The following essay was published in the first volume of the Qliphoth Journal. It was written (along with subsequent installments) for the Brothers & Sisters of OTOA-LCN as they embark upon work with the opening chapters of the Voudon-Gnostic Workbook.
I had intended to collect the various installments into book form but the plan has changed. I am presently preparing another volume dealing with the Voudon-Gnostic Current and, as this is assembled, I wish to share the “Hoodoo Series” via this blog.
Here is the Opening Chapter. Hope you enjoy!
By Kyle Fite
The opening lessons of the Voudon-Gnostic Workbook comprise the “Folk Grimoire” known as Lucky Hoodoo. Although relatively short and simple, it is an enigmatic text. On one hand, it speaks in terms which are very straightforward, offering uncomplicated exercises for the student to explore. On the other, we find that the more one “sticks with it,” regarding the lessons as actual doorways into Gnostic Spaces, the more it is seen to be an operating manual for a Living Machine, the applications of which are nearly limitless.
The first chapter of Lucky Hoodoo ends with the statement:
Be sure of good luck, for you are becoming a Hoodoo.
By the end of the second chapter, it is declared that the student is, in fact, a “Hoodoo.” Lesson three continues the pattern with its closing suggestion that You can become a big Lucky Hoodoo.
The first impression here is of a series of grades or stages, corresponding with initiations-or at least the growth of power and ability in the field of magic known as “Hoodoo.” We are instructed in how we may speak the language of the spirits, cut deals with them and be lucky or prosperous in the things of this world. It may all seem a tad superstitious and “low magic.” This was certainly my first impression of the text.
I would, however, like to reexamine some elements in this text whereby we find ourselves being guided into a deep Theosis, defined by Michael Bertiaux as “the power and mysteries…sufficient for perfection and divinization” (VGW p. 196) and “Union with the Gods” (VGW p. 204).
To begin, Lucky Hoodoo is very inclusive. It offers encouragement and empowerment to anyone who will take an interest in it. There is a direct acknowledgement of the things we struggle with in life, the aspiration to knowledge of a higher and more refined realm behind our material existence and the reality of primal, or elemental, impulses hardwired into our brains and bodies. Lucky Hoodoo, therefore, opens up with an embrace of the immediate concerns and realities with which the average human being must contend.
As we start to find solutions to our practical problems by entering a communion with the Spirits (who begin to show themselves as present behind the veil of our seemingly mundane and day to day affairs), our perspective becomes more “magical.” Without fanfare and in the midst of modern life, we become increasingly “shamanic” in our interface with the demands and challenges of human existence.
If we have traveled down the road this far, we will now observe the path extending further outward, further inward. We are faced with the questions: How far does it stretch? Where does it lead? And how deep into the portal before me am I willing to venture?
Have we really become a Hoodoo?
Lucky Hoodoo, I believe, cannot be read as a common text. Its language is more vivid and organic than the merely didactic. It evokes paradoxes to lock up the gears of intellect and allow the Soul-Self to move deeper into the hidden halls of the Holy House.
An example of this may be found in the very first lesson. With two candles, blue and black, we sit in shadow and call upon the Spirits of Deep Sea, whence no light shines. We call upon the Spirits of the Dead who reside in the darkness of the earth. As these entities come forth, we declare that we are Children of the Light and that there is no Darkness in the Powers of the Dead. By the time we have established our Hoodoo altar with its five candles in place, we intone:
O LIGHT THERE IS NO DARKNESS. O LIGHT WE ARE IN THE PRESENCE OF ENDLESS LIGHT.
When I initially began experimentation with this work, this simple set up felt a bit sinister to my modern mind. I grew up in the American Mid-West and my views regarding Vudu were certainly colored by comic-books and cinematic sensationalism. Performing the actual ceremony, however, quickly gives way to a deep feeling of devotion and awareness of sacred space. This is not a rite to instill fear or indulge in fixation on morbid curiosities. If you call the Hoodoo and your inner self matches the outwards gestures, they most assuredly will arrive. You will FEEL their presence and begin to SEE a vast lifestream moving through realms previously invisible. The darkness has been an occluding shroud which we are now pulling to the side. The Dead will reveal the Mystery of the Resurrection, the raising of the corruptible form into incorruptible life. Instead of fear, we may find a feeling of deep love and gratitude rising as our minds touch this larger and more unified spectrum of life.
Now we enter further into paradox. The Hoodoo Spirits are presented as effective servants who will gladly do our bidding if we pay them off with the goods they like. We’re here to “make a deal” as magicians. The Goetic approach comes to mind, calling up a useful “demon” and sending it off “on assignment.” As Causes which can bring about Effects, the traditional admonition is to handle these critters with care. There are the established rules of constraining, compelling, binding and exorcizing. One must never let the demon get the upper hand, for in the end, we’re “boss” and our command and control will determine the success of the operation.
From this medieval mindset, Hoodoo looks appallingly dangerous, if not suicidal:
I DEDICATE MYSELF TO THE SERVICE OF THE SPIRITS.
I OFFER MYSELF TO THE SERVICE OF THE GREAT KING OF THE DEAD.
These words conclude with an affirmation to work with these Spirits NOW AND FOREVER.
Repeatedly, we approach the Hoodoo with the words I AM HERE TO SERVE YOU.
Clearly, something other than employing some “lowly elementals” is going on here! We wanted help with a new job, a relationship, some financial woes…and here we are pledging to serve the Hoodoo NOW AND FOREVER.
What are we getting ourselves into?
At this point, I wish to quote at length from the Voudon Gnostic Workbook’s chapter on Atlantean Mystery School Readings: The Temple of Esoteric Readings. This is an amazingly powerful passage and truly written from the viewpoint of Gnostic Vision:
“The law of esoteric communion is more than the sacramental rite of self-unfoldment, it is the place and power of being a spirit oneself. This means that we are spirits and we must always act and be as if we were perfectly aware of our spiritual powers and Vudu energies. We are Vudu, but we do not yet exercise all of the powers. When we leave the Temple of Esoteric Readings, we have a better understanding of the fact that we do possess these powers of being. They are right within us and we know it now. Thus, we see ourselves as part of their spiritual world or spiritist communion, because we are spirits and we are in the world of mysticism. I look outside and see myself as I used to be and wonder as to how I could ever have thought that I was only in the material world. I am primarily in the world and work of spirits.”
This passage puts a rather different spin on the statement that we are “becoming a Hoodoo!”
I once heard report of an individual involved with this and related practices who felt that he had become a Loa and was to be regarded as such, with deference and devotion. Lucky Hoodoo in no way tends towards this sort of megalomania. Our BECOMING might also be called a REVEALING of the simple fact:
“We are Vudu, but we do not exercise all of the powers.”
As we continue to walk this Path, revealing what exists from the vantage point of Eternity, we can focus so much on how WE are perceiving things that we disregard how others are experiencing the same phenomena. Our philosophy is not solipsistic. It is spiritist, acknowledging a vast diversity of intelligence permeating the universe, far beyond our immediate and individualized assessment of the situation.
When lighting our candles, intoning our prayers and forging the link between ourselves and the Hoodoo, we may sometimes strain towards a perception of that “other world.” New students are especially fond of anything tending towards a table-tapping. We’d like some confirmation that our endeavor is more than wishful thinking or submission to fantasy. We want candles blown out, visions of cadaverous forms emerging from the crypt, the scent of saltwater inexplicably wafting in the window. I have had disappointment expressed to me from students working with this course, feeling that their rite was a “dud” due to such lack. Very swiftly they doubt its most basic claims and abandon the work.
I have no doubt that persistence in this work will, indeed, open the “inner vision” to unearthly sights and sounds. As Michael reminds us:
“The spirits want to meet you and they want to get into your life…they are more willing to help you than often you are ready to have them.”
We may, however, be so focused on how to open ourselves to the Hoodoo Realm that we don’t consider how we, ourselves, appear to the Hoodoo. This is important because we are not trying to bind the Hoodoo like some Medieval Conjurer nor are we treating them as if they were simply elements of our own mind, dressed up in a colorful mythic guise and playing a role in our self-created psychodrama. We are approaching a different level of being, the gulf between us bridged by the dynamics of communion. In our human affairs, we certainly give some consideration to how another person perceives or feels about us. We recognize that they have some equality with us as fellow humans and our interchange is a two-way street.
The Hoodoo are no different in this regard. We would not treat a fellow human as if they were a Goetic demon and try to bind and bully them into doing our bidding (Well, we might-but that typically is not the foundation for a relationship of value. Certainly not a friendship!).
As we consider the elemental nature of the Hoo & Doo, we may be tempted to see them as belonging to a lower order of things. The opposite is really true, however. The Hoo were once Atlantean sages who were able to consciously migrate into a more refined form upon impending disaster. The Doo include our Ancestors, those who once wore bone, blood and skin-and have gone forward into the “Mysterious Country.”
It has been said that the skull in the Masonic Lodgeroom not only indicates mortality-but immortality, as well-for it is that portion of the physical form which “remains” and has a type of permanence. When the Doo appear in forms grotesque to the modern mind, they are also demonstrating the life which continues despite dissolution of physical form.
We are not concerned with “earthbound ghosts,” “troubling spirits” and the like. The Hoodoo are unified under Papa Nibbho and Maitre. They are understood in context of the “Legbha Physics” whereby the Cosmic Machine, or Body of God, operates towards its transcendental ends.
Returning to the VGW Chapter on The Temple of Esoteric Readings, we find this remarkable statement:
“We hold…that each student contains in his soul the history of the universe of being, because that student is now in being and is a photograph of the mysteries of the universe from its beginnings…the student is the universe in its learning aspect.”
Thus we may regard our experiences as tending towards initiations, which occur at “power points” on an ever moving cosmic grid, such points marking a shift from the previous directional denominator. Carlos Casteneda would call this “displacement of the assemblage point.” We may see this place of shifting energy as the point where strands of spider-webbing meet, for the Spider Loa are also the Lords of Esoteric Geometry, through which we not only are guided in magical map-making (researching new spaces in the esoteric realms) but called to cooperate in the work which is transpiring there, also.
These Spider Loa are of the Ghuedhe Familie-and the Ghuedhe are overshadowed by Papa Nibbho. We can see here that the “Hoodoo Man” is not only a mortal who deals with the Spirits from this perspective-but one of the “Familie” Himself. His body is the meat or Zombi and he regards it as such, for he has “become Hoodoo” in this Gnosis and knows himself as a spiritual entity in which is contained the Universe as a whole. For him to be both a singular entity and the sum of all entities is to understand that this truth must likewise apply to all entities differentiated from himself. This fundamental union allows the lightning swift transmission of thought beyond the constraints of time and space. This is the basis for our ability to form the contacts we do with such nonhuman creatures.
Differentiation and Unity need not be at odds. These become perspectives whereby experience is directed beyond limitations and into further areas of Soul-Growth, on both the individual and cosmic level.
My understanding of this arose spontaneously as I was called by the Spirits to perform a certain work in service to them. I did not feel adequate to the task nor qualified for its demands. And yet the same Powers which asked me to go a particular route for definite ends also showed me how I appeared to them. They were not hung up on how I saw my abilities or qualifications. From their view, I was possessed of particular capabilities which would be of use. For me to assess myself as “not up to snuff” was not humility but spiritual pride. I was projecting a false image of an imagined ideal onto the organic fluctuations of reality. This was not an issue of how I regarded myself but how open to cooperation I was. “A House divided against itself shall not stand” and the House in consideration here was the Holy House.
The Hoodoo were not attempting to put me in a triangle and crank down the thumbscrews until I ran off on their errand. They do not work that way. Everyone has a place, a purpose, a job to do, a basic nature which may find fulfillment in the larger scheme of the Great Work. I could understand the different divisions of the Hoodoo pantheon. “Work Loa” weren’t slaves…they were energized beings whose nature was fulfilled in the type of work they engaged with. I was also one of these Spirits, guided into my own sphere of activity and infused with the energies necessary to the task.
My feelings turned towards gratitude and deep sense of inspiration. Not the hot flare of sudden enthusiasm which may come and go but an inner conviction as to the continuity of consciousness which runs through all the changes we enter-and the goodness of the creative mind in which are alive and move.
I had called myself “Hoodoo Pilot” when I began my work with Lucky Hoodoo some time ago. My vision was of one navigating the shifting terrain of Inner Space, a turbo-powered astral explorer. Now the title seems even more appropriate. I am “Hoodoo Pilot” as I have BECOME HOODOO and navigate even the material universe as such. I SERVE THE SPIRITS OF LUCKY HOODOO not as an inferior but in a Fraternal Spirit. Just as we rise up to a sense of humanity with regards to our fellows, the vision extends and expands…we are in a Brotherhood with more than our species, more than our Orders and collectives. We are ALL of us PILOTS who came into this zone through a Lethe-Field. We forgot our origins and our Deep Self was overshadowed and overridden by the vehicles required for movement on the dense plane. This was our “Fall.”
Christianity teaches that the plan for Man’s Salvation through Christ was foreordained from the beginning of time. Thus, the Old Testament is embraced as presaging the Spirit of Christ and containing its Essence. Jesus comes not to “destroy the law” but to “fulfill it.” Our entry into the “Fallen World” is not a curse but a choice. The Salvific Power which releases the Lumen from Darkness is already within us. We don’t escape the “Evil World” to somehow “ascend to the Higher Spheres.” Instead, we perform the work which accomplishes the New Earth of Revelation 21:1-3
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
To entertain the idea that we are Spirits, that we are, in fact, HOODOO SPIRITS, is not enough. We are to upgrade our consciousness to a higher and deeper state. We are not looking for a novel experience of seeing things from an altered point of view. Instead, we are going to unlock a portion of the Salvific Power as an empowerment which, once downloaded into our system, will feed in energy from the Hoodoo level of awareness. Not only does this clear away resistances within our system to the influx of “Luck,” it allows us to become transmitters of Luck into the Environment. This is a genuine power-and it begets change. The “Hot Points” which have ignited within us may now redirect undulations on the World Web.
In our work with the Hoodoo, we enter into a realm of form and hierarchy. One contact leads to another and we observe the relationship between different patterns of energy as they form connections in the dynamics of our own lives. As we go further into this work, we find definite patterns of relevance to our present state of being on the “grid.” This will mark out the different potencies playing their part in our initiatory voyage and herein we find ourselves coming into a direct experiential understanding of the variety of powers we call by the names of Hoodoo, Loa and Les Vudu.
Of the Loa and Les Vudu, Michael writes:
“While the work with the Loa can be understood as concerning general initiation, esoteric work with the Vudu-Spirits, or Les Vudu is concerned with personal development and esoteric consciousness.” (VGW p. 181)
Where, then. do the Hoodoo fit into this scheme?
From a hierarchical viewpoint, the Hoodoo would be “below” the Loa. We might envision a threefold structure, some Vudu Ziggurat comprising 3 “Degrees” or “Levels” of Being. We may see in this a correlative to the 3 Degrees of Freemasonry or, perhaps, the 3 Grades described in Crowley’s Book Of The Law. The problem with this is that these are often seen as sequential phases whereby we reach the “top” of some initiatic pyramid. One might feel that after some luck with the Hoodoo, we can then move onto the Loa and Les Vudu, having become more “advanced.” If this were the case, we need to ask why the vast compendium of the VGW instructs us to pledge our loyalty and devotion to the Hoodoo “NOW AND FOREVER.”
Once we set the hand to the plow, we never loosen our grip. We do not “go beyond” the Hoodoo. We go IN. Deeper. The Leaders of Hoo and Doo are Loa themselves and the continuance in this work increasingly moves us into the World of Les Vudu. Our “personal development” is also the development of the Cosmic Being inasmuch as we are the universe of being “in its learning aspect.” We are told that we already ARE “Les Vudu” and simply need to come into this awareness. By doing so, we also BECOME HOODOO and know ourselves as SPIRIT. This is why the Hoodoo Science teaches “Mind Development.” Mind Development feeds and nurtures “esoteric consciousness.” We begin to see that the Loa, the Vudu, the Ultimate Powers on the periphery of our experience are ALL involved in this work-at the same time.
Magic begets magic. Lucky Hoodoo is a Grimoire whose pages flutter up into an etheric wind and collapse into a Key. This Key finds its keyhole within your mind. With a click and turn, the sealed doorway swings open and NEW Grimoires rise in the influx of the incoming current.
These Grimoires are YOURS. You will write them with your own hand. You will speak their mysteries with your own tongue. And like their “parent,” they also are procreative and possessed of power. They are links in a chain, stars in a constellation, constellations in the infinite heavens, the infinite heavens in majestic motion, whole galaxies revolving around secret centers and hidden hearts of godlike flame!
Hoodoo brings all of this right into the thick of the moment. It transforms YOU into IT. Burnished and clean, you come out of the furnace with the knowledge that the New Creation is the Eternal Life which always “was, is and is to come.”