Originally published April 12, 2015
I really feel sorry for people who are trying to lose weight and/or quit smoking. It’s tough, your whole body and mind are basically sabotaging your efforts because our body chemistry is loopy, and even well meaning people tend to make you feel rubbish about it. So it’s no wonder that people turn everywhere they can for help, and one of the places that they turn to is hoodoo/conjure/rootwork or ATR/ADR forums and groups.
I applaud them for that. It isn’t easy to ask for help, and these people literally reach out to strangers on the internet who ought to have the expertise to help them within their particular religion/field. But what these people actually get is a lot of unwanted health advice, and stories about how other people quit using such and such a method and how it worked amazingly for them.
I guarantee you, everyone who has tried to lose wight or quit smoking has heard every crash diet, hypnosis theory, quack medical treatment, exercise regime, visualisation technique, and ‘detox’ regimen. They’ve probably tried at least half. The people who come to a hoodoo or ATR group for advice do not want to hear the experiences of others quitting smoking cold turkey in two weeks, or dropping weight using cider vinegar and cinnamon. They have tried that stuff. They want the advice they actually asked for: how to use hoodoo or the ATRs to help them quit smoking/ or lose weight.
It can be a bit of a tricky one, because both hoodoo and the ADRs came together as traditions way back before we knew that smoking was bad, and obesity was worse. Considering that these traditions sprung from slavery, the use of tobacco and being able to have enough food to put on extra weight was seen as a good thing, signs of wealth and status. When you take that into account, there are no traditional workings that you can do to make weight loss happen or to make someone quit smoking, because they are modern problems.
You have to break it down more holistically, and look at the whole problem. Smoking is essentially a bad habit and addiction. Hoodoo has plenty of different kinds of work that can be done to break bad habits and addictions. Often those works focus on breaking a gambling addiction, but there is no reason the same roots can’t be repurposed to help break a smoking addiction. Similarly with weight loss: you can break the bad eating habits.
If you approach someone in one of the ADRs for help, you’re most likely going to be prescribed a bath. Hoodoo does baths too, and taking a bath to cleanse away any negative thoughts and habits is probably the absolute best thing you can do to help quit smoking or lose weight. The next thing you need to do is to clean out your house. Chinese Wash is brilliant for that, as it removes any negativity from the home. Then all you need to do is replace the negative habits which have been cleansed away with good ones.
As I said, there are no traditional formulas for losing weight or quitting smoking. The closest we come is an old method for gaining weight, whereby you buy it from someone else in a monetary transaction. If you can find someone skinny who is willing to buy a few kilos off you, then great. Otherwise, you need to look at building up good health. For weight loss, you could be prescribed a bath for good health, you could carry a mojo hand* designed to help you make good food choices, you could work a large candle to help your weight slowly melt away. You could carry a mojo to give you the mental strength to overcome your addiction to smoking, or a root like Master Root or High John the Conqueror wrapped in a petition to give you the strength and self control to quit.
There is a lot you can do within our traditions, even if we have to create new ways of working within those traditions to deal with modern problems. If we can do things within these traditions, then there really is no excuse to offer unsolicited health advice to people who are asking for an entirely different kind of help. Yes, hoodoo/conjure/rootwork or Vodou or one of the other ADRs or ATRs can help you. Yes, you can ask for help from a rootworker or a member of the priesthoods of one of those religions, and you should receive the help that you ask for.
Let’s stop judging, let’s stop telling people to ‘visualise’ or ‘detox’ or whatever, and let’s start actually helping. Our traditions have moved into the modern age, and it’s time we shared our knowledge with those who are dealing with modern problems and give them they help they are actually asking for