I always enjoy having author Ailsa Abraham to stay. Welcome for another week, Ailsa – we love your magical meanderings.
Near or Far, it’s similar.
I’m very grateful to Jane for inviting me back to follow up on my previous post here. Today I’d like to talk about magic, both in Africa and elsewhere.
When working in Ghana, my aunt (well, maybe she is a bit of a witch) became pals with the local ju-ju man who was not only the witch-doctor but the “godfather”. His word was law. Any plan by the mining company for which my uncle worked had to receive his approval (subject, of course, to the usual gift of whisky or cigarettes). As a practitioner myself I find it hard to believe that Mama-Earth would agree to any group wanting to rip her apart to steal her treasures, but that’s just me. Nothing from job hunting, a wedding to local planning took place without his say-so, rather like the mayor in a French village. I have no reason to believe that anything has changed but would welcome comments from anyone currently living there.
Magic functions on belief. The more the consultant or recipient believes, the stronger the effect. That is a fact and in Africa everyone believes in it. Even here in France I regularly see advertisements in the local paper (or internet pages see above) for “desenvoutement” which is the removing of evil spells and the practitioner is almost always someone of African extraction.
Like Britain, France has (or had) many dependencies there so a large number of Africans can call France “home”. It is a testament to how strong the belief in magic is, if these adverts can be posted quite seriously in the hope of attracting customers. Are we any different? If we believe that walking under ladders, spilling salt or breaking a mirror can attract bad luck, why not believe that it is down to someone wishing you ill? In my own family, nobody would ever hand you a knife or the salt cellar. We would place them on the table in front of you and if giving a gift that cuts we would expect a coin in return.
In my last piece I touched on the subject of good v. evil as in Jane’s book Breath of Africa. Recently I have come up against this myself. I’m no ju-ju man but have a certain reputation locally and among my friends of being able to “help out” a bit. They believe I can, I think I can try, often it works. When it concerns something with no two sides to it, I’m fine. My friend’s child is looking for work? Great, I’ll send courage, hope and whatever good luck I can.
The problem comes when I am faced with someone behaving wickedly. If I am privy to the wickedness myself I will take the decision and ask for justice. I’ll take any come-back on myself if it is not called for. Cruelty to animals is a case in point. I see no reason to ever hurt an animal so I will send back equal measure to the perpetrator.
I am in a real quandry when a very good friend asks for help and tells me of harm done to them by a third party. Ju-ju men dont’ seem to have this problem as they believe whoever is paying them (cynical me!) which makes life easier. What I have to do is pray for guidance.
As my old mother used to say “Don’t wish harm to those who do it to you, they will bring it on themselves.”
No, I do not take on unknown clients and no, I do not take money. I’m just a village healer, not a ju-ju woman.
Bio and links
Ailsa Abraham writes under two names and is the author of six novels. Alchemy is the prequel to Shaman’s Drum, published by Crooked Cat in January 2014. Both are best-sellers in their genres on Amazon. She also writes gay male romance under her brother’s name, Cameron Lawton.
She has lived in France for over twenty years and enjoys knitting and crochet and until recently was the oldest Hell’s Angel in town . Her interests include campaigning for animal rights, experimenting with different genres of writing and trips back to the UK to visit friends and family. She runs an orphanage for homeless teddy bears and contributes a lot of work to Knit for Africa. She is also addicted to dressing up, saying that she is old enough to know better but too wise to care. Rumours that she is a witch may or may not be true.