Spotlight: Hoodoo

January 19, 2023
Posted in Belief Path
January 19, 2023 DesertJen

Hoodoo Introduction

Hoodoo is a hybrid practice of African, Native American, and Christian belief systems.  Contrary to popular belief, HooDoo and VooDoo are distinctly different.  The one common element is that they found their way to the western world through the African slave market.

HooDoo, also commonly called Conjure, is distinctly practiced by Christians.  The Christian bible is intertwined into the practice.  According to my major source today (Old Style Conjure, Hoodoo, Rootwork, and Folk Magic, by Starr Casas, copyright 2017) Hoodoo was developed as a way to practice some of the African beliefs under the cover of Christianity.  As time advanced, the American Indian knowledge of roots and herbs were incorporated into Conjure.  Thus, workers are known as Rootworkers.

Honoring the “ancestors” is one of the basic components of HooDoo.  The ancestors are those who were forcibly removed from their homeland in Africa and brought to the Americas.  They created this belief system and should be honored as such.

HooDoo (Conjure), the Bible, and Intent

Image by James Nichols from Pixabay

As I said earlier, the Christian Bible is intertwined into Conjure.  The Africans were forced to worship the Christian God and Bible.  If they were caught worshipping anything different could mean death.  Thus, they hid their workings into the Bible.  This is one reason why HooDoo is not treated as a specific religion, but a working within Christianity.  That is not to say you need to be a Christian to work HooDoo.  But you do need to incorporate the Bible into your workings.  Thin line, I know.  But it is what it is.

All work in HooDoo is qualified as “justified” with there being no right or wrong.   Curses can be justified if the situation calls for it.  You really shouldn’t curse someone who cut you off in traffic or just pissed you off as Starr Casas points out in their book.  That would be “unjust.”  If you were to curse someone unjustly and they reversed the curse, it will come back on you.  Reversals are workings that can turn situations.  Have a batch of bad luck?  You perform a reversal.  If the bad luck was caused by someone’s unjustified curse on you, then the energies are sent directly to the person who performed the curse, much like a mirror spell caste by a Witch.  Reversals are always done in a counter-clockwise direction turning back the clock to before the batch of bad luck.


When researching HooDoo you will find some of it written in almost a different language.  That language is Gullah spoken by decedents of Africans in island and coastal regions of South Caroliina, Georgia, and northastern Florida.  It takes some deciphering for a northerner to understand, but once you become accustomed to the grammar and use of words, it is pretty easy to follow.

The Gullah region once extended from SE North Carolina to NE Florida

Practice Overview

As many of us Goddess followers use sage to purify before workings, rootworkers use a white candle “brushing off” starting at the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.  While doing this, you pray for deliverance.  I know this may be hard for many of us in the craft.  Many of us came to the craft to get away from Christianity.  But as I said before, they are intertwined and necessary to the practice of Conjure.  Different workings call for different parts of the Bible.    One I looked at in Starr Casas book, Justice against an Enemy calls for the recitation of 2 Samuel 22 V 49.  Thus, you should have some familiarity with the Bible to perform the workings.

When you set up an Altar in the Conjure fashion, it usually faces the east, but is not a firm requirement.  A handkerchief with a glass of water, a candle, and a bible placed upon the handkerchief is the general set up.  You offer your prayers to the ancestors daily or weekly.  Starr Casas recommends to those unfamiliar with Christian prayer and bible, to simply pick up the bible and open it.  You then read the passage that you see first.

Summary and Links

Conjure, HooDoo, Rootwork, whatever you choose to call it, is a complicated belief system.  Being it is mainly practiced by Southern Baptists who are knowledgeable about the bible.  I am placing some links to websites I used as reference if you should choose to investigate further.  I find it an interesting practice (again, not a religion of its own) and intriguing to learn about.

Following are the links to some of the websites I used researching this article.  Did you enjoy this article?  Are you going to further research the subject?  Let us know in the comments.



The Great Basin Crone, DesertJen, has been a practicing pagan for 20 years. She does not identify with any belief system, although she feels a strong calling to explore, investigate, and practice using her Celtic roots. She also practices Kitchen and Green witchery through her love of cooking and gardening, using herbs, plants, and anything that comes from the earth in her craft. She has many hobbies, which include creating through polymer clay and her Cricut. She also has the pleasure of nurturing and caring for her grandbaby while the baby’s parents are at work. Animals are extremely important to DesertJen, as she has an elderly lab, an old husky, and a young black Manx that is missing her tail (who keeps the old Crone on her toes!). DesertJen shares her life with her mother in the Nevada high desert of the Great Basin, where they love to watch the moon rise.

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