History of Hoodoo

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Forums -> Vodou -> History of Hoodoo

History of Hoodoo
Post # 1
The origin of Hoodoo starts off with the descendants of people whose ancestors were the African slaves. They were brought here in North America to act as servants for cotton and sugar plantation owners. Approximately half of million captives were brought to the united states from the western part of the Africa two hundred years ago.

In spite of the cruel and harsh ways of slavery and how the dominating slave owners treated the captives, the traditions of the Africans remained prominent, even to this day. But their are still many people who believed it did not survive, due to the fact on how harsh Americans treated the slaves was far much worse of what was happening in the caribbean and South America.

Within South America and in the islands of the caribbean, slaves were allowed to assemble and commune with each other and many of them were able to conceal their religion with the mask of catholicism. Africans would compare certain characteristics of Catholic saints to the spirits of their African traditions that they use to worship. For example if they wanted to make an altar for the Yoruba warrior spirit Shango, they could just as easily make one for Saint Barbara.

In the south in the United States, where hoodoo was born at, it was much harder to disguise their religion unlike some parts in America. Slave owners where we are talking about were protestant christians. This was very hard for the African slaves to overcome because there were no saints to hide behind. Unlike Louisiana where most people were catholic.

It was rough for the Africans to adjust to their new problem, it took them many trials where a lot of people had died and a lot of tears of blood were shed. But now in this day and age they prospered even though no kind of religions were made, a system of magic prevailed with aspects of African spirituality, Native American herbalism, and european beliefs and practices. Hoodoo may not be a religion but it is indeed a way for christians to practice a new way of magick.

When the begining of the twentieth century was among us, hoodoo was a vast subject in a lot of rhythm and blues music. During this time blues music was only for the black audience and it wasn't till the 1940s when the whites started to listen to and play it. Before this happen may africans assorted many of their beliefs and practices into their songs, for example the the band Muddy Waters song I Got My Mojo Workin. But due to the integration of the african community these song lyrics didn't last past the eighties.

Most people these days who practice Hoodoo, also known as rootworkers or conjurers, are christians just like the African slave owners, but it could be practice with any religion. Today people who practice Hoodoo could be Wiccan, Hindu, and even Catholic.

This thread does not include the whole history of hoodoo of course due to that it is basically impossible to record every single event in history about it. This thread only includes the basics of the history of it and the African American people who had to overcome such hardship over the years coming into America.

Thank you for reading and have a nice day!

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Re: History of Hoodoo
Post # 2

Got the info from

Rootwork by Tayanah Lee McQuillar

If I got any information wrong please feel free to correct because I am new to this thankyou :)

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Re: History of Hoodoo
Post # 3

It's fine. Thank you for sharing.

For further reading, I suggest Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition by Dr. Yvonne Chireau and Conjure in African American Society by Dr. Jeffery Anderson.

I have actually never heard of that author, I may look for her book in a while. I know both Chireau and Anderson have spent time with the modern community, and they have spent a good portion of their life looking at the subject academically. I got the pleasure of attending one of Anderson's lectures on hoodoo's influence on blues music.

A general reminder though: hoodoo, like other folk magic practices, is not reconstructed. These practices continue to live in the community. Being folk practices, Christianity influenced the practice just as much as the pagan or indigenous religion's influence. To understand the nature of hoodoo fully, talk to a seasoned conjure worker, someone who has grown up in the practice (If they are willing to share, of course.)

"Magic" isn't always called "magic". "Witchcraft" is not always called "witchcraft." "Hoodoo" isn't always called "hoodoo."

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