Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Hoodoo Truth: "Neo-Hoodoo"

The tradition of hoodoo/rootwork/conjure is under attack and I cannot stress enough how important it is for old-school workers to come forward to help combat this nonsense. If you are an old-school worker or know of one, please urge them to come make an online presence to help educate people.

I'm currently interacting with a Wiccan who is being quite honest with me with regard to his views. His views are basically that Hoodoo is dead or dying, that our concept of enemy work is morally wrong, and that it's okay to throw out God and the Bible and replace them with the Wiccan goddess and god. He believes that the only way for hoodoo to survive is by ALLOWING Wicca to assimilate it. He calls this "change", you know like natural evolution or progress. He has even used the term, "Neo-Hoodoo" (The New Hoodoo). He has flat out told me that we need to allow them to bring in their Wiccan Rede and "karmic justice" to the practice.

Readers, please read my words closely. This Wiccan I am communicating with is not unique or special. This is what most Wiccans who claim to practice hoodoo believe. He is definitely not the first "Woodoo" (Wicca-Hoodoo) I've interacted with. Their plans are to steal the tradition, assimilate it, and destroy conjure work so that they can claim it as their own. There's no "craft" in their so-called "witchcraft" and they recognize that hoodoo/rootwork/conjure is definitely a craft, as in an art or skill that must be learned and passed down in order to survive. So they want to steal it to prop up their own beliefs of being, "the old religion".

Now, a small minority of Wiccans are indeed practicing real, authentic conjure work because they work with God and the Bible. I have nothing against these people. As long as a worker is working with God and the Bible when doing their conjure then such people will not receive any complaints from me. I have no problem with them. So please realize I'm not talking about these people. My issue is with the Wiccans who come to the tradition as spiritual thieves.

What really pisses me off is that I've told this Wiccan I'm communicating with several times that you don't have to be a Christian to do hoodoo. You just need to keep things compartmentalized, as in keep your conjure work separate from your religious rituals. However, he doesn't seem to either understand this or want to do this. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't view it as an actual tradition. That's the problem. People don't view it as an actual tradition. Instead, they seem to view it as something that is there ripe for the picking (stealing).

Now, this person used the term "Neo-Hoodo" (New Hoodoo) as a description for his view of a merger of Wicca and hoodoo. Number one, hoodoo is not dead and it would have to be dead before any "Neo-Hoodoo" could come about. Number two, any "neo" of anything is not the same as the original. Neopaganism has little-to-nothing to do with actual paganism of the past. Instead, it's a reinterpretation and reinvention of it. Therefore any "Neo-Hoodoo" would likewise be something that people, quite frankly, just made-up and slapped a hoodoo label on it.

Hoodoo is not a religion. Hoodoo is not "just magic" either. Hoodoo is a spiritual tradition, a system that must be approached in a correct and respectable manner. We're not elitists. We are not bigots. Don't get mad at us when we try to combat the trend of the spiritual theft of this tradition. Don't expect us to simply smile and bless you as you try to steal this tradition and then claim it as your own. As far as I'm concerned, what's going to happen is that if Wiccans are successful in their theft of hoodoo and the destruction of the real deal, then later down the road or in the future Wiccans will present this as something that was always theirs, because that's how they have acted in the past. They steal it, assimilate it, and claim it as their own from the start. I've already seen this on various t.v. shows where candles that have longed been used in hoodoo/rootwork/conjure were presented as "Wiccan candles". that's just one example and there are several more.

So for you Wiccans out there who want to practice hoodoo/rootwork/conjure, you are more than welcome as long as you treat it with respect. Keep conjure separate from your religious rituals because conjure is older than your religion and has nothing at all to do with your religion. Just keep things compartmentalized and nobody is going to have a problem. When you do your conjure, work with God and the Bible and then later on when you are doing your Wiccan rituals, work with the goddess and god. That's how you go about being both Wiccan and a conjure worker. What is not acceptable is the assimilation and destruction of the tradition in the process. If you simply cannot do this then conjure work is not for you and you need to understand this and fast.

For my readers, I am very concerned about the survival of the tradition. The Internet is a game-changer. In the past, people who hate God or the Bible would simply not be taught a damn thing and would be sent away empty-handed. Today, anybody can receive "lessons" online, lessons that involve throwing out God and the bible and making the tradition an "anything goes" practice. Because of this, thousands of people can be taught this fake stuff and are likewise going to teach other people it too. The longer it goes on the more "credibility" these people will gain simple by the fact of how long it has been occurring. In the future it will be harder and harder for people to understand the difference between the fakes and the real deal. That is what scares me. Again, I think it's very important for old-school workers to start making a presence online to keep this tradition intact. Once again, if anyone knows an old-school worker who may be interested in forming an Internet presence then please urge them to do so.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a Wiccan, I wholeheartedly agree that far too many Wiccans spiritually hi-jack and steal from other religions/spiritual frameworks. I strongly hesitate to call these people actual Wiccans—they’ll find any excuse they can to validate their reasoning for doing such a thing. This says to me that they don’t understand their supposed chosen path, much less any other path they might come in contact with. What these people usually end up with, is a polyglot of something that doesn’t even resemble what the heart of Wicca really is.

Personally, I find it highly offensive and disrespectful that someone would try to rip off something and transplant it into Wicca. In my experience, I've seen many Wiccans do this with various Gods of different religions—particularly religions that are still very much active. One that comes to mind that many women misappropriate is Kali. If I was a Hindu and I found out some Wiccan, (or anyone else), was disrespecting and warping the Gods of my faith, I’d be pissed!

But I digress—I very strongly disagree with the Wiccan in this post that in order for Hoodoo to survive, it has to be absorbed into and claimed by Wicca. It is not a scavenger’s religion, and Wiccans have no right to do that. I do agree with you, Doc, that if a Wiccan wanted to practice Hoodoo, it should be compartmentalized, kept separate from the religion, and treated with respect. If one starts to change Hoodoo and incorporate it into something else, then it becomes denigrated and not what it was before. It ceases to be Hoodoo at all, and that is wrong.

That’s my two cents on that, and very glad someone has touched on this. I see this sort of thing go on all the time and sadly, It’s one of the main reasons I still practice my faith solitarily.

That aside, awesome blog—I’ve enjoyed reading it very much. I’ve had a long-standing interest in Hoodoo and glad to see that someone is putting it out there so that others might know and understand what it really is.

Thanks & Cheers :)

--Ms. S

DocConjure said...

@ Ms. S.,

I completely agree. My first introduction to this current problem happened back in the 90s. Back then it became a fad for Wiccans to invoke Yemaya, Oshun, and other spirits from African Tradtional Religions. They would invoke them like they woud invoke the gods and goddesses they worshipped and they treated them just like that. The problem is that the religions these spirits come from are still alive and well and they are being disrespectful to those religion, especially with the belief that they can treat them however they want to treat them and that they don't have to follow the "dos and don'ts" or taboos of working with them, per the rules of their religion. This really bothered me. From that time on it seems I began to see more and more spiritual theft from the Wiccan community and it was thent hat I realized that many Wiccans have become the enemy of actual and traditional spiritual practices. I'm not saying this about every Wiccan because I know there are good Wiccans out there. It's just that those "bad Wiccans" are quite destructful.

And I just want to restate this for anyone who is reading this. You don't have to be a Christian to do conjure work. However you do have to work with God and the bible. So what you do is you keep it compartmentalized. Keep your conjure work separate from your religious rites.

Thanks for the comment and welcome to the blog. :)

Anonymous said...

@ Doc

Thanks very much for the welcome :)

Unfortunately there are many ‘bad Wiccans’ out there who are still doing this. Not just with African Traditional Religions but with just about anything they can get their hands on--African, Northern European, Celtic, Greek, Hindu, etc. I totally agree that they are very destructful to Wicca, (practice wise, and credibility wise…), and to what they try to steal.

Back in the day when I first started my study of Wicca there was a train of thought being perpetuated: “All Gods are one God, All Goddesses are one Goddess”. This is total BS, and many Wiccans use this as their primary excuse to take any God or Goddess, pull them into Wicca, and make them their own. As you said before, practically every God and Goddess has their requirements/taboos when it comes to working with them and even then, it’s in a very specific context of a religion or spiritual practice that has absolutely nothing to do with Wicca.

What disturbs me is that this kind of thinking ,(all Gods are one God, all Goddesses are one Goddess), is still being perpetuated both in teachings and in print—if enough people believe it and keep perpetuating it , it becomes ‘truth’ even if that truth is wrong. So if someone says they worship a God or Goddess outside the traditional God and Goddess of Wiccan in their Triplicates, (Maiden/Mother/Crone and Youth/Father/Sage), chances are they were exposed to this type of thinking at some point and they are very wrong

I could probably go on and on about this particular subject and how a more ‘Orthodox’ Wiccan practice is needed, and other falsehoods that need to be dealt with, but I digress :)

Hoodoo, as with all spiritual practices, should be respected if they are being used or left alone. Education and overturning of false hoods are keys to this for sure :)

--Ms. S

DocConjure said...

@ Ms. S.,

Well said. :)

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