• Yahaira Muyea Tarr

Book Review: JAMBALAYA: The Natural Woman's Book for Personal Charms and Practical Rituals



In reference to the “Natural Woman” I have developed an understanding of a person who is connected to the land. Luisa Teish’s Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals impacts the journey of any who may come across the text, for to be human is to be one with all that is: the natural.


The opening introduces the audience to the narrator, Teish, and then the reader's focus becomes immersed in how New Orleans roots shaped her philosophies. Teish uses and shares language from African American culture and African Spiritual Tradition specifically.

Incorporated, are expository manuals for divination practices. Each practice she explains is prefaced or followed by memoirs that bring you straight to NOLA. She brings the reader on her walk from girlhood to high priestess.


Trotting across Louisiana and California, Yeye Luisah Teish documents her keen observations of the worlds around her and that which was cultivated within herself. Introduction to Orishas, Altar work, protection practices, spells and intentions, it’s all here.


Jambalaya is woven together in the kind of way that allows one to read quickly but calls one back to read again. Luisa Teish shares how her elders and confidants influenced her, dually serving as development for the audience.


This timeless work radically supports the Black diasporic community as we continue to face displacement and the effects of colonization. When Teish birthed this work it was 1985, before the digital age. Modernly we are witnessing a renaissance as folks are being connected quicker than ever before. Oral tradition is living on in this way and this review is an effort to support the immortality of Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals.


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