Lucia, Voodoo Queen

Lucia Morgan was added, along with E. Honda and Poison, in the most recent update of Street Fighter V. While she is a somewhat obscure character, I’ve realized that Capcom has used her as a sort of keystone in which to expand their story. In my research of Lucia, I found a lot of interesting and, quite simply, bizarre ties which show a subtle but existing story path that Capcom could potentially take with the character.

Yes, G is involved. Sort of. I mentioned previously that G has some subtle but convincing ties to voodoo, and even pointing out similarities between him and Baron Samedi.

However, everything felt incomplete until Lucia came along, and she was very expertly woven into the stories of the two most important characters in Street Fighter V: G and Necalli. Take a look at these quotes:

Lucia to Necalli: “The hell’s “Getepe” mean?”

Lucia to G: “President of the World?! Okay, there’s exaggerating, and then there’s whatever you’re doing…”

G to Lucia: “”President of Earth” is not exaggeration! The Earth and the universe are one!”

Lucia to Menat: “Can you read what’s in store for the MCPD? I have a feeling something bad’s about to go down…”

Lucia is a very compassionate person, especially when it comes to her friends. However, despite her very good intentions, Capcom has included some hints that Lucia may be using some alternative ends to helping them out.

In other words, Lucia may just be a voodoo practitioner.

The first hint we have that Lucia might be a bit shady was revealed in her first game, Final Fight 3. She was cleared of a supposedly false corruption charge, which was never revealed. Since police corruption can run the gamut from corruption of authority to extortion to perjury, it isn’t clear what the charge actually was.

However, the idea that she was involved in some type of scandal that required Haggar to step in must have meant the charge was pretty bad. The good thing, though, is that we really don’t need to know what the charge was. The mere fact she isn’t completely scandal-free will be enough for the purposes of this theory. Being cleared of a corruption charge that’s been categorized as false doesn’t mean that she didn’t do it.

Because Lucia isn’t as clean as we would want to believe, we can begin to look at Lucia with a closer light, and when you do some digging, there’s a lot of background design choices that Capcom has made that may make you go, “What?”

The biggest thing for me was the idea that Lucia became Puerto Rican without any precedent whatsoever. It was never implied that she was from anywhere except Metro City, and while Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and its citizens are U.S. citizens, it still felt like an odd choice to me considering no other character in Street Fighter is from a U.S. territory. Now, you can make the argument about inclusion, what with Rashid being the first Street Fighter character from the Middle East and Abigail being the first Canadian character, but there’s something else I found that makes more sense – Lucia being from the Caribbean actually adds to my theory that voodoo will be a prominent thing in the future lore.

As I looked into Lucia’s etymological origins, I found out that the name Lucia was very prominent in the Caribbean, the most notable usage being the island of St. Lucia, and it’s St. Lucia where this theory begins.

The island of St. Lucia is named for the Catholic saint Lucia of Syracuse, who was martyred in 304 A.D. Prior to her execution, Lucia’s eyes were gouged out (whether by her own hand or by the order of the leader Paschasius is unclear), and eventually she was killed by a sword piercing her throat.
I was under the impression that maybe Lucia would suffer a similar fate, but considering Lucia’s story is far more humorous than that, and considering that I found no evidence that anyone was looking to pry her eyes out, I dismissed this idea (that’s more Juri’s story than Lucia’s).

However, in St. Lucia, there is a religion called Obeah, which has many similarities to voodoo. So, I wanted to see if Puerto Rico had anything like that. As it turned out, Puerto Rico had its own voodoo-like variant called Santería, but from what I could find, there wasn’t anything there that really matched anything Lucia did. Practitioners of Santería have ceremonies and rules they have to follow, and Lucia just doesn’t have any outward signs of being a Santería practitioner.

I was considering abandoning this theory altogether, considering that practically all of the nations in the Caribbean have their own offshoots of voodoo. Even Jamaica, where Dee Jay is from, has a strong Obeah following. Dee Jay, however, has not been shown to have any ties to voodoo whatsoever, and focuses strictly on his music; he has a horror costume in Ultra Street Fighter 4 that turns him into a zombie, but it’s non-canon, and even that costume depicts him with a strong love for reggae. In fact, it could even be said Obeah is antithetical to what Dee Jay is trying to accomplish – reggae music is associated with Rastafarianism, which is a completely different religion to Obeah and doesn’t incorporate elements of voodoo at all.

So what about Lucia? What clues are there that would reveal that a Puerto Rican cop with a heavy Nuyorican accent would be into voodoo?

Lets start off with the idea that Lucia does happen to believe in the spiritual, asking Menat for her prediction on what would happen regarding the Metro City Police Department in her win quote to her. That alone isn’t sufficient enough to carry the idea that Lucia’s a voodoo practitioner, since several other characters ask for Menat’s foresight as well, but it does lead to some insight regarding one of Lucia’s most observable traits: her inability to cook.

In Lucia’s Street Fighter 5 Story Mode ending, it’s outright stated that Lucia can not follow a recipe, and overtly shown that anything she cooks is literally poisonous. Yet, to impress her friends, she cheerfully serves everyone her inedible food anyway, envenoming Cody and marking both Haggar and Carlos as her next victims.

Poison is prominent in voodoo, especially with the storied use of “zombie powder”, a concoction that is stated to turn whoever ingests it into a zombie. The zombie powder’s active ingredient is tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin that comes from pufferfish. In Japan, fugu, a type of pufferfish, is a delicacy, and must be prepared correctly in order to prevent the consumer from dying. If Lucia is involved in voodoo, it’s likely she would have some type of pufferfish laying around to try to create the curry she envisions Haggar eating (and while it’s true that Japanese curry is normally made with pork, beef, or chicken, seafood like scallops, mackarel, and even fugu can also be used).

To strengthen the ties that Lucia has to voodoo, Capcom added one seemingly innocuous character trait. Since Lucia can’t cook to save her own life, she heads to a nearby Vietnamese restaurant so she doesn’t starve to death. As it turns out, the mere act of Lucia going to a Vietnamese restaurant is the key.

Within Vietnam, there are several religions under the singular banner of being Vietnamese folk religion. While each of these separate religions have different methodologies and practices, when seen as an amalgam, there are many similarities to voodoo and Santería.

The two we want to look at most closely are Caodaism and Đạo Mẫu. As stated on the Vietnamese folk religion Wikipedia page, Caodaism “brings together the worship of the thần or local spirits with Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, as well as elements of Catholicism, Spiritism and Theosophy.” It’s the last part of that sentence that connects Caodaism with voodoo and Santería, as both have also incorporated Catholic elements and Spiritism into their respective religions. Spiritism is a philosophy that “postulates that humans, along with all other living beings, are essentially immortal spirits that temporarily inhabit physical bodies for several necessary incarnations to attain moral and intellectual improvement. It also asserts that disembodied spirits, through passive or active mediumship, may have beneficent or malevolent influence on the physical world.” Espiritismo, a Latin American and Caribbean term and one used prominently in Santería, is based off of this philosophy.

Đạo Mẫu, on the other hand, is the worship of mother goddesses, and utilizes the practice of lên đồng, a shamanistic ritual “in which followers become spirit mediums for various deities.” Invocation songs and dances are used by a medium’s assistant to summon the spirits of various figures. When the ritual is complete and the medium is fully possessed by a spirit, “the audience is allowed to approach the still-possessed medium to make offerings, petition the deity being incarnated in exchange for favours, or to have their fortune told. The medium offers sacred gifts in return, often in the form of joss sticks.”

Basically, with the ties between Caribbean and Vietnamese religions, the idea that Lucia would practice some variant of voodoo, whether it’s Santería or something else, isn’t too far off. In fact, Japan even has one practice that, like in voodoo, allows you to put a curse on someone: Ushi no toki mairi. This practice is closely associated with the Kifune Shrine in Kyoto, which lies in the Kansai region of Japan, and for the Japanese version of Street Fighter V, Lucia was given a Kansai dialect.

However, none of this may have convinced you that Lucia is a voodoo practitioner since all of this seems circumstantial, and to be fair a lot of what’s here can be said about different religions around the world. There is one thing, though, that sets voodoo and Santería apart from any other religion: it’s actively being used in law enforcement.

In Mexico, in an effort to seek spiritual protection in their ongoing battles with drug cartels, drug enforcement officers participate in voodoo rituals that involved priests, as Lizbeth Diaz of Reuters writes, “slaughtering chickens on full moon nights on beaches, smearing police with the blood and using prayers to evoke spirits to guard them.” Other officers even have voodoo symbols tattooed on their body, believing it gives them the protection to repel bullets.

Protection is the reason why Lucia would want to practice voodoo in the first place – to protect herself, Cody, Haggar, and all of her friends from gangs like Mad Gear or Skull Cross. By seeking out the divine guidance of voodoo gods like Baron Samedi or the orishas of Santería, Lucia would be looking for an extra element of protection that she wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else.

…Even if it was protection from her own cooking.

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