altar work photos

Livejournal’s photo system has been giving me fits, but it looks like they are finally done with whatever updates they were doing, so maybe now I can post these photos I’ve been saving up.

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And that’s it, because the uploader stopped working again 😦

on “bulsh*t” spells, scams, “impossible” magic, consultations, and budget spellwork

More questions I've gotten…

Q: "so i came across your site and ive been scammed several times [etc, snipped, the usual]  so i want to know if your legit and if you can take me serious than others and help me . if there is a spell you kno or ritual to grow taller to the height i wish too grow." 

A: Sweetie, there is no such thing as a spell to make you grow taller (or grow your body parts, or be irresistible to any person ever and always no matter what, or to reunite lovers in 24 hours guaranteed, or to get a vampire demon lover, or to get a ring with a wish-granting genie in it, or any of that other sounds-to-good-to-be-true stuff you can get on ebay), and anybody who tells you that they can make you grow taller with magic is lying to you (and making six times the money I make, because I won't prey on people who don't know better). Magic simply does not work that way.

There ARE spells to work on your personal presence, your self-esteem, the way you carry yourself and the way you appear to
others, your sense of mastery and confidence, your physical health and strength, etc.  If you are young and have not finished growing, there are ways you can focus on maintaining the peak of health and maximizing your potential. But if you are done growing, you are done growing.  If you have a medical condition and/or are undergoing medical treatments to effect your physical stature, there is work that can be done to boost the skill and wisdom of your physicians and keep your own health and receptivity at top levels.  Aside from that, you are looking for something that exists only in Harry Potter books and such.  And you should run, not walk, away from anyone who would prey on your naivete and desire in order to profit on it by promising to do something that is in violation of the basic principles of magic.

Same family as an earlier one I got this month:

Q: "what oil will make me beter looking and grow my penis?"

A: No product will increase your penis size or physically change your features, and most of the people who advertise that kind of thing are better at writing advertising copy than casting spells.  But there are spells that will boost your confidence, charisma, sex appeal, and aura of glamour, and many products in those lines, when used as body products, also are good for hair, nails, alluring scents, complexion, or stuff like that too, depending, and with a well-designed spell, will change the way you project yourself and the way people perceive you.  Buying a bottle of oil itself isn't going to do it, but you could build a simple, "pre-night-out" attraction/grooming ritual with candles, oils, and powders with things in the Attraction, John the Conqueror, Samael, Rubeus, Kaliprix, Kiss Me Quick, or Follow Me Girl/Boy type families, depending on what you're after.

Q: I read a spell site that said no real spellcaster would charge for curse removal, so how can you charge for curse removal?

A: You read one person's opinion.  If you want my opinion, here it is: what you read is judgmental, and frankly pretty ethnocentric and ignorant, and I say that no real, professional spellcaster who actually does this for a living would say something demonstrating such ignorance about the myriad magical/spiritual traditions that differ from – and probably significantly predate – their own tradition.  I don't know where you read it or what they do all day, but I do this for a living, and if I worked for free, I would not be able to do any work at all; I'd be closing up shop with a quickness.  The supplies I use cost money, no matter what type of spell I'm using them in, and I charge for my time and work, no matter what kind of work it is. I have to eat.  That doesn't make me unethical and it doesn't make me "fake." I just don't work for free – I'm not independently wealthy, and I charge for my time and work.

Now, if you are a customer or client or have been reading for a while, you already know that because I am a worker who also makes/grows most of her own product/product ingredients, and because I come from a rural background where we mixed up stuff with what we could get, not what was for sale at the drugstore with a hoodoo label on it, I am able to accommodate all kinds of budgets.  For clients who want to do their own spells, I do consultation sessions to coach them.  For clients who want to make their own oil or bath or the like, I will do consultation sessions to coach them too, and the "coaching session" is a path I recommend for clients who are hurting for money, because if you need me to stick to things you can get at the grocery store, i will.[*]  If you need to get uncrossed and you are broke, there IS help for you.[**]  However, this is not the same thing as my doing a full-blown Uncrossing ritual for free.

But I DO work with folks.  In fact, working with folks is what this is all about – being a professional worker is not about handing out "one size fits all" spells.  If you write me and want free advice, that is what you are going to get – a general recommendation for an approach that may be helpful for what you describe but may not be given any number of unknown factors that I can't look at (or, honestly, read a long email about) without a consultation.  But if you book a consult with me to talk about your case, you will get recommendations specific to your situation.  I tell folks all the time, when they ask "what is the best spell/product for me," that the best spell/product is the one they can and will use properly and that the case will be responsive to.  No point in me sending you some incense if you can't use it because you have asthma, or prescribing baths if you won't take them – nor in setting you up with Commanding work if the cards show that it will backfire, or with Reconciliation work if your case is hopeless.  But the bottom line is I do this for a living, which is part of what "professional" means. [***] 

Q: How do I avoid getting scammed by a fraud or unethical worker or reader?

Watch out for anybody who guarantees their work with a money-back refund.  Watch out for anyone who promises a 100% success rate.  Watch out for people who promise to reunite lovers within 24 hours.  Watch out for people who offer to do spellwork that fixes your problems with no effort on your part.  Watch out for anyone who offers to sell you a trapped wish-granting powerful sexy vampire genie for $100 that is bound to an antique ring that came from a voodoo priestess's house, or the pyramids in Egypt, or someone's dead great aunt who was a sorceress from Atlantis and/or related to Marie Laveau and/or the Salem witches, etc,  and who passed it down to the favorite grandchild (etc).  [Think – if you had that kind family heirloom, would you *sell* it?  And if magic were as easy as buying an enchanted item and never having to lift a finger, well, I wouldn't be working  🙂 ]  Watch out for someone who claims to be world-renowned psychic to the stars but who you can find no record of existence for that predates the one-month-old website.

Watch out for someone who never calls you on your shit.  If they think everything you propose is a great idea, all the time, and never give you another perspective, or make an alternate suggestion, or let you know that what you want is going to be hard to do, or suggest that you may have had some role in your breakup but encourage you to jump on the "everybody is out to get me" pity-party, then you may not have a fraud exactly, but you do have somebody who will flatter you to get your money and who will thus be of limited assistance in the big picture.  Now, it's possible that you may never get a reading or work done where this becomes an issue or where you'd even have a chance to see if this was happening – it depends on the nature of your case or issue.  And I"m certainly not saying your worker or reader should try to make you feel bad or small.  There is a real need for a reader / worker to be able to give you even bad news in such a way that it does not crush you or belittle you, or that is at least sensitive to the effects of the bad news.  That is not what i mean.  I'm talking about people who only ever tell you what you want to hear.

Watch out for anyone who judges all readers/workers of all paths by standards that are applicable only to a certain path or religion and says stupid things like "No ethical reader would ever recommend an uncrossing spell" or "no ethical worker would ever do hexing work" or "no ethical spellcaster would ever use animal bones" or "no real priest or priestess would ever charge money."  Those are ethics belonging to a few people, not everybody, and they are profoundly ignorant about and dismissive of/insulting to traditional Southern-style rootwork as well as many religions of the African diaspora.  How much somebody charges is not a reliable index of whether they are fake or not.  Whether they post their birth name and a physical address is not a reliable index.  Where they were born is not a reliable index.  Whether they have a psychic grandmother is not a reliable index. 

But there are quite a few things you can look for when searching for a reliable, ethical reader or worker.  Here's a page from Lucky Mojo outlining some common scams.  Here is the AIRR code of ethics, which I personally subscribe to as does every member of AIRR.  While there are good workers out there who may not susbscribe to every item on these lists exactly as written, a worker with any real experience should be able to outline some sort of code of ethics or terms or principles for you if you ask, so that you know where they are coming from — this may be outlined in a bio, or listed on an FAQ, or they may write about it less formally on their blogs or sites; the point is that you should be able to get some idea of where they are coming from somehow, either in something they've written and provide, or by asking them questions about how they work. 

Happy hoodooing!

_________________________________________

[*] This does not mean you can book a consultation and say "give me your formula for Fiery Wall of Protection" and I will go "Ok, here you are."  It means you approach me with a list of what you have and I tell you what of it you can use to make what you want.  Or you say "I need to make an inexpensive uncrossing formula with stuff I can get today, at the local market," and I will work with you, even if takes more than one trip to the grocery store or more than one email.

[**] Crossed conditions can be serious, and can prevent a person from getting ahead in all kinds of areas of life.  I will work with you to figure out some way for you to get back on your feet no matter what your budget (but seriously – between this blog, luckymojo.com, the lucky mojo forum and other forums run or hosted by real workers, and the blogs of all my colleagues that I have linked to, it is a question of a little bit of time spent researching.  You can get an uncrossing ritual with a few clicks, so it's not really reasonable to expect someone to do the research for you for free when you can do it yourself, you know?  But if you come to me with an idea already in mind and want to run an ingredient substitution by me, and you can send me a short, direct email, then I am likely to respond without your needing a consultation — if you are talking about a serious condition or emergency.  But not every desire merits reduced rate of pro-bono work.  If you are looking for Reconciliation, for instance, that is not an emergency – no matter how much you may feel like it is, sorry 🙂  Neither is lottery work. 

[***] The other part, in my opjnion, refers to ethics and bearing, as in "conducts self and business professionally," but that is 1. another post, and 2. hardly cut-and-dried, not open to interp, and not disputed at all in all circles.  Obviously the unnamed worker who said "no real spellcaster would charge for this" actually meant "no professional/ethical caster would, in my opinion and according to my code of ethics, charge for this."  How one charges has absolutely no direct, causal effect on whether or not one is capable of doing effective spellwork, though how and what one charges can sometimes be part of a matrix of warning signs.

I actually do take pro bono work, but you have to either be an existing client who I already know, be referred to me by another worker that I know, or get accepted as a pro bono client by the AIRR Pro Bono Fund and program, which I participate in.  The Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers, or AIRR, has a pro bono fund to help clients in dire straits who cannot afford to undertake work that they really genuinely *need.*  You can read more about it here.  If you send me an email out of the blue saying "Can you help me for free," you are going to get a form letter giving you some links, but you are not going to get a personal response. This is not because I'm mean and ugly – it's because I get about 50 emails a day from people "with just a quick question."  There is no such thing as "just a quick question" unless it is about work that is currently ongoing and contracted and therefore not you asking for free spell advice. 

A *great deal* depends on impressions here; folks who write simply assuming I will read a long, involved email and reply to them with personalized recommendations are likely to try my patience b/c they give me the impression they have no idea how this job works and are not able to put themselves into my shoes for a sec.  When in doubt, ask – a simple, to the point email saying "I have some questions about what product to use to get a promotion" will probably get a response saying "Great, go ahead."  If the next email is short and to the point, you will probably get a friendly response making suggestions.  If you send me a first email that is long and tells me the whole story about something and you want advice on that complicated relationship or job situation, you are going to get a form letter telling you how to book a consultation.  Bottom line : check your assumptions before writing, that's all! and ask before sending me a long complicated email, because it would be a shame if you spent all that time typing it and I don't read it.  I owe it to the clients who have booked consultations to get back to them ahead of new stuff, you know?  And those first two question on this post? I get fifty like them every day.  If you don't want to book a consultation, that's fine – I'll put your question in my queue of things to answer on the blog when I have a chance.

faq – things to know about getting new altar work established

Here are the instructions I send out when clients book new work:

I’ll need you to send the following as a response to this email:

1.  the full name and date of birth of any people being inquired about, including yourself.  If you included this information in the “note to seller” box on the paypal payment page, then there is no need to resend — you can scroll down to see a copy of the information I received with your paypal payment.  If you have anything to add to this information below, please send it as a response to this email.  If you sent a separate email containing this information, please resend that info as a response to this email.  (The reason I ask this is that if I have to go through a bunch of emails and threads to locate your info and piece together your query, it increases the risk for confusion, omission, and misunderstanding, and it also increases the time it will take for me to prepare and send you your consultation.)  I cannot work with the same precision without full names and dates of birth.

2.  any photos you would like me to have in order to do the reading portion of your consultation.  Please do not ask me to visit websites or stalk your targets on social networking sites to obtain pictures; I need you to download any photo you want me to use and then email it to me. Also, please clearly identify every person in the photograph and let me know if I need to crop anyone out.  Please send photos as a response to this email instead of sending a new email or asking me to dig through old messages. I can work without photos if you do not want to send one or don’t have one handy.

3. a brief statement of the issue, question, or situation on which you are seeking consultation.  You do not have to give me a long litany or life story, though you may give me as much information as you are comfortable sending me.  It is quite helpful, even if you do send a lot of information, if you could please try to sum up your main concern or question in a sentence or two, to sort of introduce your additional information, so that I am clear on what is most important to you; consultations are very targeted and very practical, so it’s usually NOT a good idea to try to get twenty different very specific questions out of one consultation.  So a short statement encapsulating your main concern or goal helps me ensure I address that concern or goal specifically.  Please note, however, that as with photos and name/DOB info, I do ask you to send anything you want me to consider in your consultation as a response to this email, for the reasons outlined above.

I know you guys are eager when you are ready to start your altar work, and I know that some of you secretly think I’m being a pain in the ass when I ask you to follow the instructions you receive upon booking new work.  Why, you think, should you have to send me the photos again when you just sent them to me last month?  Why can’t I just get them out of that old email?  Why, you think, does it matter if you send the petition in one email versus another?  Why can’t I just look in the other email?  Why in the world am I so hung up on people replying to messages instead of sending second messages with a different subject line?  If I don’t see the info in that message, surely I know I can just click the other message that was sent just a couple of minutes later, right?  What does it matter if the petition is four sentences versus two?

Emails

Most of these problems would be solved if people would stop for a second, and imagine an inbox filled with fifty versions of “hi do u do spellwork and can give me a free spell about my boyfriend plz hurry its an emergency and no1 will help me please help”.”  Then they could recite the following mantra: “I am not her only client.”  And maybe “She has a system for a reason.”   So NO, I do not see one email and immediately cross-reference it with the other fifty emails you’ve sent me in the past eight months.  I get a vast number of messages every day, and I deal with an awful lot of paper.  I do not take on more work than I have room or time for, but even so i cannot reasonably be expected to keep every little detail in my memory or to remember which of those messages had the photo in it. I will be happy to go digging for that info and match up all the different threads and emails, but you are going to be waiting for no good reason while I do it.

The instructions I give folks when they book new work are given for a reason, and it’s not because I’m just cranky or on a power trip.  I’m not cranky at all when folks follow the instructions.  But some of the stuff some clients have pulled lately – woohoo, takes my breath away.  So I am going to type a post about it once and for all, because I am simply NOT going to write another email explaining it.  I will just give this URL to people who ask me if the instructions apply to them.

So here are some guidelines that anybody should keep in mind when establishing new altar work, whether they are working with me or not.  This article is part of the “how to be a good client” series (aka, how not to get fired by your rootworker).

When sending personal concerns:

* DO send me hair, fingernail clippings, bits from a napkin or straw that the target’s saliva got on, small scraps of clothing that have been pre-trimmed into small, usable sizes, photos, and/or dirt taken from a target’s foot track.  Send these things in small plastic bags, and put the name of the applicable person on the bag. Put something in the letter or note accompanying the concern that clearly gives me your name and your email address at the very least, and ideally includes a copy of the receipt for your work, our email exchange about what you were sending me, a copy of the contract, or *something.*

* Do NOT send me loose, unlabeled personal concerns, and Do Not send me sexual fluids.[*]  If I am making you a mojo bag, then I do not need a big hunk of hair, or an entire shirt, or an entire sock, or an entire soda can, so please trim the concern down appropriately.  No, I do NOT want the plastic  bag full of used pantiliners you’ve been keeping in your freezer, and I do NOT want the wad of tissues you’ve been collecting in your nightstand drawer next to the lube.  If it would be put in a biohazard bin at the doctor’s office, then I DO NOT WANT IT.  If your neighbor would want to wash his hands after touching it, then please stop and think before sending it to me in the mail.  I swear, some folks do not extend to us rootworkers the courtesy they would extend to the guy who cleans the bathroom at the gas station.

If you stop for just a second and think and try to put yourself in your worker’s shoes, you might realize that we get dozens of envelopes from clients every month.  I might have fifteen honey jars on my altars right now.  I might have six or ten client files in my “pending” area waiting on personal concerns to come in the mail.  If you think I’m going to open an envelope with nothing in it but a wad of cloth or tissue and 1. know immediately what person in what case in what file to put it with, 2. just cheerfully reach in and touch GOD-KNOWS-WHAT with my bare hands, you are just not thinking, and you are not being a smart client.

You are especially not being a smart client because I KNOW that if we discussed you sending me personal concerns, then I specifically told you to send non-bodily-fluid concerns, AND to send the concerns already in pieces or sections small enough for me to use with no further alteration, AND to send them in separate plastic baggies.  I KNOW I told you that if there is more than one person involved in your case, then you need to label the baggies – unless you want me to GUESS.  Do you really want me to guess when it comes to your rootwork? 

Please folks.  The instructions are not there to make your life harder or as a means for me to be a bitch. They are there to help you get the best, most accurate, and quickest service (and they are there to keep me from getting overwhelmed, grossed out, or stricken with hepatitis or something).  If you got an envelope full of crusty tissue or random dirty clothing in the mail, would you touch it?  No?  Then what makes you assume that I will?

SO. When sending personal concerns, do not send biohazard material.  Send concerns pre-trimmed into small, usable pieces appropriate to their destination if instructed to do so; at the very least, before you send that entire t-shirt, ask your worker what he or she needs and can use. You do not want a cranky worker, and you don’t want a sick one either.  If you follow the instructions, you will get quicker service and your work will be accurate, and things will go smoothly, and I will have more time to prep and tend your work.

When booking work or light settings with emailed “concerns” or petitions:

When you book a light setting, service, or consultation with me, you get, as a reply to your payment receipt, an email outlining the next steps you should take.  If you do NOT follow these instructions, then it is going to take a lot longer for your work to get started. That booking acknowledgment email will always ask you to send your photos, petition, info etc as a response to that email.  Just hit reply.  That is the goal, to have you just hit reply.

This keeps your info in the same thread, associated with the payment that initiated your new case/booking.  Some clients think that because they have been clients for a while, they can ignore the instructions, because surely they don’t apply to them – they’ve been a client for so long, and we were just talking about this case in another thread just yesterday, and we are friends (etc).

Especially established clients who are booking additional light settings:

But it’s actually *worse* when it’s established clients that do not follow the instructions.  If it’s a new client, I probably only have a couple of emails tops from them in my files.  I can match the petition to the payment with a fairly quick search, most likely.  But not with established clients.  Y’all established clients who have asked me “Do I need to send you the photo again?”, I want y’all to stop a sec and think of all those emails you’ve sent me over the last weeks or months or years.  Really think.  Now, imagine I get an email from you vaguely referencing some work I vaguely remember you mentioning before. I can’t be sure of the details without those other emails in front of me, though, because I’m NOT A MENTAT, and you haven’t associated the email with the payment that initiated your new case, and you haven’t hit reply to the instructional email I sent you, so it does not pop up in my inbox with the nifty tagging-and-flagging system I have set up so that I immediately know when a client petition or photo I’m waiting on comes in.

No, you don’t follow the instructions so that your email gets my *immediate attention* because it is a *pending file* on a paid case which means I may be opening my email specifically to look for *your email* so I can start *your work.*  Instead, you send a second email with a new subject line, or for some completely illogical reason, you send it as a reply *in another thread entirely* where we were talking about the case that was not at that time open yet, or talking about how your last light setting went, or something else.  If you send it as a reply in another thread, like the one that evolved from your last light setting, that thread might be tagged-and-not-flagged, because the tag is “work completed.”  That means it is most assuredly not getting flagged as a top priority in my inbox. Meanwhile, your pending work is pining away in my file waiting to be responded to so that it gets a bright yellow tag next to it telling me I can start your work.

Each new booking is a new file and a new beginning, in terms of organizing your info:

I encourage clients to think of the payment acknowledgment email as the beginning of a new file.  It does not exist prior to that email, and it is created when payment is received.  All the stuff that pertains to that case needs to be kept in that file.  Can I go through old emails and move old info to the new file? Sure. But you probably don’t have fifty open rootwork cases, nor twenty rootworkers clamoring for your attention, nor a stack of papers by your elbow waiting on new info to come in so orders and bookings can be processed.  So it makes sense for you to put the info you want to associate with that new case in the proper file – reduces the risk of error, omission, and confusion.

How my inbox tagging and flagging system works:

The way orders are processed means that if you do not send the info as requested, as a response to the email in the same thread that your payment acknowledgment is in, but rather send it in a new email (or worse yet, in an old email thread that already has a label like “work finished and filed” on it because we were having a conversation in the thread associated with a light setting I did a month ago), then your message containing photos, petition etc are just floating around in the inbox with the hundred or so emails I;ve gotten in the last few business days.  Meanwhile your new booking is still in the “pending” file with a label showing that I’m waiting on the info from you to begin.

I answer regular incoming emails in the order they are received, and I get a boatload, y’all.  But emails coming in that are related to a current, open case for paid rootwork damn straight get opened ahead of other emails.  When you send the info according to the instructions, then they pop up flagged in my inbox so that I know to go straight to them because they relate to pending altar work.   The instructions are there to help the client get their work faster and ensure  there are no mistakes, and that the proper petition, photo, etc is associated with the proper light setting every time.  I swear to God that is why they exist. I swear to God they do not exist because I want to drive my clients away with my nitpicky rules.

Bottom Line:

The instructions are there to help the client get their work faster and ensure  there are no mistakes, and that the proper petition is associated with the proper light setting every time.  I don’t ask y’all to hit reply because I need to reread my own booking acknowledgment instructions that I sent you; I ask y’all to hit reply because I need the info to come in associated with the current altar work, not the altar work you booked on Sep 4 and that was closed out on Sep 24.

And as for “I’m sure you still have the photos, so I won’t bother resending them,” it just does not work that way.  We USE the photos you send us. We write on them, put oils on them, set things on them. They get bent, they get sticky, they get wax drips. They may be burned, bent, folded, spindled, or mutilated, depending on the work.  And as for “I’m sure you can just reprint them,” it just does not work that way either.  I’m going to use a recent light setting client as an example really quick here – I just opened her file in my gmail account. She’s been a client for a bit over a year.  There are 55 email threads in her file.  Some have two or three messages in them.  Some have 35 messages in them. Some have 70 messages in them. Most have between ten and twenty.  And just for fun, she writes from one account but makes paypal payments from another account.

Do you really want me to sit here and spend twenty or thirty or forty minutes going through several hundred messages looking for that petition or that photo, redownloading it, and reprinting it?[**]  Or would you rather take ten extra seconds to attach the photo again so that I can spend that twenty or thirty minutes *starting your altar work*?  It really is up to you!

Brought to you by your friendly neighborhood rootworker who has just written all this out for the very last time 🙂  Happy hoodooing, and I’ll try to put up a more entertaining and less didactic post as soon as I get caught up with all these light settings that have been “pending” for four, five, even seven days waiting on client petitions or photos:-)


[*] There are reasons for you to send me things associated with sexual activity in some rare cases. Most of the time this stuff can be handled or added on your end.  But in those cases where you are sending a concern even remotely related to sexual fluids, I guarantee you are going to get very specific instructions ahead of time, and we are going to discuss it in detail, and if you then do not follow the instructions, you have just wasted all that transit and waiting time sending me stuff I will not touch, never mind use.

[**] Yes, I have tried creating folders on my computer and collecting client info in them as it comes in, so for returning clients I can just go to the folder to reprint a photo or double-check the spelling of a target name.  But y’all don’t always keep the same hair color, or the same names for that matter, and you don’t always keep the same targets, and you don’t always keep the same petitions, and over the years I have found that having clients simply give me the info they want me to use in any new case is the best option.

status update and info about usps trace requests + new stuff

Power is back on and DSL is back up. I’m getting caught up as I can, but there is a lot of backlog.

Please understand that the southeast, especially GA and AL, have just suffered what they are calling the fourth-worst tornado event in US history, so if your order has not arrived as you expected, please be patient just a little bit longer, as anything that’s had to go out of or go through the southeast may have suffered a slight delay. (And please, I beg you, if you are waiting on an order, try to have some perspective here – lives have been lost and livelihoods have been destroyed. If you can spare a prayer or a donation for the people who have lost lives and homes and jobs and loved ones, there are a lot of people who could use your help and prayers).

It’s highly unlikely your package has been lost, but if it’s been 20 days past the label ship date (30 for international) and your package has still not arrived, email me with a "package trace request" and I’ll put in a USPS trace for you. (They will not put in a trace prior to 20 business days; the estimated delivery times shown at usps.com and at ebay are only estimations, and packages are not considered lost until 20 business days are passed, so prior to that there is nothing I can do. At 20 business days, though, I’ll be happy to burn up the phone lines for you and find your package). All of this information, by the way, is in the FAQ and in the payment acknowledgment email you received when you completed checkout and payment (which also contained a link to the FAQ pages).

I’ve listed a leather and sterling mercury dime bracelet and a new memento mori rosary. New Seven Rays of the Archangels rosary coming up hopefully tomorrow.

questions you’ve asked – on item instructions in general and saints candles in particular

Q: Why won’t you tell me what day of the week to light my saint candle on? [Implied: it’s a simple question, and I feel that the purchase of a $15 custom item from your store that it took you an hour to make, custom, just for me, creates an obligation for you to answer any question I have about how to use it even though you don’t know me or my situation from Adam’s housecat.]

A: So many tears would be prevented if folks read the FAQ before purchasing; the FAQ clearly states that this is simply an impossible thing for anyone to expect of me, which if you put yourself in my shoes for a few minutes and imagined that I get twenty emails just like yours every day, there is no way that I would have time to make these custom items.  The FAQ states:

Do your items come with instructions?

Not unless the listing states that they do; there is more than one way to use my products depending on the spell you are using. If you need guidance on general principles of spellcraft, or on using hoodoo oils, powders, etc in general, visit my blog for tips, tricks, and links to reliable, educational internet resources. If you require specific guidance or feedback and want my personal attention on your use of my products or on the spell you are casting, you can purchase a consultation session at my website. It is not humanly possible for me to answer every email I receive asking for free spell advice and for instructions on how to do X,Y, or Z with my products. If you need a spell, your single best resource is probably luckymojo.com – they have hundreds if not thousands of hoodoo spells listed.

If you’re going to order a candle or oil and then get mad at me when I can’t answer questions about the specific spell you’re using with it, then I wish you wouldn’t order from me. I don’t advertise that service and don’t offer it; I do not offer free spell consultations. There are *hundreds* of spells out there. If you need one-on-one guidance, you might consider hiring a rootworker if you don’t know where to begin in doing your own research.

In part this is a problem of time. I spent at least 20 hours a week just answering emails (this does not include typing up light setting reports and consultations; this is essentially work I am not being directly paid for). It is not humanly possible for me to give free, custom advice to everybody who buys an item from my store. I would be out of business in no time because my power would be cut off and I would be starved to death.

But there’s an even bigger underlying issue here. The author of the email containing this type of question presumes that there is one simple answer to the question, “What day should I light my saint candle on?”

In fact, there is NOT one simple answer, and you can’t really blame your rootworker or product supplier if you bought an item without a spell in mind and then find yourself not knowing how to use it. There are a thousand spells and not all are equally suited to your situation; it requires an assessment of your case in order for your worker to advise you, and such assessments take time, and they are not automatically included in the purchase price of a $15, custom-finished, custom-painted, and custom-fixed candle.

Would you go into Lowe’s, buy a few pressure-treated cypress boards, and then bring them back to the cashier and say “Should I build my deck with the steps facing north or west?” I sure hope you wouldn’t. And if you did, I sure hope you wouldn’t get mad at the employee who said, “Actually, had you asked first, that isn’t the material I would have recommended given that you don’t know what you’re doing yet.”

An offer to customize according to client preferences does not automatically equal unlimited post-purchase support and troubleshooting.

But let me illustrate why this is not a question of me being stingy and withholding a simple answer (leaving aside for the moment that if it were simple, you could have found it in five minutes with Google). Let’s say, for instance, that the client purchased a fixed St. Gerard vigil candle. Client then writes and asks, “What day of the week should I light it on?” Here are (some of) the problems embedded in the question that make it NOT something with a simple answer (AND all of this is leaving aside the fact that I only have so many characters allowed by ebay in my response to your message sent on ebay, so i couldn’t type all of this even if I wanted to – and I don’t want to).

First of all, not everybody treats a vigil light for a saint like a vigil light for a hoodoo condition. Some folks will set a love light on Friday, because somebody told them to, or they read it somewhere, or it’s customary where they come from to do love work on Friday, or because Friday is associated with Venus through a long chain of complicated etymological, linguistic, and historical reasons [1] and Venus is the goddess of love.

Note First Huge Problem: this reasoning does not fly with somebody working that candle in an orthodox Roman Catholic tradition. Goddess of love? Surely you jest?!

If you work with St. Gerard as a Roman Catholic, doing a novena, you would light it whenever. If you were my great-grandmother, you would light it on Sunday, because she started all her novenas on Sunday with only a few exceptions.

If you work with St. Gerard as an image or aspect of the lwa Baron Samedi, then you would light it on Saturday.  I do not know what religion you are when you order this candle; I can’t tell you “the right answer.”

Let’s just say the for the sake of illustration that a petition to a saint would be set according to the same principles as a non-denominational love-drawing or other type of “condition” candle (NOT a wise assumption, but let’s just follow the thinking for the sake of argument). The answer obviously depends in part on what you are petitioning the saint for.

If you decided to use hoodoo guidelines to work your vigil or novena, and you were setting the light for the purpose of having a child, and you needed an eager, cooperative, loving husband and a couple in synch with each other, you might set it on Friday, since it’s the day for love but also the day for general attraction work. OR maybe you’d set it on Monday, since in some traditions it’s associated with the moon, which in some traditions governs fertility. Or on Sunday, since that is the traditional day of blessings in some religions/paths. Or on Tuesday if you wanted to focus on your husband’s virility, as Tuesday is the day of Tir or Tiw, the Germanic counterpart of Mars and known in Scandinavian traditions for strength, victory, battle, and other “virile” attributes [2]. OR you might set it on Wednesday, named for Odin, in turn associated with Mercury, because Mercury days are when you’d work to remove obstacles. Or on Thursday because it’s associated with Jupiter who you tap for any kind of abundance or success work.

I hope you get my point.

You want to get hung up on a day? Fine. Light in on October the 8th.

But it’s March, you say, and you want to do the novena now. Ok, no problem. Then LIGHT THE DAMN CANDLE NOW. If there is ONE DAY associated with a saint, it’s generally the saint’s death day, which generally becomes the feast day. So if you are hung up on certain days, then you are going to be waiting for one chance a year to light that candle.

Another problem inherent in the question is that not everybody uses days of the week to determine when they will set a light, regardless of the type of light. In general, I do not, unless the need for the light is not pressing but is something like a pre-booked set of lights over the course of a few months to improve communication between two people. In a case like that, I might set it on a certain day of the week – but I might not. It depends on a number of different factors. Some folks are more concerned about the planetary hour of the day, or the phase of the moon, or whether or not Mercury is retrograde, or what the sun and moon signs of the targets are. It’s complex. However, that does NOT mean you have to be all complicated in your approach in order to get results. If you purchase a fixed light, it’s fixed – I did everything that MUST be done short of lighting it. Anything else you choose to do is up to you and the framework you are working within.

Bottom line: There IS NO ANSWER to the question “on what day do I set the St. Gerard light” other than “that is up to you and the spell or framework you’ve chosen to work within.” Instead of presuming your rootworker is being mean or stingy, take a sec to listen to what they are saying and chill out with the getting peeved because you didn’t get the answer you wanted. Maybe you didn’t ask the right question.

Other bottom line: if I were independently wealthy and had all the time in the world, I would LOVE to just talk to folks about conjure and religion and spirituality and folk magic all day long. I would LOVE to. But I have to pay my bills just like you do, and I just plain cannot answer questions about individual specific situations and spells for free. If there is something that MUST be done in order for your product or object or item to work, I will let you know, I promise. If you MUST feed it with oil, I will tell you so.

But if it gets into the realm of preference or religious background or worldview or framework, then we are out of the realm of “must” and into the realm of “do your own research or book a consultation, or go ask those super-friendly, super-knowledgeable folks I’ve linked to for help.” I swear on my great-grandmother’s Bible than I do not insist on this to be a bitch – I insist on it because I get 100 emails a day and I have to pay my bills and feed my ever-hungry teenager and fill orders and do consultations for paying clients. If you think about it for a minute, what I’m saying here is not unreasonable – and I promise I charge a whole lot less than your lawyer does for a consultation.

Finally, again, if the shoe does not fit, do not wear it! If you are reading this, then you are the type that reads and probably finds the instructions and FAQs, and so this probably does not apply to you at all. I’ve written it up for the sake of new customers who might not understand my position here, and also by way of illustrating just how complex the choice of some aspects of conjure work can be – and how personal. When I say “one size does not fit all,” that does not mean it’s a free-for-all and that anything goes. Changes and tweaks and additions and modifications are done according to a certain logic that makes theoretical sense according to the conjure practitioner who has internalized this theory or logic. Changes and choices are made for a reason.

But that does not mean that all adaptations or changes will be the same in every case, and it furthermore does not mean every worker will do it the same way. I come from a Catholic background, but a worker who comes from a Protestant or non-Christian background may be making choices according to a different set of considerations than the ones I’m using. All changes and choices are logical and coherent within the operative framework; not every aspect of every worker’s framework is the same, though.

NOW, having said all that and it being nearly 3 am and me still needing to type up a couple of light setting reports and contracts before I can sign off for good for the coming week-and-change, HAPPY HOODOOING! I love y’all, and thanks for reading, and thanks for shopping with me, trusting me with your spiritual supplies needs, and giving me the honor of helping you achieve your goals with rootwork and/or advice. Don’t forget to “like” my business page on facebook!

As a reward for those of you who do read, and who have stuck with this post to the end even though you knew all this already, here’s an easter egg for you: at the Spring equinox (aka feast day of St. Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, aka 2nd Sunday in Lent, aka a Fire Festival, aka just-after-the-full-moon, aka the 20th of March), I will select randomly from among those who have left a comment in response to this post, here on livejournal.  [Ed.: this post was originally posted on livejournal; entries have been imported into WordPress but not comments.] I will send the winner a free bottle of extra-special, only-made-once-a-year spiritual oil. I won’t say what it is yet, and in fact I don’t have a name for it yet, but I promise it will be awesome, and I promise it will be rare, and I promise it will be multi-purpose and in the general range of blessing/abundance/prosperity, and I promise it will be hand-made by me with all the attention that all of my spiritual oils, powders, etc get. Just leave  a comment on this post right here to enter.

I do allow anonymous comments, but in order to be able to win something, you have to put either a unique username or a first name and last initial in the comment so that you would recognize your unique name/nickname if I were to announce it.  If you are John S., there is probably somebody else out there with your first name and last initial, so give me something else, like a nickname or city/state, ok?

Have a great March and thanks for stopping by!


[1] In the language of the Anglo-Saxons, Friday was Frigedæg, named for the Germanic goddess Frig. This came about because the language of the learned in Europe at this time was Latin, and so all correspondence, records, prayerbooks etc used when the Germanic settlers were converted to Christianity were initially in Latin. Thus what we now call Friday was then called “dies Veneris,” or “the day of Venus,” as this is how the imperial calendars in the Roman empire worked – all days of the week were named after planets (which in their turn were named after the gods). English-speaking clerics translated this into the vernacular as “the day of Frig,” as they mapped the Roman deities onto Germanic deities in cases of translation like this. So if I were working within some sort of British and/or folk tradition, I might make my choices based on the fact that this is currently Hrepmonað, named for the goddess Hreðe (not that we actually know much about her, as her name was preserved by a Christian monk who was happy to see the worship of the pagan gods pass), and/or that today is Quiquagesima Sunday, when the homilies focus on when Christ was said to have healed a blind man, and/or that the full moon is coming up on the 19th and the moon is currently waxing, and/or that the Equinox is coming up, etc.

If I were coming from a more typical Protestant background in my conjure work, I would probably not be working with St. Gerard at all.  He’s not a household name in non-Catholic circles like St. Expedite is, and it might be more common to call on the angel Gabriel for fertility stuff in some circles, given his role in the Annunciation.

See, working with the saints is not actually shot through-and-through traditional Southern-style rootwork. I grew up petitioning the saints and dressing the Infant of Prague in fancy robes and putting the baby Jesus statue in the arms of the Joseph statue and putting a crown of woven flowers on the Virgin Mary statue in May. But I grew up in a rare family – a deep-South Catholic family. Outside of those areas like Louisiana where Catholicism was everywhere, there actually aren’t all that many Catholic rootworkers, and of the thousands and thousands of saints that the Catholic church recognizes or has recognized, only a small handful are widely known in hoodoo. That’s why it’s pretty easy to find out what day folks might set a light for love drawing in general, but not so easy to find out what day folks might set a light to a Catholic saint that hasn’t quite made it into the “mainstream” like St. Expedite has. It’s hard to find “the rules” on days to set saints’ lights in conjure because there are no rules.  You will find differences in how novenas to even popular saints like St. Expedite are handled, some folks saying Wednesday, some Sunday, etc, some a red candle, some a blue candle, etc.

[2] The word “virile” itself comes from the Latin word meaning “man,” so when I say courage/battle/strength are “masculine” attributes, I’m being etymological here, not sexist.

name papers and “crossed writing”

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 is an example of a "crossed" letter, meaning that it was written in one direction, rotated, and then written cross-wise to save paper. Sometimes the respondents would write across the original letter and send it back. See also a letter in the collection from Robert E. Lee to his children.

 

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.

Commonly Requested Altar Work and Services

Since the new web design and store are not quite ironed out yet (sigh), I thought I’d write a post describing some of the more commonly requested types of altar work and spellwork.  I find myself answering the same questions over and over again and typing up the same info about price ranges and what spells include, and so I’m posting this so I’ll have a URL to refer people to so they can see photos and get an idea of how I work.

One day this stuff will have its own page with photos on the website, but this’ll have to do in the meanwhile, and in the meanwhile you can book any of the following services using the paypal menu at my userinfo pagePLEASE NOTE: If you are a new client or customer, meaning I have not already done altar work or a reading or consultation for you, and you want to book something other than a light setting, *I use contracts for all rootwork and altar work beyond light settings and mojo bags.*  I will have to write one up for your case and you will have to agree to its terms before I will accept your payment and begin work.  The contract spells out what you can expect and when, and it gives the fee for the altar work. This fee will not change; I will not write you a week into the work and say "I see you are miserably cursed; send me $1000 for a cleansing of your aura" or any garbage like that.  If something comes up in the course of the work that makes me think we need to adjust fire, I’ll contact you about it, but I will never take it upon myself to adjust contracted work without your agreement, and I will never say "I had to do X so you owe me another X amount of money."  If you are a new client and would like to see a sample contract before booking, I’ll be happy to send you one to look over so you can get an idea of how I work and what sort of responses you can expect from me.  If you are new to hiring a professional worker at all, you might have a look through my list of posts on client education, client info, frequently asked questions, etiquette and ethics, hoodoo education, principles of magic, and questions you’ve asked.

Please note that I do not take all cases that cross my "desk."  In fact, I turn away more cases than I take (largely because most of the queries that I get are for reconciliation in, or work on, a troubled relationship, and this means that a great number of people seeking spellwork are 1. desperate and hurting and 2. not coming from a background of familiarity with the principles of magic but are rather led to magic out of desperation over their love life, 3. have often tried other "spellcasters" before who operate a certain way and thus they expect everybody to operate this way, and thus they 4. often have unrealistic expectations and 5. get really offended and/or refuse to believe that there is not something unique about them, or their ex, or their case when a worker suggests that their expectations are unrealistic and/or success in their case is unlikely).  For the record, I do take the occasional reconciliation case.  I’d say I take 1 out of every 85 that come my way.  I require a consultation before I can say whether and how I can help, but often I know whether I will take the case or not based on the contents of the initial contact email, truth be told.  There are a lot of workers out there who are a lot more patient than I am about educating spellwork newcomers about the principles of said spellwork, so folks seeking reconciliation are usually going to be happier with one of those folks anyway.  For more on reconciliation, follow the tags.

So, my putting up a list of work that I often do doesn’t mean you can just push a button and that’s the end of it, the universe sends everything you want your way and it lands in your lap with a bow on top.  It doesn’t work that way.  If you are new to hiring a professional spiritual worker, and especially if you are new to conjure and hoodoo, please educate yourself before hiring me or any other worker to do spiritual work for you.  There are a ton of scam artists out there, and there are a ton of newcomers to the world of professional spellwork for them to scam every day. Don’t be taken in.  Perhaps counterintuitively, some of the major signs of a scam artist often include the infamous "Satisfaction Guarantee" and the less infamous, but once upon a time quite common, "Pay Half Now and Pay the Rest Only When You Are Satisfied" appeals.  These would appear to be a good thing – why they aren’t is too long a tale for this already-long post, but one of these days I’ll get around to posting about it. (This is not to say that these automatically mean scam, but combined with a few other signs, they ought to be Giant Yellow Lights for anyone.  Check out your worker’s rep.  Put the internet to work for you.)

Email consultations.  Read more about them here and here.  Turnaround time is typically about 14 working days.

Vigil Light Setting with Report .  You send me a one or two sentence petition, and the full names of any people involved in the petition as well as any photos you want me to use.  I fix, dress, and burn a customized 7 day vigil light for you, reporting on the results of the burn via email upon its completion.

Three-day taper settings (MWF), no report.  These are commonly used for maintenance of a honey jar or sour jar that you have working on my altars, though they can also be booked if you just want a petition set on my altar with a standalone taper light, three times a week for one week.  I report generally upon the work when it’s completed, but do not give a play-by-play on a daily or even weekly basis with this service.

Email followup on previous consult or ongoing work.  If you need a checkup on work you currently have contracted with me, or a followup on an earlier consultation, or even a checkup on work you’re doing for yourself that you’ve consulted with me about before, book a followup consultation rather than a brand-new one.

Email Readings.  Turnaround times are currently in excess of eight weeks, so I discourage new clients from booking them.  I can recommend a number of good readers who aren’t booked up as bad as I am and who can get back to you sooner.  If you don’t mind the queue and your question is not urgent, then you can book an email reading with me.

Custom Honey Jar, with 1 month work on my altar.
  You send me info about your situation, and I make a custom honey jar for you and work it on my altars for four weeks, setting lights on it three times a week (MWF, no light setting report).  Does not include shipping; at the end of the month we can discuss what you want to do next.


Uncrossing or Spiritual Cleansing via pendulum and censing on my altars.
  A photograph of the person to be uncrossed or cleansed is necessary, and a personal concern such as hair is highly recommended.  Contact me for instructions on how to mail the personal concerns.   If you want a 7 day run of spiritual cleansing or uncrossing work, then book seven of these.  If you need these timed to coincide with work you are doing on your end, such as a series of uncrossing baths, then please contact me before booking to make sure I can meet your needs in terms of scheduling.  Sometimes my altars are full or I have other work going on that has a tight schedule or timing to it.


Fiery Wall of Protection Spell.
  Standard, for one person.  Includes creation of protection mojo (technically a paket, as it cannot be opened once it’s ritually tied as part of its creation, and it’s a good bit larger than a mojo bag), shipping cost to a US address, and cemetery disposal of the ritual remains associated with your enemy or troublemaker. Please contact me before booking for options for having the spell worked for multiple protectees, as well as for options if you prefer a different type of disposal of the remains or prefer to have them mailed to you to dispose of yourself.  Can be worked without personal concerns, but they are highly recommended; contact me for instructions on how to mail them.  *If you are a brand-new client, especially if you are new to hoodoo, I strongly recommend you write to me and tell me a bit about your situation before purchasing this service.  This may not be the best spell for your case, and/or we may want to do a different type of ritual disposal depending on what you need protection from.*  If you are trying to call down hellfire and brimstone on your neighbor for parking on your side of the street, or you want to send an enemy to the graveyard spirits because they were rude to you at a party, I will probably refund your money and refuse the case.  So feel free to write first.

Moving Lodestone Attraction spell.  Includes creation of mojo bag and shipping, along with lodestone food and instructions, to a US address.  Suitable for those trying to draw a specific lover, to draw a new and unknown lover, or to bring two people together for other, non-romantic purposes (such as making a new friend, strengthening a friendship, getting an influential person to take your side in something,etc).  Personal concerns are highly recommended; contact me for instructions on how to mail them. 

Basic Binding spell, 7 day, with remains shipped to you with instructions for disposal. Binding spells of this sort are done to hold an enemy down to prevent him or her from taking further action against you.  Personal concerns are ideal but this can be worked even if the enemy’s name is not known.  You can use this spell even if you have multiple and/or unknown targets.  You should not, however, expect the same sort of results if you are working without a link to your target as you’d get it you were targeting a specific person with their personal concerns.  If you are trying to bind two people together for a love spell, or trying to bind a partner’s nature sexually, you must have a consultation before I will agree to take your case.  I do not accept the majority of love cases that people write to me about, but even if I will not take your case (and statistically there is a very good chance I won’t), I will probably be able to recommend another reader or worker to you who might speak with you about it, so don’t be afraid to write.

Basic Reversing spell, crossroads disposal.  These spells are to send nasty junk back on the person or people who are aiming it at you.  It is not, in itself, an uncrossing spell, and it is not, in itself, a revenge spell.  It is not really a complete protection spell either, in a lot of cases.  So it often needs to be done as part of a more complex set of actions or steps.  It may not be the best solution for your case, so please feel free to inquire before booking this service.  This spell uses a jumbo reversing candle set on a customized, fixed mirror and prepared with all the necessary reversing materia magica.  At the conclusion of the working, the remains are disposed of by me at a crossroads.  I have to drive out to the country to do this spell right, so do not expect your report within a few hours of the candle going out.  As with the above Binding spell, this can be done with or without personal concerns and known full names, but personal concerns are always better.

I do lots of other different types of spellwork, but these are by far the types of spells I do most frequently.  Even if you don’t end up going with something listed here for your spellwork, this should hopefully give you an idea of what to expect and what kind of fees are involved in typical cases.  Many customized workings will involve modifications to the basic types of spells mentioned above.  And while other workers’ preferences in setting up their altars, fee structures, contract terms, turnaround times, reporting styles, preferred methods etc. will vary, traditional rootworkers will usually offer similar types of spells, so this can be a good introduction to your research on having a rootworker cast a spell for you.

Some altar work, such as most light settings and mojo bags, does not require a consultation – or rather does not require you to book a consultation before I can begin your work.  You should always just write first and give me a (brief) intro to your situation, asking if this or that spell is right for you, if you need a formal consultation, if I have anything to recommend. Sometimes I can make a recommendation that won’t require you to book a consultation.  Most light settings and mojo bags can be booked with our trading a few emails, informally, rather than your having to order a formal consultation. And some types of altar work can be be booked the same way.  Anything involving  hexing, crossing, breakup, hot foot etc, OR involving an existing romantic relationship, is probably going to require a formal consultation, though.

But write before you purchase – you never know.

on breakup work; frequently asked questions

breakup work faqs cover 600 x 900 jpgThis post is part of the Rootwork Education series that I used to maintain on livejournal and am now updating and keeping here on WordPress. Work in progress.

Q: A client asks why I won’t often do breakup cases, and why I require a consultation before considering work like that.

A: In and of itself, I don’t have a moral problem with simply the fact that the couple is married or that a client is having a relationship with a married woman or man.  The issue of breaking up couples, particularly married couples, is complex and isn’t really necessarily about “preserving the sanctity of marriage no matter what” or any naive crap like that.  It’s about the fact that relationships come in all shapes and sizes, and that sometimes breaking up a couple will cause harm that is not justified in the bigger picture.  Let me give you some examples.

I have a client come to me to break up a married couple. The client is dating a married man and he kept on promising to leave his wife and never did. I do a divination that reveals that even if the couple were to break up, the guy still wasn’t likely to marry the client he’d been dating, which was what the client wanted.  And coaxing an early breakup in a marriage that was not quite ready to break up on its own causes problems that go far beyond the emotional state of the client who’s left out in the cold.  At the end of the day, I’m looking at work that will cause a lot of emotional turmoil for a lot of people, a lot of expense for a lot of people, and will still not result in a happy client.  That’s not justified work in my book.  There are such things as less-than-perfectly-happy married couples who nevertheless desire to stay married for any number of reasons.  That couple has to be taken into account as well as the client, especially if there are children or complicated financial/extended family concerns (one spouse’s insurance or job is helping pay for the other spouse’s parent’s hospice care or something like that).

A client wants a couple broken up because he thinks the relationship is the obstacle keeping him and his love interest apart or from being in the kind of relationship he wants them to be in. But the love interest has no desire to be in the kind of relationship the client wants to be in.  Breaking up the couple would not benefit the client.

A client wants a couple broken up and the couple is bound by religious marriage vows, which are essentially oaths.  Breaking up the couple means fighting against the religious oaths the couple took to each other.  This is a bad idea.  If one member of the couple indicated they were ready to get out of the marriage and just needed some help, then that might be a mitigating factor. But if that hasn’t happened, and the two people are not ready to completely break their oaths (even though they may very well be violating aspects of that oath), then the client is fighting an uphill battle.

There are many more examples. But hopefully that gives you an idea of why I have to do a consultations for stuff like this.  A consultation will get at what the issues are and give us space and time to talk about your case.  This will enable me to make better recommendations (for instance, the best route might be to draw a new lover to the other spouse so they let go with less fight, or to provide an unhappy spouse with the financial or emotional or medical or whatever things they need to be strong enough to leave the marriage).

Edit: Be sure to read the comments for some additional tidbits, as well.

new (small) batch of black cat bones, and notes on all those “just a quick question”s people ask us

I have a few newly-prepared black cat bones in stock now.  It’s not a whole skeleton – it’s not even half a skeleton – but I do have a couple of bones that aren’t already "spoken for" if you are reading this and you have recently asked me about bone availability.  They are not as white as some earlier batches have been – I clean them the slow, old-fashioned way, by burying them.  I use certain timing measures and moon phases in their burial and preparation, in accordance with the way I was taught in central Alabama in the early 90s.  When they are ready to be dug up, they then get a peroxide bath and a toothbrush scrubbing.  But it takes a while to get the bones really white – these are likelier to be a bit yellower and/or stained than the ones in the photos you’ve seen.  If you going to be grossed out by a less-than-lily-white bone, then you might want to pass on this batch (by the time they could get whiter, they’ll probably all be gone or spoken for for amulets and mojo bags).

I’ve had several clients and customers write over the past couple of months looking for black cat bones for individual sale, not as part of a pendant or mojo or the like.  I stopped listing individual black cat bones a couple of years ago, when one of my long-time suppliers became no longer a good source and my access to black cat bones became greatly constrained. (I won’t buy or obtain them from just anybody – I have to trust the person that the death was from natural causes or accident and that the animal was not killed or harmed by the person trying to sell me the bones.  And some folks will lie just because they have the opportunity to make some cash off the "crazy brujeria chick who will give you money for your roadkill or your neighbor’s dead pet, man!"  I have to guard against those types, so even meeting a new potential source can take a while to result in new bones, because I have to check these people out and get to know them.  If you’re a newer reader and/or not familiar with my take on and use of black cat bones, follow the tags to learn more about my ethics on the matter, and more about why I think they’re valuable curios even without all the gruesome cat-torture spells that are supposed to result in getting the One Single Magic Bone from a black cat).

So I’m sorry I’m using social networking sites to post this, when several of you asked to be remembered and probably wanted a heads up before I made these public, but I am not really capable of keeping track of all the requests I get for things.  I get SO MANY emails every day, and it’s plenty of struggle just to keep up with the inbox on top of my other full time job[*] and making, packing, and managing product sales, not to mention the queue for readings and consultations, which has been about 8 deep since I got back from England.  I am not saying this to sound like I’m whining; I’m just trying to explain what my inbox looks like every day so you guys don’t get mad at me when I can’t remember who asked for what two weeks ago.  Could I keep a list and go down it to notify people when something they wanted came back into stock?  Sure, but I’d be out of business soon, because maintaining such a wish list is not a rent-paying activity, and most of my activities have to be rent-paying activities.  (Please ask me how much time I spent earlier this week tracking down something I stopped carrying but thought I had one more of in a drawer somewhere, for a client who asked for some custom work using this Item I no longer sell.  And then ask me if he actually purchased the thing I went out of my way looking for when I had so many other things on my to-do list (like the readings and consultations and light setting reports that are late right now).  Hint: the answer’s no.  Multiply things like that by 50 on an average week, and you might begin to get an idea of why I just have to draw some arbitrary limits sometimes.  I just don’t have time to do things that way, not when I am busting my butt to stay on top of the regular day to day business; I sincerely hope you guys who’ve asked don’t take it personally that you didn’t get personal email. I just can’t remember for sure who you were except for the very last, most recent person to ask, but I did encourage him to just email me later lest I forget.

(I get people who will write me after not having any contact in a year, and they will sign the email with their first name or nothing at all, and it will say things like "things have changed since we last talked, what do you recommend?"  I guess it seems like, since we spend so much talking over things, it would be impossible for me to forget you.  But it’s not about that at all – it’s about the fact that I have twenty "Deborahs" in my files, for instance, and I’ve made at least a hundred mojo bags in the last 12 months since I spoke to you last.  I might have recognized your name and even remembered some significant things about you, if you’d signed the email with your name, but that’s not to say I have much of a memory at all of what you’ve bought in the past, not unless I ended up doing some fairly complicated altar work for you, or had done a consultation rather recently.  So this is something any client of any worker should keep in mind – you may not deal with twenty workers every day, but your worker could very well deal with twenty potential clients every day.  If there’s been a lapse in communication, you can help your worker help you by briefly recapping the situation and the work and being sure to *sign your full name.*  What seems like a "quick question" to you could mean your worker has to dig through files and/or databases to find your case file/notes – multiply your "quick question" by the "quick question" of the other 50 people who emailed that day, and you have a raving mad rootworker who also happens to be starving to death because she’s engaged in non-billable work.  This isn’t to make it sound like we boil everything down to money money money – plenty of us do pro bono work and/or support various charities and causes we feel strongly about.  It’s just basically a question of not assuming everybody remembers your favorite color or dog’s name, but that that doesn’t mean they don’t care about their clients, and keeping in mind that rootworkers are human too, and they have power bills to pay, and if they do too much free work, then they will end up not being able to afford to be a rootworker anymore. And so their drawing of limits and boundaries also doesn’t mean that they don’t care about their clients.)

I don’t mean to make it sound like "oh my god I have so much business," because I actually don’t. It’s just that the business I do have, I do everything myself.  And I don’t mean to make it sound like "I wish people would stop writing me emails," because I don’t wish that.  I’m just one little old person trying to take care of her customers and her small handful of clients, and I want very much for you guys to understand where I’m coming from and what my days look like so you don’t take it personally if I can’t remember what city you were born in or whether your mojo bag had an angelica root in it or not.  (or whether you asked me to write you when I got some cat bones in.)

Livejournal and facebook are the best I can do right now, sorry!

So forward that last email to me in which you told me what you were wanting in terms of bones, and I’ll get back to you re. what I have.  Or drop into the ebay store and see if any of the new listings strike your fancy.  Or leave me a message here (or send a direct email), letting me know what you’re interested in. I have some fragments and chips, a couple of ribs, a couple of leg bones, some vertebra.

I do not have a complete skull, a complete tail, etc from this batch – i have a broken pelvis, a broken scapula, and about half of a skull; sorry, the dogs got to it the day after I buried it and I had to fight them over the damned skeleton and move a big-ass piece of paving stone over the interment spot.

There’s a leg bone up for auction on ebay, as well as a black cat bone gambling charm and a black cat bone bracelet.

Thanks for reading! I’ll try to put up a substantive hoodoo post this coming weekend instead of just babbling and bitching.

***

[*] I’m not kidding. I work full time during the day, and then I come home and work full time plus on the store, the altars, clients and customers, etc.  That’s why my emails tend to come between the hours of 5 pm and 5 am.  I do not sleep 8 hours a night.  I sleep on the weekends, hence my not being open for business and not shipping on weekends.

things you should know this week and in general

I am out of town.  I have a family obligation and i will not be back until Tuesday night.  My email access is spotty and I will get to your email as soon as I can. This month, and in general at any time, emailing me repeatedly about the same thing when I have told you I will get back to you will not get your email answered any faster.  If you have emailed me twenty times, you can rest assured I haven’t forgotten about you (though if you have not emailed me twenty times and you haven’t heard back from me, then please go ahead and email again to make sure I got it).  As I am out of town, I do not have all my notes, records, emails, and files with me, so if I haven’t answered a question that needs a lookup, please be patient with me.

Emailing repeatedly when I’ve said I will get back to you as soon as possible will result in your getting fired as my client.  For all the time I spend repeating myself in emails, that is less time I have to actually do the work for you that you want me to do.  If you ordered custom work and it involved sewing, please know that the sewing machine broke, and so those orders are slowed down.  I hope to be back in action with the sewing on Tuesday.  If you ordered other custom work, please be assured that I am working on it – I have never failed to fill an order.  Custom work takes time, and I would rather do it right, even if that means I need to drive to the next town to find a root I don’t happen to have in stock, than do it half-assed.  When I have to start doing things half-assed, I will stop doing them.

If you purchased a reading, you got in line.  If you haven’t gotten your reading yet – and there is still quite a queue – and you would like your money back because you didn’t realize you got in a line that had people in front of you, I am more than happy to refund it so you can spend it on somebody who can do readings with a quicker turnaround. I  can recommend several excellent readers.  If, while you are waiting, something about your situation changes, then by all means, please email me to inform me of the change.  But if you’re emailing to ask where the reading is, I’ll probably just refund your money so we can both be happy and spend our time doing something other than emailing each other.

For the past several years, I have gotten between 20 and 40 emails *every day* with inquiries on products, services, or general advice.  I have always tried to answer within 48 hours.  Lately, it’s been more difficult for me to do so, and lately my email volume has increased.  If you are emailing about the same thing again, I am probably not going to answer your email if all I"m going to do is repeat myself.  The time to ask me if I can meet a pressing deadline is *before* you order, not after.  If I haven’t begun processing your order and you would like a refund, please ask, and I’ll be happy to provide it.  If I’ve already begun custom work, I will not refund your money, but I’ll try to work something out with you (and then I will not accept any more work from you as this will result in my taking a loss).  I would rather refund your money, though, than risk letting my irritation bleed over into the work I’m doing for you, and risk you getting frustrated and being unhappy with the service you’ve retained me for.  I’m not here to be a bitch or make people wait for some kind of power trip, but I have other clients, and I have other obligations, and I have a full time job outside my home.  I adore you for your patience and understanding.

Much of this advice is probably advice you should take when you’re working with anyone who provides spiritual services.

Once again, I risk alienating the majority of my clients and customers who are wonderful and understand that it takes time to do the work I do.  If the shoe does not fit, do not wear it 🙂 I very much appreciate you guys, and I am blessed to be able to help you and honored that you trust me to do it.  And as always, if I can’t help you in the timeframe you need, I will be happy to try to help you find somebody who can.  I do not resent doing this work – I love doing this work and I love the people I meet.  But I do want to point out that annoying your reader or rootworker can get you fired – it may very well be the case that your reader or rootworker has people waiting in line for his or her services, because we don’t take more clients than we can do right by, and that by letting you go as a client, he or she is not being ornery or going on a power trip but is in fact trying to make sure that you have a reader or worker you work well with, and vice versa.  Not everybody clicks, and different people work different ways.  If you’re considering hiring a reader or worker, all these types of things about deadlines and timeframes are the types of things you want to find out about before you hire, so you can find somebody you click with.

If you’re the type of person who thinks they need daily contact, then I am telling you now that I am not the reader or rootworker for you.  Don’t hire me.  You’ll be unhappy if you expect an email every day.

None of this means that I don’t want to hear from you guys.  I love hearing from you guys when we’re not beating dead horses.  A client emailed the other day and said "I know you’re not here for moral support, but…" and I answered him that in fact I kind of AM here for moral support 🙂  If I take a case, whether it’s a single one day light setting or a longer term altar work case, I sure am here for you. That’s part of why I turn away a lot of clients – if I think we won’t click for whatever reason, or if I already have my hands and altars full, then I will tell you so.

This public service announcement brought to you by a Karma Zain who is trying very hard to do right by  you guys and very much appreciates your patience 🙂  If offering custom work keeps biting me in the ass like it has been this last month or so, though, I’m going to quit saying "yes" when people want something that is not off-the-shelf – if nobody’s happy, then there’s no point.

Blessings, and happy hoodooing,

Karma Zain

P.S. Tolis, darlin’, I got your coins, and you are a sweetie.  I’m gonna make you something special as lagniappe for being so nice and for having to wait so long for your custom order.  My mama herself is helping me finish your dolls this weekend ’cause our sewing machine needle up here broke.  My mama makes a mean doll-baby (and a mean roux).  You are in good hands, and I do appreciate your patience.