The Hoodoo Man

Now just sit there a bit.
Let me shake this stick.
Now be still. Hear?
I’ll be back in a bit.
“Hmm… what’s this?”
(One part jimson weed,
a dash of sulfur, honey;
oh, yes, let’s see now,
a bit of cinnamon,
that should do it),
“Where are you Ogun?
Now I know that
black cat’s here
somewhere… Ogun,
come here kitty, kitty…”.
(Oh, here he comes
now; good kitty,
rub the little glass…
yes, yes, that’s
a good kitty).
Ok, I’m back,
take a sip.
No. no… it’s
good for what ails you!
Now I have it round here,
oh there it is my
little gris gris doll;
and that picture
you gave me,
now that’ll help me,
and the nail?
Did you bring it?
I see, a golden one,
ok that works.
Now you can say the curse.

– Steven Craig Hickman ©2014 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited.


Note: Now the truth is much different. Voodoo dolls were never used as curses, at least in the sense that Hollywood portrays. The Voodoo doll is a form of gris-gris, and an example of sympathetic magic. Contrary to popular belief, Voodoo dolls are usually used to bless, and have no power to curse. The purpose of sticking pins in the doll is not to cause pain in the person the doll is associated with, but rather to pin a picture of a person or a name to the doll, which traditionally represents a spirit. The gris-gris is then performed from one of four categories: love; power and domination; luck and finance; and uncrossing.

Many superstitions also related to the practice of Hoodoo developed within the Voodoo tradition in Louisiana. While these superstitions are not central to the Voodoo faith, their appearance is partly a result of Voodoo tradition in New Orleans and have since influenced it significantly.

In Voodoo herbal-ism, the “cure-all” was very popular among followers. The cure-all was a Voodoo mixture that could solve all problems. There were different recipes in Voodoo’s herbal healing system for cure-all; one recipe was to mix jimson weed (warning: due to the toxicity of jimson weed, it is not advised for unskilled practitioners to create) with sulfur and honey. The mixture was placed in a glass, which was rubbed against a black cat, and then the mixture was slowly sipped.

Growing up my cousins and I would go to our Big Daddy and Big Mama’s place in Louisiana and would sometimes visit the places where such practices were still alive. Of course at that time it was all a mystery and scary, but later on I began to listen to the old tales and then of course study on later. Writing on my noir novel of late been bringing in parts of the legends and making them darker than they were. All these traditions were brought up from Haiti back in the 19th Century. There’s a whole world of history in those old swamps and a few like Joe Lanesdale from the North part of Texas/Arkansas/Louisiana, along with such famed authors as James Lee Burke have used aspects of these cultures. For me the whole southern gothic tradition is fascinating.

 

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