Pay What You Can Community Honey Jar for February

Seraphin Station

I’m offering community honey jar altar work monthly, beginning after the new moon each month. One service is for matters relating to prosperity/career/income and one is for matters relating to love/relationships (they don’t have to be romantic relationships). February’s community altar work services start the night of Friday, February 12th. There is some wiggle room, however, and you *can* join up late.

Since the costs of the time and materials involved in this altar service are split between multiple participants, this is a way to get some altar work done at a fraction of the cost of booking separate, individual private work.

Because COVID sucks and is messing with people’s incomes and careers, I am offering the prosperity/career service as a Pay What You Can service. If you can afford to pay full price, great! But if you can’t, that’s ok, too – I’m doing this so people…

View original post 415 more words

Community Altar Work for January

Seraphin Station

I’m offering community honey jar altar work monthly, beginning after the new moon each month. One service is for matters relating to prosperity/career/income and one is for matters relating to love/relationships (they don’t have to be romantic relationships). January’s community altar work services start on Wednesday, January 13th.

Here are the details for the prosperity/career/income service:

This service, focusing on goals related to prosperity, work, income, and career success, has your name/petition added to a sweet jar with the names/petitions of other community members having similar goals. I work these community jars on my altars for a month, from new moon to new moon, with special attention to pertinent moon phases, astrological transits, holy days, etc. as applicable. Participants receive a link to my client calendar detailing the work over the course of the month and are invited to a private Discord chat for participants for that month.

View original post 867 more words

photos

feb 2013 honey jars
Success / Prosperity altars (c) Karma Zain 2013

2013-03-20 22.53.32
Custom rosary made for a contest winner (c) Karma Zain 2013

shamim fwop binding tray end
Finishing up some Binding/Hot Foot work (c) Karma Zain 2013

161

Sacred Heart Carnival Necklace (c) Karma Zain 2013

166
St. Philomena Chaplet (c) Karma Zain 2013

2013-03-17 06.29.42
Custom spiritual jewelry for a client’s specific spiritual goal (c) Karma Zain 2013

questions you’ve asked: road opening, timing, haints, czechoslovakia (!?)

Some of these are from my saved-up list of questions that people ask via email or blog comments, that I save up to answer on my blog when I get a chance, and some are implied/indirect questions that come from search terms. Don’t forget that I maintain a directory of Frequently Asked Questions and commonly requested information.

***

Q: What are some spells to remove obstacles?

It kind of depends on the obstacles. In some cases, you need Uncrossing, in others you might need Spiritual Cleansing or Van Van or Chinese Wash, and in still others you might want Road Opener. If you don’t need uncrossing, but you’re just kind of stuck and have the inertia thing going or aren’t getting the opportunities you need, then the formula you want for removing obstacles is usually going to be either Van Van or else something like Road Opener or Abre Camino. Sometimes it might be called Blockbuster, but you should ask your supplier, because depending on where they’re coming from (theoretically as well as regionally), Blockbuster might be more akin to Uncrossing or Van Van. And some folks, probably those not from the Southeast, seem to make Road Opener with quassia, which is not how I learned it in the Southeast, and in my opinion that will not do the same job (and it cannot then be called Abre Camino, because Abre Camino contains an actual herb called Abre Camino instead of quassia). In short, there may be more or less intersection with other formulas, depending on the background of your supplier and their formula, so it doesn’t hurt to ask the person selling the stuff you are going to buy.

While on this topic, I have heard people claim that Road Opener is not hoodoo. I call bullshit. While it’s true that Road Opener came into hoodoo through Latin American routes, it’s sure as hell part of hoodoo now, and there is a definite difference between Road Opener and Uncrossing. Uncrossing removes crossed conditions. There are all kinds of situations that could benefit from Road Opening that do not need Uncrossing and that may need something that is not precisely Van Van; where once we might have approached that through a combination of herbs or actions that did not go by the name “Road Opener,” what we today know as Road Opener fills a niche, is useful, and is definitely used by traditional practitioners of conjure. Saying it’s not hoodoo is imo being overly pedantic (and is generally part of some online pissing contest and/or the kind of “over-correction” that results in people saying things like “irregardless” and “I feel badly for you” – people trying so hard to be “correct” that they end up “over-correcting” and end up somewhere silly; and if you’re like most of my readers and clients, you don’t really give a crap about whether something was used in the 70s in Florida but not the 50s in Mississippi. You just want your situation remedied.) Saying it’s not hoodoo because it entered hoodoo at some later point than the mythical non-existent “originary” point is going to put you on flimsy ground to talk about Chinese Wash (once upon a time it was not used in hoodoo); Hot Foot oil (once upon a time there was only powder); the method of candle-dressing employed by hordes of workers (because it was popularized in a booklet in the 40s by a man [or maybe a woman] who grew up Jewish; Blackhawk (Native American via Spiritualist churches in Louisiana); and boldo leaf (which is in a shit-ton of modern protection formulas but crossed into hoodoo through Mexican folk practice). Honestly, it’s a ridiculous argument. [*]

What you do with those obstacle-removing formulas will, for the sake of easier communication in this blog post, be called spells. (Usually folks who ask this sort of thing want to be given what they think of as a “spell,” which will be specific instructions for exactly how to do some multi-component rite called “a road opener spell” or something like that. Thing is, hoodoo really isn’t a system of “spells” in the sense of “things that have to be done just so on a Friday before a full moon with these rhymes” or where people have spells collected in books and stuff like that. Rather, you light a candle, or sprinkle powders, or take a bath, or do some combination of those things and others that suits your supplies and your situation. Every “road opener spell” I do for a client is probably slightly different; the appropriate actions and ingredients depend on the situation. I do not have a book of spells – the idea is sort of ridiculous, and most folks I know who didn’t come to this from a different background don’t default to calling their work “spells” or telling clients they need to do “spells.” Personally, I call what I do altar work or just plain “work,” and avoid the term “spells” just because 1. it was never called that when I was growing up, and 2. it gives the wrong impression, that conjure is about collections of spells and books of shadows and stuff like that. So people who write me saying “these spells are hard to find” have, in my opinion, *the wrong idea* about how these things are traditionally done; collections of typed-up spells are hard to come by because they’re unnecessary (and when we do post “spells” for the benefit of clients who want to be given “spells”, we usually have to endure dozens of follow-up questions about what herb we can substitute for some herb we list, and what to do if we can’t get that kind of candle or a certain oil, etc, which defeats the purpose of typing the damned thing up in the first place). It’s just the wrong way to think about conjure. When we do altar work for you, we don’t select a spell from out of a book. I’ve written about this at length elsewhere, particularly in the FAQ directory; bottom line, if you want a spell explained or suggested that is specific to your situation and materials at hand, book a consultation with a professional worker who can instruct you on what to do for your specific situation.)

But here are some suggestions from Lucky Mojo. (So when you dress a candle with oil and light it, you are doing a candle burning spell for our purposes here.) If you insist on a given a set of instructions to follow just so, then Dr. E has a thorough, nice Roads of Fortune spell here. But honestly, properly dressing and fixing a candle is powerful work. So is a spiritual bath. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

***

Q: Reconciliation mojo bag takes one month to work.

A: I’d be pretty darned surprised. The most important reply here is that there’s no such thing as one simple answer to the question of “how long will X take to work.” It totally depends on the situation (and on your definition of what success is in that situation). You can read more about timing in spells here: “How Long Will It Take to Work” and “Timing Spells, Setting Limits, and the Non-Existent Rule of 3 Days/3 Weeks/3 Months.” But I’d say one month for a reconciliation working of any type, in very many of the situations for which I’ve been consulted,  would be way too optimistic. But it totally depends on the situation and specifics of the individual case. The bottom line: There are too many variables in anybody’s case for anybody to be able to answer your question about how long the candle or mojo you are thinking of buying will take to work, or even if it will.  Spiritual work just doesn’t work like that.  The reality is that sometimes it is NOT God’s will.  And this is not a gumball machine where you put your quarter in and get a prize you can anticipate from the picture in the window.

***

Q: Sour jar take how long to work? [sic]

A: See above.

***

Q: What happen to the old fashion hoodoo that was used in the 70’s?

A: Assuming you mean the 1970s, you are actually talking about what I’d call the full flower of “modern hoodoo” (I’d distinguish that from today’s hoodoo, which I’d call “contemporary” and, if pressed, probably use the late 80s as a historical marker for… maybe). The 70s is not “old fashioned” when you are talking about hoodoo history – that is recent as hell. But for starters, you have to define what you mean by “old fashioned.” Do you mean hoodoo as it was in the 1850s? 1920s? In Memphis? Detroit? Natchez, Mississippi? Crystal River, Florida? By the 70s, you had lots of published books on all kinds of practices “cross-pollinating” with older, more rural, less book-derived practice, including European witchcraft and commercialized “Eastern mysticism,” astrology, etc. You’d had mail-order catalogs for generations at that point, and you had drugstores in large cities selling candles and things from China. The old-school candle shop owners (who had once upon a time been new-fangled!) might start selling books on meditation to help their bottom lines; the tea leaf readers might branch out into astrology to get and keep clientele; the tarot was much better known by then, even among those who had grown up reading playing cards; the era of pharmacists blending their own colognes, hair oils, and perfumes in the back from formularies were largely over and everything was imported en masse. In some areas, a cultural turn resulting from Black Pride, Afrocentrism, or Rastafarianism, for instance, might mean that the younger generation was no longer using the hair products their parents had used, or attending the churches their parents had attended, or valuing the same art, aesthetics, music, and even naming conventions their parents had valued. This ties into the other question on this page that spilled over into my footnote about “what is and isn’t hoodoo” – you can’t really say something like “here’s the originary date of hoodoo, and here’s the cutoff date for old-school conjure, and everything that was new after that is not traditional hoodoo.” I see this today in interviewing people in academic contexts about voodoo in Haiti or folk religion or spiritual practice in just about anywhere – often the grandchildren will talk to you about their interest in or return to practices that their parents won’t speak of and tried to distance themselves from. Sometimes the children have to recover these practices on their own, if their grandparents or older relatives are no longer living.

So the bottom line depends on how you define some of your terms. What happened to the hoodoo of the 70s? the same thing that happened to the hoodoo of the 60s and the 50s. It changed a bit as the world changed, as horizons changed, as neighborhoods and markets changed. What happened to “old fashioned hoodoo”? Well, how do you define old-fashioned?

***

Q: Was czech jewelry ever spelled cech?

A: FFS, wtf. Well, this is a hoodoo, voodoo, magic, and folk religion blog, but I happen to be able to answer this, and the question brought more than one person to this blog, so what the hell. (Though these search terms make me baffled at how some people use search engines – they aren’t oracles and typing complete sentences usually helps rather than hinders!) The “czech” you see when a rosary is made with “Czech glass beads” is short for “Czechoslovakia,” which as of 1993 no longer exists; that area is now divided into “the Czech Republic” and “Slovakia.”  There, they speak Czech and Slovak (get it?). In the Czech language, they have different ways of conveying sounds through orthography than we have in English. In English, we use “Cz” to represent the sound we pronounce in this case as a hard “ch,” but they use “Č” (see that little symbol on top of the C? That is *critical* to its pronunciation and therefore spelling – you cannot just leave it out or it would be pronounced differently).  So, no, it was never spelled “Cech,” but it was spelled “Čech” (with the little symbol). I imagine the person who asked this question did not realize that “czech” was short for “czechoslovakia,” or else they could have just looked it up in any encyclopedia, but I digress.

***

[*] This sort of thing becomes an issue for anyone studying living folk practice. Living practices change. Herbs and resins and dirts and flora/fauna used in Western Africa, for instance, had to change in Haiti, Louisiana, Brazil, Trinidad, Virginia – because the same stuff does not grow in all those places, just to touch on the tip of the iceberg. You can see the sorts of issues it raises in the contemporary practices surrounding Santisima Muerte in Mexico today. I maintain that, from a historical perspective, the use of gold, purple, green etc Santisima Muerte statues is an interpolation that came through modern commercial occult markets and probably has at least a little to do with symbolism and practice found in commercially-available materia magica for traditions such as Santeria. But however they came about, and however recent they are compared to the red, black, and white statues, the fact remains that living devotees of the saint who are actively, at this very moment, living a spiritual life in which the saint plays a significant role, are using them and see a need they fill. And for someone to come in from “outside” their particular community and tell them their practice is not legitimate — well, who’s the authority, finally? The academic or the practitioner? You can do a slippery slope thing with this if you want and say “well, then, since I practice hoodoo, then whatever I do is hoodoo, and nobody can to say any different.” We can — and do, in various corners of monograph footnotes, articles, blogs, and websites — debate this kind of thing ’til the cows come home. You can even accuse me of doing the same thing I’m criticizing here, when I rant about people selling stuff to “cleanse” mojo bags, or when I say “watermelon fragrance oil is not hoodoo.” Sure, there are some lines that are going to be debatable, less than clear cut, in a living, breathing tradition. (For instance, I say that if it’s the consistency of soup, you have no business calling it gumbo, but there are folks winning prizes with gumbo recipes that I would not hit a hog in the behind with. Is it chili anymore if it’s white and made with cannellini beans? When you are really hungry, do you give a crap?)

*And yet* the fact remains that when my 40 or 60 year old clients from Louisiana or Florida or South Carolina order a bottle of Van Van oil from me, they have an expectation of what it’s going to smell like, and if I send them something pink that smells like gardenias, they are probably going to ask if I mislabeled the bottle (and maybe secretly think I’ve lost my mind). They will not have the same reaction to my suggesting Road Opener oil, even though neither of us used a thing called precisely that in our childhoods (probably in part because my clients know I am not some convert who jumped off a Wicca wagon and started making Van Van oil last year, so I am not going to sell them some new age goop that does not “fit” with what we both grew up with). Similarly, while Catholic conjure doctors were a relative rarity outside of Louisiana, they nevertheless did exist, and work with some saints did extend beyond the borders of Catholicism and even those who would self-identify as Spiritualists or Spiritists prior to the internet and folk Catholics like me writing blogs. So saying “work with the saints is not traditional hoodoo” is profoundly ignorant, not to mention insulting. Folk magic is *always, always* influenced by region, including the religion, traditions, culture, and flora and fauna of the physical land upon which its practitioners live, in their physical neighborhoods. I have clients from Alabama who grew up with this stuff who leave offerings at their ancestor’s graves, and I have other clients from the East Coast who grew up with this stuff who hold their breath when they go by graveyards and paint the baby’s windowsill blue to “keep off the haints.” Workers I respect who I know to be authentic and honest say they were taught that women shouldn’t do rootwork while pregnant. I was never taught any such thing and I seem to come from a very different way of conceiving of both spiritual work and pregnancy; the theory underlying such a prohibition doesn’t fit into my worldview, religion, or practice. Those are very different approaches to working with and living with the dead, with the unborn, with liminality, and they can be traced to different regions and distinct “paths” along the diaspora and/or traditions in question; and yet, it’s too simplistic to say that one set of beliefs is “traditional” or “authentic” and the other is not. The bottom line is that there has never been any monolithic central guide to *anything* that’s a folk tradition – if there were, it wouldn’t be a folk tradition anymore. At least part of it would be codified, captured, encapsulated, isolated, no longer “in free play” in a living community. To say that things change does not mean “anything goes,” but to say that any change after some arbitrary, imaginary cutoff date is “not hoodoo” is just ridiculous.

***

For some further thoughts and conversation that unfolded from this post in the comments section over at the mirror site, go here.

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.

St. Martha (aka St. Martha the Dominator)

St. Martha was and is a popular saint for several different types of conditions, though in modern conjure and hoodoo, she is probably most often called on for assistance by women wishing to dominate their men.

I have finally gotten around to listing a St. Martha the Dominator mojo bag.  ETA: I’ve also listed a St. Martha the Dominator honey jar spell kit. The listing has a bit of info on St. Martha, and reads:

St. Martha the Dominator is called on for domination – usually when women want to dominate their man.  But in the rich and varied medieval traditions surrounding St. Martha, she is also called on for assistance by those who need to get the upper hand in any kind of relationship in which they find themselves “at the bottom of the totem pole.”  Back in the day, employees would call on St. Martha to get better treatment from their employers, for instance, especially if they were household employees like kitchen service or nannies.

In medieval lore and in her iconography, she is shown as a slayer of dragons, and in this capacity she is a great ally for all types of situations in which you are the underdog and you need to find a way to “top from the bottom.”  Be warned, though: many old-school workers who work extensively with saints in conjure have said that if you call on her to dominate somebody in your life, and she doesn’t take to the way they are treating you if they are treating you real bad, she will run them off and out of your life.  If your partner is beating on you or emotionally torturing you, or if your boss is engaged in discriminatory, unjust, or illegal practices against you, please don’t try to use St. Martha stuff, or conjure in general, as the only means of improving things.  If you are being hurt or misused, call a hotline or shelter, or your HR department, as befits your situation.  If you don’t know who to call and you are in danger, contact me and tell me where you are, and I’ll help you find somebody to call.  Do not rely solely on conjure or the saints to protect you from physical harm; the Lord and the saints help us in practical ways, and sometimes the best spiritual act involves picking up the phone.

You can read more about the medieval hagiography of St. Martha in The Golden Legend, or Lives of the Saints, which explains some of her iconography, such as her appearance with a dragon or serpent.

There is a tradition that she doesn’t like men and won’t work for them, but I don’t think that’s always necessarily true – I do think it depends on the case though.  Most stories I’ve heard about working with St. Martha, when they involve successful domination, have involved women dominating men, but the reverse is not completely unheard of; in fact, Madame Lindsey in Algiers, LA, one of Hyatt’s informants, gives a lovely variation of a sweetening/honey jar family spell with which a husband may invoke St. Martha to keep his wife doing her wifely duties (see Vol 2., p. 1503).

This is for use in situations where a wife is not taking care of the house and children.  You make a name paper by writing her name on it seven times, and then you put it in a white teacup or saucer, over which you pour three teaspoons of orange water (aka orange blossom water, orange hydrosol), for faithfulness to her marriage vows.  Next you add honey and milk.  Set it where she won’t find it, in front of an image or statue of St. Martha.  Burn pink candles on it.

The informant instructs Hyatt to set a pink taper on this, but it’s not entirely clear precisely how – there’s some confusing stuff about a cork and the candle floating, and the informant says “Yo’ set dat [taper] right on dere an’ po’ yo’ oil an’ light it- right befo’ St. Martha.”  Pouring the oil suggests she means something other than dressing the candle.  She may be referring to a homemade unenclosed oil lamp, where the cork/taper combo suggests some sort of homemade wick, or it may refer to a homemade floating candle.

In any case, obviously there is always more than one way to do these kinds of things.  I personally add a dollop or glunk of St. Martha the Dominator condition oil to the orange water/honey/milk mixture – and I don’t use very much milk, because I don’t want to risk the smell of sour milk in my altar room, which is often warmer than the rest of the house because of the number of candles burning in it. If you add more honey than milk, it can act as a natural preservative *for a while* – but you probably would not leave this setup in place indefinitely, at least not unless you made this a container spell instead. If you do it this way, the layer of liquid should be shallow enough that a candle with a wide enough base should stand upright in this saucer and burn with no problem (I think you’d have more trouble with a taper.  I recommend a candle with a flat base that is at least an inch wide, probably wider, so it will stand up on its own, though I supposed you could always use a taper in a candle holder and set the candle holder in the saucer or cup).

So – a spell for a man to dominate his wife.  Yet this coexists with a tradition that Martha doesn’t like men. What gives?

Well, I think one of the key things here becomes a bit more clear if you read about St. Martha in scripture — see Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-53, and John 12:1-9.  She was a woman in a time when managing the household, and being a servant to all guests and visitors, was the proper role of women.  I think Martha is called to work on a wayward wife in the above rite because of her association with the proper running of a household. I do not think that a man could work this St. Martha rite on a woman who was not his wife or committed partner, and I do not think this rite could be worked to get a woman to do something like commit adultery (or do anything else that didn’t have to do with obligations related to the running of a household).  I think the key is that it is worked by a husband on a wife, and it’s worked in relation to the running of a household and raising of children.

But I would not call on St. Martha to try to force a wife into doing unjust things, and I would not recommend that a husband who is not holding up all his vows with love and respect try to ask Martha to dominate his wife.  I imagine he might get the smackdown for his presumption.  St. Martha in the medieval tradition is quite atypical of female saints, whose defining characteristic was often their virginity.  While St. Martha was probably a virgin, she took a much more active and independent role as a Christian than was typical. For a discussion of medieval saints’ lives and gender which illustrates St. Martha’s uniqueness, see Daas, Martha, “From Holy Hostess to Dragon Tamer: The Anomaly of Saint Martha,” Literature and Theology, Vol.  22, Issue1 (2008), pp. 1-15.  Daas writes,

The official version of the life of Saint Martha depicts her as Christ’s hostess and one of his first followers. Her popular appeal, however, stems less from her biblical role, than from her position in medieval legend. In the Middle Ages, Martha is reinvented as a Gallic saint whose most celebrated feat is taming a dragon. It is this legend that has often displaced Martha’s original role, both in text and in iconography. Unlike most depictions of female saints, Martha’s power derives from her soul, not from her body. The denial of corporeality as the source of holiness defies the traditional role of the mulier sancta. Martha, as depicted in the texts of the Middle Ages, is a holy person, not a holy vessel. In this article, I am positing a third ‘category’ of female saint: one not defined by her corporeality, that is, her virginity or her physical martyrdom, but by her character, which I claim is indicative of the influence of popular spirituality on the more formal teachings of the Christian church. (p. 1)

In short, there’s more to Martha than her cooking skills; keep in mind that while she was a householder, she was *not* a wife.  So don’t overdo it on the “housewife” thing.

There’s a famous painting by Diego Velazquez which puts into sharp contrast the experiences of Mary and Martha in the household.  Martha is in the kitchen – she’s sweaty from the work, her hands are chapped and rough from manual labor, her face is flushed from the heat, and to top it all off, her sister is not only not sharing the burden, she’s getting the privilege to sit at the feet of Christ and listen to his words, which Martha also desires.  Somebody has to feed the guests, and Christ’s words to Martha could very well sting anyone who gets stuck in the Cinderella role.  But I advise people to look long and hard at this painting and read the scriptures carefully and with open heart before asking St. Martha to dominate a wife.  Look at the look on her face.  I suggest you be of pure heart and clear conscience before you do the above rite.  This is, after all, a woman who’s said to have defeated a deadly dragon with prayer and immobilized it by binding it up in her apron or girdle strings.  Then she called on the villagers to descend on it and tear it apart limb from limb.

My 1956 Missal gives her feast day as July 29.  A novena leaflet that I have for her gives a prayer to her as follows:

St. Martha, I resort to thy protection and aid and as a proof of my affection and faith I offer this light which I shall burn every Tuesday. Comfort me in all my difficulties and through the great favor thou didst enjoy when the Savior was lodged in thy house,. Intercede for my family that we may always hold God in our hearts, and that we may be provided for in all our necessities, I ask, St. Martha, to overcome all difficulties as thou didst overcome the dragon at thy feet.

As a Novena, this prayer would be said for nine Tuesdays, along with the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

In orthodox Roman Catholicism, she is the patron of dietitians, hemophiliacs, housewives, landlords, waitresses, servants, cooks, and women workers.  Will she help a man in any of these roles?  I have certainly known her to.  Her iconography often features keys, a broom, a ladle, and a dragon.

Catholic Online has a lovely summary of Martha’s role in scripture, which goes some way towards explaining why I’ve heard folks say she’s helped them with sibling issues in their family, like jealousy, or manipulative attention-grubbing, or rivalry.  I’ve also heard her called on by folks who are facing difficulties in managing their households, because of strife or poverty; along with St. Joseph, she is a wonderful ally if you have a lot of mouths to feed and you are running short of money and resources to take care of them all.

Cat at originalninjacat has a great post on St. Martha, which discusses the commonly-encountered belief that St. Martha doesn’t like men.  And Mama Star at oldstyleconjure discusses her work with St. Martha and gives instructions for a novena.