Voodoo and Hoodoo may sound the same but are worlds apart. Often mistaken for each other, the two are frequently associated with words such as magic, witchcraft, and the dark arts.
Voodoo and Hoodoo have deep pasts and are interested in offering a rich understanding of spirituality and unworldly beings for all who wish to study them.
Of course, it is easy to mix the two up, so here are all the differences between the two traditions.
Religion or Not?
Hoodoo is a set of traditions and practices rooted in ancient Africa. It is not a religion, and those who partake in Hoodoo do not believe in a specific higher being or, in other words, a God. You do not have to be ordained to conduct Hoodoo practices or follow a set of roots.
Voodoo, however, is a religion. It consists of specific practices, and to carry them out, a follower has to be ordained. Voodoo Followers also have specific deities or spirits to whom they pray, and the religion has religious leaders.
Voodoo is a religion and has an associated culture with it. It has art, music, philosophy, and justice. Conversely, Hoodoo is seen as a power that can aid its followers in healing and persecution from harassers. Those who follow Hoodoo can empower themselves by using herbs, minerals, and parts of animals.
Although Hoodoo and Voodoo were formed due to persecution of Africans, Voodoo emerged from French colonies such as Haiti. In contrast, Hoodoo emerged from within Northern America, brought there by enslaved Africans.
This is why even today, Voodoo is more prevalent in Mississippi and Louisiana, while the strongholds of Hoodoo are in St Louis. A practitioner of Voodoo is referred to as Vodouinast, and a practitioner of Hoodoo is referred to as a healer or a root doctor.
Impact of Christianity
Loa are spirits who work for or help connect with higher beings. In Voodoo, Loa’s are called upon using catholic saints and are often affiliated with other religions.
In Hoodoo, there is no concept of Loa’s; instead, they believe in African Gods and Roman Catholic saints. As Hoodoo is not a religion in itself, those who partake in its practices are usually Roman Catholics. In contrast, Voodoo followers do not believe in the teachings of Roman Catholicism.
From Within Each Other
Voodoo is thought to be a purer and more ancient version of Hoodoo. Hoodoo is seen as a denomination of Voodoo. It is derived from the teachings of Voodoo and focuses on magic and the benefits it can bring. It is more closely related to spirituality and is only a fraction of the teachings and practices of Voodoo.
Hoodoo and Voodoo have their roots in Africa due to persecution but are not one. Their belief system and practices vary as well as their core ideology. Although both have a substantial hold in the United States presently, to fully understand both, it is essential to study their African roots and how the two differ from one another.