Hoodoo still gets glances askance by its magical neighbors. A priestess at the New Orleans Modern Voodoo Museum, back in 2002, explained to me: “Voudon is a religion. In hoodoo you work magic for evil.” This description expresses some deep-seated prejudices about practicing magic apart from religion. It also overlooks that hoodoo sprouted alongside diaspora for a powerful reason: it is survival magic. Voudon, like Santeria, kept a people’s spirit and ancestors alive. Hoodoo, which still has an element of honoring spirits and ancestors, focuses on keeping individuals alive.
Orion Foxwood, Conjure man, shares his own lessons and experiences in hoodoo. Rather than a collection of spells that leave interpretation and application up to the would-be practitioner, he focuses more on the mental and spiritual development necessary to practice hoodoo well. He also gives a guideline to cultural practices, from the honoring of ancestral spirits to use of roots in magical work. Foxwood even describes how a cleansing should feel when the magic takes hold – a skip all too often stepped in other books on magical practice.
This book is an excellent introduction to hoodoo. American derived magical traditions have become more vocal, especially hoodoo, thanks to the work of Catherine Yronwode of Lucky Mojo Curio Company. Foxwood acknowledges her influence on his own practices in this book, and it must be noted that most primary source hoodoo research in the past two decades comes from Yronwode. Her influence has an undeniable place in Foxwood’s book. Well worth the read for anyone that practices any type of magic.
~ review by Diana Rajchel
Author: Orion Foxwood
Weiser Books, 2012
234 pp $19.95