…the Bible is stacked full of hella rituals. As a one-time Christian I’d always been led to believe that these were just a part of God’s demands, in exchange for whatever aid and miracles he was providing. We left it at that. I was right, but I know better now. They were also sorcerers working with and conjuring this deity with offerings, herbs, and blood sacrifices, to do their bidding. This deity just happened to be Jehovah, and demanded they worship him as the *only* deity. This is where we get confused. I believe many of these biblical stories represent the early days of this deity and his followers becoming prominent as well as initial attempts to stamp out all other belief systems, especially those recognizing multiple deities, spirits, and energies (damn near everybody lol).
We also often forget that the Bible tells of the stories and plight of one very specific group of people (Hebrews/Israelites) and THEIR deity, who is heralded as the only and correct way and path. Forget literally every other group on the planet and their beliefs. Fuck that, according to Christianity. This system of beliefs just happened to dominate much of the planet in the present day, but that fact still remains.
Reading Momma Starr’s Conjure Workbook to try to get more of an idea of how Hoodoo/Southern conjure works. I’ve already been learning a lot more about Palo Mayombe the last few months and became even more interested in Hoodoo than I already was upon learning about the many parallels it has with Palo and Congo spirituality in general (thank you Christopher Bradford!). I’m only a few pages in and it just reiterates how masterful our ancestors were in keeping their culture and spirituality alive. It is covertly sprinkled all throughout Conjure, which is extremely syncretized and has a very Christian surface appearance. Direct references to that culture and language are not as well preserved in Hoodoo as they are in sister Diasporic traditions to the south such as Palo and Lucumi, but it is all there in the tradition, and just as strong.
What I am most fascinated by so far is her summary of selected biblical prophets and what they mean to Hoodoo/Southern Conjure. It’s as if I’m reading summaries of orishas and mpungo to be honest (even with all the biblical references). It’s as if our ancestors syncretized and left in everything but the African names (how could they in North America during slavery?). She includes summaries of Elijah, Moses, and Peter, as well as how to work with their energies basically. Peter emphasized so strongly as being the chief opener of all gates, doors, roads, and holding the keys to the heavens (access to the heavens as well as all who reside there I’d expect), definitely raised my eyebrows. Main point being, in my opinion, that even if our ancestors couldn’t openly work with a Lucero or Elegba, someone was going to be that designated road opener.
We are masters at adapting and surviving and the Bible was instrumental in this as much as it has also been extremely oppressive. Our ancestors (even as early as the Kongo folks who first encountered the Portuguese in the 1500s and were converted then before even traveling to the Americas) were adept at the occult and working/manipulating the environment around them to alter and manifest desired realities. Like any adept would realize, they saw the Bible for what it is underneath the surface, an occult book of sorcery, filled with hidden symbolism and messages. To be frank, the shit Jesus was doing wasn’t all too unfamiliar to them when compared to the necromancy practices many of them were fucking with. The prophets, saints, and stories of miraculous feats in the Bible served as a powerful aid for hiding and preserving their own miraculous feats, stories, and secrets.
Anyway, I’m having a lot of fun continuing to learn about how Africa survived all throughout the Diaspora via our spirituality. More to come…