Response to an email asking me to “prove I’m for real”

…Or why legit workers aren’t even slightly interested in doing Psychic Pet Tricks for free to convince you to be their client, and what you should do instead of playing Test the Psychic.

Q: I was wondering if there was a way you could help me to prove you are genuine by maybe stating something about me that i have not told you. I want help, but I am tired of encountering all these fake psychics when i search.

A: [Name], what you need to do is not search but *research.*

There is a lot of good advice out there to help you avoid getting scammed.  There is also a lot of bad advice, given by scammers themselves on their scam websites and ads. Then there’s a lot of well-meaning advice that is inaccurate, biased, or just plain ignorant. So it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff when you don’t know the warning signs and don’t understand the principles of spiritual work.

Alas, asking a professional rootworker for a free reading, even a tiny one, is not going to be a good method to determine who is and isn’t a scam. It might be a good method to determine who is actually busy with real clients and who has time on their hands to send cold reading tidbits out to whoever asks because their time is not taken up doing any actual spells or readings, though.

If a worker gives *every single person who writes* a sales pitch, without even knowing what that person is after, that worker should make you wary; legitimate spiritual workers will not take every single case every time. But it’s safe to say that the willingness to work for free in order to tantalize new clients will never be on a legitimate list of things to look for when looking for a good worker.

I am a firm believer that only the open hand can receive, and I have seen firsthand the miracles that can be accomplished from the kindness of strangers, so I try to play some part in all that by doing some pro bono work for clients in urgent situations who are unable to pay my regular rates. We never know where our miracles will come from.*

But like many professional workers, I generally have a queue at least a dozen deep of people who have booked work or consultations who are waiting their turn, so it makes absolutely no sense to go out of my way to try to “reel in” an unknown client, especially one who has had the sorts of bad experiences that tend to indicate lack of knowledge about the principles and realities of spiritual work. (This is not a jab at you – a lot of very good people have been ripped off because very bad people preyed on their emotions, hopes, and desperation.)

It’s not because they are bad people or want unworthy things, but because their expectations are usually coming out of left field, and they need to learn some basic principles of spiritual work and research before they pay anyone else (including me) to do any more spells or readings for them. 

So most legitimate spiritual workers aren’t receiving emails like this and feeling any sense of “oh my god, I’d better convince this person I have never met, whose case I might not accept anyway, that I’m for real.” (Most of us probably get at least twenty emails like this every day, as well; even if I wanted to, I couldn’t oblige all the people writing them.)

I’m sure you’re a great person, and I am positive you do not deserve the treatment you have received. But I’ve found that clients who have been repeatedly scammed are too often seeking very unlikely or even impossible results that make them vulnerable to the unethical who will promise anything (e.g. reconciliation with an ex in a case where the ex has decisively moved on, a huge lottery win on a short lead, a drastic change to their physical appearance through spellwork). They don’t know much about how spellwork actually works and instead have lots of misconceptions in their heads that they’ve picked up from a variety of dubious sources online and in the media.

But you can’t just be a passive consumer. You need to understand the difference between voodoo and hoodoo, between wicca and rootwork, between an empath and a card reader and a clairvoyant and a high priestess, to be able to recognize liars and cheats.

You have to do research, which should start at the very least with reading what a reader or worker has written about their own work and practice and seeing what there is about them online. How long have they been doing this? Do you know who they are and where they are, or is all that obscured under some grandiose language about “powerful covens” and “we” and “dual casting” and “spellcasting awards”?

“Psychic” means so many different things to so many people that it’s nearly useless as a word. Some people think all spiritual workers are psychic or that all psychics are spiritual workers. Some people think psychic = empathic, or that psychic = clairvoyant, or that psychic = medium, or that psychic = returns lovers. None of that is necessarily true. Not everyone gifted for doing spiritual work is also gifted for doing the type of readings that many clients are looking for. And not everyone gifted for doing readings has even a modicum of ability as someone who can perform a given type of spiritual work. Finally, not everyone who *can* do certain types of things is therefore *willing* to do them in every case.

If you’d done research on me, for instance, or even just skimmed over my blog page about me, or my website pages on altar work or consultations, you’d know that I do not refer to myself by this useless term “psychic.” I am a rootworker, and I do traditional rootwork. I do consultations for clients seeking rootwork and those involve divination, but I don’t even do what you’re asking for, which is tell total strangers, whose cases I might not even accept, something about themselves.

In addition, even if I wanted to convince you of my ability to do whatever it is you’re looking for, you haven’t given me enough information to do it. When you read about “psychics” who don’t need you to tell them anything but they can just tell you what’s going on without you saying a word, you are usually reading about a classic scam called a “cold reading.” Here ya go:

You have a box of unsorted photographs in your house, you see yourself as an independent thinker, you had a scary experience with water in your childhood, you haven’t quite lived up to your full potential, someone has broken your heart, you aren’t naive but people have taken advantage of you in the past, you’re having problems with a friend or relative, you are sometimes insecure with people you don’t know very well, you are close to someone whose name starts with a J.

All of these statements are statistically likely to apply to a majority of any given United States or UK sub-population, and with some minor alterations, to the Latin American and southern European populations. That’s not a reading. It’s a game of throwing darts and seeing what gets a reaction.

The kind of person you are looking for — one who can tune into anyone immediately from a two-line email and see a particular recess of their lives in detail that will be relevant to them and put it into words in a way they can immediately understand and see the value of — does not exist. I say this as someone who’s given (and received) thousands of readings over the last almost 40 years.  While you should not fork your cash over to scam artists, you won’t get far knocking on doors and introducing yourself by saying “prove you’re real.” *You* have to do research on *them,* just like you would (I hope) before you choose a veterinarian or mechanic or attorney.

A final point is that established workers are not generally desperate enough for new clients to do free readings upon demand to get them. Professional workers do not take all comers. I personally refuse more work than I take. This stuff requires significant investment in energy and time.

For example, I generally have no more than a dozen clients’ mid-to-longer-term/intensity work or issues in various stages on my desk or altars at any time (not including vigil lights and paid consultations). That’s all I want to handle at once, since I’m not a corporation, a company with employees, or a front for a marketing scheme, and since I do other things with much of my time besides just readings or just altar work.**

But I get more emails than that every day inquiring about work. And I’m more likely to decline to work with a client who doesn’t understand how spiritual work and readings actually work rather than take lots of extra time educating them, when what they probably need is to stop spending money on “spellcasters,” period. So here’s what I suggest.

Stop searching and start researching.

What you find at the top when you search are people who know how to have their sites turn up high in results due to search engine optimization. That’s all. They may or may not be legitimate, but they have good tech guys. Those sites that handle thousands of clients in a short period of time are owned by a group of people who know how to write their own testimonials and who know how to send out dozens of “readings” and “spell work reports” a day that are all the same vague thing but with the name changed.

Second, have a look at my FAQ here and pay particular attention to these:

My blog also links to other readers and workers whom I personally know to be reputable and ethical. You will find, at their sites or blogs, photographs of work they have done that *they* took and uploaded, a glimpse into their background that doesn’t sound like it came from a made-for-TV movie, some mention of what types of work they do and what types they do not do, You’ll see a person, not just a bunch of vague, generic marketing copy.

Third, pick an area of spiritual work or readings to learn about, just something small to start, and learn about it from a variety of places, not just one so-called authority.  Even this small step will help you begin to learn to sort the wheat from the chaff. 

Until you know how to do that, until you know enough about what you’re venturing into so that you can be sure your hopes and emotions aren’t putting you in a place where you are vulnerable to scam artists, don’t buy any more spells from anyone. Learn the principles of candle magic and spiritual bathing instead, spend your money on a few simple and inexpensive supplies, and learn how to use them for the types of spell you want to do.

I offer you my sincerest best wishes for your pursuit of your goals.

*So I actually do occasionally work for free, or for extremely discounted fees. When I was a member of AIRR, I’d regularly do work for indigent clients who were accepted into AIRR’s pro bono program, and I have always tried in some way to help people in crisis situations who couldn’t afford my usual rates.

I do a lot of pro bono and reduced rate work for the following:

  • people with legal trouble because someone else is abusing the legal system to harass them or force a certain action, esp. when children are involved
  • parents trying to get child support and/or cooperation from the child’s other parent
  • people trying to leave abusive relationships
  • people facing charges for non-violent drug offenses
  • people, esp. single parents, facing housing difficulties
  • people who badly need spiritual cleansing or uncrossing and need help getting that work done
  • people in populations historically or habitually targeted by law enforcement and government for profiling or harassment who need protection

And I regularly set lights on several community altars on a pay-what-you-can basis. These don’t come with light setting reports or anything like that, but anyone can ask to have their name and petition paper added to my community work for getting steady work, for blessing, and now in the era of COVID, for health/safety and protection from illness. (Anyone interested in doing that can just contact me via the website. I’ve been trying to post it as its own product all week and keep getting derailed by various things, but I’ll get it eventually…)

In addition, for years I hosted local events (local to me, but people traveled from other states for them frequently) in which I did in-person consults and then performed whatever spiritual cleansing, spiritual bathing, headwashing, footwashing, censing, etc. the client needed. (If the world doesn’t end first, I’ll do them again one day when COVID cuts us some slack).

But what I don’t do is free work for just anybody on just any situation just because they asked or showed up in my inbox. Love work and gambling work will never be eligible for pro bono consideration, for instance.

**People who do only readings and no altar work can do more readings; people who do no readings and only altar work can do more altar work. But I do consultations, readings, altar work, teaching, translating, writing, and research, as well as make and ship products, answer crap-tons of email every week, design and make jewelry, and run a small farm. I am not sitting in front of the computer all day.

status update and consultation/report queue; how to not get fired as a customer

I started working on reports, consultations, and emails at 10 am this morning (Thurs).  It is now 3:30 am Friday.  I am caught up on light setting reports, caught up on ebay inbox messages with the exception of two people that already got a good chunk of my time yesterday (they can wait a bit before they get more, since other people haven’t gotten any yet), and finished a bunch of consultations.  The updated queue is here.  Obviously I have not made it through my regular inbox yet.

Unfortunately, since sellers can get RATED on how quickly and cheerfully they answer ebay messages, I HAVE to put ebay messages ahead of web store and direct email messages sometimes — even when about half the messages I get on ebay every day are people who want me to answer a bunch of questions but have not bought anything and do not ever buy anything.  I don’t think most people who send me a bunch of messages mean ill – ebay has trained them to expect that sellers  just sit there all day waiting to answer twenty questions about a bottle of oil they are going to make twelve cents profit on.  But after a while, if the same person keeps trying to milk me for private conjure tutoring or free spells, I just block them from bidding and filter all their messages to the trash bin.  I realize it might sound harsh, but I do explain very politely the first time that what they are expecting of me, I cannot do, and I also give them links to places where they can go to learn more.  So the people who get canned are people who don’t listen but just want what they want when they want it, on their terms, and don’t want to hear any different.  I don’t just shitcan people with legitimate questions who are not acting out of an over-developed sense of entitlement.  Questions in and of themselves are just fine – I encourage them.  I shitcan people who don’t respect my published policies and my polite expressions of my limits.

I also shitcan people who demonstrate to me that they do not read item listings, do not read payment acknowledgment emails, and do not read the FAQ. I do not shitcan them the first time (unless they are rude or threaten to do a payment reversal or leave negative feedback if I don’t jump through X hoop by Y date – there is a special place on my altar for those people, and they also get reported to ebay as abusive buyers. And every once in a while ebay listens to a powerseller with nine years in the game).  But when the item listing clearly states the handling time (or whatever), and the FAQ does too, and the payment acknowledgment that was sent directly to the buyer’s email account does too, and yet I still get an email saying "when will you ship my item," or "where is my order," I begin to lose my temper.  I respond with a form letter (trust me , this is for the best – the form letter is sufficiently polite and even-tempered, and usually when I get these emails, I am not feeling even-tempered, because every minute I am answering emails that contain questions that have already been answered is a minute I am NOT in the altar/work room actually making the damned order that you placed). 

If it happens again after that, I usually block the buyer, just because my time, patience, and good humor are finite, and I prefer to do business with people who don’t drive me crazy, instead of chasing down tracking numbers for people who have already had the tracking number emailed to them directly, AND uploaded to their "my eBay," AND had an email and a link outlining how shipping notification procedures work delivered to their email inboxes in case they missed that info in the item listing when they ordered.

SO the majority of you are not "that guy," and furthermore have already heard this before, and in any case aren’t the type of people who do this kind of crap.  So i do beg your indulgence for trotting out this tired old pony again.  But I post this for the benefit of newer customers, just as an "in general" sort of "things you ought to know" article.  But also because I have blocked more bidders in the past six months than I probably blocked in the preceding six years combined.

If you are a newer customer and you find yourself blocked, feel free to ask to be unblocked. I am very likely to comply (after we talk) unless you were a non-paying bidder, and in many cases, I am happy to comply even (after we talk) then if the unpaid item situation was a result of an emergency or crossed wires or a misunderstanding.  I often block buyers not because I just plain never want to do business with them period, but because I need to make sure we are on the same sheet of music before we do any more business together.  eBay has sellers’ nuts in a vise, to put it crudely and yes, figuratively of course; it is simply too dangerous to let potential misunderstandings proliferate unchecked on ebay.  Blocking buyers is the only protection we have as sellers now that buyers’ feedback scores are purely decorative, utterly meaningless.

So often I block a buyer just because we need to talk and make sure we know where the other is coming from.  So in many cases it is not especially personal – I just had to "put you on hold" while I dealt with other stuff.  so if you find yourself blocked and don’t know why, feel free to ask – I am not likely to bite your head off unless you have been a jackass to me first, and if you have, I probably will just ignore you instead of answering anyway, because I have way too much to do to waste time pursuing optional, unnecessary head-bitings 🙂

this PSA brought to you by an utterly exhausted Karma Zain who is all typed out and needs to go to sleep now.

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 – 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.

on hiring more than one rootworker at the same time

Q: A client asks if her having hired two or more workers to work her case at the same time could have slowed things down instead of helping them along.

A:  That’s possible. It’s possible also that two works can strengthen each other.  But it depends entirely on the details of the work.  Let me give you an example.  A client comes to me and wants help with a not-quite-law-abiding cousin who is making trouble for her family.  The client does not choose to have a reading first and is not very verbal about how she’d like this to happen, and isn’t forthcoming about previous work she’s had done or is currently having done, and she has a strong Catholic background that’s been in her family for generations.  So I decide to do ancestor work to call in a family spirit to strengthen the blood ties in the family and heal them, so that the cousin will come to his senses and stop hurting his own kin, and I ask St Michael to stand in and protect the family from outside and inside harm and help it mend its own wounds so that these troubles will stop.  The goal is healing and strengthening of the family from within, and I’ve called an ancestral spirit in to the job, and I’ve called a warrior angel in to protect the family from interference so it can have time and space to work through its issues.

Meanwhile the client goes to another worker, doesn’t tell the worker that she’s having other work done, and presents the same problem. Now, this worker doesn’t come from a Catholic background herself, and she happens to specialize in protective and defensive magic, so she decides to do Reversing and Hot Foot work on the troublesome cousin to get him away from the heart of the family so he won’t be bringing the cops around the house anymore.  The client doesn’t actually understand enough about hoodoo to understand that she now has hired two workers who are canceling each other’s work out.  The client thinks she has two good people on her side, and she is in the mindset of "more is better," but in fact she has wasted her money twice and wasted the time of both workers, because one is sending the cousin’s negative stuff back on him and trying to run him off, while the other is calling on family spirits to heal the family, and on St. Michael to protect the family from evil – *including their own,* meaning St. Michael is deflecting the Hot Foot work.

Now this is a sort of extreme example, and it’s true that in some cases, if you hire two workers they will end up doing the same work.  But folks err in coming from the "if one is good, two are better" mentality.  You have not just hired somebody to clean your house, so a second person cleaning get its cleaner quicker; what you’ve done is more akin to hiring two attorneys to take the same case.  They are going to duplicate work unnecessarily and trip each other up, and they could in fact screw each other’s work up.  This is why you shouldn’t ever have two people working your case at the same time unless everybody knows what is going on, what kind of work is being done, and is on the same sheet of music

It’s potentially wasteful and potentially dangerous – like getting prescriptions from two doctors and not telling them about the other prescription.  Also, it’s a question of professional courtesy.  Your rootworker is not your paid servant, to be at your beck and call to cut your grass or wash your car; if you expect to keep a bunch of workers in a stable ready to do your whim at the drop of a hat, you have the wrong idea.  If you try to treat your worker like your paid staff, your worker is likely to fire you as a client.  Your rootworker is a professional with more experience and perspective than you on the dynamics of your case, who has seen the ins and outs of dozens or hundreds of cases like yours.  If you want a second opinion, by all means get one.  If you have an inexperienced worker, or a bad one, or even one who you just don’t click with, then by all means get a second opinion.  But don’t hire multiple workers at the same time, to work the same case, without being honest and making sure it’s ok with everybody involved.

If word gets around that you are someone who will hire multiple workers for the same case without being forthcoming about it, some workers will refuse to work with you.  There are lots of reasons for this, some of it the potential work conflicts, but also it suggests that you are not giving your spellwork enough time to manifest and/or are not following directions, or else, if you have given it time and you did follow directions and the spell didn’t work, then it suggests you are not communicating with your spellworker but are just hopping to a new one. (I’m not saying this is always what happens – but I am telling you what we tend to worry about when we hear about clients hiring different people to do the same work.) 

So I advise folks to never, never hire two workers without being clear what has been done and is being done. Some workers will co-consult a case with another worker. Some will not and will furthermore be extremely insulted if you ask them to (not necessarily because they take it as a lack of faith on your part, but because co-consulting is usually quite time consuming, and you are asking a rootworker to possibly double the amount of time they put into your case with no corresponding increase in the fee they are receiving for their time.  And you are also assuming that they get along with the other worker and have a compatible approach and communication style. It’s not safe to assume any of this).

Bottom line: if you are going to hire a professional, don’t backseat drive.  Do your research, consult with them thoroughly, get your questions answered ahead of time, sure.  But once you hire them, get out of the way and let them do their job.  If you don’t trust them, and/or if you want a second opinion, and/or you want a different approach from a different worker, then tell them this.  Let them know, clearly, that your work together is done, or even that you are seeking a second opinion.  Don’t keep the people working your case in the dark.  It’s not good for your reputation as a client (and trust me, clients get reputations just like workers do!), it’s not good for your relationships with your workers, and it’s not good for your case.

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.