If you want to learn how some people do the voodoo they do so well, just visit Conjured Cardea, a full-service online voodoo and hoodoo supply shop.
Sarah Best, founder of Conjured Cardea in Kalamazoo, MI, was raised around folk magic in Appalachia and is an expert on many hoodoo practices. She studied religion in college and gravitated to African diaspora belief systems—related religions that developed among enslaved Africans in America, derived from traditional African religions, such as Vodou, commonly referred to as voodoo. Best identifies as a hoodoo, a practitioner of a form of folk magic originating in West Africa (not to be confused with voodoo, which is a religion) and a spiritualist.
“I always enjoyed creating spiritual items and wares,” Best said. “I create hand-made, natural items that can be used to create a physical routine, a daily ritual or to reinforce a goal you want to obtain.”
With a vested interest in these spiritual paths, Best began a business in her home, selling these products to friends. When demand began to grow, she added some of her products to Etsy, and five years later became the top-seller in her category with over 30,000 items sold.
“I had no clue that this venture would prove successful in any way,” she said. “I simply dove in and started swimming. I left Etsy to branch out on my own and just opened four new sites, three of which are online retail shops, and purchased my own domain name.”
Best named her business Conjured Cardea after the ancient Roman goddess of hinges, doorways and thresholds. “I want my business to be a gateway for those looking to find themselves, their spirituality and their goals.”
Best has certainly put a spell on many customers looking to tap into their spiritual side. Her spiritual services and tarot readings bring people in droves, while products like Queen Bitch oil, Lucky Blue Hoodoo Housewash and items of Marie Laveau, the famous Creole voodoo practitioner, are popular sellers.
“My products give you something physical to practice with to bring your mind back to your focus, back to your goal, to help you achieve it. It’s guided meditation. You focus on an object or candle to hone your thoughts. My items are simply tools to aid the mind.”
Best prides herself in using natural ingredients such as herbs and pure essential oils that honor the original formulas of many of the items she sells as a way of honoring the culture and history behind them.
That culture and history, however, is still misperceived by many, something that Best to this day contends with. Recently, Best was terminated from a credit card processing company due to her site being affiliated with Vodou. This discriminatory act was publicized in a local Fox News piece, and Best hopes this will make the company change their policy so no one is denied services for their beliefs.
“I’d love for people to realize that we are just like they are,” Best added, working to dispel the negative notions behind hoodoo. With her bewitching site and historical knowledge of these practices, Best has positioned Conjured Cardea as a place where people can both learn and conjure their own beliefs.