The Theory of Practicing Hoodoo

For centuries, the African American heritage of the southern areas of America has practices Hoodoo. Also called conjure, laying tricks, rootwork, and root doctoring, this Southern folk magic has a theory that is hard to ignore.

There are different uses for spiritual tradition using the ashes in hoodoo. This includes name-paper ashes or prayer and scriptural verse ashes, as well as remnant incense ashes from the altar. Here, we are going to take a sampling view of the territory that will provide you with ways of incorporating ashes into your own practice.

Name-Paper Ash and Quassia Bark

A well-known practice use of Quassia Bark is to triple-refine a name by burning it and then folding the ash into another name paper, which is burned. The ashes from the second burning are folded into another name paper. This is practiced that allows one to concentrate on a name when there aren’t any personal concerns to be had.

In the past, fountain pens were commonly used and by sprinkling the ashes of a name-paper onto the 2nd and 3rd iterations because the ash would stick to the liquid ink while it dried.

Prayer or Scripture Verse

A hand-written prayer of a person’s own words or scripture from the Bible creates an increased awareness of the prayer. When we write something out such as a chapter from the Bible, a Psalm, or a verse, or especially when we compose our own prayer, it makes a stronger connection from between from our head to our heart by way of our hand.

The prayer carries its own connotations and weight. But the thought we use to compose the material and write it out makes the conveying of those conceptions stronger.  The body is cleansed from the water from which a prayer paper has been soaked. Another way of commonly working is burning the paper to ashes and then blends the ashes with other materials that have been used in other spiritual jobs.

A candle may be used to burn the paper until ashes have formed, allowing them to float upward. However, using the bed created from incense is the more common way because the efforts are then concentrated.

The ashes created from the burning are used in many ways, the most common being one of the following:

** Sprinkled about one’s property for protection

** Cooked into a dish

** Combined with sachet powders and then used to draw designs upon the altar

** Added to candle trays or incense burners

Ash Deposits or Disposal

If you have a brass bowl upon your altar, this is a perfect place to collect ash from the days of work. Such as the collected ash when you have a weekly ceremony of working for money.  Another great example is a professional root doctor that has separate altars working for various clients they can catch the ash from each one to fill their container.

Regardless how the ash is caught, either by specific timing, by a job, or by the container, when the right time presents itself, dispose of the ash appropriately in a ritual manner in accordance to the kind of work that generated the ash.


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