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Monday, August 8, 2011

Mailbag Monday: Hoodoo Vs. Wicca

Today's question comes from M.T. He writes, 
It seems there is a spiteful prejudice towards those that do practice both Wicca and Hoodoo?

MM, M.T. and thanks for your question. 
After the last laws against Witchcraft were repealed in England in the early 1950's, Wicca as a religion has seen several growth spurts roughly every 20 years. Perhaps it reached its peak in the early 90's with the "solitary-practitioner" movement popularized by Scott Cunningham. Around the same time the internet was bring the information super-highway right through our living rooms making information much more readily available to the average person.  Wicca achieved mainstream status with movies like "The Craft" and television shows like "Charmed" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer".
While being Wiccan was a serious religion/magickal practice to many people, it also became something of a fad among teens and young adults for a number of reasons. Some of these individuals were seeking spiritual enlightenment and self-empowerment, others simply jumped on the band-wagon, and others just wanted to look cool. At any rate, when something becomes popular, there is an inevitable backlash. Many popular authors, such as Silver Ravenwolf, became quite controversial as they were seen as having sold out or mislead the public with their information, faked their credentials, etc....

I think that many Wiccans have become disillusioned with their Craft, just like Christians before them. There have been too many witch-wars, too many arguments over whose traditions is older, and whose has a direct lineage or not. The perception is that our spiritual leaders no longer serve the people but rather serve themselves.

I see Wicca as the older sibling and Hoodoo as the new kid that mommy and daddy have brought home. No, I'm not saying that Wicca is older (or better) than Hoodoo, just that many Wiccans may be feeling left out. I've seen many Hoodoo-ers who feel that some Wiccan practices have their origin in African Traditional Religions and some resent that Wiccans don't acknowledge this, especially when Wiccans incorporate Hoodoo into their practices.

Wiccans on the other hand have had years and years of experience with people adopting an eclectic approach borrowing beliefs, practices, and concepts from several places and cultures and weaving these into a highly personal practice within the confines of Wiccan beliefs and theology.

As Hoodoo is becoming more and more popular and mainstream (The Skeleton Key, Supernatural) I believe that a similar backlash is inevitable. It happened with Christianity, it happened with Wicca, and its going to happen with Hoodoo.

We are already seeing what has been dubbed "Hoodoo Wars", we are seeing many arguments over what is "authentic" Hoodoo, and many disagreements over "tradition vs. eclecticism". We are disrespecting our teachers without whom many of us would know squat about these practices. Look at cat yronwode, people either love her or hate her for her work/contribution to Hoodoo; and Denise's books have been stolen a million times over, her name has been dragged through the mud, and people hate her for trying to share her knowledge with the world AND trying to make a living.

Its time to wake up and make positive changes before our egos destroy this beautiful tradition that many of us say we love and respect so much!
Carolina Dean 

1 comment:

Hoodoo Honey said...

If it's for you, then you will make money doing it. If it's not then you won't. The Commercialism of certain practices is an affront to the tradition. But that is just my humble opinion.