Hoodoo & Witchcraft
Hoodoo – Witchcraft – Spellcasting
The Hoodoo Witch courses were created to teach people MY style of using Hoodoo magic within my witchcraft practices.
There is so much animosity about “Who teaches Hoodoo right?” and “Who should be allowed to teach Hoodoo?” – and for the most part, this upset is rooted in the violet history of hoodoos journey and birth in the USA.
Firstly, who IS a teacher?
Informally the role of teacher may be taken on by anyone. The competences required by a teacher are affected by the different ways in which the role is understood around the world. Broadly, there seem to be four models:
- the teacher as manager of instruction;
- the teacher as caring person;
- the teacher as expert learner; and
- the teacher as cultural and civic person.
The Hoodoo Witch team members are global, hailing from Australia, New Orleans, Canada and Nigeria. Therefore, our teaching style is NOT based from a USA Southern Based hereditary experience or lineage. It is based on the beliefs of our Nigeria team, and adjusted to suit the practices of the modern witch.
Hoodoo is an ever evolving folk magic system of practical work.
What is Hoodoo?
Hoodoo is magic without a religious doctrine.
Hoodoo assists with our practical needs: money, love, health, revenge, luck, and so on.
Hoodoo, as we practice it today, is a a blend of African spiritual beliefs and magic, the “botanical knowledge of Native Americans, and European folklore” – creating something that is uniquely American.
Hoodoo is commonly assumed to be the same as Voodoo, however, Voodoo is a religion in its own right, with a completely different pantheon of deity.
Some Hoodoo practitioners are Christian who often use the Bible in their practice as well as the petitioning of Saints. Other Hoodoo practitioners have no affiliation to the Christian faith.
Hoodoo uses herbs, roots, dirts, waters, powders, minerals, zoological items, and other everyday items, in spells and rituals. Witchcraft does as well, yet the purpose of some herbs are used for different reasons. An example is Graveyard dirt, in witchcraft it can be mixed with mullein and/or other products, but in Hoodoo, Graveyard dirt is strictly dirt collected from a grave.
Hoodoo, is often called conjure or rootwork – steaming from the practical use of roots in its spells and rituals. We also believe, modern Hoodoo is becoming different from Rootwork or Conjure.
Where does Hoodoo come from?
The purpose of hoodoo was to allow people access to supernatural forces to improve their lives. Hoodoo helps people attain power or success (“luck”) in many areas of life including money, love, health, and employment.
As in many other spiritual and medical folk practices, extensive use is made of herbs, minerals, parts of animals’ bodies, an individual’s possessions and bodily fluids, especially menstrual blood, urine, saliva, and semen.(2)
Contact with ancestors or other spirits of the dead is an important practice within the conjure tradition, and the recitation of Psalms from the Bible is also considered spiritually influential in hoodoo.(1)
Hoodoo as we know it today, came from Africa as a result of slavery into the Americas.
The extent to which hoodoo could be practiced varied by region and the temperament of the slave owners. Enslaved Africans of the Southeast, known as the Gullah, as well as those in Louisiana, were people who enjoyed an isolation and relative freedom that allowed for retention of the practices of their West African ancestors. Rootwork or hoodoo, in the Mississippi Delta where the concentration of enslaved Africans was dense, was practiced but under a large cover of secrecy. Hoodoo spread throughout the United States as African Americans left the Delta during the GreatMigration.
Where does the word Hoodoo Derive?
The major and most reliable research in this area has been done in the African Studies departments at Temple, Yale, and Havard Universities.
Those sources tell us:
“Hoodoo is not related etymologically as a word to voodoo. There is a thin strand of semantic connection only. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, black slaves of Hausa origin brought with them to their enslavement in the American south a distinct magic practice called “hoodoo.” The word comes directly from the Hausa language where the verb hu’du’ba means ‘to arouse resentment, produce retribution.’ Voodoo is a different word and quite a different concept. The word voodoo comes from another African language called Ewe where vodu is the name of a specific principle of nature or tutelary deity. Voodoo passed into American English by way of Louisiana Creole voudou. Very early in America, hoodoo came to mean ‘jinx’ or ‘cast a spell on’ as a noun and a verb: ‘Something hoodooed me out in the swamp last night. I think it was my ex-husband.'”
The word hoodoo stems from Hudu
Hudu is the name of a language and a Ewe tribe in Togo and Ghana. It was first documented in American English in 1875 and was used as a noun (the practice of hoodoo) or a transitive verb, as in “I hoodoo you,” an action carried out by varying means.
The hoodoo could be manifest in a healing potion, or in the exercise of a parapsychological power, or as the cause of harm which befalls the targeted victim.
In African American Vernacular English (AAVE), hoodoo is often used to describe a paranormal consciousness or spiritual hypnosis, a spell. But hoodoo may also be used as an adjective for a practitioner, such as “hoodoo man”.
Regional synonyms for hoodoo include conjuration, witchcraft, or rootwork.
Older sources from the 18th and 19th century sometimes use the word “Obeah” to describe equivalent folk practices. (We talk about Obeah practices late in the Hoodoo Witch Course.)
The word witch is typically associated with the European definitions of the word witch (and commonly associated with the practices of Wicca), however the word witch has been used in Africa since the very beginning.
The tagati is usually improperly translated into English as “witch”, and is a spiteful person who operates in secret to harm others.
The sangoma is a diviner, somewhere on a par with a fortune teller, and is employed in detecting illness, predicting a person’s future (or advising them on which path to take), or identifying the guilty party in a crime. She also practices some degree of medicine.
The inyanga is often translated as “witch doctor” (though many Southern Africans resent this implication, as it perpetuates the mistaken belief that a “witch doctor” is in some sense a practitioner of malicious magic). The inyanga‘s job is to heal illness and injury and provide customers with magical items for everyday use.
Of these three categories the tagati is almost exclusively female, the sangoma is usually female, and the inyanga is almost exclusively male. (1)
Over time, a few African Americans began to incorporate a few elements from the European culture, such as occultism and mysticism. The mobility of black people from the rural South, to more urban areas in the North, is characterized by the items used in hoodoo.(3)
Whites, particularly Jewish pharmacists, opened their shops in black communities and began to offer items both asked for by their black customers, as well as things they themselves felt would be of use. Examples of the adoption of occultism and mysticism may be seen in the colored wax candles in glass jars that are often labeled for specific purposes such as “Fast Luck” and “Love Drawing”. (3)
Throughout the African American community one finds Christian symbolism and prayer, which made it a natural addition to the similar symbolism of hoodoo. Mirroring the hoodoo concept of the Bible-as-talisman, the book itself proposes to be a protective amulet:
“Whoever carries this book with him is safe from all his enemies, visible or invisible; and whoever has this book with him cannot die without the holy corpse of Jesus Christ, nor drown in any water, nor burn up in any fire, nor can any unjust sentence be passed upon him. So help me.” (3)
Hoodoo is already a fusion of witchcraft and African Folk Magick.
In this day and age, with unlimited access to technology, and an ability to travel and experience different cultures, we all like to try and experiment with new and exciting magical systems. Every culture has a unique magical system that has been refined and adapted along the way. Think of the evolution of Shamanism, Hermetics, Witchcraft, Wicca, Folk Magic, Reiki, Yoga, to name but a few.
Modern day Hoodoo includes many elements of the above systems, and has elements of Voodoo/Vodun, Santeria, Palo Monte to name but a few. Modern hoodoo adapts further in each region it enters. For example, New Orleans Hoodoo practices has a different flavor from other areas in in South. Modern hoodoo, as it is practiced today has ALOT of traditional witchcraft practices introduced into the rituals and spells.
Hoodoo practice does not require a formally designated minister. Therefore both the practices of Hoodoo and Witchcraft are available for each and every person to study & practice. Everyone has the opportunity to improve the conditions of their life with a little magick and a closer connection to spirit.
The key to learning Hoodoo is understanding the journey of Hoodoo, so as to pay respects to Hoodoo’s violent history. Once you respect the foundation of Hoodoo, you can emerge yourself in the magicakal spiritual system – and then adapt the work to your own location – where ever you are in the world!
This is the type of HOODOO I teach in this course – hence why the name is HOODOO WITCHCRAFT.
Alvarado, D. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook. San Fransisco,
Hyatt. Hoodoo. vol. I. pp. 1758–1759.