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Sacred space

Voodoo priestess, 72, rebuilds New Orleans temple after devastating fire

By WITW Staff on March 3, 2016

Miriam Chamani has run the Voodoo Spiritual Temple since 1990, a space that she created to worship her beliefs and and share the religion, which was developed by African slaves and influenced by Caribbean immigrants and Catholicism, with the people and visitors of New Orleans. According to a report from Fusion, Chamani’s sacred space — in a building erected in 1829 — was devastated by a fire last month, ruining much of the temple with the exception of the room where religious items were kept. “Maybe I used up all of the house’s energy,” said the 72-year-old priestess, who turned to online crowdsourcing to fundraise for the repairs. As of Tuesday, more than 400 people have contributed to a GoFundMe account set up in Chamani’s name, raising over $16,000. “The temple is not a physical building,” she told Fusion. “It’s the intestines, the organs that go inside a physical building. It’s the people you have touched.”

Mississippi-born Chamani considers herself a “spiritual surgeon,” and her temple is the most prominent in the city to be run by a woman of color (and free). She’s so influential in New Orleans that a former mayor named May 5 “New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple Day.”

Read the full story at Fusion.