My voodoo mentor, Earl Marlowe, a professional blues singer and voodoo spellcaster, often used to talk about the Devil. In old time voodoo conjure lore, Satan was typically seen as a powerful conjurer, not to be messed with, but well worth calling on to empower rituals.

This was very much Earl’s attitude too. Anyway, here’s some of the things Earl used to say about the Devil – dug out from my old notebooks:

“The Devil is very, very real. Don’t pay no mind to what unbelievers say. He walks this earth and he can take any form at will. He interferes in human affairs and is sometimes invisible. An old Baptist woman I knew in the South, for example, once heard the ‘bomp, bomp, bomp’ of his footsteps when she was trying to convert a sinner, but she didn’t see nothing.

The Devil has cloven feet and has the look of a gentleman. He wears a silk top hat and frock coat. He was an ambrosial curl of hair in the center of his forehead to hide the single horn located there.

The Devil can appear in disguise as a black cat, sitting up there on the floor learning folks’ business and scheming ways to tempt them.

The Devil can also appear as a rabbit, terrapin, serpent, housefly, grasshopper, toad, bat or as a yellow dog. In Mississippi he used to appear as a black billy goat. I know ’cause I seen him once.

When the Devil appears as a snake he is black with yellow splotches on his back. He lives in the graveyard and moans and groans at the dark o’ the moon.

When the Devil was in the form of a serpent, long ago, he succeeded in tempting Adam and Eve. He laughed so much at what he done, he split in two, into a spirit snake and a material snake. The spirit part of him goes about tempting folks and helping conjurers; but the material part lives down there in the graveyard. That’s the way it is, for sure.”

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