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Magic Packages, Bizangos

Pake: Magic Packages

Vodou priests have always relied upon plant toxins and the help of spirits to defend themselves and to fight their battles. Artefacts can be charged with power, and the souls of adversaries (zombies) can be controlled and harmed with the aid of poisons and black magic.

To capture natural forces, houngan and mambo create magic substances, which they preserve in carefully sealed jars or bottles. These substances are made by vodou priests and priestesses from plant and animal ingredients. A jar or bottle with magic contents is called 'pake' (from the French word paquet: package). Since this tradition comes from Africa, and in particular from Congo, Haitians will often refer to these packages as 'pake Congo'. Pake may have arms, which give them the appearance of human figures.Some pake are topped by a knife and fork, because lwa have to eat, too.

(From a text at the exhibition in Berlin)

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