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 Basics on Hoodoo and it's origins

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Join date : 2009-09-18

PostSubject: Basics on Hoodoo and it's origins   Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:09 pm

Hoodoo is a form of predominantly African-American traditional folk magic. Also known as conjure, it is a tradition of magical practice that developed from the syncretism of a number of separate cultures and magical traditions.

Hoodoo incorporates practices from African and Native American traditions, as well as some European magical practices and grimoires. While folk practices like hoodoo are trans-cultural phenomena, what is particularly innovative in this tradition is the "remarkably efficacious use of biblical figures" in its practices and in the lives of its practitioners.[1]

The word hoodoo first was documented in American English in 1875 and was listed as a noun or a transitive verb.[2][3] In African American Vernacular English (AAVE), it is often used to describe a magic spell or potion, but it may also be used as an adjective for a practitioner. Regional synonyms for hoodoo include conjuration, conjure, witchcraft, or rootwork.[4]

They are not all synonyms, however. For example, witchcraft is problematic as a synonym in that it can imply a moral judgment regarding the practice of hoodoo (i.e. it is evil), or it can be confused with the contemporary Wicca religion. Moreover, a hoodoo practitioner is not to be understood as a rootworker if he or she does not use roots and herbs in their magical practices. Thus, rootwork can be understood as a subcategory or a "type" of hoodoo practice.


Hoodoo system


The dominant worldview in hoodoo is usually strongly Christian. Historically there has been an Old Testament strain in hoodoo thought. This is particularly evident in relation to God's providence and his role in retributive justice. For example, though there are strong ideas of good versus evil, cursing someone to cause their death might not be considered a malignant act. For example, one practitioner explained it as follows:

"[In] Hoodooism, anythin' da' chew do is de plan of God undastan', God have somepin to do wit evah' thin' you do if it's good or bad, He's got somepin to do wit it . . . jis what's fo' you, you'll git it."[12]
Not only is God's providence a factor in hoodoo practice, but hoodoo thought understands God, himself, as the archetypal hoodoo doctor. On this matter Hurston stated, "The way we tell it, hoodoo started way back there before everything. Six days of magic spells and mighty words and the world with its elements above and below was made."[13] From this perspective, biblical figures are often recast as hoodoo doctors and the Bible becomes a source of conjurational spells and is, itself, used as a protective talisman.[14]



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