I didn't grow up with a root working grandmother.
I didn't even grow up in a family where we talked about our dreams. There wasn't much room for those conversations in such a religiously conservative AME Zion family. I share this to give you some background on my experience. I am just as new to Hoodoo as most of you. It's because of this I can relate to so many people who ask me questions about getting started in Hoodoo.
It can be frustrating to being your Hoodoo journey. There is so much information (and misinformation) to sort through on social media alone. Don't even get me started on the books, articles, research, and reports out there. I realized that a thirst for knowledge turns into hunger pangs for most of us. Where do you go for credible information? Who do you trust? What exactly is a mojo bag? There is no way for you to fully grasp these concepts if you come to them cold and unfortunately, a lot of us do. Lord knows I did.
It took me six years in Hoodoo to understand that a lot of us don't come to this making the first steps correctly. A lot of us begin Hoodoo by making mistakes. Social media encourages us to put our successes forward but that doesn't help people learn. It doesn't help people understand why they need to approach learning Hoodoo from a patient perspective. That's why I wrote, "Starting Out and Making Mistakes in Hoodoo".
Isn't it funny how making mistakes is accepted as a viable way to learn in other regards but in Hoodoo, it seems like a mistake is damn near fatal? I feel like the stakes are high because the standards of reclaiming our tradition are high but, we can relax a little. When it comes to getting started in Hoodoo, especially if you don't have practicing relatives or mentors to call upon. You will make a mistake (or 10) and it will be fine. Trust me.
It took me a while to not be hard on myself for how much I didn't know about Hoodoo. But that didn't stop me. I swallowed my pride and opened myself up to the community, my Ancestors, and my curiosity. I'm pretty sure my ADHD helped me become hyper-focused on learning all I could about Hoodoo but it was the right decision for me. And you have to make the right decisions for yourself. This doesn't include conflating religions (guilty), doing unsafe shit like overstuffing a dressed candle (guilty), or defying tradition because you want to. Don't forget that learning about Hoodoo is learning about a system of spiritual practices. Systems have a purpose.
"Getting Started and Making Mistakes in Hoodoo" is the conversation I wish someone had with me when I got started. Take your time understanding the system and learning about it. You will have a surplus of interests to dive into and you'll need the framework to support your studies. You'll also need the support of community. If you are able, I encourage you to leverage social media to find practitioners and online communities of Hoodoos who share your interests. Every day more Black Americans are becoming open to the idea of exploring our pre-Christian religious beliefs. There are so many well-studied practitioners who have online groups, podcasts, and classes to participate in. Some of my favorites are featured above.
The beauty of community is that you get support and information at the same time. Our ancestors didn't always have the luxury of leaning on a Hoodoo community or practicing in public so being able to congregate with other Black people about Hoodoo shouldn't be taken lightly. It's a huge blessing.
If there is one thing I want you to take away from this is that your inherent interest in learning about your ancestors and how they communed with a multitude of spirits throughout their lives is enough to begin. But, that's not enough to practice. You have to learn about Hoodoo the best way you can and be patient with your exposure.
Starting out isn't about being perfect, it's about being respectful and accepting the fact that you are beginning to learn about something that is bigger than you.
Join the discussion about starting out in Hoodoo on Bless the Roads Instagram.