Welcome Katrina Hazzard-Donald (Rutgers University) and Host Lisa Derrick (HuffingtonPost) (FDL/LaFiga)

Mojo Workin’: The Old African-American Hoodoo System

I have always been fascinated by Hoodoo and other branches of African Diasporic Religions. Like many Americans, my first brush with African-based faiths was voodoo shown in books and media, and then because I lived in Los Angeles, Santeria became very noticeable; but it was always Hoodoo that clicked with me. Maybe it was because my family is from the South and my aunt would tell me about the Gullah people, she’d gave me books of folk tales and histories to read, plus superstitions ran strong in our family.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald’s Mojo Workin’: The Old African American Hoodoo System is a rich, academic study of Hoodoo, tracing the religion’s root back to the tribal people of Africa who were forcibly brought to America as slaves.  They relied on their religious belief system, including charms and mojo bags to (successfully) protect them from often cruel masters. She follows Hoodoo through watershed changes in the cultural landscape of America which wrought significant changes in African American culture, society, family structure, and religion.

Hoodoo is a religion, one which has been preserved through oral tradition, a religion that has both spiritual and practical aspects. The spiritual aspects, the links to the gods of Africa have gradually been altered through the influence of Protestant Christianity (a difference between Voodoo and Santeria which syncretize the African gods with Roman Catholic saints) and the changes in society. But certain traditions remain, seen in the Sanctified and Spiritual Churches, as well as in those who still practice the traditional form of Hoodoo. The practical aspects include naturopathic cures, midwifery, and mental health work, and aspects of those are now being recognized within certain spheres of the African American health care community.

An associate professor of sociology, anthropology, and criminal justice at Rutgers University-Camden, Hazzard-Donald traces the origins of Hoodoo to three distinct regions she calls “regional Hoodoo clusters” in the South, and follows their transitions from the “black belt” into a more nationalized, homogenized form of the faith that developed gradually after Emancipation and through the urban and Northern migration of African Americans. During this time, Hoodoo goods began to become mass marketed by traveling salespeople who also sold a range of other products targeted at the African American community. Traditional beliefs were exploited by business people of other races with no connection to Hoodoo who market lucky charms, gambling tools and other snake oil products to a vast group of people cut off from their foundational traditions who longer form a connection to their roots.

Root workers, conjure men, and “midwifes” (an all-encompassing term for women healers/spiritual workers) were supplanted by retailers who marketed mass-produced goods lacking the religious traditions and sacred aspects. (This is how many lay people today see Hoodoo—brightly colored oils and candles, curios promising fast luck, love, or money).

Hazard-Douglas recounts the history of Dr. Buzzard, one of the most revered practitioners of Hoodoo, known for his ability to cause court cases to resolve in his client’s favor by chewing, then spitting galangal (Low John root) in court. (And I wonder if that is why today in courtrooms, people are admonished not to chew gum). She also interviews a number of followers and practitioners of the religion, giving a rich perspective on this vital, yet hidden faith.

In post-World War II America, for many African Americans Hoodoo came to be viewed as incompatible with integration and upward mobility, while at the same time those who wished to practice the traditional ways were thwarted by lack of access to both traditional supplies and traditional practitioners. Meanwhile, products loosely based in Hoodoo were aggressively marketed to a growing white (and later Latino) clientele, expanding beyond the black press to magazines like True Confessions and movie magazines.

But still Hoodoo faith and traditions survive, in dance (it was her study of the traditional Ring Dance which spurred Hazzard-Douglas’s writing of this book), in certain African American churches and through the oral transmission that have maintained the old black belt style of Hoodoo. The loss of black-owned farmland has impacted contemporary black belt Hoodoo: Not only have Hoodoo harvest lands be lost, but the loss of farming land also means a loss of economic self-sufficiency and independence from wage labor. Despite expansion and development destroying much of the land where traditional herbs grow, some diggers can still locate the fresh herbs and roots used in conjure work, rather than relying on bulk items from major suppliers (and those suppliers are gradually being consolidated).

The overall shift in economies means the Hoodoo practitioners must also have regular jobs—a change from the post-Emancipation period over a century ago when conjure workers, freed from slave labor, were able to devote themselves solely to healing work in their communities. However, some children and grandchildren of old tradition workers have become educated in the fields of medicine and psychology, integrating Hoodoo beliefs and its role in African American community health.

The Internet, while allowing for the proliferation of Hoodoo hucksters, has also provided a way for genuine Hoodooists to connect and trade information. They assist their clients in traditional needs: Love, money, and health, as well as issues that have confronted African Americans since their forced arrival in America: black family destruction and mass incarceration.

The story of Hoodoo’s development, growth, and shifts, and its return to small traditional-based groups shows the changes in African American society as a whole. Mojo Workin’: The Old African American Hoodoo System is an important contribution to African American history and sociology, religious history in America, and to American history as a whole.

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

61 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Katrina Hazzard-Donald, Mojo Workin’: The Old African-American Hoodoo System”

BevW April 14th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Katrina, Welcome to the Lake.

Lisa, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

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Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Hi Bev and viewers…I’m here and ready to chat. Katrina

dakine01 April 14th, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Katrina and welcome to Firedoglake this afternoon. Hi Lisa!

Katrina I have not had an opportunity to read your book so forgive me if you address this in there but what were the biggest misconceptions you discovered about Hoodoo in your research? Was it the same for Blacks and Whites or were there different misconceptions by race?

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi Katrina, thank you so much for writing such an in depth look at the history of Hoodoo.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Current misconceptions are not race specific. Once Hoodoo gets distorted the misconceptions don’t discriminate.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

And thank you for explaining how Hoodoo is fact a vital faith. Hoodoo’s roots go back to Africa. Could please go into how the original faith/s transformed once slaves form differing tribes were housed together on plantations?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

The misconceptions seemed to be universal

Elliott April 14th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Welcome to the Lake Katrina

How did you get interested in Hoodoo? Was it part of your family?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:04 pm

I grew up with Hoodoo. But I became formally interested in it as a result of my interest in dance. African religion (and its derivatives ) are found in Music and dance. (that’s a quote from the African Scholar John Mbiti.)

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Once i became an initiate of the Yoruba system of religion, I noticed so many similarities with Hoodoo that I became curious about the relationship between Hoodoo and other African religions in the New World.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

My family believed in it and practiced it as did most African Americans in the 1950′s.

BevW April 14th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Could you explain the types of misconceptions?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:10 pm
In response to BevW @ 12

One misconception was/is that Hoodoo is not and was not a real religion. At some point Hoodoo functioned as a full-fledged religion complete with its sacred dance. If we examine the major African religions in the New World, Vodun, Santeria/Lucumi and Candoble in Brazil, all these religions have a sacred dance.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:10 pm

So you learned Hoodoo in the traditional fashion–and from reading your book, I realized that by hand/oral tradiiton is the true way, there are certain things that can’t be taught form books.

Some of the misconceptions I have encountered about Hoodoo are that it’s not a religion (the biggest one), and from there — well there are many.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:11 pm

The major evidence for this position by me is the dance called “The Ring Shout”.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Samba dance/music in Brazil developed out of sacred worship gathering in casas, and was eventually forbidden–the amba parties were broken up police who opposed non Catholic worship. However the music itself, thanks ot radio, moved to America and Europe, preserving 9and yet changing) the sacred aspects…

BevW April 14th, 2013 at 2:12 pm

What items / concepts are used to define a “religion”? Culture? Ceremony?

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:13 pm

COuld you describe the Ring Shout itself. YOu wrote extensively about how it can be found in African Spiritual and Sanctified Churches today?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:13 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 14

When one examines the literature on the conversion of African American slaves to Christianity, it becomes clear that they wanted to dance the “Ring Shout” at their conversion. I must ask, if they wanted to bring the “ring shout” into Christianity, then what were they bringing it out of???? Certainly not Christianity. They were bringing it from another religion that had sustained if for over 250 years.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:17 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 18

The ring shout was originally done in a counter clockwise circle. This circle was familiar to ALL the African ethnic groups that were landed here. The movement involves stepping around in a circle, while clapping and singing and chanting in call and response form. Because of the architecture of most Christian churches, with pews in the way, the circle was broken up and only the shoutin’ remained. But in South Carolina today on special ocassions one can still see an authentic “shout”.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Another misconception about Hoodoo sen in popular culture is how in UK press, a loosing streak for a soccer team is called a hoodoo. I get google alerts a for Hoodoo, and 99% of them are about sports. YOur book was the 1% exception!

**
Hoodoo differs form the other African Diasporic faiths (Santeria, Voudon/Voodoo, Canddomble), because it is American Protrstant influenced, there were not saints for syncretzing with the African gods/lwa/orisha. How did the stories and energies of the gods stay intact?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:23 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 16

Yes, a similar process was done here. In my first book “Jookin: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African American Culture” I demonstrate the police presence as much of the “social” activity of African people in the new world. The popular dances done in the U.S. today are derived from the sacred dances of West Africa, just like the Brazilian dances in Samba. In fact the Juba rhythm done in “patting Juba’ also known as the “hambone” is compatible with the Samba rhythm. In fact all the rhythms interlock. One can play Samba over the Cuban clave (a 5 count beat which I thin is modified into the blues 5 count riff in the U.S.)The process of enslavement was similar in Brazil, and the methods of oppression don’t differ very much where ever we find them.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:25 pm

And this may seem offbase–but do you think the stories of Joel Chandler Harris, the Uncle Remus folk tales carry memories of the original religions? Bre’r rabbit to me seem very much like Exu/Eleggua, and you mention in Mojo Workin’ that the rabbit was seen as the messenger….

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:27 pm
In response to BevW @ 17

Throught the book I struggled with this question of “religion”?? I define religion in the book in a way that gives latitude to the work. I use the most flexible definition that I could. On page I say “for the purposes of this study religion is defined as a coherent personal or institutionalized system of spisritual belief and practice.” Pg 3.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:28 pm

On plantations, Hoodoo was often used to keep families intact, to prevent the form being sold away to different plantations, and to prevent whippings/stay in favor with the slave owners. And still today, as you point out, Hoodoo deals with those issues in a modrn prism: Keeping families together, keeping away legal trouble, and improving the lot of those held in prison.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:33 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 21

The African traditional religions were “pagan” engaging in nature reverence. Initially the “gods” were converted back to the natural forces. We can observe “pouring down the moon” in South Carolina, a ritual of worship of nature. Other “gods” or aspects of “god” were displaced into secularized “culture heroes”. the Case of “High John the Conquor” (not conqueror)the first diefied saint of the old Hoodoo Religion. Others were demonized by the influence of Christianity primarily and converted into negative forces like “haints” or “ghost horses” and such.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:37 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 23

Yes, somewhat. The notion of a capricious divinity is widespread in West Africa and in other places a well. The notions of a “jealous god” is an example of this capriciousness. So brer rabbit may or may not be such. There were many other examples, brer rabbit (My Brother the rabbit) could be a secularized version of the capricious divinity that Esu represents. But remember the Ghanian “Anancy” (or in Georgia Aunt Nancy the spider) Ananci or Anancy is a capricious spirit that will trick you, he is the principle of uncertainty, which is what Esu/Exu is.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Reading your Mojo Workin’ gave me new insights in High John. I am familiar with the root and have worked it for jobs, contacts, legal matters, and had thought it’s name might be related to John the Baptist. YOur book cleared that up for me. Can you tell us a bit about High John?

(I often use a mix of High John and Low John as well, I call it “Average John” an dit’s efffectve!)

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

COuld you explain how “policy/numbers” worked. I know the winning numbers were based on various random numbers –say the last three digits of the stock exchange. But how did the betting work?

And could youtell our readers the connection between policy/numbers and Hoodoo?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 2:43 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 28

Ok. When I went searching to buy High John root (Jallap root) I stumbled upon the story of Gaspar Yanga, a true story of a Mexican Maroon rebel leader who was executed in Xalapa (Jalapa ) Mexico. the story was the EXACT same story that the elders told in my Alabama based community in Cleveland. How could this be? How could this story of a Mexican rebel be the exact same story that I learned in Cleveland in the 1950′s?? Well this blew me away. I was puzzled for weeks…then it came to me, that Gaspar Yanga was probably the model for High John. Then when I discovered that the Spanish traded slaves from all of the Spanish colonies into New Orleans I knew that I had found High John indeed.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:52 pm

That is definitely ancestors working for you! One story you brought up was how, during the post-Empancipation era, one spiritual products dealer, would travel to Mexic and buy up as much High John root as possible in order to corner the market.

Outsiders definitely played a part in marketing Hoodoo to the masses, in both black and white society. In someways that destroyed the traditional, religion based aspects (kind of cheapening it and makig it look superstitious), as well the traditional methods, prayers, etc; but at the same time, I wonder if these marketers didn’t in some ways help keep Hoodoo alive but at least having it a public consciousness, allowing those interested to delve further and search out true practitioners, and to research, study, and learn?

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

And could you tell us a bit about Dr. Buzzard, one of the most fascinating conjuremen–and his entanglements with the courts, both as a practitioner, and later as a defendant?

hackworth1 April 14th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Is the term “mojo” directly attributable to Hoodoo?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 29

The numbers were the old illegal lotteries. They were dominant in African American communities but played elsewhere also. The bets were similar to those used in the state lotteries today. But the relationship of the numbers and Hoodoo was and is interesting. One could use Hoodoo to get a winning number. Dreams and “signs” were interpreted to have numerical equivalents such as if one dreams about a black cat, one could go to a dream book and get a number to play. Or one could ask a Hoodoo worker for a number that will hit. Or one could ask a good dream interpreter to translate the dream into a number. Hoodoo was used to get money in several forms…getting a job, hitting a number, making a good investment, or gambling…anything that involved getting money could involve Hoodoo. People who do not practice Hoodoo may pray to Jesus to send them a number to relieve their financial suffering.

hackworth1 April 14th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

I like the Hoodoo Concept. Multideism lends an important way to avoid religious disputes (and war) insofar as – the sharing of many gods – prevents – my one true god – is better/more real – than your one true god.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:05 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 31

One could see it that way if one forgets that the Hoodoo underground circumvented the marketeers. So they kept the notion of Hoodoo as “magic” and “quick fix” alive. But Hoodoo as spiritual practice was kept alive in the spiritual and sanctified churches. The marketeers destroyed the “National Negro Market” in Hoodoo. Some of this is the result of simply being in the right place at the right time…there were numerous pressures on the black community to abandon Hoodoo. But there was a constant “push – pull” relationship, where Christianity failed, Hoodoo held out hope..when prayer did not get one the desired results, Hoodoo was always there to cover your back. (smile)

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:05 pm

the numbers games were one way for women to earn an income–they could make book (take bets”). And also didn’t Hoodoo marketing companies employ people to sell door to door and within the community to sell goods and wares along wiht beauty products?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:11 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 32

Brother Gregory on St. Helena Island still wraps the traditional Mojo Bag as did his great grand father Dr. Buzzard. Stepheny Robinson was his name…he was born before the end of slavery, some say he was born shoghtly after, but he is the most well known conjure man. There were a few others..Jim Jorday and Black Herman come to mind. Of course there was the great conjure woman “Marie Laveau”. Dr. Buzzard and others were targeted by law enforcement officials when Buzzard allegedly gave a young man a potion that allowed him to escape the draft. He both worked the root and he contacted a good attorney. He passed his practice to his son in law, who married Brother Gregory’s grandmother. Today there are few who know the old ways. And like all things Hoodoo keeps evolving. No one picks up tracks anymore.

eCAHNomics April 14th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I don’t know enough about this subject to ask an intelligent question.

But am interested in “lost” cultures, i.e. cultures that the Western powers wish to deny bc they challenge accepted wisdom.

Thanking you and will go back to lurking & reading.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:14 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 33

The term Hoodoo may have its origins in Conjure. I’m not sure…I think it was a variation of Voodoo. In New Orleans it is sometimes used interchangeable depending on the circumstances. I think it was a variant on Voodoo that came to the U.S. and was modified.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

“picking up tracks” means collecting the dirt form a foot print, and these days what with side walks and shoes, that’s a bit hard. though I know people who lay down powders for folks to walk in.

It’s interesting to see how crossroads appear win both European and African magic/religion. They are sacred to Hekate and her herlad Hermes (Mercury) and the Romans gave a goddess aspect of Hekate a name tr0Via (three ways) to the cross roads whence comes out word “trivia” as peoepl would gather there to discus things (as well as leave offerings–seen in both European and African traditions).

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:16 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 33

Concerning the term “mojo”, I’ve read that it comes from the term “mojiganga” but I’m not sure. I’ve also heard the term attributed to a Congolese term Mojuba not to be confused with the Yoruba term.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

re Dr Buzzard–I am convinced the reason the bailiff forbids chewing gum in court (I have seen this in small claims court, family court and in major trials) stems from the chewing of Low John in court cases.

It seems in the last few decades, there has been a reconnection with and renewal of interest in African Diasporic faiths, where as in the 1960s and 70s they were put aside. To what you attribute this?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:20 pm
In response to hackworth1 @ 35

I’m one of those people who see no conflict between evolution and creation. I think the god of the universe is called by many names…God is not confused only us down here with all these different names for the same force. The cross roads is sacred universally. Almost everyone has a similar concept. A place of intersection between people, forces, god & human, we as humans have our egoes, national egoes, racial egos and these get in the way of our humanity.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:24 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 37

Yes they did. My grandmother often “made a book” of numbers when money got short. It was a great way for women to make money independently. And Yes the Hoodoo marketering companies did hire people who went door to door. They were able to acquire some money doing this. It was always looked at with some suspicion by the church practitioners of Hoodoo, but there is no hard line between them. The marketing companies also set up outside of black churches, and at revivals to recruit customers.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Very true.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:28 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 43

That’s probably right. I bet the bailiff probably does forbid gum for that reason. It was widely known that Negroes would “chew the root in court”. My grandfther told me a story about his being released from incarceration because of Hoodoo. On a visit he was given a small bag with “chewing John” “galanga root” to chew and spit all around him, even in the court room. He swears that chewin’ John released him from serving time.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:32 pm

For novices and the curious it’s often hard to tell the difference between legitimate Hoodoo practitioners and flim flam artists (same in other soiritual work, actually, the “bliking hand” fortune telling parlor are a classic scam set up,and the back of any tabloid will show scores of “Drs. and “sisters” eager to bring back a lost love wiht “guaranteed results”).

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:36 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 48

Not only the tabloids, but the “confessions” magazines are supported exclusively through Hoodoo ads. I mad a list of 38 practitioners, all named Dr.’s and “mothers” and “divine sister” so and so…I could reach only one who was for real and she told me that she could not recite the fictitious “Papa Juma” incantations for me. I made this up and everyone I contacted said that they could do this for me for the sum of $1,200. – 1,500 dollar. The “real” practitioners will not ask you for money, they will not issue any disclaimers “sold only as a curio” and they will work closely with you to tailor the ritual to your specific needs. Also they will rarely use andy commercial supplies…they work with nature..

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Are there still legitimate Hoodooists teaching and training, and do they only teach those of African descent?

BevW April 14th, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Katrina, Will you be doing any lectures or book signings for this new book? Where can people find out?

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:44 pm

If real practitioners don’t ask for money, how do they support themselves–or are they paid once work is completed, and don;t ask for $ up front?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:44 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 50

Most legitimate practitioners will only teach truly interested students. It’s still passed down in families so it’s hard to break in. It is not confined to African Americans, lots of Southerners of all shades practice it…most folks turn to the marketeers. So if you are not in a family or a church with a practitioner it can be difficult to learn. Plus some of the knowlege has been dissipated into healing with herbs,. The “treatures” of Louisiana practice Hoodoo, but they will deny that title/lable. So one can still find someone, but it’s difficult. In the evolution of the old system, much was lost..but the basic principles of Pagan practice can be use as a guide. One can perform your own Hoodoo with the conjurer as a guide. Working the spirit requires a lot of time and energy. Whenever I do a divination reading for someone, I must nap afterwards. It takes the energy out of you…Hoodoo is the same. Really working th spirit requires a tremendous energy commitment.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:46 pm
In response to BevW @ 51

Yes I will be doing a book signing at the Philadelphia Folklore Project but the date is not confirmed yet. You can call them for the date. Or I will post it on my Facebook page which is in my name Katrina Hazzard.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:47 pm

And lastly, Hoodoo has survived and evolved from Africa through slavery, shifts in economic and social orders, through segregation and the Civil Rights era, though its assimilation into other belief systems (aspects of Hooodoo are found in modern Wicca, modern santeria), through to today–how do you see it evolving into the 21st Century?

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:51 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 52

The true paractitioner will suggest a donation…but many of them have jobs with which they support themselves. I don’t know anyone who does it for a living, they may supplement their income with it, but most work full time. They will expect you to pay for the supplies, and they may expect you to pay for gasoline if they drive far, but most will accept a donation of some kine. In the old days, food, eggs, flour butter etc. Richard Pryor the great comedian, has a stand up monolog about Miss Rudolph the “Hoodoo woman” who tells her client that she accept no money but he must bring her a raw turkey at Thanksgiving time. Here is an example of the kind of pay they traditionally took. Today they accept donations and are flexible. But the client must bring something as a sacrifice…the principle in all lpagan religions is that of sacrifice, or a transfer of energy, responsibility and a restoration of balance.

Lisa Derrick April 14th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Indeed. It is “working” definitely, requires energy mentally, physically, spiritually.

I am truly honored to have you here today and it was a pleasure to read Mojo Workin’ –so much history and culture (and practical knowledge, too). Thank you for being with us and for continuing to preserve and enliven the traditions, and helping me to honor my aunt/godmother who exposed me to information about the Gullah people and Southern folkways.

BevW April 14th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

As we come to the end of this great Book Salon discussion,

Katrina, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book.

Lisa, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Katrina’s website (Rutgers University) and book (Mojo Workin’)

Thanks all, Have a great week.

If you would like to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

FDL Book Salon has a Facebook page too

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:56 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 55

Hi Lisa
that’s a great question..since people like me are now interested and involved, I see legitimate insiders organizing to legitimate the training and the tradition and not only for commercial purposes. The National African Religion Congress has licensed it’s first “root worker” adn they will soon open a rootworker section in the Congress. This international organization is composed of Cuban, & Nigerian Babalawos, Brazilian Santeroes, Vodun Mambos and Hougans, Shango Baptist from Trinidad and KiKongo Traditional Priests. They are working to strengthen and restore Hoodoo to a more prominent and practical place.

Katrina Hazzard-Donald April 14th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

Good by everyone and thank you for your interest and participation….Katrina

Bro Tom April 14th, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I am very fond of the story of the Gullah People and would welcome any comment on this book–”Blue Roots: African-American Folk Magic of the Gullah People”, by Roger Pinckney. When traveling the coastal region from South Carolina to Northern Florida, just before the turn of the millennium, I would still pass humble homes with the telltale bright blue painted doorjambs.

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