Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jeudi: Curios

Roosters and hens with black feathers probably have a place in every magickal discipline around the globe.  They are especially prized, to my knowledge, in gypsy folklore and by hoodoo root workers, particularly in and around New Orleans. 

The African-based spirituality of the Caribbean, Southern U.S. and South America has a long history of using chickens for sacrifice but, to a large degree, the use of these specific creatures – that is chickens with black feathers – does not involve butchering and eating them.  The focus is the power of the animal itself and that of its feathers.

An old and somewhat shadowy gypsy working known as taking up the black fast is used to retrieve stolen goods and/or take revenge on the thief.  Of course, travelers had and still have very little in the way of possessions so theft was a particularly vicious crime that required equally vicious retribution.  In this ritual, the victim of theft would obtain a black hen.  Both man and bird would abstain from food and water from sunup to sunset every Friday for nine consecutive weeks.  This was thought to force the culprit to return the stolen goods.  Alternatively, it was imagined that he or she would meet a gruesome end.

In hoodoo, black hens and roosters are kept by root workers so that their feathers might be utilized in uncrossing magick.  Feathers were burned to a fine ash and this would be used on the body of those suffering from a jinx, either rubbed or blown on by the root worker, to take off the evil trick.  Workers used black chicken feather whisks for similar purposes.  These were made either from a bundle of feathers tied together or from a whole wing which had been dried with the feathers still attached.  The victim would then be brushed with the whisk, usually working down from the head to the feet, as part of an uncrossing ritual.

Most prized in and around New Orleans were the speckled chickens known as Fizzled Fowl.  Because root workers removed jinxes and sent them back to their original creator, these men and women were thought to be targeted by witches and others who meddled with evil.  Most of them would tell you that it was not uncommon to find some form of jinxing mojo or throw somewhere in their yards now and again, left there by someone with the intent to harm.  To this end, many kept Fizzled Fowl to scratch up, peck at, eat and destroy these agents of evil before they had time to work their magick. 

Some root workers even rented their chickens out to clients who were having similar trouble, letting the animals “work” the afflicted person’s yard for a few weeks to clear up the problem.  One New Orleans root doctor, working in the city around the turn of the 20th century, became so famous for his uncrossing work that he was known as the Fizzly Rooster.  Bonne chance ~

Header: Two Fizzled Fowl c 1874 via Albion Prints


Timmy! said...

My next band is going to be called "black chicken feather whisks". Either that or "Fizzled Fowl". But definitely not "the Fizzly Rooster". That would just be disrespectful, Pauline.

Pauline said...

I like Fizzled Fowl myself. And you're right; The Fizzly Rooster is a legend. You can't mess with that mojo.