Hoodoo is similar to Voodoo in several aspects. First, both terms are coined in the West. Second, both concepts originated from Africa. Third, both systems are folkloric practices associated with magical spells and rituals.
Nevertheless, one should never interchange Hoodoo from Voodoo or vice versa. They are different because Voodoo (originally, Vodun) is a religion in West Africa, whereas, Hoodoo is a system of magical beliefs and practices from Central Africa. Indeed, Hoodoo is neither a religion nor a denomination of religion.
Hoodoo is common to black community particularly the African Americans, who, they say, started the system of Hoodoo. White Americans practice Hoodoo system too. The African Americans call such system in many terms such as conjuration, conjure, witchcraft, rootwork, and tricking. Worth noting is that conjuration, conjure, tricking, and witchcraft are colloquial words in classifying Hoodoo Rootwork, on one hand, signifies a different meaning. Rootwork is used to recognize the significance of dried roots in making charms and casting spells.
Hoodoo is used in referring to both the system of magical beliefs and the practitioner. However, a practitioner who practices on behalf of clients is called a Hoodoo doctor. Not only there are African-American Hoodoo doctors, there are Latinos and Americans too.
The African American communities refer to Hoodoo differently from African in Europe. Since witchcraft is usually synonymous to Hoodoo, the former refers to Hoodoo as both alternative healing remedy and a harmful activity, whereas, the Europeans refer to it mainly as harmful activity.
Hoodoo allows its believers to access supernatural forces to improve their living by gaining luck, money, love, health, as well as employing revenge and bad luck onto other people. Fundamental to a Hoodoo tradition is communication with the spirits of the dead and the focus on magical powers on individuals. Such belief actually made non-believers think Hoodoo practices are done mainly because of human desires and inclinations.
Some areas consider Hoodoo as harmful magic or spiritual work and things that include spells and protection spells. Hoodoo spells may increase luck in love, money, good health, and happiness.
Its practices and traditions involve magical components of herbs, roots, minerals, animal parts, personal possessions, and bodily fluids such as menstrual blood, semen, and urine. A ritual also involves the use of ritual candles, conjure oils, incense, and sachet powders. The latter was an addition because of the African emphasis on footprint magic and spiritual cleansing, floor washing and bathing.
Notable aspects of African Hoodoo are foot track magic, crossroads magic, laying down tricks, ritual sweeping and floor washing, and ritual bathing.
A Hoodoo spell called foot track magic puts magical essence to footprints. A practitioner may bury the footprint dirt of his enemy in a bottle spell with other magical items. When the enemy walks over the buried bottle spell, the result will be poisoning, unnatural illness, or bad luck. The acquisition of power at two intersecting roads is called the crossroad magic. This belief evolved in both African-American Hoodoo system and European folk magic.