Mysteries of the Vanuatu Black Magic
While Vanuatu is often associated with beautiful beaches, lush forests and an endless array of adventures, there is a more mysterious side to it. Black magic plays an important part of the local culture. Belief in powerful spirits remains strong throughout the archipelago and many witch doctors continue to practice the ancient rituals to this day.
For those who seek to learn more about this side of Vanuatu’s culture, a visit to Tanna, Ambrym and Malekula would be a good idea. However, even in more modern Efate and the capital Port Vila, traces of black magic still endure.
In fact, if you visit the Secret Garden on Port Vila’s fringe, a black magic demonstration can often be witnessed. This involves planting a jungle shrub in a shallow hole and challenging visitors to pull it from the ground – volunteers are said to be unsuccessful with the task.
The Ni-Vanuatu are both sensitive and secretive about the use of black magic, so while there may be some opportunities to find out more about it, many visitors to the island will never be fully able to understand its depth and impact to the society. Interesting to note, however, is that it is taken seriously by the legal system of the islands. People have gone to trial for killing with the use of black magic – a very serious offence that can incur the loss of an arm if found guilty.
While only a few outsiders get to see the old rituals first-hand, it is even more special when the Ni-Vanuatu allow women to experience it. The rituals are traditionally reserved only for men. As much as it is about magic and mysticism, black magic in Vanuatu is also highly linked to war and its warriors (thus the exclusion of women).
For those who choose to go on black magic tours, the experiences vary depending on where you do them. Some involve drinking the famed Kava of Vanuatu – said to be the strongest among all other versions across the Pacific Islands. Others are very immersive and let the audience take part in what is happening. No matter where you do the black magic tour in Vanuatu, you are bound to be in for a great surprise that just might make a believer out of you.