African spirituality practices date back thousands of years, so in the following paragraphs, we hope but to offer an outline so to entice your appetite for further investigation.

In African spiritual practices, the ultimate spiritual being, Olofi, has various aspects, some people say, are broken down into Orishas. (1)  In most African religions, the supreme god is a distant being no longer involved in day-to-day human life (2).

The Orishas vary from region to region, and in total it is said there are over 17,000 Orishas. These Orisha are called different titles in various practices:

For example:

Vodoun > Lwas

Voodoo > Loas

Macumba > Orixa

The 7 African Powers

The Orisha we most commonly know today are what is commonly called “The 7 African Powers” (1)

I. PAPA LEGBA:

Also Eleggua, Elegua. The trickster, the opener of the way and the guardian of the crossroads, both physical and spiritual.

2. OBATALA:

Also Obatalia. Obatala’s help is sought in ethical dilemmas and the problems of self-discipline.

3. YEMAYA:

Also Yemalia, Yemalla. Literally “mother of fishes”. She rules birth and the surface of the oceans, and works closely with Olokun, who rules the depths.

4. OSHUN:

Also Ochum. The Goddess of love and abundance.

5. OYA:

A revolution in constant progress, Oya brings sudden change.

6. CHANGO:

Also Shango. Chango is a king, and his name is synonymous with justice.

7. OGOUN:

Also Ogum. God of iron and machines, Ogoun is a smith, a soldier, and a politician.

When did the Bible come into practice?

As you can see on the reference page religions in Africa, there are many types of spiritual practices, religions, & spiritual beliefs. When people were taken from all over Africa to be sold to the Americas, most people did not speak the same language and they did not practice the same religion. Regardless, when they came over from the continent of Africa to be slaves, the slave masters did not allow the practice of any African spirituality practice. Anyone caught practicing any religion other than Catholicism was severely punished. A monotheistic faith such as Orisha was NOT acceptable in the new lands. 

The slaves, still deeply attached to their African roots, pretended to be praying to the Christian God, while deep in their hearts they were praying to their African gods. The practice of any type of magic was deeply forbidden and was well hidden from the masters. They learned from people in the region about the roots, the trees, and the other natural resources. This is why we have strong South American influences and native American influences in Hoodoo.

Over 400 years have passed, but the tradition still remains today; it is so deeply rooted in the religion that it is almost impossible to even imagine Hoodoo and Voodoo without the representation of the Loas with Catholic Saints’ images.

Now that you know this information, it will be up to you to decide to work with the Orisha or with the Saints, or just to the universal source of all energy.

 


References:

  1. http://wanderling.tripod.com/seven_powers.html
  2. http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/A-Am/African-Mythology.html

4 thoughts on “The Origin of Hoodoo

  1. RuskaRoma says:

    That is possible but stopping people from practicing with traditions (and using the saints has become a deep rooted tradition) doesn’t simply happen over night. You must also remember that in Africa many things were not in English. So, you have To realize you must first know these African languages, do independent research that will be very difficult if not impossible to do online (as much of hoodoo is verbal, like Roma traditions) and hope that it is accurate. Many spells are based on the psalms and other biblical verses… now you must rewrite every spell that uses this.

    You are making this seem like a simple task when in fact… it’s not.

  2. kunubus says:

    Greetings, I understand how christian Saints and Hoodoo’s reference to Christianity got started, I hate this forced connection. Isn’t it possible now to remove all of Christian influence in Hoodoo in 2018, today, right now? Get Hoodoo back to the way it was performed in Africa, take back your religion, take it back from Christianity, if possible.
    I love this website, I am a white man, I love Hoodoo., Thanks, Harold Bryant

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