Home Discussion Forum Superstition, folk magic spells like in Hoodoo or Pow-Wow?

Superstition, folk magic spells like in Hoodoo or Pow-Wow?

I am trying to do some research on folk magic, the type where the spells tend to read something like, “To get rid of an illness, go out before dawn and collect rainwater, then boil an egg in that water, poke three holes in it with pins and bury it in a red ant hill” or “To bind an enemy, put a dead fly in a spider web and wrap it up” with an incantation. Magic with that element of ritual or superstition. I’ve been studying Hoodoo and I’ve found some useful things in Pennsylvania Dutch’s Pow-Wow books, but I know there has to be more out there, particularly internationally. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Books, websites, names of religions that use it or some period and place that tended to be full of them, lore that seems similar? I’m having trouble simply finding the right term to search and any help would be very useful.

3 COMMENTS

  1. The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells.
    I own a copy, and it is a good reference for me at times, but there are some spells in there that I would not touch a) because I don’t do dark magick or b) because they seem a bit overdone/silly.
    It contains spells from practically every religion that practices magick.

  2. I suppose it would depend on your intentions, but if you are honestly interested in learning about the occult and you have any questions, you are free to write to me on here. I have been a practicing witch for nearly ten years now. I do not recall the title of the book I read about hoodoo magick off the top of my head, but I do know quite a bit.
    Do note, and this is key, if you are planning on using hoodoo or voodoo to hex someone, you are playing with fire. Other forms of magick tend to be powered by the belief of both the sender and the recipient that the spell is going to work, but with these other cultures, you are dealing with the belief of whole continents of people, and actively tapping into a powder-keg of power. This does also include backlash. Whether you believe in it or not, every spell done without provocation has backlash. Benevolent spells will have benevolent backlash, but if you are using voodoo/hoodoo to curse, your life will literally be destroyed. This is not a joke.
    So, as long as your intentions are benevolent, I can give you some tips, pointers and even might be able to give you a few spells that I have used successfully myself.
    And that’s the best advice I can give

  3. Well you’ve certainly stated your question carefully and intelligently. Hopefully you will get some answers framed the same.
    What you are looking for is called folk magic, root conjuring, Hoodoo, and various other terms. These practices are distinctly different from Voodoo, Shango, Santeria, etc., which are sets of religious beliefs. Hoodoo is a set of folk beliefs and not connected to any religion.
    Hoodoo includes elements from many cultures such as african, european, and native american. The magic relies on a knowledge of plants and herbs at its foundation. Some aspects of Hoodoo can be seen as a form of animism while other aspects rely on the actual properties of the plants in a pharmicological sense. It is the knowledge of plants from the different cultures that has created such an amalgam of nationalities that make up Hoodoo.
    At it’s height in the 1930s and 1940s it was popular in both urban and rural areas, mainly in the south and midwest. Practioners were/are mainly black, but Hoodoo is not confined to, or defined by, any particular ethnicity. An entire industry sprang up to fill the great demand for Hoodoo products. Hairdressers most often were the main source for these things, and it was not uncommon to purchase “hair products” that had special meaning as well as mojo hands and dream books from your beautician.
    One goal common to many practitioners in the the 30s and 40s was to gain luck at getting money, very often at gambling. The widespread, illicit, and wildly popular “numbers game” that was played all across the country at the time is closely linked to Hoodoo, in that large numbers of people, many who normally did not believe in hoodoo, would purchase dream books, which supposedly listed winning numbers or told how to dream the winning numbers.
    It sounds like you are really interested in the earlier practices that came together to form Hoodoo. There are several books from the turn of the last century that collected folk magic. They were, at the time, marketed as sensationalist entertainment for rural americans, but were in fact simply reprints of much older magic tracts and as such were cheap sources of income for the book publishers. For this reason it is very hard to date the original source materials in these books, some of wich may date back to the 1600 and 1700s. It is a safe bet that after waiting a month for them to appear in the mail the buyer found them pretty dry reading. The best that I have is “Albertus Magnus: Egyptian Secrets, White & Black Art for Man & Beast”. This is folk/herb magic from european roots (no pun intended) and does not deal with african or native american elements. It is basically a good collection of the European (German) elements of the type used by the pennsylvania dutch that would be later incorporated in hoodoo folk beliefs. I’m surprised to see that amazon has it in paperback- I don’t know how different that is to the very old editions that you can still find if you look.
    Cat Yronwood’s website is a delight to read and explore, it is scholarly and represents many years of work… and she’ll fix you an excellent and authentic mojo hand for a fair price. You’ll find the history and practice of all things hoodoo, even a collection of hoodoo jazz and blues lyrics:
    http://www.luckymojo.com
    Everything you are looking for can also be gleaned from the bibliography of Cat’s excellent book on the subject. The bibliography is in itself an encyclopedia of original source material that has not been re-molded or cleaned up to fit our perconceived pop culture notions of hoodoo- it is the real stuff, untouched, and unmolested:
    http://www.southern-spirits.com/hoodoo-bibliography.html
    If you are being scholarly and have money to blow, you will also want to collect the works of Harry Hyatt, who interviewed over 1,500 people and published the culturally rich information in many volumes.
    This whole endeavor will probably steer you into the realm of primitive magic/religion in general. If so, I also would give the unabridged version of Frazier’s Golden Bough the highest recommendation. It will give you an excellent understanding of the universal spiritual nature of man and how primitive magics and religions fulfill the spiritual needs of the practitioner.
    Good luck.
    PS: I would also recommend studying the traditions of northern european cultures, particularly those surrounding prechristian holidays. They are, in themselves, a treasure trove of folk magic… augeries, divining methods, fortune telling linked to the magical events of the calendar. If a girl washes her face with the predawn dew of May Day, she will see the face of her future husband, if you ask the animals a question on the days (nights) of the year that they can talk, they can tell you any information, etc…

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