on love binding spells (just gonna leave this here)

Just stumbled upon The AfroMystic’s article “4 Reasons Why ‘Binding’ a Lover to Yourself is Not Smart.” I’m glad she wrote this. Now I don’t have to. But it needs to be said. Out loud. Regularly.

Now I know not everybody sees eye-to-eye on all the finer points and nuances of potential situations where things like Binding and Intranquility and such get brought up a lot. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with all of my colleagues about every single nuance of this stuff and vice versa. And I absolutely allow that not everybody from every culture, society, or country has the same autonomy, access to resources, and legal status as everybody else (and she touches on this issue as well in her article).

But if you’re a rootworker in the 2000s here, or even if you’ve just been hanging around in rootwork circles long enough, you know exactly the kind of thing she’s talking about ’cause you’ve seen it yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard some version of these:

“Met him last month, want to do binding spell.”

“Takes advantage of me and never spends time with me, want to do binding spell.”

“Regularly sticks his dick in the crazy, comes home, lies about it, and gave me an STD. Want to do binding spell.”

And people get *shirty* (i.e. super offended) when you suggest they should maybe consider this spell instead:

Now don’t anybody get defensive and don’t anybody dismiss this outright. If you are considering love binding work, read this as neutrally as you can, and just check and make sure none of this applies to you. Maybe it doesn’t. If the shoe doesn’t fit, etc., never mind.

But probably 90% of the folks who’ve brought up love binding work to me in the last few decades could have stood to ask themselves these questions. Just give it a read, that’s all I’m saying!

sanguis veneris, alkanet, fistulae, medieval medicine, and an upcoming astrological opportunity

In an otherwise fairly unappetizing medieval manuscript (though of great interest to historians of medicine), I ran across a description of an herbal remedy called Sanguis Veneris, literally "the blood of Venus."  This is a work largely dedicated to methods for treating what was a usually untreatable and very, er, delicate problem that I won’t go into here (if you must know and have some rudimentary Latin, it’s called Practica de Fistula in ano, and if you don’t have some rudimentary Latin and are not currently eating dinner, you can see an illustrated page from an actual manuscript version of this widely-copied work that will show you, in a nutshell, what sort of surgery this was.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you).  Surgery for this condition was generally fatal in the 14th century, but the untreated condition was often fatal too.  But one John of Arderne not only treated it, but apparently treated it with some success and wrote a book on his methods.

In the interest of time, I’ll quote from an edition of a 15th century Middle English translation of his Latin work instead of trying to translate the Latin, which I won’t do all that well in a few minutes.  All quotations and page numbers are from Treatises of Fistula in Ano, D’Arcy Power, ed., London, Early English Text Society, 1910.

Sanguis Veneris was one of a few different preparations that could be used several days after surgery to clean and dry the wound.  It was so-called because of its redness and sweetness, and was known (says our author) to ladies by the French name "sank damours or sank de pucels" (p. 89) [blood of love, or blood of ladies/young women/whores depending on context].  There is a sense here that it is well-known among women and perhaps sought out by women, but all that isn’t spelled out here.  There were two different ways to make it, depending on what you had access to and how much your patient could pay.  One was to combine an ounce of powdered alkanet with a quart of oil, blended or boiled together (either way).  It’s to be kept in an earthen or pewter pot. Because its properties are cold and dry, it’s good for drying up many kinds of wounds or ulcers and preventing infection (I’m rather freely paraphrasing here).  Blended with vinegar and applied to the head, it’s good for headache (still p. 89).

The second way to make it goes something like this: take blood from a virgin (or, if one cannot be found, of a damsel of about 18 or 19 years old who was never with child).  The blood is to be drawn during the full moon, when the moon is in Virgo and the sun is in Pisces.[1]  To this blood, add equal parts "aloes cicotrine," myrrh, and dragon’s blood; then add powdered alkanet in an amount equal to the aloes+myrrh+dragon’s blood combo.  Muddle all this together to make a paste, and then dry it in the sun, storing it for your use.

To use it, take a chunk of it, powder it, and seethe it in olive oil, one ounce per two pounds of oil, or "a quart of a galon,or more if it be nede" (p. 90).  Boil it together until the oil is red.  When it’s red, pull it off the fire, and the resulting mixture is what is applied for medicinal purposes to cool, dry, disinfect, and heal.

N.B. This is medieval medicine, which most medievalists are grateful not to be subjected to, and I am not an herbalist, and there are probably a hundred good reasons not to go mucking about trying to recreate these formulae for use on open wounds, not least of which is the fact that not everybody agrees as to which regionally-available (or available-by-import) plants are being referred to in texts like this.  In short: DO NOT MAKE A BATCH OF THIS STUFF AND PUT IT ON AN OPEN WOUND.  If you are even *thinking* of trying this based on a blog post you find on the internet, please go above and click on the link to the illustrated manuscript page for a vivid reminder of how different, and how much more unpleasant, medicine was in the middle ages.  However, by medieval principles of sympathetic magic, the doctrine of signatures, and humoural theory, you could certainly make a case for using such a mixture as a spiritual or magical oil as part of spell or altar work to effect healing of conditions brought upon by an excess of heat and moisture (fever, for instance, maybe gout, other types of "hot, wet" illnesses).  If the subtext I perceive here is really meant to be here, this could also be used in any type of working to draw love, incite lust, and gain romantic attention.

After surgery, flesh could be regenerated and scarring induced by using various preparations, including myrrh, aloes, dragon’s blood, Arabian gum, something called sarcocolla, pomegranate bark, and/or flour, mixed with egg-white and sanguis veneris or mel rosat.  Mel rosat is made by mixing honey and the juice from red rose petals, and is smeared onto cloth and laid on the wound.  (84-87 and passim)

[1] I am not advising anyone to go around poking 18-year-olds with lancets, but just for the sake of interest, this Friday, Feb 18, 2011, you will have a full moon with the Sun in Pisces and the Moon in Virgo.  Where I live, the moon is officially full on the 18th, the Moon enters Virgo at 4:40 am, and the Sun enters Pisces at 7:26 pm, so you would have to make your Sanguis Veneris after 7:26 pm EST and, I think, ideally before 3-ish a.m. on the 19th.  Now, if you’re a client or customer of mine, you may have written me before with questions about moon phases and astrological signs in your rootwork and had me give you short and even dismissive answers – if the astrology suits your needs, feel free to time your work this way, but in general, I make the timing fit my needs rather than holding off on my work to wait on some moon phase or conjunction, and I rarely advise clients to wait around for the moon if their work really needs doing.  The exception would be the preparation of some kind of ultra-special, preplanned talisman, amulet, or formula that you can only make every once in a while – like my Three Kings Oil which I make annually at the Feast of the Epiphany, or a gambling luck charm made on 7/7/2007, or some complicated astrological talisman designed to get success flowing in your life, which has to be done at a certain time of the year or even during a rarer astrological event, for which you have planned in advance as something "beyond the scope of day-to-day conjure remedies."  But I offer this as a curiosity for those of you interested in reading such things, and mention the upcoming perfect timing for those who like to make their own preparations.

new formulas

Newly listed oil formulas:

Marriage oil – for those trying to get married, and for blessing an already existing marriage

St. Patrick oil — for working with Irish ancestors, for protection from snakes, and for calling on the blessings of St. Patrick

Dream Vision oil – for prophetic dreams, clear dreams, and better dream recall

Get A Job oil – to help you get that job!

Peace oil – smooths over troubles in home and family, assuages hurt feelings in relationships, brings an aura of peace and tranquilitiy

Stay With Me oil – keep your lover around – and faithful

Kiss Me Quick oil – looking for Mr./Ms. Right Now? This oil is for you.

Abramelin oil – Biblical formula (not the Crowley/Mathers formula — NOT edible.)

Ketubah oil – This is a biblical anointing oil in the blessing family, containing rare and fragrant henna blossom essential oil among other appropriate oils and herbs. Use for altar work for marriage or engagement, to ritually seal covenants and agreements (either with yourself or between two or more people), and as a reminder of the union of the soul with the Spirit. Some folks use this as an anointing oil when they perform weddings and handfastings, or in spellwork related to their marriages or relationships.

Holy Fire oil – This is a biblical oil in the blessing family, containing hyssop among other appropriate herbs and oils.
Use for altar work for blessing, cleansing, and purging yourself of spiritual ickiness. I find this blend very useful when you’re facing one of those places in life where one door closes and another opens, to help you cut harmful ties to the past, make account of and restitution for things you are setting aside and leaving behind, and asking for guidance and blessing as you begin your new endeavor. This oil would be good to use when your divorce is final, when you finally break up with that irresistible bad boy or girl, when you decide to quit smoking, or when you begin a magical retreat or new spiritual practice.

Three Kings oil -If you’ve been reading my blog, you may recall that I continue my family’s old tradition of presenting the Infant Jesus with a little gold-covered casket of frankincense and myrrh at the Feast of the Epiphany. This oil is made with resins from January’s presentation ceremony. Each bottle contains a tiny bit of 24 kt gold dust as well. Use for altar work for money and success, for protection, and for healing and drawing blessings. This is one of those multi-purpose oils that no hoodoo cabinet should be without.

Remember that all my oils, powders, and baths are available from my website too, often at a substantial discount. If there’s not an operable cart for the page you want, just write me and I can send you a paypal invoice for the things you want.

client q re. “strongest possible magic available” for her case (this is an FAQ)

A client asks if the spell she’s considering is the strongest magic available considering her situation.


Ok, your question raises several related issues:

1. The issue of “the strongest magic available” aka “biggest guns”

2. The relation between “more involved magic” and “the strongest magic available” and

3.  The relation between “coercive magic” and numbers one and two.

I find the analogy of strength to be less than ideal, and only problematically related to coercive magic.  I’ll discuss the issue of “strongest magic available” first.  This kind of thing is less about one spell or way of working being stronger or weaker.  It’s more like food, maybe.  For instance, there is more than one way to make chili.  You may prefer a white chili, your neighbor may prefer one with no meat.  It’s still chili (like there are uncrossing formulas that smell stronger of eucalyptus than lemon, and some people like the smell of eucalyptus. On the other hand, some hate the smell, and would rather work regularly with a lemon-based formula – these are not identical formulas, obviously, adn lemon has attributes with cutting ties to the past that eucalyptus does not have, but both can be the basis for a good uncrossing formula.  Neither is stronger than the other, in any real way.)

Or maybe tools are a better analogy, though still problematic — you need to build a new deck.  You have a good idea you’ll need wood, and a skilsaw, and a hammer and nails, and a level.  But you have a lot of options within that.  The smaller decisions are often related to taste, to previous ways of working that you have found effective, to cost and availability of materials, and to personal preference that’s hard to quantify in some way where it can be said something is “best of all.”  Hoodoo as a folk practice just doesn’t work that way. Different workers prefer different ways of working, and will recommend one spell over another depending on what personal concerns are available. For instance, a honey jar is just not going to be as strong without personal concerns.  It’s the available ingredients in that case rather than spell itself that is “better” or “stronger.”  If you don’t have personal concerns, and/or if you need something to work quickly, I would probably recommend something other than a honey jar.  Does this make sense?

For instance, based on the concerns you have and what you were able to send me, I made the recommendation I made.  I will be sending you the ritual remains of the [work we discussed] to incorporate into your [other work that you’re going to do].  If you were not doing a [certain kind of] spell, and I were doing all the work for you, I might have recommended a [different] attraction spell instead, after which I would have disposed of the ritual remains myself.  Is this making any sense?

Now, as for something being “more involved” — many workers of various levels do very very well with simple candle burning rituals.  Candle magick is as old as fire and many non-experienced practitioners find it easiest to start with. That doesn’t mean it’s not as powerful as other stuff.  It’s just a way of approaching the work.  Some folks prefer things that involve burying something in the earth, nailing something to a tree, or throwing something in water, depending on what they’re working on.  Most professional rootworkers will ask you a few questions about what you have available, what you want to happen, and what your timeline is like and make a recommendation based on that.  In some cases, a spell may be worked on altar for months or even longer — this isn’t necessarily a better or stronger working.  It just depends on what you’re doing.  a long standing thing like a drawn out court case is admirably suited to the slow-but-steady variety of altar workings.

Finally, re. coercive magic. “Strongest” is not the same as “coercive.”  Some rootworkers won’t work coercive magic.  I, personally, will, if I feel the case is justified, the client is forthcoming with me about the details, and my preliminary divination doesn’t suggest I leave it alone.  I don’t actually have a problem doing coercive magic for love workings in many situations.  However, I think it’s a good idea to point you to this livejournal entry
(if that link doesn’t work, go to karmazain.livejournal.com and click on the Love Spell tags from the list available on the right hand side)
The gist is that coercive magic very often has to be long term work.  Hopefully this entry will explain why.

to get someone to contact you

This is from Vol. 2 of Hyatt’s HCWR, p 965.

Write the person’s name on a paper and put it under a white saucer in which you will set your candles.  (You would want to use a little melted wax to make the candle secure).  The informant says you should say the words, “Now, this yore name.  This is yo’.  No rest, no peace.  Yo’ gotta write to me.  Ah gotta heah from yo’.”  You burn a white, blue, pink, and yellow candle, one each day, in this saucer, in that order, until you hear from this person.  If you would prefer a phone call, I imagine it would be appropriate to substitute that request 🙂

response to client query on free will in love workings

A client wants her man to commit, but on the other hand doesn’t want to force him to do anything; he should be loving her and committing to her because he wants to, not because she forced him to, right?

Well, in my opinion, this goes back to something I said a bit earlier in an email — he might love you all day long but have a different idea of how he wants to live that love.  You’re likely working on two different levels (at least).  You may not have the same way of behaving, the same way of expressing love; also, it may be that there are reasons besides his love for you or lack of it that are shaping his behaviors.  Is this making sense?  So when you talk about free will, really, you can get someone to fall in love with you, but you can’t make them a better or different person than they are with a love spell, you know?  You can keep a man coming back with all the love he has to give, but if it isn’t much love that he’s got in him, you’ll be repeating that spell every month for as long as you feel like having him around.  Now if the love really is there and he’s not one of those kinda dead soulless types who doesn’t love deeply, then all you’re doing is giving him a nudge in a direction he might go in anyway if his head weren’t in the damned way, know what I mean? (or his wallet, or his baby momma, or his job, or his fears, or whatever it is that is influencing his behavior).  If you have to really, truly force him, you’ll have to really truly force him on a regular basis.  Work like that has to be maintained.  [ref. other priorities getting in the way]  If you don’t know what that is, you might consider a reading on it so you can find out and do that work.  If you do know what that is, work on that too.  It’s not a question of him not loving you – it’s a question of his priorities and other stuff going on in his life.  Work on THAT.

response to client query on Commanding vs. Compelling formulas

In reference to a love working that needs a little kick in the rear end:

Honestly, there is not a whole lot of difference in the “backbone” of the two formulas (the “soup stock” ingredients ref. the getting people to do what you want are the same, they just have different “spices” in these two formulas) — the compelling has an additional “you *owe* me this” note to it, which you may or may not feel is appropriate; the commanding is less “equitable,” less “chatty,” and more “do my bidding now, I command you.”  It’s more, well, “commanding.”  It has more mastery in it and thus it sets up a dominant/subordinate sort of interaction.  So it’s really up to you, whichever set of “spices” you want in the mix.  Kaliprix would work for you too (or Come to Me which is a “lighter” option, less “demanding.”)