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TitlePsalms and Verses in Hoodoo
TagsReligious Belief And Doctrine Religious Behaviour And Experience Bible Religion And Belief
File Size201.2 KB
Total Pages23
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Page 1

Psalms and Verses in Hoodoo

As stated elsewhere, hoodoo is not a religion. It is a system of spiritual practices

and magic. Hoodoo grew up in the USA in the shadow of the larger culture of

Christianity in white society. This American created form of magic adjusts and

adapts itself to the larger culture around it--absorbing what its practioners can

and want to use. Hence, in areas where Christian Catholicism was dominant,

practitioners often used Catholic prayers. In areas where sundry forms of

Christian Protestantism was strong, bible verses, usually from the King James

Version, were employed.

The extensive use of the Psalms in hoodoo related to the book by Godfrey

Selig, Secrets of the Psalms, A Fragment of the Practical Kabala. An English

translation of this book was available in late 1930s or early 1940s in the USA.

There are reports that African-American conjure doctors in Memphis did read

and use this text. (Catherine Yronwode www.LuckyMojo.com wrote a

fascinating article, SECRETS OF THE PSALMS, examining Selig's book and its

involvement history and practice.) Some versions of the 18th century Sixth and

Seventh Books of Moses contain information on the magical uses of the biblical

Psalms. By the 19th century, an English language version of the Sixth and

Seventh Books of Moses was one of the magical "receipt-books" used by African-

Americans.i

For example, Protestant Southern Baptists also believed firmly in the strength of

scripture and the power of God's word to cure the spiritual and physical woes of

mankind.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one

that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. (Matthew 7:7-

8)

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are

possible. (Mark 10:27)

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

(Matthew 19:26)

Bible verses were embroidered on samplers and pillows as words to inspire

Godly behavior and draw blessings from the Almighty. White Southern

Christians would have been largely unconcerned with African-American

servants, etc. reciting Psalms or verses from the King James Version.

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