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. 

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.