I had been in a period of quiet reflection, but I felt compelled to blog about some things I had been noticing around the community. As African-American folk magic has gained popularity, there is so much becoming unnecessarily complex. To begin with, I will start with the labels.

Within my family line, the phrase, name or description of hoodoo or magic never existed. There were special things you did but it was something you did when you needed that raise, or wanted someone to leave and never come back or you wanted to prevent death. I grew up with women who told you about yourself because they had a dream about you the other night and they knew for a fact what was going on (and they did). These women were Christian, God-fearing women who did not believe in witchcraft, nor would they subscribe to anything labeled with magic. The women in my family did not even deal in cards because they considered it to be an evil gateway. I am actually the only one in my family line who will touch regular playing cards or tarot out of the old ones (nearly all have now passed away).

Today everyone has a recipe, and that recipe involves obtaining that thing or this that is so expensive until it is unreasonable to me. Or today, there are attempts at blending other traditions into something that never existed that way in practice. For me, you don’t rub some hotfoot while talking to Odin. Other deities from other paths were vehemently rejected in my lineage and this simply did not transpire. The things a person used to bring about the most favorable results for themselves were simple, easily accessible and mostly something that was already on-hand. It was without the mix-and-match of traditions people try to work today. Much of what was done was figuratively simple and filled with common sense.

If someone came to visit you didn’t like you swept them out when they left and then hung particular herbs around your door or a wreath with the herbs in it. If you wanted someone to stay you hammered a nail in the foot track headed towards the house. If someone needed to be stopped or shut up you froze a personal effect. These are just a couple of things one could do. There are many other ways to accomplish the same tasks depending on the situation or the desired outcome but the point is none of the things I mentioned involved buying some ridiculously priced items. The herbs I mentioned are herbs you can pick yourself in the wild or purchase from the local grocery store (or you likely have in your cupboard right now).

Some situations do involve very complex matters for which a person may need to spend quite a bit, but these situations are very rare and definitely not the everyday hardships people have in life. The people, from whom we learned this practice, were people that faced great hardship in the most severe level of poverty. It cannot be forgotten that African-American folk magic, hoodoo, conjure, and any other description people want to assign these days came from the group that had the very least. For these African American ancestors, many of them did not even own their own freedom. So I completely and absolutely reject the need for many products I cannot make or reproduce myself. There is no special candle worth $200 that will fix the situation. I’ll do it myself and it will be worth $2,000 to me while costing $1 because of what I made it fix.

It also cannot be forgotten that whether you practice Voodoo, hoodoo, rootwork, Ifa, Lucumi, or any other African tradition, the key is African. There is no way to remove the African or black ancestors from the practice. If you have a hatred of African, African-American, or brown/black/red people in general, these are not the traditions for you.

© 2017 Danielle Mayo
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