Saturday, August 12, 2006

Courthouse Powder Fits Voodoo Ritual

Gypsum found in piles and strewn about the perimeters of a courtroom in the Salinas courthouse recently may have been part of a ceremonial practice meant to purify -- or perhaps curse -- the premises, an authority on the subject said.

Ruben Mendoza, director of the Institute of Archaeology at CSU-Monterey Bay, said the mystical practice goes back to ancient times among indigenous groups in Mexico and Central America and is still used today.

Mendoza said Aztecs, Mayans and other Mesoamerican communities purified each corner of a structure by tossing corn pollen or ground corn or limestone into the wind to the north, south, east and west.

In modern times, Mendoza said, the practice has been assimilated for negative purposes by some using black magic and an off-shoot of the Santeria religion. Full Story

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