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!).
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. ETA: I no longer sell oils in different bottle sizes.
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.