A Rant About Spirituality

Learn how to decolonize your own spiritual practices

More stories from Sabrina Ftouhi

Unlearn Everything
November 1, 2023

If you bought that sage from your local retail store or hexed someone from a spell you learned on tik tok, this one’s for you.

If you bought sage from your local retail store or hexed someone from a spell you learned on tik tok, this one’s for you.

Spirituality is not the same as organized religion. As my friend once put it: spirituality is a tool that you can pick up and use whenever and there’s not a lot of strict rules that tell you how to practice.

With that being said, there is a line to be drawn where colonialism is concerned. Take the practice of hoodoo for example.

Hoodoo is a closed spiritual practice that consists of African religions mixed with Christianity. Therefore, if you are not of African or slave descent, this practice is off limits to you. 

There’s a belief in this community that non black participants rack up a lot of ancestral karma for dabbling in areas they shouldn’t. 

This practice is so closed that it was a challenge to find any information. As someone who has a white mother and was raised in a predominantly white area, learning about these practices is difficult from the outside. 

I did learn however, that I grew up exposed to some parts of hoodoo that I didn’t even know about until recently. 

Hoodoo does have some Christian origins, yet even my Muslim father would yell at me if I ever let our broom get close to his or my feet.

He would also be obsessed with writing things down. He would keep address books and treat them like a journal. He would always say that there’s power in the written word.

Both of these memories are instances of hoodoo superstition/beliefs. If you know, then you know.

Let’s talk about white sage. It’s a very powerful herb in the spiritual community. It’s used to cleanse or smudge spaces of both negative and positive energy. 

White sage is sacred to several indigenous tribes including Lakota, Navajo, Arapaho and many others. Due to unsustainable harvesting and the whitewashing of mainstream spirituality, white sage is scarce and needs to be conserved for indigenous people and practices.

If you are in possession of white sage you bought from a smoke shop go ahead and bury it. Returning things to the earth is always good.

Before you start posting your cleansing videos on Instagram, you should know that Palo Santo and sweetgrass are really great substitutes. You can even use incense and rosemary from your own kitchen.

Also, if we could collectively stop using the term “spirit animal” that would be fantastic. Animals actually have sacred meaning to some practices. If you like bears just say “omg bears are my favorite.” 

Closing out this op/ed I’m going to talk about hexes. If you are a believer in witchy activities then you need to take preventive measures to make sure you’re protected from questionable energies. 

Always ground yourself before doing any kind of spell or ritual. Cleansing is key. Cleanse your space as well as all of the ingredients that you’re using.

Make sure you have your intentions set and speak them into the present. Our words and thoughts are spells, so use them wisely.

Most importantly, keep your witchy revenge vendettas to yourself. If you’re following along and you don’t already believe ancestors hear everything, maybe you should start to consider it. Make your moves in the dark and trust that the hex will do what it’s supposed to.

Today, I’ll be ending with a fun fact: In the hoodoo practice, there is no such thing as karma. The person who practices hoodoo is the karma. 

Be careful who you cross in this life, you never know what a witch is brewing.

Ftouhi can be reached at [email protected]