Frequently Asked Questions about
working with a spiritual consultant
- Why is your website called “Hoodoo Foundry”? What does it mean?
This is actually two questions:
- What is “Hoodoo”?
Hoodoo is one of the branches of the great tree of American folk magic. Developed from traditional magical techniques by African slaves, it also contains methods and materials borrowed (mostly) from European and Native American sources. It is not black magic or Satan worship; it was developed by Christians.
- What is a “Foundry”?
A foundry, of course, is where metal is melted and poured into molds. I did think of calling it a “Hoodoo Forge” at first, but – this ain’t forgery. Besides, look at the word: foundry. A place to find ways to call to you everything you want in life.
- “What am I getting myself into?
When I say I am “spirit-guided and spirit-led,” I don’t mean that I can always rely on mental impressions received during readings. Many of the things that spring to mind are my own natural wisdom based on my own experience.I do readings with Tarot, Bible and crystal ball; and this is when the spirit guides my hands.These readings can be done accurately over the phone.
But that’s just for diagnosis. My real work is Coincidence Management™.
Some people say there are no such things as coincidences, but that can’t be so, or how could evolution happen? Surprises occur, we deal with them. But we aren’t limited to the material resources at hand.
Natural forces can be enlisted to aid you. The universe can be enlisted to help you change
- discord or loneliness into love;
- poverty into prosperity;
- bewilderment and disappointment into luck.
Not everyone that is interested in helping you is a human being.
Hence the use of mojo bags, talismans, altar work, candles, powders and oils. Not just to “psych yourself up” – though that is part of it – but to get to these forces through the subconscious. We communicate with them through the same parts of our minds that we dream with. Magic – Coincidence Management™ – operates at the level below the subconscious, where our minds connect with the Living Power of the Universe.
- “Is this voodoo?”
- No, it isn’t – but it is largely African, and it is magic. I work mostly in the old African-American magical system called hoodoo or conjure. It was
- , many of whom were
- . Once they arrived, they had to adapt to new plants and animals, new living conditions, and new restrictions on their spirituality. What they could not retain or recreate, they borrowed anew from Native American and European-American sources – friends, neighbors and lovers; fellow captives and escapees as well as (perhaps) oppressors.
- Hoodoo is the fruit of four hundred years of struggle, prayer, practice, experiment and inspiration.
- “Then what is voodoo?”
Vodou or Vodoun is not scary evil magic that you will go to hell for. It is a one of a family of religions descended from traditional African beliefs. It retains many traditional African gods and rich systems of worship and service to those gods. It includes magical work similar to hoodoo. Much of it is dedicated to improving people’s lives. Other members of this family are Palo, Candomble, Lukumi, Umbanda and Espiritismo. Check out these links for further information:
- A concise historical summary of Haitian Vodun by Mike Rock
- The Arcane Archive: Voodoo – a collection of Usenet postings by vodouissants about their experiences in the religion
Hoodoo or conjure is not any of these, though it shares many techniques and some assumptions in common.
- “Doesn’t the Bible forbid magic?”
- When the Bible says “you must not suffer a witch to live,” it refers to someone working magic
independently of the priesthood
- . The priests were permitted and taught
- and to work
- . But we are not living in ancient Israel any more.”What if it backfires?”
- A hoodoo “job” or “trick” always includes someone’s name, so it affects only the people it is aimed at.
- The idea of a spell “backfiring” is mostly a European concept. Personally, I only know of it from fiction. Hoodoo workers know from experience that a “botched” job will just fall to the floor and lie there, so to speak.
- “All right then – so what if the job doesn’t work?”
- First of all, it’s self-defeating to give up on a spell too soon. We can always try again; maybe even try something else.
- And sometimes we only need to wait.
- After all, when you seek prosperity, love or a change in your luck, you’re looking for a major, ongoing change in your life. It’s not something that either of us can do by lighting one candle without a moment’s thought. It takes attention, skill (mine), confidence (mine, and yours too) and time. When you work with me, I commit to a minimum of four weeks’ work.
- “What will you do for me?”When you do spiritual work by yourself, you may find that you are only as strong as your self-confidence. When you hire a spiritual consultant, you have the faith, power, and spiritual allies of an experienced worker to call on.
- You may be tied up in knots with doubt and fear, but when you have a spiritual consultant, it’s not all about your limitations any more.
- In hoodoo, the client (that’s you) and the conjure (that’s me) work together. As an expert conjure explains it:
The conventional way in which root doctors create a magical link between the client and the job to be done – either when they meet face-to-face or when the client lives in a distant place – is to ask for the client’s (or the target’s) personal concerns, name papers, and/or petitions. Next, it is customary to give or send the client some spiritual supplies (such as crystal salts to bathe in or a floor wash for the house or an herbal tea to drink) with instructions for their use. While the client uses these things, the actual job is being done. Finally, the worker reports back to the client on how the job went and when results can be expected. This sort of long-distance hoodoo is not new; i have catalogues from the 1920s in which such services are offered through the mail. Clients often say of such long-distance work, “He had me to start the job and he did the balance.”
– Catherine Yronwode,
- “Shouldn’t spiritual services be free?”
Of course you are free, as you should be, to do spiritual work for yourself or to find a spiritual consultant who shares this belief. But the sale of spiritual supplies and spiritual services has a long tradition in hoodoo; it is one of the parts of the tradition that dates back to Africa.
It is my understanding that the “problem” with paying for spells arose in Wicca because Wicca is more a religion than a system of magical practice and most of its adherents are ex-Christians – and it is not the custom in the Christian religion to directly charge for religious services. However, in cultures where religion and magic are not separated entirely, or where payments for either religious services or magical services are the norm, there is no such “problem.”
– Catherine Yronwode
A southern church would never think of inviting a “visiting” minister without taking up a special collection for him. It is expected and considered good manners. It would be considered a huge slight if this wasn’t offered. By the same token, black folk in the tradition know that you pay a rootworker. That’s how it works. It’s a cultural thing and hoodoo is a culture, an African-American centered culture. Yes, it’s syncretic in nature, but it’s black at the base.
– Jamey Hatley, hoodoo practitioner
Many people who have been saturated by the New Age and the Wiccan press believe it is somehow unethical to pay for spiritual services. I even remember a dozen years or so ago, a big debate raging within Pagan circles over whether they needed to develop a professional priesthood or not. This viewpoint has been completely borrowed (like most of the rest of the ethics expressed in Wicca and it’s derivatives) from Calvinistic Protestant Christianity.
African and African Derived traditions such as Hoodoo are not influenced by Calvinistic ethics although other elements of Christianity may be present. Since it … works mostly with the dead, and these tend to be African or of African ancestry, you had better understand their way of thinking. It’s more than courtesy, it’s an obligation.
- “Why do I need a professional magic worker?”Not everyone who appreciates the value of magical services is a magic worker. These people seek out a conjure in the same spirit that they pay a doctor or lawyer: to do something they need done and don’t have the expertise to do themselves.
- Others who have some experience in spiritual work may want assistance when their own work is not producing the desired results. They hire a spiritual worker for the same reason they hire a caterer or house painter: to bring
- skill and power to something they usually do themselves on a smaller scale.
- “I don’t believe in magical thinking.”Short answer: Then there’s no need for you to work with a magician.
- Long answer: I’ve heard it said that “Magic is a science.” I disagree. Magic evaporates in the laboratory.
- once described rationalism as “a charmed circle,” a way of excluding wide areas of human experience from consideration. It’s great at banishing boogeymen (“There are no vampires; there are no monsters under your bed”). As such, rationalism is a spiritual gift – one that I respect and don’t really have. I’m grateful to the rationalists of the world who
- But my experience has taught me that rationalism is not the only spiritual gift that brings material results. Your experience, of course, may teach you differently. I have no right to argue with you.