Starr Casas’ Old Style Conjure is the most informative book I’ve ever read on Conjure, a system of folk magick from the American South also known as Hoodoo or Root Working. Starr Casas is focused on preserving conjure as it was passed on to her, stating that adding or subtracting from conjure makes it something else entirely. She places an emphasis on working with the Bible, honoring the ancestors and keeping your ego in check.
She addresses any question you might have on conjure, from simple beginner questions to the more difficult and controversial questions. Do you have to be Christian to practice Conjure? Is Conjure it’s own religion? Is Conjure only hiding behind Christianity or were some of the slaves kidnapped and brought to America already Christian? What are the roots of Conjure? Is it conjure if you aren’t working with the Bible? She tackles all of this and more. While reading the book I learned the difference between terms that I thought were the same (or used interchangeably) such as different forms of conjure hands – a packet, a mojo bag and a jack ball.
Raised in the deep south, Starr Casas places a strong emphasis on honoring the roots and history of conjure and the ancestors who created the practice. She writes that white people can practice conjure “as long as they honor the ancestors of this work. Those ancestors are the folks who were kidnapped and sold into slavery. They brought this work here and deserve to be honored. And who better to honor them than white folks who at one time enslaved them?” She also shares famous figures in history who practiced Conjure that I was unaware of, such as Harriet Tubman.
The book is full of great information on “how-to” including, but not limited to, building Conjure altars, candle burning practices, divination such as the casting of bones, creating conjure hands and working with the Bible – which I found particularly interesting because unlike most books on Hoodoo, Conjure and Root Working that I’ve read, she includes Bible workings beyond the Psalms and there’s even the use of some new Testament verses. Starr Casas southern dialect comes through the writing style of the book itself, which makes it both charming and entertaining to read. She writes in a style that is simple and straight to the point. This is a fantastic book for anyone who is interested in learning about Conjure or who wants to deepen their Conjure practice.
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