Introduction

Oral tradition is the cornerstone of indigenous knowledge. It is the means by which our ancestors pass on their wisdom and ways of life so that we may benefit and carry them to generations to come. Today, much oral tradition is finding its way into print. This work represents one effort to preserve the wisdom of our ancestors by writing it down so that it can be enjoyed by all who care to read about it.

While I have written down much of what has been taught to me, I have not recorded those teachings that I was asked to hold in confidence out of respect for tradition. Some things are meant only to be committed to memory, and so in the heart mind they will stay.

Voodoo is a highly complex religion, and hoodoo is a highly complex magico-spiritual practice. I have written this book according to my personal experience and understanding of the New Orleans Voodoo religious, spiritual, and magickal tradition, and it may or may not reflect the opinions of other practitioners of New Orleans Voodoo or hoodoo. The knowledge that I have acquired over the years is the culmination of growing up in New Orleans and absorbing the culture; lifelong learning from family, teachers, and other practitioners; consulting sacred texts; folklore literature; and what speaks to me through divine channels.

This book was written for the individual practitioner, and is not meant as an instructional guide for initiation into any of the religions with their roots in the African Diaspora. It is meant to provide a basic understanding of the nature and properties of the ingredients and practices of New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo as I understand and interpret them.

Sometimes people seek to “become” priestesses and priests, mambos, houngans, and religious leaders; other times, the spirits seek us out. I was given “the gift” as a small child; the spirits called on me. I was introduced to the mysteries at the age of five or six by my auntie on the Mississippi bayous. My father taught me about the creatures and minerals of Mother Earth, while my mother taught me about the herbs and plants. As a young girl, I was raised in the Catholic Church, went through catechism, and was confirmed as “Angelique.” At sixteen, I was initiated into transcendental meditation at the Hare Krishna temple in New Orleans and given my secret mantra by my guru. I am an ordained reverend from the Universal Life Church Monastery, and have had the privilege of going through a number of rites of passage in several Native American traditions that qualify me to perform various ceremonial activities and function in the role of medicine woman.  I have a broad and deep understanding of many spiritual paths, and consider myself to be a lifelong student of the universe, with much yet to learn. The many paths I have traveled reflect my journey to connect with the ancestors of my Creole ethnicity. I want to make clear, however, that I have not undergone formal initiation into any of the African-derived religions. You will find after reading this book that such initiations are not necessary to practice the brand of Creole Voodoo and hoodoo that is unique to New Orleans.

This book is the revised edition of the original Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook that I had previously self-published. Like most authors, after a time I wished I had written some things differently, added things I initially omitted, and organized things differently. With the support of my new publisher Red Wheel/Weiser and Conari Press, I now have both the opportunity and the excuse to tweak this book to include those changes and make it even better than ever.

I hope that you find this book informational, educational, and most of all, inspirational. It is dedicated to all of those who suffered to keep the tradition alive, to those who carry on the tradition so that it may continue to live, and to those who have yet to come who will find their lives enriched by it.

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