A collection of ConjureMan Ali's thoughts about magic, the occult, and spirituality.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Goetic Hoodoo

With the increasing popularity of the African Diasporic Traditions there has been an impulse to discover points of synthesis between them and the European-derived Goetia. While many view such attempts as revolutionary and ground-breaking, the roots of such endeavors are actually quite grounded in historical reality as synthesis has both been attempted before and is the means by which great occult revival is possible.

Synthesis between the Goetia and Hoodoo has its roots in the late 19th and early 20th Century with the experimentation of the urban root doctors of Chicago and similar areas. With the rise of spiritual supply shops, these root doctors gained access to various European grimoires like the Keys of Solomon, the 6th and 7th Books of Moses, the Black Pullet, and many others. With the availability of these texts, root doctors found themselves experimenting with various methods of working with the spirits listed within, but in a different manner then had become common place amongst ceremonial magicians.

While many of these urban root doctors were also experienced and talented ceremonial magicians, their methods of working with the grimoires in a fashion more akin to the natural magic of hoodoo opened many doors, but also unwittingly revealed a mostly unknown aspect of the Goetia—its roots with folk magic and natural magic.

I was fortunate enough to learn and experience this type of working with the Goetia from various famous root doctors in the US and using the knowledge they taught me as a springboard have taken my experiments to new levels.

Using simple rites that did not call for large ceremonies or elaborate magical accruements, hoodoo workers were able to work with goetic spirits in an effective manner the produced staggering results. These results further demonstrated the mostly unknown, but inherent side of goetia that involved working with spirits on a less formal level than full evocation.

Evidence of this natural side (pardon the pun) of the Goetia is found in the Greek Magical Papyri where elaborate ceremonies are found side by side with simple instructions of folk magic, or in texts like the Grimorium Verum where the Natural and Supernatural Secrets details various magical spells that bear striking resemblance to the methodology of the African Diasporic Traditions.

While it is not necessary to practice any of the African Diasporic Traditions to explore the potency of the Goetia, the potential for synthesis between the two bears exploring and is something close to my heart and I find myself engrossed in many experiments regarding such an aim.


Balthazar said...

Excellent timing friend! If you will permit me a small plug...the Conjure Codex is about to be released with my whopping 9000 word exegesis on just this very topic!


The piece basically outlines my working system of Verum based goetic hoodoo, or as I have playfully dubbed my approach "Infernal Conjure".

Rufus Opus said...

I found mingling ATRs and the Lemegeton's Goetia to be superbly useful, powerful, and effective.

That didn't change the fact that they're an evil tribe of spirits. The results they provide come with evil because they are not spirits of blessing or neutrality, they are active evil in the material realm. They are the ministers of disease, breakdown, failure, deceit, greed, and all forms of suffering. We seek to tap into the aspects of these properties that will bring us what we want without having it be evil when they work in our lives, but when you think about it, that doesn't make sense.

Like any spirit, they will work with you, but they will work within their means. These guys work with evil, it's their livelihood, their assigned lot in life. Whatever they bring you will come from some evil circumstance, or it will result in some evil circumstance.

The Lemegeton warns of this, and suggests working with the spirits of the Theurgia Goetia, though they too dabble in evil as necessary.

My problems came from the assumption that I could avoid or be immune to the evil aspects of their influence. My experience proved the old saying, if you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

And I should throw in the "your mileage may vary" caveat for political correctness, but I haven't seen anyone have better results with the Lemegeton's Goetia. Everyone I know who works with them suffers the consequences.

Unknown said...

Excellent post, Frater! The Hoodoo tradition has never been shy about working with the grimoires; the practical nature of the spirits involved make them a good fit for conjure. I personally find Hoodoo methods for protection and working with a spirit to be more efficacious, as the elaborate circles and accoutrements can be very time consuming and difficult to procure in the way that our washes, oils, and roots are not. The Hoodoo method also encourages relationship--no wonder you need a huge protective circle, you just spent half an hour threatening to burn dude up in chains and hellfire...I can skip the threats when using conjure methods for spirit-work. Well. I skip them anyway, haha, but you know what I mean. =)

I would love to read about your methods sometime--have you thought perhaps of writing a book, or barring that a pamphlet. There would be tremendous interest in such a thing, especially from an esteemed conjurer like yourself!

ConjureMan Ali said...

Plug, most permitted, good Balthazar. I look forward to your work. I am always pleased to see conjure doctors other than myself exploring the links--it is a most fruitful endeavor :-).

Kind, Frater RO, the Lemegeton does indeed have a rather foul reputation among practicing Goetic mages, but I am of the opinion that not all "goetic" spirits are of the same nature. My view is informed by my work with djinn and I view the chthonic spirits of goetia to be of the same kind. They are fiery, they can be chaotic and some are certainly evil, but not all. I find that my experience with the spirits of the GV are much more fulfilling and seem to lack the repurcussions of working with the Lem's spirits. Goetia is a vast ocean and the Lem is but a droplet.

Good Frater AIT, thank you for the kind comments and your experiences are similar to my own. I am actually working on a text with a rather famous colleague in the world of Goetia on just the very subject. It's being polished as we speak so look for updates ;-). In addition to that I also have an online course in the making and another book that's being worked on, but is in its early stages.

kmj said...

I'm very interested in this subject and look forward to more posts on your experiences. I look forward to news on your text as well as the online course. With regard to working with Djinn: would you say the work is more effective on someone from that cultural background?

Unknown said...

Good Doctor I am enjoying your blog immensely. I have worked extensively with the Grim devils with a traditional hoodoo practice. I think when the Grim are approached with ambivalence the old Protestant/Catholic moral divisions become less significant. I worked the 72 of the Goetia out of an Anna Riva chapbook for years before I even realized they were supposedly terrible creatures.

Anyways .. very enjoyable blog.