Florida Water

Monday, September 12, 2011



A fellow root doctor recently shared an ARTICLE on facebook about a 147-year-old ship wreck. The ship was the Mary Celeste, and in the wreckage, preserved at the bottom of the ocean, researchers found a bottle of old cologne.  On the bottle was embossed, "Murray and Lanman, Florida Water, No. 69 Water Street, New York." This is the oldest known sample of Florida Water, to date. 

So, what is Florida Water? 

Florida Water, named for the legendary Fountain of Youth rumoured to be located in Florida, is a 19th Century comercial formula for toilet water.  It has heavy floral scents and a water-alcohol base. It is important to note that toilet waters are simply *weak* perfumes.  Where perfumes may contain 1 to 3 oz of oils per pint, toilet waters may contain 1 to 6 oz of oils per gallon, which is then diluted with water.

Currently, only two commerical suppliers still manufacture Florida Water, Lanman and Kemp and Two Girls.  Lanman and Kemp, once Murray and Lanman (pictured at left) is the most popular manufacturer used among hoodoos today.  Still, historically there were many commerical manufacturers for Florida Water, and no *true* way to make it.  A simple google search will supply one with an array of independent recipes to choose from, as well. 

How does one use Florida Water?

Florida Water can be used for home protection, sprinkled around the inside and outside of the house or used as a floor wash.  It can also be used to protect a person, sprinkled or dabbed on like the perfume it is.  Or, in the same fashion, Florida Water can be used to engender peace in a person's location.  For instance, if a person is subject to a hostile workplace, they simply dab on a little Florida Water to bring peace to their surroundings or sprinkle a little around a malicious coworker's work space.  While Florida Water can and is used in its pure from, many hoodoos like to *doctor* it a bit for its purpose.  For instance, if a root worker wishes to use Florida Water to bring peace when at home, they might add borage leaves and motherwort.

Florida Water can also be used in spiritual matters.  It can be used as a spiritual cleanser, added to a bath by itself or as part of a ritual bath recipe.  Also, Florida Water is used as an all-purpose altar offering.  Simply add a small amount to a dish of water and place it on your altar as an offering to whichever spirits you are working with.  For ancestral work, I use Kananga Water, but for all other spirit work, inlcuding working with Saints, Florida Water would be appropriate.   

Black Hens... eggs, feathers, feet.. Oh, and some blood...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Black Hens have a curious place in both conjure and Appalachian folk magic, and I first became interested in their use when I was in my pre-teens.  My grandmother and great aunt loved to tell stories about growing up deep in the hills of Appalachia.  One such story involved an old Appalachian medicine woman and a black hen.  My grandmother was in her early teens at the time, and she came down with her first case of Shingles.  At the time they lived far back in the mountains and a doctor was not readily available, nor would one have been a lot of help.  However, everyone, especially the children, knew about the old *witch* woman who lived even farther back, mainly because they were told to stay away from that part of the woods.  So naturally, my grandmother, being much like me, didn't.  She persuaded her younger sister, my aunt, into accompanying her back to the old woman's house.  She cried and begged and told my aunt that she would die of the pain, until finally she agreed to take her.  So they snuck off towards her house one day.  They knew roughly where it was located because my great-grandfather had warned her of it on trips out to check his moonshine still.  "Watch your step," he would tell her, "That witch woman lives out there. Even the animals there are hers"  So, my aunt and grandmother headed "out there."  They said it did not take them long to find the place.  It was only a few hundred yards off their trail.

My grandmother said she was most surprised by the fact that the woman looked "normal."  I think they expected her to be grotesque in some fashion, with a long nose, a hunch back, and unruly hair.  Instead, she just looked like an ordinary old woman.  However, my grandmother did note that the woman's house smelled "funny."  Both sweet and dirty at the same time, like berries and hot, dry dirt.  The old lady didn't really act surprised to see them.  Simply asked the girls why they had come to visit and looked my grandmother over.  My grandmother told me that the woman looked at her sores, her eyes, her throat, and then felt around her head, wrists, hands, and feet.  Then, she instructed the girls to wait three days and slaughter a black hen.  They were to pour the blood over my grandmother's sores and also sprinkle some around their property.   The old woman told the girls that after three days the sores would be gone, and my grandmother and aunt both swore that they were. 

I was so fascinated by this story when I was younger that I didn't think to ask "Why?"  Why had the woman instructed them to use the blood of a black hen?  My aunt told me that she was very specific about those two points.  It must be a hen, and it must be black.  I never thought to ask "How?"  How was this suppose to help?  I think that I never imagined that they would know the answers.  I think part of me found the story too strange to be factual.  Now I've that I've witnessed much stranger, I can look at the story with a sense of intrigue rather than shock.  So, I decided to ask my aunt, my grandmother having passed years ago, why?  Why did the old woman tell you to use black hen's blood.  My aunt laughed and said, "The old woman believed that your grandmother had been cursed." 


One use of black hens in southern conjure and appalachian folk magic is to undo tricks layed against a person or their property.  Because foot-track magic is very popular among African American derived traditions, its easy to see why hens would become a popular tool of protection for conjurers in rural areas.  Foot-track magic is preformed by either placing something; a powder, water, or the like, such as War Water, in the path of the target so that they step on it and are thereby *infected* through their feet, or by using the dirt from a person's foot-track or a related item, such as a sock,  in a working intended to harm the subject in some way.   The *infected* person much then cleanse or remove the trick that was layed inorder to remove the hex or prevent future damage. In rural areas, hens roaming a persons yard are very good at *cleaning* up these tricks.  Hens are more commonly chosen for this task then roosters because they tend to scratch more.  The hens scratch and peck and remove the trick that was laid from the targets property.

The black hen is often associated with "the black man" or "the devil," sometimes also known as "Old Scratch." This European derived devil is not the Satan of Christianity, but rather a Teutonic wood-spirit that can be both benevolent and malicious, and frequently plays the trickster.  In Central and Eastern Europe, this devil under varies names, including Krampus, accompanies St. Nicholas during his Christmas gift deliveries.  In addition, this devil, as "the black man" has a strong connection to crossroads were it is believed that a person can make a pact with him if he is willing.  I have heard of conjurers keeping a black cock feather on their altar in tribute to "the man," or "the black man."  Now, just as "the devil" can be both malicious and benevolent, so can the use of black hens be. 

Conjurers use black hen products, such as feet, eggs, and feathers for various purposes, both protective and harmful.  Black hen eggs can be used to remove negativity from a person by rolling the whole, uncooked egg over their body.  This egg absorbs the ngative energies and then can be disposed of in one of a number of ways; at a crossroads, in running water, or by breaking the egg at the base of a tree.  To cause harm with an black hen egg, it is used in a form of foot-track magic.  A hoodoo will drill a small hole in the top of the egg and add various ingredients, such as powders and herbs, that are relavent to their working.  Then, this egg would be thrown against the target's door or on their walkway so that they would step in the mess.

Black hen feathers can also be used for both malicious and benevolent purposes.  I have read that black hen feathers can be used to lay tricks against a target, whereas black cock feathers can be used to remove those tricks because the hen is submissive to the rooster.  However, it is appropriate to use hen feathers for *sweeping* or purifying a place or person in most situations.  A simple way of doing this is to make a whisk  from the feathers and sweep it over your clients body from head to feet or around your house.  At right is a very simple black hen feather whisk that my husband made recently.  You may even use a whole wing, if one is available to you.  In addition, black hen feathers can be burnt and their ashes added to purification powders, which can then be sprinkled around your property for cleansing.     

Chicken feet are often use as a protective talisman in Southern conjure.  They can be worn, carried, or placed in doorways and windows or on walkways and gates to symbolicly *scratch up* any negative work or energy intended for the owner or property.  They can be fixed as an active form of protection where they *scratch* back at the person who intended you harm.  Also, they are used in cleansing work much like the whisk. For this purpose, the worker would use the chicken foot to physically *scratch* themselves, their client, or the area, removing negativity and any tricks that have be laid. 

Whether your purpose is to protect or cause harm, if you live in a rural southern area black hens can be an easy, relatively cheap tool for your hoodoo arsenal.  Talk to local farmers, visit the local farmers market, or the local fair.  Most breeders and farmers will be politely accommidating with very few questions.  They'll assume you have one quirky reason or another for specifying black hen products, they may even have their own beliefs or ideas about these hens and others.   Listen to them. :) After all, it's the nature of Southerners to be superstitious, and supersitions often hold truths. :) 

Happy Workings!

St. Christopher - Patron Saint of Travelers

Thursday, July 7, 2011

For those of you who don't know, my husband is currently living in BC, Canada.  WAY OVER on the west coast... This Saturday my four-year-old son and I will be traveling to see him.  The trip includes seven and a half hours on planes, one way; hours and hours of traveling by car; and eventually a couple ferry rides.  I have made the trip before, but this will be my first time traveling with my son.  Therefore, I decided to have a few extra safety measures in place.  This trip I will be calling on the aid of Saint Christopher, Patron Saint of Travelers. 

Saint Christopher is generally depicted as a man, in mid-life, bearing a staff and wading across a river carrying a small child, the Christ child, on his shoulders. 

Legend has it that Saint Christopher was born Offerus(Offero), in the 3rd century, to Greek parents.  His parents having prayed and made offerings to their gods, Machmet and Apollo, on his behalf, Offerus grew tall and strong.  As he grew older he searched the heavens and Earth for a Lord who was worthy of his service.  After being continuously disappointed, he was convinced by a hermit to vow allegiance to Christ.  He was baptised and rechristened "Christopher," Christ-bearer.  Christopher would make no promises of fasting or praying, but agreed to use his great strength to safely transport others across the river.

One day, a small child came to the river asking to be carried across.  Much to Christopher's surprise, as they crossed the river the child became steadily heavier, until it was almost impossible for Christopher to carry him further.  When Christopher asked the child why he was so heavy, the child replied, "Because I carry the weight of the sins of the world."  Christopher was skeptical, so the child instructed him to place his staff in the ground by the river.  The next day it had turned into a beautiful palm which was bearing fruit.  This act enraged Decius, and Christopher was imprisoned, tortured, and beheaded.

To me, this has the smell of a Greek myth/story turned Christian conversion tool.  There is virtually no concrete evidence of Christopher's existance and it is generally agreed upon that he was added to Christian cannon sometime during the 12th century.  The Catholic church apparently came to the same conclusion and de-cannonized Christopher during the late 20th century, when many, including Brigid, were purged from the rank of the Saints. Still, Christopher retains a following among both Christians and conjurers, especially among Meixcan and Italian Catholics.  In Santeria, St. Christopher is assocaited with the orishna Aganyu, patron of travelers, walkers, drivers, aviators, and stevedorers. 



Christopher's Patronage:



Simple Protection Working:

Materials

Protection Master Candle
Red Altar Candle (Red is the color of martyrs and is also the color I use for protection, in general)
Protection Oil
Small Straight Pin
St. Christopher Medal (These have become a bit difficult to find in stores, but you can find them on Ebay, fairly cheap)

Procedure

Begin by creating a protection petition candle using your Protection Master Candle and your red altar candle. First, using the small straight pin, carve Saint Christopher's name onto one side of the red candle, lengthwise.  Then, on the other side, carve your own name or the name of the person/persons you wish to protect.  Then, dress the candle with your protection oil.  Bring light to your Master Candle, charging it with an intent of general protection.  Next, transfer the light from your Master Candle to your petition candle, this time charging it with a more specific purpose, to protect you (or client) while you (they) travel.  Allow the candle to burn for a moment.  Then snuff it out and pull the melted wax up over the wick, locking the mojo inside. 

Next, you will set your petition candle in a candle holder and place you St. Christopher Medal in front of it.  I like to place the candle inside the cord/chain, that way the necklace forms a circle around it.  Light your petition candle and tell St. Christopher your petition.  This can sound much like a prayer. For this particular working, I asked that St. Christopher provide safe travel for myself and anyone traveling with me, including my son and husband.  Remember that you must promise an offering that will be given when the petition has been granted.  For this petition, I have promised to publish a public "Thank You" to the Saint, when my son and I have returned home safely.   

Psalm 91 - For Protection Against Enemies

Monday, July 4, 2011


It is common practice within hoodoo to utilize the book of Psalms for various purposes; for protection, health, to reconcile relationships, increase fertility, provide safe travel, and more.  A great number of hoodoo practitioners are Christian, so it should be no surprise that these verses found their way into hoodoo practices.  However, the book of Psalms can be a very powerful tool for all hoodoos.  Its usefulness does not have to be limited to Christian practioners.  To ignore this tool based on Christian symbolism is to limit your own practice, in my opinion.

Still some occult and magical practitioners are hesitant.  Some have asked me, "How do you work with the Saints and the Psalms?  You aren't Christian."  In regards to the Psalms, for me, the answer is simple.  The same way I work with any spell.  Essentially, the Psalms are words like any spell.  Their effectiveness depends on the practitioner and the meaning and energy they put into them.  So, if they are just words, why use them?  Why not use some other, non-Abrahamic, verse?  Well, the amazing thing about the Psalms is that they are words in which millions and millions of people have put energy and meaning into over hundreds of years. They have become, in essence, an extremely powerful egregore.  When you recite the words of Psalm 91 for protection you are activating a powerful thoughtform contructed by the thoughts and prayers of millions and millions of people.     

So, when I am "praying," or reciting, each psalm, the *Lord's* or *Almighty Father's* and so on are not, for my purposes, the Abrahamic God.  For me, I am simply calling on the protective thoughtform, the protective energy attatched to these words.  Again, the words only have meaning if you give them a purpose.  If I recited the same words without purpose, I might was well be reading the newspaper.  You cannot call upon the egegore or energies without willful intent. 

Now, let's look at one way to use the Psalms in our practice, for protection from enemies.

Psalm 91 (KJV)

1He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
 
 2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
 
 3Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
 
 4He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
 
 5Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
 
 6Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
 
 7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
 
 8Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
 
 9Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
 
 10There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
 
 11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
 
 12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
 
 13Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
 
 14Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
 
 15He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

 16With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

-------------

A Simple Protection Working:

Materials

Protection Bath Crystals
Psalms 91

Procedure

This is a very simple working, and just one example regarding the use of psalms.  The Psalms can also be used in candle magic, with poppets, with spell bottles, and more. For this working, simply, dissolve the bath crystals in a hot bath.  Then, get into the bath and take a handfull of the ritual bath water and pour it over your head while reciting Psalm 91.  Repeat this process a total of three times.  Each time you pour the water over your head recite the psalm.  Remember that it is important that you recite the psalm with purpose. It is not enough to just say the words.  You must say them with intent, calling upon the energies to protect and shelter you.  Between each pouring take a few moments to think about what it is you want.  Why do you need protection? Is someone causing you problems at work? At home?  What is the nature of the protection you need?  With each pouring envision yourself being covered in the protective energies of both the mixture and the psalm.   

Now you, yourself, are protected.  However, depending on the nature of the danger, additional workings may be needed to protect your home and any others. 

War Water

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

War Water, also known as Iron Water and Mars Water, is not native to hoodoo practices. Most likely, it is a European influence, as its name and purpose are derived from the Roman god of war, Mars. However, despite the fact that is it not historically traditional to hoodoo, War Water has earned such a prominate place in modern conjure it is worth talking about. 

What is War Water?

Essentially, War Water is rust iron suspended in water.  In its most basic form it is water in which cut iron has been allowed to oxidize and rust.  The water and iron used depends on both the purpose of the concoction and the conjurer preparing it.  To some conjurers the type of water does not matter, others will insist that it is necessary that you use thunderstorm water for the best results.  Still others will insist on running water as the base, specifically water that runs in a direction away from you and your home.  As for the iron used, some recipes call for cut nails, some coffin nails, and others railway spikes, depending on the purpose. 

After War Water sits for a while and the iron oxidizes, it is strained.  At this time, other ingredients may be added to the mix.  The these ingredients might include additional iron, graveyard dirt, thorns, urine, rotting oak leaves, and/or spanish moss.

Spanish Moss (seen at right) is a flowering plant that grows on trees in the South. It has become a common additive in War Water. It rots well in water giving the concoction a putrid or *swampy*smell and also a nice black color, which some prefer.

The following is pure spectulation on my part, but I personally believe that the spanish moss is a crossover from Tar Water.  Tar Water is made from bog water or swamp water and contains creosote and spanish moss.  It is traditional in conjure, and often contains nails and such, as well.  Zora Neale Hurston uses the words "Tar Water" and "War Water" interchangeably in "Mules and Men", and I believe over time the two recipes became intermingled.  However, War Water is *not* traditional hoodoo, while Tar Water is.  Furthermore, War (Mars) Water, in my opinion, should be red due to its connection with the Roman god Mars and iron. 

How is War Water used?

Unlike many gods of war, such as Ares, who is a primarily destructive and destabalizing force, Mars is military force meant to bring about peace.  Like its namesake, War Water, is an offensive tool meant to bring peace back into ones life by causing discord in another's.  Essentially, War Water's primary purpose is hostile foot track magic. 

Most accounts call for War Water to be contained in a glass jar, which would be thrown onto an enemies porch or against their door, breaking, and leaving a sharp dirty mess for them to step in.  The trick would cause dicord and stife for the person or family within and eventually drive the enemy away.  However, if breaking a glass jar on someone's door step does not seem feasible to you, it is not a necessity.  In a excerpt from Harry Middleton Hyatt's "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork," one rootworker interviewed talks about an alternative way to lay down this trick:

War Water to Run Off an Enemy:

(Well, go ahead.)
You go to the drug store and you ask for war dust.
(You go to the drug store and.)
You go to the drug store and ask for war powder.
(What color would that be?)
And dey goin' give you a brown powder.
(What kind?)
A brown powder. He goin' give you a brown powder.
(Yes.) [Meaning - continue, go on.]

And then you'll turn back around and ask him for that war water. That's to
make you get out right now - get away from around 'em.
(I see. Well, now how would they use that war water to get you out of the
house?)

How would they nuse [use] it? They'll come by like they come to visit you -
just like some of your friends, [not] like your relatives - but supposed to be close
friends of you. They'll get into your house. When they get into your home, they
going to start and they going to throw it from your steps. You ain't going to never
see 'em because you don't have no idea of that. They'll put it in through the steps
and when they get into the house they'll just drop it down in there, but still an' all
you ain't afraid of just a little water whatmight be spilt from upstairs or somewhere
down. But it's a little vial about that long.

(And they call it war water?)
War water.

(And what will it do to you?)
It will run you away from there - you won't stay there at all.
(I see. All right.)

All you do - it's only a little simple thing, you see. You can take and go
to the drug store and ask the drug store man - it's the drug store they call the
Crackerjack Drug Store. You can't get those things without you get it out the
Crackerjack Drug Store. You see, when you get it out of the Crackerjack Drug
Store, you got to have somebody to get it what's been dealing with the hoodoo.

(I see.)
And they'll get it for you.
(I couldn't go down and buy it there?)
No, sir. You have to get it from someone what's been dealing with them.
(I see.) And they'll get it for you, everything what they would get. You see
ah cain't half tell you some of the things 'cause it'd take me some time to set here
and start to [laughs].

[New Orleans, LA; First Informant in New Orleans; a woman, Informant #780. Volume 2, pg. 1625]

--------

According to this informant, it would be prefectly acceptable to simply pour the water out.  In addition, I read an account of another rootworker who placed their war water inside an empty coke can.  An in-law was causing constant problems for their daughter and they wished to be rid of this person, so they paid them a visit.  When they got out of their car at the person's residence, they began pouring the water out like it was old coke.  They poured it right up to and across the person's door step.  They went inside, had a cup of coffee with the person, and then left.  Soon after those within the house began to quarrel and the offending person moved out and left the family, bringing peace back to the rootworker's daughter. 

Hey, rootworkers are nothing if not innovative! :) 

Yarn Dollies as Poppets

Sunday, June 26, 2011



 Usually when one thinks of a poppet it automatically conjures, pun intended, images like the one to the left; a skeletal looking "voodoo" doll with pins sticking out of it everywhere.  However, poppets have a much longer history of use in sympathetic magic. 

It is said that in ancient Egypt, around 1110 BCE, that the enemies of Ramses III burnt wax poppets to bring about his death.  In England, Caroline of Brunswick is believed to have constructed similar wax images of King George IVand passed her time stabbing them with pins.

In ancient Greece, a poppet was called a Kolossoi.  These were used primarily to restrain or bind.   However, these were not limited to binding or restraining a mortal person, as we would typically use a poppet today.  They were, also, commonly used to bind a particular deity for private or public defense or to restrain a ghost or hostile energy.  When used to bind a mortal enemy, a male and female poppet was used if the enemy was unknown and three were used if it was an opposing army. 


So what is a poppet?  Simply put it is a doll, or a tool constructed in the human image.  They are constructed with the purpose of representing someone or something else.  They become the embodiment of that person or thing, so it is believed that anything done to the poppet will also be done to the original.  These poppets can be constructed of wax, clay, wood, corn sheaths or any other material, but are most commonly made of some sort of fabric.  They can be stuffed with any material that suits your purpose; stones, cotton, rice, seeds, the clothes of the target, ect. 

How can poppets be used? When it comes to the uses for your poppet the limit really is your own imagination.  Poppets can be used for healing, harming, banishing, binding, bringing prosperity, ridding yourself of an unwanted person, protection, ect.  And, like the Greeks, your poppet magic does not have to be limited to magic tragetting a human directly.  Below we are going to look at how to use a yarn dollie to banish the negativity from a bad situation or experience.  Over the next few weeks we will discuss, in more specifics, different ways to use poppets.

How to construct a simple Yarn Dollie:





Materials:

Yarn in appropriate color.  This will depend on your purpose.  For instance, you might choose blue if the work will be to heal, green if it is to bring prosperity, ect.  OR you might choose a color that you believe gives the doll a stronger connection the to target.

Scissors

A Square of Cardboard.  This should be cut to the size that you want your yarn dollie to be.  Its size is up to you.  If it is something you wish to carry on you it might need to be small.  It really depends on your purpose. 

Personal Concern. This can be added during construction or afterwards.  Hair is and excellent personal concern when using yarn dollies because it can be worked into the construction.  However, you can use anything you have available.  Just stick it inside.  Though, you will need to keep the size of your personal concern in mind when you are deciding on the size of your dollie. 

Procedure:

1. Wrap the yarn around the cardboard once and tie off at the top.

2. Continue to wrap yarn.  You will need at least 100 wraps.  Keep in mind that the more loops you make the thicker your yarn dollie will be.

3. On the last loop, tie the yarn onto the previous loop to secure it.

4. Slide another piece of yarn between the loops and the cardboard.  Slide the yarn to the top and tie off, tying all the loops together. 

5. Slide the strings off of the cardboard, and tie a piece of yarn where you want to neck to be.

6.  Pull out a few strings on each side for the arms.  Then, tie a piece of yarn around where you would like the waist to be.

7. Tie a piece of yarn around each arm where you would like the wrists to be and trim the ends.

8.  If you are making a *male* poppet, seperate the remaining strings into two legs and tie a piece of yarn on each ankle.  Then, trim the ends.  If you are making a *female* poppet, simply trim the ends to make her "skirt."




 9.  Now you may add whatever personal concern you have chosen, if you have not done so already.  And your poppet is ready to get to work.


Banishing Negativity from an Experience or Situation using a Yarn Dollie:

Materials needed in addition to those required for dollie construction:

Small Pieces of Parchment Paper

Spell Pen.  This is a pen you use only for spell crafting.

Banishing Oil

Ritual Bath - for cleansing and empowerment


First, you will need to construct your yarn dollie, as above.  I, personally, would use black yarn as this work is for banishing, but you can choose a yarn that works for you.  Remember your personal concern.  You must tell the dollie who it will be working for.

During the construction process, you might want to name your dollie.  I find that talking to them, both during construction and during the working, as if they *ARE* people helps to build their mojo.  In this case, since the dollie does not represent an actual person itself, but a thing or idea instead, you can give it a generic name, such as Bad Bob.  Anything that *you* can connect with the thing you wish to banish, but something that helps you give it a personality and some *life*, if that makes sense.  For the sake of this post, we *will* call this one Bad Bob.

Next, you want to dress Bad Bob with a banishing oil. Personally, I would annoint his head, wrists, feet, and heart, but you can do this in whatever manner suits you.  Then, you are going to take your parchment pieces and a spell pen.  On each piece of parchment you are going to write the negativity that arose from this experience or situation which you wish to banish.  Examples can include; self-doubt, fear of group situations, resentment, undeserved guilt, anger, ect. Dress each of piece of parchment with banishing oil.  I would do so in a five-faced die pattern, one dot at each corner and one in the center.  Remember to keep talking to Bad Bob.  Tel him what you are doing and why.  Let him know that *you* are in charge of the situation, and that he works for *you.*

After you have written down each negativity that you wish to banish, place them inside Bad Bob.  Tell Bad Bob what you are getting rid of each time you place a piece inside him. Then, burn then entire thing, banishing the unhealthy hold that Bad Bob had on your life and all the negativity that he brought with him.

Next, you will want to have a cleansing and empowering ritual bath.  If you do not already have one Lucky Mojo sells excellent ones.  I would recommend Van Van bath products, to open the way to positive growth from this point on. 

Finally, after your bath, make an offering and say thanks for the positive things that came from the situation or experience.  Every situation and experience comes with both negative and positive.  Sometimes we let the negative take center stage and overlook the wonderful positives that are there patiently waiting to be acknowledged.  You can make your offering to deity, to the universe, to yourself even.  But it should be a celebration and a time of thanksgiving.  Name each positive.  Be specific, not general, so that you may fully appreciate them.  Examples could include: Wonderful friends I made, the realization that I am stronger than I thought, the strength to speak up for others, the knowledge required to avoid similar situations in the future, the motivation to take control of my life, etc...

And now you have successful worked with poppet magic! Blessed crafting!


Very Superstitious...

Friday, June 24, 2011


Superstitions and omens have a important role in Southern Conjure and Folk Magic.  Rather many spiritual beliefs and practices stem from what most consider superstitious.  After coming across several such superstitions in my studies, I decided that it would be a good idea for us to discuss them here.  The purpose of this particular blog is to look at what a superstition is.  Then, every two weeks or so, I will present a particular superstition or set of superstitions for us to discuss.

So what is a superstition?  According to Wikipedia:

Superstition is a credulous belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge. The word is often used pejoratively to refer to folk beliefs deemed irrational. This leads to some superstitions being called "old wives' tales". It is also commonly applied to beliefs and practices surrounding luck, prophecy and spiritual beings, particularly the belief that future events can be foretold by specific unrelated prior events.


Well, according to that, we are all pretty superstitious, in one way or another, no?  And that's one problem inherent with superstitions, what constitutes a superstition in one culture, religion, or path is accepted belief and practice in another.  Many atheists or agnostics would consider any religious belief to be supersitions.
Yet, on the other hand, many Abrahamic religions, such as Islam and Christianity, try to sperate, within their own religions, accepted doctrine from the belief in superstition, as they define it.  They declare superstition a sinful practice.  They do this, in my opinion,  for two reasons. First, Abrahamic religions fear that the open belief in such "old wives tales" will only further hurt the credibility of their religionr. Secondly, they connect the belief in such superstitions, which they deem irrational and religiously unfounded, to a belief in magic. They believe that participating in superstitions, such as knocking on wood or throwing a pinch of salt over your shoulder, shows a lack of faith in one's god.  In the Catechism (para. #2111), Catholicism attempts to address this issue stating:

Superstition is a deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand is to fall into superstition. Cf. Matthew 23:16–22


According to The Modern Religion:

The Arabs were as superstitious as anyone before Islam. They would not undertake a journey or do anything important without first "determining" that it would be safe to do so -- by looking at birds and beasts. If a bird flew from right to left in front of them, that was a bad omen: flight in the other direction was a good omen. During travel, if a deer crossed going from right to left, the trip was cancelled. When they reached a destination, they would seek protection of jinn by supplicating to them. Yet, such deeply held beliefs and practices were uprooted completely by Islam in a very short period.
Now, I am not intending to say that all Abrahamic practitioners share this adversion to superstition and omens.  As a vast number of rootworkers and folk magic pracitioners are Christian, this would be a silly assertion.  Such statements, instead, apply only to mainstream doctrine within those religions.


So why is conjure so different?  Why do rootworkers not only embrace a number of superstitions, but also look for them?  To this I can really only speculate. 

First, it is possibly the lack of a centralized deity, who is responsible for all the comings and goings of our lives and to whom we must give unconditional alligance and faith.  For some religions, Abrahamic in particular, the absence of faith comes with a cost, a punishment.  Conjure is free of a universal obligation to a supreme deity.  Individuals may choose one or another, but there is no dogma to that end within conjure.  A rootworker can believe as they choose without the fear of eternal damnation.

Secondly, it is the nature of conjure to believe in spirits.  These spirtis may be ancestors or not; benevolent or manevolent; human, animal, or other.  Because conjurers believe that spirits actively move among us, tansversing worlds, from ours to the otherworld, it is easy to believe that these spirits would have knowledge that we do not, knowledge of the future, the unseen present, ect.  Sometimes these spirits give us messages, in the form of omens or superstitions.  Abrahamic religions have a tendency to mark all spirits as demonic, and therefore any messages or help would be of the devil and sinful. 

Finally, personal empowerment plays a large role in conjure.  Each individual has their own unique mojo, or power.  We have the power not only to read the signs, but to influence the outcome.  This belief encourages us to look for those signs; to pay attention to the subtle world around us; to look for consistencies, anomalies, and confirmations; to communicate with both our world and others.



Now, enough speculation. :)  I'd like to wrap this post up by telling you why *I* believe in many superstitions and omens. Some of my reasons are the same as above, some a different.

1.  I believe that spirits, regardles of their nature, transverse the worlds and *are* privy to knowledge we are not.  I believe at times they attempt to convey this knowledge to us, often through what might seem unrelated circumstances or mere coincidence.

2.  I believe that all things are connected, whether that be by universal energy, a common psyche, or mojo.  I believe we have the ability to see glimpses of the other worlds and also the ability to influence ours.  I believe we are more powerful than we imagine.  And because we are connected, the world *talks* to us.  We just need to "have our listening ears on," as my four-year-old says. 

3.  I believe that there are universals in the human psyche, regardless of location, culture, or circumstances.  It accounts for the commonalities we find in myth and legend.  It also accounts for commonalities we find in superstitions.  For instance, the owl is assocaited with death and the otherworld in numerous cultures across the world.  To hear it's screech (not hoot) is a portend of death or severe illness.  I believe that it is through these commonalities, hidden within our higher selves that we find the codes to understanding not only our world but those beyond. 

4.  I believe that a lot of conjure is attitude and instinct.  I believe that believing is important, if that makes sense.  If you have enough faith in something you can make it work for you.  For instance, if I believe that a cat walking towards me will bring me good luck that day, that belief or attitude, if strong enough, can influence my day for the possitive, the same as me believing that nailing railway spikes into the ground at my house's corners will protect me.  If I don't believe, it means nothing.  Does this mean that I think we should, or that I do, believe in everything??  No, of course not.  It simply means that I view some superstitions simply as additional tools for my conjure arsenal.  If they make sense to me, or I can relate to them, I will utilize them in my practice to reinforce my faith in the work. 


So please share in the comments section below.  Do you believe in superstitions and omens?  Why or why not?  Any particular superstitions that you put great stock in?  I'd love to here your opinions and experiences.
 

St. John the Baptist

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blessed Solstice Everyone!

    Midsummer corresponds with St. John the Baptist Day, June 24, being the day of his birth.  Since saints have a strong connection with conjure, I thought today would be a good day to talk about St. John and how to use him in your work. 

St. John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus of Nazareth, was born on June 24 and died, by beheading, in Jordan on August 23.  A prisoner of King Herrod, his death was a result of the venegance of a jealous woman.  His head was brought to her on a platter.  In turn, St. John can be called upon to guard against the jealousy of others. 

Traditionally, St. John is depicted carrying a tall, slender cross and often a lamb.  Sometimes the imagery is that of a decapitated head on a platter. 


St. John's Patronage:



St. John and West African Spirituality:

St. John is also connected with the orishnas of Santeria.  The Yoruba people of West Africa recognized three levels of spiritual being; Olodumare, orishnas, and eggun.  Olodumare is the creating force or being; orishnas are nature spirits of messengers; and eggun are spirits of the dead, which are to be honored and revered.  Orishnas are much like Christian angels, and when years of slavery in the Americas forced the Yoruba people to practice in secret, they adopted many Catholic saints and angels. 

There are nine orishnas; Ellegua/Ellegua, Obatala/Obatalia, Yemaya/Yemalia/Yemalla, Oya, Oshun/Ochum, Chango/Shango/ Xango/Sango, Ogun/Ogum, Orula/Orunmila, and Babaluaye.  Each orishna is associated with a saint, most are associated with more than one.  St. John the Baptist falls under Ogun/Ogum, along with Saint Anthony, Saint George, and Saint Simon Peter (San Pedro).  This orishna is the Lord of metals, minerals, tools, birds, and wild beasts. 


Seven of the nine orishnas were combined into the common image of "The Seven African Powers."  The Seven African Powers are a symbol of luck, power, and and protection, and are utilized by many rootworkers.

The image portrays the crucifixion of Christ, while a rooster on a pedestal watches.  The crucifixion is surrounded by the images of seven of the orishnas.  At times the image may include the names of the orishnas and at others the names of the saints. 

This image is often found on incense, powders, baths, candles, and other conjure tools.  Often the center image, without the orishnas, can be found on candles bearing the inscription "Just Judge" or "Faithful Judge."

For more on The Seven African Powers please see THIS post on Lucky Mojo.


Working with St. John:

Along with the above mentioned correspondences, St. John is often called on to relieve chronic headaches.  Let's look at one way this could be done.  This working is of my own design.  Please feel free to use it in its entirety or as inspiration for your own creations.

Materials:

Healing Master Candle
Small White Altar Candle (this will become your petition candle)
Small Candle Holder for Petitioner Candle
St. John's Wort
Peppermint
Rosemary
Healing Oil
2 St. John the Baptist Prayer Card
A personal concern - such as hair

First, you will need to create your petition candle.  If you are not familiar with petition candles in conjure, please see THIS post. For this candle, I chose white, instead of the more common blue used for healing, because white is the color associated with St. John the Baptist.  The candle should be annointed, or dressed, in the healing oil of your choice and then rolled in rosemary, peppermint, and St. John's wort.  Rosemary and peppermint because both are excellent herbs for headache relief.  St. John's wort I chose for two reasons.  First, the herb also has along history as a pain reliever, but also, it is an herb strongly associated with St. John.  This plant's bright yellow blooms appear around the time of midsummer, or St. John's Day, and, thus, the plant was given his name. 



After the candle is dressed and rolled in herbs, you will need to light your Healing Master Candle.  If you are not familiar with such a candle please see THIS earlier blog post.  Bring the light from your HMC to your petition candle and allow it to burn for a few moments, long enough to melt enough wax to bring up over the wick.  Remember while you are doing this, you should be *setting* your petition for a specific purpose. In this case, relieving the chronic headaches of the target.  You may also wish, during this process, to carve the name of the target into the candle.  Do so before dressing the candle. 

Once your petition candle is set, and its purpose locked inside, you are ready to get started.  (Please note that petition candles can be made in advance or at the time of the working.  Additional candles can also be made if you wish to work simultaneously with another person, such as the target or another rootworker.)

First, you will take your two St. John the Baptist prayer cards, (these can be purchased on ebay, amazon, or a from a Catholic supply store,)  and place them back-to-back. In between the cards, place the hair or other personal concern.  With the cards back-to-back, place the candle holder, with the petition candle in it, on top of the cards. You can also laminate these cards with the personal concern inside.  This makes them more durable and allows you to use them in future workings for the same petitioner.

Now, light the petition candle while *praying* to St. John.  This simply means tell St. John what it is that you want, state you petition.  In return, you should promise St. John an offering when the working is complete.  Do not make the offering at this time.  Simply make the promise.  For St. John, an appropriate offering could be white flowers placed on your altar or a place of high visibility along with his image.  In addition, a public thank you, such as one placed in the newspaper or even on FB, is always an acceptable offering for a saint.  Not to long ago, a young woman, from a conjure group I belong to on yahoo, posted her thank you on the groups message board.  These "Thank You's" can be annonymous, also, if you are more comfortable with that.  A simple "Thank you St. John" placed in the local newspaper will do. 

After you have made your petition and promised your offering, allow the candle to *cook,* burning down as far as possible without going out.  Then, blow the candle out, sending the working out for its purpose.  If something arises, and you must leave before the candle is ready to be blown out, simply snuff the candle.  This will lock the working inside.  Re-light and continue when you are able to finish the work.  Bury the candle stub near your front door to bring healing in. 

And WAH-LAH!  Now you have worked with St. John the Baptist! :)



Blessed Solstice and Blessed Workings!

Gotta get that Mojo...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Before you read any further.... let me go ahead and inform you that unfortunately this blog will not involve advanced cryogenic science, awkward espionage, ridiculous sexual conquests, 60s stereotypes, nor humorously bad dental hygeine.  If you're here for that, you'll just have to get your groovy somewhere else.  However, if you are interested in blood, sexual fluids, and personal power, this is the blog for you. 

Ahhh... now, I've got you...





Let's start by talking about what "mojo" is.  In conjure, mojo represents your personal essence, or power, if you will.  It is unique to each individual and everyone has it.  Think of it as your conjure DNA. Like DNA, it is strongly tied to your physical body, and can be transfered through articles known in conjure as personal concerns.  Personal concerns are a way of tying a working to a specific person by using that person's unique mojo, their conjure DNA.  The stronger the connection with the physical body, or *life force,* the stronger the mojo.   Some personal concerns are sympathetic, such as photographs, personal measurements, and name papers.  These are not as *powerful* as others because their connection to the physical person is not as concrete, it's symbolic.

Here is a list of personal concern examples, substantiated through various sources and personal experience but primarily from THIS fabulous article by Oakthorne.   They are ranked in order of *strength.*

  • Blood
  • Sexual Effluvia: Mixed Sexual Fluids, Semen, Vaginal Fluid, Menstrual Blood
  • Private Biological Effluvia: Feces, Urine, Tears, Bathwater
  • Hairs: Public, Body, Armpit, Beard, Head
  • Dirty Private Clothing:  underwear, socks, stocking, pajamas
  • Biological Excreta: saliva (spit), sweat, musus, hand-wash water, fingernails, saved baby teeth
  • Foot-tracks: Foot skin scrapings, shoes, foot-track dirt, foot-bath water, toenails
  • Dirty Public Clothing: Hat, headband, hairbow
  • Other Articles Touched by the Body:  Dishrag, washcloth, handkerchief, napkin, utensils, toothpick
  • Measures:  Genital organ or other body part
  • Pictures and Images: Drawings, Photographs
  • Personal Momentos: Handwriting, something the person owned
  • Impersonal Momentos: Business cards, newspaper articles
  • Name Papers:  The person's name written by the rootworker, or birthdate

The list above is by no means complete, but is a good starting point.  You will notice quite a bit of over-lap in the articles; such as the toothpick.  The toothpick as a personal concern will undoubtedly contain the person's saliva and most likely also a bit of their skin.  Dirty underwear might contain sexual fluids or menstrual blood.  Such articles would have a stronger connection to the individual than underwear that did not.  The stronger the connection, the stronger the mojo, and the more effective your working will be.

You will also find that the *strength* of the concern can vary depending on the purpose of the working.  For instance, in the above list you will find blood at the very top.  However, if the purpose of the working was of a romantic or sexual nature sexual effluvia would be more appropriate and thus *stronger.*  It's important to concentrate on finding a concern that is appropriate for your working.  Do not just choose one because it is *higher on the list.*  In addition, you might feel personally that these concerns should be in a slightly different order. That is ok.  It's important, in conjure, that the rootworker pays close attention to what feels right for them, as much of conjure is instinctual.

Now, alot of people I have spoken with seem to get squeemish about personal concerns.  They're all on board with sending that hussy, who "unjustly" has stole the affections of their love interest, packing, right up until they're asked for a little hair.  I have two theories as to why this is.  First, personal concerns make the working seem more concrete, more real, to the petitioner.  The work is no longer detatched.  It has a very specific purpose, with a very real human target.  The petitioner is not ready for this type of responsibility or committment.  Second, they are afraid of getting caught or not sure how to obtain the concern.

If the issue is the first, I would suggest that the petitioner or rootworker hold off on the working, until a time were they are able to take fully responsibility for all implications. If the second, I say, "Get creative!!"  That's part of the beauty of conjure!  It encourages creativity and ingenuity. 

Want to help someone stop smoking?  Why not grab a discarded cigarette butt?  Need hair or skin?  Grab someone's razor or clean their hairbrush?  Discarded coffee cups, tissues, bubble gum, used bandaids, diabetic lancets, utensils, tampons, condoms, cotton balls, lip gloss, a christmas card signed by the target, a facebook picture, a gym towel.... the sky really is the limit.

So again, why are personal concerns important in conjure?  They provide your working with a specific target, just as if you had provided an investigator with an individual's DNA. Your working knows exactly who the target is, without guess work. Now, having been combined with that person's conjure DNA, it has a way to affix itself to that specific individual.  This allows your work to continue long after you have done "your part."   Without this connection, your work has no specific direction or target and may very well sit and do nothing.     

Prosperity Spell Bottle

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Last night, I *FINALLY* cooked up my prosperity spell bottle.  I have been meaning to do this for some time, but I let little excuses like "I'm too tired" and "I don't have time" get in the way.  Once you fall into that trap it becomes more and more difficult to get out.  Procrastination can be Prosperity's worst enemy, so last night I made myself make time to sit down and work.  The following is the outcome, which I think is fan-tab-ulous!



Ingredients for this working:

Green Bottle (bought this one at Goodwill for $1.00)
Prosperity Master Candle (Please see THIS post for more information on this candle)
Petition Candle
Basil
Dead Sea Salt
Two-Dollar Bill
Frankincense Essential Oil
Lucky Mojo Curio's Prosperity Oil (Please visit Lucky Mojo for more information on their conjure products)
Lucky Mojo Curio's Attraction Oil
3 Small Lodestones
Peacock Feather
Gold-Colored Sand
Gold Ribbon
Gold-Colored Beads

Process:

I began this working by creating my prosperity petition candle.  I annointed the small green candle with Lucky Mojo Prosperity Oil and lit my Prosperity Master Candle.  Then using a white taper I brought the light from my Master Candle to the petition candle.  I allowed it to burn for a few minutes and then snuffed it out, pulling the wax up over the wick to seal in the "mojo."




After everything was in order, I re-lit the petition candle inorder to allow it to "cook" during the working.

Next, in a small bowl, I combined a small amount of gold-colored sand, dead sea salt, basil, and nine drops of frankincense oil.  The gold-sand is completely symbolic.  A lot of conjure is based on color correspondences/symbolism, such as candle magic and mojo bags.  For me, the gold sand, though not actual gold, is visually stimulating.  It has the appearance of gold flakes, and inspires thoughts of prosperity.  The dead sea salt was used to ground the work.  I chose basil because it is a favorite prosperity herb of mine, as a substitute I might have chosen patchouli, another favorite.  However, you could certainly use any prosperity herb that calls to you.  It is important that it speaks to *you.*  I chose to use frankincense oil in this working.  One of the three gifts of the wisemen, frankincense has long been connected with prosperity. 



After all these ingredients were mixed I carefully poured them into the bottle, allowing them to form the base of my working.




Next, I annointed the upside of the two-dollar bill with attraction oil. I did so in a five-face die pattern, with a drop on each number 2 and one on the face.  I chose the two-dollar bill, first, because it is obviously money, but also due to its semi-rareness.  After the bill was annointed I folded it towards me once, rotated it 90 degrees and folded it towards me twice more.  Then, I "sealed" it with three drops of wax from my petition candle, and placed it inside the bottle.




Next, I took three lodestones and annointed them with both Lucky Mojo Attraction Oil and Lucky Mojo Prosperity Oil.  Lodestones are magnetic iron ore and have long been prized for their ability to "draw" things in.  For more about this stone, please read THIS article on Lucky Mojo. 




After each stone was annointed, I place them inside the bottle, one-by-one, charging each with a more specific prosperity purpose; wealth, health, happiness. 



Next, I placed the peacock feather inside the bottle.  I have never, personally, seen a peacock feather used in conjure work.  However, for me it has strong uses in prosperity, protection, and divination.  Peacocks were often kept by noble or wealthy families as a symbol of their status.  They were the symbol of the Ming Dynasty in China and were associated with divinity, rank, wealth, and beauty.  In this way, they are a symbol of personal or family prosperity.  In addition, the colorful, circular designs on the male tail feathers were believed by some cultures to be "eyes."  In this way, the peacock could be used for protection, both physical and psychic; guardianship; and divination, by utilizing this "eye" of the bird. By Islamic lore, a peacock guards the gate to Paradise.  In a way, a guardian of prosperity.  Here it is obviously used for prosperity, but also to guard against anything that could be hindering to this work's success.


Finally, I decorated the outside of the bottle with gold ribbon and gold-colored beads.  Again, these are visually symbolic.  The more appealing and rich the bottle looks the more it inspires thoughts of prosperity.  Essentially, when I look at the bottle I want it too *look* prosperous.  This keeps me in the right state of mind for the bottle to do its thing.


I allowed the petition candle to burn almost completely down, cooking.  Then, I blew it out to send the mojo out for it's purpose.  The candle stub I burried by my front porch steps to draw prosperity in.  It is typical to bury many spell bottles.  However, this one I will place on my desk, which is central in my house and where I keep my bills to be paid.  In fact, my bills will sit under this bottle until they have been paid.