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Eoghan Ballard has made an interesting argument that the word hoodoo derives from the Spanish word for "Jewish." Although this sounds unlikely on the face of it, there is some precedent for the idea: Among Cuban practitioners of Central African Mkisi-worship -- which is called Palo ("Sticks") in Spanish, due to its use of woods, roots, and herbs -- there are two major groups, those who practice Palo Cristiano (Christian Palo) and those who practice Palo Judio (Jewish Palo).

In this context, the word Judio (pronounced hoo-dyoh) does not refer to Judaism per se; it refers to the fact that the adherents of this subset of Palo are unconverted to Christianity -- they retain African symbolism in their practice and, like the Jews, they have refused to give themselves over to Christianity.

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Other regionally popular names for hoodoo in the black community include "conjuration," "conjure," "witchcraft," "rootwork," "candle burning," and "tricking." The first three are simply English words; the fourth is a recognition of the pre-eminence that dried roots play in the making of charms and the casting of spells, and the fifth and sixth are special meanings for common English words.

Hoodoo is used as a noun to name both the system of magic ("He used hoodoo on her") and its practitioners ("Doctor Buzzard was a great hoodoo in his day").

Hoodoo is an American term, originating in the 19th century or earlier.

One of its meanings refers to African-American folk magic.

This lengthy article has been subdivided into several sections: HOODOO, CONJURE, ROOTWORK: Definition of Terms: How I Define Hoodoo WHAT HOODOO IS: An African-American Folk-Magic Tradition WHAT HOODOO IS NOT: Voodoo, Santeria, Palo, Brujeria, etc.

ADMIXTURES: European, Spiritist, and Kabbalist Influences on Hoodoo ADMIXTURES: Asian, Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist Influences on Hoodoo RESPECT: What It Is Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork, and similar terms refer to the practice of African American folk magic.(The transcription is by Gorgen Antonsson, [email protected], and Alan Balfour, [email protected]): "HOODOO LADY BLUES" Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup Believe I'll drop down in Louisiana, just to see a dear old friend of mine Believe I'll drop down in Louisiana, just to see a dear old friend of mine You know, maybe she can help me, durn my hard, hard time.You know they tell me in Louisiana, there's hoodoos all over there You know they tell me in Louisiana, there's hoodoos all over there You know they'll do anything for the money, man, in the world, I declare.Here is how i define the word "hoodoo": Hoodoo consists of a large body of African folkloric practices and beliefs with a considerable admixture of American Indian botanical knowledge and European folklore.Although most of its adherents are black, contrary to popular opinion, it has always been practiced by both whites and blacks in America.It is Eoghan's theory that the word hoodoo may derive from the special sense in which this Afro-Caribbean Spanish term Judio is used in Palo -- and would thus refer to African slaves who refused to renounce African customs and practices.


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