more q and a

A reader writes to ask,

Dear Karma,

Why did you leave the curanderismo yahoo group?

A: I didn’t leave.  I was removed.  Upon Bryant Holman’s death, the moderators were made group owners.  I had moderated the group for years, and was invited to do so by Bryant many years ago.  Through a series of events I won’t detail and some thinking I won’t even pretend to try to fathom, one of the moderators took it upon themself* to remove me from the group.  If you want the details, you’ll have to join the group and read the threads yourself – assuming they haven’t been removed.  I’m not going to go into it here.  Yes, I was invited to rejoin as a member, but I deplore the backhanded powerplay at work in this series of events and I will not participate and thereby give tacit approval of such antics.

Rest in peace, Bryant.  I’m sorry things went down this way.  God bless.

* I’m deliberately using bad grammar so as not to identify the gender of this moderator.

Another reader asks,

Dear Karma,

Why don’t you have regular hours where you answer your phone?

A: I have a full time job outside my home, and running my ebay store and handling website sales is getting pretty close to being another full time job lately.  I am also a parent.  I would have to have "open hours" from something like 9 pm to 1 am, and frankly, you don’t want to talk to me then.  I have been handling my business by web and email since 2002, and I am just not set up to do otherwise.  Besides, I hate talking on the phone.  Hate it.  I hate doing phone readings.  I sell products only via web, so if people have product inquiries, they need to email me.  If I were to ever have someone answer a business line, it wouldn’t be me anyway, so you just might as well email.  I am able to return calls on Saturdays only, and I am about six weeks behind in returning calls right now – I can return only a fraction of the calls I have saved messages for each weekend, especially as I’m not here every Saturday.  I’m often in the graveyard, doing work for my clients, or in my "work room" doing work for my clients and customers, or traveling to do spiritual work with my local "posse," or working on day job stuff, or taking a few hours to do something with my child.  If you simply have to talk to somebody on the phone, I can recommend some folks for you, but if you’re waiting to talk to me, you could be waiting a seriously long time. The best way to get in touch with me remains email.  That is not going to change in the near future.

Dear Karma,

Do you make incense powders?

A: Nope.  I started making all this stuff because I lived in the backwoods of Alabama and mailorder or travel to get what I needed was getting too annoying and time consuming. The older I got, the harder it got to find local places to get stuff I could use, stuff that wasn’t mass produced, stinky Anna Riva shite.  Plus I had the whole artsy/craftsy upbringing and already knew the nuts and bolts of herb gathering, candle pouring, potpourri making, sewing, beading, mortar-and-pestle-ing, and bone whitening.  (I can also make a roux.  And get a tick off a dog, and skin a rabbit, and am a sharpshooter).  So  I started making the stuff I used all the time.  I pretty much only make stuff I use.  Since I only ever use the loose herb-and-resin incense, the kind you burn on charcoal disks, that’s the only kind I make. I just haven’t had time, and don’t have the space now that I live in a place in a city, to take up another "craft."  So if you want self-lighting incense powders, try Lucky Mojo or Black Cat Root Shack, who sell Lucky Mojo incenses.

sad news

Dear readers,

Some of you who study Mexican folk magic traditions may have encountered Bryant "Eduardo" Holman, aka E Bryant Holman, in a few places over the years. He ran a yahoo group called curanderismo, and has contributed over the years to the Hyatt and Conjure yahoo groups, and to several archived pieces at the lucky mojo site dealing with such topics as amparos, limpias, and the Santisima Muerte.

He was a "lay anthropologist;" a researcher of folkways in his beloved Mexico, the Mexico from which his wife came and in which he was buried earlier this month; a tireless defender of Mexican culture against what he saw as the encroachment of fraud, neopaganism, and "spiritual imperialism;" and a folk artist (one of his San Cipriano nichos is in my icon for this post). He recently wrote a book on Santisima Muerte and he dedicated a great portion of his life to exploring and explaining the folkways of Mexican curanderismo to the curious. He stood tirelessly by his ideals, and he took great pains to share his knowledge and experiences. His contribution to the information available in English on curanderismo is inestimable, both through his own writings and translations, and through the curanderismo group he started, which has attracted a scant but solid handful of knowledgeable, traditionally-minded members over the past few years.  The folk magic community will feel his loss.

He died on the first of this month and was buried in Ojinaga, Mexico on June 6.

I have pasted his obituary below; it appeared on the web version of the Big Bend Sentinel on June 16, 2009, but has been removed now that it has gone into print.  I neglected to nab the photo when I grabbed the page, I’m sorry.

Edward Bryant Holman


Edward Bryant Holman, 58, of Presidio passed away June 1, 2009 at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.

He was born November 19, 1950 in Houston to Edward Bryant Holman and Rose Mary Taylor. He was raised in Roswell, New Mexico.

He was a mud logger for the oil and gas industry. He also managed Fausto’s Art Gallery in Ojinaga and promoted the Presidio/Ojinaga area with his website and with he writings. He loved the Big Bend area and was involved in everything related to art and culture in this area.

Survivors include his wife, Dr. Beronica Perez Holman of Presidio; his sons, Waylon Holman of Roswell, New Mexico, and Michael Holman of Presidio; a daughter, Bonnie Holman of Sierra Vista, Arizona; a brother, Michael Stinchcomb of New York, NY; a sister, Trina Juestal of Candervan, Australia; and a step-father, Herbert Avery.

Services were held in Ojinaga, Chihuahua on Saturday, June 6. He was buried at El Ultimo Refugio Cemetery in Ojinaga.

Memorials in Mr. Holman’s name may be made to Casa Hogar de Ojinaga, PO Box 1705, Presidio, TX 79845.


Feast of St. Cyprian (San Cypriano) – September 26

The end of September was a very busy time for me.  It was also a busy time for important saints’ feasts days.  Unfortunately, I fell down on the job with posting about them on the appropriate day, but I figure I’ll play a little catch up and you can mark your calendars for next year.

September 26 is the Feast day of St. Cyprian, who is popular today in Latin America, and was said to have been a sorcerer and magician before he was converted to Christianity in the late 200s or early 300s by St. Justina.

Those who work with Santisima Muerte in a careful way will often call on St. Cyprian or one of the archangels as they call on Santisima Muerte, for additional protection, as Santisima Muerte is considered by many to be a saint that is dangerous to call on by oneself, if one is uninitiated into her ways.  St. Cyprian is one of my favorite saints, and I have a nicho of him that was made by a folk artist and amateur anthropologist who is an expert in curanderismo.  A previous incarnation of one of my altars, showing the nicho, is my lj user icon for this post.

Both Cyprian and Justina died in 304.

The pre-Vatican II prayer said on St. Cyprian’s day is as follows:

Let Thy Blessed Virgin Martyrs, Cyprian and Justina, ever lend us strength and protection, O Lord, for Thou never ceasest to reward with mercy those to whom Thou  dost give such powerful aid.  Through our Lord, etc.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find it kind of hard to believe that St. Cyprian maintained a reputation for virginity. I mean, you can renounce your use of sorcery and get converted, but you can’t exactly take back that kind of act.  Well, who knows.