Been Down to the Crossroads and Back and Bring you the Dawn of New Day


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Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly

Cover of Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly Premiere Issue

Give me a Hell to the Yeah! y’all! because after every setback imaginable, the premiere issue is on the way. We will have them by the 15th and shipped to you as soon as we get them.

Indeed, a new day is rising…

There was a time when a journal about the subject of  hoodoo and conjure could not have been published. Not because there was any law against it, but because the social climate regarding African derived traditions and indigenous religions and spiritual practices was not the subject of mainstream media outside of fantastic stories about voodoo dolls and ritual murders. That attitude still prevails today, evidenced  by the recent so-called Voodoo Sex Fire, described elsewhere as “Woman dies after candle knocked over in voodoo sex ritual”. The media just can’t get enough of sensationalizing events linked to Voodoo and hoodoo that have nothing to do with Voodoo and hoodoo in reality. They persist in the negative stereotyping and insist on perpetuating false information. In my news feed today alone, there were references to “voodoo economics” (yawn…can’t we come up with a better descriptor? really it is so old), ” this is not voodoo accounting” (describing the antithesis of a simple mathematical formula to boost return on investments), “legal voodoo” (describing Amazon.com’s sales tax fight), “Voodoo House Mystery” (what the hell is that?), “The Dummies Guide to Zombies” (here we go again), “Voodoo Viral Marketing System ( not at all exploitative), and others too ridiculous to mention. One link that may have had some actual relevance about the psychological healing of Haitians published by Psychiatric News was a dead link. Damn. It’s another day in the news of the world related to hoodoo, Voodoo, and conjure – NOTHING.

Sure, the headlines get traffic, and it even sells products (when its convenient). But for folks who want to read about folk magic and Spiritualism, hoodoo and conjure, and a practitioner’s view of New Orleans Voodoo (not the tourist-kind – and there is a big difference), they have to go to blogs and books. And the information is scanty at best, about real New Orleans Voodoo, and authentic southern hoodoo as viewed by people who live it and breathe it. There are a couple of authors who are from Louisiana and are practitioners who have authored books, like Ray Malbrough’s Hoodoo Mysteries: Folk Magic, Mysticism & Rituals which has gotten mostly poor reviews, and Luisah Teish’s Jambalaya: The Natural Woman’s Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals, which has gotten mostly good reviews, and my own books which have gotten mostly good reviews and some fair criticisms and a couple of ridiculous criticisms, but I digress. The information just isn’t out there much, and the understanding of New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo is sorely lacking.

For example, New Orleans is a place where multiple converged and so the influences on its religions and spiritual practices reflect that convergence of cultures. New Orleans Voodoo, which has been for years referred to as Voodoo Hoodoo, is as unique as the city in which it is derived. It is not the same as Haitian Vodou, though there are elements of Haitian Vodou found in New Orleans Voodoo.  For many practitioners, New Orleans Voodoo does include hoodoo, so you will find people that do rootwork also serve the loas and orishas (yes, both may be present in New Orleans Voodoo, as are Catholic saints). There are African influences, and so those same people who serve the loas may well also serve the orishas. In fact, the major Spirit of New Orleans Voodoo, Li Grande Zombi (aka Damballah Wedo), is a direct holdover from the African religion. And alongside the snake (Li Grande Zombi), could be Black Hawk and Annie Christmas, the female version of Ogun in New Orleans Voodoo religion. Most of the criticisms about the unique aspects of New Orleans Voodoo hoodoo comes from outsiders, people who were not born and raised there, who maybe took a class or two and read a few books, and all of a sudden are experts with the gall to attempt to correct those of us who were born and raised in the culture and traditions. Really, I’m tired of it.

The thing is, there are many differences in the way individual practitioners do rootwork and how they practice the religion of New Orleans Voodoo. There are guidelines of course; Joe Feray doesn’t get offered pink champagne or seaweed. Likewise, la Sirene doesn’t like iron and tools. But, Papa Legba is the first to be invoked in a ritual, though when going to the crossroads, it may be Exu that is petitioned. Exu is a Spirit that comes from Brazilian traditions of Umbanda and Candomble, but he ended up in the New Orleans Voodoo pantheon. There’s even San Simon in the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual temple, sharing sacred space with Papa Guede, Li Grand Zombi, and Chango, the orisha.

As with many religions, spiritual and magickal traditions, Voodoo and hoodoo in Louisiana is fluid and adaptable. It had to be. When all of the slaves and Native Americans were forced together,  joined by European indentured servants, and forced into Catholicism, it resulted in aspects of each of those cultures (of which there are many cultures within those groups) to be absorbed into the religion.

That doesn’t mean all New Orleans Voodooists work with Black Hawk and Annie Christmas. It just means that each of these spirits are present as a result of the convergence of the cultures. When Voodoo was forced to go underground in the mid 1800s, there was a natural rise in individual practitioners as opposed to community ceremonies. This accounts for much of the variance in style of worship and magicospiritual traditions between practitioners.

New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo are still evolving. The publication of Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly intends to reflect this evolution. We also keep to the roots, however. We have struck a delicate balance in content and contributors. Most are practitioners of a related tradition, some of us are also scholars and attempt to provide factual and historical information, while at the same time, we provide the ever sought after magickal tutorials.

We are victorious. We have been to the crossroads and brought back the dawning of a new day with the blessings of the spirits. It is a day where the publication of a journal about hoodoo and conjure is not only possible, it is a reality. Today, we can write about buying cemetery dirt and tell the story of a Baptist Deacon turned Mojo Man. We can discuss what is “real” hoodoo and at the same time present gnostic conjure. We can share secrets of sex magick and talk about how to use dirt dauber nests in conjure. And we can write about the return of psalm magic, share with you a gris gris for protection, and celebrate the conjure artists who are inspired by Spirit. And haunted New Orleans folklore? We’ve got it covered with the legend of the Devil Baby of New Orleans.

Oh, and don”t forget to follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/hoodoojournal and find us on Facebook: Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly.

2010 in review


The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 5 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 28 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 30mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was July 20th with 275 views. The most popular post that day was Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly, a Groundbreaking New Magazine! .

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, l.wbx.me, planetvoodoo.com, mail.yahoo.com, and alynepustanio.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for hoodoo and conjure quarterly, hoodoo & conjure quarterly, conjure art quarterly, conjure quarterly, and hoodoo.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly, a Groundbreaking New Magazine! July 2010
5 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,

2

A New Journal for Rootworkers and Eclectic Practitioners of the Magickal Arts with a Special Focus on New Orleans Voodoo, Hoodoo and Folklore October 2010
18 comments

3

About July 2010
2 comments

4

How Will the Journal be Packaged? October 2010
5 comments

5

Call for Articles August 2010

Find Us on Facebook


If you have not found us on Facebook yet, please show your support and like our page:

Hoodoo & Conjure Magazine on Facebook

You can find the latest information and updates there.

And so this post is not wasted on simply a facebook url, I thought I would let you know about a regular featured section in Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly called the Curio Spotlight. In this section, various curios are spotlighted and formulary is discussed. Many of the elements are discussed in the larger context of folk magick and hoodoo, and then specifically about their use in New Orleans hoodoo. Here is a screenshot of the curio spotlight on red brick dust in issue #2.:

Curio Spotlight: Red Brick Dust

Curio Spotlight: Red Brick Dust

Red bricks can be seen all over New Orleans, from the old brick streets to the brick graves in the Cities of the Dead. New Orleanians have found a variety of esoteric uses for them—they are the preferred writing implement for marking 3 cross marks on the grave of our infamous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and they are used in pulverized form at the front door to keep away evil. It comes as no surprise that red bricks would also be used in the makeshift shrines seen around the city in the aftermath of  hurricane Katrina.

But where did this practice come from? One can only surmise; but a brief jaunt through history reveals that red ochre clays have been used medicinally and ritualistically since the earliest of times. For example, medicinal use of red ochre clay is described in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt, dating to about 1550 B.C. (Ferguson, 2006). And, ochre pigments were used by Cro-Magnon artists who painted pre-historic cave paintings in southern Europe between 32,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Residues of red ochre clays have been found in burial contexts all over the world from Paleolithic peoples in Europe to Late Holocene peoples of the Americas. Red ochre paint was used to imbue the newly departed with symbolic blood. For example, a human burial ground was found at Caplen Mound on Galveston Island, Texas which had a clam shell covered with a thin layer of red ochre. The shell was found within the grave and is assumed by archeologists to have functioned as the receptacle which held the paint used during body preparation rituals (Campbell, 1957).

Many suggest that the origin of the use of red brick dust can be traced to traditional African    irosun powder. Irosun powder is red dust produced by termites from the barwood (Pterocarpus osun) and camwood (Baphia nitida) trees. Termites eat the outer white portion  of  the  wood,  leaving  the  heartwood to produce the reddish powder called osun. Irosun powder is used in Ifá for divining purposes; it is sprinkled on the divining tray by the diviner and figures of Ifá are marked on the tray in the powder (Bascom, 1991).

In Yoruba, the word irosun signifies menstrual blood and is used to consecrate the pot of Ogun, the Yoruban orisha of iron and technology. The color red is often associated with blood, and blood is associated with power and the sacred. According to Luisah Teish (n.d.):

Oya, the Yoruba Amazon queen is associated with a grass skirt often dyed bright red; she is said to be the heart pumping blood through the body and a fierce warrior. And the most popular proverb for the Goddess Oshun is “Success is in your blood.” (Teish, n.d., par. 38).

In New Orleans, the most commonly known use for red brick dust is its application in pulverized dust form to the front steps of the home as a means of keeping evil away. It is said that red bricks were taken from the Dumaine Street Brickyard—the earliest place in New Orleans in which Voodoo rituals occurred—and were used in rituals and floor washes. The last reference to the Dumaine Street Brickyard in print was in connection with Voodoo Queen Sanité Dédé in 1825. Since that time, red bricks remain plentiful and can be procured all over the city.

Excerpted from Hoodoo and Conjure #2

 

REFERENCES

Bascom, W. R. (1991 ). Ifá divination: communication between gods and men in West Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Campbell, T. N. (1957).  Archaeological Investigations at the Caplen Site, Galveston County, Texas. Texas Journal of Science 9:448-471.

Ferguson, J. B. (2006). The Ebers Papyrus Possibly Having to Do With Diabetes Mellitus. Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from http://biology.bard.edu/ferguson/course/bio407/Carpenter_et_al_%281998%29.pdf

Teish, L. (n.d.). Shedding old skin: A search for new origin stories. Metaforma: A Journal of Menstruation and Culture. Retrieved May 2011 from: http://www.metaformia.org/articles/shedding-old-skin/

 

 

 

Update for Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly


As you may have heard via Facebook, we have had some delays in getting the first issues published. For everyone who purchased a subscription, you have not and will not miss the first issue, so rest easy!

We are very anxious to get the journal published. As this is our premiere issue and first time publishing a magazine journal, we have been learning trial by fire with everything that goes along with creating a magazine of the caliber we have created. After getting all of our contributors on boards, we then had to secure permissions from everyone which we have done. Then we had to find a different printing solution so it could be sold at the price we had settled on (which is comparable to any larger publishing house with publications of similar quality). So we have also done that. Yeah!

Okay, now our issue is getting the formatting right for printing. We are ironing out the kinks with that right now and are confident we will have it ready for printing before the end of the year.

Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly contains full color graphics and photographs. To tide you over and keep up the excitement, here are a few screenshots of some of the articles featured in the premiere issue:

Buying Cemetery Dirt

Buying Cemetery Dirt

In this article, Madrina Angelique shares with the reader the ins and out of  the hoodoo tradition of collecting dirt form graveyards.  Madrina Angelique comes from  the deep south and grew up within the tradition of Southern hoodoo, so you are getting authentic information about proper protocol. In addition, she shares  several of her favorite cemetery dirt recipes for reversing negativity and bringing in money, for example.

In this same section of the journal, you get another perspective about cemetery work from eclectic witch and esteemed author, Dorothy Morrison. Dorothy describes how to petition Oya, the Vodou Spirit of the cemetery. The beautiful artwork is the work of ritual pop artist Karen Miranda Augustine.

Article by Dorothy Morrison, Illustration by Karen Miranda Augustine

The Real Dirt on Visiting the Dead

You may be wondering, where is the folklore and what place does it have in this journal? Well, while we are including many different traditions, we are focusing on southern hoodoo and rootwork and on New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo in a way that it has never been done before. Folklore is what guides much of the healing, and certainly magickal, traditions of hoodoo, and no where in the world will you find a place with richer folklore than New Orleans, Louisiana. There are fabulous local legends of everything from the infamous Dr. John to the most well known Voodoo Queen ever – Marie Laveaux. We have grunches, loup garou, zombies, and devil babies. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface. We are so very fortunate to have on our list of contributors Alyne Pustanio, a New Orleans native and expert in Louisiana folklore. She is a consummate storyteller, and for our premiere issue, Alyne tells the story of the Devil Baby of New Orleans.

The Devil Baby of New Orleans: Fact or Fiction?

The Devil Baby of New Orleans: Fact or Fiction?

I will be posting a few more screenshots and excerpts until the journal is published, though not everything as we want there to be some surprises!

Thanks to everyone for your patience as we get through this process.

Call for Articles


7 African Powers Candle & Sage

7 African Powers Candle & Sage

Are you a practitioner who loves to write or has something to share? We invite you to submit your articles and ideas for consideration for publication in future issues. We believe that the success of our magazine depends in large part on the participation of real practitioners like you.

The contents of Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly™ are primarily hoodoo, conjure, folk magic, indigenous cosmology, and topics related to the African derived traditions. This is what we have been asked for, and we mean to deliver! We also will offer a few articles in each issue outlining various aspects of hoodoo, conjure, and rootwork, 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, and spells, spells, and more spells from the best practitioners around.

This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise to the world.

If you have an unusual technique that you would like to share with our readers, please submit a letter outlining your idea. If the editors are interested, they will contact you.

All samples, queries, and correspondence should be forwarded to:  HCQ@planetvoodoo.com