A unique journey to spiritual guidance

Priestess Miriam Chamani (Mary Robinson Adams Williams), Founder, Voodoo Spiritual Temple, New Orleans, Louisiana

Article | New Orleans, Louisiana | 03 August 2022
Priestess Miriam Chamani founded the Voodoo Spiritual Temple in New Orleans in 1990. Born and raised in Mississippi to sharecropper parents, she became aware of her spiritual gift from a young age. Since becoming ordained in the ministry and Spiritual Church in 1975 she has been practicing Voodoo and providing spiritual guidance to many people. ILO Photo/ John Isaac
It’s just after sundown as we meet with Priestess Miriam. As she opens the door and welcomes us into the temple’s shop and apothecary. It a crowded West African statues, gris-gris bags, voodoo dolls, candles, burning incense, paintings, and books on everything from spirituality, various religions and books on African traditions.

Priestess Miriam Chamani and her late husband Priest Oswan Chamani established the Voodoo Spiritual Temple in 1990. The temple, located in the famed French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the only spiritual temples of its kind in the this diverse and welcoming city.

“I was born and raised in Mississippi, and I was one of five girls and two boys. My parents were sharecroppers and grew all kinds of crops and vegetation,” Miriam says as she fans a plume of incense smoke away from her face. “So from a young age I learned a lot about people and the hardships they face.”

It was during her childhood that Miriam, who was born Mary Robinson Adams, first became aware of and discovered her spiritual gift. From a young age she began to experience visions and mystical experiences and forces. A gift she would later realize would lead her to her future path as a voodoo priestess.

Inside the Voodoo Temple there are many African statues, traditional healing herbs, candles, bottled elixirs, and spiritual charms. There are also many books on religions, people and world traditions particularly native African ones that adorn the inside of the temple. ILO Photo/ John Isaac
After living New York and then in Chicago, where she held various jobs, Miriam decided to pursue the Spiritual Church. “I was ordained in Chicago in my ministry and the Spiritual Church,” she discloses. “There were many black people there that had grown up through the Baptist Church, and many of them had adapted into what we call the spiritual sign,” she adds of others who like her had also left the Baptist faith they had grown up with. “Voodoo has many of its roots in the African-American experience as it came from West Africa and Haiti too.”

“I am aware of the many misconceptions people may have of the word Voodoo, but I use it to help and guide people,” Chamani affirms. “Many of my clients from all over the world come to me to seek guidance on their circumstances and problems, such as marriage problems, health issues, and I help them through whatever it is,” she notes with a bright smile.

“I also do weddings and marry people. People call me from all over the world, even as far as Australia! I mean I wonder sometimes how people find me,” she laughs jokingly. “I have a couple in Manchester that I married over the phone. And I actually just did a wedding two weeks ago. Many of my clients also come and see me from near and far so it’s not just on the phone or virtually,” Miriam confirms.

Being able to help people with their pain and suffering, officiate their weddings, and provide them with peace through her spiritual guidance, Miriam says is what she appreciates about her gift and the work she does as a priestess.

Priestess Miriam’s vocation is to use her spiritual gift to guide people through their problems as well as bring them joy. She has provided guidance to people internationally over the phone and Internet and many come from far and away to visit her in-person in New Orleans. ILO Photo/ John Isaac
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina she was able to offer much needed guidance to many in Louisiana who had been affected. “There were people who had all kinds of issues and circumstances that were troubling them. People would call me and tell me about their lives and what they were worried about and I was able to give them spiritual guidance and personal advice,” she says beaming with pride.

In her life’s work, Priestess Chamani has offered her spiritual guidance to directors and actors in Hollywood and she has also been featured on various international news and radio channels.

When asked if she has a congregation of people that meet with her, the priestess replies, “I feel that the world is my congregation and the humans who can comprehend and seek their needs through me are my members.”

Just then, the front door opens and a group of visitors arrive loudly commenting about the statues, tapestries and art that adorns the small temple. With a smile, Priestess Miriam thanks us for our visit and moves to greet her new members.