NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)--Tonight is the annual St. John's Eve head-washing ceremony at Bayou St. John, and all walks of life are invited to join. St. John's Eve is one of the holiest nights in the voodoo calendar, according to voodoo priestess Sallie Ann Glassman. "It celebrates the birthday of St. John the baptist and is considered at the time of summer solstice, where the sun is perceived as stopping in the heavens and turning around, symbolizing renewal and rebirth" said the priestess. Many don't realize voodoo is a religion quite similar to Catholicism and worships many of the same saints.
Guests are asked to wear all white, and bring small gifts for the legendary Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau.
"We honor Marie Laveau and her spirit 150 years after her death ad she is still very active in New Orleans and people still go to her for help and healing and empowerment" said Sallie, unlike the portrayal of her on television in shows such as American Horror Story.
The misconception of voodoo is that it is used for evil and spite. But no voodoo dolls are used, just positive energy, intended to bring those who participate in voodoo ceremonies peace of mind.
"I think it's very important for people to experience a voodoo ceremony first hand and to realize that it's not the terrifying evil practice that it is portrayed on TV and in books and it's actually a beautiful thing that we in New Orleans can be very proud of" the priestess shared. The whole point of the ceremonies is to be present with the spirits and saints to have on going relationships with them.
Sallie Ann's shop is located in the New Orleans healing center at 2372 St. Claude. if you ask, she will prescribe you remedies for every day life and bless your candles for you to pay your own tribute to the statue of Marie Laveau.