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Author Topic: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?  (Read 298 times)

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Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« on: April 05, 2021, 05:57:38 am »
Hi everyone! I am very sorry if this topic might upset you in any way, this is not the intend of it at all, just pure curiosity!

I have been drawn to, well, low magick a lot since I was little, the whole concept for me is so unique and distinctive that it is so easy to fall in love with it. I have been looking into Trad.Witchcraft books and been a bit disappointed, since a lot of authors trying to copy-paste Wicca on it. Don't get me wrong, I have respect for it as well, just not my thing. Maybe I am getting wrong about the concept of trad.witchcraft and might need some clarification on it.

Nonetheless, I have also discovered Hoodoo in my way and it blew my mind! It seems so simple at first, but so complex and intriguing, yet using psalms and reaching out to saints just feels off for me personally.


The question would be like this - is it possible to basically take some parts of the different practices, but apply it in your own eclectic way? Will that be alright to do?

Will be waiting for your response and clarifications!

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2021, 08:07:32 am »
Hi everyone!

Hi there   :)

The question would be like this - is it possible to basically take some parts of the different practices, but apply it in your own eclectic way? Will that be alright to do?

I'm by no means the expert, and I'm sure other members will be along in time with much more in depth info.

But in short this is something people do and, in my own view, it's broadly alright so long as the following conditions are met:-
1) you're not seeking to exploit the cultures or practices you're borrowing from, by e.g. making money off them;
2) it's done respectfully -- this includes doing plenty of research so you know which bits should be okay to borrow and which bits ought to be left alone (I'm thinking of stuff along the lines of the white sage/smudging question*, here)

(*In case you're not sure what I'm referring to, this old thread covers it pretty well.)
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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2021, 09:23:58 am »
in short this is something people do and, in my own view, it's broadly alright so long as the following conditions are met:-
1) you're not seeking to exploit the cultures or practices you're borrowing from, by e.g. making money off them;
Gods, no, this is purely personal and for my own self, no other thing would be applied to it ;D

Thank you for the heads up

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2021, 10:52:29 am »
Hi there   :)

I'm by no means the expert, and I'm sure other members will be along in time with much more in depth info.

But in short this is something people do and, in my own view, it's broadly alright so long as the following conditions are met:-
1) you're not seeking to exploit the cultures or practices you're borrowing from, by e.g. making money off them;
2) it's done respectfully -- this includes doing plenty of research so you know which bits should be okay to borrow and which bits ought to be left alone (I'm thinking of stuff along the lines of the white sage/smudging question*, here)

(*In case you're not sure what I'm referring to, this old thread covers it pretty well.)

This is a great way of thinking about it, and I would also add:  as long as you aren't claiming names or practices that you aren't doing in their original form.  In other words, if you adapt something, you can't call it by it's name anymore.  I have a lot of adapted or modified practices as part of my path, but I absolutely make sure that when I talk about it, I don't imply that I'm doing the actual thing that inspired me.  I may have read about the Ceremonial Magic lesser banishing ritual of the pentacle, that made me think of a way to do something similar that has become a part of my practice...but I'm not doing the LBRP and I'm not practicing Ceremonial Magic when I do my version...I'm just doing my own thing.
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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2021, 12:32:54 pm »
This is a great way of thinking about it, and I would also add:  as long as you aren't claiming names or practices that you aren't doing in their original form.  In other words, if you adapt something, you can't call it by it's name anymore.  I have a lot of adapted or modified practices as part of my path, but I absolutely make sure that when I talk about it, I don't imply that I'm doing the actual thing that inspired me.  I may have read about the Ceremonial Magic lesser banishing ritual of the pentacle, that made me think of a way to do something similar that has become a part of my practice...but I'm not doing the LBRP and I'm not practicing Ceremonial Magic when I do my version...I'm just doing my own thing.

So keep it nice and neat, but not to claim that this is your own, huh. This is a pretty good advise, thank you!

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2021, 01:19:08 pm »
I have been drawn to, well, low magick a lot since I was little, the whole concept for me is so unique and distinctive that it is so easy to fall in love with it. I have been looking into Trad.Witchcraft books and been a bit disappointed, since a lot of authors trying to copy-paste Wicca on it. Don't get me wrong, I have respect for it as well, just not my thing. Maybe I am getting wrong about the concept of trad.witchcraft and might need some clarification on it.

Nonetheless, I have also discovered Hoodoo in my way and it blew my mind! It seems so simple at first, but so complex and intriguing, yet using psalms and reaching out to saints just feels off for me personally.


The question would be like this - is it possible to basically take some parts of the different practices, but apply it in your own eclectic way? Will that be alright to do?

Will be waiting for your response and clarifications!

It's possible but it can be difficult to create a cohesive eclectic practice. Darkhawk has an article here that you might find helpful.
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But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them."
~Neil Gaiman,
American Gods

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2021, 01:59:08 pm »
I have been looking into Trad.Witchcraft books and been a bit disappointed, since a lot of authors trying to copy-paste Wicca on it. Don't get me wrong, I have respect for it as well, just not my thing. Maybe I am getting wrong about the concept of trad.witchcraft and might need some clarification on it.

So, traditional witchcraft has always defined itself in opposition to Wicca ("that was fake, but this is real").

Gardener presented Wicca as true history in the 1950s, and it was based on a number of other sources (Graves, Murray, Leyland, Frazer) which presented themselves as true history. Those ideas have been critiqued since, however up-to-date academia takes time to filter down into mainstream consciousness, and so a lot of ideas which come from those (somewhat unreliable) sources are still taken as a given to be objectively real parts of "tradition" and "history".

So I looked into Cochrane's Craft i.e., which is "not Wicca" and "traditional" and 1950s/60s British, but it contains so many elements I consider to be inherently Wiccan, and not feeling traditional at all. And that's because, elements of faux-tradition continue to be in our popular culture, never having been fully debunked.

The fundamental thing about traditional witchcraft (in the UK, at least), is that it doesn't have a formal system that's anywhere near as satisfying as the faux-history is.

If you're looking for traditional witchcraft, you really want local history books like Folklore of Guernsey by Marie de Garis, and what you'll find is clutter like "sew mercury into your clothes for luck" and "never say the word 'pigs' or 'priest' on a boat or it will sink". That's traditional witchcraft. You can find all of the british Folklore Society's magazines online, going back to the 1870s, and they are filled with tonnes of this nonsense, proverbs for the weather and supersticions about plants.

(Nowadays, there is more of a clearly defined traditional witchcraft, like this stuff, than when I started looking; which I think is successfully non-Wiccan in character)


Nonetheless, I have also discovered Hoodoo in my way and it blew my mind! It seems so simple at first, but so complex and intriguing, yet using psalms and reaching out to saints just feels off for me personally. The question would be like this - is it possible to basically take some parts of the different practices, but apply it in your own eclectic way? Will that be alright to do?

There's three answers here.

The first is, absolutely fine. Eclecticism is great, and a traditional part of paganism and religion more generally. Try stuff and adapt it for you and mix it up with other things.

The second is, wrt hoodoo, it's a bit like how every nation in the world has a dish that's "everything in the cupboard heated for days", like curry, gumbo, stew, bean jar etc. Every country has a low magic tradition! Where I come from in the UK, we have a "divining using the Bible" tradition; all the spells I know from my folklore which have been passed down, they're all prayers. I've got a book of Anglo Saxon magic, from original text - they're all Christian prayers. Where I come from was strongly Calvinist, so my heritage doesn't have any saint stuff in it; but there's a history of old gods turning into new saints here, like with St Brigit.

Kitchen witchcraft, noodling with the Bible, iron filings, magical water, those are all fairly international "trying to cause magic with what I have to hand" norms, which one doesn't necessarily have to define as hoodoo. You don't need to do hoodoo to do any of these things.

The third is, what I suspect you're asking is, given that there's a specific ethnic context to hoodoo, is it alright for me to do as a white person? To which the answer is, it's a bit more complex than just "if you're black it's fine, if you're white it's not". It's more about, "you need to be formally trained and an active part of this community culture, you can't just read 4 watered-down blogposts". Like, if you want to become a Catholic or a Jew, you actually have to go to a community leader and get formal education before you are accepted into the faith community. It's not like evangelical Christianity where you can read the prayer on the back of the flyer and be reborn at once.

This distinction is important, because it takes it away from being this ethno-nationalist-separatist thing which to me feels actively quite dangerous, and more about appropriate and authentic membership of a living religion.

I believe this to be more important for things like vodoun or odinani or other diaspora religions. Hoodoo, ultimately, is more of a grab-bag of practical stuff - what you have in mind might just be a bunch of folk magic lore, which I think is basically fine; but if it's more on the African-diaspora-spirituality end, you're probably on thin ground.

So, you might not want to call what you're doing hoodoo unless you're connecting with actual teachers and practicioners from a living hoodoo scene, when you could just call it - folk magic, kitchen craft, etc instead, and avoid muddying the waters of what "hoodoo" means.

I hope any of that is good food-for-thought! Best wishes in your search.


[Edit to fix URL, and also remove an errant/orphaned/stray '[/quote]' -- PP]
« Last Edit: April 05, 2021, 02:11:39 pm by PerditaPickle »
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PerditaPickle

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2021, 02:09:27 pm »
So keep it nice and neat, but not to claim that this is your own, huh. This is a pretty good advise, thank you!

I'd probably say: not claim that it's your own, but state that it's your adaptation of elements of X original thing which inspired you.  If that makes sense.
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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2021, 02:15:41 pm »
So, traditional witchcraft has always defined itself in opposition to Wicca ("that was fake, but this is real").

Gardener presented Wicca as true history in the 1950s, and it was based on a number of other sources (Graves, Murray, Leyland, Frazer) which presented themselves as true history. Those ideas have been critiqued since, however up-to-date academia takes time to filter down into mainstream consciousness, and so a lot of ideas which come from those (somewhat unreliable) sources are still taken as a given to be objectively real parts of "tradition" and "history".

So I looked into Cochrane's Craft i.e., which is "not Wicca" and "traditional" and 1950s/60s British, but it contains so many elements I consider to be inherently Wiccan, and not feeling traditional at all. And that's because, elements of faux-tradition continue to be in our popular culture, never having been fully debunked.

The fundamental thing about traditional witchcraft (in the UK, at least), is that it doesn't have a formal system that's anywhere near as satisfying as the faux-history is.

If you're looking for traditional witchcraft, you really want local history books like Folklore of Guernsey by Marie de Garis, and what you'll find is clutter like "sew mercury into your clothes for luck" and "never say the word 'pigs' or 'priest' on a boat or it will sink". That's traditional witchcraft. You can find all of the british Folklore Society's magazines online, going back to the 1870s, and they are filled with tonnes of this nonsense, proverbs for the weather and supersticions about plants.

(Nowadays, there is more of a clearly defined traditional witchcraft, like this stuff, than when I started looking; which I think is successfully non-Wiccan in character)


There's three answers here.

The first is, absolutely fine. Eclecticism is great, and a traditional part of paganism and religion more generally. Try stuff and adapt it for you and mix it up with other things.

The second is, wrt hoodoo, it's a bit like how every nation in the world has a dish that's "everything in the cupboard heated for days", like curry, gumbo, stew, bean jar etc. Every country has a low magic tradition! Where I come from in the UK, we have a "divining using the Bible" tradition; all the spells I know from my folklore which have been passed down, they're all prayers. I've got a book of Anglo Saxon magic, from original text - they're all Christian prayers. Where I come from was strongly Calvinist, so my heritage doesn't have any saint stuff in it; but there's a history of old gods turning into new saints here, like with St Brigit.

Kitchen witchcraft, noodling with the Bible, iron filings, magical water, those are all fairly international "trying to cause magic with what I have to hand" norms, which one doesn't necessarily have to define as hoodoo. You don't need to do hoodoo to do any of these things.

The third is, what I suspect you're asking is, given that there's a specific ethnic context to hoodoo, is it alright for me to do as a white person? To which the answer is, it's a bit more complex than just "if you're black it's fine, if you're white it's not". It's more about, "you need to be formally trained and an active part of this community culture, you can't just read 4 watered-down blogposts". Like, if you want to become a Catholic or a Jew, you actually have to go to a community leader and get formal education before you are accepted into the faith community. It's not like evangelical Christianity where you can read the prayer on the back of the flyer and be reborn at once.

This distinction is important, because it takes it away from being this ethno-nationalist-separatist thing which to me feels actively quite dangerous, and more about appropriate and authentic membership of a living religion.

I believe this to be more important for things like vodoun or odinani or other diaspora religions. Hoodoo, ultimately, is more of a grab-bag of practical stuff - what you have in mind might just be a bunch of folk magic lore, which I think is basically fine; but if it's more on the African-diaspora-spirituality end, you're probably on thin ground.

So, you might not want to call what you're doing hoodoo unless you're connecting with actual teachers and practicioners from a living hoodoo scene, when you could just call it - folk magic, kitchen craft, etc instead, and avoid muddying the waters of what "hoodoo" means.

I hope any of that is good food-for-thought! Best wishes in your search.


[Edit to fix URL, and also remove an errant/orphaned/stray '' -- PP]
This is an incredible response, thank you so much for investing your time into it! It did clarified several things for me personally. I will keep looking then, might find something that suits me personally!
Thank you again, have a good day/evening/night/morning! ;D

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2021, 02:16:39 pm »
It's possible but it can be difficult to create a cohesive eclectic practice. Darkhawk has an article here that you might find helpful.
Oh my, I should be doing more research then. This is an astonishing article, thank you!

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Re: Something like Hoodoo, but not quite?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2021, 02:17:36 pm »
I'd probably say: not claim that it's your own, but state that it's your adaptation of elements of X original thing which inspired you.  If that makes sense.

That seems very reasonable, thank you for your time! You are amazing!

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