The Spiritual Practices That Kept Our People Protected On Plantations

You deserve a loving community that makes even the roughest times feel good – a space where you're free to be all you are. Our ancestors created these spaces for us, even on plantations. Here’s how they forged places for our community care and spiritual protection.

The Spiritual Practices That Kept Our People Protected On Plantations
Via Wikimedia

They gathered under the hush of the night. No one could know they were here. William 

Wells Brown peered onto the ritual, where folks sat around a fiery cauldron, speaking in a medley of diasporic tongues. 

The queen of the ceremony waved a wand over the pot before throwing in animal parts and ushering in a dance circle. 

Our people used Hoodoo on plantations, as Brown witnessed. These practices required community care to keep one another spiritually safe during enslavement. 

Uncle Frank sat in a chimney corner when Brown arrived one night. "Well, my son, you have come to get uncle to tell your fortune, have you?" 

Brown went to see Uncle Frank, an older man known on the plantation for his fortune-telling wisdom. For 25 cents, he used a water-filled gourd to predict Brown's freedom accurately –  Brown later successfully escaped on a steamboat. 

Then there was Dinkie, the Goopher King. He dusted himself in the herbal, powdery protective Hoodoo substance to conjure his way out of whippings and fieldwork. 

Brown wrote, "Dinkie closely inspected the snake's skin around his neck, the petrified frog and dried lizard, in his pockets, and had rubbed himself all over with goopher." Dinkie was rarely in the field, and his enslaver never assaulted him again. 

There is often divine alignment when we lean into ancestral wisdom. How can you tap into shared knowledge to create new realities?

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