last update: Aug 21, 2021
Hi, I’m Karma. This site, Big Lucky Hoodoo, is a blog focused on folklore and folk practice associated with hoodoo rootwork (Southern-style, rural-style conjure), New World vodou, and practically any kind of folklore, tradition, or practice within popular religion that I hear about that involves herbs, roots, saints,and/or angels. There’s a good bit of conjure theory and education here. There’s also a good bit on saints and the weirder points of Catholicism in medieval Europe since that’s what my doctoral work and dissertation focused on, and what the hell else am I gonna do with a handful of dead languages but drag out old prayers and sermons to translate and post?
Site: About and History
From 2002 to 2015, I sold spiritual supplies and advised clients on spiritual work under the name Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies. Big Lucky Hoodoo was my blog, hosted separately with its own URL. I had to move pretty suddenly in 2015 so I packed everything up thinking I’d be unpacking it in a week. Things didn’t really go according to plan and I stayed closed far, far longer than I anticipated. I let the karmazain.com domain expire and I can’t get it back now.
As of April 2020, I have started up Seraphin Station with a slightly broader focus in some ways – my partner Mike has been building it all alongside me and it will reflect his specialties and interests and artistic directions as well. But Big Lucky Hoodoo has over ten years’ worth of posts, articles, info, and education on it, and it still gets search engine traffic, and it’ll doubtless be referenced all over the Seraphin Station blog, so it’s not going anywhere. It’ll continue to be rootwork-specific, though there will likely be a lot of cross-posting. I’m seeing this blog as sort of “the chapel” or “the library” aspect of Seraphin Station for more in-depth info, esp. about practicalities and specifics rather than more general theory.
About Big Lucky Hoodoo
My site’s title pays homage to the Reverend Doctor Tau Michael Bertiaux’s Big Lucky Hoodoo grimoire within his Voudon Gnostic Workbook, heading “Lesson One: Who Can Be A Big Lucky Hoodoo?” The Rev. Dr. Bertiaux responds, “Anyone can become a big lucky hoodoo.” He goes on to explain how, and what follows is a ritual from his tradition (which is not necessarily synonymous with the hoodoo that I practice, nor with traditional Haitian vodou sevis, though he goes on to use both the terms “hoodoo” and “voodoo” in this lesson).
But the attentive will note that he is using hoodoo as a category of person or a title of sorts in this phrase. In this chapter, a hoodoo is a person who harnesses the powers under discussion and who works with the spirits of hoodoo.
For instance, there is a lot about Bertiaux’s system that is clear only to initiates in his system. There is a lot about vodou that is better left to initiates, and a great deal that is best left to trained serviteurs even if they are not initiates. There is even a lot about hoodoo that is best done under the guidance of someone with experience who comes from the way of life – i.e., I don’t recommend your first non-funeral trip to a cemetery be to dispose of ritual remains. If you don’t come from a culture that is friendly with the dead, you need to get friendly with the dead before you go doing cemetery work. And if you’re a newcomer who doesn’t know anything about African American culture and history and religions of the African diaspora, you’ve got a good bit of studying to do there, too.
So one of the takeaway points is the gradual immersion into hoodoo as it slowly becomes a “native language” that you think in rather than having to translate it in your head first. It’s not just a “magical path” or set of spells or correspondences that would categorize you as a Wiccan on Monday when you use European herbal correspondences and a Hoodoo on Thursday when you use African-American ones. Not at all.
What Bertiaux is outlining is a method for aligning your perspective/worldview and ultimately your way of life (and in his system, your energetic body and really your entire being) to be “in the current” of the spirits of hoodoo (as outlined in his particular system, which shares a lot with but is not in every aspect identical to traditional Southern conjure OR traditional Haitian sevis). THIS is what it means to be a Big Lucky Hoodoo – to live Hoodoo as a way of life, at the center of your worldview, to see the world through a hoodoo-centric lens, to be constantly aware of and in communication with and plugged in to the spirits around you: those of ancestors, roots, bones, stones.
And in this sense, anyone can become one if they are willing to put in the work — and undergo a potentially radical change in perspective, depending upon where one begins.
If you’re here because you’re interested in Rev. Dr. Bertiaux’s Big Lucky Hoodoo system/the Vodoun Gnostic Workbook, Congregational Illuminism, the points chauds and Great Arabia working, or sacerdotal/ecclesiastical stuff and you aren’t finding what you’re looking for, you probably want to visit this blog instead.