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Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Review: Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic

Cat Yronwode

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Catherine Yronwode (August 2, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971961204
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971961203
Following in the footsteps of Harry M. Hyatt, an Anglican minister who collected folklore all over the United States in the later half of the 20th century and compiled his research into five coveted volumes, Catherine Yronwode has done the world of magic a great service by compiling and publishing this grimoire of African American Hoodoo.

Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic contains a plethora of information pertaining to not only herbs and roots, but also other items used in the practice of Hoodoo, or conjure, such as silver dimes, ammonia, raccoon penis bones, and lodestones. The entries for each item includes the scientific name as well as several folk names so that there can be no confusion between elements. In addition, the author goes to great lengths to describe in detail how each item is used in the practice of authentic Hoodoo. Where appropriate, certain entries contain insightful notes as to the toxic level of an item, or in the case of biological curios, if the animal in question is among an endangered species.

This is a well thought out, thorough work written by a woman who has studied for more than three decades with several experienced root workers and had the presence of mind to record their wisdom for us all. In addition she has taken what she has learned and raised the practice of Hoodoo to new heights by sharing her own successes and failures through her website. When you read the various entries, you can clearly see the author's obvious experience and dedication to the subject of Hoodoo. More than a scholarly work, Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic is a practical, hands-on manual of authentic African-American conjure. It contains spells and rites for virtually any conceivable need or desire. Unlike other authors, Yronwode does not shy away from the subject of curses. This is real Hoodoo, nothing is held back or edited for readers who ascribe to the 'harm none' Rede associated with modern Wicca and Paganism.

If you are interested in, or practice any form, of folk magic--especially one that utilizes herbs, roots, or biological curios-- then this book will most surely become an invaluable reference to you and provide you with a great deal of assistance in your efforts. As a magickal practitioner myself I can say that this book has become like an old friend that I return to again and again for support and assistance and it never disappoints.

Carolina Dean


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Lodestone and Ladys Mantle said...

Excellent review; This book is on my wish list!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, like I said it's one that I go to again and again.

I actually bought two copies. One the same month it was published, then the updated hardcover edition last year. So now I have one that I actually write notes in and another I wish to keep in it's original form.

Carolina Dean

Oh, you can also check out the authors' website at and there are some excerpts from the book on there as well.