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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: Voodoo & Hoodoo

The book is Voodoo & Hoodoo: The Craft As Revealed By Traditional Practitioners by Jim Haskins.

This book brings back memories for me, as I first read it back in 1989 and was extremely embarrassed when I checked it out at the library. I had to hide it from my parents for fear they would catch me reading it. But there's always that thrill of excitement when you are sneaking something!

Don't let the title of the book fool you. There is nothing about Voodoo, the religion, in the pages. This book is almost entirely about the practice of Hoodoo, a.k.a. Conjure, Rootwork, etc. I say almost because there's a bit of the "Louisiana Voodoo" thrown in.

The book takes the reader on an interesting journey into the world of Hoodoo, from the African origins to the modern day practice. Included are various spells and workings. There are a few black and white photographs in the book and I have to say, there is a hilarious story of one picture. There is a picture of the African god Exu that is shown as a hand-made devil-doll with a rather large erection. This image can be found in the older or original copies. Newer releases have censored the image by removing the offensive phallus. But here's what's so funny, Just a couple of pages after the censored photograph is an advertisement for another Voodoo book that has a drawing of two crossed phalluses. I kid you not. It's hilarious. It's supposedly a Voodoo charm to make a man potent, but just the thought they would censor the photograph but keep the drawing is just mind boggling.

The good thing about the book is that it is a wonderful read. You will not be bored and the reader will learn a thing or two about the practice of Hoodoo. The only negative comment about the book is that it contains a few botanical errors, so please show caution when attempting to use the roots and herbs in the manner listed in the book.

On a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the lowest and 10 being the highest, I give this book a 10.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, try to purchase a copy of an older printing. The newer version has a very ugly cover. Older versions have a black background with the title in yellow, white, and orange, which is much more attractive. Additionally, by purchasing an older version you will receive an uncensored version of the photograph I touched on above.

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