Saints Clare and Philomena Candle Services and Novenas Begin Tonight

*While I normally ask that clients book one service per order and check out for separate services separately, in this case, since Saints Clare and Philomena are so closely associated in some traditions, I’m offering a bundled discount if you book both services together. To get the discount, you have to check out with both services at the same time.

Saint Clare Candle Service & Novena – Clarity, Wisdom, Insight, Clairvoyance

Have lights set and worked on my St. Clare altar in a nine-day community altar work service beginning the night of August 11th, the feast day of St. Clare of Assisi. 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.”

I will begin a nine-day novena and chaplet recitation to St. Clare on this same day, focused on petitioning her intercession for your stated intention, which will be included daily in my novena and chaplet work for the duration of the nine days along with appropriate offerings.

St. Clare is the patron saint of television, goldsmiths, and eye diseases. In folk Catholic practice, she is also petitioned for clear vision, literally and figuratively. Her devotees call on her when they need insight into a situation affecting their lives or guidance on how to make a difficult decision. Spiritual workers and diviners also call on her for aid in developing their clairvoyance.

In some houses and temples of vodou, St. Clare is served as the lwa Klemezin Klemay, who aids her devotees by helping clear away bad luck and negativity, and who is known to grant clear insight and the gift of dreaming true. I do serve Klemezin and have for many years, so I will accept petitions related to service of this lwa.

Learn more or book your spot at Seraphin Station.

Saint Philomena Candle Service & Novena – Lost Causes, Mental Illness, Health, Committed Love, Better Business

Have lights set and worked on my St. Philomena altar in a nine-day community altar work service beginning the night of August 11th, her feast day. 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.”

I will begin a nine-day novena and chaplet recitation to St. Philomena on this same day, focused on petitioning her intercession for your stated intention, which will be included daily in my novena and chaplet work for the duration of the nine days along with appropriate offerings.

Known as the Wonder Worker, she’s invoked by devotees for all kinds of things when other measures have failed and it seems pretty much hopeless. Some call her the patron saint of the impossible. In that respect she’s become something of a companion saint to St. Jude in contemporary folk practice.

Those who have formed a relationship with her have sought and received her help with everything from the conversion of unbelievers to fertility problems, healthy pregnancy and delivery, cure of mental illness, attraction of a spouse, and the sale of real estate. She’s said to have effected miraculous cures of injuries and illnesses ranging from heart defects to cancer. But officially, she’s the patron of babies and children and is considered the patroness of the living rosary. Padre Pio called her the Princess of Heaven.

In some houses and temples of vodou, St. Philomena is served as the helpful and pleasant lwa Filomez. She helps those who make their livings as market sellers, removes negativity and evil from the surroundings, grants the ability to have prophetic dreams, and aids her devotees seeking love. Some consider her related to Erzulie Freda, while others do not, but while the two lwa might appear to have a good bit in common, Filomez is not as demanding or haughty as Freda and doesn’t have to be handled quite as “carefully.” I do serve Filomez and have for many years, so I will accept petitions related to service of this lwa.

Learn more or book your spot at Seraphin Station.

sale on Uncrossing and Protection items + free gift with order

It’s a new year, and January is the traditional time to deep-clean the home, temple space, and self, refresh those altars and lodestones, and generally get the gunk out. Now through midnight on January 14th, get 20% off any item appearing in the January Spiritual Cleansing Sale category, which includes anything in the shop tagged with uncrossing, protection, blessing, and spiritual cleansing. Use coupon code januncross at checkout. (If you want something that you think should be included in the sale and it isn’t showing up, it’s possible that I made a mistake with the tagging system that underlies the category system, so just write and I’ll try to fix it.)

See my archived blog post explaining Uncrossing, Trick Killing, Jinx Breaking, and Related Formulas.

In addition, whether or not you use this coupon code, you can get a free gift with any order through January 14th. On the first or second page of the Shopify checkout system, you’ll see a text box that says something like “Notes.” This is the one I’m always telling you NOT to use when you want to give me more info about your order, because it won’t print with your order and I won’t see it. In this case, though, I have a quick and dirty workaround that will flag me when a note appears, so when I see that during this sale/offer, I’ll manually go into the system the “back way” for the order processing rather than through the normal workflow, and I will check to see what the “note” field says and make adjustments to your order manually based on that.

In this note box, type “free gift.” Formatting/caps unimportant because only a human will read this, not a machine. Every order in which “free gift” appears in the order notes will get at least one of the following: a free bottle of Uncrossing oil, “” Jinx Killer, “” St. Benedict, “” St. Michael; an Uncrossing votive candle; Uncrossing or Spiritual Cleansing bath crystals; one of my uncrossing or cleansing soap formulas. If you want to type your 1st and 2nd choices in the box, I’ll try to meet one of them at least (though no promises – depends in part on demand and on what else is in your box and what will fit in the remaining space).

But some orders that take advantage of this offer will get a little something extra. Instead of making it the first three or five or whatever orders, I’m going to take all the orders at the end of the sale period and do a random drawing from among them. There will be three special gifts or “prizes.” 1st “prize” winner chooses first, 2nd chooses next, and 3rd gets what wasn’t already chosen. Winners choose from the following:

  • A set of two St. Michael or St. Benedict pakets or scapulars, fixed and dressed, for you to hang at the two main entrances of your home. These are a little like mojo bags but are generally permanently closed as part of their prep/fixing instead of coming in a drawstring bag. The size can vary from something you could wear around your neck to something you might keep on a shelf. We will discuss your color and detail preferences when I notify you of your prize.
  • One of my hand-poured, custom-blended container candles (medium size, burns about 40 hours). You can choose the formula – Uncrossing, or a saint, or even a custom candle made to stand in for you in candle burning work on your altars by incorporating the ingredients associated with your birth chart/horoscope info. We’ll discuss the details when I notify you of your prize.
  • A “gift basket” sampler of related products from the Uncrossing and Protection families, which might include but is not limited to bath crystals, bar soaps, liquid soaps and washes, powders, incense, oils, and candles.

Each order counts as one “entry,” so if you place more than one order, it’s conceivable you might win more than one prize.

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

Uncrossing, Trick Killing, Jinx Breaking, and Related Formulas

Uncrossing, Trick Killing, Jinx Breaking, and Spiritual Cleansing are usually all related and/or have some overlap, but are not always identical. Different blenders and creators of formulae may focus on different components or cover multiple bases in their blends, so some folks make an Uncrossing formula that does a slightly different job or has a slightly different focus than a Jinx Killer formula, for instance, where others may only offer one type of Uncrossing blend that is designed to cover all those bases. If your product supplier has multiple options for Uncrossing-type blends, you can always ask what they recommend for your situation.

Here’s a quick breakdown of my own formulas. In general, they are all designed to get rid of nasty, negative junk that is messing you up. Technically, Uncrossing is to remove crossed conditions. You might use this if you know somebody has laid tricks for you to cross you up, but it’s also useful more generally to clean off stuff that’s not deliberately laid on you but has just “hit you” or accumulated (the evil eye, or a nice long career in a toxic workplace full of envy or some of those people who just thrive on aiming spite at others). If you’ve got a long-standing streak of bad luck and you can’t seem to get free, or if you have had a reading or “spiritual checkup” done and you’re suffering from an unnatural illness, or if you’ve got a general sense of spiritual malaise or like negativity is stuck to you, Uncrossing has elements to help with that. In some situations you might also want to do some spiritual cleansing, Cast Off Evil, or Van Van work too, but my Uncrossing is designed to cover a few different bases, even if you aren’t sure exactly what the deal is or whether you’ve been specifically targeted.

So what’s the difference between Jinx Killer and Uncrossing when you are suffering from a crossed condition? Honestly, not much. The scent is a little different. The ingredients are a little different. Jinx Killer (and Hex Breaker) are targeted more toward situations where you have been hit with something, have been deliberately targeted by someone, so they focus a little more tightly on the crossed condition, jinxing, hexing, goofering, etc. and a little less on the “I just feel like I have some sticky, low-grade crap hanging around” stuff. Honestly, the only reason I started carrying Jinx/Hex Breaking stuff separately, as separate formulae, is because when I started selling my formulas after I got back to the States (which meant I had to actually, finally, formally come up with names for them), I had lots of clients and customers from a specifically-not-hoodoo background. In 2002, in fact, the overwhelming majority of my non-local clients probably weren’t entirely sure what hoodoo was. “Crossed conditions” was not a phrase they were familiar with (nor was “goofering”) – they were familiar with “jinx,” “hex,” and “curse.” So that’s why I carry Jinx Breaking as well as Uncrossing, really. But all of these are useful for removing crossed conditions and taking off hexes and such.

And the only reason I call my soap Can’t Cross Me and not Uncrossing is because I name my formulas consistently based on the ingredients and recipe – meaning that if you get my Uncrossing oil, Uncrossing bath crystals, and Uncrossing candle, they all have the same scent, same herbs, same oils, same usage, etc. So if it’s called Uncrossing, you know what it will smell like, what it’s for, and how you react to the blend, no matter which form of it you get. Because Can’t Cross Me does not use exactly the same formula, even though it does the same job, it has a different name. Trick Killing foot soak and Jinx Killing powder do the same job, but the recipe is different, so they have different names. I don’t have a Trick Killing oil, although I could make one to go with the foot soak, simply because it’s only in powder or wash form that Trick Killing does anything that Jinx Killer oil doesn’t do (or doesn’t do as easily). When I name a line of products, they all have the same ingredients if they have the same name. They are the same formula, just in different form. My Attraction formula doesn’t have a liquid bath version, for instance — if it did, all I would be doing is brewing up the bath salts in water for you, which means you’d be paying extra for water and for shipping the weight of it. And because it would then contain nothing that will preserve it like cologne or alcohol ingredients, it might go bad before you could use it if I brewed it up before I shipped it. The recipes that make brewed baths that can be shipped  all contain something that makes them a little more stable to ship, like a cologne ingredient or some kind of essential oil or herb that gives them a bit more travel-time than plain old herb-water would (though no brewed bath is meant to have a long shelf life – get a dry bath or a soap if you won’t use it right away). So regular conjure formulas that come as salts/crystals are not usually going to have a liquid brewed bath version with that same name. But if you want something freshly brewed, or want a liquid soap that will be cool to ship internationally, then there will be something suitable in my shop – it will just have a slightly different name. You might need Can’t Cross Me liquid soap instead of Uncrossing crystals, for instance, or you might want a brewed herb bath, which comes in a kit called Hex Breaker. Fortunately, though, the majority of this stuff is traditionally named for what it does, so once you get the general idea/vocabulary, it’s easy to find a formula that comes in the form you want.

Foot track magic is an ancient art and it’s used every day by people from all walks of life, even in this age of pavement when some people never go barefoot at all.

This recipe is adapted from a good old-fashioned homemade foot soak blend to rejuvenate tired feet. To this, I’ve added ingredients traditionally valued for killing tricks laid for you, eliminating any jinxing messes you might have walked through, or simply managing a quick Uncrossing when you can’t manage the full ritual bath just yet. I consider it first-aid for crossing work and malevolent foot track magic, and it has the beneficial side effect of soaking away daily stress and grime, too.

If you have a loved one who won’t take a spiritual bath but you have reason to fear they’ve been targeted, and they *will* indulge in an innocent-sounding foot soak, this can be a handy tool in your arsenal for sneaky-uncrossing work. It smells perfectly innocent and contains all-natural ingredients. Just add a scoop of the powder into a basin of warm water, stir gently, and relax.

powder pic

This is an herb- and essential oil-infused liquid castile soap, containing ingredients believed by many to end crossed conditions and stop streaks of bad luck and negativity. This is a modern urban hoodoo formula along the lines of an Uncrossing formula, with a fabulous scent in an easy to use soap base. No time for a traditional spiritual bath? At least wash your hands!

This is a proprietary formula made here at Karma Zain. This is pure, undiluted castile soap containing essential oils and botanicals; a little goes a long way. I could dilute it for you, but you’d be paying for water, so I haven’t – thus, it’s more like a concentrate than a soap proper. You only need a splash – it won’t make big suds like a shower gel that has additives and detergents for big soapy bubbles, but you only need a splash to get all of you clean.

This is an old Hyatt formula for hex breaking that is used specifically to neutralize enemy work *when your enemy has been using your personal concerns.*

One of the special ingredients is graveyard dirt; I have gathered it from the appropriate grave using the appropriate means of payment. Sprinkle it around your home, yard, and office if your enemy has been sprinkling powders around your home or work; dust your hands and feet with it before you go around your enemies; use it in mojo bags, spell bottles, and amulets; mix it with some baking soda or rice powder and use it as a “dry shampoo,” to sprinkle in your hair and then comb out (it’s dirt, but it’s perfectly safe as long as you don’t eat it or inhale it, so don’t get queasy about putting it in your hair).

My ritual powders and hoodoo dusting powders are not for internal use and are not cosmetics. They are heavier and grittier than talcum-based powders — especially this powder — and are for ritual use (they are also much easier to sprinkle than talcum-based powders and they do not pose the health hazards of talcum based powders).

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Too weirded out by the idea of putting graveyard dirt in your hair if your enemy has used it against you? Trick Killing Water will seem much less weird and much more familiar. This is another old Hyatt formula. The informant gave this recipe to Hyatt, specifying that it could be used to wash a victim’s head if a trick had been laid on them using their hair.

Many old conjure tricks call for the hair of a target or victim to be used in various ways, and these tricks using personal concerns can be hard to take off sometimes if you can’t get to the actual vector or mechanism of the work (like a bottle spell kept in the worker’s home, or a coffin with your hair in it buried in a graveyard). I specialize in protection and uncrossing work, and over the years I’ve gathered and developed and mixed and collected several different “cures” for tricks laid with personal concerns — because I like to recreate these old recipes, but also because they’re useful!

This one is a liquid wash or rinse. It is not a brew (brews are made by steeping herbs in water) and it is NOT a shampoo or soap – you simply pour it on your hair as part of a spiritual cleansing or ritual bathing if you have reason to believe an enemy has laid a trick on you using your hair as a personal concern. You then let it dry, just like you should be letting your spiritual bath water dry on your skin afterwards. This formula is said to kill that trick. You use it by actually rinsing your head in it, hopefully as part of a larger uncrossing bath rite. Fortunately, it actually smells pretty good, which is kind of uncommon for some of these old-school conjure recipes.

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I don’t have time to get into spiritual cleansing and Van Van and such now, but I’ll return to the topic for a part 2 later. Happy hoodooing!

questions you’ve asked: road opening, timing, haints, czechoslovakia (!?)

Some of these are from my saved-up list of questions that people ask via email or blog comments, that I save up to answer on my blog when I get a chance, and some are implied/indirect questions that come from search terms. Don’t forget that I maintain a directory of Frequently Asked Questions and commonly requested information.

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Q: What are some spells to remove obstacles?

It kind of depends on the obstacles. In some cases, you need Uncrossing, in others you might need Spiritual Cleansing or Van Van or Chinese Wash, and in still others you might want Road Opener. If you don’t need uncrossing, but you’re just kind of stuck and have the inertia thing going or aren’t getting the opportunities you need, then the formula you want for removing obstacles is usually going to be either Van Van or else something like Road Opener or Abre Camino. Sometimes it might be called Blockbuster, but you should ask your supplier, because depending on where they’re coming from (theoretically as well as regionally), Blockbuster might be more akin to Uncrossing or Van Van. And some folks, probably those not from the Southeast, seem to make Road Opener with quassia, which is not how I learned it in the Southeast, and in my opinion that will not do the same job (and it cannot then be called Abre Camino, because Abre Camino contains an actual herb called Abre Camino instead of quassia). In short, there may be more or less intersection with other formulas, depending on the background of your supplier and their formula, so it doesn’t hurt to ask the person selling the stuff you are going to buy.

While on this topic, I have heard people claim that Road Opener is not hoodoo. I call bullshit. While it’s true that Road Opener came into hoodoo through Latin American routes, it’s sure as hell part of hoodoo now, and there is a definite difference between Road Opener and Uncrossing. Uncrossing removes crossed conditions. There are all kinds of situations that could benefit from Road Opening that do not need Uncrossing and that may need something that is not precisely Van Van; where once we might have approached that through a combination of herbs or actions that did not go by the name “Road Opener,” what we today know as Road Opener fills a niche, is useful, and is definitely used by traditional practitioners of conjure. Saying it’s not hoodoo is imo being overly pedantic (and is generally part of some online pissing contest and/or the kind of “over-correction” that results in people saying things like “irregardless” and “I feel badly for you” – people trying so hard to be “correct” that they end up “over-correcting” and end up somewhere silly; and if you’re like most of my readers and clients, you don’t really give a crap about whether something was used in the 70s in Florida but not the 50s in Mississippi. You just want your situation remedied.) Saying it’s not hoodoo because it entered hoodoo at some later point than the mythical non-existent “originary” point is going to put you on flimsy ground to talk about Chinese Wash (once upon a time it was not used in hoodoo); Hot Foot oil (once upon a time there was only powder); the method of candle-dressing employed by hordes of workers (because it was popularized in a booklet in the 40s by a man [or maybe a woman] who grew up Jewish; Blackhawk (Native American via Spiritualist churches in Louisiana); and boldo leaf (which is in a shit-ton of modern protection formulas but crossed into hoodoo through Mexican folk practice). Honestly, it’s a ridiculous argument. [*]

What you do with those obstacle-removing formulas will, for the sake of easier communication in this blog post, be called spells. (Usually folks who ask this sort of thing want to be given what they think of as a “spell,” which will be specific instructions for exactly how to do some multi-component rite called “a road opener spell” or something like that. Thing is, hoodoo really isn’t a system of “spells” in the sense of “things that have to be done just so on a Friday before a full moon with these rhymes” or where people have spells collected in books and stuff like that. Rather, you light a candle, or sprinkle powders, or take a bath, or do some combination of those things and others that suits your supplies and your situation. Every “road opener spell” I do for a client is probably slightly different; the appropriate actions and ingredients depend on the situation. I do not have a book of spells – the idea is sort of ridiculous, and most folks I know who didn’t come to this from a different background don’t default to calling their work “spells” or telling clients they need to do “spells.” Personally, I call what I do altar work or just plain “work,” and avoid the term “spells” just because 1. it was never called that when I was growing up, and 2. it gives the wrong impression, that conjure is about collections of spells and books of shadows and stuff like that. So people who write me saying “these spells are hard to find” have, in my opinion, *the wrong idea* about how these things are traditionally done; collections of typed-up spells are hard to come by because they’re unnecessary (and when we do post “spells” for the benefit of clients who want to be given “spells”, we usually have to endure dozens of follow-up questions about what herb we can substitute for some herb we list, and what to do if we can’t get that kind of candle or a certain oil, etc, which defeats the purpose of typing the damned thing up in the first place). It’s just the wrong way to think about conjure. When we do altar work for you, we don’t select a spell from out of a book. I’ve written about this at length elsewhere, particularly in the FAQ directory; bottom line, if you want a spell explained or suggested that is specific to your situation and materials at hand, book a consultation with a professional worker who can instruct you on what to do for your specific situation.)

But here are some suggestions from Lucky Mojo. (So when you dress a candle with oil and light it, you are doing a candle burning spell for our purposes here.) If you insist on a given a set of instructions to follow just so, then Dr. E has a thorough, nice Roads of Fortune spell here. But honestly, properly dressing and fixing a candle is powerful work. So is a spiritual bath. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

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Q: Reconciliation mojo bag takes one month to work.

A: I’d be pretty darned surprised. The most important reply here is that there’s no such thing as one simple answer to the question of “how long will X take to work.” It totally depends on the situation (and on your definition of what success is in that situation). You can read more about timing in spells here: “How Long Will It Take to Work” and “Timing Spells, Setting Limits, and the Non-Existent Rule of 3 Days/3 Weeks/3 Months.” But I’d say one month for a reconciliation working of any type, in very many of the situations for which I’ve been consulted,  would be way too optimistic. But it totally depends on the situation and specifics of the individual case. The bottom line: There are too many variables in anybody’s case for anybody to be able to answer your question about how long the candle or mojo you are thinking of buying will take to work, or even if it will.  Spiritual work just doesn’t work like that.  The reality is that sometimes it is NOT God’s will.  And this is not a gumball machine where you put your quarter in and get a prize you can anticipate from the picture in the window.

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Q: Sour jar take how long to work? [sic]

A: See above.

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Q: What happen to the old fashion hoodoo that was used in the 70’s?

A: Assuming you mean the 1970s, you are actually talking about what I’d call the full flower of “modern hoodoo” (I’d distinguish that from today’s hoodoo, which I’d call “contemporary” and, if pressed, probably use the late 80s as a historical marker for… maybe). The 70s is not “old fashioned” when you are talking about hoodoo history – that is recent as hell. But for starters, you have to define what you mean by “old fashioned.” Do you mean hoodoo as it was in the 1850s? 1920s? In Memphis? Detroit? Natchez, Mississippi? Crystal River, Florida? By the 70s, you had lots of published books on all kinds of practices “cross-pollinating” with older, more rural, less book-derived practice, including European witchcraft and commercialized “Eastern mysticism,” astrology, etc. You’d had mail-order catalogs for generations at that point, and you had drugstores in large cities selling candles and things from China. The old-school candle shop owners (who had once upon a time been new-fangled!) might start selling books on meditation to help their bottom lines; the tea leaf readers might branch out into astrology to get and keep clientele; the tarot was much better known by then, even among those who had grown up reading playing cards; the era of pharmacists blending their own colognes, hair oils, and perfumes in the back from formularies were largely over and everything was imported en masse. In some areas, a cultural turn resulting from Black Pride, Afrocentrism, or Rastafarianism, for instance, might mean that the younger generation was no longer using the hair products their parents had used, or attending the churches their parents had attended, or valuing the same art, aesthetics, music, and even naming conventions their parents had valued. This ties into the other question on this page that spilled over into my footnote about “what is and isn’t hoodoo” – you can’t really say something like “here’s the originary date of hoodoo, and here’s the cutoff date for old-school conjure, and everything that was new after that is not traditional hoodoo.” I see this today in interviewing people in academic contexts about voodoo in Haiti or folk religion or spiritual practice in just about anywhere – often the grandchildren will talk to you about their interest in or return to practices that their parents won’t speak of and tried to distance themselves from. Sometimes the children have to recover these practices on their own, if their grandparents or older relatives are no longer living.

So the bottom line depends on how you define some of your terms. What happened to the hoodoo of the 70s? the same thing that happened to the hoodoo of the 60s and the 50s. It changed a bit as the world changed, as horizons changed, as neighborhoods and markets changed. What happened to “old fashioned hoodoo”? Well, how do you define old-fashioned?

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Q: Was czech jewelry ever spelled cech?

A: FFS, wtf. Well, this is a hoodoo, voodoo, magic, and folk religion blog, but I happen to be able to answer this, and the question brought more than one person to this blog, so what the hell. (Though these search terms make me baffled at how some people use search engines – they aren’t oracles and typing complete sentences usually helps rather than hinders!) The “czech” you see when a rosary is made with “Czech glass beads” is short for “Czechoslovakia,” which as of 1993 no longer exists; that area is now divided into “the Czech Republic” and “Slovakia.”  There, they speak Czech and Slovak (get it?). In the Czech language, they have different ways of conveying sounds through orthography than we have in English. In English, we use “Cz” to represent the sound we pronounce in this case as a hard “ch,” but they use “Č” (see that little symbol on top of the C? That is *critical* to its pronunciation and therefore spelling – you cannot just leave it out or it would be pronounced differently).  So, no, it was never spelled “Cech,” but it was spelled “Čech” (with the little symbol). I imagine the person who asked this question did not realize that “czech” was short for “czechoslovakia,” or else they could have just looked it up in any encyclopedia, but I digress.

***

[*] This sort of thing becomes an issue for anyone studying living folk practice. Living practices change. Herbs and resins and dirts and flora/fauna used in Western Africa, for instance, had to change in Haiti, Louisiana, Brazil, Trinidad, Virginia – because the same stuff does not grow in all those places, just to touch on the tip of the iceberg. You can see the sorts of issues it raises in the contemporary practices surrounding Santisima Muerte in Mexico today. I maintain that, from a historical perspective, the use of gold, purple, green etc Santisima Muerte statues is an interpolation that came through modern commercial occult markets and probably has at least a little to do with symbolism and practice found in commercially-available materia magica for traditions such as Santeria. But however they came about, and however recent they are compared to the red, black, and white statues, the fact remains that living devotees of the saint who are actively, at this very moment, living a spiritual life in which the saint plays a significant role, are using them and see a need they fill. And for someone to come in from “outside” their particular community and tell them their practice is not legitimate — well, who’s the authority, finally? The academic or the practitioner? You can do a slippery slope thing with this if you want and say “well, then, since I practice hoodoo, then whatever I do is hoodoo, and nobody can to say any different.” We can — and do, in various corners of monograph footnotes, articles, blogs, and websites — debate this kind of thing ’til the cows come home. You can even accuse me of doing the same thing I’m criticizing here, when I rant about people selling stuff to “cleanse” mojo bags, or when I say “watermelon fragrance oil is not hoodoo.” Sure, there are some lines that are going to be debatable, less than clear cut, in a living, breathing tradition. (For instance, I say that if it’s the consistency of soup, you have no business calling it gumbo, but there are folks winning prizes with gumbo recipes that I would not hit a hog in the behind with. Is it chili anymore if it’s white and made with cannellini beans? When you are really hungry, do you give a crap?)

*And yet* the fact remains that when my 40 or 60 year old clients from Louisiana or Florida or South Carolina order a bottle of Van Van oil from me, they have an expectation of what it’s going to smell like, and if I send them something pink that smells like gardenias, they are probably going to ask if I mislabeled the bottle (and maybe secretly think I’ve lost my mind). They will not have the same reaction to my suggesting Road Opener oil, even though neither of us used a thing called precisely that in our childhoods (probably in part because my clients know I am not some convert who jumped off a Wicca wagon and started making Van Van oil last year, so I am not going to sell them some new age goop that does not “fit” with what we both grew up with). Similarly, while Catholic conjure doctors were a relative rarity outside of Louisiana, they nevertheless did exist, and work with some saints did extend beyond the borders of Catholicism and even those who would self-identify as Spiritualists or Spiritists prior to the internet and folk Catholics like me writing blogs. So saying “work with the saints is not traditional hoodoo” is profoundly ignorant, not to mention insulting. Folk magic is *always, always* influenced by region, including the religion, traditions, culture, and flora and fauna of the physical land upon which its practitioners live, in their physical neighborhoods. I have clients from Alabama who grew up with this stuff who leave offerings at their ancestor’s graves, and I have other clients from the East Coast who grew up with this stuff who hold their breath when they go by graveyards and paint the baby’s windowsill blue to “keep off the haints.” Workers I respect who I know to be authentic and honest say they were taught that women shouldn’t do rootwork while pregnant. I was never taught any such thing and I seem to come from a very different way of conceiving of both spiritual work and pregnancy; the theory underlying such a prohibition doesn’t fit into my worldview, religion, or practice. Those are very different approaches to working with and living with the dead, with the unborn, with liminality, and they can be traced to different regions and distinct “paths” along the diaspora and/or traditions in question; and yet, it’s too simplistic to say that one set of beliefs is “traditional” or “authentic” and the other is not. The bottom line is that there has never been any monolithic central guide to *anything* that’s a folk tradition – if there were, it wouldn’t be a folk tradition anymore. At least part of it would be codified, captured, encapsulated, isolated, no longer “in free play” in a living community. To say that things change does not mean “anything goes,” but to say that any change after some arbitrary, imaginary cutoff date is “not hoodoo” is just ridiculous.

***

For some further thoughts and conversation that unfolded from this post in the comments section over at the mirror site, go here.

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.

two new soaps


Blue Soap
– a spiritual cleansing and uncrossing soap, adapted from my liquid "Blue Bath" spiritual bath.  The ingredients and thus the scent are the same.  If you haven’t tried that one, it’s a simple but powerful formula made with real Florida Water and laundry bluing among other old-school conjure ingredients.

Rosemary Protection Soap – a protection soap that also happens to be great for your complexion.  It contains herbs and essential oils valued in conjure for their protective qualities, both of the person and of the home, and valued in the beauty industry for their skin purifying and cleansing qualities.  This is a wonderfully scented soap that is excellent for your skin in addition to having protective qualities in the hoodoo tradition (though of course I can’t make any supernatural claims and sell this soap as a curio only).  Suitable for use by anyone of any gender, many of these ingredients do double-duty in conjure formulas for female power and mastery, as well as for peaceful home work.

Lor has outdone herself with these, the Rosemary Protection soap especially.  It’s simply gorgeous and she’s nailed a multi-purpose hoodoo formula that is simultaneously indulgent. 

new Uncrossing bar boap at Karma Zain

Master soap markers Heart and Dart have used Karma Zain’s proprietary Uncrossing formula, added their own special herbal soapmaking touch and knowledge, and produced a wonderfully-scented, long-lasting bar of goat’s milk Uncrossing hoodoo soap.

Bars are gentle on skin and made with the finest herbs and essential oils using Karma Zain’s twenty-plus years of herbal rootwork knowledge and Heart and Dart’s teacrafted soap-making process. Bars are fully cured and contain no cheap detergents or perfumes, just real herbal hoodoo goodness.

Hoodoo bar soaps are perfect for using as a touch-up in between regular spiritual cleansing baths, or for giving as a gift to someone who won’t take a full spiritual bath.  Keep these soaps around for sneaky tricks, for work that has to stay on the low-down, and for travel when you can’t carry a liquid soap and/or don’t have time to mix up bath salts in your hotel room shower.

Black Destroyer Oil

A client writes to ask how to use Black Destroyer Oil.

Black Destroyer formulas are designed to help people clear serious messes out of their lives, protect their homes, and stop curses, evil, and resentment dead in their tracks.

Basically, you can use it for long distance candle work, to dress candles or images; to dress items you are using in protection work or things you want to protect; and you can dilute it in mineral oil and use it as a sprinkle on messes that people have laid for you (like if you find powders in your yard), stuff like that.

When I’m dealing with somebody who is aiming stuff at me, I like to dress a candle with Black Destroyer, set their photo in a low, wide dish, set the candle on top of the photo, and then fill the dish with a dash of Black Destroyer and a lot of vinegar.  (This works best with wider candles like small pillars, votives, and 7 knob candles, rather than the kind you have to put in a candle holder. You want to stick it right on top of their photo, and you need the candle to be able to hold it down.)  You can add whatever herbs and stuff you want, appropriate to your case.  Then let the candle burn down ’til the flame reaches the liquid.  Don’t do this unless you’ll be right there to keep an eye on it though.

I find Black Destroyer to be an excellent “first aid” application when under attack, and often it kills the hell out of stuff without you having to do a whole lot more, though of course this depends on who is throwing for you and what they are using to do it. But I keep Black Destroyer Oil in the glove compartment of my car, along with Fiery Wall of Protection powder, my Safe Travel mojo, a Mag-Lite, a box of Band-Aids, a map, a Gerber multi-tool, a tampon, and a protein bar.  Never leave home without it!

If Fiery Wall of Protection is the better-known and slightly spicy go-to formula, the Flaming Shield of the Angels that keeps your enemy at a safe distance from you, then Black Destroyer is the lesser known and slightly pungent Greased Pig of Cunning Evasion that makes your enemy trip in a puddle and splash pig crap into his own face. – Karma Zain

As of August 2020, you can get Black Destroyer Oil at my website Seraphin Station.

 

sneaky bath tricks

I was corresponding with a friend today about how to get somebody to do spiritual bathing when they will pretty much only use regular soaps, and not those perfumey, strongly scented botanica soap bars.  I was giving her my Bath and Body Works cheats, and figured I’d share them here too.  I give these as gifts when anything else would raise suspicion, and I travel with them if my usual stuff is too bulky or messy to travel with.

Lemongrass Sage for clearing old messes, making good decisions, uplifting and cleansing, study aid
Coconut Lime Verbena for Legba and opening the way
Bergamot Coriander for mastery, "I can," sticking power, prevention of illness/headache
Ylang Ylang and Myrrh for sex appeal/seduction
Orange Ginger for energy, strength, happiness/mood booster
White Clover for protection and uncrossing
Saffron and Fig for love, affection, friendship
Cedarwood and Spice for love/lust, especially to keep a lover around
Eucalyptus Spearmint for protection and jinx breaking

One of the great things about hoodoo is that you can buy citronella tealights and Lemon Pinesol at the dollar store, pray over them, and have fabulous results at a fraction of the cost you’d spend at a botanica for cleansing, uncrossing, or protection work.  Remember, happy hoodooers, it doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated to work.