Stregoneria and Hoodoo

Ciao a tutti,

I think that it’s important to never stop learning.  That’s one of the reasons that I’ve (lately) been looking into Hoodoo practices.

Wikipedia says:
Hoodoo, also known as conjure, is a form of predominantly African-American traditional folk magic that developed from the syncretism of a number of separate cultures and magical traditions. It incorporates practices from African and Native American traditions, as well as some European magical practices and grimoires. While folk practices like hoodoo are trans-cultural phenomena, what is particularly innovative in this tradition is the “remarkably efficacious use of biblical figures” in its practices and in the lives of its practitioners.”

When I started to look closely at the *structure* of the magical practices and operations of Hoodoo, I noticed a startling similarity to the structure and practices of Stregoneria (witchcraft as a system(s) of magical practice(s) derived from Italic cultures).  I suppose that it should have come as a surprise that there appear to be so many similarities.  Many of the American-Italic immigrant practices of folk-magic also use the saints and other cultural icons to add flavor and oomph to their magic.

Another quote regarding Hoodoo from Wikipedia is:
“The goal of hoodoo is to allow people access to supernatural forces to improve their daily lives by gaining power in many areas of life, including luck, money, love, divination, revenge, health, employment, and necromancy. As in many other religious, magical, and medical folk practices, extensive use is made of herbs, minerals, parts of animals’ bodies, an individual’s possessions, and bodily fluids, especially menstrual blood, urine and semen. Contact with ancestors or other spirits of the dead is an important practice within the conjure tradition, and the recitation of Psalms from the Bible is also considered magically effective in hoodoo. Due to hoodoo’s great emphasis on an individual’s magical power, its basic principles of working are generally felt to be easily adapted for use, based on one’s desires, inclinations and habits.”

I normally refer to Stregheria being the *Pagan, religious* practice of Witchcraft and magic derived from the Italic cultures while Stregoneria as witchcraft as a system(s) of magical practice(s) derived from Italic cultures.  In a way, Stregoneria can almost be seen as the “Hoodoo of the Mediterranean”.

I’m no expert on Hoodoo but it seems that it is predominantly structured with a very heavy gloss of Christianity.  Stregoneria also shares this trait.  The closer I look at these practices, the easier it is to see the “Pagan view” just below the surface.  Many of these practices would seem effective no matter what gloss is overlaid on the magical procedure(s). Culturally, that has been Christianity – partially just because that’s the way it is. Partially because the predominent cultural view in this country is some version of Christianity so “clients” are more at ease with magic and the supernatural when coated with glamour with which they are familiar.

I’ve met a number of Hoodoo practitioners for whom the “gloss” of Christianity is intregal to their worldview. I’ve also met some who feel that the gloss is just that and is primarily for the clients peace of mind while the practitioners themselves may have very different religious or spiritual outlooks that has nothing to do with Christianity. It’s something that I hope to look closer into.

Do you have any personal experience or training in Hoodoo?  If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.  I think that paths of Hoodoo and Stregoneria have some amazing similarities.



Leave a comment