The dominant worldview in hoodoo is usually strongly Christian. Historically there has been an Old Testament strain in hoodoo thought. This is particularly evident in relation to God’s providence and his role in retributive justice. For example, though there are strong ideas of good versus evil, cursing someone to cause their death might not be considered a malignant act. For example, one practitioner explained it as follows:
- “[In] Hoodooism, anythin’ da’ chew do is de plan of God undastan’, God have somepin to do wit evah’ thin’ you do if it’s good or bad, He’s got somepin to do wit it . . . jis what’s fo’ you, you’ll git it.”
Not only is God’s providence a factor in hoodoo practice, but hoodoo thought understands God, himself, as the archetypal hoodoo doctor. On this matter Hurston stated, “The way we tell it, hoodoo started way back there before everything. Six days of magic spells and mighty words and the world with its elements above and below was made.” From this perspective, biblical figures are often recast as hoodoo doctors and the Bible becomes a source of conjurational spells and is, itself, used as a protective talisman.
The goal of hoodoo is to allow people access to supernatural forces to improve their daily lives by gaining power in many areas of life, including luck, money, love, divination, revenge, health, employment, and necromancy. Due to hoodoo’s great emphasis on an individual’s magical power, its basic principles of working are generally felt to be easily adapted for use based on one’s desires, inclination and habits.
Hoodoo and Voodoo are often mistaken for one another. Some believe that the terms may have a common etymology. Simply put, Voodoo is a religion, whereas Hoodoo is a group of magical practices.