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By blending the ideas laid out by the Christian Bible, the faith is made more acceptable. This combines the teachings of Christianity that Africans brought to America were given and the traditional beliefs they brought with them.
The newest work on Hoodoo lays out a model of hoodoo origins and development. Those traits included naturopathic medicine, ancestor reverence, counter clockwise sacred circle dancing, blood sacrifice, divination, supernatural source of malady, water immersion and spirit possession.
These traits allowed Culturally diverse Africans to find common culturo-spiritual ground. According to the author, hoodoo developed under the influence of that complex, the African divinities moved back into their natural forces, unlike in the Caribbean and Latin America where the divinities moved into Catholic saints.
This work also discusses the misunderstood "High John the Conqueror root " and myth as well as the incorrectly-discussed "nature sack.
Additionally, hoodoo practitioners often understand the biblical figure Moses in similar terms. Hurston developed this idea in her novel Moses, Man of the Mountain , in which she calls Moses, "the finest hoodoo man in the world.
Moses conjures, or performs magic "miracles" such as turning his staff into a snake. However, his greatest feat of conjure was using his powers to help free the Hebrews from slavery.
This emphasis on Moses-as-conjurer led to the introduction of the pseudonymous work the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses into the corpus of hoodoo reference literature.
In hoodoo, "All hold that the Bible is the great conjure book in the world. This is particularly evident given the importance of the book Secrets of the Psalms in hoodoo culture.
The Bible, however, is not just a source of spiritual works but is itself a conjuring talisman. It can be taken "to the crossroads", carried for protection, or even left open at specific pages while facing specific directions.
This informant provides an example of both uses:. The purpose of hoodoo was to allow people access to supernatural forces to improve their lives.
Hoodoo is purported to help people attain power or success "luck" in many areas of life including money, love, health, and employment. Contact with ancestors or other spirits of the dead is an important practice within the conjure tradition, and the recitation of psalms from the Bible is also considered spiritually influential in hoodoo.
Homemade powders, mojo hands, oils, and talismans form the basis of much rural hoodoo, but there are also some successful commercial companies selling various hoodoo products to urban and town practitioners.
These are generally called spiritual supplies, and they include herbs, roots, minerals, candles, incense, oils, floor washes, sachet powders, bath crystals, icons, aerosols, and colognes.
Many patent medicines, cosmetics, and household cleaning supplies for mainstream consumers have been aimed also at hoodoo practitioners.
Some products have dual usage as conventional and spiritual supplies, examples of which include the Four Thieves Vinegar ,  Florida Water ,  and Red Devil Lye.
Hoodoo is linked to a popular tradition of bottle trees in the United States. According to gardener and glass bottle researcher Felder Rushing, the use of bottle trees came to the Old South from Africa with the slave trade.
Bottle trees were an African tradition, passed down from early Arabian traders. They believed that the bottles trapped the evil spirits until the rising morning sun could destroy them.
The use of blue bottles is linked to the "haint blue" spirit specifically. Glass bottle trees have become a popular garden decoration throughout the South and Southwest.
The mobility of black people from the rural South to more urban areas in the North is characterized by the items used in hoodoo.
Whites and especially Jewish pharmacists opened their shops in black communities and began to offer items both asked for by their black customers, as well as things they themselves felt would be of use.
Throughout the African-American community one finds Christian symbolism and prayer, which made it a natural addition to the similar symbolism of hoodoo.
Mirroring the hoodoo concept of the Bible-as-talisman , the book itself proposes to be a protective amulet: Though its authorship is attributed to Moses, the oldest manuscript dates to the midth century.
Its importance in hoodoo among a few practitioners is summarized as follows:. Hoodoo shows evident links to the practices and beliefs of Fon and Ewe spiritual folkways.
In the Americas, the worship of the Vodoun loa is syncretized with Roman Catholic saints. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
For the disco group, see Dr. The neutrality of this section is disputed. The other part, the gros bon ange, is a spirit that is shared among all the living.
Again harkening back to the voodoo doll and the stereotypes around it, many think of voodoo as a dark religion led by people wielding power to damage the spirit and body.
On the contrary, much of voodoo centers around healing and herbalism. One of the most important reasons for summoning a spirit in a voodoo ritual is to ask for aid in healing the sick and the injured.
Voodoo priests and priestesses do acknowledge that they are not all-powerful when it comes to diagnosing and healing, however, and will recommend modern medicine and treatment if they deem the situation beyond their control.
Many cultures recognize white magic as the good, healing sort of magic, while black magic is the darker sort. In voodoo, there is no distinction between white and black.
The color of the spirit is red, and when a practitioner allows an evil loa to take possession of them, their eyes turn red , showing that evil is present.
Sometimes a benevolent spirit can turn evil by the wishes that are imposed on it. This is in complete contradiction to the actual teachings of voodoo, which center around the good and the charitable.
Part of the role of a female practitioner a Queen and a male practitioner a Doctor is to stop red magic before it happens. In another striking similarity to Christianity, the voodoo pantheon has three main tiers.
At the top is a single God, who is a present yet distant figure. The loa make up another tier—spirits that interact with mortals on a regular basis.
The third tier is the mortals themselves. One of the fundamental concepts of voodoo is the relationship between these tiers; Papa Legba is one of the most important of the loa, as he is the gatekeeper between the mortal realm and the divine.
All mortal contact with the loa goes through Legba, and it is said that he opens the gates between worlds.
A reflection of St. Peter, he is also the guardian of the home, the crossroads, and travel. The snake is hugely important in the mythos of voodoo.
Damballa, or Danballa, is the serpent god and the oldest of the voodoo pantheon. He is said to have been the one to create the world.
Damballa created the water from his shed skin and the stars in the sky from his coils. He is married to Ayida Wedo, the rainbow, in an eternal love that represents the balance between the male and the female.
He represents wisdom and the mind, and is associated with symbols like the color white, eggs, bones, and ivory. The protector of the helpless and young children as well as the handicapped and the deformed, he is said to transport the souls of the dead to the afterlife.
Priests and priestesses can be possessed by the spirit of Damballa, but they do not speak; instead, they hiss. Animal sacrifice has always played an important part in voodoo rituals, but the reason is not because of a morbid fascination with death or blood.
The loa use energy in their communication with mortals, along with the general running of their day-to-day affairs. By sacrificing animals and offering them to the loa, practitioners believe they are combining the life force of the animal with the life force of the loa, rejuvenating the spirit.
The meat and blood of the animal is often cooked and consumed as part of the ceremony. Some spirits have animals that are typically associated with them in sacrifice; chickens, for example, are often offered to Damballa.
Debra Kelly After having a number of odd jobs from shed-painter to grave-digger, Debra loves writing about the things no history class will teach.
She spends much of her time distracted by her two cattle dogs.