1. What advice would you give someone just starting out on this path?
Take it slow and easy; be patience; trust your intuition. In my new book Sticks, Stones, Roots and Bones: Hoodoo, Mojo and Conjuring with Herbs (Llewellyn 2004) I speak very directly to readers, with novices and those who are curious about the path specifically in mind. I encourage those who are interested in Hoodoo to read my book and the fine other books on the topic (old and new). Beginners can also gain practical hands-on experience by taking classes or attending workshops at herbal schools, botanical gardens and conservatory’s A serious searcher might embark on an apprenticeship.
2. Through my classes, I often meet people who find themselves wanting to rediscover the things they learned as children from their grandmothers and grandfathers. What direction would you give these persons in trying to reconnect with their roots?
If they are fortunate enough to still have their grand parents they should speak with them more and perhaps journal afterwards. They can still connect with elders in their families or elders of their community to learn the old ways; we tend to ignore elder wisdom too much in our society instead of seeing elders as the blessings that they are. Read, Read, Read! Listen to music and recorded stories from the 19 and 20th century (earlier if available). Folk music, also called “roots” music, in the black community would include blues and Negro spirituals, these forms of expression also contains a wealth of information concerning our past. That is why I include excerpts and lyrics in my book.
3. How can the practice of Hoodoo enhance or promote a sense of well-being and peace in one’s life?
Hoodoo is very affirming because it is about personal responsibility and self-determination. When we are empowered we feel well, whole and balanced which brings peace. Hoodoo engages the elements fire (candles) water (scented and blessed water as well as natural waters) air (incense and pray) earth (plants, trees, stones, minerals, soil) akashic—the intuitive and spiritual realms. Engagement with the elements and peaceful representatives of the spirit realm is very uplifting. We are especially fond of using frankincense, myrrh, rosewater and lavender water in our practices—all of these gifts from nature are incredibly rich aromatics that bring serenity to the environment.
Check back next week for the continuation of this insightful interview!