a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


Hoodoo Churches?

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.lucky.w,alt.religion.orisha,alt.pagan,alt.pagan.magick,alt.religion.all-worlds
From: (blackman99)
Subject: Hoodoo Churches? (was Christian Acceptance of the Devil ...)
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 2000 16:58:11 GMT

50001014 Vom (E. C. Ballard) asks about my queries concerning
 the integration of hoodoo religiomagical elements with Protestantism:
> Where are you getting this from? 

comments get de-contextualized through lack of quotation.
briefly (with some good bit of work to go retrieve it)
here is a recapitulization, with some commentary:

>>>> is [hoodoo] part of a religion?

sri catyananda:
>>> It probably was; at this time it may or may not be, according to
>>> the lights of the pracitioner.

>> I don't see how it could be part of the Protestant Christianity
>> that many root workers enjoy.

sri catyananda:
> Very simply -- as Newbell Puckett noted (and i quoted), upon conversion
> to Christianty, many polytheistic slaves from the Congo and West Africa
> simply transferred the non-Christian deity they knew as the crossroads
> god (nbumba nzila, eshu, legba, et al) to the Christian cosmology, where
> -- since he could not be "Jehovah' but he certainly was powerful enough
> to appear when summoned, to take on a variety of shapes, and to perform
> favours -- he was given the name of "The Devil."
> This is similar to the way in which Christians dictated to Chinese that
> their "spirit money" -- burned as gifts for the dead in the afterlife --
> should not be called "afterlife money" or "spirit money"  but "Hell
> Money," on the assumption that the afterlife of an unbaptised Chinese
> person must ipso facto, in Christian terms, be spent in Hell.

since the Chinese have integrated Hell Money into their religiomagical
rites in an overt fashion, this implies that some Protestant Christians
have retained crossroads 'Devil'-summoning as part of their Christian
religion. I didn't believe this to be true, but asked about it.

sri catyananda later said:
> ...many nominally monotheistic Christians are functionally
> polytheists -- and hoodoo practiioners who summon "the Devil" 
> may well fall into that category.

which also implies that these "polytheistic Christians" can somehow
be described as integrating the Devil into their cosmology. I still
didn't believe it, but asked about it some more.

>> it isn't a categorization, but a curiosity about how hoodoo folk
>> NOW view the relation between magic and religion. there WAS a
>> connection [...] now there is still some connection, but minor if
>> that. the use of saints by Protestants is interesting, since the
>> saint-framework is mostly Catholic. [...] it's
>> like the Roman Catholic religiomagic which (as in the Latino
>> community is an integrated whole due to their reverence of these
>> same saints) is fragmented in twain.

sri catyananda:
> You seem to be saying that while Latino "religiomagic" is 
> "an integrated whole," due to its incorporation of saints as 
> stand-ins for non-Christian deities, African-American 
> "religiomagic" is "fragmented in twain" due to its 
> incorporation of "the Devil" as a stand-in for a
> non-Christian deity. Upon what do you base this singular 
> notion? Certainly not on anything that *I* have said! I 
> have been arguing all along for the "wholeness" of hoodoo 
> as a system of religiomagical practice.

as you can see the saints ARE a part of overt religion, while the
'Devil' is not, except as characterized as a religious *adversary*.
making contracts with this adversary would be acting CONTRARY to
the dominant religion of which the participant was part. I'm not
saying that this doesn't happen, only that this is far different
than appealing to saints for gain. this paragraph seems to imply
that the 'Devil'-summoning (as a remnant of crossroads god-summoning
-- do Africans believe that the crossroads god can opt not to
appear when called?) is part of an integrated, religiomagical
whole, overt and admitted as such. 

this is what I was characterizing as a "hoodoo church" because it 
would be completely up-front about all the elements of hoodoo 
within its overt religious ceremonies, without hiding or eschewing 
figures to like the Buddha or the Devil from religious services, 
it seemed to me. 

later sri catyananda seemed to confirm that such hoodoo churches 
exist (and referred me to the Black Hawk book). apparently there 
was some misunderstanding, because from what you are saying I was 
correct and summoning the 'Devil' at the crossroads is in fact 
condemned by Protestant Christianity of which (according to 
sri catyananda and others) hoodoo practitioners are part. this
is a functional difference from Latinos who turn to saints in 
very similar ways, because the saints ARE a part of the approved
religious and iconographic whole, whereas the Devil -- the only
place that the crossroads god could fit -- is the ENEMY of the
religion which has been enforced/adopted. this therefore describes
a fractionated religiomagical system (at odds with one or both of
its post-African, Protestant Christian religous elements).

back to Eoghan Ballard:
> The spiritual churches meet in church buildings. They do nothing 
> at crossroads. 

I'm imagining what I would call an integrated Protestant 
Christian hoodoo religiomagical whole in which the church is 
constructed ON a crossroads, the 'Devil' is summoned as part 
of religious ritual, and the various saints, Jesus, Mary, the 
Buddha, and innumerable other religious figures of a syncretic 
whole are overtly recognized. as I said, this is more in line 
with my OWN preferences of religion and I expect that this 
kind of hoodoo church is rare or cannot be found outside of
Neopaganism of a peculiar sort. I DO think that this sort of
thing will eventually become well-known, but I've not heard of 
it to date (mostly because Neopagans are still for the most 
part suffering from anti-Christianity).
> They are essentially African in nature. They experience 
> possessions and do what might be considered a christianized 
> version of rootwork, but while the heart of this faith is
> African, the metaphor is thoroughly Christian with a heavy 
> dose of spiritism.

this is exactly what I expected, yes.

>I think you have mixed several traditions up.

I think there is a mixture of iconography in the magic of
hoodoo rootwork, but the overt religion of most hoodoo
practitioners (Protestant Christian) is separate from the 
magical syncretism. this was my original point and you seem
to be confirming it. corrections welcome.

blessed beast!

FREE HOODOO CATALOGUE! send street address to: ; ; ; 
emailed replies may be posted; cc replies if response desired

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races