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Saints, Spirits, & Hoodoo

I am emphatic about creating *authentic* hoodoo formulas in the Southern rural-style tradition, and when I come up with a new hoodoo formula (as with Kaliprix) or create something outside of the hoodoo tradition (as with my Vodou oils), I try to make it very clear what sources and traditions are informing its creation (because I am allergic to buffet-style religious appropriation and spiritual mix-and-match BS).

When it comes to items created for particular saints and spirits, I try to do the same thing. Hoodoo as a system of folk magic is not a religion, though it springs from and is informed by a largely Protestant Christian culture and most practitioners have historically been Protestant Christians.

There are exceptions in historically Catholic-heavy areas, and those areas are overwhelmingly where my people are from on both sides of the family for many generations.

Stick around long enough and you'll hear some old-school rootworker or another remind everyone within earshot that you cannot just lift hoodoo out of the Christian context in which it has been practiced since its emergence as a specifically African-American folk practice and still legitimately call it hoodoo.

But you can certainly leave aside the saints entirely and still call it hoodoo. In fact, most rootworkers don't work with saints. Among those who do, there has tended to be a relatively small lineup of go-to saints whose names you'll usually hear with any regularity.

Well, I work with a much wider variety of saints than is typical in traditional hoodoo. My hoodoo has *tons* of saints in it. And in addition to the approved and recognized saints of the Catholic Church, I work with a number of folk saints and other spirits, some who have entered hoodoo through various cultural contacts (e.g. Maximon) and some who cannot be said to have entered hoodoo at all, at least not in any broad, consistent way (e.g. Legba, Santisima Muerte).

That means in some cases, formulas I make for spirits and saints are not necessarily traditional hoodoo but are informed by and/or spring from another culture or system. Or they might make sense within hoodoo but be something no traditional rootworker would have heard of 50 years ago. I try to make that crystal clear whenever that's the case, and I try to provide some educational background in the item listings as necessary/appropriate.

It's easy to get turned around and confused, especially as more and more formula creators sell more and more oils and baths online with hoodoo *names* but with little or no coherence as a recognizable hoodoo formula with correspondences that make sense within the system. Those correspondences are often markedly different than the Wiccan or neopagan ones they're accustomed to. And that can mean you get a formula that sounds like it's aligned with what you're working on, when in reality, the ingredients could actually work against what you're working on.

(Pro tip: if your seller is an "expert" in every pagan, occult, and magical system under the sun, well, they're unlikely to be especially expert in any of them, sorry to say.)

Anybody can make shit up as they go along, but I want to contribute to the survival of traditional roots and knowledge. It's important. And you will really start to feel this stuff working in a whole new way when you become fluent in the language and start seeing it from the inside out. So please feel free to ask if you have questions about any of these saints, spirits, formulas, or anything and you don't see your question covered here or in the Education index, and I'll be happy to try to help.