Book Review: Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens by Lilith Dorsey

Review and Photo by Briony Silver | Instagram | Podcast 

About the Author

Lilith Dorsey hails from many magickal traditions, including Celtic, Afro-Caribbean, and Native American spirituality. Her traditional education focused on plant science, anthropology, and film at the University of Rhode Island, and the University of London. Visit her at LilithDorsey.com.

About Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens

Lilith Dorsey’s eagerly-anticipated Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens is absolutely essential reading for anyone interested in learning about the complex and intricate world of African religious traditions. Whether the goal is to broaden your knowledge via formal study, seek traditional initiation, or you’re simply curious – this book is the place to begin. Dorsey’s vast knowledge – drawn from extensive academic study as well as real-life experience – is on brilliant display throughout the book, alongside her infectious passion for teaching around this subject. 

“There is a kind of magick and power in certain words. They vibrate with a spiritual frequency. They resonate with the forces in the universe.”

Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens

For folks that might usually skip the introduction and / or conclusion of a book – I highly encourage you not to do so here, especially if you are not already familiar with the traditions being discussed. The introduction covers vital history, context, and definitions that frame each chapter’s contents, while the conclusion offers a lovely wrap-up that helps the reader see the “big picture” in terms of the scope of the book. 

If you are looking for a quick read, be warned – you likely will not find it here, as Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens is densely packed from cover-to-cover with history, myth, legend, lore, exploration of contemporary art, herbs, offerings, recipes, and magickal workings associated with the orishas, loas, goddesses, and queens to which the chapters are dedicated. This, however, does not mean that it is a comprehensive how-to guide for establishing your own practice. On the contrary, special emphasis is placed upon the need to seek out and establish a relationship with a qualified teacher within the tradition in which you are interested – a process that can be quite complex. 

New Witches will Love…

…the entire first chapter! Dorsey opens the book with extensive discussion around how to find and join a sacred spiritual house, including poignant questions that should be asked of potential teachers, and some tough questions to ask yourself before moving forward. She is intentional in stressing that this is a process that should be taken very seriously – not only because there are unfortunately some who would take advantage of those seeking initiation, but also because once you do find the right fit, it can be even more difficult to leave than it was to join in the first place. Also included in the first chapter are a guide to creating your own altar, a few notes on prayer and offerings, a calendar of important holidays and celebrations, and an overview of the use of divinatory magic.

Experienced Witches will Love…

…Dorsey’s incredibly detailed, multi-faceted approach to teaching such complex subject matter. As she points out at the conclusion of the book, “in many ways, these orishas, loas, goddesses, and queens truly defy explanation,” and there is a certain level of fluidity within the traditions. Everything presented in Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens is based on decades of research, practice, and experience, and readers can expect to encounter a plethora of hands-on applications to aid in forging a connection with the figures detailed in its pages. Floor washes, spells, Gris Gris bags, candles, oils, ritual baths, and edible offerings are just a few of the ways to get hands-on with the material! 

Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens may be purchased here.

About Briony: Briony Silver is an eclectic witch based in the Pacific Northwest, and the host of the Eclectic Witchery podcast. A proud Cancerian, water and the moon heavily influence her individual Craft – so you can almost always find her wearing something lunar-inspired, while toting a variety of jars, bottles, and vials in her bag. With a background teaching yoga and mindfulness, she enjoys weaving those two practices into her magic, and vice versa. You can connect with her on Instagram at @eclectic_witchery to talk water magic, crystals, moon magic, divination tools, and witchy books galore!

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