What exactly is Hoodoo? Also known as rootwork and conjuring, hoodoo is a religious practice that integrates the traditional magic practices of African tribes, Native American herbal remedies, along with ancient European folklore into a new spiritual system. The rituals and teachings of hoodoo have been passed down through generations from one practitioner to another.
The origin of the term hoodoo has been disputed by historians. The most common and widely-accepted theory is that the word is of African descent, and traveled to the United States with enslaved African American men and women in the 17th and 18th centuries. When slavery ended, the newly emancipated African Americans traveled north, bringing the traditions of hoodoo with them. In a few places, the word "hoodoo" is used to describe evil or destructive magic. Other regions use hoodoo to incorporate everything from protection spells to money-drawing spells.
It is important to understand that hoodoo is NOT a religion. Most people who practice hoodoo follow the tenets of the Protestant religion. Even though many rootworkers combine standard magic rituals with psalms and verses from the Bible, they tend to rely more on their faith in God to direct their spiritual paths. That faith includes other spirits that can intervene on our behalf. Unlike Catholicism and Santeria, those who practice hoodoo do not typically pray to saints or orishas. Rootworkers and conjurers are much more likely to work with ancestors and other spirits of the dead.
Who are Rootworkers?
Rootworkers and hoodoo practitioners are pillars of their communities. They interact closely with their peers and are well-respected members of their churches and local organizations. The elder conjurers often take those who are less experienced under their wing to guide them through the traditions of hoodoo. Oftentimes, conjuring is a family affair. It is not unusual to see multiple generations of hoodoo and rootworkers with the same blood lines.
The magical beliefs and rituals that encompass hoodoo are used to assist people in their everyday lives. We all face struggles and hardships from time to time and many people take solace in the spells and rituals of hoodoo. Many different problems are addressed through the practice of conjuring and rootwork including, but not limited to, infertility and unemployment.
Hoodoo includes both blessings and curses. Rootworkers believe in the importance of casting both healing spells and curses. The world is made up of good and evil, and those who follow hoodoo deem both to be of equal weight and consequence.
The goal of hoodoo is to create change. For better or worse, the spells and rituals cast by rootworkers have specific intended goals. Professional rootworkers undertake spiritual spell-craft jobs to help the lives of those they are working with. These men and women will listen to your concerns and formulate the best course of action to elicit the change you desire. Rootworkers often form deep connections with the people who call upon them. These bonds strengthen over time, allowing for divination work and character analysis to occur.
Divination allows a rootworker to discover all of the elements that may be influencing your specific problem and then determine the type of spell work that may help you. Divination always utilizes devices including cards, shells or other talismans. They are shuffled and mixed and then selected at random, thus allowing for a free-flowing communication with God. By using divination tools in along side of his spell work, a hoodoo practitioner can guide you to an appropriate plan to acheive the best results.
Hoodoo Techniques and Practices
There is a wide range of techniques used by rootworkers in hoodoo spells and rituals. Some require nothing more than a candle and a simple phrase while others involve ornate altars decorated with intricate offerings. The most common hoodoo spell techniques are described below.
Candle spells are frequently used by rootworkers to help bring about specific changes or results. Candle burning has been an important part of magical rites and religious ceremonies for thousands of years. Most hoodoo practitioners and rootworkers burn candles in their spell-casting. These spells often include multiple candles that have magical symbols carved into them and are dressed with essential oils. These spells can also call for the candles to be dusted with sachet powders.
The colors of the candles that are used in candle spells hold important significance. Each color is symbolic of a specific issue or desire.
- white - healing, perfection, purification, unity, wholeness of spirit, harmony
- red - power of the flesh, passion, love, scorn, energy, fertility, power
- yellow - brainpower, intellect, creativity, concentration, cheerfulness, stability, security
- blue - wisdom, healing sleep, joy, laughter, dreams, emotions, meditation, guidance
- green - success, abundance, good luck, growth, money
- black - eliminating negative energies, protection from illness and evil
- pink - love, romance, joy
- orange - sudden change
- purple - meditation, hidden knowledge, spiritual protection
- brown - connection to the earth, seeking balance, finding lost items
Spiritual herb baths are one of the most commonly practiced rituals in the hoodoo tradition. These baths are prescribed for a myriad of conditions, including love, protection, cleansing, uncrossing and money-drawing.
Herbal baths are made by steeping specific herbs in boiling water for few minutes, and then straining them to be used in the bath or wash water. The mixture is then poured over your body. If you are drawing in something, like drawing in love, or drawing in money, you would pour the bath over your body starting at your feet then moving upward toward your head. If you want to cleanse negativity from your body and spirit, pour the bath over yourself starting from the head and work your way down to your feet. This same rule is used when wiping the excess liquid off of your body. To remove negative energy you should always wipe downward. To invite positive energy into your being, always wipe upward.
Traditionally performed at dawn, there are two other main factors to consider when deciding the time to perform a spiritual bath. They are the moon phase and the day of the week. To draw something to you, bathe when the moon is waxing, to draw something away from you, bathe at the waning moon. To successfully attain your goal, you should begin your work on the day that is traditionally associated with your goal. They are:
- Sunday- Success and Wealth
- Monday- Spirituality and Mysticism
- Tuesday- Lust and passion.
- Wednesday- Heath and vitality.
- Thursday- Gambling and luck.
- Friday- Love and friendship.
- Saturday-Protection and uncrossing.
The ingredients used in a spiritual bath correspond to one’s intention or goal. For example, if you wish to draw money you will use those minerals and herbs which are traditionally believed to draw money. The same goes with other types of goals as well. Herbs commonly used in spiritual baths include eucalyptus, sage, basil, ginger, lemongrass, acrimony, juniper and hyssop.
Mojo bags are powerful tools in hoodoo magic. Your mojo bag is only for you to see and touch. It is meant for only you to speak to and ask for its direct assistance in times of need. Mojo bags are employed when you would like to help manifest a specific outcome or result. A mojo bag's effectiveness is deeply connected to the roooworker that created and prayed over it, as well as that practitioner's power and the quality of the items that are placed inside of it.
Mojo bags can contain herbs, tumbled stones, talismans, coins and other meaningful items. The rootworker's powerful guidance helps to align the spirit and purpose of all of the bag's items. There are usually at least three items in a mojo bag, and it is advisable to always have an odd number of items in your bag.
These bags come in different colors and, as in candle magic, each color corresponds to your desired goal. Sprinkling an anointing oil or sachet powder on your mojo bag will amplify its power. Mojo bags are personal objects that should not be handled by anyone but its owner or the rootworker who created it and should be hidden in a safe and protected place. Mojo bags are traditionally "fed" on a weekly basis with a corresponding essential oil or sachet powder to help to preserve their potency.
There are a wide range of techniques and tools commonly used in hoodoo. These tools are selected on the basis of their relatedness to the task at hand, including - changing luck, receiving blessings, obtaining protection, persuading God to grant your wishes or giving you an edge over your opponents. Consult with a rootworker or conjurer to get specific instruction relating to the goal or intention that you are focused on achieving.