St. Expedite Community Candle Service

Have a glass-encased vigil light fixed, dressed, blessed, set on my St. Expedite altar, and burned for you in a community altar work service for this famed and beloved patron saint of fast results.

Lights will be set the night of Monday, April 19th. There is some wiggle room and you can join up after the work starts as long as you see that there are still spots left and it doesn’t say “sold out.” The service fee covers the cost of your vigil candle and appropriate food, beverage, and flower offerings.

St. Expedite’s feast day is April 19th, and while you can petition him any day of the year, you might be able to get a little extra bang for your buck on his feast day. 

But beyond that, his feast day would be an excellent time to thank him for for previous services rendered if you already work with him but don’t have the time/space to do anything very elaborate with altars or offerings. Or if you are thinking about working with him and haven’t established a relationship yet, this would be a great opportunity to “introduce yourself.”

In addition to being the saint one petitions for fast results and luck in a hurry, St. Expedite is also the patron saint invoked against procrastination. He’s called on to help break through blockages and end delays, so his help is often sought for matters needing Road Opening and Blockbuster-type work. He’s also the patron of computer programmers. 

In some regions and traditions, he is also known as an ally for sending away annoying people or things in a hurry.

Please note that community altar work services do not come with individual readings/reports, though I will post at least one photo of the work to the Discord “forum,” which you’ll receive an invitation to after you book.

Read more or book your spot here.

See all upcoming community altar services here.

Hoodoo Rootworker’s Seven-Way Rosary Chaplet – SOLD

Available through Seraphin Station, this rosary is handmade with a mix of pressed glass and Czech glass beads, each decade being separately attached to the center ring — a finger rosary — and embellished with a focal Pater bead of pressed glass, Czech glass, or in one case recycled sandcast glass. Whether you want to see this as a charm collection on a charm hanger displaying seven individual chaplets or single-decade rosaries, or as a sort of deconstructed All Saints’ rosary for contemporary rootworkers, this is a striking and unusual piece created by a rootworker with over 35 years of experience working with the roots, rosaries, and these saints in the folk Catholic tradition.

Large, sturdy, colored aluminum jump rings connect each decade to the center ring, so it’s possible, should you ever want to, to remove the individual decades and treat them as separate single-decade chaplets. This could be useful if you are working intensively with one or some but not all of these saints or if you’re traveling and need to cut down on how much spiritual stuff you’re lugging around.

Saints are chosen for their importance in the spiritual landscape of deep South hoodoo rootwork, with an eye towards popularity and contemporary usage (in the sense that while 100 years ago, St. Dymphna was probably not petitioned so often in conjure, today she is an enormously popular saint invoked by folks from all kinds of backgrounds and in all kinds of folk belief contexts. So she’s here!)

It’s made with strands or decades for the following:

  • St. Gerard, patron of pregnancy and childbirth in the Catholic tradition, also represents Baron Samedi of Haitian vodou in some houses and temples. He is the patron of communication with the ancestors and the dead. On the other side of this medal is Our Lady of Perpetual Help pictured with Christ and the angels Michael and Gabriel. OL of Perpetual Help is called on for all kinds of things – in hoodoo in my region, it’s often against sickness, income uncertainty, hunger, and unstable households. She’s known to help with all of those things. She’s also associated in some houses and temples with the lwa Erzulie Danto.
  • St. Lazarus is the patron saint of lepers and against leprosy, and by extension against plague and pandemic in contemporary practice. He’s also sometimes invoked by beggars, the homeless, people with HIV/AIDS, people with Hansen’s disease, and those who have unusually close relationships with dogs. He represents the lwa Legba, the patron of Yoruban divination and master of the crossroads, in many temples and houses, so he’s a powerful ally in road opening work.
  • St. Expedite is the patron saint invoked for fast luck, for help breaking through obstacles, for help with procrastination, and, increasingly, in desperate cases, much like St. Jude. He’s also the patron of computer programmers. In some regions and in some houses, he’s associated with the Ghuede lwa who rule the crossroads between life and death, esp. Baron Samedi.
  • St. Jude, the patron invoked for hopeless causes, is also called on more generally in conjure for financial prosperity and stability and is a good ally for those whose livelihoods involve working with emotional clients/customers and whose incomes can fluctuate for a host of reasons.
  • St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, children, and boat captains, invoked for safe travel. In some houses in New Orleans Voodoo, in which Santeria has had a noticeable influence, he is associated with the orisha Agayu. He presents his devotees with difficult obstacles but also grants them the inner power to overcome those trials and grow strong enough to carry all burdens.
  • St. Philomena is widely considered a miracle worker invoked by devotees for all kinds of things when other measures have failed. She’s the patron of babies and children and is considered the patroness of the living rosary. In some houses and temples, she is a lwa in her own right, seen as a helpful and pleasant spirit who helps those who make their livings as market sellers, removes negativity and evil from the surroundings, and grants the ability to have prophetic dreams.
  • St. Joseph is the patron saint of happy death, carpenters, stepfathers, and workers more generally, invoked in all kinds of situations to do with the financial wellbeing of a family and/or household, but especially petitioned by those seeking employment. He’s also called on by folks who need to sell their house. He’s associated with the lwa Papa Loko, the originary houngan and healer. St. Dymphna is on the reverse side of this medal. She is widely invoked against mental illness, anxiety, and depression, and she’s the patron of incest survivors and teenage runaways.

Some of these associations vary by region and the religious background of the practitioner, so I don’t mean to imply here that most modern rootworkers work with St. Gerard because of his association with a particular lwa in Haitian sevis. Most rootworkers do no such thing. Hoodoo and vodou are of course two distinct traditions, the former being folk magic and the latter being a religion. In Louisiana, though, especially New Orleans and surrounding areas, there is a strain of practice where the two are often blended to a greater extent than elsewhere as a result of the city’s unique history.

Continue reading “Hoodoo Rootworker’s Seven-Way Rosary Chaplet – SOLD”

Angry Angels and Saints Who Smite

I’m posting this as a blog entry 1. because I can’t seem to comment on Mama Cat’s blog (maybe she turned off comments or my browser is jacked up), and 2. I don’t want to take over her blog with my rambling anyway. Anyway, this is in response to her blog post here. I just want to chime in on the “saints punishing you” thing (if you read this whole thing, you’ll see that I am not disagreeing with her – I’m just elaborating).

People tend to think of saints as benevolent entities, close to God, involved in helping the devoted. Actually, there is an extremely long tradition of punitive miracles even in quite orthodox Catholic practice. I go into this a bit in this blog post. If you read the Old Testament, it’s full of them; God smote the hell out of all kinds of people, and he’s God. Saints and angels smite too. That isn’t the part people usually think of, though. As Tony Burke points out in his academic blog here, the study of punitive miracles is pretty much neglected by scholars as well. But such power to harm is part and parcel of the workings of saints, deities, and spirits in many different cultures and religions – absolutely including Christianity. Burke notes,

“Though not as plentiful in the sources as beneficent miracles, punitive miracles are nevertheless found in literature throughout Mediterranean antiquity. Holy men wield power, and sometimes that power is not used with mercy. Thus, to the ancient mind, it is reasonable for Elisha to call upon bears to maul annoying children, for Apollonios to threaten repressive corn merchants, for r. Eliezer to kill r. Gamaliel, for Paul to blind a false prophet, for Jesus to whither a fig tree, and so on. Of course, the power behind these curses comes from the gods, and sometimes the gods even curse directly—the Hebrew Bible, for example, contains numerous punitive acts perpetrated by Yahweh himself.”

My PhD work focused on this stuff in medieval England (and to a lesser extent, elsewhere), so this is obviously a favorite topic of mine. I don’t claim to be an authority on all world religions or even every Christian saint, but I think my training and research makes me pretty much qualified to call myself an expert on these “economies” and systems of circulation of relics, saints, angels, human beings, and how they all tend to interact and have interacted historically. I have published peer-reviewed academic articles on angels, saints, religious literature, and angelology. So I cannot in good conscience say that the popular image of angels as smiling feathered beautiful beings in gowns helping children over bridges is terribly accurate, nor can I say that punishment, smiting, punitive measures, retribution, etc are not a very important component of what sainthood is and has been understood to be for a very, very long time. If you think saints and angels are all benign and smiling and all about dropping everything to tend to whatever your little human issue is, you are a fool.

george
Creative Commons License, Some Rights Reserved: Jim Forest

However, I do agree with Cat: for today’s typical practitioner of folk spirituality, such things are not very common. And even when they happen, saying a saint has “attacked” you is not very accurate; that’s not really how it works. And anyway, the saints are more likely to smite you or screw you up if you have a deep, genuine relationship with one in particular — an obligation — and really drop the ball in terms of keeping up your end of things. They are NOT likely to starting raining hell down on somebody who is new to working with them and is making a legit attempt, and frankly I’ve found that they have better things to do than go around smiting people for making an honest mistake or being oh-so-humanly a bit of an ass. (The saints are human too – well, most of them.)

Many punitive miracles in medieval hagiographies and lore are due to somebody being a dumbass and not getting the original message, not doing something they were already told in less punitive or frightening terms to do, failing to do something they were being warned they were obligated to do. For instance, in the lore of St. Michael, there’s this idiot named Garganus who made one of his men shoot a bull that St. Michael was trying to send as a sign of where he wanted a chapel built. Thick-headed Garganus didn’t get the message; the bull wandered off near this cave and Garganus threw a little fit and ordered the bull shot. The arrow meant for the bull blew back and hit the servant (who was just following orders, after all). Garganus went to the bishop, being troubled by these strange events, and apparently softened his heart a little. Then later St. Michael appeared to him and said, basically, “This guy is dead because it is my will. Now pay attention; build my church at that cave the bull was sent to show you.” (Here’s a photo of the grotto chapel of St. Michael at Mt. Gargano.)

Gerald of Wales, telling of Ireland, wrote of a priest that encountered two wolves on his way Ulster. One spoke to him. The shocked priest reported that the wolf said, “There are two of us, a man and a woman, natives of Ossory, who, through the curse of one Natalis, saint and abbot, are compelled every seven years to put off the human form, and depart from the dwellings of men. Quitting entirely the human form, we assume that of wolves.” The priest gave the sick wolf-wife the last rites. Before leaving them, he asked the wolf-man if the island’s inhabitants would continue to suffer under invaders. The wolf answered, “For the sins of our nation, and their enormous vice, the anger of the Lord, falling on an evil generation, hath given them into the hands of their enemies. Therefore, as long as this foreign race shall keep the commandments of the Lord, and walk in his ways, it will be secure and invincible; but if, as the downward path to illicit pleasures is easy, and nature is prone to follow vicious examples, this people shall chance, from living among us, to adopt our depraved habits, doubtless they will provoke the divine vengeance on themselves also.” [*] Moral of the story for Gerald anyway: while saints and abbots may curse sinners, when we talk about great misfortune, we usually bring this stuff on ourselves somehow through wrong action or neglect of right action. He then goes on to tell of ravens falling dead for feasting on the carcass of St. Vincent, and of an archer who died miserably after innocently trying to shoot one of St. Colman’s ducks for his evening supper.

That is NOT to say that traditions of saints raining down hell on somebody do not exist in conjure lore, in contemporary folk Catholic practice, or even in people’s living rooms today. They do, just as they exist in the holy books of many religions. (Though as scholars like Stanko Andric have noted, these shouldn’t be understood as God or a saint throwing a fit, being unjust, or being cruel – these punitive miracles and intercessions have a larger role within the whole dynamic or system, are part of God’s will which is not always discernible to us in its entirety from our limited perspectives, serve a legitimate role in a community, and also serve as lessons to the faithful. See for instance Andric’s The Miracles of St. John Capistan, in which he notes, while discussing ultiones, that sometimes saints know that you are about to screw up, might try to warn you even, but you may be punished or mess things up *not due to the saint’s failure but due to your — the sinner’s — actions or lack thereof.* As I note in my earlier blog post that I linked to above, intercession of saints does not technically, traditionally involve any saint granting your wish or prayer – it involves the saint interceding with God for you; you thank a saint, technically, not for direct action but for going to bat for you in approaching God on your behalf, since God is the source of all this activity, power, etc.)

And while it is actually not super-common, there are some people who will warn you that St. Expedite (pronounced “espedee” or “expedeet” in the Southeastern US, by the way – think of how a French person would say the word, not an American person), among other saints, has a “call” behind them; that means that if you ask their intercession and mess up, or sometimes if you ask their intercession at all depending on what you’re trying to do, they will take somebody with them (meaning somebody around your home or family will die). Again, these are not typical views, but neither are they unique to just one person. I personally do not caution people that if you don’t hold up your end of the bargain, you should expect death to strike your family — the reality of working with saints in folk traditions these days is usually a lot less dramatic than that of late antiquity and the Middle Ages — but I absolutely do caution folks to learn about what they are doing, to form relationships, and not to treat their doings with saints lightly. If you piss off St. Michael by asking him to smite one of his devotees, and your desire is unjustified according to St. Michael, will he strike you down instead? Probably not. But this is no long-tressed, smiling, harp-playing cherub you’re talking about, so don’t be a fool. At best he might ignore you. At worst he might teach you a lesson. God, after all, taught Job some very colorful lessons, and he liked Job. St. Expedite was a Roman soldier. St. Michael struck down Satan. St. George and St. Martha took out dragons. So I urge you to think carefully before you ask petty things of saints or angels, or presume that your bull is more important than their chapel, so to speak!

If you don’t like what I’m saying here, feel free to not work with saints. And you don’t have to be a Christian or Catholic to work with (most) saints, in my experience – but what you had better do if you have any sense is know what you’re getting into and doing. You cannot just strip away all the history, traditions, and roles of saints, pick out just the nice parts that you want and that make it “easy,” and pretend that things like sin, punitive miracles, obligation, traditional roles and temperaments, etc. do not exist. You cannot treat saints like they aren’t part of this economy and aren’t part of Christian lore and tradition. Doing that – rejecting the fabric and culture and religion of the very saint you are trying to work with — is what will get you a punitive miracle. (That goes for spirits, saints, and deities of any religion; if you strip away the culture and religion from which they came and give them makeovers in your own image, according to your own preferences, or act like you can pick and choose which aspects and components you want to incorporate and ignore the rest  — well, don’t go complaining that so-and-so saint didn’t work for you when your buffet-style approach gets you some divine smackdown. That was not on the saint – that was all on you.)

[*] Translation is by Thomas Forester, of Giraldus Cambrensis’ The Tophography of Ireland, In parentheses Publications, Cambridge 2000.

new art shrines and altar pieces

Click the lj cut to see more pics of Gabriel, St. Expedite, OL of Czestochowa, and a non-denominational Love shrine.
New items at ebay and at bonanza.


see more pictures

New items at ebay and bonanza – jewelry and Sanguis Veneris

Somebody wrote me asking for a goat horn, and I said I’d order one from my "animal bits" supplier. I also said I was not likely to recall who asked me for it.  Sure enough, I forgot.  But I have a polished, hollow goat horn up on ebay for you. ETA: they found it and got it!



Santisima Muerte altar spell bottle, FIXED, customized, and chock full of herbs, roots, curios, etc.  Perfect for a spell of the Intranquil Spirit variety.

St. Expedite rosary bracelet with customizable spell pendant



Custom love-drawing mojo rosary bracelet
– non-denominational, but Erzulie Freda approved, and can be customized for her

***

Limited edition Sanguis Veneris oil and powder.

If you read my older post about Sanguis Veneris, you know it’s a medieval love and healing formula, and I wanted to give it a go even though it’s European and I no longer work too much in European herb-lore, because it has uses in conjure as well and because the astrological event for its creation happened to be coming up. So I went ahead and took this astrological opportunity to make up a batch of Sanguis Veneris oil (HIGHLY concentrated, quite thick and full of powdered resins and herbs, so dilute, dilute, dilute) and powder (pure, 100% powdered herbs and resins, NO base or filler or mineral ingredients). The oil can be worn (see caveats below), used to dress candles, mojos, objects, etc, just like any condition oil.  The powder can be burned as incense on a charcoal block, added to mojos, added to a base oil to make your own oil, etc.  Caution: MAY STAIN SKIN if a lot is used, WILL STAIN FABRIC etc so handle with care, especially in concentrated amounts.

This formula does NOT contain human blood, just plant matter and essential oils.  It was made in a ritual context under the appropriate astrological conditions and set under the light of the full moon.  (My initial formal hands-on training in herblore was in European traditions, so I do know how to do this stuff even though I work primarily in African-American herblore, and I spent nearly two decades as an initiate in a couple of formal hermetic, ceremonial magic, wand-waving and robe-wearing and qabala-using traditions and do know my astrology, sigils, grimoires, K and C of the HGA etc as well, so I broke out some of the old altar implements for this one). It does not contain anything that is not theoretically safe for use on skin, and I tested it on myself before listing it, but as with ANY ritual oil, you might want to dilute it and do a spot test before wearing it, and you wouldn’t use it as a perfume but rather as a ritual anointing oil. 

It *may* stain your skin – there is no way to avoid that given the ingredients – but if used in small enough quantities and away from white clothing, you might be alright. You might not want to dab it behind your ears, of course, but you could use it similarly to body paint and paint symbols or sigils on yourself, or dab it at appropriate spots (at the heart and right above the pubic bone below your navel would be good places) or, if your lover is adventurous, on him or her.  However, please note that it is not edible and would taste absolutely horrible, and should not be used as a personal lubricant nor on any areas where you want someone’s mouth to go.)  You can also use it to paint your lover’s name on the soles of your feet to put a little "commanding" action into your love workings.  (You can use a toothpick if you don’t have a paintbrush that’s that small).  I tried the foot-painting trick and it did not stain the bottom of my foot, and I dabbed a bit on my wrists and it did not stain my skin, but I can’t promise that it won’t stain you.

If you wanted to dilute this in a carrier oil I would try about half a dropper per half ounce of oil.  At that level it may still stain clothing (when I say it may stain, I don’t mean it won’t ever wash off with soap and water, but it may take a few washings to fade completely if you use it undiluted, or it may not wash completely out of whites).  You could also just add a few drops to a carrier oil for a lighter blend, and/or add a few drops to another type of love or lust condition oil, or to a bath salt base or incense powder base.  The scent is very lightly sweet.  If you dilute it you may not smell anything, so it becomes a matter of personal preference.  Just because you can’t smell it doesn’t mean it’s not working though.

If you prefer, you could add a drop or two to your favorite ritual or anointing oil if you use such on your skin (please note my usual caveats about my own oils – they are generally not designed for use on skin unless the listing specifically says so, and will nearly always need to be diluted to proper skin-safe levels if you decide to wear them).

This thick mixture makes a fabulous candle dressing and the powder makes a fascinating, unusual incense.  You can certainly add a pinch of it to a less expensive incense blend to stretch it out (and I would advise it – uncut, this can be almost too thick and heady, and it does have a slightly bitter undertone and lots of resins in it).  A little of this goes a long, long way.  You could also dress your candle with another condition oil or plain olive oil and sprinkle the powder on the candle,  or roll your candle in it. 

This blend would be especially appropriate when you’re trying to draw a lover with the means and desire to give you lots of gifts, attention, money etc, or to get your current lover to loosen up on the purse strings a little bit. It’s also appropriate for situations where you are concerned that people NOT gossip or spread rumors about your relationship, if for any reason you need to keep it under wraps, so in that particular area it has a protective quality (though it can’t be expected to totally hide crimes or affairs all on its own!).  If people are gossiping about you because they are jealous of your looks or love life, this can help with that sort of thing.  Finally, it can be used in spellwork to cool off hot tempers in a relationship and put the love back in the center – it’s not a reconciliation oil exactly, it won’t just heal up all difficulties and it wouldn’t work alone to return a lost lover, but it can turn the volume down on the anger and turn the volume up on the love and remembering why you got together in the first place.

From a hoodoo perspective, the ingredients in this blend are healing, relaxing, protective (especially from those telling lies), good for sensual love, and good for money-protection and money-drawing.  So this isn’t a "true sweet romance" love formula, and it’s not a "Fiery Love" blend, but it definitely has sexual/sensual overtones, and within a certain sphere, it’s definitely a multi-purpose oil.

Limited edition – once it’s gone, it’s gone, at least until the next appropriate astrological event comes around.

Finally, remember that everything you see at ebay can also be had at bonanza, often at a discount (chicken, turkey, and alligator feet excluded).

new st. expedite shrine (SOLD)


DSC05898
Originally uploaded by Karma Zain

I’ve been working on this off and on for about a year and finally finished it this weekend. It’s made out of an old recycled clock case I got at a thrift store in Alabama, which is so very very appropriate for St. Expedite. Mixed media: resin, fabric, enamel, acrylic, oil paints, paper, glass, and real genuine plastic Mardi Gras beads. Oh, and black feathers. And gold plastic horseshoes. I dont’ care if it never sells – I like looking at it so much I don’t mind keeping it for myself.

hand painted saints medals

Collection of various hand painted saints medals, including St. Cyprian and two for the Ghuedes.

St. Expedite bar soap – EXCLUSIVE


Picture 235-1
Originally uploaded by Karma Zain

Hand-crafted, goat’s milk soap made by Heart and Dart exclusively for Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies, developed using Karma Zain’s proprietary formula. These four-ounce bars of soap are natural, long lasting, fully cured, chock full of essential oils and herbs, and contain NO sodium lauryl sulfate or other nasty detergents.

Available ONLY at Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies.

st. expedite chaplet (SOLD)


st. expedite rosary
Originally uploaded by Karma Zain

This chaplet is completely handmade, which is a colossal pain in the rear end, but I think it turned out pretty well. Definitely one of a kind. St. Expedite is called on for fast luck, to break through obstacles, and for an end to procrastination, and is often considered the patron saint of computer programmers.

Measures just over ten inches from end to end. Decade loop is about 8.5 inches. Made with pressed glass and Czech glass beads. Centerpiece is a red and gold foil Murano style glass bead. Decade markers are red and gold foil lined glass beads. Medal is pewter, imported from Italy.

Part of the proceeds from voodoo rosary sales go to Fonkoze.org.
Fonkoze is a Haitian foundation that supports the organized poor, providing them with essential banking services throughout the country and assisting borrowers with literacy, business training and health education.

ETA: SOLD