to go unanswered is whether or not obeah powers actually work. What’s your take?

obeahA few weeks ago, my friend sent me a message telling me about a Guyanese man on a TV Court show. He was suing his palm reader for what I think was false advertising, or providing a disservice. Who sues their obeah man/ or woman)? 

Anyway… The gentleman claimed that she promised him a larger penis to attract women, and to remove ‘a dark cloud over him’, if he did exactly what she told him to do. But after weeks of trying, his penis never grew. He argued that what he had to buy to work the magic, and what he paid her cost him a little over a thousand dollars (US), and he wanted his money back.


As I watched the show, all I could think was, “Really? He brought that to court?” But besides the amount of ‘kicks’ I caught at his expense, I wondered… In these modern times, is it truly still believable that someone has the power to help you grow or enhance your body parts, or attract unattainable love? What if it doesn’t work, or the spell wears off? Then what?

Seer man/woman, obeah man/woman, or whatever you want to call them, are quite popular in Trinidad and Tobago, and throughout the Caribbean. But you already know that. Here, in the US, we know them as palm readers, or psychics. 

There are many unconventional reasons why someone would choose to seek the occult to resolve a problem. Some do it to get more money, a job, or business prosperity, or to seek healing. But, most times, it has something to do with love – finding and getting that man or woman, fixing up a love potion to marry and keep that man or woman, and finding out why that loved one is staying out later than usual… or for revenge. 

I’ve heard stories of women who – when their man is ‘horning’ them left, right and centre, or just won’t stay home – do things like writing his name on parchment paper, inserting it in a cucumber, wrapping it up, and placing it in the deep freeze. Why? To get him to cool down. A friend of mine gave me the score about a male friend whose ex confessed that she’d visited a seer woman to see if they ever had a chance of getting back together, even though he clearly and repeatedly told her he wasn’t interested. Now some of us may laugh at these scenarios, but some people believe in this, along with ‘sweat rice’, and the rest of rumoured potions. 

Some people would say they don’t believe in obeah. However, some of these same people sometimes find themselves by a seer man or woman, searching desperately for a solution to their problems. Problems aren’t selective. We all go through them, and however you choose to deal with them is your personal preference.

I am not a staunch believer of the practice, and any ‘work’ being done on me. However, I have joked a time or two whenever something goes wrong in my life. And I probably joke about it just because I grew up hearing that obeah may exist. There’s a great divide between who believes in obeah, and who does not, mostly because of religion. You’d probably assume that practising Spiritual Baptists would believe in obeah more than someone of another religion. However, people of various backgrounds rely on it. Others avoid it like a plague, without any true understanding of the practice, and shun it as a bad thing. 

But what could possibly cause someone to try obeah? I mean… other than the reasons mentioned above.  Is it something about the unknown that makes a person curious to find out what they don’t know?  Most of us grow up with some form of religion that teaches us to lean on a higher being. That he or she knows your master plan, and knows your end result in life.  We’re just here to live it. So why pursue obeah to rush what your higher being already knows about you? I’d like to think that desperation, anxiety, and simply being fas’ is what motivates someone to seek an obeah man or woman. But I guess anyhow you try to address it, bottom line is, to each his own.

However, you look at obeah, it’s not a laughing matter, as a lot of Caribbean people (and Africans) take this very seriously. To people who don’t understand the history of obeah, the mystic of it will seem totally baffling to them. It’s been a historical tradition in most, if not all, of the Caribbean islands since slavery. Regardless of its account, the main question that seems to go unanswered is whether or not obeah powers actually work. What’s your take?

 

Check out the rest of this week’s issue (12/09/11; Issue 74):

Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!

Onika Pascal

Onika Pascal is a Trini living in New York, who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is a single mom, author of two published collections of poetry, aspiring novelist ,and lover of all things purposeful.

2 Comments

  1. Osage Dior

    May 3, 2013 at 7:09 am

    thanks for the post…I believe it…in the power of the different occult…but I do believe that your mental state has something to do with the way it works…

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