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Tuesday, June 12, 2012


As a scholar, and a historian, I love to hold on to the past prayers with the claws of a cat:

Prayer Teachings Series:

If you are feeling cursed, or in ill-health, the following is a prayer you can say for 14 days:

In the name of God Almighty. Soul of John the Conqueror,

who some call the Great John since you were a great lover and guardian of money,

for this reason and because of the hours they are giving you, I ask that you put me in the heart of {so-and-so} and favored by my Guardian Angel,

it be granted to me what I sincerely and of good faith ask you:

that my fate and luck change and may the pains and torments of my life cease just as your punishment for your foolish actions and ambitions ceased in purgatory.

To the Guardian Angel of {so-and-so}: do not give him/her tranquility until s/he is by my side.

However, I am interested at the moment by religious traditions of African-Americans,where I have found High John the Conqueror prayers.

Indeed, in “rootwork” or Hoodooism, John the Conqueror is an important figure who has had great power through out the years of slavery.

For a wish to come true:


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil for thou art with me.
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Thou anointest my head with oil.
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

As it is explained on one website:
"Who was John the Conqueror and what is the root named after him? Ethnographers, especially those influenced by Zora Neale Hurston, say that he was a black slave whose life — perhaps a real life that was embellished in the telling, perhaps a fictional life entirely imagined — was an inspiration to slaves who wanted to rebel against their masters but could not do so openly. John, said to be the son of an African king, was in captivity, but he never became subservient, and his cleverness at tricking a master,

supplied many a story with a pointed moral. If he was a real being, he soon acquired some of the characteristics of mythical figures like the Native American Coyote, the AfricanAmerican Bre’r Rabbit, and the West African deity known variously as Elegua, Legba, and Eshu. He gave — only to take away. He bet — and never lost. He played dumb — but he was never outsmarted. The reputation of High John is so great that,folklorist Harry Middleton Hyatt said in the 1930s, just pronouncing ting the words “John over John” and “John the Conqueror” is a powerful spell of magical protection against being cursed.

Like the Catholic binding prayer above, one of the uses of “John the Conqueror root” is for lifting generational spells, or even love spells.

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