Voodoo and Hoodoo: TRUTH REVEALED
I've been reading some interesting books lately, and one, "Dixie Spirits," piqued my interest in Voodoo and Hoodoo. So I combined some online research with what I learned from the book and came up with some interesting facts.
Most people are familiar with the term "Voodoo." And in the South, at least, most people also know the term "Hoodoo." Often, these two words are used interchangeable. But what exactly is voodoo and what is hoodoo and are they the same?
No, they are not the same. Voodoo, which, according to the book "Dixie Spirits," by Christopher K. Coleman, was originally imported from Haiti, is a mixture of West Afrian magical practicies and religion and Roman Catholicism. It became wildly popular in America, and particularly around New Orleans, when Haitian immigrants flooded into the country after the Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803. The first famed practitioner of the voodoo arts was Dr. John, whose real name was Jean Montenot. He is credited with being the first to mix Roman Catholic saints with black magic arts. But his fame was greatly eclipsed by that of his protege', Marie LaVeau.
It was LaVeau who brought real spectacle to voodoo, dancing wildly and sensuously to the beat of African drums with a giant python she called Zombi. Many believed Zombi was the reincarnation of the African creator-god, Damballa. Marie also made the Virgin Mary a center of voodoo worship.
Voodoo uses a lot of magic spells, potions, and rituals, but it also includes fortune-telling, divination, and other psychic arts. It has its own priests and is fairly well organized.
Hoodoo, on the other hand, is purely involved with conjures: potions and magic spells to bring good fortune or bad. There are no priests and the practitioners are known as "Conjurors." Love potions, curses, binding spells, and the like are the realm of hoodoo. There is much less Christian influence in hoodoo, which is thought to be a corruption of the term for African dark magic, juju. Hoodoo is far more common throughout the South, while voodoo remains primarily in the former French areas such as Louisiana and Mississippi. It is almost entirely involved with the casting or removing of spells. Often, the potions used in the spell employ "goofer dust," or dirt from the graveyard.
While Voodoo does have African roots, it came to America by way of Haiti, and was influenced both by Latin culture and, greatly, by the Roman Catholic Church. Hoodoo, on the other hand, came more directly from Africa by way of slaves, and it was a way that these slaves could practice a sort of personal power that they had in no other way.
While any walk in the French Quarter or visit to Marie Laveau's grave will convince you that voodoo is alive and well, the same is true of its' cruder cousin, hoodoo.
Hoodoo is not a thing of the past. A glance at Google reveals websites and ebooks relating to the practice online. Many shops throughout the South sell candles, incense, herbs, roots and minerals.
Conjurors still ply their practice, and not only in the South. According to Wikipedia, hoodoo has become popular in other places as well, especially on the West Coast.