Friday, March 7, 2008
Root Work and JuJu
These are closely related and may occur together undifferientated.Thr practitioner may be considered a root doctor,a hoodoo,a conjuger,or a priestess.Various powders,herbs,potions may be used along with candles and on occasion a dead chicken.The terms may be used interchangeably unless you are getting a desckiption from a client then their words describing their practitioner should be used in collecting information related to diagnosis.
.Some hoodoos still read bones but it is not as common as in the past.One reported that the bone reading is usually in iwo styles.The first style uses chicken bones, and each bones has a special meaning -- the wing bone for travel, the breast bone for love, and so forth. The bones are thrown on a flat surface and they are read much as tea-leaves are, by the pattern made and by the way they point.
A second way of reading the bones uses possum bones -- but this i have never seen done, only heard it described by an African-American woman born in Tennessee whose grandfather did it, in the early 1950s when he was very old and she was very young, According to Eoghan Ballard of the University of Pennsylvania, this woman's grandfather was throwing the bones according to a system used by Bantu people throughout Southern Africa; The bones are usually knuckle bones, marked with dots and crosses. The reading of knuckle bones led, quite naturally, to the use of dice in divination, and in America dice reading, which in some settings has replaced the bone reading.
Sometimes grave yard dirt,pieces of clothing,fingernail clippings or hair are used among other things in creating the "spell".As mentioned the work may be for good or bad Many root workers flatly refuse to do "bad work" or destructive spells against the client's enemies. They will only perform positive and helpful spells, such as love drawing, enhancing gambling luck, or bringing about a client's personal success.
One hoodoo i know limits his practice to uncrossing, healing, and blessing, but -- perhaps because he has so much sympathy for men -- he won't work on behalf of women who want to dominate their husbands or charm them into remaining sexually faithful. Such workers are sometimes called "lady hearted," because of their morality.
Even those conjure doctors who "work both sides" (good and evil) may only take jobs that relate to certain areas of human life. For instance, they may specialize in love and sex spells of all kinds, from bringing about reconciliations and helping clients find quick sex, to granting women domination over their men and working on a client's behalf to destroy love through a messy break up -- but they will not make mojo hands for gambling. Other root doctors, equally proficient, may specialize in money-drawing and business prosperity spells and also offer lucky charms for gambling -- but steer clear of working love and sex spells. Such self-imposed limits to any given doctor's repertoire are partially a matter of what the individual worker is gifted for and partially a matter of what he or she feels most comfortable providing to clients.An amulet for protection and /or treatment may be used in either case and the potion of the hex may be administered by the patient in the food or drink of the one being hexed. The conjuger in rare instances may do the spell personally.
In short, finding the right conjure doctor for you is not only a matter of locating someone who is honest and fair, but also a matter of matching your needs to the doctor's specialties.
I will include an account of a Georgia doctor dealing with a patient.Dr.Martin Katner.He is nationally known for his work treating AIDS patients in Middle Georgia..He shows profound respect for ancient beliefs and the cultural belief system underlying: the traditional herbal and spiritual practices of root work.
"I've even incorporated it in my practice with people who believe that sort of thing," he said.
Katner, whose background is in anthropology, studied a mixture of European folk medicine and West African beliefs while at school in New Orleans.
Katner's most touching experience with root work, he said, came through a Georgia woman who had AIDS. Although she would come to the hospital, she wouldn't come to him for treatment.
A nurse explained, "Somebody put roots on her, and she's afraid."
Compounding her tragic circumstances, she was being beaten regularly by her husband, who believed she had infected him.
"I hear you got roots on you," he said. "I can take 'em off."
Katner said he performed a ceremony with her and gave her a blessed candle to burn if anyone messed with her.
Her husband called Katner later and asked, "What did you do to my wife?"
Katner recalls telling him, "Somebody put roots on her, and I took 'em off. And I told her to call me back if anybody hurt her."
When the woman lay dying of AIDS, Katner went to pay a house call as he customarily does. The family treated him with overflowing, exuberant gratitude. He found it puzzling - after all, despite his best efforts, she was dying.
A relative explained, "Ever since you took the roots off her, her husband never beat her up again."
Katner was stunned.
"The son of a gun was so afraid of me, he wouldn't touch her," he recalled.
It also gave him a deeper appreciation of the root tradition.
"The beauty of this social system is that it gave women a lot of power," he said. "A woman could go to the root doctor and be protected. There's a reason why these belief systems existed."A woman could go to the root doctor and be protected.
He said there is a simple chant that sometimes goes with a Louisiana ceremony to conjure away warts. The petitioner asks the moon, "As you get big in the sky, make my wart go away."
Katner said it taps into an ancient sense of the universe's order, a primordial impulse to pay tribute to the moon and stars.
"What you're listening to is something so ancient and awesome and the belief is so strong," he said. "It's a truly awesome belief system."
He is also because not every physician is either so respectful or aware of the importance of the personal beliefs of the person being treated.