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Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by cognitivedissonance » Mon Jul 12, 2010 12:04 am

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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Sun Aug 08, 2010 4:08 pm

cognitivedissonance --

Thanks for the post -- that was fun!
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by Devi Spring » Wed Aug 11, 2010 6:56 am

cognitivedissonance,

That's really cool! And it's Canadian to boot! ;)
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Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by EcleckticMama » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:06 pm

I was reading this today:
Alternaive American names for the mojo bag include hand, mojo hand, conjure hand, lucky hand, conjure bag, trick bag, root bag, toby, jomo, and gris-gris bag. In the Memphis region, a special kind of mojo, worn only by women, is called a nation sack. A mojo used for divination, somehwat like a pendulum, is called a Jack, Jack bag, or Jack ball.
when the old song (1913), Balling the Jack, came to mind.

"First you put your two knees close up tight
Then you sway them to the left, then you sway them to the right
Step around the floor kind of nice and light
Then you twist around and twist around with all your might,
Stretch your loving arms straight out into space,
Then you do the Eagle Rock with style and grace.
Swing your foot way 'round then bring it back.
Now that's what I call Ballin' the Jack."

There is some discussion about meanings, but I cannot help but see description of a pendulum swinging about in a dance.

"Two knees close up tight" -- drawstrings?

The Eagle Rock dance movement has some discussion too. The stories about eagles swaying just add to the pendulum sway imagery for me.

Does anybody else see the metaphor? Or could this "dance song" actually have been describing jack bag divination and people created a dance out of it? Could that be why it drove people down in Georgia " 'bout insane"? Because it's describing a hoodoo divination pendulum bag dancing about?

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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:08 pm

An interesting idea/ I always think of the Eagle Rock dance, and similarly named dances such as the Turkey Trot and the Buzzard Lope, which refer to American bird species, as being somehow a remnant of Native American dance influences in the African American community.
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by cognitivedissonance » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:24 am

I always thought it was a sexual reference until now, thanks LM... :-D

It didn't help that Dom Deluise and Gene Wilder sang it in an old movie, where it was definitely used as a sexual reference.
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:51 pm

Here is a link to where you can purchase seeds for the Hearts of Gold a.k.a. Hoodoo Melon, first offered for sale in 1890:

http://rareseeds.com/hearts-of-gold-melon-hoodoo.html

And yes, Miss Michaele -- this one's for you!
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by nana664 » Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:10 pm

The Hoodoo Melon looks just like a cantaloupe
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:45 pm

nana664 --

Yes, that's right -- The Hoodoo Melon is a variety of muskmelon, also known as rockmelon, cantaloupe, or Persian melon.
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by MissMichaele » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:25 am

The Hoodoo Melon. Yet another reason to go ahead with our little greenhouse project -- thanks, Miss Cat :)

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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by Joseph Magnuson » Sat Nov 24, 2012 2:07 pm

The Hoodoo Melon -- One of my all time favorite melons. Too delicious....and that link is too cool! Thank you! :)
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by TwoOfCups » Sun May 26, 2013 6:18 pm

Couldn't help but make the connection that in Hoodoo spells are called 'tricks' and customers of prostitutes, who often used Hoodoo to gain customers and money back in the depression era, are also called 'tricks'. Could the two be related?

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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by catherineyronwode » Sun May 26, 2013 6:53 pm

TwoOfCups --

No.

I mean sure, Louise Bogan composed and recorded a song called "Tricks Ain't Walking" (which her record label released under the bowdlerized title "They Ain't Walking") -- but she was a prostitute when she sang it. It's not about hoodoo, either -- it's a lament for the demise of street walking as a profession, now that "the Cadillac squad" had replaced pedestrian traffic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QOr805dgDM

But that would not explain why the Black / Native slaves of Mary Alicia Owen's family called their mojo hands "tricker bags" in the pre-Civil War era in Missouri. I mean, they were not in any way, shape, or form street walkers.

http://www.southern-spirits.com/owen-ho ... balls.html

And it would not explain Earl King's 1961 song "trick bag" either.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJ7IkhdXb7U

Nor would it explain why stage magicians, circus ponies, and acrobats all perform tricks and no one ever confuses them with sex workers:

You never turned around to see the frowns on the jugglers and the clowns
When they all come down and did tricks for you


-- Bob Dylan

So, no, i think this is your misconception, and it may derive from a less than accurate image of Black American social mores. That is, unless you seriously believe that African Americans are all engaged in the sex trade.

I think it comes from literal translations of Native American language -- trickster, trick, tricking.
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Re: Queries about Etymology, the Origins of Words Used in Hoodoo

Unread post by Doctor Hob » Sun May 26, 2013 7:02 pm

Miss cat --

Bonus for the Dylan quote...
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