A family in New Orleans awakened not long ago to find a cross of moist salt on the front porch. Neighbors gathered and the newspapers carried headlines concerning the symbol that portended trouble for the members of the household, for Voodoo, hoodoo, and conjure, though subdued, still exists in that city.
If you should wake up tomorrow morning and find a cross of salt upon your front porch, what would you do?
If you live in Iowa or Michigan or even Pennsylvania, you might just sweep it off the porch and chalk it up to a neighbor’s prank. But if you live in Louisiana you might act quite differently – for a cross of salt, in the language if hoodoo, means trouble!
That is why Mr. and Mrs. Gautier of New Orleans thought twice before sweeping away the cross of salt that they found on their porch a few months ago and that is why neighbors flocked to the Gautier home to examine it and the newspapers carried headlines about it. For Voodoo and hoodoo is not dead in New Orleans. It has been trampled upon by the police, it has been scoffed at by the intelligent element of the city, it has dwindled, withered, lost many of its followers – but it still lives! (Hammond, 1930, New Orleans Times Picayune)
In 1930, the three by two foot cross-caked mass indicated someone put it there in a thoroughly dampened condition. There were neighbors who insisted that they had heard strange noises in the early morning hours: there were others who spoke of seeing a dark form glide by the house: there were some who had heard nothing but the baying of hunting dogs. But on one thing all agreed: a cross of salt does not mean death. A coffin with a name written upon it with pencil dipped in vinegar would mean that, or a voodoo doll and a burning black candle left on the front porch, but a cross of salt placed on the front porch by someone other than oneself only means trouble.
One can imagine how the neighbors stood and gossiped when they heard about the event. Those familiar with being “fixed” or “crossed” might recommend throwing finely chopped basil leaves over the cross to destroy the “gris gris.” Others would stake their all on a frizzly chicken, the most potent of all spell-breakers. But, gradually they would speak of other things and to recall the tales told by their grandmothers and great grandmothers of the days when Voodooism was at its zenith in Louisiana.
In the 1800s, tales of Voodoo in the Louisiana swamps were prevalent. Voodoo worshipers gathered on St. John’s Eve every year to celebrate their Holy Day with New Orleans’ own Voodoo Queen Marie Laveaux. Every Sunday, they gathered at Congo Square to dance and invite the Voodoo spirits to mount them and protect them. Legends of Doctor Jean Montenee, who lived in a house on Bayou Road, say he was sought by those who wished to gain fortune, love, or domination over the mind of a hard master. Stories were told of the infamous Marie Laveaux, the greatest queen that the Voodoo religion ever served. Marie Laveau’s successor Malvina Latour, though a force in her own right, never did rise to the status achieved by Marie Laveau 1 or 2. Each of these calm, deliberate and powerful names are not forgotten, for they once struck terror into the hearts of thousands. These names still remind us from time to time of what many believed to be a short, strange chapter in Louisiana history (Hammond, 1930, New Orleans Times Picayune). Truth be told, it was never a short chapter; but, more like an ongoing epic saga with many chapters defined by the cultural dynamics at a given place in time.
Today, Southern folk magic traditions such as hoodoo and conjure are emerging from the shadows and into the lives of everyday people. There seems to be more root workers, two-headed doctors, conjurers, Voodooists, and hoodoos more than ever before. People are flocking to related social networking sites, hungry for information about taking control of their lives, defending themselves from enemies and negative energies, thriving in a recession, and connecting to the world of the Invisibles. Websites pop up daily that specialize in the art of conjure. These websites feature “love doctors”, “rootworkers”, and “Spiritual Mothers” who offer a variety of psychic and spiritual services and carry the hard to get sticks, stones, roots and bones needed by the eclectic conjurer. Hoodoo practitioners cross every racial, political and socioeconomic line in contemporary society.
What is Hoodoo?
The prevailing contemporary definition of hoodoo posits hoodoo is a magic and folkloric system that taps into the ancient healing traditions of our African, Native American, European, and Latino ancestors and is not connected to the religion of Voodoo. I do not agree that hoodoo and Voodoo are separate from one another, in Louisiana. Perhaps because there hoodoo and Voodoo are not separate for many practitioners; rather, they are intertwined, connected, and complementary. In fact, a close examination of hoodoo in News Orleans may have elements of Obeah from the Caribbean, Gris Gris from Africa, and traiteur traditions of the Louisiana Cajun in its expression. The emphasis on magic is one characteristic that sets New Orleans Voodoo, or Creole Voodoo, apart from Haitian Vodou. The predominantly solitary practitioner is another difference. That said, as public perceptions of and attitudes towards Voodoo and Hoodoo change, there is a growing community of practitioners stepping into public view, holding public ceremonies and offering education for the curious.
In its purest form, however, hoodoo and rootwork tap into the primordial belief that every living thing has Spirit. Every rock, tree, root, and stone is connected to a single Divine energy and as such, is Divine energy. The practitioner understands that it is the root that connects and grounds the universal life force; thus, the ultimate power lies within the root.
Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine
The contents of Hoodoo & Conjure Magazine™ are primarily hoodoo, conjure, folk magic, indigenous cosmology, and topics related to the African derived traditions. This is what folks asked for, and we mean to deliver! We offer articles in each issue outlining various aspects of hoodoo, conjure and rootwork, including laying tricks, botanical and zoological curios, candle magic techniques, dreamwork, divination, New Orleans gris gris, magickal formularies, working with the saints and psalms, doll magick, international conjure traditions, and applied magic techniques from the best practitioners around.
Our sources come from a culmination of growing up in New Orleans absorbing the culture, lifelong learning from family, teachers, and other practitioners, sacred texts, folklore literature, and what speaks to us through Divine channels. When you read a copy of Hoodoo & Conjure Magazine™, you can be confident that what you read is the real thing. Whether you are a beginner who is just intrigued by the notion of folk magic, want to pick up some techniques for your trick bag, want to learn about the African -derived and indigenous spiritual traditions, or want to keep up with the social world of today’s root worker, Hoodoo & Conjure Magazine™ delivers!
Here’s some of what you can expect with every issue of Hoodoo & Conjure Magazine™:
- A presentation of the seminal folkloric texts and European grimoires that heavily influence hoodoo
- Indian Spirit Guides & the Contributions of Native Americans to Hoodoo and Spiritualism
- The Power of the Root: Magico-Pharmacology
- Today’s women and men of conjure
- International hoodoo and conjure – meet practitioners from around the world
- Spells, works, and conjuring tips and tricks submitted by you, the reader
- Our ongoing Voodoo Hoodoo formulary that you can add to your own personal spellbook
- Working with the saints and psalms
- Conjure artist profiles – meet up and coming new artists as well as established artists inspired by Voodoo, hoodoo, magick and mojo
- Contests for free products
- Interviews with well-known authors and artists
Did you know that hoodoo is one of the most effective types of folk magick around? It’s true. Not only will you benefit tremendously from the empowering nature of hoodoo and conjure, but you will also benefit a lot from the every day aspects that are an inherent part of this kind of magicospiritual tradition. So why is a southern style folk magick a good thing, and how can having more information in your knowledge base benefit you? The first thing that you need to take into consideration is the fact that learning is a journey, not a destination. Most helping professions require ongoing education to keep up with the latest techniques and trends of their field. Hoodoo can be considered a helping profession because most rootworkers actively help others improve their lives using the power of the root. A person’s spiritual wellbeing is often directly associated with how fast or balanced their lives happen to be, and how connected they are to the world of nature, Spirit, and other human beings. This means that if you are interested in living your best life, you’d be well served to apply a little mojo to it. Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine aims to help you do just that.
What are you waiting for? Learn how to conjure your world, new orleans-style today!