Thursday, April 25, 2013

Texas Slave Narrative: William Adams

While researching my next booklet, I came across an interesting quote:
"There is some born to sing, some born to preach, and some born to know de signs. There is some born under de power of de devil and have de power to put injury and misery on people, and some born under de power of de Lawd for to do good and overcome de evil power. Now, dat produces two forces, like fire and water. De evil forces starts de fire and I has de water force to put de fire out. "
 This stood out to me for two reason. The first was that it was a rare acknowledgement that some workers were thought to be aligned with and having powers originating from the devil. This is not something you would hear these day as many new age hoodoo workers go out of their way to white wash the devil from conjure. Also I like to see the reference to hot and cool forces. While it is clear that William Adams was a Christian like most old time conjure folk, a similarity can be found to the idea of Rada and Petro forces in Vodou. 

Another thing that he says that caught my interest was:
"How I larnt sich? Well, I's done larn it. It come to me. When de Lawd gives sich power to a person, it jus' comes to 'em."
While I have no problem with training courses, and researching sorcery, I can't stress enough that following your gut and letting the work come to you is an art in itself. This is something that is lost lately as everyone becomes more convinced that they have to have graduated from such a such coarse, or own the latest book to perform sorcery. Its good to have a base of knowledge, but honestly it will come to you. Keep your ears open.

You can read more of William Adam's narrative here. He has some great things to say about conjure naysayers, and some of the cases that he worked or witnessed. Check it out.

1 comment: said...

How do you find this stuff? I read the whole thing and it was really engaging (now my eyes are all jacked up -- why do people make sites with white text on a black field?). I like Adam's interpretation of Faith, which he basically equates to Will. I resonated with that like a tuning fork. Thanks for providing my 5 AM read over coffee! Great post from all angles, not just in terms of the Art but culturally and historically.