Kenaz Filan, like many authors these days, has a bit too “new age” perspective for my tastes, but unlike others, I wouldn’t go as far as to accuse him of intentional cultural appropriation. He is a writer, and definitely Pagan, practicing what he preaches as far as anyone knows, and is sharing his sincere perception of Haitian Vodou and its practices, in this case, concerning love, sex, and relationships.
The holes that I’ve found in this and some other of his works mainly revolve around solitary vs. community and the assumption that non Haitian readers are of a coddled American hippie/new ager mentality. So there is a lot of text wasted trying to appease the sensibilities of hypocrites and ideological masochists…or maybe he’s overly concerned with saving them. I don’t know. Also, he writes from a place of over individualism probably because he assumes that a reader wouldn’t be interested in becoming a part of the community. As an initiate to some traditions himself, he should know better. He should be encouraging community and its consequent accountability more explicitly.
Criticisms aside, I believe this book is useful for those who are considering becoming a part of the Haitian Vodou community, and want an idea of how romantic relationships are regarded and sustained. One mistake that he didn’t make is in separating the deities from the spells. He did not give the impression at any time in this book that one could do the spells without being a devotee of the associated deities. In fact, you would be hard pressed to “skim” to the spells in this book. I like that. Deities are all up in the instructions so that you can’t escape them.
So if you have to go it somewhat alone because the only way you can reach a Haitian Mambo or Houngan is the internet, then this is a decent guidebook. It’ll give you a practical way of taking care of yourself when you need to, and understanding of some things your priest/ess may be doing for you. You still need the priest/ess, but you’ll get by well enough without a house unless or until you can establish one or move to someplace that has one that fits you.
Another thing I like about him is that he was not afraid to broach the subject of domestic abuse. Nor was he fearful of the situation of fathers absent by necessity. So this book is worth a read.