Recommended reading on reconciliation work

photo by LunarSeaArt at Pixabay

My colleague (and friend) Cat over at Cat’s Rants – Confessions of an Occult Mastermind has written a riotously funny yet oh-so-true post called Getting Back to Good – Reconciliation Spellwork Advice/Help with some advice for those undertaking or considering reconciliation work. Y’all, this kind of thing? It’s funny the way she’s written it, but she is not exaggerating one bit.

And all this advice and walking-through that she’s patient and generous enough to offer here (and elsewhere, many many times over the years)? Well, I don’t have that kind of patience lol, which is why folks contacting me for reconciliation work have a less than 10% chance I’ll take their case. 🙂

But this is highly recommended reading for anyone who might be considering undertaking love work involving an ex (and any serious student of hoodoo, for that matter). There is soooo much more to spiritual work than just what happens at the altar, and this post is a little insight into some of that.

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!

St. Anthony for Reconciliation

Cat over at Cat’s Rants has an article on using St. Anthony for reconciliation work:

Easy to Do St. Anthony Reconciliation Spell

(This usage comes about through St. Anthony’s traditional association as the saint you call on when you’ve lost something – once upon a time this meant your keys, but the usage has extended to include people).

information about reconciliation / return a lover cases

I get more requests for reconciliation of lovers than for perhaps any other type of spellwork.  I don’t usually take reconciliation cases involving couples (though I do reconciliation work between friends and family members frequently). But as I often find myself giving the same information out over and over again, I should probably make a post about it.

Client expectations of either the relationship or of spellwork itself are not always realistic when love problems are involved, and this is often the case with reconciliation/lost lover work, which is why so many clients go to so many workers reporting "I have tried other workers but they failed."  I do not take these kinds of cases because they are so time-consuming and clients so very often are unwilling to set time limits on the work or to consider adjusting their expectations.   If previous workers have failed, this should tell you, the client, that it’s time to consider putting a time limit on the work and to take a cold, hard look at how realistic your expectations are.  If multiple workers fail, this sometimes indicates a problem with the case, not the workers. 

But some clients are not ready to set a time limit, and in some cases they have had a reading that suggests success in their case is possible and they are frustrated at not finding a worker who will take their case.  I can recommend some workers who do sometimes take reconciliation cases, and it may be that they will discuss your case with you.  If you write to me asking for reconciliation work, I can give you some contact info for folks to try.  But be aware that you will probably need to be prepared to set a time limit to the work; many ethical rootworkers will not take a reconciliation case unless you are willing to do so, especially if the original relationship was very short lived and previous spellwork has either failed or (as is frequently also the case when clients go to more than one worker) has not been given adequate time to manifest.

And to read a little more about lost lover/reconciliation work, including some insight as to why many workers will not take these kinds of cases, and what you can do or consider in order to improve your chances of having your case considered and your situation improved, you might have a look at the AIRR site’s entry on Love, Romance, and Reconciliation work.

Also, Cat of originalninjacat has quite a few excellent posts on love and reconciliation work that can help any hurting lover approach their situation in a way more conducive to a happy ending.  You can find her tagged love/reconciliation posts at her blog

ETA:  Dr. E has a post up over at Hoodoo Crossroads on reconciliation as well, and the quotable quote is "Slow and steady wins the reconciliation case!"  I wholeheartedly agree.  I wouldn’t personally subscribe to everything in the post as a 100% truism all the time(*) (but I doubt he does either – we do have to speak of tendencies and generalities that we see when we write up an article or manifesto on something) – but Dr. E *does* take reconciliation cases, and reading this post will give you a very good idea of the kind of conversation you’re probably going to be having if you decide to try to hire a worker for a reconciliation case, and a very good perspective "from the trenches," so to speak, from a reputable worker who does this kind of work regularly.  I say this over and over again but it’s because it needs to be said, and you will find a lot of reputable workers saying it: if 7 reputable workers casting 7 spells have not gotten you the results you want, *you need to stop hiring workers for that result and reassess the case before you waste any more energy and money.* (I would personally advise you to cut yourself off way before 7, but you get the idea I hope.)  If you have been working a case for two  years and seen zero sign of progress, then you need to spend your time, energy, and money on helping yourself heal and draw a good lover, not in chasing after a cold case.

Finally, keep in mind that I am often willing to consult with clients on many spiritual goals even in cases where I am not prepared to take them on as a client for that goal, should that be an option you care to pursue.  Consultations for spell and/or product advice and guidance can be booked at my AIRR directory listing page, and on my userinfo page here at livejournal.

I do not mean to be heartless in giving this advice. I know that sometimes the heart wants what it wants, and I also know that even very difficult cases have sometimes seen improvement.  However, I also know that I am probably not the worker for you, as these sorts of cases involve so much more time and correspondence and counseling than other cases, and clients are often impatient due to their great emotional pain.  So hopefully this post will do some small part towards helping those hurting folks get some peace.


(*) particularly about cursing.  I know my products work, and I know I sell a lot of crossing and hexing products, and I sell a lot of them to people who grew up around this stuff.  Crossing somebody doesn’t, in my opinion, require any more skill than performing spiritual cleansing work (though it does require a certain temperament or set of characteristics as well as a certain kind of situation, at least in order to be undertaken without ultimately harming the practitioner as much as the target – which is another post). 

And I know how many emails I get from people seeking to have me cross up their spouse’s mistress, or their girlfriend’s husband.  Now I don’t disagree with the underlying point in the post that many clients think "change in behavior" = "crossed conditions," and that in lots of cases there is no curse causing the change in behavior.  I think that underlying point is valid.  And there are plenty of folks who are convinced they are crossed, and after they’re uncrossed, they’re still convinced they’re crossed, and they go from worker to worker claiming that the curse on them is so powerful that no living worker has been strong enough to break it, and they begin living a self-fulfilling prophecy which cripples them while it enables them to lose sight of any sense of personal responsibility and spend their whole existence in the role of helpless victim — and that is another post too, with a complex set of beliefs and behaviors underneath it. 

So the underlying point Dr. E is making here is right on, I think. But I can’t quite let this pass without quibble: "Most people are untrained and uneducated when it comes to cursing others, and most don’t know the right way to go about."  I would say that depends on where your clients come from, what population counts as "most people."  Most people in the US? Sure.  Most people in an area of South Carolina where I learned a turpentine trick-killing spell in 1995?  Nope, patently untrue.  Everybody in that neighborhood knew what red brick dust was for and knew what not to step in.  That’s not to say everybody with a bag of goofer dust was equally capable of deploying it equally effectively – but it is to say that in that neighborhood, crossing as well as uncrossing was like making biscuit dough – if you didn’t know how, well, you were slightly pitied, but it was gonna be alright because your mama or your sister knew how.  So I would just urge folks to consider their knowledge of a person’s background and "habitat" and interests and social circles when they’re deciding how seriously to take the idea of a curse coming from there.

Sorry to use your post as the step-up for a soapbox moment, Dr. E ! I’ve been meaning to post on that for a while anyway 🙂

Reason # 46 why I don’t take reconciliation cases

The nutjob ratio is much higher among clients seeking reconciliation than among any other grouping of clients by standard petition-type.

Here is a good example: a woman didn’t like what her reader told her about her chances for getting back with her ex, so she stabbed her and her daughter to death.

No, I am NOT saying all reconciliation-seekers are nutjobs.  And obviously this woman had some issues other than the fact that she had an unhappy love life.  (And obviously calling this woman a "nutjob" is a little mild.)  But thwarted passion and obsession often bleed over into each other and make good bedfellows.  This is an extreme case – but I see its milder cousins (and nieces and nephews) all the time.  Reconciliation is nearly the most-frequently-requested type of work, and it’s the type I most frequently decline.  Otherwise sane, friendly, and rational people can act completely irrational when it comes to passion – throw in some drama and tragedy, add a little unrequited feeling, toss with the Bearer of Bad News – recipe for a nasty mixture indeed.

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.

Bringing back a lover, part two

First, the infamous black cat bone. 

I have to admit something here. My uses of the cat bone are not entirely traditional hoodoo.  Let me give you a snapshot.

If you ever read “The Once and Future King,” you might recall that Morgause, the Queen of Air and Darkness, was introduced to the reader via a vividly grotesque episode in which she is in the process of boiling a cat alive. She does this to find the bone that will render her invisible.  Being Morgause, she loses interest way before anything exciting happens.  T. H. White calls this spell a “piseog” [1] and says that while the “little magics” run in her family, she’s not a great witch like her sister. Well, that would be the attention span problem, I guess. Anyway, this is a traditional use of the black cat bone. For more information on this incredibly well-known spell, see the medieval grimoire attributed to San Cipriano [2].

Another one, not mentioned in the San Cipriano material, is the use of the bone to return a lost love.  Unfortunately, in much of the available recorded material, tradition has it that you have to go through the same de-catting process in order to get the magic bone that will do the trick.

Some accounts of this are recorded in early 20th century folklore collections.[3]  According to some informants, black cat bones were used in this time and place (the 1930s) to rid oneself of troubles, as lucky pieces,  to cause sickness to visit an entire community, and by a jealous lover to get his or her lover back from a rival.  The cat bone is said to “enable you to marry your choice,” “bring you good luck all your life,” “will fix you so that you can do anything.” ( mostly p. 156).  But you usually have to boil the poor thing.

One informant says, though, that even if you find a dead black cat in the woods, its bones are stil powerful magic.  I think that some of the uses of the black cat bone that I learned in the early 90s in central Alabama have some roots in these developments of the black cat bone traditions, somewhat different from those of the European grimoires.

This usage involved making a necklace of a ritually prepared (and, unfortunately, ritually killed) black cat bones. (Yes, I know how to do it, and no, I’m not telling you.  I’m not going to be responsible for another string of black cat abductions adn killings like any cat owner living in the outskirts of Birmingham in the early 90s can tell you about.) This necklace conferred occult power to the wearer, particularly for travel in the spirit world (called “dreamwalking”) and for protection against psychic attack.  It was standard “getting ready to do work” garb for those who wore it, and considered a source (and symbol) of power that was worth guarding ferociously.  This group used the leg bones of black cats for this purpose (not any other bones).

So, my uses of the black cat bone are informed by a few diverse strains of folk belief and recorded practice, as well as my time in central Alabama as a participant in and collector of the eclectic magickal practices of those black cat bone folks.  This is also why I collect and sell the leg bones of black cats (and I collect them without the use of violence, by the way).  In theory, according to most of the lore, the power bone has to be discovered by a process of trial and error — the special bone will make itself known to you in the de-catting process.  My use of the leg bones as ritually powerful items is shaped by my time and experience working with this stuff  in central Alabama.  So now you know what’s not quite traditional about some of my uses of the black cat bone.

Great, you think.  I don’t care about all that crap.  I don’t care WHY you use a black cat bone to return a lover, and I don’t care why you say it doesn’t have to be boiled in order to work.  I just want to know how to use it.

Fine.  Here’s what I recommend.  Either build a reconciliation altar around it, or else have it as the key ingredient in a mojo bag.  In either case, dress it with Van Van oil (the Mrs. Dash of hoodoo condition oils), or else a Come to Me and/or Reconciliation oil.  There are a number of different reconciliation spells you can use in conjunction with this.  I would incorporate name papers and herbs as well for a mojo bag, and candle burning for an altar.  Like any ritual item of this nature, keep it where other people won’t mess with it.

[1] Piseog is Gaelic for black magic, sorcery, an evil spell, or an incantation, depending on which dictionary you use.

[2] A post on this will follow.  For now, see the following list of links for your reading enjoyment

Magic Spells from the Book of Saint Cyprian Antigo Livro de São Cipriano, 1993, Editora Espiritualista, Ltda, Rio de Janeiro, Translated by Ray Vogensen

Cat Yronwode at Lucky Mojo on the Black Cat Bone
[n.b.  Cat’s page suggests that Hurston’s account of getting the cat bone involves returning a lost lover.  I believe this to be an error; In Of Mules and Men, Hurston says the Frizzly Rooster (a root doctor) told her she needed it so she could move secretly and invisibly sometimes in her conjure work.]

[3] See The Frank C Brown Collection of NC Folklore, by Wayland Debs Hand and Frank C. Brown.  Duke University Press, 1964.

Bringing back a lover

I had a really sweet client order some supplies for a reconciliation working.  She said she’d love to hear any input. Well, I have a bit.  First of all, I should say that these are among the hardest workings to accomplish.  I’ll give you an example of why.

About a year ago, a friend came to me for rootwork help.  She was having husband problems, or, rather, the marriage was having problems because there was an extra person in it, at first unbeknownst to her.  When this extra person became known, she came to me and said she wanted to do two things: break them up, and draw him back to her and their home and family.

I made her up a working to break the extramarital thing up and a honey jar spell to sweeten the married couple, and I tried to make sure that we were on the same sheet of music with what she wanted ahead of time.  I confirmed she wanted him to come home and for things to be good again.  I explained that there were certain behaviors she should not engage in in the meantime.  If she wanted to sour the affair and sweeten her husband on the home, she should let the breakup working do its job instead of trying to do it on her own with threats and ultimatums and frequent phone calls.  If she were trying to sweeten him on her and the home and kids, she had to make the home and kids and the marriage something that he wanted to come back to.  (That does NOT mean taking a bunch of BS from a partner with no comment in the interest of being some kind of June Cleaver, in the interest of Perpetual Compromise, nor does it EVER mean taking physical or psychological abuse — but it DOES mean not chewing his ass out from the moment he enters the door.  It means that conversations are constructive and exploratory and not harangues or endless bitch fests on either side.).

Well, she couldn’t help it.  She was too angry and she’s never been one to hold her tongue. Needless to say, the honey jar spell did not work.  The actions that she took in Real Time directly conflicted with what the honey jar was supposed to do. Her heart was not in the working.  (Had she tried a Commanding type working, to get him under her thumb, that might have been more in line with her feelings, but that can come with its own set of problems, which I’ll save for another post.)  See, she didn’t really want to sweeten him to the marriage.  She wanted him to crawl back groveling.  I made the mistake of listening to her words instead of reading between the lines, and I fixed her a trick that didn’t work because it wasn’t really what she was after.

This is only one example of how a reconciliation spell can go wrong.  there are many, many more.  In the meantime, I suggest a cautionary lesson from the above example — be sure you really want what you think you want, or what you say you want.  This type of work requires some serious soul-searching, and sometimes it helps to have a third party, maybe a friend, maybe a psychic or reader, to be a sort of objective listener and maybe even advisor.  It helps to get this stuff out, in the open or even on paper. 

In Magick Without Tears, Aleister Crowley said,

20. Man can only attract and employ the forces for which he is really fitted.

(Illustration: You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.  A true man of science learns from every phenomenon.  But Nature is dumb to the hypocrite; for in her there is nothing false.)

Hoodoo your heart out — you can’t force love to happen where there is no love.  And really, why would you want to?  You can’t turn a cat into a turnip, and really — why would you want to?  Just go buy a turnip and let the cat enjoy the cat nature in which it is immersed.

Now, back to my sweet client, the current one.  I am in no way implying I think she has not thought this out.  I am just offering the caution I feel I must offer.  So assuming she has done the soul searching and there are no Impossible Tangles or Towering Rages of Righteousness involved, what can she do to get her lover back?

…to be continued…