Hoodoo is a magical system of healing and control, especially in African-based folk medicine in the United States and the Caribbean. It is also known as conjure and rootwork. The word 'hoodoo' has African origins, and is used to describe various forms of magic, folk healing, and 'hexing', using roots and herbs.
What is known in the southern United States as Hoodoo is simply a traditional form of magic, not a religion, which uses the occult and supernatural elements of the Christian, Jewish and European practices. In fact, many patent medicines and home-made potions, baths, and floor washes were aimed at Hoodoo practitioners and more than one had gained commercial success.
Hoodoo is a system of magical beliefs and practices from Central Africa. Hoodoo is not a religion nor a denomination of religion.
Hoodoo is common to black community particularly the African Americans, who started the system of Hoodoo. White Americans practice Hoodoo system as well. The African Americans call such system in many terms such as conjuration, conjure, witchcraft, rootwork, and tricking. It is worth noting is that conjuration, conjure, tricking, and witchcraft are colloquial words in classifying Hoodoo. Rootwork is used to recognize the significance of dried roots in making charms and casting spells.
Hoodoo is used in referring to both the system of magical beliefs and the practitioner. However, a practitioner who practices on behalf of clients is called a Hoodoo doctor. Not only there are African-American Hoodoo doctors, there are Latinos and Americans too.
The African American communities refer to Hoodoo differently from African in Europe. Since witchcraft is usually synonymous to Hoodoo, the former refers to Hoodoo as both alternative healing remedy and a harmful activity, whereas, the Europeans refer to it mainly as harmful activity.
Hoodoo allows its believers to access supernatural forces to improve their living by gaining luck, money, love, health, as well as employing revenge and bad luck onto other people. Fundamental to a Hoodoo tradition is communication with the spirits of the dead and the focus on magical powers on individuals. Such belief actually made non-believers think Hoodoo practices are done mainly because of human desires and inclinations. Some areas consider Hoodoo as harmful magic or spiritual work and things that include spells and protection spells. Hoodoo spells may increase luck in love, money, good health, and happiness.
Its practices and traditions involve magical components of herbs, roots, minerals, animal parts, personal possessions, and bodily fluids such as menstrual blood, semen, and urine. A ritual also involves the use of ritual candles, conjure oils, incense, and sachet powders. The latter was an addition because of the African emphasis on footprint magic and spiritual cleansing, floor washing and bathing.