If this is your first Sunday here at Inklings, make sure to catch up on my stories from past weeks. I couldn't make these stories up if I tried...
The Hoodoo Chick
I met a lot of eclectic people when I owned Static Moon down in South Carolina. One day, I had this older woman come into my shop, very quiet, very reserved. I asked her if she needed any help, to which she quietly replied, "No, ma'am, I was just lookin'." I told her if she needed anything, to let me know.
She browsed for a while, stopping in the candles section, where she picked up a few small candles, and moved on to the oils I had. She picked up a bottle of oil, then made her way to the counter, where I kept jars of herbs on the wall. She asked for a few ounces of various herbs, and as she went to pay, I could tell she wanted to ask me something.
"Is there anything in particular you were looking for?" I asked her.
She hesitated, then said, "Well, yes, but I'm not sure if you carry stuff like what I'm looking for."
I told her that I could order anything she wanted, and have it in within a few days.
"In that case, I need an effigy candle," she stated.
A what? I was clueless. No idea what she was talking about. She saw the confused look on my face.
"I need one of those candles that is shaped like a man, and one shaped like a woman. If you can get one of the couples ones, that would be even better," she clarified for me.
I had seen these candles in my catalogs, but had no idea what they were used for. So, I pulled the catalog out, showed her the picture, and she confirmed that's what she wanted.
"Yeah, no problem. I'll put the order in today for you," I told her.
"Can you get me some 'Go Away' oil, too?" she asked. "And maybe some black salt and sulfur?"
My eyes widened. She laughed.
"Sweetheart, you don't know nothin' about Hoodoo, do you?" she asked.
My naive ass said, "You mean Voodoo?"
She laughed. "No, honey, I mean Hoodoo. You mean to tell me you own a shop like this in South Carolina, and you ain't never heard of Hoodoo? You know, rootworkin'?"
I shook my head.
"Girl, you need to read up on it. You'd make a lot of money around here if you started carrying
rootworkin' items. There's one or two places downtown that sell stuff, but I don't like the energy of those stores. Your store is nice- calm. Your items feel clean," she said.
"Oh, okay. Well, first off, thank you for the compliment. Second, could you explain to me what Hoodoo is so I know what I should be buying?" I asked her.
"Hoodoo is like voodoo, but without the religion. It's the practice of using natural things around you, things that have been used for hundreds of years, to help you do things, but you don't ask Voodoo goddess or gods for help; you just do it yourself. My family's been doin' it for generations. My gramma brought it up from New Orleans."
Apparently I still had a confused look on my face, which made her laugh.
"You need the effigy candles, for one. Those are the easiest way to do your conjurin'. You need lots of herbs and oils, too. Hoodoo is all about using things that make sense to help you do your work. Like, take what I bought for example. I need this woman to leave my husband alone. So, I've already buried his underwear in the backyard, but..."
With this, she saw my eyes get even wider, which made her laugh again.
"Girl, you don't know about burying your man's drawers in the backyard so he don't stray from you?"
|Gorgeous artwork. Courtesy of WMHE|
I shook my head. "Can't say that I've heard that one before, no," I told her.
"Yeah, that's a given, as soon as you get married. You bury his underwear in the backyard to make sure your man don't cheat on you. So, I've done that, and he hasn't cheated, but he has this woman at work tryin' to get with him. I need to get rid of her, which is why I need the effigy candles and the oil. I'll pour the oil on the woman candle, after carving her name into it, of course, and burn it. She'll go away after that," she told me.
I'm not even going to lie, this intrigued the hell out of me.
"Well, that makes a hell of a lot of sense. What else can you tell me about Hoodoo? I'm really interested in this," I told her.
She ended up staying in the store for about 30 minutes or so, telling me various Hoodoo practices that were passed down through her generations.
- Don't leave your house with a sink full of dirty water, because that will ensure that your money goes down the drain.
- If you have a long-term unwanted house guest that won't leave, throw one of their socks into the back of a truck that is moving away from your house, and they will up and leave.
- If you don't want a person who has visited your house to ever return, go outside and hammer iron nails into the footprints they left in your yard, and they will never want to visit again.
- If you really want to keep your significant other from ever straying from you, fix them a meal of spaghetti or lasagna (red sauce pasta) and mix some of your menstrual blood into the sauce. They'll never think of cheating or leaving you. (My eyes got REAL wide on that one.)
- If you want to shut someone up whose talking crap about you, attach their picture to a cow's tongue, then wrap the tongue in twine and place it in a jar with the lid tightly shut. Place the lid in the back of your closet or other dark area and forget about it. The person will never utter another negative word about you.
- Don't ever touch pennies on the ground. The copper in the pennies is the easiest thing to hold a curse, and people practicing Hoodoo will often curse the pennies and then throw them in the front yard of the person they wish ill will upon. Once you touch the penny, you get the curse, or ill will, they wished upon you.
Over the year or so she shopped at my store before it closed, she always came in, ordered items for her workings, and told me more Hoodoo stories. I bought books on Hoodoo, did my research to be able to help her and her friends. I found it extremely interesting- still do to this day. It's hundreds of years old, so I have respect for the beliefs and practices. To me, this chick was one of the most interesting customers I had. I looked forward to her trips to my store, just to learn something new about a belief system I knew nothing about.
And to this day, I don't pick up pennies off the ground. When my kids do, I freak out. Do I practice Hoodoo? No, I don't. But, do I want to take the chance of absorbing a curse placed on a penny to gain $0.01 in my purse? Hell no.