Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rootworkers and Racketeers



Some of you may have been made aware of the big change Ebay made regarding sellers who provide spell services, tarot work, and similar items. Many of these sellers have now opened shops on Etsy.

I have found that Etsy has now become cheapened and a less authentic marketplace for legitimate spiritual workers. I am embarrassed and angry at some of the sellers who have opened shops now, some that are clearly charlatains and just plain greedy. I have put together this post to help you weed through all of the hoodoo and spell shops on Etsy in order to find the authentic services and items you need.

1. Shops that sell "Big Booty", "Weight Loss", "Breast Enhancement" or "Money Magnet" spells. There is NO such thing. I can guarantee you that. Spells can not effect the physical world in this way. There are spiritual exercises that can teach you to better focus your will and help you change unhealthy habits, which can LEAD to weight loss. There is NO spell that can change your genetics which is what a spell would have to do in order to make one's breasts or backside larger. And if the "Money Magnet" spell promising "extreme wealth and lottery millions" worked, then why the hell isn't the person selling this spell retired in Fiji with their millions of dollars?

2. Claims of "haunted" items or items previously belonging to a "Witch's Estate". How, do you suppose, that ONE person can have access to so many "haunted" items or item's that were once the possession of a witch? How do they have 10 or 12 of the same "haunted" ring available? Why are all of the "haunted" items priced at several hundred dollars and up? Inventory must be replaced when it's sold and there is no logical way that one person has access to hundreds of items that are all "haunted" or once owned by a "witch" especially when dozens of the items are the same piece  of jewellry.

3. Claims that the owner of the shop can show you the "true way" or "unlock secret mysteries". When one makes statements such as these they are preying on vulnerable, the uneducated, and the desperate. Sometimes when we are broken down and someone comes along and says they can "show us the way" we want so badly to belong and for someone to take the reins that we believe anything they say. This is a dangerous situation. Manipulation and can lead to mental abuse, control, and I have seen many people convinced to hand over large sums of money in exchange for "secret teachings". Only to have the "teacher" abandon them once the money has run out.

4. Lessons to to teach you how to be " A Real Witch". No one NEEDS lessons to be a witch. You need an initiation to be part of a tradition, but that's different and even then there are cases where it's not necesary. NO ONE can tell who a real witch is and true witches don't charge for their expertise or training. I have had a coven for 15 years and never charged a student a dime. Teaching is done from the heart-NOT for monetary gain. Teaching for gain is wrong in every religion.

5. Too many credentials. I have run into Pagans in my area who are ordained, initiated, reiki certified, certified herbalist, master psychic, 3 degree Gardnerian witch, hereditary witch, professional tarot reader, 5th generation Cherokee, butcher, baker and candlestick maker...and they are 23 years old. You see my point; simple math can tell you that this person has not even had enough time on this earth to accomplish everything they say they have. Which means they are lying. Lying means they lack confidence in themselves and that they are trying to convince people otherwise in order to gain respect, admiration, or money. Don't be fooled. One real degree or initiation is better than 20 fake ones.

6. Shops that sell nothing that is uniquely "them". I can go buy a cook book today and make 10 recipes; it doesn't mean the dishes will be any good and it doesn't mean I'm a chef. It doesn't mean there is heart or soul or passion in my food. It means I bought  a fucking cook book. There are LOTS of books available out there full of magickal recipes to use in your own practices. But when a shop sells NOTHING inherently unique and everything is out of a book or taken from other's ideas, it means they are trying to jump on the Hoodoo band wagon to make a buck. They don't have years of experimentation, years of client feedback, or years of self exploration. If they did they would be marketing THOSE ideas that are unique and that have worked to help people, not common recipes off the internet.

7. Stock photos or public domain images. When you visit a shop and there is not ONE REAL photo of the person who owns the shop, of their processes to make their items, or photos of where there ingredients come from (garden, woods, etc.) something is awry. In my opinion, if you are selling 200 oils, you should have photos of those 200 oils, not superimposed images and backgrounds with the name digitally changed on the bottle or photos OTHER people have taken that are being used illegally. ACTUAL photos show that you are ACTUALLY into your work. Real photos mean there is a good chance that the worker is real.

8. "Guaranteed" spells. NOTHING in life is guaranteed. It is statistically impossible for spellwork to be successful for every single person who utilizes it. Not every therapy will be successful with every person and spells or workings are a type of spiritual therapy. How these sellers get away with this is the cheap price. They sell you a $20 "spell" and send no photos or reports. Most likely, because no work is ever actually being performed. They are selling so many of these $20 "spells" that if someone does complain, they have no problem refunding them because so many people are falling for the cheap price and empty promise. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. You may have to save up to hire a professional spiritual worker but services and items of worth have a cost.

What's sad, is that I have come across all of the above, I can provide links right now to prove it. What breaks my heart is that people buy into the scams. The public needs to know that there are reputable people out there willing to help with free advise and an ear to listen. And we do it without the incentive of making a buck or inflating our egos.

Sure, shops like the one's above make it harder on those of us who do this because it is our spiritual calling. They make us look like jokes, promote stereotypes and make it difficult for people to find real help without getting ripped off first. In the end it's not about us, it's about you-our clients-being safe, respected, and getting the help and service you need and deserve.

Just keep in mind; there is no reward without hard work and a true spiritual worker will be by your side, toiling along with you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Working with Grief and Spirits

As many of you know our Uncle Stan passed last Saturday. This has been the most difficult week of my life. With this being the first death I have experienced, it has brought it's own new ideas and thoughts that, at times, overwhelm my life. The grief comes in waves. I try not to let the waves knock me down, Stan would not have wanted that. Instead I try to let the waves wash over me, wear me smooth in some places and carve me in others. It doesn't always work, but I try to surrender yet stay standing.

It took some time for me to figure what I needed to write, what I needed to express.

I have spent a lot of time over the last week thinking about my own children, Stan's children, my grandparents, my life, my husband's life. What it all means and if I am making the most of the life I have. I've made some resolutions to tell people I love them more and to spend more time with the one's I love. To do more, to donate more, to BE more. I have also made a resolution to not let this fade into the background as many resolutions do. We often have an experience, making us acutely aware of changes we need to make, only to have that fire fade, returning to the way we were in a week or a month.

Stan's passing affected my thoughts about my work mostly. I felt guilty that the spirits who are in this home and who communicate with me are here and not with their families. Someone, somewhere was a mother or father or sister or brother to those who visit and aid me in my work. Why are they here with me when there is someone desperate and crying to hear from this spirit? How could I do continue to do this? I felt like I was unintentionally robbing others of something sacred. Such a blessing but what a heavy blessing it can be.

I spent a few days thinking about it as I worked, after all, the show must go on.

I wondered if they come here because I welcome them or believe in them or because I was made differently than other people. I decided those were egocentric ideas and abandoned them. I then settled on the idea that maybe others just haven't learned to communicate with spirits yet or they do it other ways I am not aware of. And who's to say a spirit can not be with me and their family in the same day, hour or minute even?

Obviously, I can not find an answer and I am not sure I ever will. I do know that it is their choice to be here. It's not mine and that is as far as my thoughts can go. Paganism teaches that some things are to remain a mystery, and it's understandable and reasonable to not have the answers to everything. There are just some things we can not understand in this realm. Maybe I will understand when I pass over myself.

Stan made me a better person while he was on this earth. He made many people want to be better and want to help others. He taught by example and he taught that you do the right thing because it's right, not because you'll get a reward or a "thank you" at the end of the day. Don't ever expect a thank you.

He is still teaching me. To be a better servant, mother, wife, and friend. To question myself, my work, and my beliefs. Life is a constant balancing act and each circumstance is a chance to reassess and re-think our lives to keep that precious balance. The balance needed to productive and serve others. Though I lost Stan in this world, he has simply moved over to the side of my world that can't be seen with the eye. I know his dynamic energy is making a star burn, a mandolin play, or a couple dance...and I can handle that.


Friday, November 9, 2012

How Much for a Pound of Ashe'?

I always do my spiritual studies right before bed. For one, I do not have time during the day (who does?) and I like to sleep on the ideas, theories, philosophies, histories and recipes I read about. I find that this way they enter my dreams and my dreams are where my ideas come.

Last night I was working on a new love incense and pouring over many ideas; serving, ashe', my shop, clients...

I am writing this for myself. Every now and then a spiritual worker must take inventory. What they do, what they do not do, what they will do in future circumstances. Spiritual workers must think A LOT about the future. What ripples will come from the work they have done. We have to think about what others can call us and come to us for. I have chosen to express these thoughts publicly here.

There is a strange give and take as a spiritual worker.

In the beginning, a new client makes a purchase because they heard about you from a friend or read your feedback, or maybe did an engine search. So they purchase an item and they find that when they worked it, it brought positive results, change, success. The key here is THEY worked it. Not me.

So they purchase more.

Clients, Hoodoos, Spiritual Workers, we all get an obsession. An obsession that if one item worked then another will work even better. Even when our problem has already been solved. I will admit it for us all because it is a truth and we have ALL done it.

You can not solve a problem MORE. It's like drying clothes in the dryer; once they're dry, they are dry. They can't get any more dry and your problems can't be "more solved". If shit is better than it was before you began, then call it a day. Because who, among all of us, really deserves things to be perfect? Not me.

We must learn to take what the Fates serve us up as a solution, a blessing, and be on our way. Conversely, if it didn't work, then back off. Take some to think about your approach, try a new idea and plan of attack. Or maybe just let it run it's course and stop trying to control every area of your life. What is life without some challenges anyway? It isn't a life at all. When the challenges stop, so has your breath and the beating of your heart.

This is a hard lesson to teach clients but I have learned to do it. They get mad at me. Then they offer me more money...

Some, would buy and sell me by the pound if I let them.

I don't make promises and I don't take desperate money. If I do that, it is ALL on me and I don't make those kinds of wagers with the spirits. I don't live like that.

This may come as a surprise as I am labeled a "conjure woman" by many, but I don't WORK any spirits. They work me, and that's IF they choose. It is always their choice-not mine-and I don't conjure shit-they are all already there. It's like having a volunteer line and you ask "Who wants to help me with this job?" Hopefully, someone steps forward.

Now, I do work under evocations (note- not INvocations) of certain Saints but they still don't have to help if they don't want to.

One must establish a good working relationship, just as you do with your co-workers or employees. The only difference is that my co-workers can't be seen.

You provide a healthy work environment, comfortable atmosphere, you pay them well in offering and praise. You honor them, you give them altars. You make them happy. We all know a happy person or a happy spirit, is more likely to help when asked.

I don't ask the names the of spirits who step forward to help. Obviously I am speaking of spirits who are not already familiar Saints. I don't want to be able to call them back if they served me particularly well. To learn their names, is to own a part of them. I don't own anyone-in life or spirit.

If I ask later and the same spirit steps up, that's fine, but I don't want to subconsciously over work a spirit because of the results they achieved for a client. It's a personal rule and a good worker has lots of personal-practice rules.

I am a medium. I am an empty vessel between my clients and ashe'. I am a hollow being with an iron shell that holds and attempts to interpret the breath of god into tools for my clients.

I am a medium in the medium of human skin and bones. I am neither small nor large. I am a medium.

I am right in the middle.

Ashe' ebbs and flows. Out from the spirit, into those seeking help.
Stay on that line or you might lose yourself.
In that tide, in those waves, in other's highs and lows...
Their tides become yours, they own a piece of you, you know.
You work for them. For everything. You knew and you gave...
Spirit whispers; "You were called to serve, but not to be a slave."












Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ancestral Altar for Samhain

The table set with pomegranate, fresh bread, orange (the dead love citrus) and apple. With water, because they are always thirsty too! Marigolds, for they are the flower of death, and roses for love. Hell bank notes, for some pocket money in the after life and myrrh in my censer so that I may receive their messages.


The candles are of an anonymous Hungarian gypsy  from Ellis Island records and one for Dia  de los Muertos-though it is lit early since that is not celebrated until November 2nd. I don't think the spirits will mind if I invite them to my traditions. There is also a candle dressed every year for Marie Laveau because my god mother, Viva-May, looked exactly like her. Tradition says that we begins to look like our eguns after a while. I believe this was so with her. This year I am honoring those who do not get honored. Those who are nameless and faceless, those forgotten.  Also, a ring from my great grandmother Lucy and a ring from my grandmother Kay are placed on the altar this year.


Myrrh enveloping the censer.

Hell Bank notes in offering to the spirits. May we all be blessed.


Have a blessed week everyone!


Making of Lamps in the Hoodoo Tradition



Lamp Lighting or The Setting of Lights is an ancient tradition. Sacred lamps, oils, and lights have been used and recorded through out history for thousands of years. They are also one of the oldest Hoodoo arts, and sadly, they are all but forgotten. I know one other practitioner who legitimately offers this service. I have seen others offer it, but they are not what I would call "authentic". 

This is only ONE example of a lamp. Usually these are done in offering for the Orisha, in which case you would use a pineapple lamp for Ogun, a watermelon for Yemaya, an eggplant for Oya and so on. They would then be left to float on a live body of water such as a river or the ocean. I will cover these types lamps at a later point. We will begin with the basics first.

The first thing that must be done is to gather your ingredients. This is where having a great knowledge base of your correspondences will come in. One can not make their own majik, without the use of pre-written spells, unless you know what actually MAKES a spell work.

For this post I have chosen to create a prosperity lamp in the name of Oya. She has been bugging me about it because she knows winter is coming, and winter can be brutal for those with a way of life like my family's. My husband and I both work for ourselves, my husband is a carpenter, and the winter is when work dries up. Sometimes for several months which means there are 4 of us living on just my income for at least a quarter of the year. This is on top of our $400 a month heating bills due to living in Michigan. We live in a 105 year old house that is very drafty!

My work can suffer in the winter as I can not forage for roots, curios, stones, and herbs to sell. And there is the fact that Christmas is coming and shops like mine aren't where people are shopping. Their money is going to Macy's and Kohl's for things for the rest of their families who are Christian. A Pagan business doesn't get that flood of business for 2 or 3 months prior to the holidays putting us from the red into the black.

This just gives you a background why Oya wants me to get prepared and prevent any little things that may set us back. We've had this life for 6 years now and we are used to the "grasshopper and the ant" mentality. We are ants 8 months out of the year-saving and scrimping! Also, she does this because she is my mother-and she mother's me as mothers should:) We simply ask for our needs to be met this winter; food, shelter, clothing, and work.

This lamp is created is bring those things. Here is what I started with, however, you may use whatever items correspond to your goal;
Buckeye
Lodestone
Iron Filings
High John Root
Pyrite
Lovage Root
Cinnamon Stick
Cowrie Shells
Nutmeg
Devil's Claw
Coins
                             corresponding oil from www.shop.ConjuredCardea.com
(I used my Abundantia for this lamp or you may add a few drops of a corresponding essential oil)
Base oil (I used sunflower)
A Mason jar-the large the jar the larger the lamp

You are also going to need what is called a "mechita" or a "floating wick". These can easily be made from a slice of old wine cork with a braid of embroidery thread poked through it and knotted. Or you can purchase my pre-made Mechitas. I also have a lamp kit with everything you need to start a prosperity lamp here.



This is an old rootworker trick for making gris gris; layer your ingredients from rock to root, to bark, to seed, to flower-just in the order the earth would naturally produce them. This is said to enhance the ashe' of each item and form a sort of pyramid of ashe'. I also try to stick to 13 ingredients as this is also a tradition of gris gris.

During the adding of ingredients you would, of course, say whatever words, prayer, or affirmations come to your mouth from your heart. I prefer words of honestly and of-the-moment than perfectly pre-written incantations. These words should only be words of honor and words that state your intention. They should never be words of want, complaints, or selfishness.

Then add your choice of Conjure, Specialty, or essential oil. You now cover all the items with the base oil of your choice. This order more evenly mixes the oils first added to give you a more even burn and scent.

You will want to dunk the top of the wick, the upper cotton part of the mechita, in the oil to saturate it so it does not completely burn down. I do not recommend dunking the whole mechita as this causes it to burn up sometimes. Candles wicks have a coating of wax which they use as fuel to get started, mechitas do not have this.

Light your mechita and leave burning as long as you safely can. Give honor and praise and dedicate your lamp in offering to the deity, saint, or spirit of your choice.



Simple, traditional, meaningful, and practical. What more could a Hoodoo want?
Have a blessed Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, All Saints, and All Souls Day!




Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Stereotype



This happened several years ago and I am always reminded of it around Halloween/Samhain time. I suppose it's all the barely-there witch costumes and the silly posters on FB showing corny fantasy art of what a "witch" "looks like". Then followed by some weird saying like "yup, I'm a witch, deal with it" or "my other car is a broom". Really? It is? I doubt it.

I used to do lectures and workshops at our city's Pagan Pride Day. I took a few years off right after I had my kids and then accepted an invitation to come back and teach a "Paganism 101" lecture. Let me tell you this; there is nothing I dislike more than doing Paganism 101 classes in a Pagan venue BUT that was what the coordinator thought was most beneficial and I agreed. The point of a Pagan Pride Day (believe it or not) is for those who don't know about Paganism to come out, get to see what we do, get to know us and see that we are just like them. It's about squashing fear and stereotypes.

So why then, when I show up, are people dressed in cheap velveteen capes they bought from the "after Halloween sale", donning make-up similar to the band KISS, sporting pentacles that resemble Flavor Flav's clock necklace, and hopping around on brooms like they are hobby horses? Then I hear someone yell "Come on over! Free broom lessons! Get on your brooms witches!" >face palm<

Really. Look, you don't ride a fucking broom. You may want to, you may think you do, but you don't. And you look and sound ridiculous which, in turn, makes ALL of us look ridiculous.

The non-Pagans who came over to see what was going on with our gathering, quickly walked away...

And we wonder why no one takes us seriously.We wonder why we are stereotyped so badly, why people think we are freaks. Why our religion is made fun of and taken as a joke. We are angry about a problem we cause for ourselves because many of us resemble these stereotypes. Many of us are the reason these stereotypes exist.

If you are angry about stereotypes then stop contributing to them.

If we want to be taken seriously as events, lectures, and workshops, if we want to really reach people, then we need to be professional. We need to take our own religion seriously and project that. Sadly, these events are more about dressing up and acting weird than educating non-Pagans. If you are holding a ritual, teaching a workshop, or giving a lecture then LOOK like it. Our religion is not a hobby, it's not a joke. Dress and look how you would to give a presentation in college or at your place of work because your religion IS work if you want to improve it. Dress like you would if you were thinking at all about trying to make others feel comfortable with a new group of people. Dress how you would if you were not just thinking about your own ego.

When we wear black capes, theatre make-up, swing swords around, and pretend to ride on brooms, all we are doing is making the gap between "us" and "them" larger. We are creeping them out and making them leave. They don't want to hear what we have to say because we look fucking ridiculous.

Isn't one of of our core beliefs that there should be no "us" and "them"? Isn't that what we hope and wish and fight for between all religions? If it is, then we must create a playing field where we can not be segregated from them. A playing field where we can not be told apart because of our cloaks and Flavor Flav pentacles.

Now, for those of you would like to wear that stuff, that's fine-in the appropriate venue. Trust me I am all for self expression; I have a multi-colored mohawk, 13 hours of tribal tattoo, facial piercing and branding. The truth is that the black capes, theatre make up, and fake British accents have NOTHING to do with being Pagan. They may have everything to do with what YOU like but YOU aren't all Pagans. Non-Pagans don't know that. If we want to open the lines of communication then we must meet half way. We will reach far more people by looking professional than we would by falling into the stereotypes that were created to discriminate against us in the first place.

Let us try to convey what our religion is truly about. Let us teach about our hundreds of thousands of years of history, our reverence for our culture, land, and nature. Our honor and respect for our earth, our tolerance for the beliefs of others. Our emphasis on peace, love, and compassion. These are the aspects of our religion that should be shown. Not capes, wands and brooms.








Wednesday, October 10, 2012

On Offerings




I've gotten many requests to write about offering in their many forms and meanings. I will attempt to cover a bit about it in this entry.

Food offerings are something basically unheard of here in America and, surprisingly, they are seldomly used in the Pagan practices here. With all of the emphasis our beliefs place on reaping and sewing, planting and harvest, the cycles of life, we don't offer any of this harvest to our deities or guides!

Food stuff offerings are commonly practiced in Buddhism, the Navajo, Hinduism, Bali, Africa and, honestly, much of the world. Why, we here in America (a place where we have much more than the majority of the world), do not adopt this practice, I do not understand. Some of the poorest areas of the world understand the concept and practice of offering.

Offerings are a physical form of gratitude. As many of you know, from reading my blog, gratitude is the fundamental principle in my beliefs and practices. Without gratitude, one will never be fulfilled.

As humans we have emptiness of want. We eat, and buy things, and indulge to fill it. Finding that once we have obtained what we coveted, we are still empty because there is always something more to want.There's more food, the newest phone, the hottest gadget, the most "in" clothing.

"If I only had ___, I'd be set!". The want is the problem, not the lack of means to obtain it. If we can not learn to be happy and grateful for what we already have, our want to obtain what we do not have will chase us forever. One will never be full if they have not emptied themselves of wanting.

This is a very large part of why "magic" or "spells" don't work for people. If they don't get exactly what they want, when they want and how they want it, then they see is as a failure. That the gods did not listen to them. We live in a time where if what we have or what receive doesn't please us, or fit us exactly, or work perfectly, we throw it out and get a new one. I can promise you, we do not control deity or spirit. We will not decide what we get no matter how specific or hard we work that gris gris. By thinking that we will determine the goal, we are throwing out everything we have been given that we just couldn't see. We were too consumed with our own idea of what the answer would look like that we turned the answer away.

After too long of doing this, we may find, we don't hear our guides like we used to. We may find that, to them, it seems as if we've been crying wolf all along. They keep showing up and we keep looking right past them...

Although offerings should be made for NO reason at all, other then to give, they are often made as a gesture. A gesture of "I am giving you what is valuable here on earth in exchange for your blessings". If you haven't made a physical offering before, you will probably start out here, because there is a set give and take, a "reason" to do it. Over time, you will find you leave offerings from the heart, not to receive something in return...which is when the REAL magic begins...

You can find many lists of correspondences by searching the internet that will pertain to the deity you are making an offering to. Then is it just a matter of finding or purchasing the foods, drinks, colors, that are sacred to them. You then arrange them nicely on a serving plate and in a vessel which are reserved only for offerings, then set these on your indoor or outdoor altar. Speak from your heart about why you are doing this. Don't read incantations or prayers from a book. The heart if what speaks and is what they hear.

Think of the finest restaurant you've been to. Think of the atmosphere, ambiance, and presentation of the meal. What please you, pleases your guides, for the divine is also within you.

If you work with an indoor altar you will want to remove the food after it begins to show decomposition. After all, you are to offer the deities what would please you-and few of us enjoy rotten food and spoiled drink. If you leave it outside, like I do, you let the bugs and animals come to claim it as they are part of this earth and divine in their own rights. Sometimes you will get bugs inside when you leave offerings. Get over it. When the offering is ready to be rid of, take it outside to a corner of the yard, compost, wooded area, or bury it. Return the gift to it's Mother.

The items I always have hand that will work for most deities or spirits are fresh baked bread, fresh flowers, fruit, rum, water, a candle, some incense, and perhaps money or joss paper depending on the spirit or deity.

Water and oranges are important. Many cultures believe the dead love citrus and are always thirsty so at the very least, offer these. Most of us can provide a candle and some incense as well. I set out one stick of incense each day for each person and household I pray for in my community and life. I stick them in the cracks where the wood joins together to form our fence. The smoke is carried throughout the neighborhood, blessing all who smell or see it. You can leave offerings for humans too:) After all, many of our deities and guides were once human. The best friend you have now, may one day be a saint:)

What if you have no way to purchase an offering? Many of the items I offer are foraged for; fresh wild flowers, nuts, berries, stones, sacred woods, etc.These are even more valuable because of the effort, time, and journey taken to obtain them.

It is not about WHAT you are offering but THAT you are offering. Make an effort, actually make a practice your spiritual practice. The world is run by those who show up. So show up and give your deities a reason to show up with you.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bounty of Spirit

Our beloved secret path

Greater Celandine


Motherwort
Lunaria

A lovely daddy long legs at home among the lichen on a grave stone

The grave I visit most often,a family- mother father, and children-who passed together

hickory nuts

The ivy on this tomb turns red with autumn

Porcelain Vine; it's berries begin chartreuse, then teal, then finally purple.

Cedar berries

Golden oak leaves
Today's trip to forage and gather. Leaves and berries, dirts and gnarled branches. We pack my cemetery sack (a gift from Loas a friend brought back) with silver spoons, bags and labels, candies, and coins. The occasional flask of rum comes along too. As we venture down the path from our house I harvest celandine, motherwort, lunaria, ivy, pokeberry, nightshade and more...


Cedar berries, porcelain vine, oak leaves and moss are collected for an incense that will be offered to my ancestors upon my return home. A fire will be made and perhaps a trance, induced from the sacred smoke, will follow...if The Fates smile upon me.

The air was cool and a strong breeze stirred the spirits in the grave yard today. Autumn does that. As I harvested and foraged, dug and prayed, I found it was my own spirit that received the bounty. For as I leave offerings and prayers, forage for what I need, dig where my hands lead me to, my spirit feel as if it was the one prayed to. I am an offering myself in this cycle; a tool, a vessel.

These spirits are my muse-malleable and giving.

Old Man Winter will come soon and my trips will slow to a stand. It will become near impossible to maneuver the hills and stones. Then, the trips to the grave yard will be be only for prayer, for there will be nothing to forage for, no space to dig, except for my in my own spirit. The sewing and reaping of the spirit never ends.






Monday, September 17, 2012

Just Carrying Out Orders

So, I was contacted by the owner of a website called http://santeriachurch.org/ which heads an organization called SAFE (Santeros Against Fraudulence and Exploitation). I will not give his name because I do not want him harassed like I was. I have never met him, or heard of him, his church, or organizations.

He wrote to me via my shop's Facebook page claiming he had been contacted by someone wishing to report me as potentially fraudulent. This person stated that I am not a legitimate Santeria practitioner...

Which is absolutely true. I have NEVER claimed to be at ANY time or on ANY of my sites. I don't want or need to be initiated into Santeria and do not even use the word "Santeria" except to tag some of my items in my shop that can be used my those who practice Santeria.

I was then told by the head of this website was reaching out to me "to prevent any problems for you or others."

A threat, in my opinion.

He then broke down my practice by describing it as "Neo-Pagan" and "Basically rootwork/hoodoo with elements of spiritualism". Love the "basically". As in it's "basically" crap.

It's SO nice to have others simplify your beliefs without knowing you.

He then interrogated me about the play-doh Ellegua which I had photos of on my blog. I explained that was my 3 year old daughter's unprompted creation. Apparently children cannot make play-dough Ellegua's because children are not initiated Santeros.

He then asked if I was a crowned Priestess of Oya and if not, demanded I state on my site that I am not.

 I have NEVER stated I was a Priestess of Oya-ONLY that she is my Mother. And she is.

I was then told that if I did not clarify my items and my own practices and path "that this could get you in trouble."

Threat number 2, in my opinion.

He then suggested I make these changes (changes to WHAT I don't know because I never claimed any of these things!) so that I did not have "people coming after me for fraud". A perfect stranger telling me what my blog can and can not contain! Unbelievable.

I was absolutely horrified, appalled, and insulted. I did not want to respond because of the absolute ridiculousness of the situation. I felt I should not have to respond because of the idiocy of the accusations and pompous attitude. To acknowledge it was hardly worth my breath and I answer to NO ONE but my gods. However, there was a need to defend my name, my career, and defend all of you practice similar paths as I do. This is my response;

"hello,
thanks for writing:) Um, the Ellegua heads were made by my 3 year old daughter! My daughter's craft projects are no concern of any one's and I will not limit what she does because someone on the internet doesn't like it. I claim no where on my site to be initiated into Santeria. I am not a neo-pagan. I have been initiated for 14 years, ordained for 11, taught for 14, owned a supply shop for 3 and done workshops around the country for 10. I am no fraud sir. I do not state that I am a priestess of Oya anywhere on my site only that she is my mother, so there is no issue there either. I make none of these claims and I should not have to justify why or how I practice to anyone as I would never judge another in this way.What a person feels spirituality should not need to be justified to another and then approved as correct or incorrect; judging is best left to the gods. I run a spiritual supply shop like many out there and carry items my clients request of me. My clients needs may have nothing to do with my own practices.We are teachers providing tools and instructions on how to use them. I am here for my clients and I make no "claims" as to what I practice in my own life other. I am offended that I must defend my own practices to a complete stranger. Blogs are personal and the author can write about whatever subject matter they choose.That is free speech. My blog simply records my practices and information I have learned along with the importance of donating and volunteering. I share information about deities and spirits. Something not called for reprimanding at all! The majority of it records my foraging trips into the woods and rituals held-hardly anything to be reported to anyone about. If I should be punished for writing about such things then god helps us all. I have NEVER claimed to be initiated into any religion other than my hereditary tradition. It is not right that I am being persecuted for what I practice just because someone doesn't like me or my path. I have never been so insulted in my life as to be accused that I am making false claims and then have to justify my spiritual calling to a complete stranger.You will find NO where on my blog or shop where I claim to be any path other than what I clearly state. My dedication and servitude to my community shows my character. It is a sad day when we will revert back to the times when we are reported to the authorities and threatened for what our gods have called us to do or practice."


He then suggested I "take a deep breath".

Patronizing.

He again asked me what I was initiated in saying "You still didn't answer what path that is and what you are ordained in".

WHY on earth should I have to justify or explain my path to ANYONE?!
But I did because it's a matter of principle, a matter of standing up to bullies, and a matter of ceasing his harassment.

This was my reply;
"lol! I still don't understand why I need to tell a complete stranger what I practice (?) but in order to stop you from contacting me any further, and to prove I have done nothing wrong; I am an ordained, initiated, and a hereditary Chalcedonian (from Chalcedony/Hungary). I practice traditional and cultural folk-magic of my families country, Hungary. My family immigrated here to New Orleans where our practices were then merged with New Orleans Catholicism and hoodoo. I am an ordained reverend with the People's Church here. Perhaps you'd like my mother's phone number so you can check?
You can not tell me, sir, that I can not practice the path of my own ancestors from Hungary and Africa. Not you, or anyone else, can stop my country's or people's blood from flowing through my own veins. I find this insulting and ridiculous that someone out there is claiming to be an expert on spiritual sects but when they come across something new they must put it on trial. I owe you no further information on my personal life, my family, my culture, or my path."


What this comes down to is that NO ONE on this earth can be an expert on every religion, every denomination, sect, path, or spirituality, because we are all amalgamations of genetics, cultures, environments, and our own psyches. NO ONE CAN TELL YOU HOW TO WORSHIP GOD and don't EVER let anyone tell you you are wrong for following the divine in your own heart.

(NOTE; on (9/18 I was made aware by a former student of his, that this man is indeed of Cuban decent. I am not changing my original post, only noting it here, because that would be deceitful in my opinion and my remark makes a point about ancestor worship.)
Now, let's get personal about this only because he has taken it there. This man appeared to be Caucasian to me, though I can say that I do not know for certain. From what he is insinuating, I do not not have the right to worship my own ancestors but he does because he is a Santero. Hmmm. I would never say to someone they can not worship the divine in what form it appears to them or what aspect calls to and comforts them. That is no one's job in this world. 

He thanked me for my response and said that he was "trying to get this other person to back down". 

Personally, I could not live with myself carrying out orders that persecute, threaten, control and reprimand another's religion or speech simply because I was asked to do it. That is a matter of morality not a matter of finding an answer because someone told you to. The answer is not harmful, the method in which it was sought, was.  It is clear from my blog and shop that I am NOT fraudulent and that the information I present is not harmful or misrepresenting to myself or anyone else.

My people were persecuted as Africans, as Jews, and now as Pagans and I do not take this type of contact lightly. Nazi's and slave drivers were simply carrying out orders as well. 

I am sure I will be threatened again for recording this and making it public. I am writing because it is wrong and you all must know about it. I am willing to suffer the consequences to have the truth exposed and to warn you that this type of persecution still exists for us-even among those who also call themselves spiritual or Pagan. 

A person of god, a person who calls them self a teacher, an initiate, one on a spiritual path or journey, does not make another justify their path because it differs from theirs. They do not judge and ask for proof and explanations of the divine in another's life. They do not threaten, berate, or control what another can write about their own path, culture, and practices. They do not pass blame for their own actions.

From the website: Ethical Psychic Readers and Hoodoo Rootworkers do not harass or abuse clients or other rootworkers. No matter what differences of opinion may arise, they do not engage in disrespectful, aggressive, mean-spirited, unwantedly sexual, revengeful, or malevolent behaviour.

I can tell you that in my gods' eyes- I am not the fraud.

Don't let them scare you. 







Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Blessings in Wait



Once in a while I get the question "How long does it take for this stuff to work?"

They have used a couple of items for a week with no results.

Contrary to popular belief, "magical" items aren't magic and they aren't miracles in bottles. I despise the term "magic" because it insinuates that you will see results as you would with a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Your problems are there and now POOF they're gone!

Nothing does this. There is no miracle diet pill, there is no miracle contraption or potion-there is only us and the vessel we have created. Have we created a strong vessel with thick walls that has been filled and emptied again and again by giving to others? Or have we created one with holes and pits that it sparkling clean from never getting our hands dirty and never bending low to help someone up from the ground? The universe can only fill up what will hold it and we need to first decide if we have earned those blessings.

Why is life so hard? Why are things always going wrong? Well, they aren't, that's our perception. Being human, we perceive ourselves as the center of the universe; everything is about us. If we agree and accept that there is a balance to the universe-light and dark, give and take, full and empty- then how could we ALL be full ALL of the time? How can we ALL be blessed ALL of the time? The truth is while you suffer, one of your brothers or sisters is being blessed because that is balance. And if we were blessed all of the time, WE WOULDN'T EVEN KNOW IT. We don't even know it now most of the time. We don't enjoy the moment we are in or the simple things around us. Rest when it is not your turn to suffer and when it is, be glad that it is your brother or sister's turn to rest.

Items such as candles, oils, incense, etc. are there to help us create a ritual, a new habit, helping us and reminding us to focus on our goal each day. They help create a routine in which we devote time, energy and thought to the changes we want to make in our life.

When we start on a diet or exercise routine, do we expect to lose those 20 lbs in the first week? Then why expect spiritual exercise to be that way? It takes much longer than a week to rid one's self of bad habits and energy and it takes even longer to replace them with healthy ones.

When we work with spiritual items to create a routine, to tempt the Fates to smile fortune upon us, we are asking the entire universe to rearrange it's energy. We ask it to lend us some of the type of energy we want, think we need, or deserve. Pretty selfish huh? Well, it's selfish without offerings, sacrifice, donation, and compassion. If you practice these as PART of your ritual and you will see results. Practice without these and we have a very one-sided, empty, selfish working going on which will only sap our energy and turn the Fates off from blessing us. We must GIVE to GET.

Offerings of our time, necessities, and possessions should be made FIRST-not as a means to get what we want. This takes time though. Lots and lots of time. I have only now reached a point in my life where I help others without ego entering it...and sometimes it still does.

Spells. This is why I don't like "spells" or when people contact me for spells. To me, spells are very one-sided and selfish. They rarely, if ever, any type of offering or donation of goods or time encouraged. The incense, candles, and statues one uses don't count-let's be honest, those are for us not for the spirits. Spells say "hey, I'm going to make this charm or light this candle and charge it with my intentions and I will achieve my goal". Intentions? Intentions are nothing.

Intentions are not enough-ACTION is what matters.

If you want to make more money, look for another job. If you want to receive help, lend help. If you want a new home, help someone who is homeless. If you want a healthy child, visit a sick one.THAT is balance. You have to reach beyond yourself and show good faith. Show that even though you don't have a lot, you are willing to share it or use the resources you DO have to make a better way for yourself and loved ones.

We are not rewarded for sitting on our asses.

If you haven't received the blessings you have asked for from others, the spirits, or deities then ask yourself, "What have I done for THEM lately?"

Or simply say, "It isn't my turn, it's my brother or sister's turn, and I will wait."

So how long does it take? It takes as long as we deserve it to take.





Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Accusations, The Fates, and Fear


I received my first accusatory e-mail week. The first one in 15 years.

About a month ago a person ordered some items from my shop, marking payment as "money order" to be sent to my address. No biggie as I do allow this payment method. The items purchased were confusion items and some love items along with one of my PIF candle petitions. For those of you who don't know, my PIF petitions are a service you can purchase for $1.99 and I will light a petition candle on your behalf. All you have to do is something nice for someone else in return. It wasn't until I received the money order in the mail with a letter that I thought something may be a little "off" with this person.

With the money order I received a two page letter with very specific names (5 of them in order of preference) of who I was to make fall in love with the person and who I was to work against-two services I do NOT perform. Had I known these were the services they would request, I would have refused them from the beginning. I DON'T do that kind of work and that is very clear.

I thought maybe they were just being dramatic, as humans can be, so I did the petition to the best of my ability in the manner I work in. I petitioned to bring them love and protection.

Had I known then what I know now, I would have returned the money order.

Last week I received an e-mail from this person saying that after they used my items a cousin had been killed, a loved one was being abused, a car accident and poverty to fall upon them. They were accusing me of committing these acts via my items. They said they had "confided in an enemy" and accused me of working against them.

I was stunned and even scared for some reason. I felt threatened. I had NEVER DREAMED such accusations could have been made against me-never in 15 years have I even had a poor feedback much less an e-mail accusing me of such vial, violent, horrid acts. I was distraught. Thankfully though, I have a strong mine and can reason my way through emotions.

I dug out the letter, which I realized I had kept for some reason, to see if it was the same person. Indeed, it was. The letter was burned outside in my chiminea immediately. I must say, things have been better, back to normal, since I burned it.

This was completely not my fault. Though I felt terrible for this person's traumatic happenings, they were not due to me or my items. I could list many reasons why their accusations didn't make sense. But I know that when a person is desperate to find someone to blame for the misfortune in their life, they are not in the right place to listen to reason.

I responded to them that I did not do such work and would NEVER work against an innocent person I did not know. I explained this was the only complaint I had ever received in 15 years. I explained that death is up to the gods and that no human controls that. They responded "I am glad you brought up god, because god as my witness, this all happened after I used your products."

I was hoping the 15 years of positive work would jostle their mind into thinking about the actual numbers. If this is the only complaint in 15 years, chances are the complaint doesn't have much to do with me.

After coming back from being upset, I felt despair and pity for this person. How hard it is to be in that point of your life where you only blame others. I have been there and it is a vicious cycle; the more you blame others, the worse things get.

No profession is immune from imbalanced people and, I hate to say this, but I think my profession is one of the worst for it. It seems to others that since I work with unseen forces, than these forces are then responsible for all mishaps and misfortune. It's an easy out. If something unseen is committing these acts against you then you don't have to be responsible for your choices. Clearly it is the unseen forces fault and not yours.

As soon as we accept responsibility for the way our lives are, what is happening to us, the sooner the universe can lend accepting energy. The Fates help those that show they are deserving of help. Those who show they will bless others with the blessings they receive. To repeat the same mistakes is to go back, not forward. It is to use up energy not bless others with it.

When you are presented with a choice, The Fates are giving you an opportunity. We all make mistakes but to blame these mistakes on others is to abuse the gifts of The Fates. It's like crying wolf. After a while, they will not come running as quickly. For me, in my practices, one is rewarded for their compassion, giving, hard work, and trying to make the best decisions for all involved. Working to obtain selflessness, by helping others before one's self, is along the path of receiving blessings.

Working against someone I have never even met goes against ever fiber of my being and personality, every theory and practice of my spirituality. I have never suffered such a complaint or accusation. But I will suffer  for this person and pray that my suffering lends them some liberation from their own thoughts and torment. I know that the bit of fear I felt from reading their e-mail is the fear they live with each day. I am blessed that I am able to choose my fears.

Philippians 2:12 "Work out your own salvation with trembling and fear."









Sunday, August 12, 2012

Conjured Cardea's Healing Items


As most of you know, Etsy has required it's sellers to revise their herbal products that attribute health, or healing properties to them. At first I was not contacted by Etsy, but a couple of days ago I got an e-mail requesting me to also revise my items. Which I did and responded to them that the matter was being taken care of in the immediate.

Why?

Simple; I don't shit where I eat.

Some sellers are fighting this, asking Etsy to list which items must be amended and insisting that a disclaimer should be enough for the protection of Etsy, the shops, and the clients who patron them.

Etsy can not possibly go through each listing and tell us what we need to change as there are millions of listing on Etsy. They need to cover their, and OUR, asses. Also, these regulations prevent people from selling silly and shady items on Etsy claiming "magical healing abilities" that are just bull shit. In the end, my items will look more legitimate by weeding out the crazies. If we want a shop on Etsy, then we must comply with the rules. I would rather take the loss of a couple of people not being able to find my items then lose the ability to help all the clients I have gained over the years.

I have been contacted by several sellers who are ALL worked up. Asking me if I am closing my shop and where I am moving it to. I AM NOT LEAVING and have NO plants to. This seems like an awfully drastic and dramatic view to take and I don't borrow trouble. I never assume the worst and I don't make plans for it to happen. I will not manifest failure.

I am deeply saddened for those shops that exclusively sell herbal medicines and items that will now have to leave Etsy. It must be devastating and I am so sorry for the feelings they must be experiencing of loss, devastation, and anger.

I was lucky and for me, it's a pretty simple fix. I removed the words "health" and "healing" as well as any specific conditions such as "eczema, ring worm, yeast, acne" etc. from my descriptions. Now, this did bother me a bit wit my salves as these have provided a lot of people with relief from such conditions but I know that people will still be able to find these items if they search. I also had to re-name my Blue Healer items...:/ They are now called "Blue Worker" just to prevent any problems. Two items have been removed-my healing bellarmine and Egeszseg oil as they are, well, healing items and I can not adjust their descriptions to other wise.

ALL these items are still available, you only need contact me for them.

If you find yourself having trouble finding one of my items, all you need to do is ask and I will be happy to find it for you or create a listing:)

Many blessings and thanks to all of you who have shown concern and support. I am not goin' anywhere folks:)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Born Pagan, Over and Over



I was born a Pagan. Not just ethnically, because I come from long lines of Pagan on both sides, but also physiologically. I am a firm believer in the theory that how your brain is wired determines what makes sense to you as a religion. This obviously combined with culture and region. Since we are all wired differently with different ideas, thoughts, likes, dislikes, interests, etc. then surely we can not be expected to have only one idea of what religion or god is. I believe we create our own reality and if your reality is that there is one god and you will go to heaven when you die, then that is real...for you. What kind of person would I be to tell someone that following their heart is wrong?

I say I was born Pagan because numerous times a day I find myself compelled to be outside. To sit and watch the breeze in the trees or the sun shining through the leave. To walk bare foot or lay on the ground. To be grateful for the elements and living things around me that sustain me. The trees that clean my air, the air that I breathe, the ground my food grows from, the rain that falls to water it. These are SO important to me and, personally, it wouldn't hurt if they were important to more people. Not that I want everyone to be Pagan-I do not-I like diversity, I like that there are other cultures and religions to learn from and about. But I think everyone should be more aware of the world around them, caring for their environment, and appreciative of what the earth gives us. Just on a physical level-not even getting into the spiritual. It never hurts to have more gratitude.

Today, as I usually do once a week, I took my children to the cemetery we live next to. It one of the largest I have seen with rolling hills and giant oak trees. It's comforting to me there as I have gotten to know the land and it's spirits. Each time I go I experience something new-a new spirit, a new headstone, a new patch of weeds I can use. I take a large, brightly colored bag a friend brought me back from Loas that carries a jug of water, offerings for the 5 child spiritsI visit (candy and crackers, sometimes small toys) spoons to dig dirt, and small zip-pocks and paper to label and keep the dirts separate and properly recorded.

We visited the honeysuckle bush and bindweed patch, collected what I needed then headed through the ravine. We rested beneath one of the oldest oaks I've seen and as I looked up I was just overcome with awe. It was like my uncle was standing over me and I was a child...

The earth is my mother, her clay and stones ground me with knowledge,
The rivers are my sister, she shows me the way home,
The sky is my father, he shines light and pours rain on us all,
The mountains are my brother, he leads me up and away to mystery...

I love visiting new places, new terrain, new spirits and I mourn when I must leave them-each and every time. How quickly I can love land, water and unseen spirits. This love teaches me that if I am able to love an object so quickly and deeply then I should extend that same love to a brother or sister. We are no different than the earth. We are made of the same elements, just arranged in another form.


I don't have a choice in feeling the spirit of the land and spirits around me now in other realms. I have no more choice in being Pagan than I do being short or green eyed. I am how I was made to be. So are you. So are the people on the other side of the world. Strive not to change that but to embrace it. Only then will your true ashe' come forth. Strive not to modify but magnify.

When  we stop fighting the waves, they can carry us to shore...










Monday, June 25, 2012

The beginning of Conjured Cardea



At the request of a reader;

How this all got started...

Believe it or not, I was completely against selling my items on-line, and thought those who did were sell outs. In my tradition, if you wanted something, you learned to make it yourself. Once you've learned it, you never have to rely on another person again. So we did. We all knew how to make oils, salves, tinctures, candles, soaps, teas, etc. My philosophy with my items was that I made them for myself, family, friends, neighbors, students, and coven-sisters. And they were free or, at the very most, bartered for. Period. I worked liked this for over 10 years. Just giving my wares to the few people at a time who needed them.

Then, one day, a coven sister and very dear friend of mine said "you should put this stuff on Etsy". This was not only against what I believed but also, who the hell would buy my stuff? So I sat down and thought out my moral dilemma.

See, over the last few years I have changed a few major things about our tradition and I often wonder if my relatives are rolling over in their graves. For instance I changed the rule that new students are taught separately from elders. The new students went through their entire first year never meeting another member or being at ritual. What better way to get close and grow together as coven then to do it all together from the beginning?! So, I changed it and I know my relatives understand why I did it. Our tradition is so so small and slow growing that any path I see to encourage stronger growth, I am going to take it.

My thoughts became the same about selling my items. I realized, after YEARS, that not everyone was like me. Imagine that!  They were not INTERESTED in making their own items and if they were the supplies you need on hand are a huge investment for most. I'm not interested or educated in fixing computers, so if I need something for mine I can't just do it or make it. I need someone specialized and reputable. It's the same with my shop. I also realized that I could reach more people, teach more people, share and grow with more people after I opened this shop. I have been so blessed to hear from so many people, all over the world about their paths, practices, lives, trials, and triumphs. I love people.

Another issue. I LOATHE computers. I think people who sit at computers all day are drones and wasting their time. Why would I "virtually" do something when I could ACTUALLY do it? I always had jobs that worked with my hands or with people. The idea of being chained to a computer was hell, and I still feel that way. I don't like being controlled by a computer. I don't like that it is between me and the people I want to see and listen to. I don't like that I am stuck inside all day. This is the world we live in though, and for those few dislikes I have-I love so many more things about it. Like working with my hands everyday. I love corresponding with people. I love doing something spiritual everyday for others. I love living my dream. I love having a business and trade I can pass down to my children. I love working at home so I can care for my children. I am blessed that this is my life and job. Alas, I am one of the drones;)

I still hate being on the computer and can't wait until my work day is over and I can shut it off:)

So, the next day, I opened my shop. I didn't even realize how huge Etsy was or that there were other people on there selling items like mine. I had never looked on Etsy. Which was a mistake and a blessing all in one. If I would have looked, I would have had a better feel for what I was getting into but by not looking I got to do MY own thing-completely. I had a couple sales in the first few weeks I think. Then one day I logged into my shop to find every listing missing. My shop had been deleted. Not really. Someone bought everything, but it never occurred to me this would happen so I thought everything had been eaten up by a glitch!

Many of those first clients are still with me to this day. My entire shop is for, and is because, of them.

I am an extremely sensible person and even though the idea of an on-line shop goes against what I initially believed was "right", it was not what was best. As humans is is difficult to sort through that what we feel is not always what is right. I am a teacher first and foremost and my shop has opened a huge channel for me to learn and teach. It was also a way for me to stand up for the seasoned, hard working, authentic root workers out there. I didn't want to be considered a hack or a charlatan which is why I didn't want to have a shop that would be lumped in with those. That was the easiest fix of all; then don't-don't have a shop that is seen a joke or not reputable. My shop is reputable because I am.

The shops that sell "haunted" items or items "owned by a witch" for hundreds of dollars, personally, I find difficult to believe and that they make witches look bad. I also have an issue with "weight loss" items or "spell rings" and the like. If it seems silly and over-priced, then it is.

My shop has nothing in common with these. I don't make promises or guarantees because I can't. I can help tempt The Fates to smile upon you, but I can't make them smile.

For anyone wanting to start their own business;

 I began this shop while I had 1 and 2 year old babies. I worked a night job from 7pm until 3 am, breastfed through the night until 7 am when I had to get up to take my husband to work because we had only one vehicle. Throughout the day I cared for my children and made supply runs for my husband (he's a contractor) and listed items and filled orders until 5pm, made dinner, got ready and went to my night job. I did this for 2 years. You know how they say you can do anything you put your mind to? Well I am here to say, that it's true.

Owning a botanica was my dream. Once I changed the idea I saw in my head of my "shop", I was able to achieve my dream, just in another form. I just had to find another way to the goal- which is all life really is. One way doesn't work, so you try another.

 I will have my brick and mortar shop but beginning with the on-line business has made a way for me to obtain my original dream. Something I never would have seen If I hadn't had a dear friend point it out to me. I trusted her, made a leap of faith, and worked hard...

Just do it.

This post is dedicated to Melinda. Without your support, encouragement and beautiful, bright ideas, I would not be writing this. Thank you.




Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who I Work For



I have worked with many deities and spirits through out my life. Being raised Pagan it was normal and expected. Though it sounds crazy to talk to the average person about conjure or working with spirits (which is one reason I do no speak about it unless asked, also because I am a private person) it was normal in my family.  Though I could write a post about each of the spirits and deities I'm about to mention, I'll keep it concise as that would make for one LONG post:)

I hesitate to say "MY" deities and spirits because they are not mine. They are yours too.

First what I deem a "spirit" is a human who has passed (Saints, High John the Conqueror, etc.) and deity a force from "mythology";) Now, there are those who overlap, such as some Orisha. Take Chango for instance, he is reputed to have actually been the third king of West Africa. So here, there is overlapping. 

I will begin with the one's most present in my life-my Mother Oya and Father Ogun. Oya came to me as a mother and protector. I also work with her aspect Maman Brigitte whose feast day is my birthday. There was an immediate connection, nearly as if she had given birth to me and I loved everything about her and all that she shared and showed me. Many people fear her but I have never received anything but love, guidance, and blessings from her.

My father Ogun, I found a few years later. He came to me when I was in a real jam-mostly of my my own doing. I was homeless, in major debt, jobless, lonely after a 7 year relationship ending...everything that could go wrong had. He protected me, showed me that I was still strong. That even though I was down, I would never be out. He provided for me and got me through those dark years. 

I also work with Oshun often, (for clients and my family) though this is not always looked upon fondly, as daughters of Oya are assumed to not work with Oshun. Though I never feed them together, I do work with both though Oya will always be mother of my home. I often call upon Oshun for my clients wishing to be blessed with children-and by blessed I mean through any means-adoption, foster care, biologically, etc.

I honor Mary Magdalene as I was named after her daughter and I have named my daughter after her-Magdalena. I believe she was a true goddess and true teacher, misunderstood and slandered. She is a miracle in the lives of women who have been down on their luck, lied about, talked about, abused, and misunderstood.

La Madama/Madama-a beautiful mother spirit! Some worship these aspects separately but I worship them together. "Madama" was a cloth doll that was made for slave children who could not afford china dolls like white children. This doll was very precious, because even having spare cloth to make a doll for a child was rare for slaves. If the child was separated from her mother, as often happened during that time, the child was left with the madama doll that represented their mother. the child would keep the madama doll hidden away, so she could not be stolen or destroyed. During hard times, the child would take the doll out, and talk to her knowing that the doll was connected to the real mother's spirit. Then, magic would happen...
Madama's job is to set everything right, to provide protection, keep harm away, and to provide wealth, health, and luck to the home. She provides all kinds of goodies if you invite her into your home and call out to her for a favor. 
La Madama brings good fortune and luck and provides steady, paying clients and work. She helps my clients to find me so that I may attempt to provide some relief from their troubles.

Mamasita, my house's spirit:) She dwells only here and shelters us and helps provide for us. She is our dwelling familiar so I will keep her for us only:)

Saint Martin of Cabellero-provides my husband and I with steady work and clients. As we are both self employed, help in this area is how we survive. No clients-no food. His story-One day, while riding his horse, he chanced upon a near-naked beggar and cut his cloak in half to give the poor man a covering. That night he had a dream in which the beggar appeared to him as Jesus, so he quit the army and became a monk in Italy. He was later promoted to the rank of Bishop of Tours (in France) but always lived a simple life and gave a great deal to charity. 

La Anima Sola-The Lonely Soul who is named Celestina refused water to Christ when he was crucified. For this she suffers for eternity in purgatory. Weird spirit to work with huh? :) Not really, in her suffering she  realized her wrongs and now grants any aid to those who ask. No different than the rest of us:) We make a mistake, we suffer, we learn, and we help those who are making mistakes now.

Pomba Gira-a complex spirit who I turn to to help myself and my clients heal from the abuse we had/have endured. She also brings blessings of good fortune and business. She is also very close to my heart as I am a GLBT and HIV/AIDS advocate and these are considered her "people". My father, though I never met him, has AIDS and I try to pray for him...try...

And the numerous saints! Saint Lazarus I pray to for any that I know are ill or having trouble making ends meet. Santa Muerte is another whom I work with strictly for healing, though she has other aspects. Saint Anne, Saint Jude, and Saint Anthony for when a client has a dire need. Saint Martha for marriage and relationship issues for clients, Saint Joseph who protects my husband who is a carpenter. Obviously, I could go on...

So that is just a tiny portion. People often ask me if I get tired, working with so many spirits, having them around me, feeding them, and working on other people's issues as well as my own. No. It should never be "work" to serve a spirit and, and the risk of sounding cliche', I was born to do this. I have an incredible amount of energy and patience and love to serve my clients and the spirits and deities. I know that in order to serve one, I must serve the other. I can not help anyone with out the help of the divine and the divine will not help me if I do not serve others. Yes, I get run down and emotional from the hardships my clients are experiencing. Yet, I know tomorrow is another day and I know the sooner I start serving them the sooner the load will lighten for us both.