Halloween is upon us and it’s got me thinking about scary things. Sure, doling out candy to hordes of mini-monsters, superheroes, and princesses can be terrifying, but I’m talking about the really frightening stuff: ghosts, ghouls, and goblins, and anything else that might be lurking in the dim, waiting to jump out and snatch you when you least expect it.
Luckily, I’ve got a few hoodoo charms and spells up my sleeve that might help you combat these and other baddies. What’s hoodoo? And does it have anything to do with voodoo? I’m glad you asked!
Hoodoo is an African-American folk-magic based in the Southern US, that uses herbs and roots, along with some minerals and animal curios such as feathers, chicken bones, alligator paws and teeth for a variety of ends. A unique blend of Christianity, herbalism, and folk magic, Hoodoo can be used as a healing medicine but is also employed as a practical magic to protect against evil, bring love, draw money, assure personal success, or lay jinxes. Voodoo on the other hand is a religion that is predominantly practiced in the Caribbean, New Orleans, and “Santería” in Cuba.
I learned a lot about hoodoo while writing my debut young adult/middle grade crossover, Conjure, book one in The Hoodoo Apprentice series. In Conjure, Emma Guthrie and her secret crush Cooper Beaumont discover a hidden 18th-century pirate treasure and unwittingly unleash a wicked flesh-eating curse that only Gullah hoodoo magic can break. Combining Gullah culture, mythology, and hoodoo magic was some of the best fun I’ve ever had and was truly an enlightening experience.
So with the spooky holiday nigh, why not try out a few hoodoo charms to fend off supernatural foes? The following spells come from Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by Catherine Yronwode, a definitive and comprehensive authority on all things hoodoo. I highly recommend this practical guide for anyone interested in trying their hand at hoodoo magic. Here’s a taste of what you’ll find in its pages:
Sense someone’s giving you the “evil eye”? Repel it by combining agrimony and rue in an incense.
Protect yourself against unsettled or evil spirits by placing a piece of sea spirit (i.e., seaweed) in a glass of water or whiskey on your nightstand.
Have an unruly poltergeist? Brew Angelica root into a tea and sprinkle it about your house to quiet “rattling” ghosts.
To ward off a witch, place a broom across the doorway at night. To keep it away during the day, lean the broom across the door to bar its entrance. You can also keep them at bay by adding cactus spines to witch-bottles along with nails, needles, and pins, then dress it with urine and bury the vial by the front door.
Since the ancient Pagan’s believed the wall between the living and the dead opened on Halloween, you might want to use the opportunity to contact some of your dearly departed.
To contact the dead: Dip acacia leaves in holy water then sprinkle them over an alter, or burn dry leaves as an incense to communicate with the dead.
To summon a spirit and question it: set out a glass of water with dissolved black salt then light a black candle dressed in Black Arts Oil and burn frankincense mixed with Black Arts Incense on charcoal. Call the spirit into the water glass to hold it there and ask it anything you’d like.
Want to fend off or control demons? Dip six-foot tall stalks of the mullein plant in oil or tallow, then align them in a circle outside and light them on fire. The mullein torches will bring the demonic spirits under your control so you can rule them.
In Conjure, Emma works similar spells in her quest to break the vicious curse that threatens everyone she loves. You’ll have to read the book to learn which, if any, do the trick, but I promise it’s a spooky, magical ride!
- Lea Nolan
Intrigued by Emma and the gang? You can get your copy of Conjure available online now. And for more genre news and coverage, visit our Everything Young Adult Page.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: Are you a believer in hoodoo and voodoo? Let us know in the comments below and you will be entered to win a copy of Lea Nolan's debut YA novel Conjure as well as a prize pack from the author. The winner will be announced Monday, November 5. US addresses only please.
BLOG UPDATE 11/5: The winner is readsalot81