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My Hoodoo Initiation

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

There’s a lot of misinformation about Hoodoo floating around on the internet so I know that there’s some of you reading this who balked at the title of this blog. There are some practitioners of other African Diasporic and Traditional religions who look down on Hoodoo as if it’s some lesser form of magic. Some think that because there’s no centrally organized ceremonies and rites that they are aware of there must not be any real substance to Hoodoo. What a lot of folks don’t realize is that Hoodoo is deeply personal. It can vary widely from bloodline to bloodline. I’m not going to get too deep into it for this blog but, I wrote all that to make the point that there ARE initiations in Hoodoo. And sometimes the only guides you’ll have are your ancestors and nature. That’s it. That was my experience. I also wrote this for those of you out there, who like me, are on a solitary journey learning about Hoodoo. This is for those of us who learned from trial and error. The ones who had to extract the wisdom from our DNA.

Because of the dearth of knowledge about Hoodoo on the internet, plus no living elder to learn from, it took me several years to realize that what I experienced between the Spring Equinoxes of 2013 and 2014 was indeed an initiation. Come to think of it, it was more like the culmination of a years long ritual that began in 2008. More about that in another blog. I woke up with an urge one morning to get some candles and burn them. Then, I was led to some olive oil and mason jars. Next thing you know, I’m down by the bayou or in my yard foraging for things like cypress and cedar bark. Magnolia leaves. Sweet grass. Spanish moss. Clover. Plantain. Dandelion. The list goes on and on. I make oils. I make tinctures. I don’t know how I know any of this stuff. I’m just listening to my instincts and moving when spirit says MOVE. I made my first altar and started leaving offerings for my ancestors. I was in constant prayer mode.

After about a week of this I tell my father about the things I had been making. Each and every thing I told him about his response was “that sounds like something my grandmother used to make”. His grandmother, Cynthia Gasper, was a healer in her community. She was born in the 1890s and back then white doctors wouldn’t treat Black people in south Louisiana. People like my great grandma used their knowledge of nature to heal themselves and their communities. They were essential and vital to the survival of our people.

I grew up hearing stories about how my great grandma was a powerful healer and that everyone went to her when they had an ailment. One story in particular stuck out to me and has stayed with me until this very day. My father stepped on a nail and his foot became gangrenous. The infection got so bad that it started to spread. He was seriously ill with a really high fever. He said that his grandma started gathering different plants and made some kind of poultice. Then she put a brick in some fire. Once the brick was hot, she placed it at the base of a tree and told him to pee on it. Next she put the poultice all over his body and wrapped him in a blanket. He went into a deep sleep. When he awoke the fever had broken and the infection was gone.

Mama Cyndi. That’s what everyone called her. This is who my guide was in the heavens. For a year I let her lead me on a journey where I became one with nature and my higher self. In addition to what I was learning during my self exploration I was also learning about astrology, Kabbalah, and other subjects of a spiritual nature from two brilliant brothers who I consider to be my teachers, Noble Anpu Galileo and Minister Ju, The Priesthood. I went on a spiritual retreat they held in New Orleans for the Spring Equinox of 2014 and this trip was the climax of a years long initiation for me that began in 2008.

When one is initiated into anything there is usually some sort of sacrifice involved to show that you are disciplined and ready to receive what lays in store for you. This trip, I thought, would be a breeze. New Orleans was only a 2 hour drive so getting there should be easy, right? Wrong! My car broke down a week before the trip and I had to rent a car. Then, I lost my credit card and the replacement wouldn’t get there before my trip so I had to get my mother to rent a car for me at the last minute. I almost didn’t go.

I get to New Orleans and I meet everyone. It’s all love. I’m feeling good. We go on a tour of the St. Louis Cemetery. We were all looking forward to visiting and leaving offerings at Marie Laveau’s grave. I left to go put something in my trunk and then my keys fell out of my bag and into the trunk. I didn’t realize this until after I closed the trunk. I wound up using almost all of the money I had to pay a locksmith to open my trunk. I had just enough to buy food and drinks. The trip was supposed to be funded with my credit card that I lost (I know, I know). But thankfully the people I were with took care of me and I’m forever grateful to them.

We walk around the French Quarter for a while and then we go back to the hotel once dusk appears. I was in my car in the parking lot when all of a sudden I lost control of my body and started shaking uncontrollably. Somehow, I managed to call for help and they showed up. Kisha, Anpu, Ju, Casildra, and several other members were there and watched over me while I pierced through the veil. I spoke foreign languages I’d never heard before. They sounded African. I danced. I wept. I saw several of my lives flash before me like a movie. I spoke to my ancestors. They told me their secrets. They lovingly embraced me and told me I was the one who would heal our family. This went on for 3 or 4 hours. It finally ended when Kisha put some cascarilla in the shape of a cross on my forehead. After that, I came back down to earth. Then we went to IHOP. I got the steak omelette.

The next day we went to do a ritual at a sacred site. While we were meeting up at the hotel, I started feeling faint again. Then I realized I didn’t eat breakfast, so I had a snack. I was fine afterwards and actually able to drive. Once we got to the site and we were being smudged with sage I passed out and hit the ground. It happened a couple of times but nothing more dramatic than that. After the trip was over I returned home knowing that the woman I was before had been forever transformed. I knew from how exhausted I was. I was in cocoon mode. I slept so much. For two weeks it was the only thing I could do. The only other time in my life I have been that exhausted was during my first trimester. Then, from out of nowhere, the floodgates opened and my intuitive abilities fully blossomed.

About 2 weeks after the New Orleans trip a Facebook friend came to me and asked if I could give her some spiritual advice. When we spoke I knew things about her and people in her life. Things that there was no way I could find out from an internet search. Then her ancestors started speaking to me. Asking me to convey a message to her. She was blown away. So was I. The next day someone who I would get readings from and highly respect asked me to do a reading for her. Mind you, I never put myself out there like that. People just started coming to me. I did the reading, she was impressed, and that gave me a big confidence boost. I started doing free readings for people to practice and after I got some testimonials I started my business Bayou Oracle Consulting. I’ve been doing readings and spiritual work professionally for 8 years now. That was the culmination of my Hoodoo initiation.

My life took several dramatic turns after my initiation. Before my initiation I was depressed, still living with my parents, had difficulty finding a well paying job, and had been in a string of unsuccessful relationships. Within a year of my initiation I did some traveling, started a business doing something fulfilling, I met the man who is now my husband, and I moved to Atlanta after years of unsuccessful attempts at living on my own. What started as a commune with nature and learning astrology ended up with me drawing closer to The Creator, my Ancestors, and my Higher Self. It’s led to a life where I am dedicated to helping others find their way back to themselves as the ultimate power and authority in their lives. This is the power of a Hoodoo initiation.

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