About Big Lucky Hoodoo

last update: June 26, 2020

Hi, I’m Karma. This site, Big Lucky Hoodoo, is focused on folklore and folk practice associated with hoodoo (Southern-style, rural-style conjure), New World vodou, and practically any kind of folklore, tradition, or practice within popular religion that I hear about that involves herbs/roots or saints and angels. There’s a good bit of conjure theory and education here. There’s also a good bit on saints and the weirder points of Catholicism in medieval Europe since that’s what my doctoral work and dissertation focused on, and what the hell else am I gonna do with a handful of dead languages but drag out old prayers and sermons to translate and post?

Site: About and History

From 2002 to 2015, I sold spiritual supplies and advised clients on spiritual work under the name Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies. Big Lucky Hoodoo was my blog, hosted separately with its own URL. I had to move pretty suddenly in 2015 so I packed everything up thinking I’d be unpacking it in a week. Things didn’t really go according to plan and I stayed closed far, far longer than I anticipated. I let the karmazain.com domain expire and I can’t get it back now.

As of April 2020, I have started up Seraphin Station with a slightly broader focus in some ways – my partner Mike has been building it all alongside me and it will reflect his specialties and interests and artistic directions as well.  But I have some unfinished business in the form of some Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies customer orders and services that got caught between the cracks when I packed everything up in 2015. Here’s a page at Seraphin Station written for folks who were Karma Zain clients/customers between 2002-2015 with some details.

I’m still unpacking boxes, digging through thousands of comments and messages that accrued during my four-year hiatus, trying to get old records from payment processors, inventorying my herbs, oils, and other materials, and trying to determine what items I will continue to create and offer as finances permit me to restock and generate some regular income again to make good on what I owe folks.

This is gonna take a while.

So for the time being, Seraphin Station is the place for shop news, resources, info of interest, interviews with interesting people, resources on DIY and sustainability, and basically all the stuff we’re focusing our lives on at this point. I’m keeping this blog, Big Lucky Hoodoo, active, though, as it contains years worth of info and education, much of which will be cross-referenced all over the place, and because its focus on Southern-style rootwork is what a lot of readers are interested in, and they don’t really care about how to raise goats or whatever.

So Big Lucky Hoodoo is still Karma Zain, but Karma Zain works at Seraphin Station instead of Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies now. I kinda see this blog as “the chapel” or “the library” aspect of Seraphin Station for more in-depth info, esp. about practicalities and specifics rather than more general theory. You can read more about my spiritual background at About Karma Zain.

If you’re interested in keeping up with current products/offerings, though, Seraphin Station is the place to look. I’ll be phasing out the Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies branding in favor of it as I have time/resources to find everything and expand.

If you want to get updates on products, news, and subscriber-only goodies, sign up here for the Seraphin Station mailing list.

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Big Lucky Hoodoo

My site’s title pays homage to the Reverend Doctor Tau Michael Bertiaux. See p. 1 of Bertiaux’s Voudon Gnostic Workbook, heading “Lesson One: Who Can Be A Big Lucky Hoodoo?” The Rev. Dr. Bertiaux responds, “Anyone can become a big lucky hoodoo.” He goes on to explain how, and what follows is a ritual from his tradition (which is not necessarily synonymous with the hoodoo that I practice, nor with traditional Haitian vodou sevis, though he goes on to use both the terms “hoodoo” and “voodoo” in this lesson).

But the attentive will note that he is using hoodoo as a category of person or a title of sorts in this phrase. In this chapter, a hoodoo is a person who harnesses the powers under discussion and who works with the spirits of hoodoo.

It is in that sense that I use the term here. I believe that nearly anyone can become a “Big Lucky Hoodoo” – though you do not become one simply by naming yourself one. Education is often necessary for that, not just intention, especially if you don’t come from a culture/region/background where people know the vocabulary and syntax of hoodoo, where you’re surrounded by it if you know what you’re looking at.

For instance, there is a lot about Bertiaux’s system that is clear only to initiates in his system. There is a lot about vodou that is better left to initiates, and a great deal that is best left to trained serviteurs even if they are not initiates. There is even a lot about hoodoo that is best done under the guidance of someone with experience who comes from the way of life – i.e., I don’t recommend your first non-funeral trip to a cemetery be to dispose of ritual remains. If you don’t come from a culture that is friendly with the dead, you need to get friendly with the dead before you go doing cemetery work. And if you’re a newcomer who doesn’t know anything about African American culture and history and religions of the African diaspora, you’ve got a good bit of studying to do there, too.

So one of the takeaway points is the gradual immersion into hoodoo as it slowly becomes a “native language” that you think in rather than having to translate it in your head first. It’s not just a “magical path” or set of spells or correspondences that would categorize you as a Wiccan on Monday when you use European herbal correspondences and a Hoodoo on Thursday when you use African-American ones. Not at all.

What Bertiaux is outlining is a method for aligning your perspective/worldview and ultimately your way of life to be “in the current” of the spirits of hoodoo (as outlined in his particular system, which shares a lot with but is not in every aspect identical to traditional Southern conjure OR traditional Haitian sevis). THIS is what it means to be a Big Lucky Hoodoo – to live Hoodoo as a way of life, at the center of your worldview, to see the world through a hoodoo-centric lens, to be constantly aware of and in communication with the spirits around you: those of ancestors, roots, bones, stones.

And in this sense, anyone can become one if they are willing to put in the work — and undergo a potentially radical change in perspective, depending upon where one begins.

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