Archive for March 1st, 2007

Uncrossing The Hoodoo

March 1, 2007


The King’s Cross quilt top is now being sewn together. Also, the quilt top has earned its name, giving reference to old African hoodoo culture.

The quilt is titled Uncrossing The Hoodoo. The hoodoo belief came to America during the time of slavery. In old African hoodoo culture, ‘crossing’ is believed to bring bad luck or long-lasting illness. ‘Uncrossing’ breaks the spell. Hoodoo has been practiced for many years in the old South. Many references to hoodoo rituals, spells, and protective magic are found in old Blues lyrics and sayings.

Crossing   The word ‘crossing’ has several meanings in the hoodoo tradition. In its original form, ‘crossing’ refers to laying down a trick in an “X” pattern or creating a “cross-mark” (such as a circle with an “X” through it) to ‘poison’ an enemy who steps in it. ‘Crossing’ is known to be a form of direct foot-track magic and it may be the oldest African-based belief of this type of spell.

“Laying down tricks in the form of wavy lines, circles, and cross-marks on the ground is an old African custom that came to America in slavery times. Spitting into the design activates it, and when the enemy walks over the powder, he or she is said to be “poisoned through the feet,” bringing on a Jinx and creating Crossed Conditions that result in all-around bad luck and long-lasting illness.”   Source: The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue

Someone who has been spelled, or crossed, can attempt to break the hoodoo spell. There are a number of ways to do this, among them, lighting glass-encased vigil candles. The vigil candles are sometimes found in a variety of colors, in layered colors, or they can be sculpted.

Quilt Symbolism The quilt blocks making the “X” shape, symbolizes the laying of the hoodoo spell with the ‘cross mark’. The border of this quilt symbolizes the arrangement of vigil candles used in hoodoo and other religions. With the quilt, the symbolism of the vigil candles surround the cross marks, thereby having stronger magic than the ‘crossing’ spell itself.

Significance of X-shaped Blocks When researching the King’s Cross quilt block, I thought it worthy to note that the block was not used often, which has made me delve deeper into the “X” shape. Upon further research, I have learned that there is much symbolism with the cross-mark.

Perhaps there was enough symbolic meaning behind this block to influence most quiltmakers from using it. One old patchwork block that I have located is known as Devil’s Cross, which is similar to the King’s Cross. I find the name of this block supportive of my hypothesis on the significance of these “X” shaped patchwork blocks.

The quilt, Uncrossing The Hoodoo, is merely a quilt design showing symbolism as it relates to one of the old African cultural beliefs, hoodoo. This quilt is not being created as a religious statement, nor is it being created to cast a spell.


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