Friday, April 13, 2012

H is for Hoodoo

What is the difference between VooDoo and HooDoo?
Well, Voodoo is a religion and Hoodoo is a practice.
I like to think of it as Voodoo is to Hoodoo like Wicca is to Witchcraft. It's probably over simplified but...that's how I see it.
Those of the Voodoo faith believe in 1 God and a pantheon of Loas or spirits. In this it is very similar to Santeria only instead of spirits they use saints (again this is over simplified).

Hoodoo Conjure, Rootwork, and similar terms refer to the practice of African American folk magic. It is a practice of folk beliefs that is derived from the Southern US and has its roots from the Congo region of Africa. Other African tribes such as the Ashanti and Senegalese have greatly influenced Hoodoo.
Hoodoo is an American term, originating in the 19th century or earlier - In the mid 19th century, ships that had suffered a series of ill-fated voyages and mishaps were said to have been hoodoo'd. The problems onboard these vessels were attributed to an evil spirit or presence. Those who attribute the word hoodoo to Irish seamen say that is is a phonetic transliteration of the Irish-Gaelic words Uath Dubh (pronounnced hooh dooh), which means dark phantom, evil entity, or spiky ghost.
Although most of its adherents are black, it has always been practiced by both whites and blacks in America.

Popular names in Hoodoo culture and history include Marie LeVeau the Queen of Voodoo,

Hoodoo was popularized through such movies as The Skeleton Key, The Princess and the Frog, The Serpent and the Rainbow, and even voodoo and zombie films.

How did I get into Hoodoo?

I've always had an interest in hoodoo ever since some people around me when I was in High School started calling me Nina Bruja when it got out that I practiced witchcraft. I looked into Brujeria then Santeria then Voodoo then Hoodoo.
My interest increased after I went to New Orleans for the first time at 15. I was intrigued by the magical practices of the people there and couldn't learn enough.
When I graduated high school and went to college, I did meet a few hoodoo ladies (the owners of Three of Cups, which is no longer open). This stirred my interest even more though, being a solitary practitioner, I wasn't very willing to join their coven in order to learn from them (which is good since they have since dispersed).

How do I learn Hoodoo?

Hoodoo is not necessarily an initiatory system of practice. One can apprentice themselves to another practitioner but one can also learn directly from the Spirits themselves if they're inclined to teach you.
Another way is to learn on your own by studying the history of Hoodoo, where it comes from, the ideas and concepts, the spells and tools, etc.
And still another way is to take a class or workshop. One of the online correspondence courses I've been recommended to again and again is Cat Yronwood's through her website LuckyMojo.
Hoodoo Shops and Resources

Cat Yronwood's website has a lot of interesting information about hoodoo and voodoo as well as a large variety of materials and curios.

Another shop I recommend highly is ConjuredCardea, owned by Moma Sarah. Her blog also has a lot of information available.

A book I recommend is Sticks, Stones, Roots & Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo & Conjuring with Herbsby Stephanie Rose Bird. It was the first compendium of hoodoo I ever read and it was amazing. I have recommended it to a few people who have come to me asking about rootworking and hoodoo and they too have liked it and gleaned a good deal of information from its pages.

1 comment:

Jose Prado said...

Hey first time reader!!
Well in my humble opinion, Santeria and Voodoo are different lineages if the same religion.

I mean we call on the same Gods (some call them spirits that are messengers not Gods but to each his own I view them as Gods)

We use near identical magick, wear all white, and have almost the same Folklore.

So tomato, Tomate same thing to me. But beware of saying that to a fanatical practitioner. They remind me of Catholics and Protestants bickering like foolish children over such trivial differences.

And then you have them attack you if you use European witchcraft in your systems because you're not 'African' enough (this coming from guys who usually are white themselves)

Please stay the way you are. Don't ever be like these people. Follow your path. Oh! And then if you're not crowned or follow a 'tradition' they give you crap about it too. I felt like it was a meeting of the Pentecoastal Church.


Ache pa ti!