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Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals
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Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  666 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
A Marvelous Blend of Memoir, Folk Wisdom, and Afro-American Beliefs.

Actress, storyteller, and priestess Luisah Teish dramatically re-creates centuries-old African-American traditions with music, memoir, and folk wisdom.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 1988 by HarperOne (first published 1985)
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Aubrey Coletti
Sep 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Be Thou Forewarned...I am incapable of being non-biased when it comes to this book. I'm simply too close to the material it explores, and after reading it, I feel a strong connection to Ms. Luisah Teish herself. And that, in short, is why I adore it.

"Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals" is part memoir, part folk-magic practices, and part tome of women's spirituality. Written in the eighties, it has some of the historical assumptions about women's spiritua
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I checked it out from the library, but wouldn't mind owning a copy since I took tons of notes. This book is full of magical exercises, spells, and information. Not to mention her bits of New Orleans' history, as well as useful personal history. I think that this book is a great introduction to the history and practice of American voodoo. It breaks away cultural stereotypes, teaches one a bit about religious tolerance.

I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, even if
Denise Alvarado
Jun 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all time favorite books and the one I recommend to everyone who wants to learn about New Orleans Voodoo. If you want to know when it is okay to do a work against someone, or how to make a little soul doll, it's in this book. If you want to meet the orishas and learn to work the rainbow, it's in this book. Chief Luisah Teish provides an intimate look at her relationship with the mysteries and gives the reader some practical instruction on how to serve the Spirits without initiat ...more
Paulo Flores Chico
Dec 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoy how Luisha talks about her first experiences with magic and how they are intertwined with her family history. Each chapter describes useful and easy step by step rituals. It is a rare gem discussing magic, spiritual journeys and being a woman of color. In the sea of white witches in the northwest, starhawak and irish wiccan books and the like, this one was really important to me.
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This book was one that really started me on my personal journey.
Aug 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women of color
nicely shows the connection between spiritual practice and personal evolution (& growth).
Oneka Samet
Jul 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nzuri
Good information for beginners looking to start their spiritual journey.
Oct 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women seeking "More" of their own spirituality
Recommended to Lynn by: Luisha
I have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Teish at a Women's Spirituality conference. She led the opening ceremony and taught us some tricks of the trade. She spoke about Haiti and the magical women there. She spoke about ancient traditions and wisdoms. This is a text book of healing and empowerment. This book concentrates on the voudou powers in New Orleans.It employs the subconscious mind. It is a working woman's tradition and is easily used by working women.
This is a book to have on your refere
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: metaphysical
I had this dream about Oya recently and decided to read up on her; I started with the intertubes and then figured I'd read Jambalaya, since I'd had it sitting on my shelf for a few years and why not? My reaction is kind of meh; it feels very dated (80s Starhawkiness), and you get the sense Teish knows a lot more than this but that it's oathbound. I can respect that. I just don't feel like I learned a ton. That said, its time has to be factored in there too. There was not nearly as much info avai ...more
Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: work
One of the few books that's a mainstay in my library. The story of how she became a priestess & the life she lead is amazing 7 inspriring. The book itself is simple, easy read. Her explainations of the rituals are straight forward. She gives a general history of the God/Goddess of the Orisha traditions as well as other African traditions. Can't say how much I enjoyed the read.
Donyae Coles
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
I finally read this after it coming up in so many groups that I'm in. Many folx consider this to be THE go to book for getting into spiritualism as a Black woman. After reading it, I can agree that the book contains many of the basics needed to build a foundation for a fruitful and fulfilling spiritual practice.

However, while I was reading the book, it came to my attention that the author has spoken against trans people and therefore I am not recommending her book to anyone as her values do not
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I like it for what it is, however , I don't see myself using all the information in it. I like keeping things simple and the rituals, etc, take a lot. At least to me. and that's okay if you're completely I to one tradition. I am not. I also, again, like simplicity. Though I personally stopped reading the last section of the book, I believe those in the tradition will find it all a great help!
Sonia Sein
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent. I read the book 3 times.. This book has lifted me up spiritually. Recommend this book.
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite source for rituals.
Mychole Price
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely better than I expected and so much more applicable for anyone's life, not just women or females. Anyone looking at starting a path in afro-ancestry can start with this and feel good about practicing.
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. She told it from such a personal point of view. To see the awakening of a witch in your minds eye is something else.Luisah gives a historical background to voodoo in one of my favorite places on EARTH- New Orleans.

I wont lie, I haven't tried any of the spells because some of them are just too outrageous and others I just cannot do living in my little apartment in NYC. I did pay Ellegua though ;)

Read it, you wont regret it.
N.R. Leigh
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I've been carrying this book around with me for 15 years! I skimmed through it that long ago, and knew I had a personal connection to it. I just read it cover to cover in three weeks and found the book to be a rich memoir of Teish's life, and education on African Diaspora spiritual cultures and a practical way for women to experience the charms and rituals to create change in one's life. I have a lot of respect for Ms. Teish. Thank you for this book, I would love to meet her someday!
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I had the honor of attending one of Luisah Teish's workshops,
I first connected with her books when I was in junior high.
I was drawn to her material and I haven't been the same since.
With being a woman of Creole heritage and wanting to connect
with my roots, this was a natural transition for me.
Hilary Knause
Jun 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
i went through a witchy pagan phase in my early 20's... but i still own this book when i've given most of the others from that time away. the author is a priestess of oshun in the yoruba lucumi tradition in new orleans. the spiritualism in this book spoke to me in a very grounded, earthy, interconnected way that i think we are often missing in our very isolated modern world.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"I beg you sisters to perform magical works, chant prayers, and initiate actions daily that will cause war, hunger, rape, battery, murder, and the Ism Brothers (racism, sexism, class-ism) to drop dead! Pray that their names are eradicated from the face of the Earth. Invoke for their extinction. See to it that they bear no children in the minds and hearts of the people."
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I once heard Luisah Teish speak at a conference, and she forever captured my attention with her story telling. The tales she tells of her own life and adventures in "Jambalaya" are no exception. I also love the way she takes Voudou and Yoruban spirituality and makes it user-friendly for any seeker.
Juliette Morris Williams
Jun 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite all-time 'life' books by one of my favorite all-time people. Who wouldn't want to hear about what it was like growing up in Marie Laveau's house?

Great stories, rituals, and writing by a great Woman. Ashe O.
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pagan, spirituality
An original and wonderfully written blend of memoir, philosophy, practical magic, history, and Goddess ritual. Luisah Teish has been an incredibly influential teacher, author, and ritualist in Goddess movements and African diaspora spirituality.
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I own this book and every time I read it, I learn something new. Luisah Teish's writing is in a candid storyteller mode which kept me reading over and over with a smile on my face. There is some really great information, perfect little anecedotes about her life, and life in general.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, witchy
I really enjoyed this book. I wasnt really sure what to think at first but it pleasantly surprised me. I learned a lot from this book. I was expecting anecdotes and teasers on spellwork but it was all that and so much more...
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Teish is a Yoruban priestess with roots in the rich African-American heritage of New Orleans. The book is mostly memoir and part spell book. I fell in love with Teish's essay in Goddess of the Americas edited by Ana Castillo and felt compelled to read more. As easy and inspiring read.
Mimielle LaFauve
Jan 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
a nice friendly intro to voudoun, orishas and southern cooking :D
Jul 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: medicine-people
A book to love and read for a lifetime.
Jan 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Every woman should read this book... well if your into earth based spirituality. It's a great guide to simple spiritual practices that women can do at home.
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is one of the first books I read in this tradition.
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