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On Hoodoo

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On Hoodoo

Postby Kassandra » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:59 pm


Here are some things I value about the hoodoo path (it's not the only spiritual path I follow):

Simplicity & Community

I enjoy the fact that to practice hoodoo (not to be confused with vodu nor Voodoo) there's no building at which one must regularly congregate; no taglines to recite; no organization to join; no special clothing; no titles conferred, initiations to endure, nor degrees to "pass"; no emblems to flash; no scriptures beaten over your head (lol); no pantheon before which to fear and tremble; no “voluntary love donations" extorted from one's bank account; no priest class to kowtow to...see, I like simple.

I like how hoodoo practitioners (aka rootworkers) fly solo, and do just fine. At the same time, I appreciate how there is a strong sense of community, as well, and some rootworkers feel a strong calling to do rootwork for other people, and help the world in that way. One approach is not better than the other. I admire the humility I found, which is the last thing I thought I would encounter with hoodoo: how that even the most experienced, amazingly popular rootworker (and there are many) is still just a "worker," and they never forget it. That ethic runs throughout the rootworking community --and it is a community. If you get full of yourself, you will hear about it, is in any family.

Uncrossing-Spiritual-Cleansing-Spell.JPG (45.53 KiB) Viewed 1219 times
I like simple hoodoo cleansing/renewal spells, such as this
one for a family that just experienced a traumatic event. I
was surprised to find there is much more to hoodoo than sim-
ply "Voodoo dolls" and curses, despite ignorant Hollywood ster-
eotypes. I like how it is a actually a spiritual path that addres-
ses every area of life, and death.

Photo source: conjureinthecity.com/what-is-hoodoo-magic.html
A spell by by Khi Armand.


I have a background in art, so it's not surprising to me that another appeal of this path is the crafty part of it. I find that hoodoo spells, done skillfully, can sometimes be quite beautiful. Now, they don't have to be beautiful in order to be effective, of course. But I always enjoy seeing well-done "spellwork art" as a by-product of magical efforts. Some spells, to me, look like what is known in art lingo as “tableaus,” sculptures or paintings that seem frozen in time, and tell a story. Hoodoo spells often “tell a story” just by the way they're constructed, such as break up spells where two figural candles face each other, and a third one faces away from them, a pair of scissors symbolically "severing" the connection [see example in photo below]. I don't know, maybe the artistry appeals to my Inner Child.

Prosperity-Spell.jpg (32.04 KiB) Viewed 1437 times
Look at this beautiful hoodoo prosperity spell. I don't think I would want
to take this down when the spell ended, haha. Have you ever done that,
not wanted to dissemble a spell because it looks really nice? Or the herbs
smell nice? Or you don't want the Sabbat to end 'cause it was so fun?

Photo source: facebook.com/113401852025088/photos/pb.113401852025088.

Reconnection to Nature

I think this is my greatest love of this path, the connection to nature it has fostered in my life. I really love plants, and trees, and rocks, etc. I love spending time in nature among "the elements," a good foray in the green, interacting with water, with fire, with the earth and air, in the rain or in the sunshine. Working with roots, as well as other parts of plants, is the backbone of hoodoo. I enjoy putting together a magical medicine cabinet of formulations for oils, resins, incenses, baths and powders. I have stayed up 'til 4am in the morning really having fun grinding up herbs and other things in a mortar and pestle, mixing ingredients in creative ways, creating my own oils and whatnot! (why keep the fun to myself? ...as I'm writing this I'm thinking of getting together with some friends for a little hoodoo party next time I pull one of these all-nighters, lol)

And there is candle magic to work with the fire element: "dressing" them with herbs and oils, carving symbols or words into them them, etc. And then, I never know what else I'm going to incorporate into the spells, like I might use sand from a cemetery to connect with ancestors, or ground-up brick from a building in which I want to be employed, or rocks from a river, or any number of other unexpected objects. And then, there is the element of water. Water soothes and enlivens, and ritual herbal baths are intrinsic to hoodoo practice. I love that I can touch all these elements in the course of practicing rootwork.

Herb spell bag.jpg
Herb spell bag.jpg (37.11 KiB) Viewed 1218 times
Herbs, petition papers, and various other items usually comprise
these spells, which are then worn or carried by the practitioner.

Photo source: queenofpentaclesconjure.com/article_mojobags.html


What people call magic (or magick) I think of as simply Good Energy Management. Like showering, brushing your teeth and combing your hair might comprise bodily management, rootwork is managing the energies in one's life: relationships, employment, romance, educational goals, business success, court cases, physical health, spiritual growth, etc. Its practices focus on making life run smoother and drama-free, if possible.

To me, really magic is not something outside of ourselves, but it is intuitive, common-sense energy management utilizing the power of one’s word, will and intent...with ingredients thrown in to focus and intensify that intent. I view magic as simply a tool that supports our efforts at managing the many energies of our lives, assisting us in, ultimately, accomplishing our purpose here in the brief time we have as incarnate beings. Living life well, to me, is certainly the real “magic.”

Getting Rid of a Meddler spell.jpg
Getting Rid of a Meddler spell.jpg (27.12 KiB) Viewed 1143 times
What is the story this spell is telling? Pretty obvious, lol.

Photo source: supervoodoospells.com/SuperPowerfulBreakUpSpell.html


I have learned a lot about aspects of my family of genetic origin by studying hoodoo, since my father is from the South. Hoodoo has a uniquely Southern origin, though its popularity has spread to other parts of the United States, and to the world at large. It is a syncretic mix of the magic practices from various ethnic and religious groups living in the Southern United States (German, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Native American)...all folded into a base of African spiritual principles and practices brought over by black slaves. It is Sub-Saharan Africa's contribution to the world's collective body of magic (North Africa's already well-known contribution is Khemetic magic, i.e., the "Egyptian pantheon"). To get into an in-depth understanding of hoodoo, sooner or later you have to take a look at the anthropology of it. This is not necessary, however, for successful rootwork practice, it's just that I’ve always loved anthropology, so the anthropological angle of it is yet another appeal to me.

Hoodoo has some of the most interesting back stories I’ve ever seen. I never get tired of them, as they can be quite entertaining. I have found that hoodoo history can also be quite educational, as well. As with all things American, hoodoo practices have roots that originate in other lands. Really, we are all immigrants here (anthropologists would argue that even the “First Peoples,” the Native Americans, might be considered immigrants as well, depending on how far back in history we want to look), so we all have a back story.

The Positive is Encouraged Here

Neither life, nor magic, is all happy shiny flowers and rainbows, and there are times when grievances must be rectified. Protective and commanding practices are OK because they are practical (such as "hot footing," which might be considered an equivalent to what other magical traditions call “banishing”). Discussions about how to undo negative work are OK, too, and actually valuable to know. But, in my opinion, there's a right way and time to use strong, commanding work, and a wrong way and time. I'm just saying think before you act, that's all.

Curses, jinxes, crossings, all of these things are a legitimate aspect of traditional hoodoo practice. They always have been, and always will be. I don’t judge people who do these things, in fact I know people who do and that’s their business. I will not be encouraging these practices in my comments on this message board, however. There is more than enough negative energy in the world already, without my adding to it. The owner of this board, Star Witch Stone, is not into negative magic, and neither am I. I’m not disparaging it in any way, I’m just not going to pitch it here. There is no shortage of websites and books out there that teach crossing work of hoodoo (curses, etc.), so just Google them for further information.

I have found hoodoo to be a life-affirming, positive, fun, empowering practice, and this is the aspect of it that I encourage here. After all, success is the best revenge, as they say...so rather than curse others, why not focus your precious energies on achieving your own success, instead?

OK, enough about me. I welcome your questions and comments. Thank you for taking the time to read this.


Related posts:
* Folk Magic forum
* Free Rootwork Services and Supplies
* Ancestor Altars
* Psalmic Magic

:fairy: bling ~ Have a magical day, now ~

Ask Kassandra
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Re: On Hoodoo

Postby Scarlet Woodland » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:40 am

Thankyou for this beautiful post Kassandra. I've felt drawn to Hoodoo since the beginning of my path but resisted, purely from a sense of cultural appropriation. I felt that as a white, British person I didn't have the right to explore it.

Further down the road, I find there are huge similarities with how I've come to practice, naturally. The formulas, methods and way of approaching things that I came to on my own are so close to Hoodoo that I feel really good about exploring it now.
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