Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What Hoodoo Really Is

Manny Dejesus




Picture of 7 colorful Voodoo dolls on display.


Crazy dancing, hexes, curses, abductions, oils and Voodoo dolls. All the necessities to create "Voodoo" we have heard so much about. Hoodoo  can be called a religion, healing tradition, an art form, or even magic (Chireau). Hoodoo does not have to have one title but can actually be all sorts of things in one. Hoodoo has been going on for Centuries and has been a practice that started in Africa and was brought to the Americas by slaves, and the knowledge was intertwined with that of the Native Americans and Jews (Yronwode). The “religion” made its way to the United States and is practiced primarily in the southern half of the states like New Orleans. Hoodoo in itself is used in many different ways, in fact it can be used as a verb, noun and adjective. Different researchers say different things but Yvonne Chireau Ph.D. a professor from Swarthmore College that studies African American religions says it best, “Hoodoo African based tradition that makes use of the natural and supernatural to make change in the human experience”. What Chireau is saying is that Hoodoo by itself is not evil nor is it good but just a neutral practice that can change human experience for the better or for the worst.

So What is Hoodoo exactly?
Hoodoo is a spiritual practice but is actually a very general term that can include anything and everything from love spells to protection magic (Yronwode).  Catherine Yronwode is a Folk magic practitioner who wrote, different words pertaining to Hoodoo such as witchcraft had different meanings. Yronwode goes on to explain that witchcraft is basically saying it’s the evil form of Hoodoo meant to curse somebody and while Hoodoo is meant to boost your luck and increase your happiness. What makes Hoodoo different from other “religions” is that it does not have a central power and “places emphasis on personal magical power, there are no priests or priestesses”.

Sculpture of Grandma Hoodoo.


Works Cited:
7 Colorful Voodoo Dolls. 1997. Voodoo Authentica, New Orleans. Voodoo.com. Voodoo Authentica. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Chireau, Yvonne. "What is Hoodoo." Academichoodoo.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 October 2015.

Kuebler, Thomas. Grandma Hoodoo. N.D. Sculptor of the Bizarre. Tskuebler.com. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.

Yronwode, Catherine. "African American Folk Magic." Luckymojo.com. N.p. n.d. Web. 7 October 2015.