reminder about Big Lucky Hoodoo

Just a reminder that if you are a denizen of livejournal, and/or you prefer to “follow” my blog there, I host a mirror site of this blog there at Big Lucky Hoodoo @ livejournal.

While I’m at it, let me post this reminder/note about my blog’s title and about who’s who and who’s related to whom on the web:

About Big Lucky Hoodoo

My blog’s title “Big Lucky Hoodoo” is an homage to Tau Michael Bertiaux. (That doesn’t mean he endorses the blog.) My blog is not related to, which is the URL of a shop in Michigan called Lucky Hoodoo Products. It is also not related to Lucky Mojo, though I happen to be a student of cat yronwode (the owner/proprietor of Lucky Mojo). I am not an employee of either Lucky Hoodoo Products or Lucky Mojo. As a member of AIRR, I am a member of AIRR, not an employee by Lucky Mojo. The I in AIRR stands for Independent. (You might be surprised how often this comes up and how often I’ve had people write me to ask me when the order they placed with Lucky Mojo will ship; I have no idea. I live in Atlanta and Lucky Mojo is in California.)

For more on Big Lucky Hoodoo as I use the term, see p. 1 of Bertiaux’s Voudon Gnostic Workbook, heading “Lesson One: Who Can Be A Big Lucky Hoodoo?” The Rev. Dr. Bertiaux responds, “Anyone can become a big lucky hoodoo.” He goes on to explain how, and what follows is a ritual from his tradition, which is not necessarily synonymous with the hoodoo that I practice, nor with traditional Haitian vodoun sevis, though he goes on to use both the terms “hoodoo” and “voodoo” in this lesson. But the attentive will note that he is using Hoodoo almost as a category of person or a title of sorts in this phrase: in this chapter, a Hoodoo is a person who harnesses the powers under discussion and who works with the spirits of hoodoo.

It is in that sense that I use the term. I believe that nearly anyone can become a Big Lucky Hoodoo (though you do not become one simply by naming yourself one!) There is a lot about Bertiaux’s system that is clear only to initiates in his system. His is not the only system. There is a lot about vodoun that is better left to initiates, and a great deal that is best left to trained serviteurs of long standing even if they are not initiates. There is even a lot about hoodoo that is best done under the guidance of someone with experience who comes from the way of life – ie, I don’t recommend your first non-funeral trip to a cemetery be to dispose of ritual remains. If you don’t come from a culture that is friendly with the dead, you need to get friendly with the dead before you go working cemetery magic. And Hoodoo is a way of life, in my opinion, not *just* a “magical path” or set of spells or correspondences that would categorize you as a Wiccan on Monday when you use European herbal correspondences and a Hoodoo on Thursday when you use African-American ones. Not at all.

What Bertiaux is outlining is a method for aligning your perspective and ultimately your way of life to be “in the current” of the spirits of hoodoo *as outlined in his particular system* which shares a lot with but is not in every aspect identical to traditional Southern conjure OR traditional Haitian voodoo sevis. THIS is what it means to be a Big Lucky Hoodoo – to live Hoodoo as a way of life, a worldview. And in this sense, anyone can become one, if they are willing to put in the work — and undergo a potentially radical change in perspective, depending upon where one begins.

Devotionally, I work in a Franco-Haitian Gnostic Voudon lineage with full consecration as a bishop in several lines of apostolic succession, and work with an active group of fellow bishops, energy workers, magickians, rootworkers, and serviteurs of the loa on a regular basis, here in the Southeastern U.S. Much of the work we do in the area with the expanded points chauds system, Gnostic voodoo, and Congregational Illuminism owes its origins to Tau Michael Bertiaux’s Gnostic Voodoo work, as expanded upon by Tau Allen Greenfield, Tau Dositheos, Tau Heosphoros, myself (aka Tau Naamah), and others. One of those lines of apostolic succession in which I am a consecrated bishop is a line that Tau Michael Bertiaux also holds consecration within (no, he did not directly consecrate me, and this should not be read as his knowing of me or my work or endorsing the work of any congregational illuminists in the Southeast or the greater Atlanta area, and I do not lay claim to any membership in or rank within the OTOA or any of Bertiaux’s other organizations).

Read more about me at my AIRR page or website.

podcast on points chauds and congregational illuminism

If you are interested in points chauds and/or congregational illuminism, drop by Occult of Personality for a podcast sure to contain something to interest you

Earlier this year, Greg at Occult of Personality interviewed + David Beth on Gnostic Voudon.  Beth’s Voudon Gnosis is recommended reading for anyone interested in the Gnostic Voudon material of + Michael Bertiaux.

bit of a convo with another attendee at local solstice gathering – info on points chauds and pakets

> Please excuse my ignorance, but I have never worked with pakets before. Is this a part of rootwork, or voudon, or both?

In my opinion, and I’m not trying to set myself up as some kind of expert on this stuff, pakets and mojo bags have a great deal in common and probably spring from the same sources/places.  A paket is, really,
just a charm that is somehow tied up or contained.  Mojo bags used in hoodoo are often little bags that are tied with a drawstring, but they needn’t be. They could as easily be a small cloth packet tied up like
an envelope, in whatever shape, with string or cord.  A paket can be a jar full of herbs and offerings which is covered with cloth and pinned together and tied with ribbons.  The word simply means “packet.”

I have an introductory paper that covers points chauds (as physical objects) on my blog at [redacted; write for details]; I know you and I have talked about them; this is in case anyone reading this wants to read
more.  A point chaud would literally be tying a spirit to a physical object — in a way that I believe to be similar to the work we are doing on our own physical and astral bodies as we work the points
system in a hands on way.  A mojo bag is never going to be traditionally used for tying a spirit (in the sense of a loa or saint) to an object (though it may occasionally be made to call on a certain spirit or saint); a paket may or may not be dedicated to or call on a particular spirit; a point chaud always ties a spirit, or rather a “moment” or “Flash” of the spirit — it’s something along the lines of a time/space snapshot, in
my humble opinion.  My intent with points chauds on the solstice will be to see if we can get this “snapshot” of our holy place itself, to take home with us into our own private spaces.

So, should we be thinking about what we > want to “charge” these items for? Are we talking practical magick here, like > I want x to happen, so I’m going to make a paket to push that in my favor
> kind of thing? Or am I completely off track?

this can certainly be done.  For instance, I will be doing some work for myself for success in a publishing endeavor this summer.  I could choose to make this with Legba specifically in mind, or not. personally, I will not; one of my household “adopted ancestor” spirits is Gloria Anzaldua and I am more likely to call on her assistance with this b/c I have worked with her on writing-specific stuff for a long time.  (Using or working with spirits in this case is not the same as the ‘bought points’ – points achete –  where you pretty much enslave a spirit; obviously only a fool would try to do that to a loa in the regleman or even an ancestor).  Also, a paket could be made for calling on Dantor’s protection, or for beginning a relationship with Bawon Kriminel, or whatever you can think of, really.

> On another note, I am very interested in govi work. Again, excuse my
> ignorance, but if I’m understanding it right, a govi is a sort of clay or
> glass jar that you evoke a spirit into and keep around for…whatever you
> keep spirits around for.

If I’m correct, govi very literally means “clay jar” or something like that.  but my understanding is similar to yours in that they are often used for the sort of thing you’re talking about.  They are used in ancestor work sometimes, or even to house part of the spirit of a serviteur or temple member.  In many cases it’s less that it contains a spirit, or the whole of an entity, and more that it’s a means itself, a time/place/space itself, where a spirit can come.  So on my ancestor altar, I have a container for my grandfathers, but they
certainly do not live in the containers and are not confined to them. However, there’s a sense in which they reside there, in a way, if that makes any sense at all.  It makes it easier to work with them.  My
long-deceased grandfather’s container has his graveyard dirt in it. My more recently deceased grandfather’s doesn’t, yet, and the connection is weaker.  In other cases, though, and in a sense even in
this case, a govi can be thought of as a particular type of paket, in a way.

 I have no experience with this in the context of
> Voudon (I do in other traditions), but would be interested in exploring it.
> So add that to the list of possible things to do this next weekend.

Fabulous.  This is a good place for me to mention, or reiterate, that I am by no means trying to recreate any so-called authentic Haitian practice into Arabia work.  We’re not in Haiti 🙂  but we are in the direct lineage of + Michael Bertiaux, whose work, however difficult it may be to trace sometimes in terms of specifics and vocabulary, is shot through with Franco-Haitian magickal influence and terminology. We are heirs to a vodoun current that hasn’t been explored as much as some of the other elements of our Work. THAT is what I’m interested in. So I think your work with govis from other traditions is exactly the sort of thing we should talk about and experiment with.

> And for those who are coming that are new to Voudon, I highly recommend
> Karma’s suggestion about doing lave tete (a.k.a. “head washing”), which is a
> way to “clean” or “purify’ your “head” with sights on gaining knowledge of
> who your met tet is. The tradition says everyone has a met tet, or “head
> lwa” – the lwa of your head. This would be the lwa who you have a special
> relationship with, the one that is most prominent in your work, and the one
> you should begin to cultivate a relationship with. At least, that is my
> understanding of it, based on my own experiences. Others should feel free to
> share their own experiences with this.

I would like to hear any other perspectives on this too.  In my experience, lave tete can serve other purposes than identifying your met tete; it may or may not do that, but it is certainly useful for
many other cases.

Note to attendees: if you are coming to this and would like a head washing and want me to make it and administer it (with the assistance of whoever would like to assist – I’m not trying to the boss of this
show), please let me know so I can bring the materials I need.  If you have a specific lwa in mind, let me know that.  If you don’t, but have a specific need in mind, let me know that too.  If you just want to
see what happens and have nothing in particular in mind, let me know that as well.  The ingredients will differ according to what you have going on, and so will the colors of cloth you will need to bring.

> So, I take it we are not talking about drumming, dancing and singing loudly
> on top of the mountain as is often done at larger, more “formal” voudon
> celebrations.

No, not at all.  One of the reasons I am interested in making pakets on the mountain is that I am afraid that our access to the mountain may one day be restricted.  In that worst-case scenario, I would like us to still have a way to visit it and I think this will help.  We may also consider doing some protection work on our “space” there.  But in any case, I don’t picture anything formal with drumming by any stretch of the imagination, not there.

 I’m sure if
> we threw down like we do each year for Fet Gede, we would attract unwanted
> guests, and I mean the kind that have flesh and bone and blood, not the
> mysteries…

Precisely 🙂  And well said.

hoodoo rosaries and consecrations/blessings

I have been experimenting with different forms and styles of prayer beads in a sort of space where Tau Michael Bertiaux’s chapter on praying the rosary and Louisiana-area hoodoo practice merge.  In that spirit, I created a hoodoo rosary of sorts designed to amplify the practitioner’s mediumistic abilities, using appropriate colors, numbers, and saints’ medals.

 While I’m not, if you’re a newcomer to this blog, an initiate in any traditional Haitian voodoo lineage, I do work within a Gnostic Voudon tradition with full authority and consecration (as a priestess and as a bishop in Tau Michael Bertiaux’s lineage).  I am not pulling this stuff out of my ass (if I seem defensive, it’s because there are some idiots out there who have tried to tell me my business before. These idiots accumulate on yahoo groups and livejournal communities, and for some funny reason, they haven’t usually been initiated in Haiti either.  Funny how that works.)  I can also say the beginning the points chauds empowerment workings with Tau Allen Greenfield, Tau Peristera, and Tau Heosphoros, and later other coWorkers, friends, fellow bishops, and associated initiates has been the single most important magickal event in my life thus far.  The power of the pwen cho is very, very real, and it doesn’t need you to believe in it to work, nay, to knock your socks off 🙂

Anyway, I say all that to say that yes, I know this isn’t a traditional voodoo or hoodoo rosary (assuming for the sake of argument that there is such a thing, and that the term “traditional” is of any great utility in the first place), and I don’t care.

My first attempt is, in my opinion, not very attractive, but I would like to continue the project.  So there’s the public service announcement.  If anybody is interested in the theory behind these things, I’d be happy to post about it, but I don’t want to take up the airwaves if nobody cares.

I also wanted to mention that I don’t “sell” consecrations or blessings.  I sell stuff sometimes that has been variously empowered, consecrated, blessed, and/or ritually treated, but there’s a line between that and the sacerdotal side of the Work, at least for me.  In fact, if you send me an item you would like me to consecrate or bless, I will do so with no cost to you except the postage to and from me.  (You will have to wait on my available time, of course, but as I live with and serve the loa every day, and engage in the Work every day, you will probably not have to wait too terribly long).