October 24, 2011 § Leave a comment
This is a lot more trouble than you will usually need to go to. But I will often advise clients that a formula is warranted in their case, and that candle work is warranted in their case, and so they can work by dressing a candle with oil. They will often then write back and say "but what spell do I do," thinking, I suppose, that setting a dressed light is not a spell.
Setting a dressed light is a spell. And setting a dressed light can be extremely effective. Conjure is not like some ceremonial magic where you have to do a series of complicated actions and speak other languages and do things on a certain day at a certain time. Just light the darned candle and pray your butt off, seriously. Some folks make it harder than it has to be. If you want to use moon phases and days of the week and chants that rhyme, fine, but you don't have to, and not every professional worker does.
But if you want a more complicated spell with multiple moving parts, here's one. Don't ask me what to do if you can't get or don't want to work with animal parts – my advice will be "you aren't trying hard enough" for the first objection and "well, then, light a dressed candle" or "do a google search for stop gossip hoodoo" for the second. This is "bigger guns" than most cases need, but I figured I'd type it up since I performed it for a client recently, and I feel like I owe a non-complaining, informative post after all that lecturing I was doing :-)
This is not the Court Case Beef Tongue spell, so won't worry about how you're going to tie the tongue back together after you shred it to pieces, or if you want to eat it after you put alum on it – you aren't going to do any of this stuff.
- appropriate oil like Tapa Boca, Shut Your Mouth, STFU, Binding, etc. (not all Stop Gossip oils are suitable) – see below)*
- target's personal concern, photo, and/or name paper
- black candle and holder if needed
- airline-sized bottle of whiskey
- alum or aloes powder
- red pepper flakes or hot sauce
- knotgrass or devil's shoe string
- some worms, or if you can manage it and stand it, some maggots or flesh-eating beetles
- a beef tongue (larger), sheep tongue (smaller), or other animal tongue (ox tongue would work)
- a razor blade, box cutter, or extremely sharp knife
- a dish or saucer large enough to hold the tongue
Dress your candle. Light your dressed candle. (You can carve a petition on it ahead of time if you like – the emphasis should be on the slanderer rather than you. If you want to work a "protect me" petition, see below, at the end of this post. This is not a "protect me" spell.)
As you set the candle in the holder, say:
"See what they spew from their mouths–they spew out swords from their lips, and they say, "Who can hear us?""
Light the candle and say:
"I can hear you, and the Lord God my protector can hear you. I can see you, and your heart is transparent to me."
Set the personal concerns in the dish or saucer. Say:
"I see who devises evil plans in their hearts and stirs up war every day."
Baptize the tongue, using the whiskey to sprinkle it and baptize it in the name of your target. (Don't be a baby – if you are afraid to touch it, you shouldn't be doing this spell.) Hold it in your hand, sprinkle it with whiskey with your other hand, and baptize it "name", saying "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. [Name] I call you, [name] you are to me, and what I tell you, you, [name,] will do."
Lay the tongue in the dish atop the concerns and douse it liberally with whiskey. Say "No one who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence."
Take your blade and make slow, deep, deliberate, precise cuts along the length of the tongue. You can match up a cut for each sentence or phrase below, or you can just slowly recite the whole while cutting. (If you think you need or want more things to say, consult Psalm 37 and Psalm 35 for ideas; just about every phrase in this spell comes from the Bible and most from the Psalms – the Bible contains some of the more ancient and powerful curses that have been preserved in writing. Just don't choose passages that are about the Lord as shepherd for this spell – you want good old-fashioned Old Testament smiting here).
"I am in the midst of lions; I lie among ravenous beasts–men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords. Not a word from their mouths can be trusted; their hearts are filled with destruction. I destroy their iniquity. I seize the weapon of my enemy. Your throat is an open grave; with your tongue you speak deceit. You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue for lies. But I see through your lies, and the Lord God my protector sees through your lies. Your tongue plots destruction; it is like the sharpest razor, you who practice deceit. I curse the whisperer and deceiver, for you have destroyed many who were at peace."
At this point you should have a whole bunch of long, deep slits in the tongue. It's ok if it is still mostly held together and just looks shredded – it's also ok if you have cut clean through and you have more than one piece now. (This may depend on the tongue you have and your cutting implement, in other words – a box cutter will not do a quick, clean job on a six-pound cow's tongue. But it doesn't have to be "just so" – it just needs to be cut up well and good so it would be useless as a muscle.)
Take your herbs and sprinkle them liberally all over the tongue. If you have done the job right, you won't even have to try to get them into the cuts and slits, but you aren't aiming just for the cuts and slits – get your herbs all over it. As you are sprinkling, say:
"Now I am the sharpest razor, because I am able to cut all evildoers away from me. I am the strongest sword, because I remove all liars from my presence, and the Lord God my protector punishes your iniquity. Each day you did unrighteousness with your tongue and were greedy for the blood of the innocent. Now you are dumb and wounded by your own sins. You pay with your body the recompense for the evil deeds you worked with your tongue."
Sprinkle the worms or other critters on the tongue, saying:
"Worms shall chew you. Your tongue is burst open, your teeth divided, your jaws split apart, your throat torn open in the grave that it has become through your deeds. Your sinews are broken and your tongue is shredded by the worms that thirst for your blood."
Disposal depends on a few factors. I am a big fan of the old-fashioned method of leaving the ritual remains on the target's property, in which case I might just leave the entire saucer on their doorstep or under their porch, or maybe under a bush in their yard, or I might skip the saucer and hide the tongue in a tree on the property (in which case I might pin or nail any papers or concerns to the tongue first). If this might get you arrested, however, you can bury it in a cemetery or in the woods (and even do a little funeral ceremony over it – if you want to get fancy, and you are seriously okay with killing work, you can even do a Vigil for the Dead prior to this. Again, this is totally beyond what most cases call for and is not going to be justified in every case – I'm describing a case that was far more serious than usual. The worm thing makes most sense in these cases, since burial enacts the retribution you are describing in the spoken part of the spell. Yes, worms will find it on their own eventually if you bury it, but I wouldn't skip that part just because it required a trip to a specialty pet shop if I were a city-dweller).
Alternately, the more neutral disposal option would be at a crossroads.
Even when work like this is justified, spiritual cleansing afterwards is still recommended.
* I personally advise starting with Stop Gossip work before going as far as a spell like this – mojos, sprinkling powders around your workplace and bathing with Stop Gossip bath, etc. Even if you do resort to this spell, it's a good idea to pair this work with a protective bath or mojo for yourself, like Stop Gossip. The difference is that the target for the above spell is the gossiper, while the target for a Stop Gossip bath or mojo is you – you are applying protective elements to yourself in the case of a bath, and those ingredients are designed to get gossip to bounce or slide off you when you carry the bag or bathe in the mixture. So needless to say, the ingredients for this spell and for a Stop Gossip mojo or bath are not entirely the same.
Here you are not using slippery elm bark or the like because it's not a protective spell to guard you – it's an active, destructive spell to stop a gossiper. It's presumably justified, and you are presumably free from the sin of slander yourself (if you're not, then don't tempt fate by asking God to smite your slanderer), but you aren't working on yourself here. You are not the target. See the difference? Some traditional conjure formulas "work" on two targets, in two "directions," at the same time, like I Can You Can't and Commanding and Court Case, which have stuff in them to work on your success AND make your competition or enemy trip up. But not all do, and I just want to make sure nobody uses the above ingredient list to make up a stop-gossip bath for themselves, or thinks a Stop Gossip oil is necessarily going to have devil's shoe string in it. Most Stop Gossip products out there today have protective elements in them and are designed for you to use on yourself, and so they may not be what you want here. Some Stop Gossip spells work in two directions at once, to protect you and to silence your enemy. Some have elements of reversing rather than outright binding. But not all do. When in doubt, ask your supplier whether their oil is suitable for what you have in mind.
ETA: The Ninjacat has an example of a Stop Gossip spell that is a bit less aggressive (though certainly not from the "turn the other cheek" school of spellwork!) – and it's also an example of a spell that clearly delineates its "directionality," if you know what you're reading for/looking at when you read it. It is a Stop Gossip spell, yes, but it's not of the same variety as other Stop Gossip spells which also target you as part of the whole framework, versus being aimed solely at the gossiper. See the difference? You don't mix up alum and pepper and dust yourself with it. Note: I don't like to link to blogs or sites or posts when I am trying to make a point about how something is wrong or misleading, because – well, that's verging over into gossip territory! But if you do a search for stop gossip spells, you will likely find one that says to use cloves, chia seeds, alum, and slippery elm I think, all powered together, to stop gossip. If you don't know what you're doing, you might come away from this with the idea that both cloves and alum should be filed under "Stop Gossip herbs." Then you might be surprised later, and confused, to find a spell calling for cloves to be used in friendship or affection. (Follow the tags for an old post about a similar issue that crops up with sulphur, because people have got it in their heads that sulphur is for driving people away, and this results in even not-neophyte-workers getting confused when they come across an old deep South spell calling for sulphur to bring customers to a fish fry or sidewalk sale. Such things have caused some folks to decide that a certain Hyatt informant was wrong, or confused, or lying to Hyatt, when in fact, the modern, suspicious reader just has the wrong conceptual categories in his or her head.) Can cloves be used in Stop Gossip work? Sure! But it's not because "it's an herb that stops gossip" in the same way that alum does. Can sulphur be used in Goofering work? Sure! But it's not because "it's for driving people away" as such.
This distinction is often lost on "new converts" to hoodoo, who get the basic idea ("this is to stop gossip") but not the theory or directionality behind the work ("who is the target?") – and sometimes they will advise putting a traditional Stop Gossip formula on a target's belongings to *make them shut up.* I don't recommend this in most cases – I don't think Slippery Elm bark is a very strong deterrent of backbiting itself, but rather protective so that the effects of gossip slide off of you. Very often, Stop Gossip is the right approach in the workplace or in a large group of friends or family anyway, since gossip spreads and breeds among and within groups, and stopping one person will not usually stop the problem, just as stopping them from gossiping about you will not usually cure them of gossiping altogether – they'll just find somebody else to talk about.
But this issue of directionality is why you yourself bathe with Stop Gossip bath salts, but why Tapa Boca soap is usually slipped into the company washroom so *other people* will use it, as a sneaky trick. It all depends on what the ingredients in the formula are supposed to be doing, what "direction" they are supposed to be working in. Often, it is a good idea to work in more than one "direction," with the "carrot and stick" approach, to sweeten your enemies in general but also put the spiritual choke-collar on them so you can yank a knot in their ass when they overstep their bounds – but often (not always) you need to do this as two distinct workings. (Commanding alone does not always work like we want – in fact, it backfires on some folks, which is why I think many people are too quick to apply Commanding elements to their typical love situations, but that is another post.)
Magic takes the path of least resistance – if you can *get your target to want to do what you want them do,* that is going to be more successful work than forcing them to do something where they are fighting you every step of the way. So when Hot Foot isn't working, the next step should often be Attraction work (to draw a new, exciting opportunity that your target cannot resist, so they go happily) instead of busting out all the DUME and Plagues of Egypt work. Same with Commanding work in love – if you are not wrapping them around your little finger with your Follow Me work, then stop focusing on controlling their every thought, word and deed (which is not usually going to work anyway), and focus instead on working on you – boost your sex appeal, glamor, communication, passion, and general aura of "I am Irresistible and Awesome." You draw more flies with honey etc. It's often a better use of your time, money, and energy than is inventing new ways to get licorice root into their food, or in trying a new spell to tie their nature.
I know not everybody shares my view on this sort of thing and people often want what they want, but I'm not just speaking as someone who wouldn't want a relationship if that relationship had to be maintained through coercive magic being constantly applied, or as somebody who would not sic the Intranquil Spirit on somebody I actually loved. I am also speaking as a rootworker who has seen hundreds and hundreds of cases and has gotten a pretty fair idea of what tends to work and what does not. I *will* do all kinds of "heavy" work, IF it's justified AND if it looks like it will ultimately benefit the client, even if it is not work I would undertake for myself if I were in the client's shoes. But the "heaviest" work is not always the most effective work, and with some of that "heavy" work, it does not always ultimately benefit the client even it is wildly successful. But that, I suppose, is also another post!
February 27, 2011 § Leave a comment
I sometimes get questions about how to make name papers, especially of the "turn the paper and write your name crosswise over the target’s" varieties.
A while back, I took a photo of what such a sample paper might look like, and I’ve been meaning to post it. My impetus for doing so today is that in unrelated work, I found a digital copy of an 1832 letter to Mary Custis Lee from her aunt that illustrates on a larger scale exactly this sort of writing. The digital archive of which it’s a part describes the letter thus:
The letter has nothing to do with conjure per se, but it’s just pretty darned cool and I wanted to share it. You can see the full letter here, at I Remain: A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera.
Anyway, here’s the sample "crossed names" name paper I made to upload:
ugh, I forgot to rotate the photo. But you get the idea.
November 14, 2009 § Leave a comment
I have been resisting writing this post for a long time, and I’ll tell you why. In part, it’s because there is already so much information easily available out there, that my writing anything is redundant. Furthermore, there are tons of ways to use oils, and my giving "instructions" is akin to my giving instructions on how to wash your hair: seriously, rub the oil on something. Those are the instructions. The details are up to you, how complicated you get is up to you, what object you rub the oil on is up to you.
But lots of people ask me for instructions, and get upset with me when I tell them to Google it, so here you go.
I personally use the method outlined in Henri Gamache’s Master Book of Candle Burning. Not all rootworkers do this – there is more than one way to skin a cat. But this is what I do. In this book, which you can get very inexpensively and which is a good investment if you are interested in candle-burning magic, he outlines a theory of "polarity" for candles. Imagine your candle has a North pole (the top) and a South pole (the bottom). Gamache recommends that candles be dressed by rubbing the oil from the center of the candle to the North pole, and then the center of the candle to the South pole. He writes, "the candle is never rubbed in both directions toward both poles."
Now, here is where my methods (and the methods of many rootworkers) change a bit. When I’m dressing a candle with oils for the purposes of drawing some influence, I rub the oil from the North pole (wicked end) to the center, so that I’m rubbing towards my body as I’m holding the candle in my hand. Then, I turn the candle so the wick is facing me, and then I rub from the end with no wick to the center. Since I"ve turned the candle, I’m still rubbing *towards* me. And I’ve gone from top to center and then bottom to center with my dressing.
When I’m dressing a candle to get rid of an influence, I reverse this process, dressing from center to wicked end, then turning the candle, and then dressing from center to non-wicked end.
Do you have to do it this way? No. There are other theories and other practices. But it’s what I do.
Some sites that discuss ways to use condition oils:
Dr. E on how to use condition oils (note that his method of dressing candles is slightly different, but equally valid)
cat yronwode at Lucky Mojo on condition oils (I will return to the issue of skin safety later)
sources for candle-dressing philosophies at the Lucky Mojo forums (see? many ways to skin a cat)
To be continued…
coming up next: dressing mojo bags, amulets, human bodies, etc
August 8, 2009 § Leave a comment
These didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but we’ll see if this works.
People ask me about dressing novenas sometimes – they’ll have problems because their candles won’t burn, or they aren’t sure how much oil to use, or how much plant/herb matter, or whatever. So I thought I’d try to show y’all what i do. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but this works for me.
When I’m dressing a novena light, I use a chopstick to poke three holes in the wax around the wick. Yes, that’s a big hole. No, it won’t go all the way to the bottom. It’s ok.
You can’t really see all of them here, ’cause I’ve already sprinkled some herbs and oil and glitter and they are slightly obscured, but you get the idea.
After I do this, I put bits of herbs and curios into the holes. Anything chunky or that isn’t quite a powder that needs to be added goes into the holes. Use something to poke herbs down into the hole if they don’t want to go, or else they’ll escape when you do the next bit: Then I drizzle some oil around the top, making sure it gets into the holes. I then cover the surface with oil by rubbing it with my finger, clockwise or counterclockwise as appropriate for the work.
Finally, whatever herbs are in powder, or close-to-powder, form, then get sprinkled lightly on the top of the oiled surface. I especially like to use powdered resins when I need to add resins. A powdered frankincense will keep your candle from hitting a lump of resin as it burns, which might go up by itself with a separate flame and/or blacken the glass.
A sprinkle of glitter – I recommend the really fine, expensive stuff instead of the chunky kindergarten stuff, if you can get it – finishes the dressing. Do not overdo it!
See? Just a light, fairly even dusting will do ya’ right. I probably go heavier on the oil than many folks, but if you poke holes, it shouldn’t be a problem. My lights hardly ever drown, and don’t need a lot of poking and tending the first few days in general. Go light on the herbs to avoid unexpected conflagrations, and invest in powdered herbs if you’re not the mortar and pestle (or coffee grinder) type, or if you need to use a lot of woody stuff like John the Conqueror root, which you’re better off hitting with a hammer than trying to powder by hand.
Sometimes wicks are bad, or there are air pockets or problems within the candle itself – these novena candles are mass produced – I don’t pour my own. But if you poke holes and avoid dropping huge chunks of woody herbs and resins into your candle, you should have nice, clean-burning dressed novena lights. (Sometime when I have a chance I’ll explain how oil prices interfered with etymology, and why novena lights, which ought to burn for nine days, usually only burn for about 5 in this day and age. I’m conflating novenas and 7 day candles here, not because I’m not aware of the difference – or what differences there used to be – but because for the purposes of this post, it doesn’t really matter).
What if you need to fix a candle that is not made of the soft wax novenas are usually made of, but is made of harder paraffin? The Ninja Cat shows you one way here.
August 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
A customer asks how long a candle will take to work, how to use the oil s/he bought, and whether a spellbook is necessary to do hoodoo.
There is no way I can answer a question about how long a candle is going to take to work – it depends on the situation. If you are lighting a single votive candle for a million dollar lottery win, I’d be pretty surprised if it ever worked. If you are lighting it as part of a larger and continuing working to improve your business, you should see some signs of positive movement in your spellwork within a month or so if the spellwork you’re doing is going to work, or else you ought to adjust the way you;re working or get a reading. A sign might be an omen, or just an increase in foot traffic even if you haven’t seen the sales at the level you like yet, or an offer from somewhere for some good word of mouth or low-cost advertising – some sign that things are moving in the desired direction. (See the comments section for some sage words: it’s probably not going to be the hand of God writing a message to you in the fog of your bathroom mirror. If that happens, please call me. I would like to hire you.) If you see nothing, it’s time to adjust fire. If you’re burning candles to change a very longstanding situation, though, or work towards something huge like the sale of a home, a month just might not be long enough. There are too many variables in anybody’s case for anybody to be able to tell you how long a candle burning will take to work, or even if it will. Spellwork just doesn’t work like that, and you’ll probably find that many rootworkers will say they do their work but are always careful to phrase things "if it be God’s will."
If all you’ve done is have a light set for you, and you and your worker have not gone over your situation and how it got the way it got in any depth, and/or your worker has not read on the situation for you, then a few words of caution may be order:
"How long will this candle take to work" is a nearly impossible question for me to answer before the candle burns, without having done a reading for you and without having any background on how things got like this and without knowing what other spellwork you are doing. A one day light setting that burns for a few hours is not going to change a long-standing situation all that much by itself, in many cases, and certainly not quickly. Most of my clients who order one day taper or votive settings do so to have them set three times a week for several weeks running, on a honey jar or sour jar, or else to be offered as thanks to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, saints, angels, spirits, etc. for favors granted. One-day light settings (or, more often, vigil lights) are often used as backup work or kick-starts to other types of spellwork being done by the client, or perhaps spiritual baths being done by the client, as the rootworker "backs up" the work or baths on his or her altars.
However, keep in mind that candle burning spells often report on themselves and give you information about what you can expect; any indications like this that come through in the burning would be reported on upon its completion. So the candle both influences the situation AND reports on the situation. Here’s some description from one of my eBay listings:
The burning candle will be "read" and reported on via a process known as ceromancy.
What the heck is ceromancy?
When rootworkers and spirit workers burn candles for client petitions, we pay attention to how the candle burns. Does it burn faster than usual? Does it sputter? What do the shapes in the wax tell us? Does the flame blacken the glass? These signs tell us something about how the work is going to go and what conditions are surrounding the situation. Ceromancy is the reading of the wax, and by extension, of the process of the candle-burning itself.
This listing is three-part.
March 9, 2009 § Leave a comment
Q: What is [fill in name of oil] used for?
A: I have a page in my ebay store that explains some of them, and many of them have info in the listings. Eventually I will finish writing up the complete list and make it available on my webpage, but I can’t make any promises about when that will happen :-) Here’s the list of conditions/formulas. The neat thing about hoodoo condition oils is that they are almost always named for the condition they "treat," so many don’t really need long descriptions. Money Drawing. Get A Job. Crown of Success. Simple and sweet.
Q: Are you aware that [so and so] is [copying your items, has text that mirrors yours closely, has cut and pasted an entire blog entry or page of yours]?
January 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
Q: How do I use a black cat bone?
Depends on what you’re using it for. Here are some ideas.
Q: Do you send typed instructions with your oil/candle/mojo bag?
A: No. I am happy to give you ideas for working based on your situation via email at any point, but the thing is, there is no "one right way" to use this stuff beyond "burn the candle" and "dress the mojo bag." The uses for things like oils and powders are limited only by your imagination. And hoodoo does not do the "one true way must-do-when-moon-is-in-pisces say-words-just-so" thing. You can make this stuff as simple or as complicated as you want. I do send instructions with my bath salts for folks wanting to take a spiritual bath, and I am happy to make suggestions, but giving you typed instructions on what to do with a candle smacks to me of dictating a Set Way of doing hoodoo, and I’m allergic to that in addition to believing it to be pretty much against the spirit of things in hoodoo anyway.
Some people do complicated rituals involving powders, herbs, bells, moon phases, psalms, chants, prayers, carvings, long term altar work, whatever. Some people light a candle, say a prayer, and walk away. And some people don’t feel right *unless* they make it kind of complicated, and that’s cool, but I’m not going to pretend you have to do that to get results. You don’t.
I will give you the dos and don’ts aka care and feeding of your mojo bag, and I will always be happy to make suggestions and/or point you in the direction of some instructions that are out there, but I don’t send typed instructions on how to use an oil or powder, no. If you order a kit like the "Breakup Spell Jar" kit, which is listed specifically as coming with instructions, then you will get instructions. Otherwise, feel free to tell me a little about what you’re using the product for and I’ll make a recommendation for you.
ETA: If you’re not even sure how to even start thinking about this stuff, here’s an entry on Crown of Success products that may give you some ideas. And here’s a Hyatt spell involving candle burning that I dare say is typical in its simplicity.
Q: You’re going to hell, blasphemer!
Q: Can I have a free tarot reading?
Q: If I buy an oil from you but maybe don’t use it for, say, three months, will it be ineffective then?
A: No. Most of my oils have a sweet almond oil base: I treat my new almond oil shipments with Vitamin E to retard spoilage, I buy it in small quantities, and I keep it refrigerated. I also make my condition oils in tiny batches (only the most popular get made in four ounce batches – the majority get made in one ounce batches). This raises my prices (I could buy 35 gallons of almond oil at a time for less, ultimately, but it would be rancid by the time I got halfway through it, and besides, I have nowhere to keep that much) and increases my workload (I could hustle and get out fifty bottles of Attraction Oil in a day and just slap one in an envelope every time an order comes in, but then you *might* get a bottle that was already sitting there for three months, and it really might go bad before you were ready to use it). This is a major reason behind why my oils are a bit pricier than those that come from larger suppliers – I’m just one person, working in my "art room," and my sales volume is not high enough for it to make sense for me to buy 35 gallons of something at a time (and the very large suppliers who shall go unnamed don’t use real herbs and essential oils in their oils, and they put them in a base that will not go rancid – because it’s full of chemicals and preservatives and/or is mineral oil).
All this means that no oil sits in my cupboard for more than a month before it finds its way to you, and the herbs are added to your bottle right before I ship it to you.
If you keep your oils in a cool, dry place you can generally expect to get about a year’s use out of them. Some of my oils will not go bad (Lodestone Oil, for instance, contains nothing that can go bad, and it’s one of the oils that is not made in an almond oil base), and some will actually be just fine even if they do sit a while and start to smell a little "different" (Crossing Oil, for instance, I never throw out. The nastier, the better!).
ETA: I no longer sell oils in different bottle sizes.
So buy with confidence. If you don’t use a lot of oil, get a one dram bottle. If you do use a lot and want to save some money buying in volume, get a half ounce bottle. I don’t sell oils that aren’t fresh, period.
Q: Using animal bones and parts is mean and heartless and/or devil worship! What about the poor wittle animals?!?!!!!111!omgwtf?!?!?!
A: You are entitled to your opinion, but I don’t want to hear it.
For those who are curious, I do not kill animals for the sole purpose of harvesting their bones (or feet, or whatever). In fact, the overwhelming majority of animals whose remains find their way into my hoodoo arsenal die of complete accident, the laws of nature (predation and ilness), or are gently and lovingly euthanized by compassionate owners. A few things are the result of hunting, such as my turkey feet charms, but my use of the feet helps the hunters to use all of the animal instead of wasting any part or tossing it in the trash. My chicken foot charms are made from the feet of chickens that were killed to feed human beings, and again, using them helps to prevent waste. You don’t have to use animal parts to do effective hoodoo, but they have a very long history of use in the magic of a very many cultures around the world, including but certainly not limited to hoodoo – and some simply may not be "substituted" with other things to the point where you can expect the same effect. Don’t like it? Don’t engage in it. But don’t tell me about the poor wittle animals, because you’re not going to change my mind, you’re not going to gain my respect, and you are going to demonstrate that you have little understanding of the principles of hoodoo or of a holistic "spiritual ecology."
If you eat meat or wear leather and would even consider saying something like this to me, then you really need to sit down and have a little think.
Q: How did you get started making oils?
I have been a compulsive buyer of curios and candle shop stuff and occult stuff since I was itty bitty. I used to get in trouble for raiding my mother’s herb cabinets – she’d be looking for the cumin for the chili, and I had it squirreled away up in my room mixing up potions. My formulas are derived from decades of study and experimentation, and I can recommend the Hyatt material, cat yronwode’s material, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jim Haskins off the top of my head for tips and tricks, and lots and lots of (expensive) trial and error (the main ingredient, imo). I was lucky enough to have a great grandmother who engaged in some stuff people might call "folk magic" activities, too, though her emphasis was much more Roman Catholic with some Latin American influence than most hoodoo stuff is, and if you had said anything about hoodoo to her she would have spanked you if she’d even known the word. Still, it was helpful. (She was from Florida, with Spanish and Mexican and who knows what all in her geneaology — nobody admits much about non-white ancestry, but there are some seriously brown-skinned folks on her side of the family, and one of her ancestors settled in Pensacola from France via Santo Domingo, where she married a guy from Martinique – fascinating story there). One of my ongoing things is to try to map the cultural influences of the various stuff she used to do – it’s maybe not all over the map, but it’s certainly all over the immigrant neighborhood.) I also ordered, and tested, and analyzed, a lot of different oils from a lot of different suppliers, from Indio to cat’s stuff to small sellers to medium sellers to large sellers, and always tried to talk shop with people I met. I found that nobody would give out their formulas, but what some WOULD do is let me give them my trials and give me feedback. So once you start mixing, I would befriend a few rootworkers and ask them for feedback.
Q: Since you don’t make (fill in the blank) and I want some, will you tell me how to make it?
A: No. I’m sorry if that seems unfair, but some people have this weird sense that they are entitled to all knowledge ever and it should all be free and on the internet, and I just don’t believe that. It took me 25 years and thousands of dollars to collect my formulas and get them just right and adapt them to changes in available materia magica, etc, and I do not give out my recipes. They are proprietary. (Some people even get pissed off when I won’t type them up free spells when they order a product to which I can only say, Get over yourself. I can’t afford to work for free, and if I don’t advertise that a product comes with a certain service or accessory, yet you expect to me provide that service or accessory anyway, well – you’re being unreasonable. When you then say, "You’re a horrible rootworker and I will never shop with you again," I breathe a giant sigh of relief that I will never had to deal with your overdeveloped sense of entitlement again.)
But my best advice is to bust your ass like I did; at some point you will no longer need other people’s recipes, and that’s how you know you’re ready to spread those fledgling hoodoo wings and fly. IOnce you get the "why" behind the ingredients, you’re golden. If you’re hung up on the "one true recipe," you just have the wrong idea about hoodoo. Besides, learning the theory behind the ingredients is learning hoodoo. Following a recipe is not learning hoodoo.
Q: You offend all the people of Poland and all Catholics by using Our Lady of Czestochowa on your heathen candles.
A: Wow. I bet a bunch of Haitian Catholics would be amused to hear that.
More FAQs here.