Lickey Doo

Story: My family on my dad’s side, they have passed down a tradition called lickey doo-n i don’t know how it’s spelled… I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you or not… You can only learn it Christmas eve by candlelight and you can only learn it from the matriarch of your family because our family is Jewish so we go by the matriarchs are the boss. When my great grandma taught my father how to do it, it was christmas eve, and she was giving him instruction on how to do lickey doo because someone in the family was sick. They wanted to take care of that person…I … I don’t know all the details of how it’s learned because I haven’t had my session yet… I think how it’s done is you need a bowl of water, you need to do a blessing with oil in the water, um, you need to in some way anoint someone with that oil, um, there’s a prayer that you sing, you CLAP! Your hands together(informant claps) you rub them really fast like this (informant rubs hands together) and you pretty much – lay hands (demonstrates) on someone to administer the magic. I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, and when I was a kid my father would do lickey doo on my head to make it feel better!

Context: The context of this interview was in person in a sculpture yard. The informant watched as I made something with my hands, and in return told me their folklore.

Thoughts: When asked why this is significant to her, the informant says that finding magic in the world around them has been really important to them throughout their life. They also appreciate the matriarchal tradition to pass down the ritual. She learned all of this from her dad, who apparently only remembered a good bit of it because a celebrity on TV said it during an interview while he happened to be watching it.

Analysis: Despite this, I could not find anything about lickey doo on the internet. However, I found some ancient mesopotamian hand rubbing magic that echoed the informant’s. They read, “‘Where have you turned to?’—you recite over the oil [and you anoint yourself?]. 4 [The incantation] ‘To loosen [evil muscle]’—you recite three times over the salve….The incantation ‘Head disease, star, like in heaven’—you rub his temples…. The incantation ‘I recite the incantation for the trial of all gods’—you sprinkle water on the sick person”(Barbara). The links between the material usage is apparent, and the text goes on to instruct the spellcaster to rub nearly every part of the ill person’s body. Despite the informant’s Dutch and Jewish roots, I still believe this connection is important and possibly shows influences from other cultures to create this home remedy for illness.


Barbara B Ö CK, Consejo Superior De Investigaciones Cient …