Hoodoo and Balance
To varying degrees, many spiritual belief systems from organized religions to so-called pagan and craft practices advocate balance. When life is balanced, people feel better, are happier, enjoy more success, and find much positive synchronicity in the people they meet, the opportunities that arise, and the smooth and seamless way plans and projects unfold.
When life is unbalanced, people are more likely to experience ailments and accidents, are often unhappy, and find that even the easier plans and projects become stubbornly difficult to accomplish.
Hoodoo--often called conjure or folk magic--has a similar focus. Hoodoo differs from Voodoo in that it is not a religion. However, many practitioners are very devout and believe the outlook of their Protestant (and sometimes Catholic) denominations are wholly compatible with conjure.
Hoodoo's ancient basis stems from the traditional religions of central Africa now governed by Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Gabon, Cabinda, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The region and culture were often referred to as Kongo and this is probably the strongest African influence in hoodoo.
According to Carolyn Long ("Spiritual Merchants"), "In traditional African thought, the goal of human endeavor was to achieve balance. Human beings were believed to come into the world poor and good and to defile themselves by acts that offended the community, the deities, or the ancestors, thereby upsetting spiritual balance."
Hoodoo subsequently absorbed parts of other systems with similar beliefs, including healing through the use of native plants, from folk Christianity, various Celtic and craft approaches, mainstream Christian and Jewish thought (including mysticism), and Native American practices.
As with the culture called Kongo, many of the integrated spiritual/healing practices came from other groups who also believed in a supreme being whose power and wisdom filtered down to individuals working to maintain or achieve balance and harmony in their lives and the lives of others in the community.
Those who know Mama Starr Casas from her Old Style Conjure website, need no introduction to this practical guidebook published in September. Like her website commentaries, it’s blunt, practical, based on the culture she grew up in, and overviews works (spells) and approaches in an easy to understand manner. The book reminds us that conjure (hoodoo, rootwork) is directly linked to African American ancestors, the Christian Bible, and common sense approaches to magic based on the materials at hand in a typical Southern household.
Aunt Sally's Policy Players Dream Book, which was first published in 1889 and can still be found on Amazon, lists objects out of dreams in alphabetical order along with dream interpretations and lucky numbers that were used in policy gambling.
Typical catalogue sales. Suppliers were careful to specify that items were sold as "curios" rather than as cures, fortune telling, spells, or magic of any kind.
Condition Oil- A term used to describe oils which have been designed to address a specific issue or bring about a specific condition. Examples include, Cast Off Evil Oil, Follow Me Boy, and Money Drawing Oil. - Carolina Conjure
The spells, techniques and herbal information in the two Florida novels are all based closely on those used by former or current root doctors. They are presented as part of a story and are not intended as advice or remedies for readers.
Hoodoo is a traditional form of folk magic and is in no way presented in Conjure Woman's Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman as fantasy because that would be disrespectful of those who have spent their lives studying and perfecting their craft.
If you're active on Facebook, consider joining the group "Voodoo, Santeria, Hoodoo and Rootwork Learning Place" for information and spellwork tips.
paperback, audiobook and e-book editions available at major online booksellers