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Black Magic Matters: Hoodoo as Ancestral Religion

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Does Black Matter? A brief discussion of the African American traditions known as Hoodoo, Conjure and Rootworking, and practices of divination, spiritual protection and healing. We will discuss the origins of in the specific context of slavery in America and consider the meaning of black in the present day. Like their enslaved forebears, today’s practitioners cultivate ancestral spirituality in support of individuals and communities, and to heal diverse afflictions of the body politic, intergenerational trauma, racial and sexual violence, and economic impoverishment.

Yvonne Chireau is Professor in the Department of at Swarthmore College, where she teaches courses on , Black women and , and . She is the author of “Black Magic: and the African American Conjuring Tradition” (2003). Her work focuses on the intersections between and magic and the diversity of Africana traditions in the United States. She writes on topics such as race, comics, and memes at The Academic Hoodoo.

The event took place November 10, 2021.

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35 Comments

  1. #1

    This is interesting dialog. I agree that Spiritual practices are more of a tool. As a tool it can be applied for either good or bad. Also, most African Spiritualist whom I’ve met have a clear distinction between religion and spiritual practices. Spirituality engages an alinement with universal laws (laws of nature) in order to bring what you want into fruition. And religion is based on belief. And belief is not a stable foundation because belief systems have inaccuracies; and are only relevant when a collective people support the belief. Belief systems and scriptures are often historically misinterpreted and perverted into extreme ideologies. And religious beliefs are always imposed upon victims for the purpose of servitude.

  2. #2

    This was extremely informative, glad this popped up for me.

  3. #3

    When it comes to this topic of "Bad Magic", you can't just talk about certain actions like killing… Of course, self defense is okay in my opinion…. BUT when someone goes out of their way to harm you with no justification… THAT VIOLATES YOUR NATURAL RIGHTS TO BE SAFE…TO LIVE EVEN…… So why not address that part of it. That IS evil. That IS bad.. that is "bad magic"…no matter how you spin it..

    Speaking about the times where it was used in defense, no matter how many sources are available….will only be a way of evading the obvious very real issue here…and that is when it is NOT used in self defense. And even if no sources are found by a few scholars to back up whether or not it has happened (I mean there are PLENTY of magical texts describing such BAD things), and even if so called "black magic" practitioners show no record of having committed these acts(which I'm sure isn't true), Common sense would tell you that all it takes is for someone to violate someone else unjustly for it to be considered "bad magic"..That to me seems very obvious…

  4. #4

    Hoodoo was Schotish and Berber SOME Arficans pick it up from the Berber American blacks got it from Schotish immigrants

  5. #5

    I am trying to get a number to reach some of you people so I can have some things done but I am able to get the number

  6. #6

    This was a great video!!!! The only problem i have; is i read the description amd i dont underdtanf this concentration of african american magic in conjuction with black women. Why is there so much focus on black women and magic?

  7. #7

    Hoodoo… isn't that the guy who flies around in a hat in Lidsville?

  8. #8

    Kind of disappointing to hear from a scholar on the subject, opinion on the dark path or left hand path. It seems disingenuous or perhaps a show of political correctness.

  9. #9
  10. #10

    Bless you for making this make sense. I AM CERBERAL, you make it real to me.I have been looking for you for 3 days. Bless you. Bless you 😮

  11. #11

    I really enjoyed hearing her perspective & appreciated her holistic homeopathic view of magickal work. Many take an allopathic approach which is quick n clinical and only leads to further issues requiring folks to the return again and again for treatment of the same or similar things.
    The religion labeling was interesting as well (religion as defined in the dictionary). If one’s goal was gatekeeping then it would be a beneficial thing to add the religion label but it would change things l, perhaps in ways that wouldn’t benefit.

    I see magick and the craft as being apart from religion, however some religions can and do incorporate magick.

  12. #12

    For those who think Christianity is better or different. You all meet up every week to pray n chant together u then drink the blood of jesus and eat his flesh then chant again at the end. There are candles sometimes lit there is scary performances by the "holy spirit" and in the bible god told u to slaughter goats n paint the door with its blood for protection. U have angles and saints u ask for help. Weird symbols on the walls on ur jewelry clothes and othwr stuff. But because white ppl told u it was good u do it n demonize another culture for doing the same

  13. #13

    Good witch , bad witch, either way you using occult practices. Cant beleive harvard spreading witchcraft in the 21st century.

  14. #14

    The west was known before the catholic invasion as the land of the gods. This is a fact. Who’s been living in Mississippi, Alabama, Texas or Louisiana longer than African Americans blood line. They’ve been there since the beginning as we know it. Hoodoo or whatever they call it. It’s their natural abilities and they aren’t even aware of who they really are. Our ancestors built all of those mounds and pyramids, cities etc… in north and South America. They like to give it away to what’s called,” Africa” today by Catholics and the trained mind. The west is our place on earth. People are confused by those corny Roots movies.

  15. #15

    I curse the children, animals, land, of haters of melanated people.

  16. #16

    Christianity has never worked, I'm ready to try voodoo

  17. #17

    slavery still exists in America via 13th Amendment once you are convicted in a court of law for an alleged crime.

  18. #18

    I (respectfully) don’t believe the dominant force of Hoodoo is African… you can’t even taken from a continent on the other side of the planet, and know how to manipulate the local plants, herbs, and roots if you don’t ALREADY have an understanding of what they are. In my (respectful) opinion, at least the rootwork aspect is mostly from Black Aboriginal / Indigenous Americans who were enslaved on plantations, and amalgamated with the SMALL number of Africans from the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.

  19. #19

    Hoodoo is 100% Foundational Black American.

  20. #20

    Hoodoo ain't no religion, it's a sacred Black ancestral mysticism.

  21. #21

    Hoodoo is not a religion. Religion has dogma

  22. #22

    I hate fake expert's

  23. #23
  24. #24

    Honestly I never thought a day like this will come when I will be cured from my herpes after so many years of suffering. thank you so much Dr ALUDA on YouTube for your good work. I'm so grateful to you Dr. he cures HPV too.,///,

  25. #25

    They mainstream makes it seem overly magical than what it actually is. But is slaves were hoodoo practioners, it would have been impossible to defeat them. Look at the latest census map and look for the counties that we are 50% or more of the population in. Thats where hoodoo comes from. Hoodoo and Voodoo are Missippian Indian practices. Carribeans are Missippi people too.

  26. #26

    Hoodoo has nothing to do with africa lol. im from missippi. this so far from the truth. its most definitely an indian things. you have to be a manifestor of all existence in order to be able to conjure something. You have to accept self as the ultimate manifestor of all existence in order to manipulate existence. not all people of color were slaves. i was born in 1994 yet slavery was not abolished in missippi until 2013/2014.

  27. #27

    The role of JUSTICE, for me, is a form of healing Ancestral trauma. Righting the wrongs.

  28. #28

    In The Bible it States that anything you do aside from God is considered evil I really think that a lot of these people who think magic and conjuring is the spiritual rightness of holy path is very mistaken if you believe in your hulu voodoo why not connect your black community and make them become less violent and let make them love themselves so that way they do not create more chaos and violence

  29. #29

    That's where your wrong. There's slavery here in the states. Especially here in Virginia

  30. #30

    Get the book MOJO WORKIN:The Old African American Hoodoo System”! You should have invited the author of this great book!

  31. #31

    The fashion and hairstyles in this whole series is next level.. Absolute Magic 🌟

  32. #32

    I didn't even know I was practicing Hoodoo for years. I found out recently.

  33. #33

    Incredible insight into our ancestral rights, more less #birthright…. My #collections of Poetry continues to guide my path to the connection, that connects us #ALL to Divine Love and Cultural Evolution. ❤️‍🔥🌌❤️‍🔥

  34. #34

    Don’t blm my ancestors religion

  35. #35

    I know someone who practices Hoodoo. Just wanted to get more info. Since I didnt know to much about it. Ive learned a little bit today

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