I have to say, it’s been a long time coming for a magazine like this. The Pagan publishing industry has had its share of magazines about faeries, Goddess worship, teen and young adult Witchcraft, and even family traditions, but Hoodoo is a part of the magickal world that has been lacking a resource like this. I always think that new books and magazines come along just at the right time and this creation by renowned Hoodoo and Voodoo author Denise Alvarado, along with her friend and business partner Sharon Marino, have created something truly special, something that I really hope the non-Hoodoo practicing Pagan will pick up and give a read.
Hoodoo is so often misunderstood by those outside of its practice. So many people, even well versed and studies Pagans, lump it in with Voodoo as one in the same. Hoodoo and southern conjure is such a rich and fascinating practice, one that is not exclusively part of the Voodoo religion. People of all faiths and walks of life who come to study and understand Hoodoo and conjure pick it up as a magickal practice and it’s one that many Pagans would do well to open their minds to.
In this inaugural issue of Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly this is the very subject of the first article; entitled “What is ‘Real’ Hoodoo”, Rootworker Matthew Venus sets the stage and clears up many of the questions and general confusions that surround Hoodoo. This article helps to create a level playing field, so to speak, for the reader as they venture into other articles in the magazine. One thing in this short piece that will grab many Pagan readers is the way Mr. Venus approaches Paganism and Hoodoo. He explains how Hoodoo and Pagan magick really aren’t that different from one another and how one who is Pagan might be able to open their mind to approaching Hoodoo more fully. But, even more importantly than that, the thing that I found most wonderful is that even with his encouragement toward Pagan readers to consider Hoodoo with an open mind, he reminds us that this doesn’t mean we should basically bastardize Hoodoo, removing the traditions of Hoodoo to make it more comfortable. In other words, as he explains, casting a circle, calling on Pagan deities, and throwing crystals in a bag isn’t working “mojo” and we shouldn’t call it that. But there’s no reason a Pagan who’s open to working with the Saints and other traditional aspects of Hoodoo can’t use it.
This article is followed by another wonderful piece, this one by Denise Alvarado, addressing the roots and origins of Hoodoo, especially looking at the traditions and history of her native New Orleans. While Hoodoo and conjure were born in the southern states of America, the fact is New Orleans has its own flavor with Hoodoo and learning these differences helps a great deal with navigating the world of conjure.
For this first issue there is a lot of fantastic pieces that help to give the inexperienced reader a solid foundational understanding of Hoodoo as it’s practiced today as well as where it is rooted. I was especially pleased to see the including of an article on foot track magick since this is one of the most popular forms of conjure that is also the most unique. We see little of this in our modern day Pagan or Wiccan magickal work, even in eclectic traditions. And for those who are Wiccan or Pagan you might be comforted to see the familiar face of author Dorothy Morrison who contributes a piece on visiting cemeteries, one of several pieces that deal with the often taboo subject of graveyard magick. This again presents some information that might be new and pleasantly workable for many magickal practitioners outside of Hoodoo.
And just when you thought you’d seen everything you were going to see you also get an article on sex magick from a Hoodoo perspective, some money spells, Hot Foot magick, love spells, a pattern for making a doll baby, and instructions for creating a love domination candle dedicated to St. Martha. You’ll be taken by the Hoodoo related lore of The Devil Baby of Bourbon St., something that anyone who’s been to New Orleans should be familiar with. And they really did save some of the best for last in the fascinating article “The Return of Psalm Magick and the Mixed Qabalah” by Aaron Leitchi.
On a technical note, the magazine is of superb quality. It boasts a light cardstock, glossy cover and perfect bound binding. The pages are full color and there is nearly 100 pages of content within. The articles that detail spells and magickal processes all have detailed pictures to help instruct you on working the magick held within. This is not your average magazine and is one that will be library worthy and something you’ll keep on your bookshelf with your other magickal materials for many years to come.
There is really something for everyone here. Lore, spells, history, and deep explorations of the occult. It’s a mixed bag and one that really needs to be opened and rummaged through. Even if you know nothing about Hoodoo but have a love of the occult and magick or Witchcraft you owe it to yourself to pick up the first issue of Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly to see what new perspectives it may hold for you.