A key part of voodoo conjure is the magical power of names. Change your name and you change your life. Edward Kamau Braithwaite put it well in his book The African Presence in Caribbean Literature. He said:

“People feel a name is so important that a change in his name could transform a person’s life.”

Faith in the power of names is big in voodoo. It’s the reason why voodoo doctors took on animal names like Dr. Crow, Dr. Buzzard, or Dr. Snake. Like the African witchdoctor they adopt the name of the bird or beast from which they draw their power.

For the hoodoo man, taking on a new name is a way of shaping personal destiny.

It was the same with bluesmen like Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Howlin’ Wolf. All of them sung about voodoo because it was part of their lives in the communities they lived in, most of which believed in conjuration and magic. And they took on their names as an act of magical transformation. The name change turned them into men of power.

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