Musings on Rootwork

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

What is Conjure?



Conjure is American magic at its finest. Born from the land itself and the desperate needs of enslaved Africans, conjure has evolved into a fully-functioning system of folk magic that puts enormous power into the hands of practitioners all over America. Conjure is MADE IN AMERICA and therefore worthy of honor and respect.


Conjure/Rootwork/Hoodoo is a mixture of African magical practice combined with Christianity, mostly Protestant, though the Catholic-based version rising out of New Orleans might be the most famous.


Conjure is a topic that fills entire books, so by all means read some really great books on conjure (I’ll recommend a few at the end of this article) but books just give you the background.  Conjure has to be lived. It has to be practiced.  It’s not a religion, but religion permeates it. Conjure puts the power of working with spirits right into our hands.


How did I learn conjure? I learned from teachers first, before I ever read a book on it.  I learned from asking for help with my problems and receiving some really wonderful personalized spells from hoodoo practitioners. These spells, or workings as the hoodoo community names them, were different than anything I had ever encountered before. And they worked! The workings had a deep resonant feel to them, which I came to later identify as “Spirit.” Spirit informs every aspect of conjure. This is what makes it different from other forms of magic in my opinion.  I had come from a magical tradition in which you could do anything you wanted, you could call on a deity of your choice and do whatever felt right.


This is NOT the case with conjure.  There are rules and protocols to follow, sometimes very strict ones. You can’t just call any deity you want either. Nope, conjure is a one God system. For me, that was very difficult to accept and work with. But results matter to me, and if results are what I want, then I have to do what the rules of conjure say. Spirit is there to be called on, befriended, and loved like a family member.


And sometimes, it’s a family member that helps you — in the form of an ancestor.  Ancestor veneration is very strong in Conjure. Your ancestors are there to help you and guide you and look out for you. Therefore, they deserve a presence and place of respect on your altar. They want a relationship with you, so make it a part of your life to offer them the things they liked in live and be sure to talk with them on a regular basis.


I’ve written enough here. Enough to have a taste on your tongue. Go learn. Go find a teacher. Get on a hoodoo/conjure forum — there are quite a few good ones around. Hope to hear from you on one of them.


blessings Frances Osborne



Recommended Books:


Hoodoo Medicine by Faith Mitchell

Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money and Success by Tayannah Lee McQuillar

Voodoo and Hoodoo by James Haskins

Jambalayah by Luisah Teish

The Conjure Cookbook by Talia Felix

Charms, Spells, and Formulas (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick) by Ray T. Malbrough

Hoodoo Mysteries: Folk Magic, Mysticism & Rituals by Ray T. Malbrough

Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Conjure: A Handbook (Greenwood Folklore Handbooks) by Jeffrey E. Anderson

The New Orleans Voodoo Handbook by Kenaz Filan

The Magical Power of the Saints: Evocation and Candle Rituals by Ray T. Malbrough

The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook by Denise Alvarado

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