What is Hoodoo?
Hoodoo (also known as “conjure” or “root working”) is African-American folk magic and healing, a centuries-old tradition that developed primarily in the South. Root workers are highly attuned to the energies of natures. They use materials like roots, herbs, essential oils, resins, stones, bark, living water (from rivers, lakes, springs, and the ocean), magnetic sand and lodestones, along with old-time solvents and scents such as Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing, Hoyt’s Cologne, and Florida Water. The root worker communes with the spirits of these materials, activating them (“waking up the root”) and requesting them to work in accordance with her will. Cooperation with the inner side of creation is at the heart of this tradition. As the root worker’s spiritual devotion, service, and commitment grows, so does her expertise in contacting the invisible realms.
Hoodoo may be considered a shamanic tradition. An individual, family, or community will request a practitioner to work on their behalf by communicating with and often journeying to the spirit world. The specific practices vary by region, community, and individual—there is no one “right” way to practice hoodoo. Hoodoo is not a religion—there are no hierarchies, clergy, public rituals, or religious holidays.
I practice Louisiana hoodoo as taught to me by Santero Balogum, an African-American hereditary practitioner from Louisiana. (He continues to mentor me, as learning hoodoo is a lifetime proposition!) I have the rare opportunity to study “mouth to ear” with Santero Balogum, who has been trained in hoodoo from childhood. Louisiana hoodoo features offerings and petitions to the saints, due to the influence of the French Roman Catholics who originally colonized the area. (Note: Hoodoo incorporates either Protestant or Roman Catholic customs, along with Jewish mystical elements. Many root workers maintain strong ties with their Christian religious communities. This seeming contradiction is seen as entirely acceptable and in customary.)
One of my hoodoo altars featuring an abundance working (green candle, leaves and herbs), a handmade mojo bag, and offerings to Lady Valerie Boles and saints Jude, Anthony, and Peter.
My altar to Oshun, the West African orisha or goddess of love, creativity and fresh waters. I hand-crafted the spirit doll representing Oshun.
When I first started studying hoodoo, I confessed to Santero Balogum, that I had a hard time ASKING for material things. I had spent many years being an ascetic and serving the world in poverty. Requesting money and other material help from the spirit world was foreign to me and felt very wrong. He emphasized that humans are supposed to ask the spirit world for what they need to have peaceful, comfortable lives. This is the way in which the universe is set up. But we ask based on “need, not greed,” according to Santero Balogum. This can include appeals for prosperity, abundance, love, protection and a deeper relationship with the Great Spirit. We are not, however, in control of the final result. We may ask for something; sometimes the Great Spirit grants our wishes and sometimes not. No hoodoo can guarantee specific or certain results.
My Hoodoo Services
Foremost, I work in the service of the Great Spirit to help and heal creation. I’m trained to act as an intermediary to the spirit world on your behalf, bringing your requests for health, love, prosperity, blessings, spiritual knowledge, good luck and success in business or legal manners. You may ask me to do workings for spiritual cleansings, increased spiritual knowledge and awareness, and protection from malevolent people and forces. I employ a combination of candle magic, written and verbal petitions/prayers, meditation, mojo bags (i.e., medicine bags), and individually formulated herbal preparations used as baths, oils, incense, and floor washes, among other methods.
The thoughtful, ethical, and “slow” practice of hoodoo is important to me. I make my own magical powders, anointing oils, baths and floor washes. I do not buy these already prepared from botanicas or hoodoo shops. My deep love of plants brought me to this tradition, and I grow many of the herbs I use. Organic, non-GMO plants that I have raised and prayed over contain more ashé (“ah-SHAY”—life energy) than those bought in the store. Of course, many items I use are only available to me from other producers. Any items that I purchase–such as candles, paper, utensils, mojo bag fabric, etc.–are purified with sage smoke or holy water before use.
As a fiber artist, I have sewn, quilted, knitted, crocheted, and embroidered for most of my life. Part of my hoodoo practice consists of sewing the mojo bags used in workings, often personalizing them for the client. Making these bags infuses them with my personal energy and intention, which enhances the quality and efficacy of the working. I also craft spirit dolls for my altars, and for gifts to friends and family.
To request hoodoo services, please use the contact form. Include your name, email address, phone number and why you wish to request a hoodoo consultation.