In the four years since I started Cajun Conjure I have had the pleasure of working with several amazing apprentices. Some have been with me for a year or more, some stayed for only a few months before life got in the way. Others come and go as work and school allow. One has moved away, and another arrived to take her place. They have all been wonderful blessings in my life. They keep me on my toes, they make me laugh, they keep me in line and usually on-time.
This once a month blog post dubbed "Apprentice Corner" is so you can see what goes on behind the scenes. These are their words and they have promised to tell tales. So let me introduce you to...
Tina, Charlie, G.G., Ash, I'vee (pronounced Ivy), Lexa, and Danielle.
Tina: "I met Hexeba a few years ago through Pagan Night Out. I was searching for a Wiccan/Spiritual Teacher. I was looking for guidance and wanted to join a group of like minded people. I was excited for our first meeting and I just loved her when I met her. I joined her eclectic circle, and when the opportunity presented itself, I became her apprentice. We've had a fun if not sometimes turbulent (what happens when two strong women are together???) relationship and I adore her. She has been a wonderful teacher and fabulous friend."
Charlie: "I'm Charlie. I met Hexeba at Pagan Pride a few years ago after some unsuccessful searching for a group on WitchVox and MeetUp. I was interested in learning more about the Plant People and how to work with them. Being a student was an enriching experience in a season of learning for me."
G.G.: "I was at our local metaphysical store one night when Hexeba came in. As she was putting up product I was told who she was and what she did and what her product was about. I was intrigued. "Come on I'll introduce you," I was told. I shit a brick as I thought to myself, "Dude she looks scary and can probably turn me into a toad and throw me to the alligators."
I was introduced, we talked and she told me she had a class coming up that Friday. She seemed a tad less scary and I was like, "Eh why not."
Two days later I was at my first class. Five minutes later I was completely sucked in. Brought me back to my roots, similar and yet different. By the end of the class I knew this was were I needed to be and I was laughing at myself for thinking she was as scary as I thought she was.
It has been downhill since my first class. Since that first meeting I have been to all of her classes (Hoodoo, Wicca 101, Coffee and Conjure and at Pagan Pride and Pantheacon). I have learned so much about Hoodoo and Wicca and the various uses of her products, laughed at crazy stories and enjoyed the sense of belonging.
I was fortunate to be able to help Hexeba and become an apprentice during a rough patch in my life. I have cherished the time I have spent with her and the other apprentices. I have learned and laughed more and have even enjoyed being 'crafty'. Time spent with her has allowed me to see my path more clearly.
I do believe that people come into our lives for a reason. Words can not express how grateful I am to have the 'boss' in my life. Hexeba has been a rare gift in my life. She has gone from a super scary witch that may throw me to the gators to the funniest, most loving person that I am ever so grateful to call my friend.
I look forward to more busy days, laughs and learning.... On another note.. I am a sarcastic pain in the ass, she may still turn me into a toad and throw me to the gators. Lol"
Ash: "Hello. I'm Ash. I've been Hexeba's apprentice for about a year and a half. We met almost two years ago at a local festival. I attended a class of hers and asked her how I could become an apprentice shortly thereafter. I have smelled and tasted some rather "wonderful" things since then. I've thoroughly enjoyed learning from Hexeba. I'm looking forward to sharing some of our great stories with all of you. "
I'vee: "I finally decided to open and be myself, so late 2017, I went to a Book of Shadows Scrapbooking Class with Hexeba. She told me something that I needed to hear, "You're a witch, so do something about it." (insert: Hi this is Hexeba...just a clarification...I often tell folks that if something is not right in their lives they have the power to change it...however, it often comes out of my mouth, "You're a Witch, damn it, fix it." ...back to I'vee's story...) A month following that date, I asked to help with Cajun Conjure and so now I help where I can and I've learned the need of aprons."
Danielle: "Hi my name is Danielle and I have known Hexaba for close to 3 years now. I met her at a community get together and she’s been my Witch Mom ever since. At first I began studying with her but when she began transitioning into her Cajun Conjur business I spent most of my time working in her witch room stuffing doll babies and hot gluing juju dolls. I have since taken a break from apprenticing because life and grad school took up most of my time but have always been happy to help Hexaba when she’s in need. I have loved watching the evolution and expansion of Cajun Conjure over the last few years and am excited to see where it leads to next! Hope to see you at the next fair! "
Lexa: "My name is Lexa and I worked with Hexeba for a little under a year about two years ago. I so clearly remember the first time I saw her speak, I was terrified of her. Her class was on Village Witchery and I went into it thinking it would be a relaxed class, and I imagine for everyone else it was, but I knew I wanted to work with her and I was so scared to even talk to her I don’t think I absorbed half of what she said. It took me a whole year to get the courage to ask her if I could work with her. It came out as me, a 6-foot-tall red headed giant, just walking up to her and perhaps a touch too loud announcing “I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU” and she took a moment, looked up at me and said, “yeah sure e-mail me”. I had no idea that my religious practices, life and sense of self would be changed so drastically from that moment. I ground down bricks, organized shelves, laughed till I cried and learned magic that connected me to my blood in ways I never expected (practicing hoodoo as someone of Cajun blood but not raised in it), and I was right Hexeba is terrifying, but also funny, warm and the best teacher I’ve ever had the privilege of working with."
Hoodoo is not Voodoo. I know they rhyme and you will often find Hoodoo in Voodoo. But they are not one in the same.
I was teaching a Hoodoo class at Pantheacon and heard a woman mutter, as she peeked in the door…”Oh, it’s a Voodoo class.” I was in the middle of my introduction or I would have yelled out, “NO It’s NOT!”
I think this is a common misconception.
According to Wikipedia…”African American Hoodoo is a traditional African American folk spirituality that developed from a number of West African spiritual traditions and beliefs”
Well, that might be true (at least partially) but the way I learned Hoodoo (my family is from Louisiana) it’s a little like Gumbo, you throw in whatever works. Yes, there are components of African and African American Folk Magic and Spirituality. But here is where Voodoo and Hoodoo (at least the way I learned it) differ. Hoodoo is much less about religion or spirituality then Voodoo, and Hoodoo has a fair amount of European and Native American magical practices worked into it as well.
I am not an expert on Voodoo. I do not practice Voodoo. But I have many friends who practice Haitian Voodoo and New Orleans Voodoo (two very different practices) and most, if not all of them, also practice Hoodoo. A magical practice.
Hoodoo is a magical practice that has elements of Native American, European and African magic, as I said above. Think about it… African men, women and children, many of them brought to the south against their will and in chains, did not bring with them the roots and plants from their homeland. They did not tell the slave hunters, “Can you wait just a minute and let me gather some of this plant.” They arrived in the colonies with nothing. But they learned from the Native Americans and yes, even from the Europeans (sometimes by working with them and sometimes by watching.) They discovered which plants to use to achieve the same effect as their homeland plants. They figured out that Native Americans also used bags or pouches with herbs in them to protect themselves. They discovered that the British had poppets much like their own “Voodoo Dolls.” These are now called Doll Babies by most Hoodoo practitioners, and effigy magic was also not a new concept to the Native Americans. Magic has existed on every continent since…well, forever! And what works will survive. Amazingly many similar magical practices developed on all the different continents. Here in, what is now known as the United States, these similar magical practices met and married. They had a child….Hoodoo.
It has been my observation that if you practice a form of this amalgamation of magic in the Carolinas, or in the Appalachian region it is usually referred to as Conjure. In Louisiana (primarily) or to some extent in the Gulf States it is often called Hoodoo. Sometimes you will hear it called Rootwork, Root Doctoring or “Working the Root.”
Well, I hope we’ve cleared that up.
I would be interested in historical documents or studies that prove or dis-prove my position. Please, let me know if you know of any such documents.
I am Hexeba Theaux. My family has been in Louisiana since the 1700s and most of them still live there. Good Cajun folk. Heck, if you throw a rock in St. Martinville, Louisiana you'll probably hit one of my cousins. I have practiced Southern Folk Magic since I was a child. These are my thoughts on what is called Hoodoo or Conjure. I own and operate CajunConjure.com.