The Magickal Universe

Where Magick is a way of life!

What is Hoodoo?  by Carolina Gonzalez

What Is Hoodoo?

Hoodoo / Rootwork is a practise, not a religion – in truth, any pagan of any spiritual path can be a Hoodooist / Rootworker. Hoodoo is just Folk magick, and a Hoodoo Witch makes potions and remedies, gives advice to those worried, reads oracles to see the future and tries to live a Sacred Existence... just as any other Witch.

Traditionally, Hoodoo was born in the USA around the 19th century, though due to its nature it's hard to date, and is formed mainly by the mixture of:

  • Catholicism: worship of Catholic deities/saints, often syncretized from theforced baptism of black slaves. Also, use of several books of the Bible as spell books. Use of churches as sacred places.
  • African Religions: worship of the Yoruba (Santería) and the Ewe (Voodoo) deities, practices of spellcasting, spiritism and rituals. Cult to the Orishas, the Lwa and the Spirits of the Dead.
  • Native American Shamanism: cult to Nature and its animal and plant totems, use of local herbal medicines and entheogens, shamanistic practices.

Above all, Hoodoo is practical. It is focused on folk magick practices that work together to achieve a purpose, and not on the worship of particular deities, as each practitioner builds his/her personal pantheon as preferred. On a Hoodoo altar, you can find a statue of the Virgin Mary, next to an African Shango, next to representation of a fairy guardian spirit. Of course there are cults that have reached more fame while others remain local, but in the end
Hoodoo is the epitome of Eclecticism – if it works, it works, no matter where it comes from. In the essence of the Hoodoo practice, medieval grimoires and oral lore walk hand in hand,
  along with the using of the books of Psalms from the Bible, which is actually one of the most used spellbooks in Hoodoo. I personally do not use any Catholic imagery or spells in my work, but I have known many practitioners that use it successfully. My own Hoodoo is based on the practice of Santería (Cuban and Venezuelan), Kimbanda (a form of Brazilian Voodoo) and 10 years of former practice in European Witchcraft and Shamanism. I didn't abandon the past to become anything; I just added and broadened my beliefs and perceptions of Spirituality.

And maybe, more important than explaining what is Hoodoo, I would like to state what Hoodoo is NOT.

  • Hoodoo is not black magick - it is a form of Witchcraft that can be used for good or evil, just as any other.
  • Hoodoo is not devil worshipping – our Gods and Goddesses, the Orishas or Lwas, are forces for good coming from the source of Divinity.
  • Hoodoo is not necromancy – though we work with the spirits of the Dead, we do it as part of our regular devotions, as the Ancestors take a very important role in our growth and protection.
  • Hoodoo is not animal sacrifice - though I won't deny it exists, however it is not necessary at all to make any sacrifices to be a successful Rootworker.

Please forget all prejudices and dark images you have been exposed to in the cinema: Afro-Caribbean religions are not dark, but colourful and filled with light. The level of devotion is astounding and the amount of work done for the good by their priests is a thousand times bigger than the amount of practitioners that work to damage others – and definitely is not bigger than other forms of Witchcraft's rate of “evil doers”.

Forget all those wrong concepts and enter without fear into the realms of one of the most powerful, rewarding and fulfilling forms of Witchcraft.



Author and Artist's Bio: Carolina Gonzalez is an Eclectic Witch/Hoodoo practitioner and artisan with 22 years of experience in the fields of Tarot reading and Traditional/Folk magic, with a deep interest on all afro-caribbean religions. She resides on the Canary Islands (Spain) with her husband, also a magic practitioner, who specializes in sacred drumming.

Carolina is also the owner of  'The Hoodoo Shop', an online business dedicated entirely to the worldwide distribution of her handmade devotional creations. She blogs and networks online actively through her website.

Digital artwork shown by Carolina Gonzalez, is made to honour the Seven African Powers - "this is how the seven most powerful Orishas are called. There are variations on the choices of this Orishas, but this is how I was taught". These images are available as 4x6 prints  from Carolina's website: 'The Hoodoo Shop'.