Magic and the Traditions of the Deep South

The Deep South in the United States normally refers to the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. These areas are considered to be more socially conservative, and have a history which includes the frequent use of magic as well as embracing the African heritage that the slaves brought with them. New Orleans, Louisiana, is believed by many to be where Hoodoo was born. Even though this is a bit misleading, the religion has always been widely practiced in this region.

A well-known Voodoo Queen, Marie Laveau lived and worked in New Orleans during the 19th century. Even though acknowledged for her Voodoo workings, she was also quite powerful in Hoodoo because of her intimate connection with the spirits. She was particularly good at casting spells for love, prosperity, and power. Aunt Caroline Dye was another famous Hoodoo practitioner in the Deep South during the early 1900s. Her divination abilities often made her spells more powerful, and she was particularly respected by many famous and wealthy businessmen. They would consult her about decisions which affected their businesses and prosperity. Aunt Caroline never did readings about either love or war, but focused mainly on finances and power. 

shutterstock_412972846Different kinds of waters/colognes were used in magical rituals and general blessings in the Deep South, and many remain an active part of everyday life. The most popular of these were:

  1. Florida Water – Floral essential oils mixed in a water and alcohol base. The water is then used to bless and cleanse the home. It can also be worn to attract a specific desire.
  2. Karanga Water – Ylang ylang essential oil in water and alcohol base which is used in rituals or worn to attract love and prosperity. It can also be added to an offering bowl for the spirits.
  3. War Water – Iron rust was mixed with water and used to poison a victim or encourage arguments between themselves and their family. Spanish moss and herbs could also be added in order to make the water more potent.
  4. Hoyt’s Cologne – A special mixture that was worn to attract good luck in gambling.

Another tradition that was followed carefully in the Deep South was the hanging, or carrying around of mojo or Gris Gris bags. These were small sacks made out of any available cloth which were filled with items, such as crystals and herbs, meant to attract a specific desire to its owner. Gris Gris bags worked by including items which were meant to feed the spirits. They would express their gratitude by helping the owner achieve what it was they truly desired.

Similar traditions are still practiced in the Deep South and the culture is rich with magical memories. Still relatively conservative, the states in the south preserve their beliefs and continue to embrace their heritage.

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