Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans 2014. Photograph Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Holmes , all rights reserved worldwide.
Only in New Orleans are the Dead given a city in which to reside. Because New Orleans is built on swampland, the Dead cannot be buried in the ground lest they re-surface and float away. Consequently, all but the poor and indigent are laid to rest above ground in elaborate crypts, wall ovens and mausoleums. The decorative ironwork and sculptures adorn the plots, making the cemeteries resemble little cities; hence the nickname, “Cities of the Dead.” The cemeteries in New Orleans attract a lot of visitors each year because of their unique, historic character.
St. Louis Cemetery #1 is the most famous City of the Dead. It is the oldest New Orleans cemetery, constructed to replace the older St. Peter Cemetery as the main burial ground when the city was rebuilt after the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788.
St. Louis Cemetery #1 is also the place where the infamous Voudou Queen Marie Laveaux was laid to rest. This cemetery tends to get the most visitors of all the Cities of the Dead in part because of its architecture and history, and in part because of Voudou. People from all walks of life want a glimpse of Marie Laveaux’s final resting place. Voudou adherents from all over the country make pilgrimages to the gravesite, a testament to its spiritual significance. Most visitors want an opportunity to make a wish at her tomb in hopes that their wishes will be granted by the Voudou Queen. It is said that Marie Laveaux’s grave is the second most visited grave site in the United States, falling second only to Elvis Presley. That’s saying something.
The tomb of Marie Laveaux is more than just a tourist attraction, however; it is at the heart of New Orleans’ sacred geography. It is the place that connects many sacred sites running the gamut from swamps to churches, shrines, cemeteries, Congo Square, St Louis Cathedral, Bayou St John, and every home where someone lights a candle or says a prayer. Just as the cross marks drawn on her tomb mark the place where the world of the physical and the world of the spiritual intersect, her tomb signifies the place where people from all over the world meet and interact with the spirits of the Dead, as well as with the spirit of the Voudou Queen herself.
In December 2013, the tomb that holds the remains of the Mother of New Orleans Voudou was painted a bright pink. Despite the fact that the tomb of the Widow Paris is both a huge tourist attraction and sacred pilgrimage site, it wasn’t until Dorothy Morrison posted a photo of it on Facebook and I wrote an article for the New Orleans Voodoo Examiner that it finally got the local attention it deserved.
After much back and forth about what to do with the Pepto Bismal pink tomb, the Cemeteries Archdiocesan office decided to pressure wash the paint off of the tomb, apparently a standard method of upkeep for cemetery tombs and believed to be the best method to remove the paint. For folks interested in preservation and restoration, however, pressure washing is not the best method and tends to inflict more damage than desired.
Unfortunately, the tomb did suffer some damage as a result of the pressure washing. However, the tomb has been steadily deteriorating for years and remains in dire need of repair. The cost for its restoration is estimated in excess of $10,000.00, so Save Our Cemeteries, The Archdiocese of New Orleans, and the local preservation company Bayou Preservation, LLC have formed a partnership to restore the tomb. Given the cost of repairs, however, it cannot be completed without fundraising efforts. Therefore, they have started a restoration fund that the general public can donate to help fray the expenses. If you would like to donate to the restoration fund, please visit the website and donate what you can. Every little bit helps.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an obvious link to the project on the Save Our Cemeteries website. But you can go to the “Get Involved” tab and then “donate” and make your donation or contact them at (504) 525-3377 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The timing for this issue could not have been better. With the nation tuning in every week to American Horror Story: Coven to catch a glimpse of Voodoo and witchcraft in New Orleans on TV, we have managed to release Hoodoo and Conjure: New Orleans at the same time. We even have stories in this issue that are touched on in AHS: Coven; albeit, briefly (Mary Oneida Toups, Tituba, Marie Laveaux and Madame LaLaurie) – all of which were planned over a year in advance of knowing what the show was even going to be about. Serendipity? Syncronicity? Or could it be the Universe telling the world it’s time to take notice of the importance of New Orleans in the grand scheme of super natural things?
In all its gloriousness and fabulous writ,Hoodoo and Conjure: New Orleans brings to you a fantastic collection of articles from a variety of notable as well as up and coming authors. As the title suggests, the majority of the articles center on New Orleans Voodoo, hoodoo, and Old New Orleans Witchcraft; however, we also include some fantastic articles about Appalachian conjure, goetia, international conjure, formulas, recipes, graveyard work, New Orleans style Day of the Dead with Sally Ann Glassman and much more!
Here we go…are you ready?!!!!
Mary Oneida Toups
GET THE ORIGINAL STORY OF MARY ONEIDA TOUPS BY THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR, 6th generation New Orleans born Alyne Pustanio! Mary Oneida Toups is recognized to this day as the most powerful witch to have practiced in New Orleans in the 20th century. She was the founder of a powerful coven—The Religious Order of Witchcraft—the first to be recognized by the State of Louisiana as an official Church. According to Pustanio, “Toups’ Religious Order of Witchcraft formed the central axis of a powerful network of practitioners dedicated to the pure, unfettered study and practice of Old Style European witchcraft that still exists in New Orleans today. Many things about Mary Oneida (she preferred just Oneida) are shrouded in mystery, such as her origins. She is said to have been born in Mississippi, in the heart of Delta country, in April 1928 and, like many youths of her generation, when she reached her teens she began to feel restless and took to the road. Hitchhiking, exploring the back roads and byways of the rural South, her path eventually brought her to New Orleans, where she soon became part of a burgeoning bohemian movement already thriving there.
The New Orleans of the early 60s was filled with a current similar to that moving through cities such as San Francisco and New York, a youthful current of exploration and discovery, sometimes aided by drug use that culminated in the Summer of Love and Woodstock moments. In New Orleans, where everything has always been more laissez faire or laid back, the moment crystallized in an “Age of Aquarius” kind of esoteric awakening. Oneida arrived here just as this new awareness was about to bloom” (Pustanio, 2013).
Tituba, Copyright 2013 Jen Mayberry
READ ALL ABOUT TITUBA, THE BLACK WITCH OF SALEM by the founder of the Dragon Ritual Drummers and the Niagara Voodoo Shrine, Witchdoctor Utu! Utu tells us ‘As hazy and mysterious a figure as Marie Laveau, many rumours, truths and fiction reflecting from the same mirror, legend and notoriety has been gaining decade after decade, long after her death. Not many people know, but all the hysteria and panic of witchcraft that led to the witch trials, all the hype and horror that has led to a juggernaut of tourism and magik, was because of a Caribbean Voodoo girl, and her name is Tituba ” (Utu, 2013). Utu gives us the back story of Tituba, and then shares with us how the conjurer can develop a relationship with her and work with her spirit.
In addition to these two exciting stories, Hoodoo and Conjure: New Orleans contains the following articles and authors:
New Orleans-Style Day of the Dead with Sallie Ann Glassman by Alyne Pustanio
In Memorium: Coco Robicheaux by Alyne Pustanio
Digging in the Dirt by Dorothy Morrison
Food as Medzin by Madrina Angelique
The Graveyard Snake and the Ancestors by Dr. Snake
Holy Death and the Seven Insights: A Gay Man’s Story of Self-Transformation and
his Search for Love by Carolina Dean
Adventures in Ghost Hunting by Carolina Dean
It Might be a Sign of Things to Come by H. Byron Ballard
Wicca and Voodoo: Bringing the Two Together by Nish Perez
Wicca and Voodoo: Rhythms by Louis Martinie
Crimson Light through Muddy Water: Southern Goth as an Occult Reality by Tim Broussard
Mystery Of a Sacred Sastun and The Trinity of Stones: An Interview with Winsom Winsom by Rev.Roots
In Memorium: Coco Robicheaux. Photograph copyright 2013 Alyne Pustanio
New Orleans Rope Doll. Photograph copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado
We also have a good portion of the magazine devoted to applied conjure, such as:
Spell Work with the Dead by Madrina Angelique
How to Bury an Enemy by Madrina Angelique
Uncrossing Land by Aaron Leitch
Dem Bones by Danette Wilson
Conjure with the Goetia by Devi Spring
The Wishing Tomb of Marie Laveaux by Denise Alvarado
We also have formulas and recipes, as well as an illustrated tutorial How to Make a New Orleans-style Rope Doll. And that’s not all!
Whether you are a loyal reader or finding us for the first time, I am sure this collector’s issue will find a home on your coffee table or nightstand for years to come. So, relax, grab some coffee or tea, have a few snacks handy and get yourself a copy of Hoodoo and Conjure: New Orleans and witness all its fabulous glory. Much love and care went into its creation, and I hope that you find it every bit as satisfying to read as it was for me to create it.
If you were wondering what is inside Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly Issue #2, this blog will answer that question. It is over 50 pages longer than the premiere issue and chock full of good and interesting information. I hope you have a minute or two because we have a lot to cover including our new contributors and some fabulous new artwork to go with their incredible articles.
For those of you interested in the Native American influence on Hoodoo and conjure, I have written an article Indian Spirit Hoodoo that discusses some of the various Native American herbs and curios that can be found in New Orleans Hoodoo.
Indian Spirit Hoodoo by Denise Alvarado
Appalachian Hoodoo practitioner Byron Ballard, also known as Asheville’s Village Witch, reminds us of the benefits of DIY Hoodoo in her article Homegrown and Homemade: How to Grow a Botannica in Your Backyard.
Homegrown and Homemade by H. Byron Ballard
A fascinating look into the journey of Doc Miller and his legendary Hoodoo Drugstore is presented in Issue #2. Who knew that it would be a mess of cobwebs that would make a believer out of Doc Miller?
Doc Miller’s 21st Century Hoodoo Drugstore by Denise Alvarado
CHARMS AND FORMULARY
Of course we have a nice selection of charms and formularies for those applied folk magic practitioners out there. The illustrious Dorothy Morrison brings us her Sex Magic Formulary with artwork by our new artist Inga Kimberly Brown.
Sex Magic Formulary by Dorothy Morrison
For our readers interested in GLBTQ issues in the ATRs, Chiron Armand brings us his article The Lavender Passage. Armand is a magickal practitioner for almost a decade, he is an initiate in the Unnamed Path shamanic tradition.
The Lavender Passage by Chiron Armand
We have a new column brought to you by Koz Mraz called Myth, Magick, and Motorcycle and he takes us along his journey to Joshua Tree. You may be interested in knowing that it is Koz’s band Studio Voodoo that provides the music for our video trailer.
CONJURE ARTIST PROFILE
Contributed by Alyne Pustanio is our featured conjure artist profile on The Slow Poisoner (alias Andrew Goldfarb). According to Pustanio, Andrew Goldfarb “is a one man surrealistic-rock-and-roll- band from San Francisco. He strums a guitar shaped like a dying swan and sings about swamp women, weeping willows, furtive rituals, cosmic paranoia, creeping fungi, forgotten diseases and witches in the woods. He keeps time by thumping on a kick drum rigged with sleigh bells, and while performing displays elaborately painted signs that bear the title of each song being sung…” (Pustanio, 2011, p. 109).
The Slow Poisoner by Alyne Pustanio
And as the infomercials say “But wait, that’s not all!” We also have a couple of new contributors that offer their experiences with conjure from an international perspective. Witchdoctor Utu gives us a unique glimpse into working with Mama Moses (Harriet Tubman) and the ancestral spirits of the underground railroad in Canada. Utu discusses the historical background of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and shares with the reader how to build a cairn to honor Mama Moses and the ancestors. He is the founder of the Dragon Ritual Drummers, the Niagara Voodoo Shrine, and is a member and drummer for the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.
Mama Moses and the Conjure Tradition of the Underground Railroad by Witchdoctor Utu
And then we are proud to have African-born Winsom Winsom from Belize, a very wise woman I am honored to call my friend and soul sister. Yes, that is her real name and it means “Covering of the Ocean.” She shares with us her experiences with the death rites of Belize. Winsom holds multiple initiations including initiation into the West African fetish healing tradition and initiation in Matanzas, Cuba as a Priestess into Santeria. Winsom studied and worked with healers such as Sobonfu Some, and Malidome Patrice Some and has taken part in Rituals in New Orleans Priestess Miriam and others. According to Winsom, “I continue to bring about the synchronization of my art and spirituality and believe “true power originates internal spiritual enlightenment, and that we must use this power to reach our higher selves: creating harmony”. Yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about!
Cry a Bucket of Tears for My Daughter by Winsom Winsom
Continuing with our international contributors, we have with us Doktor Snake, legendary bluesman, cult author, and Voodoo conjurer from England. He shares with us the story of how his Hoodoo mentor Earl Marlowe first taught him How to Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads. Doktor Snake also wrote the kick-ass forward for my new book the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook.
How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads by Doktor Snake
No magazine about Hoodoo, conjure and the indigenous traditions would be true to the cause without the inclusion of folklore. Oral tradition is the cornerstone of indigenous knowledge. It is the means by which our ancestors pass on their wisdom and ways of life so that we may benefit and carry them to generations to come (Alvarado, 2011). Following this train of thought, we have included not only the article by Doktor Snake, How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads, we also bring to you How Br’er Rabbit Lost his Foot or The Rabbit in Magic and Folklore by Matthew Venus and the Plate Eye by Carolina Dean.
How Br’er Rabbit Lost His Foot or The Rabbit in Magic and Folklore by Matthew Venus
Of course, our resident New Orleans folklorist and my homegirl Alyne Pustanio presents a fabulous article on The Gree Gree Men: Voodoo Doctors of New Orleans as only she can tell it.
The Gree Gree Men of New Orleans by Alyne Pustanio
We have gotten some very good feedback about the tutorials we offered in the first issue and so we have continued to meet the needs of our readers by providing some very unique tutorials in this issue, as well. For example, Aaron Leitch, author of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, and The Angelical Language: Vols.I and II brings us an Offering Ritual for Archangel Iophiel where he not only tells how to petition this angel for assistance but also provides a tutorial for making Jupiter Cakes.
Among my personal contributions to this issue of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly is the very New Orleans Voodoo tradition of How to Make Red Brick Dust that follows my Curio Spotlight on Red Brick Dust.
How to Make Red Brick Dust
I also provide a tutorial for making Ant bed Conjure Dolls to go with my article on Mississppi Death Conjure or Killing Hurts. Don’t let the title scare you off – this is a class of works that goes way back in the Hoodoo tradition before Hoodoo even arrived on these shores. There are also a couple of video tutorials that go along with the article and tutorial that can be found on our YouTube channel hoodooconjurejournal.
Part 1 of Mississippi Death Conjure is based on a class of hoodoo spells referred to as “death conjure” or “killing hurts”. Part 1 illustrates the creation of two conjure doll babies and their preparation for the ant bed spell.
Part 2 of Mississippi Death Conjure documents the “Ant Bed Spell”, based on a class of hoodoo spells referred to as “death conjure” or “killing hurts”. Part 1 illustrated the creation of two conjure doll babies and their preparation for the ant bed spell.
Now, its no secret that I am a lover of doll conjure, having authored two books that focus exclusively on that subject, Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual and The Voodoo Doll Spellbook. Another of our contributors is also a well-versed doll conjurer in his own right, Carolina Dean. Between the two of us, you can be sure to find something on doll conjure in every issue of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly. Dean gives us a slightly more palatable tutorial than mine in his article Spirit Dolls. He tells how to prepare the doll, how to call a spirit into the doll and how to work with it for any practical magical purpose.
Spirit Dolls by Carolina Dean
Then we have for you another type of fetish tutorial brought to you by Madrina Angelique. This is How to Make a Business Elegba specifically for the layperson. For those who may need a little help with their businesses and finances, try making one of these powerful fetishes and see what happens.
Making Elegba by Madrina Angelique
Finally, if you thought the artwork was off the hook in the premier issue, wait til you see this issue! The screenshots I have posted for this blog gives you a good idea of what to expect but there is so much more I am NOT showing and that you will only find in the magazine itself. I have created some powerful pieces to complement our contributor’s articles, and Karen Miranda Augustine has provided us with her take on Pomba Gira while Ricky Pustanio gives us his interpretation of the gree gree men. We also have two new artists, Inga Kimberly Brown and the Slow poisoner, aka Andrew Goldfarb. And we cannot forget the fantastic photography provided for us by Matthew Venus. I’m telling y’all, you won’t want to miss this issue!
There is much more to this issue than I have presented here, but this will give those of you who have yet to see the magazine a good preview of what you will find within its pages. No go forth and get your own copy of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly #2, the magazine that looks, feels, and reads like a book!
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 & ConjureMagazine™ 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!