TV Features

Netflix Adds a Little Haitian Voodoo to "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch"

It's a major step towards including Black spiritualism in TV storylines.

As far as Netflix original series go, The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina The Teenage Witch is a well-curated playlist of supernatural entities, occult practices, and teenage angst.

The third season delivered all the demonic drama we've been waiting for. Viewers reconnected with Sabrina, who is somewhere between being the Queen of Hell and just a "normal" teenage witch in Greendale. In Hell, Sabrina must defeat Caliban, who (if you didn't have to read The Tempest in high school) is the son of the witch Sycorax. Back in Greendale, the witches, mortals, and summoned hedge witches come together to fight a war with the pagans.

In episode one, we find Prudence (Tati Gabrielle) and Ambrose (Chance Perdomo) being led on a wild goose chase around the world as they look for Faustus Blackwell. Their latest chase brings them to New Orleans, where Ambrose begins to give up hope, but Prudence realizes there is witchcraft in the world that their former high priest does not know of.

The Introduction of Voodoo Priestess Mambo Marie

To search for Faustus in a more efficient manner, the pair make their way to a shop owned by a mysterious yet enticing Voodoo priestess. We meet a Black woman who introduces herself as, "Mambo Michele Marie Le Fleur, Priestess of High Haiti, Daughter of the Tiano people, faithful to Guinee" and informs the witch and warlock that she "don't do none of this watered-down New Orleans Voodoo Hoodoo bullsh*t." It's inferred that Mambo Marie is a descendant of the famous Voodoo queen of New Orleans Marie Laveau, though the show has yet to confirm this theory. When Ambrose and Prudence tell Marie their dilemma, she guides the duo through the recipe of a locator spell by working with blood magic.

2 Diyah Pera/Netflix

This scene, while small (and overlooked in many recaps of the season) is a major step in the right direction towards including Black spiritualism in TV story lines. Mambo Marie (Skye P. Marshall) is the first introduction to Voodoo in the series, prompted by Prudence's (another Black woman's) intrigue and interest in a new spiritual practice. A later scene shows Ambrose and Prudence performing the blood magic ceremony over a map of the world, subsequently leading them to the location of Father Blackwell. Mambo Marie states that the ritual requires something belonging to the person they're searching for, and they end up using Prudence's blood. Altogether, the scene evoked the origins of Voodoo.

Voodoo, also Vodou, was brought to French Louisiana in 1719 by captive West Africans through their various ethnic groups from (what is now recognized as) the Republic of Benin, east of Nigeria. These groups (Bambara, Mandinga, Wolof, Ewe, Fulbe, Fon, Yoruba, Chamba, Congo, Ibo, Ado, Hausa and Shango) continued their spiritual practices and ancestral worship through the use of herbs, their native tongue, song and dance, charms, spells, amulets and more. Each group is recognized as having an integral part of the growth of Voodoo as a faith, combining elements and knowledge through the generations.

It is heavily documented that the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) was powered by allegedly possessed slaves guided by the Yoruba orisha (or god) of war, blood, and iron, Ogun, during a Voodoo ritual in Bois Caïman. This ritual is famously known as the Bois Caïman Ceremony and is historically the reason Haitians were victorious against the French in this war.

Mambo Marie's Contribution to the Coven

The Voodoo priestess makes a return appearance in episode 5 after being presumably summoned by Zelda Spellman in an open call for all hedge witches (or witches not belonging to a coven) to help in the war against the pagans. Episode 6 opens with a sister circles of witches from diverse backgrounds, including the Icelandic cannibalistic Christmas witch, Gryla; the Norwegian witch of disease and plague, Pesta; and Sycorax, an evil witch from the city now known as Algiers.

Out of anger and confusion, Pesta attempts to attack Zelda for summoning them, only to be stopped by Mambo Marie, who reminds them all, "We do not need to fight each other, that is what men do. But we are women, n'est-ce pas (isn't that so)? Witch women. We can do more than fight, can we not?"

Later in the episode she introduces the girls of the coven, formerly known as The Church of Night (later named The Order of Hecate), to a traditional Haitian Voodoo dance of protection. This unknown ceremony being performed within the Academy is not initially welcomed by Zelda Spelman. After a private conversation with Marie, Zelda realizes that she's nonthreatening and a potentially beneficial presence in the church (in more ways than one).

With powerful performances in just a handful of scenes, Mambo Marie has solidified herself as a recurring character in the show, not only as the love interest of Zelda's but as a solid representation of Louisiana Voodoo (Sorry AHS: Coven) that fans are ready to see.

Satire

To Donald Trump: 5 Ways You're Actually a Flawless Being Doing a Beautiful, Unbelievable Job Right Now

You could resign if you want to, but then who will keep America so GD great?

With Donald Trump making a visit to Bangor, Maine today, the editorial board of the Portland Press Herald issued an op-ed calling for President Trump to resign.

The harshly critical piece entitled "To President Trump: You Should Resign Now" was framed as an open letter to the president and got straight to the point with this opening plea, "We're sorry that you decided to come to Maine, but since you are here, could you do us a favor? Resign."

In recent days even George W. Bush has been critical of President Trump's response to protests, so this new piece quickly became a trending topic on Twitter. Obviously this is another baseless attack from the lying news media—AKA lügenpresse. Considering how delicate our president's ego is—he's our special little guy—we can only hope that Donald Trump didn't see the letter; but just in case he did, it's worth writing another one to lift his spirits. So here's our best attempt—with lots of pictures and flattery to keep him reading:

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For years, individuals in power, from government officials to entertainment celebrities, have utilized the natural and learned skills of spiritual advisors to determine when to make significant movements in their personal and professional lives.

The late and well-respected astrologer Joan Quigley is a famed name amongst students of the trade for being the personal astrologer to former President Ronald Reagan. Quigley, as reported in former Chief of Staff Donald Regan's book, For The Record, had much influence in many political decisions, even the scheduled time of press conferences.

"Virtually every major move and decision the Reagans made during my time as White House Chief of Staff was cleared in advance with a woman in San Francisco who drew up horoscopes to make certain that the planets were in a favorable alignment for the enterprise," Regan wrote.

Astrology can bookmark major changes in societal structures that are guaranteed to shift the climates between generations. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's relationship as a whole has–and will continue to–demonstrate the relationship between cosmic alignment and old patterns of hierarchy.

For many, the "resignation" from official public duty of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from the Royal family seemed like a shock, while astrologers globally and almost in synchronized form shrugged at the news. This type of separation from an ancient system such as the monarchy was expected, as it is in alignment with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn that occurred this past Sunday (Jan. 12) at 11:59 a.m. EST.

A conjunction happens when two planets line up within the same zodiac sign at zero to eight degrees. This particular one has been a major topic of discussion in astrology circles for years. Along with Saturn and Pluto, Mercury (ruler of communication and knowledge) was also in line with these two powerhouses of structure early Sunday morning; however, the "fight" between Saturn and Pluto are the main attractions here.



Pluto has been stationed in Capricorn since January 2008 (and will remain until 2024). Pluto astrologically represents transformation, the crumbling of structures, and the "death" of systems. Stationed in Capricorn, an Earth sign known for its rigidity and long-prepared growth, Pluto often leads to large societal systems, such as government structures and religious institutions, being dismantled and then "reborn."

Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, and when in its home base, the planet is a dynamic source of energy. Nicknamed "The Disciplinarian" of the Zodiac, Saturn has been transiting within Capricorn since December 2017. Saturn understands responsibility, discipline, will power and constriction. This is the energy you want when you need to meet goals and aspirations (hence Capricorns being stereotypically known as the workaholics of the Zodiac).

When these two extremely powerful and potent energies are in conjunction, it echoes absolute transformation in power structures and ideologies with iron fists. Historically, when Saturn conjuncts Pluto in Capricorn (which has not occurred since January 1518), there have been global shifts in the economy (the Australian gold rush), religious institutions (Martin Luther beginning the Protestant Revolution), and thought advancements (Einstein's theory of relativity).

To give even more historical context to this particular transit, during the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction (1982-1983 in Libra), there was a nuclear scare between the US and the Soviet Union (Sound familiar?).

This conjunction is a bookmark for major shifts globally that will lead to the breakdown and ultimate dismantling of old order and government systems. This may seem extreme, but as with Pluto symbolizing transformation and Saturn representing structure, this is a natural cosmic battle that will bring these systems to their foundations, to be rebuilt for the greater good.



Prince Harry, for as long as he's been a major part of the Royal family, has questioned and even sidestepped the status quo. With a partner who also seems to go against the grain, the Duke and Duchess are the ultimate example of a power struggle that will ultimately lead to the betterment of the collective consciousness by disrupting the power systems in place.

This can be connected to Prince Harry's open letter to Mail On Sunday in October 2019 combating its negative remarks regarding Meghan, which is a larger issue within the multi-billion dollar gossip media industry.



These transits, like all things reflective to the cosmic structure, have duality built in the seams. While it may seem "bleak" and heavy, there is good in this "breaking the tower and rebuilding from the foundation" narrative. This will lead to overall peace and understanding through many communities, allowing the masses to grow spiritually and opening individual realities to understanding the supererogatory nature of old thought patterns.

This shift, and many more occurring this year, will continue to radiate over time. A major theme at the end of this particular shift will be extreme self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

Harry and Megan have already demonstrated this "boot-strap" understanding by leaning towards new career goals that are not tied to the old systems (with help from each other, because they're adorable).

Between now and the next Saturn-Pluto transit (in 2053 in Pisces) we can expect our political structures, intellectual advances, and economic systems to shift drastically in nature. However, like all major changes, it'll happen so gradually that we won't even notice it. Even in astrology, everything in hindsight is 20/20.