There are Cuban-inspired Santeros, Haitian-initiated mambos and houngans, Obean rootworkers from the West Indian islands i.
Belize, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic , followers of the Spiritualist Churches, hoodoos and rootworkers who incorporate candle magic, spells, and the veneration of Catholic saints, and followers of the Yoruba tradition of Africa. New Orleans Voodoo is highly influenced by Native American spirituality and herbalism, as well. For example, the famous Indian War Chief Black Hawk is a Voodoo saint and is often included in the ritual work of hoodoos and Spiritualists. However, many Spiritualists who venerate Black Hawk deny engaging in hoodoo activities, despite the similarities found between traditions.
This edition of The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook provides more in-depth information about the history of New Orleans Voodoo as well as a beefed-up formulary that is based on authentic New Orleans materia medica as I have learned it.
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The formulas found in this book may or may not be consistent with rootworker formulas found in other areas of the South. For one thing, there are influences at play in New Orleans that are not present in other areas. For example, the inclusion of Spiritualist oils and Indian spirit products were inspired by the Spiritualist churches and exploited by the hoodoo marketeers. There is the infamous Algiers district of New Orleans where some of the most popular formulas such as Fast Luck derive. And there are the Cleo May and Dixie Love products that cater to ladies of the night and to all women desirous of their effects.
Furthermore, French perfumery had a huge impact on the Creoles of high society, and some of these perfume names and ingredients made their way into the hoodoo formulary. The use of Voodoo dolls and doll babies in magick spells has become iconic of New Orleans Voodoo, although their use by genuine practitioners is much more complex than is commonly perceived by the public at large.
And gris gris is a completely unique magickal system in New Orleans that involves far more than filling a red flannel mojo bag with a few symbolic items of conjure. New Orleans Voodoo lacks the rigid orthodoxy found in Haitian Vodou. New Orleans Voodoo is the wild child of Voodoo's feral religions, the trick played upon the trickster.
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In New Orleans Voodoo, where the ultimate authority rests within the individual and his or her living relationship with the loa, there can be no orthodoxy to sit in grand judgment. If judgment were to be meted out, its throne would well bear the word "success. Because of the proliferation of misinformation on the Internet and in many books about the beginnings of Voodoo in New Orleans and, indeed, in America, I have provided a brief contextual background of its history in the following section.
Many aspects of New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo are direct holdovers from the original African religion and are not just arbitrary additions by contemporary pagans and wiccans. Though there are those obvious recent neopagan influences, I have omitted them and focused this edition of The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook on the practice of Voodoo and hoodoo in Louisiana and Mississippi, with a special emphasis on New Orleans traditions.
While Voodoo in New Orleans is again becoming more communal, I am from the era of oppression and intolerance that made it necessary for practitioners to go underground and practice in secret by themselves or among their families and trusted friends. Segregation was still alive and well when I was born, and I was among the first children who were "bussed" to schools in black neighborhoods and vice versa. My "in-between" color saved me from being beaten up in school, but I will never forget what it was like to watch my best friend be taunted and beaten because she was white.
When I attempted to intervene, I was told by the black kids, "You okay 'cause you brown. I am one rootworker who has lived long enough to witness a social climate that, while not completely tolerant by any stretch of the imagination, is more accepting of indigenous beliefs, and contains a segment of the population that not only tolerates but embraces books about Voodoo and hoodoo.
The times they are still a-changin', folks. I was born a New Orleans Creole into the Mysteries and this is what I have learned by living it and breathing it. New Orleans is now and has ever been the hoodoo capital of America. Great names in rites that vie with those of Hayti in deeds that keep alive the powers of Africa. Hoodoo, or Voodoo, as pronounced by the whites, is burning with flame in America, with all the intensity of a suppressed religion. New Orleans Voodoo originated from the ancestral religions of the African Diaspora.
It became syncretized with the Catholic religion as a result of the massive forced migrations, displacements of the slave trade, and the Code Noir. Slave owners forbade the Africans from practicing Voodoo under penalty of death and, in areas controlled by Catholics, forced many of them to convert to Catholicism.
The result was a creolization of the names and aspects of the Voodoo spirits to those of the Christian saints that most closely resembled their particular areas of expertise or power. Under the guise of Catholicism, the religion of Voodoo survived. Louisiana was founded in after the King of France, King Louis XIV, embarked upon active exploration of the Mississippi River in order to enlarge his own empire and stop the progress and expansion of Britain and Spain.
He called the new territory "Louisiane," or "Louis' land. New Orleans was designated the capital of colonial Louisiana in Upon examining the historical records, I tend to agree with this categorization. The African phase began in , with the arrival of the first Africans who set foot in New Orleans from the Bight of Benin. According to records of the French slave trade voyages from Africa to Louisiana during the French regime, two-thirds of the slaves brought to Louisiana were from Senegambia.
In , more slaves arrived from Senegambia. From to , all of the people stolen from Africa were from Senegambia, with the exception of from Bight of Benin in Most references to the African origins of New Orleans Voodoo emphasize the Congo region; however, the historical documents reflect a significant population of people from Senegambia, including some practicing Muslims which makes sense, given Senegambia was under the rule of the Islamic Almoravides Empire; though, many resisted the conversion to Islam and maintained their traditional African religions and beliefs.
The reason that so many Sengambians were sold into slavery in Louisiana was because the slave trade was organized by the Company of the Indes, a privately owned company licensed by the King of France, who held an exclusive trade monopoly in Senegal and Louisiana during the years of the African holocaust. From a geographic perspective, Senegambia refers to a large region between Senegal and the Gambia rivers.
The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook by Denise Alvarado (2011, Paperback)
One might assume that since the region is so large, the culture would be heterogeneous. On the contrary, there were many commonalities among the differing cultural groups, as evidenced by the similarity of language groups. It might be likened to Scandinavian culture; while Scandinavia is comprised of three different countries Denmark, Sweden, and Norway , they are related linguistically and culturally.
If you can speak one Scandinavian language, you can typically understand i. Examination of the traditional practices of the people from the Senegambia region reveals a far greater influence on New Orleans Voodoo than has been previously recognized. For example, gris gris, a religiomagical tradition from Senegambia, is one of the hallmarks of New Orleans Voodoo.
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