Monday, May 9, 2011

Hoodoo As I See It

Hoodoo, a.k.a. rootwork or conjure, is a system of magic composed of a mixture of African-American, Native-American, and European folklore, folk magic and folk medicine within a Christian religious framework. Hoodoo is practiced primarily in the Southern portions of the United States.

Hoodoo gets it's common name of rootwork, due to the prevalence of the use of whole roots and herbs among practitioners. The common name of conjure is in fact an archaic name for magic in general, both the occult form and stage-version.

Lighting candles, burning incense, fixing mojo bags, taking spiritual baths, and reciting Psalms are common rituals of Hoodoo. Such rituals are undertaken to draw luck, love, money, protection, or to gain revenge. Other standard rituals include those designed to uncross an individual or client, which is a ritual designed to remove a curse or jinx, carrying lucky pocket pieces such as a rabbit's foot or four-leaf clover, wearing of magical perfumes and colognes, and the creation of 'doll-babies' or 'voodoo dolls'.

Professional practitioners of Hoodoo, those who take on paying clients, are referred to as Root Workers, Root Doctors, Hoodoo Men & Hoodoo Women, Conjure Men & Conjure Women, Conjurers (pronounced "conjurs"), Two-Headed Men & Two-Headed Women, and Black Gypsies. Rarely one might find practitioners referred to as Spiritualists, due to the connection between some practitioners and the Spiritualist Church Movement.

A very common occurrence is the false equation of Hoodoo to the religion of Voodou (Voodoo). The difference between the two is mainly that Hoodoo is a system of folk magic with practitioners being mostly Protestant Christians. Voodou, on the other hand, is a religion unto itself.

The practice of Hoodoo has influenced American culture via music, primarily Blues, movies, and folklore. In the Southern portion of the United States the phrase, 'Don't Make Me Put Roots On You!', is an often heard quaint reference to the practice.

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