Conjuring the Calabash was written with marginalized women, women of color and LGBT-q women in mind. Within these pages you will find comfort and hope. The hoodoo in this book is for you, and it is a balm for those of us who have been deeply wounded by society. Whether hoodoo is a practice closed to whites depends on whom you ask. Regardless, I highly encourage all sisters to read this book, tuck it into your soul—because Africa is written into the core of every woman's DNA-- and think deeply about the history that brings the practice of Hoodoo into the world.
Within these pages you'll find hope and determination, heartbreak and renewal. But most of all, you'll find courage and love without end. You'll meet the ancestors; cook for them, listen to their stories and wisdom, and learn how to follow their advice with humility and grace. You will learn about the hoodoo of sexuality, health, wealth and protection. And through all of this, you'll learn how to deal with anyone, from trolls to lovers with wandering eyes or anyone who wants to do you wrong.
Further, you'll learn about the true history of slavery; not the sanitized Disney-ized version that those of us in the South had been taught. Ask any white person in the South if they ever heard about buck breaking. I bet they haven't. I know I hadn't, and when I read about this extremely cruel form of sexual torture, I sat and wept. Then I got busy doing a ritual using my tears to dress a white candle.
I've read this book three times already, and will read it again and again. It sits on my nightstand and I read passages of it daily. The magical community is desperate for voices of color just like this. We need to hear them. We need to be them. I am thrilled that Llewellyn stepped up to the challenge and published this remarkable book, and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Bomani's work. Conjuring the Calabash is destined to become a classic.
~review by Patricia Snodgrass
Author: Mawiyah Kai El-Jamah Bomani
Llewellyn Publications, 2023
p. $18.99, pp. 299 pg