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Details of Hoodoo

To: alt.pagan,alt.witchcraft,alt.lucky.w,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.religion.orisha
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Re: Details of Hoodoo (was Cultural Appropriation...)
Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2000 20:23:08 GMT

50000131 IVom
sri catyananda :
>> > There are no six-foot diameter circles or altars set up to
>> > or for the "elements" in hoodoo....

>> perhaps this measure comes from the same source in grimoires,
>> however. there are magical circles of protection sometimes
>> described or depicted in books recommended by hoodoo folks
>> or products associated with conjure, so perhaps it isn't
>> wholly unknown (especially to those who work with spirits
>> and in the black arts).

> I agree. Once European-style grimoires entered the hoodoo market it did
> change hoodoo practices. For further details on the historical impact
> this had, see my pages on 
>     the history of hoodoo:
>     and
>     Pow Wows (the book):
> But i did not say that six-foot-diamer circles were inauthentic (at
> least not in contemporary hoodoo), but i wrote, "There are no six-foot
> diameter circles or altars set up to or for the 'elements' in
> hoodoo...." -- by which i mean that the contemporary neo-pagan fixation
> on the "quarters" and/or "four elements" is entirely alien to hoodoo
> practice. 

yes, and I think that this is a very interesting facet of hoodoo,
because the Neopagans got this focus from European and/or Native
American ritualism: the same source from which hoodoo has drawn.
in some ways Neopaganism is a kind of African step-sister or
cousin, so it is quite intriguing to me to compare and contrast
what is and is not accepted into hoodoo and why. 

I notice in Hyatt, for example, that there is very little real
description of ritual at all. mostly they're talking about what
I would call 'spellcrafting' or 'witchery' rather than
ceremonial rites. this is where Gardnerian offshoots seem to
bridge the gap (what with their masonic and ceremonial facets).

>> > One does not "dedicate" anything to "elements" in hoodoo....
>> closest I can think of is Blessed in the Name of the Father,
>> Son and Holy Spirit.
>That's formulaically given as "Holy Ghost" usually, not "Holy Spirit." 

thanks for the correction, agreed.

> But they are not the same as Earth, Air, Fire, and Water or such
> neo-pagan "elemental" entities as Gnomes, Sylphs, Salamanders, and
> Undines or whatever the heck such sprites are called. 

but why categorize these elemental entities as "neo-pagan"? I've
found reference to them in Agrippa's "Three Books of Occult
Philosophy", for example (Tyson ed.) and in Barrett's "The Magus",
so they appear to be longstanding parts of Western occult
tradition which have entered (probably through Goldawnians)
into Wiccan and greater Neopagan rituals in part because of the
resemblance these must seem to have with the Faere.

this is again very interesting to me. it illustrates the divide
between these American magical cultures. while drawing from
similar sources, one selects out one thing while the other
prefers another. I suspect that the predominantly Christian
background of the hoodoo culture prevented an acceptance of
non-angelic spiritual allies.

and if the Native American culture (which ones? you probably
have studied this already, haven't you? ;>) use Four Directions
in their rites, why didn't hoodoo pick this up too? root
working tradition does include directional importance, as when
there are East and West differences in different characters of
spellcrafting (I notice that West becomes more important when
nefarious meetings such as with the Black Man or Devil are
taking place or occasionally when "evil" is being done).

yet RITUALISM seems to have been left behind outside certain
hints at spirit contact (perhaps accepting the spiritualism
of the turn of the 1900s as a viable concept which Chrisitans
could entertain and remain faithful). too visible and likely
to attract restrictive attention?

>> > ...A couple of Hyatt's informants used Bull Durham tobabcco
>> > sacks rather than red flannel for their mojo bags, by the way.
>> what are these alternatives made of? it makes sense that these
>> would also not attract notice if seen in a pocket, especially
>> if the individual smoked or chewed tobacco.

> Bull Durham sacks -- made of unbleached muslin (coarse off-white cotton
> cloth) were FREE with the pruchase of the tobacco, and when it comes to
> someone using a Bull Durham sack, i tend to credit economic reasons more
> than  their desire to conceal the mojo. After all, ALL mojos are to be
> "kept hid" (see multiple song references on my mojo page 
> for confirmation of this) so concealment is a moot point. 

why do you see that concealment is a "moot point"? if tradition
has it that they ought to be kept hidden, then a bag carried
which looks like something else would be a definite asset. if
this is the case, then the tradition of red flannel might now
be outmoded for those who do not have the capacity to easily
conceal their pocket contents (e.g. someone in a high-security
situation or who must for some reason venture into and/or
display the contents of their pocket or pocketbook to others).
red flannel would draw attention UNLESS one was now used to
wearing that fabric. a different colour fabric (one matching
one's pocket, for example), might be more effective in
maintaining camouflage given a different style of clothing. 
perhaps I'm overestimating the importance of concealment?

>> I would think that Wiccans and New Agers would wish to avoid like
>> the plague traditions of magic which include such things as the
>> Black Cat Bone and the slaying of chickens and other animals
>> for the purposes of spellcasting. I think items like these are
>> to be found occasionally also in grimoires and therefore have
>> scared the bejeezus out of many, branding "ceremonial" magic
>> as evil and untrustworthy.

> Oh, you demon, you. Are you hinting that if we folk-magicians spread
> fearsome tales about o0ur boiling cats alive at midnight we can keep 
> the new age fluff-bunnies out of our hair? What a great idea!

no, but I've heard that many times from ceremonial magicians.
this may have been what led to figures like Crowley claiming
to 'sacrifice children' as a metaphor for masturbation in
"Magick in Theory and Practice".

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