Creative Writing: Hoodoo vs. Other Religion

Pages: 5 (1421 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

Hoodoo vs. other religion

Hoodoo and Zora Neale Hurston

The contemporary society is filled with customs and traditions coming from a variety of sources, given that globalization has made it possible for cultures to clash and generate a series of mixed practices. There is much controversy regarding the origins of hoodoo, especially given that it consists of a variety of customs, each of them coming from particular cultures. In its most basic form, hoodoo can be understood as having been strongly influenced by African-American folk-magic, but that also involves traditions identified as European and Native American. Hoodoo is rather new and can be recognized as a mixture of magic and religious practices gathered from several cultures most probably as a result of the globalization process.

The Haitians are mainly responsible for bringing the Voodoo religion to New Orleans, given that slave-owners had brought their slaves into the territory as they tried to escape the aftermath of the Haitian revolution. Voodoo is primarily a religion consisting out of a series of religious practices devised by black individuals in Haiti. The religion can be associated with spiritual matters and with the desire to connect with a higher power. Because slaves had little to no power to support the Voodoo religion, their masters rapidly destroyed its potential to become an organized religion. The religion was separated into several customs, one of the most notable of them being American hoodoo. "The word "hoodoo" appears to be at once a corruption of "Voodoo" and a variant of a Hausa word, huduba, meaning "to arouse resentment toward someone in someone else, " which in the Hausa cultural context signifies to bring bad luck upon someone -- hoodoo's best-known purpose" (Shafton, 2002, p. 139).

Hoodoo experienced some success among African-Americans, even with the fact that it never came to equal its source-Voodoo-in reputation. The tradition gradually abandoned its orientation toward religion and grew to be focused on occult spirituality. "The word "hoodoo" refers to a set of beliefs. It also refers to the practitioner of those beliefs, the "hoodoo" (or "hoodoo doctor") who "hoodoos" you. But there's an array of synonyms: you get "fixed, " "voodooed, " "conjured, " "hexed, " "poisoned, " "tricked, " "crossed, " "hurt, " "goofered, " or have "roots worked on" you." (Shafton, 2002, p. 140). In the opinion of some, hoodoo does not harm individuals, as its main purpose is to heal people. It is very difficult to determine the exact meaning of hoodoo, precisely because many practitioners put across different perspectives regarding the tradition.

Hoodoo is recognized to have its roots in Africa and it is believed that Africans have brought it to the New World at the time when they were brought on the American continent as slaves. Whereas many are likely to condemn certain practices performed in the hoodoo tradition, it would be absurd to do so, given that hoodoo practitioners are acting similar to everyone from around the world who simply embraces a particular tradition. As long as they are not breaking any law or as long as they do not commit immoral acts, hoodoo practitioners need to be appreciated and supported for their dedication to their culture. With customs and traditions in the contemporary society being negatively affected as a result of globalization, it is essential for people to hold on to their teachings and to be interested in preserving cultural values.

Many African-Americans are likely to put across confusion when coming across the topic of hoodoo whereas the majority of white Americans are most probably expected to consider it to be nothing more but superstitious material that has no actual basis and can be referred to as being absurd. Anthropologist Zora Neal Hurston's take on hoodoo was in regard to the differences between black individuals and white individuals in the U.S. Hurston was also engaged in writing short stories that were most probably inspired from the events that she came across during her studies in anthropology. Although her texts cannot actually be considered to reproduce the exact episodes in her life, it is very likely that most of her writings put across events that actually happened. "According to Hemenway, the tale, which was originally submitted for publication as a short story and later appeared as… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Hoodoo vs. Other Religion."  Essaytown.com.  February 19, 2011.  Accessed July 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/hoodoo-religion/131324.