This review is looooong over due. I have meant to write this for a couple months now, but lord how time gets away from ya!
After earnestly awaiting its arrival, I dove right in to and was immediately traversed to the Deep South, just after sunset, in a graveyard, watching a conjure man work roots at a grave with his head covered. That conjuror was Hoodoo Sen Moise’s grandfather as he witness the root be worked. He then reveals the secrets and shows us the power of the roots beneath….
Hoodoo is a folk magic tradition in the Deep South that is primarily African American and development from the remaining teachings and wisdoms from African. Stemming from many different African nations, this work then mixed with French and native traditions to create a define figure on the American folk magic scene.
Moise leads us through the steps of learning the work in one of the most simple ways I’ve ever seen through a book; I believe that with faith and hard work, and with his instruction in this book, anyone can put the root to work.
Moise is also one of the very few conjure folk I’ve seen address the issue of balance and justice when it comes to this work. My family taught me growing up, “ain’t everything worth making a fit over,” and that applies here as well in Moise’s book. Conjure works on justice and balance. It is a scale. You can retaliate in response to an enemy or someone but if you tip the scales to much, it’ll swing right back to you cause every action has a reaction!! The punishment has to fit the crime and you need to know when “to throw a fit” or not. Pick your battles and make sure your in the right with ones you walk into!!
Moise also introduces the reader to the powers of southern Hoodoo: the power of the dirt, the power of the root, and working with both hands. This book shows that Hoodoo is a very personal practice for him, having grown up and into it. He leads us through memories of his family working recipes and conjurations, whether it’s a spiritual bath when he was a kid, or seeing his grandfather work conjure through a Kudzu patch; which surprised me because I’ve never known anyone else to use Kudzu!!
He shows us how to talk to the root, pray on the root, and thank the root. And then offer it up for its work to go out, to the four directions, to set its course, blaze a trail and get the job done. Throughout this book, I kept getting the mental flavor of those old conjure men working roots for clients, such as Dr. Bug or Dr. Buzzard, in whose lineage I am sure Moise will be in!
Just like Appalachian Folk Magic, southern Hoodoo is deeply rooted in the power of place and Moise takes us to each one: from the oceans to the mountains, from the railroad to the crossroad, you can find the root and the hand that works it.
And then he leads us back to the graveyard to work and points to the true power behind the work and it’s origin, as he does a few times throughout the book, to the Ancestors. The ones who were brought by water and violence, who had nothing left from their home but the teachings of their elders and spirits. This is the root. This book is it’s fruit.
Aside from Mama Star, there aren’t many books that I recommend on southern Hoodoo and Rootwork. But this one, this book? It’s second on my list of recommendations for those who grew up in the Deep South and wish to connect to a magic that is fueled by the ancestors and the blood in the soil.
So if you’re ready to work by the blood and water, by the root and spirit; if you are ready to call up money, keep the law away, or cut ties with a bad past then this book is for you!
Available to order at the links below and most major book stores.
Visit Moise at Conjure New Orleans at 506 Dumaine Street, New Orleans, LA 70116
He often teaches classes at The Conjure Shop in Omaha Nebraska as well.