Hoodoo History Heroes: Uncle Monday

Hoodoo History Heroes: Uncle Monday April 28, 2021

Uncle Monday alligator image courtesy of wikipedia. Licensed under CC 0.0

Hoodoo history is a twisted winding treasure trove of characters with wild names and even wilder lives, and Uncle Monday is one of the best. His story was originally collected by author, anthropologist and Voodoo priestess Zora Neale Hurston. It was gathered in her home state of Florida in the 1930s.

Hurston describes Monday saying “There is something about him that goes past hoodoo.” She meant this both literally and figuratively.  It is said that he was born in Africa, and was both an accomplished shaman and medicine man. Captured and enslaved in his homeland he was brought to the Carolinas. Monday quickly escaped and traveled south until he arrived in Seminole country in Florida where he made friends with the local indigenous people. There he helped them with herbal magick and medicines and even helped to lead a revolt.

However, the most special thing about Uncle Monday is that he was known to have the ability to turn into an alligator. The Museum of Florida History tells us of  “a lesson to old lady Judy Bronson, who claimed her magic was as strong as his. Uncle Monday brought her to a swamp and set an alligator to guard her. As the darkness fell, Judy confessed that he had the greater magic. After this admission, the townspeople found her and took her home.” It seems as if he could not only transform into the great reptile but he could also command them.

A wonderful animated short about his tales was put together by the Digital Media department of the University of Central Florida. You can watch it below:

All the different Uncle Monday stories as Hurston collected and wrote them can be found in Zora Neale Hurston The Complete Stories.   His power and his magic seems to have stood the test of time and he has gone on to become one of Hoodoo history’s heroes.

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About Lilith Dorsey
Lilith Dorsey M.A. , hails from many magickal traditions, including Afro-Caribbean, Celtic, and Indigenous American spirituality. Their traditional education focused on Plant Science, Anthropology, and Film at the University of R.I, New York University, and the University of London, and their magickal training includes numerous initiations in Santeria also known as Lucumi, Haitian Vodoun, and New Orleans Voodoo. Lilith Dorsey is also a Voodoo Priestess and in that capacity has been doing successful magick since 1991 for patrons, is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly, filmmaker of the experimental documentary Bodies of Water :Voodoo Identity and Tranceformation,’ and choreographer/performer for jazz legend Dr. John’s “Night Tripper” Voodoo Show. They have long been committed to providing accurate and respectful information about the African Traditional Religions and are proud to be a published Black author of such titles as Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism, 55 Ways to Connect to Goddess, The African-American Ritual Cookbook, Love Magic, Orishas, Goddesses and Voodoo Queens, and the newly released Water Magic. You can read more about the author here.
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