Rootwork Magic (Root Magic, HooDoo)*
THIS IS NOT VODOUN! It is a different form of ‘magic,’ essentially a Naturalistic Alchemy that harnesses the powers inherent in the Elements, plants, animals, minerals, the Sea, Air and Earth. It is practiced by individuals called ‘HooDoo Doctors’ or ‘HooDoo Man’ or ‘HooDoo Woman.’ SOME Hougnan, Mambos and Bocurs are practitioners, but IT DOES NOT involve the Loa. Most people, even many followers of Vodoun, are unaware of the difference between the two traditions. They are not incompatible or hostile to each other.
Root Magic is primarily Potions, Infusions, Oils, Ointments, Rubs, Powders, Unguents, etc. Most provide either healing or curative properties, or some form of protective effect, for example rendering the user proof from fire or repelling snakes. Others enhance or modify personal characteristics, increasing strength, virility, sex appeal, senses and similar abilities. A few of the substances create truly remarkable effects, such as flight or water breathing. ALL such substances are temporary and for a single use only.
The formulaes involved in making these substances are ancient and carefully guarded secrets. They are usually passed down through families, from generation to generation. Though they may vary slightly between families, the essential points are consistant. An Infusion for Fever made by two different HooDoo Doctors, from different families, might taste and smell different, but they will both ultimately work the same.
HooDoo workers often live apart from the communities they serve. Aside from a few students the HooDoo Doctor lives alone. Partially this is to protect the secrets and aid concentration, but it is also due to the horrendous smells and occasional explosion that the work generates.
Another area of HooDoo, one that is limited to a few families, is Candle or Oil Magic – Specially prepared Candles (Most common form) or Lamp Oils, and Incense, when lit or burned, provide an enhancing effect to those inhaling the fumes or illuminated by the light. Some can repel ghosts, Duppies and Zombis. Some Oils, when burned in prepared lamps, can even keep Baka and Djab at bay.
* Please note, this is MY interpretation of HooDoo for the purposes of this game. Though I have endeavoured to use real terms and vocabulary, it is not intended to be an accurate reflection of the actual practice.