Friday, March 27, 2015
The Farside - Hoodoo Conjure: Low Country Shamanism
Okay, the first part of the show is good. About midway in the author starts making some mistakes that I need to point out.
1. Hoodoo is not confined to the coastal regions of the Carolinas or Georgia. Hoodoo is found all across the South, everywhere there were slaves from Virginia to Oklahoma and everywhere in between. Additionally, after slavery it was then spread to the north when freed slaves and their families moved to the north in search of employment.
2. Hoodoo is not entirely an African-derived practice. The author seems clueless of the huge impact of European folk magic and even Native American practices that were merged with African practices to create hoodoo.
3. The author's main informant appears to be a white man, one "Doc Coyote". This is problematic and more than likely represents another case of white academia using a white go-between to inform him and his readers of black culture. If the majority of practitioners of hoodoo are black then I strongly suggest you have black informants as your main sources or information.
4. Hoodoo is not a system of magic that was left over after his religion was stripped away due to the slave trade. As I mentioned above, hoodoo is conglomeration of African, European and Native American elements.
5. The author was too polite regarding the question of Wicca and semi-implied that hoodoo and Wicca are on equal grounds are are more similar than they are dissimilar, which is not the case at all. The difference is night and day. One is a legitimate tradition and one is a modern invention. In my opinion when he was asked about Wicca he should have just said something along the lines of, "They are in no ways similar" and leave it at that.
6. Graveyard dirt is not primarily used to get the qualities you want for yourself as the author repeatedly states. This is a modern invention and not part of traditional hoodoo. Graveyard dirt is part of working with a spirit to accomplish an end. It can be used for good or bad. However, most practitioners use graveyard dirt as part of enemy work or to protect themselves. For enemy work the graves of sinners or evil people are chosen. For protection, the graves of family members are often used. There's a whole complicated lore of gathering and using graveyard dirt that the author seems ignorant of which reveals that the author is probably being fed wrong information by his white informant.
7. The author is ignorant that "New Orleans Voodoo" is not a real tradition, but rather a modern invention similar to how Wicca is. The traditional practice in New Orleans, as well as Louisiana and the rest of the South, is hoodoo, not Voodoo.
8. The author presents nothing new. Everything the author speaks about is available for free online. I think I will pass on purchasing and reading this book.