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Dr Snake, Hoodoo and Voodoo

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.lucky.w,alt.religion.voodoo,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion.orisha
From: blackman99  
Subject: Dr Snake, Hoodoo and Voodoo (was Re: Doktor ...)
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 07:15:48 GMT

50020626 VII om

sri catyananda :
> I pulled up these old posts from the google archives....

thanks, as I don't recall them I'm responding to them as if seeing
them for the first time (which I may be :*).

> and thought i'd
> repost them for those who wonder what the controversy about "Doktor
> Snake" is. They have been edited for brevity and [with comments 
> finally inserted by me after a year of holding my tongue]. 

admirable restraint. :>

> Basically, the guy who calls himself Doktor Snake is a British rock
> writer (and performer?) who once dabbled with Aleister Crowley's system
> of hermetic magic, then scouted the web, ripped off entire pages of
> stuff from my site, including original spells and mojo hand combinations
> that i had created, and called them all his own. 

within a book he published whose title purports to be about voodoo.
it isn't too difficult to rephrase or restate spells, it seems to me.

> As it is, he stands out now as an open and unabashed plagiarist 

not the first, to be sure, some of whom are quite well-known authors
in occult fields. I mean, Albert Pike is widely-known, especially by 
those of the Scottish Rite, and yet he plagiarized that scoundrel 
Levi straight out of Transcendental Magic, for example.

> and a self-exposed poseur, 

s'pose so. with a dearth of information about the man, we might
as well presume his lack of originality indicates his ignorance.
I'm not sure that he admits his poseurness *generally*, however,
just his reliance on his friend Dr Buzzard and perhaps one or
two other (apparent) rootworkers for the content.

> but, what the heck, poseuership is the essence of British 
> rock'n'roll, so what did we expect? 

the essence? strong criticism.

================================================ enter Dok Snake

Doktor Snake (
>> The book is really about hoodoo, but you end up calling
>> it voodoo to save long explanations. 

this is an interesting admission. following in the footsteps
of Zora Neal Hurston?  or more like Mr. Tallant? seemingly
worse than either if he can't even write his own text.

>> Then again, I was talking to Dr Buzzard last year ....

is this the humour of his name: Dr Snake? isn't there some
relation betwixt snakes and buzzards beyond the biological?
are there historical Dr Snakes the way there are (many!)
Dr Buzzards? I don't recall any from my exploration of Hyatt
but it wouldn't surprise me much, and he may also have just
played on his friend's name to create something novel. I've
done that to a limited degree when visiting with Sufis
(friend Habibullah named me haramullah).

>> he's a veteran conjure worker - and he just says, "Well, it's all
>> witchcraft in the end, don't matter what you call it."

guess we can mix and match the words as we please, sure. my only
concern is that the significance of this word-weave may be lost
on those who are uninformed of the biases surrounding these
choices and the agents which tend to support them. ultimately
we're talking about cultural and linguistic diffractions, at
times with nasty consequences.

sri catyananda:
> Well, maybe *you* do, but when you do so, you piss off a LOT 
> of people in the Vodoun religion, I would not have done it 
> if i were you, not even to get a contract with St. Martin's 
> Press. Sure, the "voodoo" concept sells, [but] the folks in 
> alt.religion.orisha, where voodoo and other African Diasporic 
> religions are the actual subject of discussion -- are most 
> definitely NOT impressed by that kind of gimmicky sales image. 

in what way, precisely, would you say it differs in content 
from Haskins, who *also* uses the term "voodoo" in his book 
"Voodoo and Hoodoo" to mean, effectively, hoodoo? Haskins 
writes his own material, sure, but is Dr Snake's all swipes 
from good writers or a mix with crap sources? apparently, 
based on the JtConqueror messup, he's not particularly adept 
at source selection, but you were saying he got his stuff 
from **Haskins**, so??  perhaps his friend the good 
Dr Buzzard failed him after leading him to your text? :>).

Voodooists can benefit from a consideration of a number of
other communities whose names have either preceded them and
become, through initial usage, identified with evil; or those
whose religion and/or mysticism is turned, through fraud,
into someone else's magic. arguably, stolen religion becomes
magic in a sense (and the currents also run the other way too).
no doubt Hermes has something to tell us about this on account
of his association with both magic and theft (does thieving
from some storm god (Zeus) excuse the theft? :>).

an example of the former are "witches" (a name with a rocky history). 
an example of the latter is Hermetic "qabalah" (which at worst
turns Jewish mysticism into some kind of quaint numerology).

=========================================== and later 

Doktor Snake (
>> The bit I enjoyed was writing about the adventures I had 
>> with Earl Marlowe - a Trinidadian singer, hoodoo/voodoo chap
>> I knew well. Most of what is in the book is what he and
>> I discussed. But not all.

this indicates that he did write some of it and that he has learned
from more than one hoodoo teacher. what's the usage of the term
'voodoo' like in Hyatt? I don't remember much variation from the
conventional 'conjure', 'rootwork', etc.  how aware is Hyatt of
the particulars of Voodoo as an African diaspora religion that is
not based in New Orleans?

and later on the usage of the term "voodoo":
>> Religion-wise - I tend to go with Doctor Buzzard on this. I use 
>> the term voodoo like he does. 

I notice that it is fairly wide-spread, and centered on authors 
with a flair for the sensational, or those who have been 
influenced by these to some degree. by itself, I would not
consider the usage of 'voodoo' to be an absolute indicator of 
deception or fraudulence. I'd consider it of similar usage to 
those who say 'palo' when they mean harmful or 'black' when 
they mean coercive and violating. 

the speaker wants to find a word (like "sorcery!") for negative 
magic and their educational context and quality will dictate 
their selection of the term in question. this spans the GLOBE 
and is not isolated to the unfair reduction of "voodoo", though
Voodoo does appear to be one of the few religions which has
suffered from such misuse (modern (religious) witches are 
too late a development and too disconnected from the herbals
and midwives to really be comparable).

we're talking about xenophobia utilized to attract attention.
let's face it, double-consonant and two-part words from Africa 
have got a shitload of abuse by the English and others who 
sought to use 'em to their advantage (from the sacred things: 
'mumbo-jumbo' slanted to mean 'meaningless things'(!) to 
prayer bag 'mojo's slanted to mean 'sexual power').

>> But I do make clear at the outset that the book isn't about
>> religion - but respects it.

it could be worse. :> he could be doing a Crowley and studying
with some rootworkers for a while and then representing himself
as a MASTER (rather than admitting his dependence). he could be 
saying he's presenting an age-old wisdom inerrant and delivered 
as from the gods of some alien culture (like so many 
orientalists). instead he seems to be saying 

	I talked to some d00ds that I thought knew 
	rootwork, put together a book out of what 
	they said and what I could write and steal 
	from people's websites, and then published
	my book with an attractive title that 
	coincided with my term usage. ::elfin grin::

>> It chronicles what Earl and I got up to,
>> much of which was around "magic" and "sorcery" (which I
>> got into at about 14, came across Crowley, I think).

it's obviously the forbidden aspects of this that draws
Dr Snake. Crowley never used the term "sorcery", for 
example, reserving even 'black magic' (in most cases)
for that which he opposed or suggested was not wise.

================================================ back from Snake

sri catyananda: 
> Sorry for the rant, but i've been polite long enough, and i simply don't
> like what he did to me. 

no problem. you opened an avenue of discussion I've been itching
to broaden in these usenet forums since I acquired my "Idiot's
Guide to Voodoo" and began reading Tallant's "New Orleans Voodoo"
rather recently. ;>


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