This past weekend I traveled down south to Mobile, Alabama for the first annual Hoodoo Queen Conjure Fete hosted by Co Meadows. This entire trip was spiritually arranged and supported, from finding the right plane tickets at an affordable price, to the constant affirmations I was receiving from the world around me. My friends and family were a mix of supportive and uncertain about the trip and what it would mean for me.
As I approached the Carnival Museum where the Fete was hosted I was greeted and accepted into a wonderful group of individuals from all over America. Though I wasn’t the only person of European descent, I knew that in some ways I would be an outsider due to my lineage- though outsider isn’t really the right word- I was a witness. I witnessed Co empowering men and women to step into their power. I was empowered as well. I witnessed the beautiful history of how Africans kept their religion and magic alive after they were forcibly taken from there homes and brought to America.
I witnessed the power of Hoodoo when we began this day with a ritual cleansing and uncrossing. All of us in a circle, dancing and clapping as Co cleansed and uncrossed us one at a time, and each time a cleansing and uncrossing was completed the sun would come out and shine success down on us. It was supposed to rain all day that day, but the rain held off until well into the evening. When Co cleansed an elder and spoke of her wisdom, and when Co cleansed the children and spoke of the future, there was healing and connection and deepening. When Co cleansed and uncrossed me he had words for me that I keep close to my heart. I felt a lightness that revived me from the inside out.
(Conversing after the cleansing and uncrossing)
In some ways, I was jealous of the knowledge passed down to Co through familial generations. What a gift to have had this knowledge and wisdom kept alive through the family lineage. This experience highlighted again to me the way that our ancestors coming to America stripped us of our histories- or at least tried to do so, not just to the Africans and Haitians but to all of us. As a whole, as Americans, I don’t think we consider our roots often. So many people don’t even know why they celebrate the holidays the way that they do or what their traditions really symbolize.
Co also spoke about how Catholic saints were fronts for African gods and goddesses. I felt the connection of our lineages through that, as this is also true of my Celtic heritage and the gods of my ancestors. I have a deep understanding of how the Catholic Church incorporated much of my ancestral practices, and what these practices originally meant, and the magic behind them. So many of the saints were originally gods and goddesses in my lineage.
Co taught us about working with ancestors and spirits, and the spirits of plants, and the proper way to set an ancestral altar, and the importance of getting to the truth of things. Though Co is absolutely hilarious and an incredibly captivating teacher, he is also grounded and true. The truth that real magic is dirty and simple and symbolic and not at all what many think it is was beyond refreshing to hear from a spiritual leader. I got more from this event than I did from most of the books I have read throughout my lifetime- and quite honestly, that’s no small wonder, especially considering that many books on magic today are not historically rooted in practices that work.
(Co getting ready to teach us some hoodoo workings)
We learned about spiritual tools like divining with fire (which was not for me) and with water (this worked for me). We also made divination mats while Co spoke to us about spiritual development, and understanding that not everyone has every kind of spiritual gift. Even though many are waking up to spiritual reality and their spiritual nature, it doesn’t mean they are seers or workers or healers just because they want to be. He spoke truth above all, and it’s what we all needed to hear.
(Co showing us his divination mat as an example for the ones we made)
As a spiritual worker serving within community and working through my own lineage, I came out of this experience better for having attended and with greater confidence. For anyone who isn’t a spiritual worker, it’s just as beneficial. If you look at the core of what Co teaches, you’ll understand that it doesn’t matter what your lineage is: you still have roots, you still have ancestors to honor, and you still have spiritual experiences to understand.
Don’t misunderstand me, though. This was about African American Hoodoo and Conjure. I could extrapolate and apply much of what I learned within my own magical system because of some commonalities, but this was an event that I was blessed to attend and be part of due to what I learned about African American magic and religion. I was blessed to witness this beautiful, deep, powerful culture which isn’t mine but which enhances the greater American culture.
Not only did Co put together a fabulous, welcoming and truly worthwhile event for all of us, he also made himself available to answer our questions and go over the things we learned after the event. And I absolutely cannot leave out the immense generosity and thoughtfulness that Co displayed by having delicious cupcakes brought in for a couple who was there celebrating their ten year anniversary- and not just cupcakes, but cupcakes with the couples’ initials in the frosting.
I loved every minute of this experience. I have great love for everyone I met. And I’ve got my sights set on Co’s exclusive tarot deck not only because of its unique system but oh my goddess, the artwork is gorgeous!
(Co Meadows and me ❤️)