specializing, black cat bones (warning: avoid if squeamish)

So much to know and do.  I decided a while back I was going to just specialize instead of trying to know and do everything.  So I stopped doing I Ching and Feng Shui work for the public, cut out the Wiccan/European trad stuff, pretty much stopped doing natal chart readings and rune work, just about dropped out of the ceremonial magick stuff, and I stick to what I know and always enjoy: Tarot, rootwork, points chauds, vodoun.  I can’t know and do everything well, but damn if I can’t do those things.  When clients came for that stuff, I just started recommending somebody else instead of trying to be the jill of all trades. And sticking to what I know and love best has been the right thing to do.

Every time I dip into Hyatt material I want to type up just about everything and put it out there.  How I wish these would be made easily available to the public.  But I have to treat Hyatt material like everything else.  I have to specialize.  Problem is, I don’t really want to.  But for now I guess I’ll just stick to what interests me most at the moment or what I stumble on that is a long term interest.  Goes without saying that St. Expedite in particular, saints in general, and the black cat bone material are among my favorites, though I’m awfully fond of container spells and anything to do with dirt dauber nests as well. I’ve been into container spells since about ’78 in one form or another, and work with the saints even earlier than that (the Infant of Prague was my childhood favorite, because my great grandmother had a lushly dressed statue on one of her little altars in her bedroom, and I loved to look at him — much more than I liked to look at the picture of Veronica’s Veil where Jesus’ eyes would open after you looked at it for a while and appear to follow you all over the house.  Brrr.)

But at the end of the day, I guess I’ve been a black cat bone lady for coming on twenty years consistently, though I first learned about that type of work in the late 70s.

Anyway, here’s a black cat bone bit from Vol. 2, pp 1841-1842, “A Man Called Doc” from Florence, S.C., 1939.  cut for those who don’t like such lore.

Post cat-boiling (which by the way I do not do), the informant says,

“An’ ah taken dat an’ got on car an’ go out back towards — in Savanna it’s called East Savanna, an’ dey have a East Savannah and a West Savanna.  So ah went on out dere an’ ah went ovah tuh a friend of mine.  Jack Kettle was his name.  He’s dead now.  An’ ah went down to a little stream where nobody wouldn’t be dere tuh bothah wit me, yo’ know, suh.  An’ ah had tuh take mah han’ in all dat ole slime den.  An’ yo’s tuh search till yo’ git evah’thing dat feel like a little gristle.  An’ ah jes drop ’em dere an’ put ’em in de watah an’ dey’d go right on down.  De watah wuzn’t mo’ den dat deep, suh, where yo’ kin see de sand.  Drop ’em in dere an’ dey go on down.  An’ ah tell yo’ whut’s a fact.  Dere’s three bones in a cat.  Ah’m be able tuh tell yo’ cause ah have did it twice.  An’ de bones – de right foot bone it’s a small bone.  None don’t go to de top.  Dey all goes to de bottom.  Dat bone will be turnin’ ovah jes’ lak a worm.  It appears tuh come upstream, an’ ah taken it out.  Ah found de three.”

“What bones were they?  From what part of the body?”

“Ah don’t know, suh, whethah dey outa de tail or where dey’s from.  Dey’s real small.”

“You got three bones that were going upstream?”

“Yessuh, on de bottom of dat sand — on de bottom, yo’ know, suh. Be like a worm, jes’ be turnin’ ovah.  … Ah take it out.  Dere three — yes suh, dere really are three. So ah took one dose bones an’ sold it fo’ $20. Ah had plenty luck.”

N.B. The context preceding this quote is the informant talking about how to avoid bloodhounds, and the informant says he has done the turpentine trick himself to avoid bloodhounds.  The transcription segues immediately, on the same line, to the black cat bone work, which the informant says he has also done himself.

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