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Hoodoo

"HOODOO: AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN FOLK-MAGIC TRADITION

"Hoodoo consists of a large body of African folkloric practices and beliefs with a considerable admixture of American Indian botanical knowledge and European folklore. Although most of its adherents are black, contrary to popular opinion, it has always been practiced by both whites and blacks in America.

"Folk magic is a world-wide phenomenon. The beliefs and customs brought to America by African slaves mingled here with the beliefs, customs, and botanical knowledge of Native Americans and with the Christian, Jewish, and pagan folklore of European immigrants. The result was hoodoo.

"The hoodoo tradition places emphasis on personal magical power and thus it lacks strong links to any specific form of theology and can be adapted to any one of several forms of outward religious worship. Although an individual practitioner may take on students, hoodoo, conjure, and rootwork are not obviously hierarchical systems. Teachings and rituals are handed down from a one practitioner to another, but there are no priests or priestesses and no division between initiates and laity."

-from HOODOO, CONJURE, and ROOTWORK: AFRICAN AMERICAN FOLK MAGIC by catherine yronwode