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April 22, 2009


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference New Orleans Voodoo is a religion & not a craft. Hoodoo, Massa Hyatt, Lucky Roots, Voodoo, Whites and Blacks-Oh My! by Ted Duplessis:


K. Hazzard-donald

This book documents "Marketeered Hoodoo". The polluted post world war 2 Hoodoo that was controlled and manipulated and often fabricated by marketeers and sold as authentic Old Plantation Black Belt South Hoodoo. Most of what is described is taken from Hyatt and Hyatt did his documentation after marketeers had wrestled the Hoodoo market from blacks. Much of what it documents is given to Hyatt post 1930's decades after Hoodoo is and even he said that he had missed the "golden age of Hoodoo". The book is ahistorical and written for a marginally educated audience who know less about "authentic" African American Hoodoo than is presented in the book. Hoodoo evolved, the book gives no consideration to process and leaves out totally the "viperous Marketeers" who use hoodoo for their own benefit often deceiving blacks. A much better book is the forthcoming book from Temple University Press "Mojo Workin': A glimpse into the Old AFrican American Hoodoo System".


"Hoodoo belongs to the people not to stores and shopkeepers. As black people we need to reclaim what was once largely our own vibrant, powerful, community-based tradition rather than being spoon fed what our own elders already know."

I couldn't really have said it better myself, so I'll just supplement the excellent observations already made with this additional note:

AFRICAN traditions, spiritual and otherwise, are best learned at the feet of your elders. To be certain, this is a great first book for anyone interested in how to do basic spellwork, and provides useful information. Not suprisingly, however, it lacks the SOUL that is inextricably bound up with any Afro-American/Caribbean and Native American belief system. There is a soul to that which can be known, and that "soul" is (in African tradition) as important to the knowledge of the thing itself, as taxonomy and definitions. It was the soul of the thing that carried our ancestors across the middle passage. It quieted their troubled minds when their husbands were gone or dead, and their children sick or dying. It empowered and gave solace to a people that had no reason to hope. And that HISTORY is part of what makes Hoodoo real.

When it is approached in this manner, with the reverence and respect for HISTORY that is necessary to its understanding, your grandmothers will take your hands from the very gates of heaven, and guide your path as you work. Your great great great grandfather will whisper in your ear to add a little more Vinegar to the mix. :) You are engaging in a thing that someone who loves you that's not in this material realm recognizes...and they rush to your aid beause they know YOU, and they know IT. That's where the "magic" REALLY lies.

None of that is reflected in this work, which is important - because it is YOU that makes the magic. You do. And that requires intention...and belief...and a HISTORY of knowing how real this is....crucial "ingredients" that are dispensed with here.

Simply? This is a book of recipes with extensive background into the botanical backgrounds of the ingredients in the recipes. And it gives you plenty of that for your money.

But there are some things money just can't buy.

W Penn

Hi Yansa,An interesting commentary. But what of the few white people who have undergone careful study with a master or mistress of the religion. Some have even gone to Africa, Haiti, or Cuba for formal initiation. I notice that the commentary has Sally Glassman's New Orleans Tarot and booklet pictured. I'm thinking of Maya Deren, Mama Racine,Kenaz Filan, and many others. Also their are many whites who are drawn to African religions. It's as though there is a primal root in the African faith and in the African's ability to make contact with the Creative Force. Even in Melville's "Moby Dick" When the crew is in trouble, they ask the black cabin boy to pray to God for them, in the belief that his prayers are more efficacious. For many strangers an African oriented religion answers a basic need that other faiths no longer supply. If the scientists are correct and man first emerged in Africa, then that is where God first spoke to mankind. There is a real desire to go back to that.


how is marie laveau not black or barely black as you say. lol

Admon Bustan

I think Moloch is black. I didn't know there were degrees of black or white. Also if your knowledge is so superior to everyone elses (meaning whites) how did us dumb white folks make you our slaves? How were we able to keep you as slaves for so long plus segregate you and according to some continue to keep you down? Could it be our White Voodoo is more powerful than your authentic Colored People Voodoo(r)? And how come it took you so long to put a Black man in the WHITEhouse? If all these celebrities are so famous because of Authentic Colored People Voodoo(r) then you should be running the place by now instead of ranting futilely. Oh! Lets not forget how the Hungans put a stop to Katrina and how Authentic Colored People Voodoo(r) helped rebuild New Orleans.

Ted Duplessis

Well you must know a different one-because the Moloch that I am speaking off is nothing but a silly, white dude doing what silly white people-do which is sell made up mess and declare themselves experts-when the facts of matter is that these people simply are "book" read but the books that are written aren't saying anything that is authentic.


I found this article... interesting. However you seem to be saying that ONLY blacks can be true practitioners of Voodoo/Vodun and Hoodoo and that is utter hogwash. While Voodoo/Vodun does lack some of the structural basis that other "organized" religions have, it IS a religion (if religion is defined as an arrangement of philosophies and beliefs and it is) and therefore anyone can become a practitioner of it if they study and are truly committed to worship and learning. "Voodoo" is also a craft and I am surprised to hear someone who claims to know so much about it say it isn't. You make many references to Wicca but it doesn't really sound like you know very much about it, actually. Wicca is also a religion and a craft, just as Vodun/Voodoo is. Vodun is much, much older but it takes the same amount of study and dedication to become a practitioner in either, just like any other religion.

I have studied all manner of religions and spiritual philosophies for over 15 years and I found this article lacking any real spiritual basis. I also found it to be mostly a rant against white folks with no sources to back up anything you said. Where did you receive your training in and knowledge of Vodun?

And you spelled Feng Shui wrong.


I think the problem with wicca and voodoo is that it was branded as a bad practice. Feel free to blame the television and the movies.

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