Voodoo vs Hoodoo, how are they different from each other? My response is this.
Voodoo is a religion.
Not only a religion, but a closed religion.
A closed religion is any religion that requires initiation or acceptance by those who are already a major part of the religion, like a priest or an elder.
Hoodoo, on the other hand, is a practice.
Some people believe that one must practice Voodoo to be able to practice Hoodoo, but that’s like saying that all witches have to practice Wicca. It’s a misconception, a misunderstanding.
Hoodoo, in itself, is considered widely to be an open practice.
Voodoo and Hoodoo Origin
Now Voodoo has very clear roots from Africa and Haiti. So practicing Voodoo without being initiated is culturally appropriating those cultures.
Whereas Hoodoo is a combination of African (specifically Yoruba), Haitian, Catholic (specifically Mexican), Jewish and Native American (specifically Muscogee, Choctaw and Cherokee) magical practices.
Therefore, while it still has roots in many minority cultures, it is open to pretty much anyone to practice as long as they respect it’s roots and don’t take anything specific, like a dream catcher, that belongs to a closed culture.
Previously I covered the Voodoo controversy in regards to its use in witchcraft and the pagan communities.
Ever since its introduction to America, via African slaves brought over during colonization, Europeans and their descendants have been trying to steal it, essentially.
Who Can Practice Voodoo
It’s a religion that only those who are initiated and accepted into the ranks may practice.
Nonetheless, for some reason, much like everything else in minority cultures such as Native American and African American cultures, the white people not only ignored the requests of people of color, but also went completely against them and just totally stole their stuff.
Commercially produced dreamcatchers and voodoo dolls are perfect examples.
And I’m not just referring to the past, too. This stuff is still happening today.
It is called cultural appropriation, and it’s the newest evolution of cultural genocide and assimilation of minority cultures. It’s something that the pagan and witchcraft communities are incredibly guilty of.
Voodoo vs Hoodoo
Thus the difference between Voodoo and Hoodoo is that Voodoo is a closed religion and Hoodoo is an open practice, provided you do not partake in cultural appropriation when you practice it.
I compare this to Wicca and Witchcraft.
While Wicca is not a minority religion, Traditional Wicca is still a religion that requires an initiation by a priest, therefore it falls under the category of a closed religion.
Neo Wicca is a completely open religion that does not require an initiation.
While Witchcraft is a completely secular practice, not tied to any specific religion, since it has roots in almost every culture across the globe.
As with Hoodoo, witchcraft is an open practice, and can be used by almost anyone so long as they don’t appropriate from a minority culture in their personal practices.
This is just a basic comparison of the difference between Hoodoo and Voodoo.
It’s never been Voodoo vs Hoodoo,
like some boss fight in a video game.
The two are not at odds or competing in any way.
They are, in fact, cousins or friends of a sort, that go hand in hand and both come from similar roots.
Difference in Rituals of Voodoo and Hoodoo
Now, let’s get into some detailed differences between the two.
In a ritual, say to create a gris gris bag or a ‘trick’ as it is called in Voodoo, in Hoodoo one will not make reference to a specific deity or set of gods or goddesses, while in Voodoo you would specifically ask for Oya or Ogun’s help to reinforce and guide your magick.
These are specific Yoruba deities and are tied to that specific closed culture and religion.
Hoodoo is secular, so it does not refer or involve any certain religions in its practice.
Voodoo, in itself, doesn’t necessarily have any ‘magic’ to it. It’s mostly rituals performed with the purpose of worshiping their deities and observing their specific standards of being for that kind of lifestyle.
As with every religion, Voodoo followers have their own code of morals that they must adhere to.
Whereas in Hoodoo, it focuses on personal energy and spells used to control and influence the world around you.
Difference in Ingredients and Supplies
Hoodoo differs from witchcraft in that it often involves specific, hard to find herbs and minerals, as well as bodily fluids and animal parts, such as menstrual blood, urine, and things like chicken feet and hearts.
Witchcraft, traditionally, involves more easier to get herbs and minerals, as well as easily obtained animal products such as bones or furs, or less tame human bodily products like hair or finger nail clippings.
Also, it should be noted that mainstream witchcraft clearly has been influenced by centuries of European dominance and assimilation, whereas Hoodoo certainly has kept all of its Cajun and minority-centered practices alive and well.
Many of the Hoodoo practitioners that I know are from a minority culture, keeping their heritage alive and honoring their ancestors by carrying on those traditions passed down by the generations.
Perhaps, you’d also be interested to read about Black vs White Magic.