Hoodoo, Brujeria & Pow-Wow: American Folk Magic Tools & Traditions

Over the past few decades, American folk magic has grown  in popularity. In fact, many different types of practitioners mix hoodoo, pow-wow (also hex work), granny magic, folk healing, and Brujeria into their own unique spiritual practices, rituals, and spells. As a result, these practices are flourishing. Because it incorporates aspects of Native American, African, and European traditions, American folk magic is unique. These magical techniques are still used today and for a wide range of intentions and objectives, including love, protection, healing, spiritual purification, and prosperity.

Hoodoo Folk Magic

The folk magic practice known as hoodoo originated in the American South, most notably from the African American communities. It is a blend of spiritual beliefs composed of African, Native American, and European magical practices. The Hoodoo practitioner, commonly known as a rootworker, uses a variety of organic materials in their rituals and spells, including herbs, roots, oils, minerals, and other organic ingredients. Hoodoo places a heavy emphasis on personal power, the use of spoken prayers, and the incorporation of the psalms, spirits, ancestors, and saints.

Brujeria Folk Magic

Influenced by the Hispanic and Latino communities, Brujeria is a form of folk magic that blends Spanish, African, and indigenous traditions. This magical practice is often focused on healing, protection, and love, using a wide range of materials like herbs, candles, and spiritual images. Brujeria incorporates Catholicism and often celebrates the veneration of saints and ancestors.

Pow-Wow Folk Magic

Pow-wow, also known as Braucherei, is a magical tradition that originated in Pennsylvania's German-American communities. Pow-wow folk magic has a heavy focus on healing and Christian influences. It commonly uses spoken charms, prayers or blessings, the laying on of hands, and a variety of folk cures to treat various illnesses and ward off harm. Pow-wow practitioners, known as "Braucher" or "Hexenmeister," draw from a variety of sources, such as the Bible, astrology, and European folk traditions.

Tools and Materials of American Folk Magic Practitioners

Like other magical practices, Folk magic utilizes a wide variety of tools and materials, such as herbs, roots, oils, minerals, talismans, amulets, and other organic ingredients that can enhance and empower one’s spells and rituals.

One of American folk magic's most powerful elements is that there is no one distinct way to practice it. The combination of its cultural influences makes it easily adaptable to just about anything you can dream of. In other words, there is no right or wrong way to work it. The goal of any practitioner is to use magic in a way that works for them. All you really need to know is a bit of history and an understanding of the tools and materials used in folk magic. Although hoodoo, pow wow, hex work, folk healing, and Brujeria can differ, the materials and tools they use can be applied and blended in your own personal practice. It just takes a bit of knowledge to get you started. Let’s break down the most common herbs, roots, oils, minerals, talismans, amulets, and other organic ingredients that are used in folk magic so you can apply them in your own spells and rituals.

Herbs and Roots used in Hoodoo, Brujeria & Pow-Wow Folk Magic

Herbs and roots play a significant role in American folk magic. This is largely due to the belief that each plant possesses its own unique spiritual properties and energy. Here are some common herbs and roots used in these traditions:

  • High John The Conqueror Root: Considered one of the more important herbs used in Hoodoo, High John the Conqueror is believed to bring good luck, success, and personal power.
  • Wormwood: Associated with hex work and protection, wormwood is believed to ward off evil spirits and negative energies.
  • Angelica Root: Commonly used in hoodoo and Brujeria traditions, Angelica root is used for protection, healing, and spiritual growth.
  • Mugwort: Mugwort is often used in pow-wow magic for its protective properties. It is also believed to promote prophetic dreams.
  • Deer’s Tongue: In American folk magic, particularly hoodoo, deer's tongue herb is used for communication, mastery, influence, legal matters, and love.
  • Rue: Used in both Hoodoo and Brujeria, Rue is believed to break up curses, hexes, and negative energy and is frequently used for protection and spiritual cleansing.
  • Solomon’s Seal: Commonly used for wisdom, love, protection, and cleansing.
  • Lovage Root: In the Hoodoo tradition, Lovage is used for love and attraction spells. It can also be used as an ingredient in herbal charms, mojo bags, sachets, or as an amulet for love and attraction.


Ritual, Conjure and Hoodoo Oils

Magical Oils are another important tool used in American folk magic practices. They are used in a variety of ways, such as anointing candles, amulets, mojo bags, and many other magical items. Some of the more popular oils used include:

  • Uncrossing oil: Helps to clear away crossed conditions such as hexes, curses, spells, jinxes, and crossed conditions.  
  • Van Van Oil: Made to increase luck and protect against the evil eye.  
  • Come to Me Oil: Made to help entice a romantic interest and draw them in.
  • Money Drawing Oil: Made to attract riches and wealth and draw in more income.
  • Hot Foot Oil: Used to drive away the user's enemies and banish unwanted neighbors. 
  • Fiery Wall of Protection Oil: creates a protective barrier against negativity, harm, and negative energy.
  • Road Opener Oil (abre camino oil): Used to remove obstacles and open new opportunities.
  • Crown of Success Oil: Made to help achieve one’s objectives.
  • Fast Luck Oil: Used for good luck, gambling, money, and abundance.


Talismans and Amulets used in Folk Magic

Talismans and amulets are objects believed to possess magical powers that can protect, heal, or bring good fortune to their wearers. Talismans and amulets are items that are believed to possess magical properties. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as healing, luck, love, and good fortune.

  • Horseshoes: A symbol of good luck and protection in various cultures, horseshoes are often used as talismans in American folk magic.
  • Mojo Bags: Found in hoodoo practice, mojo bags are small cloth bags filled with herbs, roots, and other magical items. They are carried or worn for protection, luck, love, or other purposes.
  • Evil Eye Charms: Originating from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern traditions, evil eye charms are believed to protect against the malevolent gaze and negative energies.
  • Saint Medals: In Brujeria and other folk healing practices, saint medals are often used as amulets for protection and spiritual guidance (Trotter & Chavira, 1981).


Minerals, Stones, & Crystals Used in Hoodoo, Brujeria & Pow-Wow

Minerals, stones, and crystals are also used in American folk magic practices. Some common minerals used in these traditions include:

  • Lodestone: Lodestones are believed to attract love, money, and success due to their magnetic properties.
  • Quartz: Quartz is believed to have the power to amplify spiritual energy and help manifest one’s intentions.
  • Pyrite: Also known as fool's gold, is believed to attract wealth and prosperity.
  • Black Tourmaline: Associated with protection and grounding, black tourmaline is often used hex work and other folk magic practices to ward off negative energies and psychic attacks


Other Magical Items and Materials

In addition to the more common herbs, roots, oils, talismans, and minerals, American folk magic practices also incorporate a variety of organic materials. Some of these items include:

  • Graveyard Dirt: Used in hoodoo and other folk magic traditions, graveyard dirt is believed to possess powerful protective and healing properties. It can also be used in spells for love, luck, and success.
  • Railroad Spikes: In the hoodoo, railroad spikes are often used in protection and boundary spells,
  • Red Brick Dust: A popular ingredient in hoodoo, red brick dust is believed to provide protection against evil and negativity when sprinkled around the home or used in rituals.
  • Eggshells: Used in Brujeria and other folk healing practices, eggshells are believed to absorb and neutralize negative energies. They are commonly used for cleansing and protection spells and rituals.
  • Dirt Daubers Nest: Used for protection, breaking up crossed conditions, and compelling magic.
  • Salt: Salt is frequently used for cleansing and banishing negative energy.
  • Racoon’s Penis Bone: Used for virility, power and attraction.


Honoring Hoodoo, Pow-Wow, & Brujeria Folk Traditions

The magical traditions of American folk magic practices have been celebrated for centuries and their diverse cultural influences continue to make their practices an important part of the wide variety of spiritual beliefs and customs in the United States, reflecting the unique blend of European, African, Native American, influences that have helped to shape this nation's history. As interest in these practices continues to become more popular, it is important to honor them with respect and humility. This ensures that these traditions continue to flourish.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.