A wanga is in Vodoun ( Voodoo ) , a Curse or Hex made with a Poppet. A wanga is negative and even vampiric in nature. It is used to cast an especially powerful Spell or Bewitchment that forces a person to do one’s bidding, forces someone to fall in love, or causes accidents, illness, misfortune, and even death. A wanga-mort is a death hex, said to cause death in seven days.
Wangas are “placed” in poppets that are shapeless black or black and red dolls, the construction of which may include human hair and may be decorated with feathers. The feathers of a frize (owl) are considered to be the most potent and dangerous, for they represent danger, death, and destruction.
The poppets are stuffed with poudres (powders) made of dirt from an open grave (see Graveyard Dirt), ashes from a Ritual fire, Salt, the leaves of magical plants and herbs, cornmeal, gunpowder, flour, ground red and black pepper, and so forth. An especially lethal poudre, called poudre de mort, is made from human bone and is used in wanga-morts. Any wanga can be made even more powerful with the addition of human Blood or semen, both of which carry great magical powers.
Wangas are “planted” by being left in certain places in the victim’s house or yard or even in a graveyard. The location depends on the nature of the hex.
Marie Laveau, the famed “Voodoo Queen” of New Orleans, was renowned for her wangas. One of the most potent reputedly was a bag made from the shroud of a person who had been dead nine days. Into the bag went a dried, one-eyed toad, the little finger of a black person who had committed suicide, a dried lizard, bat’s wings, a cat’s eyes, an owl’s liver, and a rooster heart. It was hidden in bed pillows to cause victims to die. If they were mistreating their black servants, many white masters in old New Orleans found in their handbags or pillows some kind of wanga such as a little sack of black paper containing saffron, salt, gunpowder, and pulverized dog manure.
The results of a wanga—the sufferings of the victim—are called a cambe. A wanga can be broken with a counterspell or Charm called a piege, which wards off evil influences.
- Pelton, Robert W. Voodoo Secrets from A to Z. Cranbury, N.J.: A.S. Barnes and Co., 1973.