Our Conjuring Roots.
They kept their abilities secret from the white folks because witches scare the white folks, more than all the negro's on any plantation.
My parents told me I was very powerful they told me how I conjured toys and things I wanted to me when I wasn't in a position to get it myself. They wanted to block my powers out of fear of being exposed but my grandparents forbade them telling them to train me as soon as I was able to understand.
Mama and Daddy started my training at ten years old it was then I saw the Book for the first time and they explained that inside there held knowledge of powers that I would have as I grew stronger magically.
I was amazed at all the things I was able to do. Mama even had me help make cures talismans and amulets for the slaves on the plantation.
But they also taught me protection spells and things I could do to keep the Master away from me. At the time I didn't know that Hoodoo was the foundation my family held together on it served a multitude of purposes keeping my family safe from the cruelty that white folks visit upon the slaves.
As time went on and I grew up I continued to work alongside my Mama and Grandma teaching me things they said I would one day pass down.
My, family praised my skill, as I learned things quickly and was adapting well. which each new ability I gained. My family had established themselves on the plantation as slave healers which Mama and Grandma didn't mind they used their gifts to help people. I was told we were white magic practitioners. That we use our abilities for doing good things and that I had to be careful because scores of people were burned for their magical abilities when all they wanted to do was help.
I discovered my talent with identifying certain herbs and things needed for different pastes ointments and tea's that we kept stock of. The Master was clueless as to the goings-on in the slave quarters and we all were glad of that because the company the Master kept was downright nasty they had gotten drunk and on more than one occasion attempted to bait field hands just so they had an excuse to punish the slaves and when that failed the slaves family would come to us for help.
The very next day the white folk's doctor got called up to the house to treat a strange pustule infected red rash on his special parts that the doctor had to put him to sleep to stop scratching at it. And, word spread like wildfire through the slave quarters and they would laugh themselves silly over it.
Though that man never did figure out what happened to him. But our lives continued on and so did my magical training I could summon things now which eased my frustration at losing things because no matter where it was I could summon it which came in handy. Especially when the White folks would accuse a slave of stealing seeing their faces turn red with anger and embarrassment was a vindication for all of us.
We used our gifts to midwife to heal wounds to cure the sickness to protect ourselves and our homes all the while under our Masters's nose which was easy with our powers as strong as they are.
It's, a hard life we lived knowing at one time my family had the freedom to do as the pleased without fear to be taken from our homes and told we no longer had rights except to do as our Master's tell us. Whether it be fieldwork housework or wet nursing. And what's worse knowing that you could be ripped from your family at your Master's whim.
That is the reason my family thought to use their powers to keep our family together. This is why when the time comes and I have a family of my own I'll protect them with all that I am.
But one thing our Master didn't know was that Grandpa had learned a lot about a business when the Master asked for him to go along when he would leave. And what he learned he taught Daddy because the world won't be like this forever and one day our family will be free to do as we please again. He had told us.
It was, Grandpa and Daddy's idea that we have money so future generations of our family who wouldn't be struggling and would have a nest egg to last them for generations to come.
But that wasn't all our family had planned, was to stabilize our families future turning our backs on our magical heritage was out of the question.
Then one night we were awoken by a scream we rushed outside to see what was happening and we saw the foreman just outside the perimeter of the slave quarters was lying in wait to grab a slave girl. I rushed into action and raised my hand hitting the man with a wave of magic that knocked him to the ground and made him forget how he got there.
The girl was shocked and scared and ran to her parents crying tears of joy her father Percival looked at us with such gratitude that from then on a bond was formed between their families and ours.
We returned to our house I thought I was going to get into trouble but was surprised when my parents and grandparents kissed my forehead and told me I had done a good job.
But, my training was far from over I still had a lot to learn about our gifts and my parents and grandparents encouraged me in my education.
I sat in my bedroom with the only light was a single candle to light the room thoroughly enthralled by the centuries-old information that was before me. A strange feeling I had only felt that time when I had to use my gift to save Pearl from the Foreman.
The power coursing through my veins felt like lightening boiling my insides but not a painful sensation.
She was scared about it at first but once her family saw how worried she was they told her that sensation was normal.
They said practice makes perfect and I wasn't trying to be perfect but I did want to do the best I could in helping people like I'd seen my family do for a long time now.
My, thoughts were interrupted by the running feet of little Josephine with a worried look on her face. She found mama in our garden picking herbs when she noticed the breathless Josephine running to her. Mama knew Ms. Essie was going to have a baby and she had me go with her.
Ms. Essie's face etched with pain and sweat she was tired but Mama and I knew what would help her.
Mama rubbed her belly with a paste made of herbs that are for pain almost instantly Essie's face calmed.
This would be my first midwifery experience so I was nervous even though I was only helping Mama didn't change my nervous feelings.
Though, I was afraid it didn't change the fact that I had to help Essie she needed both of us to help bring this new life into the world.
Outside Ms. Essie's husband sat waiting for any news Mama had to give. Hours had passed a shrill cry filled the air. Mama cleaned the child-placing him in her arms. While grandma set things aside to help her heal. We had gone back home feeling good knowing our work was making things better for good people.
I was learning how much these abilities would mean in my life, and in the generations to come. The more knowledge I gained, was like a drug. I wanted more and I was soaking up all that I could get from our family book. to use my powers to gain more.
I decided to be as the roots of a heritage tree reaching out far and wide feeling energized and eager.
And, I was encouraged to cautiously learn the darker aspects so I could learn to fight it. They explained how dangerous it was to use these arts but being careful not to turn to those darker magic's.
Which, is something I would never do my intentions match those of my family helping slaves on our plantation is a noble cause. It's hard to watch slaves endure savage brutality and hear the white folks refer to us as uncivilized savages because of the color of our skin.
Some nights, I sit by my window with the light of the Moon and stars being the only light in my room. I look at the pages of the family book sliding my fingers over the writing there lost in the wonderment of knowing what the future will hold. Though, I know that knowledge isn't meant for me.
But that doesn't change the gnawing curiosity. that can sometimes be overwhelming me at times.
But, this is my heritage and legacy and one day I'll pass this down as it was passed to me.
The next morning I awoke to the smell of Mama's cooking I got up washed up and prepared to start my day I knew I had to hurry up because I was going to be helping Mama with things like I have been. Old Lenard had joint pains and needed that pain-relieving ointment for his joints that helps him through it. He never complained but his wife didn't like him to suffer so he did it to give her peace.
He was put on fieldwork when he was a young man but his jobs changed once he got too old for it. He keeps track of the barn and supervises the younger slaves that work there. he is a gentle soul who is well-liked.
He, always tells Mama that her ointments make him feel like he was that young man he used to be.
But it's not always healing or delivering babies people seek talismans for protection and good luck when the Master takes a slave to a cockfight.
Everybody has a different need and Mama is the one they know can give it to them.
I was always told that we were different from other people though we are flesh and blood human that we were special because of what we can do and I understood that with every instance Mama and I were called to help whoever needed it.
Our, work would never be done it was a calling our family's destiny. that would continue to be picked up by a new generation.
As I continued to read from the book. I came across a spell to enhance my bloodline magical abilities. Making them stronger and able to use their abilities without it draining energy from the person allowing nature to act as an anchor.
The further I experimented the more I understood And I began to use more of my abilities to test my magical strength.
Which helped with the ointments and spells I cast. Because it made them more effective which I found to be thrilling.
My family was pleased with the progression of my powers they knew I would do greater things than I had already done.
I took up meditation and honed my concentration learning to block out the world around me which wasn't all that hard anymore.
I haven't read the whole book, yet and the more information within. Which only made me better with my gifts.
My brother would practice with me and soon he too was becoming more powerful.
The master and his wife Amelia never guessed we were fortifying ourselves from their cruelty.
But we spread it to other plantations when other white masters would allow their slaves to leave it was on occasion to attend a dance thrown on another plantation to see what slaves took an interest in each other.
I was fortunate because I was too young as was my brother.
But I knew that eventually we would get called to attend.
But I knew now wasn't the time.
I also knew that we were working towards good things for the future generation of our family.
As my powers grew, I began to experience prophetic dreams when I asked my Mama she told me that it was rare that it could skip generations or like her and her mother can just go on through the generations.
I knew the world would change and things wouldn't be as they are now I knew that that's what we were striving for a world where we mattered just as much as all the white folks.
I knew I wouldn't live to see it but my children would and theirs.
My family held on to that with every thought and negro spiritual sang.
That's what kept us going we used our abilities to help all the slaves we could even the ones running for freedom.
Mama told me that I was touched and chosen the family that would come from me would be the ones to do great things.
As time went on we heard stories of the unrest of slaves all over the south and how two factions were fighting for the rights of slaves and the other was against.
Now that's not to say we didn't want our freedom we just went about it differently.
That's not to say that we didn't have challenges. One day in particular Miss Amelia's parents came calling and it was very hot so hot in fact that some slaves passed out.
Miss Amelia's mother struck Hester calling her no-good lazy and that's not what her daughter and son-in-law paid good money for her to do.
Hester's father helped her up taking her back to their home. the story had gotten back to Hester's mother who had made sweet tea with a little something extra that
Kept Miss Amelia's, mother in the bathroom throughout the day. of course, her sudden condition was blamed on a sickness going around.
We hid our tracks well when it came to such things.
It was important for us to always be careful.
Louisiana seemed on most days to stay in the hot as hell zone.
It was a comfort to wade in the creek on the edge of the property.
We would catch the white folks staring at us but we never spoke we just went about our work.
The slaves counted on the creek for a lot of things.
And it kept us from using the big house's water outside of what the house slaves used to take care of the masters family.
One day I sat on our porch doing my chore of making pouches out of fabric scraps and mending clothes by hand when the overseer decided to bother me.
All the while I felt him I mumbled an incantation and he went about seeing to the field slaves.
I knew I was safe I wasn't afraid of him or any of them.
We had something they could never take from us power.
Something that would make them think twice if they knew.
But that's something they never would know.
Today was going to be another busy day I had to work our little garden patch because we were running low on our stocks.
Of all the things I get told to do gathering the herbs is a favorite of mine you get lost in the smells and when we make our morning and evening meals the smells just make you forget that you're a slave that you don't have rights the way white folks do.
Which some white folks take great pleasure in stampeding on your pride like a herd of angry cows.
And the building anger of the helpless slaves powerless against it.
Every day of our lives we work rain or shine hot or cold aching sick singing to get us through another hard day while overseers and owners scream orders all day long.
And then going to sleep to start all over again the next morning.
They wanted to break the slaves and we were a slave community they couldn't break.
As children,n we heard the tales of slaves beaten or killed or raped or any unimaginable thing possible.
We saw the dejected faces of slaves passing by on the dirt road as they were lead on to whatever plantation they would call home.
But we still stayed in our course.
I was always told if we focused on the future of our family things will get better in the end.
Never lose faith, or hope in our training and who we are.my parents would say.
One day I too would teach my children that.
My brother was helping our father with repairs to our shack.
That was something, they were both good at.
Meanwhile,e I picked up the laundry basket and began to hang our clothes on the line.
Tonight was a full moon and we had to prepare we always performed rituals on full moons to strengthen our magic as well as the protections around us.
Meanwhile,e I still had chores to tend to. Having put the last of the clothes Mama wanted me to continue my studies.
I was sitting at the table reading when I was startled by a scream.
I ran outside seeing my brother on the ground and I visiting a white man standing over him screaming at him accusing him of being a runaway from another plantation.
Something inside me, boiled over and I lifted my hand sending the still yelling white man into the trunk of the oak near our shack and I quickly used a spell erase his memory and as the white man came to his aide they just assumed he was drunk and fell.
We quickly took my brother inside and tended to him.