Questions You’ve Asked: Patron Saints Playing Favorites

Seraphin Station

A client is getting set up with some Law Keep Away work, some of which involves physical items being installed at the front entrance where a St. Michael paket has been living. She wonders if she needs to move/remove St. Michael, whom she petitions for physical and spiritual protection, since he’s “the patron saint of police and general law and order guy.”

What a great question!

Short answer, no. No need to remove St. Michael.

A fixed paket of the type I used to make for clients/customers, when I could still source those detentes for reasonable prices. I haven’t been able to do that since reopening, but I like them very much and I hope I can offer them again one of these days.

Longer answer explaining my rationale: for one, human beings declared him the patron saint of law enforcement – he didn’t proclaim himself that lol… and even…

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New and Restocked: Handcrafted Hoodoo Soaps

Handcrafted bar soaps now available:

Coffee at Midnight
Money Luck
Rue & Mint Uncrossing & Protection
Lemongrass Sage Uncrossing & Reversing
Love Drawing
Gold Rush
Three Kings

If you know me, you know I’m not a roses and jasmine type of person. So none of these soaps are made with any scent I would not personally wear. The sweetest are probably the Gold Rush and the Love Drawing; the former is a bright citrusy burst and the latter a blend of woods and citruses with the very faintest of floral topnotes. There’s nothing super-feminine or girly here, and while the Love bars are pink, they don’t smell pink 🙂 Anybody of any age or gender can use any of these.

Don’t forget about the coupon codes good through the end of the month!

bar soaps lg cropcoffee soap cropnew soap crop

rue mint crop

Conjure in pop culture – Supernatural S2 E8, “Crossroad Blues”

In Season 2, Episode 8, “Crossroad Blues,” the boys encounter a tin box buried at a crossroads surrounded by yarrow plants, which they remark on as being useful for “summoning rituals.”   The box contains an old apothecary bottle they surmise is full of graveyard dirt, a black cat bone (the whole damned leg bone, all still attached, including foot, tarsal/metatarsal, and radius/ulna), and a photo of the pact-maker, which they call “deep South hoodoo stuff.” There also appears to be a bundle of something that might be spanish moss, but you only get a glimpse. Ten years later, the pact-makers who did the crossroads rite see hell-hounds who come to fetch them at the expiration of their contracts, in this universe sealed with a kiss by a demon at the crossroads.

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“So it’s just like the Robert Johnson legend, right? I mean, selling your soul at the crossroads kind of deal?”
“Story goes that he died choking on his own blood. He was hallucinating and muttering about big evil dogs.”

They find a pact maker with a peppery powder at his door, which he identifies as Goofer Dust. He then tosses them a leather mojo full of it that “keeps out demons.” Apparently it works even on hell-hounds, at least for a while.

We are largely in the realm of creative liberties here; this is a gumbo of influences, or perhaps it’s more like fusion cuisine. The writers seem to go to hoodoo when they want to evoke something particularly Southern or relating to a specifically African-American character with family knowledge (though to be fair, they mix it up pretty well and so far at least don’t seem to be painting with too broad a brush stroke or singling any one group out for any special treatment – like I said in the comments to my last Supernatural post, there’s a little something to annoy everyone of every religious persuasion in this series, not least of all orthodox Christians of several persuasions; the universe’s view of God is actually breathtakingly grim, and with so many sexy demons running around, I’m kind of surprised I haven’t heard more moral outrage from more quarters).

But while this is hoodoo-flavored, and there are some definite hoodoo spices mixed up in this one, as a whole they still don’t quite make a hoodoo dish. Individually, the crossroads, the black cat bone, the goofer dust, the photo, and the blues allusions all smell like hoodoo, but they don’t make a whole lot of sense mixed together. They’re just designed to evoke hoodoo associations and set the stage for where this particular universe is taking its particular characters.

I’m not here to enter the fray about when, where, how, and if Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for supernatural talent in blues-playing. There is tons of crap out there about it, and we can’t ever know the truth about anything that happened at midnight at a rural crossroads. Those rites usually require that you don’t have an audience, after all. I can recommend Lucky Mojo’s page on the crossroads legend, most especially for the explanation of how this “black man” or “devil” that you encounter is a distinct entity from the Judeo-Christian devil. (Though cat yronwode also gets into the question of whether that was really Robert Johnson who made that claim publicly, and the record would suggest that it was not.) That accords with my experiences and background as well: in deep South conjure, the rite done at the crossroads did not traditionally involve *selling one’s soul to the devil* or any kind of Faustian pact like that. That sort of thing was layered on afterwards by folks from outside the tradition, splicing in European lore. And if you peruse the Hyatt material, pertinent bits of which are excerpted at the Lucky Mojo page linked to above, you’ll find some remnants of surviving lore about a rooster leg (rather than a cat leg) involved in the rite. But the simplest form — the heart of the rite — is just showing up for a set number of nights in a row and waiting on the entity to appear to teach you a skill, usually involving manual dexterity of some kind. Again: this rite, done traditionally, does not involve selling your soul to any entity, never mind the Judeo-Christian devil; you do not need a black cat bone; you do not need yarrow; you do not need graveyard dirt; and you do not need to worry about hell-hounds coming for you later (though there is lore that sometimes the entity that comes to the graveyard is a creature rather than a man, so the black dog is a nice touch there).

As far as Goofer Dust goes, I imagine everybody reading this knows that it’s not a first pick for keeping away bad spirits, though it could very well be peppery, depending on your recipe. While some of the ingredients in Goofer Dust might sometimes be used for situations involving nasty spirits, Goofer Dust itself is usually used to harm people, and some of the elements in it are sometimes used to *draw* nasty spirits. Generally speaking, Goofer Dust is less an element of protection than an element of crossing (often with killing intent). I would not use Goofer Dust in any sort of protective rite – various recipes differ depending on what the creator has on hand and the region they live in, but my formulas (for both regular Goofer Dust and Extra Strength Goofer Dust) all call for some kind of poisonous or venomous insect or creature, and my dust is created with intent to harm, so there are plenty of better ways to work.

As for yarrow, for all I know it might be used for summoning in some other tradition or possibly even some other region, but not in deep-South conjure. I have never heard of it having any relationship to any crossroads rite, either. I find it’s more often used for courage and, by extension, for strength. I suspect that its associations with psychic power or divination come in through a combo of European herbal lore and the flowering of the sort of faux-world-mysticism of the 60s that introduced many Western practitioner to things like the I Ching, in which yarrow stalks were sometimes part of that particular form of geomancy (though coins are a lot more common these days). I have things I much prefer for psychism, divination, etc.; I don’t imagine I would use yarrow for this unless I was inexplicably out of all the other stuff I prefer to use. I use it for courage and strength, and it’s a great additive to Success or Road Opener mojos/formulas for clients when the reading shows that part of what’s holding them back is internal or emotional fear or self-doubt or weakness.

And if you want guitar-playing skill without the crossroads rite? Try putting a rattlesnake rattle in your guitar. (If you play electric, you’ll have to make do with a mojo in your guitar case. Put the rattle inside a plastic globe from one of those gumball machines that the toys come in, or else use an Altoids tin, to keep it from getting crushed).

***
[*] In Season 3, Episode 5, “Bedtime Stories,” one of the characters goes back to the crossroads, and this time there’s a wooden box containing a silver skeleton key, a cat foot/paw skeleton on a leather cord (not the whole drumstick-and-thigh), the apothecary bottle presumably full of graveyard dirt, and some silver coins (most too large to be dimes but I can’t really tell what they’re supposed to be). Here are screencaps of the character adding his own photo in the form of a fake ID.

crossroads 1
crossroads 2

Conjure in pop culture – Supernatural S1 E9, “Home”

Supernatural is among my daughter’s favorite shows and she has forbidden me to carp about any liberties taken with magic, mythology, symbols, angelology, or religion. But that’s why I have a blog.

So in season 1, episode 9, “Home,” the main characters hook up with a palmist/psychic character of presumably African-American descent who instructs them on how to purify a house that’s infested with a poltergeist. “Angelica root, van van oil, crossroad dirt, [and] a few other odds and ends” are tied up into bags to be put into the north, south, east, and west walls of the home, one on each floor.

Poltergeists aren’t a precise fit in conjure, and I would personally take a different route for exorcism and even for house-cleansing, but the bags-inside-the-walls method isn’t a bad one for protection purposes. (It would obviously be easier to do this as you were building or remodeling the house; if you were doing it after the fact, in real life and not on TV, simply hanging or concealing the bags would be traditionally fine, and while the N-S-E-W thing is alright, I’d not neglect the center of the home, nor the entrances.) As for ingredients, the angelica root and the Van Van oil are easy to find info on, so I want to confine my remarks to the crossroads dirt for this post.

I can easily piece together a few different lines of thinking on how and why one might use crossroads dirt, but I personally never heard of any such thing being used as a standalone ingredient in any older traditional sources or from any older traditional practitioners. That doesn’t mean it was never used back in the day – I certainly haven’t met everybody from every region – but the reason why I suspect it’s an invention or interpolation from another tradition (or simply a writer’s imagination) is because the important thing about crossroads is that they’re places, not curios or objects. Now, I know that graveyards are places too and graveyard dirt is old-school, but graveyard dirt when taken and used as a standalone ingredient is usually used either for its attachment to/association with a particular spirit in that graveyard, or for the purposes of symbolically recreating a graveyard in another place (to bury someone or something in on your altar, for instance). Graveyard dirt “works” most often because of a particular grave in that graveyard – other uses are rarer. That means it “works” because of the spirits associated with the graveyard, not simply because it’s a graveyard, if the distinction I’m trying to make is making sense (and please note I’m leaving aside things like vodoun right now and deities or non-formerly-human spirits from other religions that are associated with graveyards). There’s a theory/philosophy of the relationship between the living and the dead at work here that underlies the whole usage of graveyard dirt as a standalone ingredient in conjure.

The crossroads, on the other hand, are important because they’re crossroads, not because of a particular spirit associated with particular crossroads (and again, I’m leaving aside the related matter of the “devil/black man at the crossroads” lore for the time being, as that is a rite that has to be done at the crossroads, and that particular rite is less common than other crossroads rites that have nothing to do with the “devil/black man at the crossroads.”)

Even if the intent behind using crossroads dirt was to somehow tap into the traditions associated with the devil or black man at the crossroads, that would be done in order to gain some kind of skill or knowledge, not for purposes of protection or driving away spirits. You don’t move the crossroads rite to a non-crossroads place like you might move graveyard dirt to a non-graveyard place. When we’re talking about driving away things we don’t want around, the crossroads would come in as a place to perform all or part of a rite focused on getting rid of something or somebody, most commonly as a place to dispose of ritual remains, personal concerns, water, etc (though they can also be used as more “neutral” disposal locations for other types or rites or workings, of course – I don’t mean to imply that they’re all about hotfoot or something because they aren’t, but they are very often about dispersal in some sense, even if it’s just a neutral “disposal” or dispersal of “energy” or materials to conclude a benevolent rite). Crossroads are important in those cases because they are a place where two paths meet and then diverge, where they cross; they are a place where things travel and where paths, well, cross, where direction can be changed, where choices can be made, and where things can be met, etc. So even if you were to use crossroads stuff as part of a rite or working to get rid of an entity, you wouldn’t try to bring the crossroads to the house – you would be more likely to take something from the house to the crossroads. And you wouldn’t “tie up” the crossroads by tying the dirt up into a mojo bag – it goes against the entire reason for using crossroads in the first place, the way I see it. When crossroads are used to get rid of things, they are used because of dispersal, to get something to go and stay gone, to move in the other direction from you. You don’t really use crossroads for binding or tying down, and even if you tried to stretch it that way and think of bringing some kind of dispersal energy to the site, using crossroads dirt for that purpose doesn’t make any sense to me. And crossroads aren’t really used as a way to confuse or keep away spirits in the same way that, say, crossing running water would be in some traditions or regions.

Like I said, if I had to use crossroads dirt as an ingredient, I can think of a few ways to use it I guess. I can reconstruct some of the thinking if indeed there’s any more to it than it being something that might have popped up if you googled hoodoo and needed something to make your dialogue sound reasonably interesting. I think it’s a later creation or interpolation or invention that came into conjure — if it can even be said to have a place in conjure, which I’m not convinced of — through not-traditional-conjure sources. (For instance, if you see it in New Orleans, I will bet you cash money that it came in via vodoun or another religion.) I suppose I can imagine using it in, say, a paket for Legba. But as a standalone ingredient in a mojo bag to get rid of spirits or keep them out? Nope, it doesn’t fit — for the same reasons you don’t see hot-foot mojo bags and that you can’t bottle running water and still call it running water. The crossroads are important because they are a place of meeting and movement in a way that makes the site itself important; you can’t capture it. If you could, it would no longer be about movement and meeting and divergence. That’s not to say you can’t create a spiritual crossroads in a ritual setting – you can, and you do every time you draw a veve, for instance, or make offerings on your ancestor altar — but that is a different animal, working in a different way, and that would be for another post.

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For the record, I consider the quincunx or five spot (pictured above from S2E11) to be related but distinct; even if you consider it a ritually created, manmade crossroads of some sort, it’s used for completely different purposes than the crossroads as a location. The quincunx or five  spot is used to fix things, to set things in place – it’s declarative where the crossroads are more like ellipses, if you will. I don’t consider the five spot to be a crossroads, and I think it quite likely that anything you read about setting down crossroad dirt to perform a ritual, whether in a quincunx or in some other pattern, was written by somebody who comes from a tradition other than conjure. That’s fine – I know traditional southeastern conjure is not the only way to work, but I believe in separating the fact from the fiction is all. If they tell you it’s used in conjure to increase the power of your rituals, I would be very skeptical. If they then tell you to bury the crossroads dirt near your home to draw something to you, I would not hit a hog in the behind with anything they sell or say. So tying crossroads dirt into a mojo to get rid of a negative entity or person? It just doesn’t make sense.

Now, if you wanted a mojo or paket in your house to keep away evil spirits and/or unwelcome guests, you have all kinds of options. I like St. Michael for this type of stuff – a paket at the front door and one at the back. Here is a paket I have at one of my doors currently, made by my colleague Rev. Tixerand at Isle Brevelle Botanica, along with a partial view of some other odds and ends I keep at this particular spot.

paket
You can make a good St. Michael paket for your home with Grains of Paradise, angelica root, boldo leaf, blackberry leaf, broom straws, caraway seeds, and pennyroyal. If you want something smaller than holy-card-sized, then just put a St. Michael medal into the paket or mojo instead of having the image on the outside. You can also use a hoodoo nail or a sword charm dressed with St. Michael oil.

If you live on family land, or are doing work to protect a family, you might want to get a friendly family spirit or ancestor involved. In that case, you can use graveyard dirt from a relative who would be invested in the protection of the home and/or family, properly collected with proper payment. A nice three-ingredient mojo in that case could contain graveyard dirt, althea, and blessed thistle. Or whichever particular herbs suit your situation — if you live in the woods and need protection from animals, or have awful in-laws and need protection from them, or need to keep the cops away, or need to keep your teenager’s bad influences away, you can modify accordingly. Dress with Fiery Wall of Protection, Home Protection, St. Michael, or some other appropriate oil.

But leave out the crossroads dirt, y’all – that’s just television.

ETA: Read the comments at the mirror site on livejournal for commentary by ConjureMan Ali, who says he knows a trick from the VA/SC area involving crossroads dirt as a standalone ingredient — but note that the lore involves the practitioner setting out to travel, not binding the dirt up into a fixed mojo for protection or for anything else. That made sense to me, but tying the dirt up still didn’t. I called my cousin who was born in Louisiana but now lives in Texas, and she says she doesn’t know any uses for crossroads dirt as a standalone ingredient from any region she’s lived in. But my neighbor, who lives in the Atlanta area now but grew up in Florida, says she has heard of dirt from the “fork in the road” taken as a standalone ingredient in a bag for luck. So between these two, I guess I stand corrected and my train of thought on crossroads dirt being a new interpolation as a standalone ingredient misses the track somewhere. She doesn’t know where her people are from before her mother. But she and her mother call hoecakes “johnny cakes,” so that makes me suspect that her mother or grandmother spent some time on the East coast of the U.S. That could be just me wanting the East coast connection to be there to explain some differences I see in regional variations with how certain liminal places and states are treated (a bit on that is in the comments too), ’cause Lord knows regional dialect stuff can work on a pretty “micro” scale and lore can get into families all kinds of ways, especially when a family moves a lot. But my neighbor is 50 and her mother is over 80 and neither of them are practitioners of any particular spiritual path, religion, or folk practice (they ask me for stuff in a pinch), so they sure didn’t invent this stuff or read it to import it from somewhere else.

It also tells me that my asking people about “crossroads dirt” might be the wrong phrase. I should probably ask about “dirt from the fork in the road.”

old-school juju – St Michael packets

Y'all.  I am always talking about "people who grew up with this stuff" and "people who take conjure seriously and live it and not treat it as just as another tool in their eclectic toolbox" etc etc.  (there is nothing wrong with eclectic and nothing wrong with you following your traditions of your origins rather than somebody else's, and nothing wrong with picking up conjure later or anything like that, in and of itself, in case you are just stumbling across this).

Well, one way you can know you have got an old-school, "been around a while" worker on your hands is when they make stuff like this: A serious old-school St. Michael mojo packet, made my Miss Bri at Milagro Roots.  I hardly EVER see these from folks who didn't grow up around the Mississippi river or train with somebody who did.  I first saw it New Orleans, and I actually rarely see it outside of southern Louisiana.  It tickles me pink to see this kind of work.

If you have been reading for a while, you might remember that I used to offer something similar – but i started with embellished and embroidered scapular-type holy cards because I could NOT make my sewn packets look good enough to offer to the public.  My flannel always puckered, or the card looked bent up, or the stitches were crooked, and I didn't want to glue them (even though the one I have that I got in New Orleans was glued) and I eventually gave up.  But these are *great* and they are totally hand-done and hand-sewn, and customized with the personal concerns of you and/or your family members.  It does not get any better than this for home protection work, y'all, for real.  And since I sort of specialize in protection work and consider St. Michael one of my very special personal saints, you can bet it's impressive if I'm impressed.  Go have a look at some serious old-school personalized protection mojo!

[below is a St. Michael mojo packet, but not Miss Bri's – I haven't asked her permission to post a pic of hers yet, so this is just for the sake of having a St. Mike pic for the moment]

An Old Irish Prayer to the Archangels by the days of the week

I regret that I have not been writing as many informative or instructional posts lately as I’d like.  If you’ve worked with me fairly closely over the years and/or been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I’m feverishly trying to finish my PhD dissertation and *get the heck out of graduate school* where I have been for far, far too long.  So instructional/informative posts are not likely to be copious over the next few months.

But as part of my research I am working with a lovely Old Irish poem that I thought I’d share for you readers who work with, think about, and enjoy angels – it should be especially interesting for readers into esoteric prayer, working with the Seven Rays of the Archangels or any of the Rosaries of the Seven Rays, or those with a Roman Catholic or folk Catholic background – or, I daresay, an Irish background!  (If you aren’t familiar with the Seven Rays material, see the tags on this post – they’ll take you to other posts for more info.)

This is a prayer to the archangels giving one for each day of the week. 

A Prayer to Seven Archangels

Gabriel lim i nDomhnaighibh | is cumhachta ríg neime.
Gabriél lim hi comnaidi, | nachamthí bét na bini.

Michél dia Luain labraimsea; | focheird mo menma airi.
ni re nech nosamlaimsea | acht ré hIosu mac Maire.

Mad Mairtt, Raphiél radimsea, co tí in crich, dom chobuir;
in sechtmadh fer alimsea, | céin uér ar tuár in domhuin.

Uriél lim i cCétáinib, | int abb co n-uaisli ardi,
ar guin ocus ar gábudh, ar threthan gaithi gairgi.

Sáriel Dardain labraimsea | ar thonnuibh mera in mara,
ar cech nolc thic re duine, | ar cech ngalar nodgobha.

Dia na haíne didíni | Rumiél–rath reill–rocharus.
ní abbair acht fírinne, | maith in cara rogabus.

Panchel i sSatharnaib lim, | céin beó arin mbith mbuide
. . . . . . . . .  [*]

In Trinoid dom anacul. | in Trinoid dom shnádud.
in Trinoitt dom shæradh. | ar chach nguin, ar gach ngabud.

————————————————————————————————-

* [second half of verse missing in manuscript]

Modern English:

May Gabriel be with me on Sundays, and the power of the King of Heaven.
May Gabriel be with me always that evil may not come to me nor injury.

Michael on Monday I speak of, my mind is set on him,
Not with anyone do I compare him but with Jesus, the son of Mary.

If it be Tuesday, Raphael I mention, until the end comes, for my help.
One of the seven whom I beseech, as long as I am on the field of the world.

May Uriel be with me on Wednesdays, the abbot with high nobility,
Against wound and against danger, against the sea of rough wind.

Sariel on Thursday I speak of, against the swift waves of the sea,
Against every evil that comes to a man, against every disease that seizes him.

On the day of the second fast, Rumiel–a clear blessing–I have loved,
I say only the truth, good the friend I have taken.

May Panchel be with me on Saturdays, as long as I am on the yellow world
. . . . . . . .

May the Trinity protect me! may the Trinity defend me!
May the Trinity save me from every hurt, from every danger!

———————————————————————————————–

[translation is by Thomas O’Nowlan / Tomas Ua Nuallain, “A Prayer to the Archangels for Each Day of the Week,” in Ériu vol. 2, pp 92-94, which you can also consult for manuscript info if you have an academic interest in this piece]

As you may notice, this is one of many extant traditions about the names of the “seven archangels” – the number varies too, of course!  But this is one Celtic tradition for the seven archangels to which we have early attestation (this poem dates from the 800s).  A different batch of archangels is listed in the Saltair na Rann lines 793-804:

Gabriel, Michél, maith an-greim, Raphiel, Panachel oebind, Babichél, Raguel roclos, Mirachel, Rumel rigdos. / Fafigial, Sumsagial slán, Sarmichiel, Sarachel saergd, Uriel, Hermichel maith mass, Sarachel, Barachel bladbras. / Lihigiel, Darachél cenchol, Segiel, laSariel sairdron, Lonachel, Arachél tan, Stichiel, Gallichiel gleglan.

I don’t read Irish, never mind Old or Middle Irish, [**] and don’t have time to learn it any time soon, and if these lines have been translated into modern English, I haven’t run across the translation yet.  But if anybody knows where I can find one so I can learn what the context of this list is, I’d appreciate the tip!

** [The manuscript of the Saltair na Rann is in Bodleian MS Rawl. B 502; its handwriting dates to the 12th century, so this is Middle Irish, I suppose, or maybe “early Middle Irish” more properly?] 

ETA: A reader dropped a link to a different prayer to the archangels by days of the week, to the website of a London chruch. That page is now long defunct, but here’s the prayer, and all the citation they gave was “9th century Irish,” so who knows where they got it or who translated it:

A Prayer to the archangels
for every day of the week

May Gabriel be with me on Sundays, and the power  of the King of Heaven
May Gabriel be with me always that evil may not come to me, nor injury.
Michael on Monday I speak of, my mind is set on him,
Not with anyone do I compare him but with Jesus, Mary’s son.
If it be Tuesday, Raphael I mention, until the end comes, for my help.
One of the seven whom I beseech, as long as I am on the field of the world.
May Uriel be with me on Wednesdays, the abbot with high nobility,
Against wound and against danger, against the sea of rough wind.
Sariel on Thursday I speak of, against the swift waves of the sea,
Against every evil that comes to a man, against every disease that seizes him.
On the day of the second fast, Rumiel – a clear blessing – I have loved,
I say only the truth, good the friend I have taken.
May Panchel be with me on Saturdays, as long as I am in the yellow-coloured world,
May sweet Mary, together with her friend, deliver me from strangers.
May the Trinity protect me! May the Trinity defend me!
May the Trinity save me from every hurt, from every danger.

C9th Irish

up for auction – evil eye charm bracelet, OOAK rootworker’s rosary necklace

Hoodoo Rootworker's Rosary Necklace – conjure doctor's talisman, point chaud empowered

First, let me explain why I'm including both hoodoo and voodoo in the listing title.

Hoodoo and voodoo are of course two distinct traditions, the former being folk magic and the latter being a religion.  In the Louisiana area, though, especially New Orleans, there is a strain of practice where the two are often blended to a greater extent than elsewhere in the world and the African diasporic traditions.

Furthermore, in the work of Tau Michael Bertiaux, the systems of Haitian voodoo and hoodoo are blended into a dynamic system that offers step by step instruction to the practitioner who seeks to access to the Gnosis by means of esoteric prayer.

This set of hand made rosary beads is a product of the place where Louisiana culture and tradition meet Gnostic Voudon and good old Big Lucky Hoodoo.

Sometimes called a "medium's necklace," this set of beads is ritually created, consecrated, anointed, and censed on nine different altars by a fully consecrated bishop and exorcist in a gnostic voudon lineage of apostolic succession (me), and empowered to assist the practitioner in his or her work as a rootworker, serviteur of the spirits, and interpreter of messages from the Invisible World.

In creating this ritual piece, I have made a type of point chaud (aka pwen cho, and sometimes called a pwen achte for reasons I explain in an article I've written if you don't know this type of work; I can direct you to it) – a hot point, or physical object, in which the spirit is called (actually often sung) down into the piece through creation of a three dimensional (or four dimensional, depending on your perspective) crossroads where it is then housed.

This is not exactly the same type of point chaud that mambos and houngans in traditional Haitian sevis would prepare for a serviteur, or that you may have read about in some academic sources over the last fifty or sixty years – I have not imprisoned a spirit here, and this is not dangerous for the experienced worker, and no spirit or being was coerced.  The type of points chauds work I do is a bit different and informed by my own lineage's practice and my own experience and work, which is not what you're going to find anything about in that older academic work (I can direct you to some small amount of material/info on this if you like – just drop me a note upon purchase).  While it would be very unwise to become the owner of this piece and not feed it, it is not going to result in anybody's death if the spirits are not fed and worked with – it's not that kind of point chaud.  It is not, however, created for the novice or newcomer – I call this a rootworker's/medium's necklace for a reason. It's not likely to hurt a novice or new DIYer, but it's not likely to be a lot of use to one either, as it's designed for some fairly specialized things that most people doing conjure work at home for themselves and their family are simply not going to have a need for.

Bishop Tau Michael Bertiaux says of the rosary, in his chapter on Upadhi I in The Gnostic Voudon Workbook, that prayer beads are among the most effective ways to generate spiritual energy and "hook up" to God energy.  He conceives of the rosary as a "prayer machine" and emphasizes that the rosary is further blessed and empowered through use.  I have blessed and empowered this rosary, but it will absorb deeper spiritual energies through your repeated use.  For more information, see The Gnostic Voudon Workbook (and my blog, where I have a few articles on esoteric prayer and non-traditional rosaries – follow the tags).

This particular rosary is designed to assist the worker and serviteur with just about every aspect of spirit work and rootwork you encounter.  I have pulled out all of the stops with this one.  I have only ever made one of these a year at most, and some years I'm not able to make any because I don't have the time or materials when the appropriate astrological and celestial events roll around.  So I haven't made one of these for a couple of years now. This one is dedicated to mediumship, as the last one was, but it has other elements as well, including those for protection specifically geared for rootworkers and serviteurs.

It is made with stone, metal, and glass beads in segments of color appropriate to the following:

* Simbi, represented by St. Patrick; the patron of magicians and mediums

* Baron Samedi, represented by St. Gerard; the patron of communication with the ancestors and the dead

* St. Joan of Arc; the patron of clairaudience

* Legba, represented here by St. Anthony; the patron of Yoruban divination

* St. Clare of Assissi; the patron of clairvoyance

* St. Michael, the warrior archangel and supreme master of protection and all spirits, often called upon alongside the more traditionally "dangerous" spirits to protect the worker in these rites

* St. Benedict, a powerful ally for exorcism of both people and places

* St. Cyprian, the patron of magic and magicians

There is a medal for each saint and spirit, some modern "charm" style medals and some vintage medals imported from Europe.  The center bead is a large, lost-wax-method cast brass bead imported from Ghana, Africa, as are the pater beads, which are sand-cast (I purchase these locally from a local importer who owns a family-run shop and is a native of Ghana).  These one of a kind rosary beads also feature a small glass bottle pendant, with stopper, to hold a few drops of oil or a bit of powder – the top screws in securely via fine-threaded metal so you don't have to worry about losing it.

A vintage skeleton key on the strand opposite the glass bottle is at least fifty years old, possibly older, and to boost the key's traditional "road opening" power, it has been touched to doors/gates/entrances to several different important symbolic buildings or places, to give the bearer mastery over them, including a graveyard entrance gate, a police station door, the entrance to a neolithic longbarrow tomb in the UK, the door of a courthouse, and others.

From the center bead hang two charms. The first is a reproduction of an antique cross, hand-cast in bronze from a mold made from the 18th century original, a solid, sturdy piece that will hold up despite what looks like a delicate design of four equal arms terminating in relief patterns with an overall shape of a Jerusalem or Crusader's cross, emblem of the warriors of God.

The second is a bronze Tibetan prayer box pendant that opens to hold your small personal curios or items.  I will add appropriate herbs and curios to consecrated beeswax to secure them inside the pendant so they will stay safe.  These will include a Job's tear, genuine flakes of 24 K gold, a pinch of real diamond dust, and a genuine black cat bone – a tiny toe bone, complete with claw (my last claw that is not spoken for already).  This is my preferred type of cat bone to use when making protective and/or "work" amulets for professional workers and readers, because we need to hone certain skills for our own good when working with the public, aside from the usual divination and casting skills (and if you've read this far, you doubtless know the kind of thing I'm talking about – but if you don't, and you win the auction, I am happy to fill you in – just ask).  I will leave enough room inside for you to add your own stuff as well.  

Message me after purchase to give me any customization requests for blessings, prayers, or consecrations, or if you have any questions about its use.  I will finish its ritual preparation for its new owner, including preparation of the amulet ingredients and censing/dressing on any additional altars that you request, before shipping your new hoodoo rosary to you – so please allow me adequate handling time to do this work. This rosary has already been blessed at nine altars, and will remain on my medium's altar until it finds its new home.

The loop section measures app. sixteen inches with ends held together (not counting the cross and charm hanging from the center bead) – so this is a very long piece. The beads are large to match the size and presence of the piece – most are 8mm and some are larger – so it is not a lightweight piece either.  It is designed for ritual use, not for casual wear, and while I make it as sturdy as I can, you risk segments coming unconnected or glass breaking if you wear it out dancing to a nightclub.  So please don't do that (if you have to take it out wth you, then carry it in a pouch inside a pocket  or bag, ok?).  But this does not mean you should not wear or use it – you SHOULD wear it when working or reading, and you should use it regularly. I have consecrated it, but it will only become more powerful and more responsive to you as you use it over the years.  It was NOT designed to be laid up in a box or museum or curiosity shop and just looked at.  It was made to be worn and used in ritual work.

Ask me if you need care and feeding instructions (many of the recommendations for caring for mojo bags will apply here, including keeping away from casual handling and making sure it's fed regularly). It is designed with an eye towards the spiritual significance of the beads, charms, etc, not with an eye towards comfortable length for jewelry or the latest trend in necklaces, so this may be one of the odder-looking pieces you've likely seen.  But every single element of it is there for a specific reason, and you will not find another like it anywhere else. 

***

Evil Eye protection charm wrap bracelet

Beaded wrap bracelet is made with Czech glass seed beads spiraling around five loops of memory wire.  I've attached a plethora of dangles and charms, consisting mostly of multicolored resin evil-eye-protection beads hanging from large, brightly colored, sturdy aluminum jump rings.  There are also a couple of Czech glass beads and shiny metal dangles. 

***

livejournal is being stupid. I suddenly can't upload any more pictures. Earlier this past week I couldn't post at all, so I couldn't announce these auctions when they started.  I hope I don't have to pull up stakes and move to blogger – this is really beginning to irritate me.

Anyway, the memento mori chaplet can be seen at the below link :/

Memento Mori ancestor chaplet bracelet – matching earrings

Memento Mori rosary (technically a chaplet) is made of silver-plated brass beads and feature two bone skull beads carved from yak bone.  Offset with African cast brass spacer beads.

Bracelet is nine inches long and has a lobster clasp.  Matching earrings hang from silver-toned french hook ear wires and hang just shy of two inches from cener of earlobe.

In the Middle Ages and well into the Victorian era, images of skulls, skeletons, and other symbols associated with death were used to remind the wearer or bearer of the item to contemplate his or her own mortality, to remember that he or she would one day die.  Some people used this as a reason to seize the day; others used it as a reason to reject life's transient pleasures and focus on eternal rather than earthly glory.  Some used it as a reminder of the Christian promise of the resurrection of the dead
at the end of time, when bodies would rise at the Last Judgment and be reunited with their souls.

Regardless of the meaning you bring to it, this is a rosary (technically a chaplet) that would be suitable for the lover of medieval stuff or the Victorianist on your gift list, as well as any devotee of the family of Vodoun loa known as the Ghuede, who are patrons of death and sexuality and rule the cemeteries.

New jewelry at ebay and eventually bonanza


St. Peter Keys necklace – leather, vintage skeleton key (SOLD)

Gheude, Manman Brigitte, Baron, Voodoo bracelet – at ebay

St. Philomena chaplet bracelet – at ebay


Erzulie Dantor charm bracelet (SOLD)

Mercury Dime protection bracelet – at ebay


St. Peter's Keys necklace – St Livinus – adjustable – at ebay


Legba rosary charm bracelet – handpainted medal (SOLD)

New items at ebay and bonanza

New items:

Cursing/Crossing Sour Jar Spell Kit ebay or bonanza

These are the ingredients to do a nasty cursing/crossing spell jar.  It can be used on a single target, on a couple, or on multiple targets.  Depending on how you treat several variables, you can use this as a serious hotfoot spell, as an extra-strength breakup spell, as a DUME working, as a revenge working, to cause sickness, etc.  This kind of spell is not a first line of defense and it’s not very nice, so it’s used only after other measures have failed or been too slow to work in cases where someone is threatening someone else’s life, family, children, etc.  If you use this on a neighbor for parking on your side of the street, you’re really shooting a tiger with an elephant gun, for instance.

Kit includes all your herbs, oil, instructions, and nine pins, nine needles, and nine coffin nails.

Coffin Nails – ebay or bonanza


If you know anything about modern funeral practices and mortuary laws, it’s probably occurred to you that most of the coffin nails you see for sale on various websites and in various occult supply stores could not possibly have come from an actual coffin in which somebody was actually buried.  The days of being able to access those old-school types of graveyard materia magica are over. So no, I did not rob a grave in order to provide these traditional hoodoo curios, and it’s highly unlikely that coffin nails you get anywhere are going to have come from an actual coffin – not if you’re paying a few dollars for them, anyway. Modern coffins are often not made of wood anyway, and when they are, they are generally constructed with wood glue, screws, and joint fasteners (like big industrial staples) – NOT with nails. (If there are any nails in a modern casket, they are likely to be put there by the upholsterer who does the fabric lining, and are more likely to be technically "brads" rather than "nails."  They most certainly do not look like the traditional "coffin nail" curio.)  So don’t get all hung up on whether or not your coffin nails have come from a real coffin – chances are they haven’t.

However, that does not mean you can’t use the old-school spells that call for them anymore.  Modern practitioners adapt and adjust to the times as necessary in creating and obtaining their curios.  The difference with me is that I’m up front about what I change or adjust, how, and why (hence my long and numerous posts on black cat bones, various animal curios, etc.)

 

These coffin nails are made from the appropriate type of wood nail which I then antique for that authentic rusty look, and "bury" by interring them in a box of graveyard dirt on the appropriate altar.  The finished product thus has the association with the resting place of the deceased that is appropriate to their use.

Listing is for 9 nails.


Hoodoo Nails –
ebay or bonanza


This is a packet of 5 Hoodoo Nails.  Where Coffin Nails are for use in works of malice, crossing, causing sickness, breaking up, etc., sometimes nails are called for in old-time spells for other uses, involving binding people, carving candles or other things, "nailing down" a person, object, or even property to keep hold of it, etc.  I call these Hoodoo Nails for lack of a better name.  They can be used in the famous "railroad spike" protection spell, if railroad spikes are too large, obtrusive, or difficult to get.  They can also be used in Protection workings to call on St. Michael, and dressed to serve as a token of St. Michael’s Sword in mojo bags, spell bottles, and amulets or paket charms.

These are large, square-cut nails about three inches long. If you aren’t familiar with woodwork and nails and the like, they are not a proper square – more rectangular – and the end is fairly blunter than what you probably picture when you think of a nail.  But they go into the ground easily, and with the right hammer or mallet you can pound them into other things as well, such as trees or lumber.

Listing is for five nails.

 


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.