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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bewitching Spells

An Analysis of Bewitched© Incantations

It has been said that magick is all about defining what you want and then letting it happen. In my personal practices, I often define my goals with the incantation, or spoken element, of my spells. In fact, my spells often begin with a written incantation around which I design my spell.

Over the years I have developed a formula for the construction of my incantations. They usually consist of four lines in the AABB rhyme scheme, although sometimes they will fall into the ABAB scheme. The first two lines usually describe the situation or problem while the second two lines state what is needed or wanted to address the problem. In addition, each line will contain the same number of syllables, or within one or two syllables of being the same number. For example,

A Spell to Remove Obstacles

This obstacle before me,
simply can no longer be;
I crush it now with magick force,
that I may resume my course!

However, I didn’t always have my magic down to a science. My first exposure to the (fictional) world of magic and witchcraft was probably Bewitched©, an American sitcom which ran on the ABC network from 1964 to 1972. The premise of Bewitched is centered on a witch named Samantha who marries Darrin, a mortal, and who attempts to live the life of a normal, suburban housewife.

Samantha’s mother, Endora, served as the main antagonist of the show. She disapproved of her daughter’s “mixed-marriage” and unsuccessfully attempted to drive Darrin away each week. A typical show has Endora, or some other relative, cast a spell on Darrin ensuing chaos and upsetting his life and the lives  of their nosey-neighbor, Darrin’s boss, his parents, and his various clients. By the end of the show, Samantha is able to convince Endora to reverse the offending spell as well as to use her own wits and magic to make it work to her advantage.

Many of the spells in the earlier season seem to be simply made up such as the spell Samantha unsuccessfully used to send her mother away in the first episode:

One re or re ickery Anne
Phillison, follison Nicholas John
queevy qavey, English navy
Sticklum, Stacklum Buck
B-U-C-K spells “Buck” and out goes you!

Some spells appear to be a form of Latin as in this spell Samantha used to freeze people,

“Lindor, ramamanthas, insectus”

In other cases the spells are quite clever and sophisticated as in the following spell Endora cast upon Darren to make him indecisive.

Indecision will now be your state,
in matters small and matters great;
a plague of “ifs” and “ands” and “buts,”
will descend to drive you nuts!

As you can see, there seems to be no real rhyme or reason to the construction of the spells used during the course of the show. However, a closer look at some of these incantations may help us to understand the logic behind them.

For example, the first spell quoted above

One re or re ickery Anne
Phillison, follison Nicholas John
queevy qavey, English navy
Sticklum, Stacklum Buck
B-U-C-K spells “Buck” and out goes you!

This old rhymes dates back to at least the late 1800’s and is one of many variants of a “counting off” game used by children to determine who is “it” or “out” (think eenie meenie miney mo). However, evidence suggests that the rhyme has its origins in very old magic spells. Here Samantha intended to use it to send Endora away, so in effect she was counting her mother “out”! Perhaps this spell may be appropriate the next time you cast a banishing spell?

In other cases, the witches call upon magical lore to empower their spells. Take this spell to give a mortal three wishes, for example:

Stars of lightning, sons of fire.
Harken to the hearts desire.
Set your potent power free,
And give this mortal wishes three!

Here we can make a connection between this spell and the age-old belief of wishing on stars. Typically a person wishes upon either a falling star, or the first star which can be seen in the night sky saying:

Star light, star bright,
first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
have my wish come true tonight!

In addition, the phrase 'sons of fire' may be a reference to Jinns (genies) who legend states were born of fire and who have been know to grant wishes to human in certain circumstances. 

In some instances, the witches will invoke the spirit of inanimate objects directing them to produce some change or effect. Consider this spell cast by Aunt Clara to repair a faulty lamp.

Hark ye witches who live in lamps,
power of watts and oomphs and amps;
Wizards of AC/DC transmissions,
send to me an electrician!

or this one to summon a painter

Colors harsh and colors mellow,
Kumquat orange and lemon yellow,
Turpentine and brush of sable,
Send to me a painter able!

It may seem silly to us to call upon a lamp or a paint brush to power a spell. However, Aunt Clara was simply acting in accordance with the belief in animism, which is the belief that all non-human entities have a soul. The concept of animism was formed during the Prehistoric Age, when humans believed that everything was inhabited or controlled by a spirit. For example, there was a spirit which controlled fire, or thunder, spirits inhabiting lakes, streams, trees, rocks, etc... As you can see, it is no sillier than you or I calling upon the power inherent in an herb, or a stone to drive our spells.

It should also be noted that in the Bewitched universe witches are seemingly immortal and age at a much slower rate than humans. Overtime their powers dwindle and when that occurs, the will often turn themselves into something useful such as a lamp or a doorknob. Therefore, it was entirely possible that the lamp was once a witch or warlock.

In earlier seasons many of the spells appear to be nonsensical words intended to sound like Latin such as this spell used by Samantha to summon her mother.

Quadramus invecta expedia!

In some cases the spells consist of made-up words used in conjunction with everyday words that rhyme. A spell to manifest a feast, for example.

Webus, willibus, tootles, flick!
Eat all this and you'll be sick!

In other cases everyday words which rhyme are used, but make no sense for the purpose of the spell. Consider this spell to make Darrin agreeable.

Bees knees and bells nell,
Harken to my tricky spell.
To prove your brain's the size of a pea,
With all you hear you will agree!

In later seasons, many of the spells cast became less vague and more sophisticated. Such as this spell to make Darrin more ambitious,

A mogul, a magnate
a ruthless big deal.
Ambition and power,
is now what you feel!

or this one to turn a monkey into a human.

A monkey you are,
a monkey you'll be,
In human form
when I count to three…
1 - 2 – 3!

The witch’s ability to move across time and space was a theme often touched upon over the course of the series with characters going back in time or historical figures coming to the present. In the case of the later it was often the result of a spell gone awry. In these cases, the language of the spell often mirrors the language of the time or place in question.

For example when Aunt Clara cast a spell to send herself to the Victorian Age she accidentally brings Queen Victoria to the present. After a bit of trial and error she cast the following spell to send the Queen back.

Eye of newt,
leg of spider
Queen Victoria, tally-ho
I cast my spell and off you go!

The phrase tally-ho is distinctly British and is used in fox-hunting to denote when a rider has spotted the fox. The spell succeeds in sending back the Queen of the British Empire but also results in bringing forth Prince Albert, to which Aunt Clara replies “maybe I didn’t put enough English into it?” Curiously the episode ends without resolving the issue.

In another episode, Endora casts a spell to make Darrin speak fluent Italian incorporating Italian into her spell.

Uno, due, tre,
I wish he might, I wish he may,
Speak like an Italian,
At the break of day!

In another episode Uncle Arthur attempts to produce a dessert known as a Napoleon with the following spell,

Bon soir mes et me,
And viva la France!
A scrumptious Napoleon
Now gets a chance – a chance!

The spell backfires bringing the historical Napoleon to the present.

However, even this rule isn’t hard and fast. In one episode a witch sends Samantha back in time one-hundred years, saying

Blow ye winds and thunder crack,
roll the years a century back.
Vixen be gone and make the switch,
be gone with the wind you little witch!

This results in Samantha appearing in New Orleans just after the Civil War (circa 1865) which is also roughly the same time-period in which Gone With the Wind is set (see the last line of the spell above).

The witches of Bewitched make casting spells seems easy, however, un-doing them is another matter entirely. It is easy to understand how an aging witch such as Aunt Clara, whose powers are waning in her twilight years and who often has difficulty remembering her spells, has a hard time reversing her spells when they go awry. However, it isn’t always easy for powerful witches in their prime to reverse a spell that has turned sour. In the Bewitched universe there are a few rules concerning the reversing of spells. They are:

A spell can only be reversed by the witch or the warlock who cast it. In an early episode, Samantha explains to Darren that a witch who cast a spell on a person has the witch’s equivalent of squatter’s rights and only he or she can reverse it. As is the case with other instances, there are a few episodes where this rule does not apply. For example, in the season eight episode How Not to Lose Your Head to King Henry the VIII, Part One Samantha is inexplicably able to zap a nobleman out of a painting in which he was cursed to remain for one thousand years. Similarly, when Samantha is crowned Queen of the Witches, she is able to undo the spells cast by her predecessor.

Another exception to this rule appears in the season two episode Nobody But A Frog Knows How to Live, in which a frog who has been turned into a man petitions Samantha to turn him back into a frog. She explains that only the witch who turned him into a man can change him back into a frog. However, once Samantha learns that the frog asked the witch to turn him into a man, Samantha is able to restore his original form because it was a product of his wish.

A spell can not be reversed if you do not know or cannot remember the words used to cast the spell in the first place. Examples of this rule occur several times throughout the course of the series. For example, in the season four episode Samantha’s Secret Saucer, Aunt Clara cast the following spell to retrieve a toy flying-saucer that has flown out the window.

Flying saucer in darkest night,
hark ye land within my sight.

The spell results in Aunt Clara summoning a real flying-saucer from another galaxy into the Stephens’ backyard. After several attempts at reversing her spell, Aunt Clara is able to do so upon remembering that she rhymed the words ‘night’ and ‘sight’.  Her successful spell is as follows:

Flying saucer from out the night,
return ye now and leave my sight!

In addition, when Uncle Arthur accidentally summons Napoleon when attempting to conjure a dessert he makes several attempts to reverse his spell. After a few unsuccessful attempts, he speculates that he is using the wrong hand gestures and reverses the gestures he used when originally casting his spell.

A spell cannot be reversed if the subject of the spell does not wish the spell to be reversed. In the season eight episode Samantha’s Caesar Salad, Esmeralda accidentally conjures up Julius Caesar when she attempts to manifest a Caesar salad. Caesar, angry that history has labeled him a tyrant, refuses to return to his own time until he can remove the stain on his reputation. Ultimately, Samantha is able to convince Caesar to return to his own time by tempting him with Cleopatra. 

Debuting in the late 1960’s, Bewitched was one of the earliest supernatural sitcoms and continues to be seen the world over enchanting new generations of believers with each passing year. A product of its time, Bewitched may seem less sophisticated than later series such as Charmed or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However the magic of television will ensure that Bewitched will always be more than “quicksilver… a fleeting shadow”. 

Carolina Dean


Spellbound at Harpies Bizarre

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Review: The Voodoo Doll Spell Book

by Denise Alvarado 

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace (October 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1453726462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1453726464

    Disclaimer- I wouldn't feel right publishing this review without disclosing that I contributed one spell to this work, which the author found in my blog and thought would make an excellent contribution to this book.

    The Voodoo Doll Spellbook is the direct follow up to Denise Alvarado’s Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual and promises to be the first in several volumes. Whereas the former delved into the history and types of dolls, the latter contains over 180 spells and rituals from various magickal disciplines including Hoodoo, Voodoo, Wicca, Paganism, and Ceremonial Magic.

    Though these spells come from various traditions, they all have one thing in common, that is, the construction and use of dolls used in the casting of spells. The author gives detailed instructions on how to construct various types of dolls (poppets, effigies, waxen images, etc…) as well as how to use them to achieve various goals. The spells themselves are organized by purpose in an A to Z format for easy reference.

    In addition to the spells, Alvarado has gone a step further and included various formulas for oils, and powders such as Lost and Away Powder and Bend Over Oil among others which some practitioners may be familiar with and which are utilized in the casting of spells. The inclusion of these formulas alone is well worth the price of the book. Throughout the Voodoo Doll Spellbook there are several photographs and illustrations of various voodoo dolls in the author’s collection which add to the mystique of this powerful tool of magick!

    Although the author has included some basic information on the theory behind how magic works, I suggest you refer to Alvardo’s previous work Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual if you wish to delve into the history of voodoo dolls. The Voodoo Doll Spellbook is a practical, hands-on grimoire on the art of casting spells using various types of dolls. Here you will find everything you need to construct a doll in order to cast a spell for virtually any practical goal. This is a reference that you will return to again and again. 

    Carolina Dean 


    Planet Voodoo Conjure Corner

    Purchase the Book

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Chakra Cleanse

    A Human-Figure Candle
    7 Chakra-Colored Candles
    Blessing Oil
    Winter Solstice is right around the corner and as per my personal practice I always cleanse myself and my environment at the changing of the seasons. Part of cleansing myself, includes cleanisng my chakras.

    To review, the Chakras are the seven energy vortexes of the human body which are located along the spinal column through which Kundalini, or life-energy, rises. They are:
    1. Crown Chakra
    2. Forehead Chakra
    3. Throat Chakra
    4. Heart Chakra
    5. Solar Plexus Chakra
    6. Sacral Chakra
    7. Root Chakra
    Directions: Load the Human-Figure Candle with your concerns, anoint it with Blessing Oil. Surround the human-figure candle with the 7 chakra-colored candles and light them. Chant:

    White, purple, blue and green,
    yellow, orange, and red –unclean;
    I call on you to cleanse your hues,
    and shine with a strength renewed!

    Meditate before the candle-arrangement, visualizing the chakras one at a time shining brightly, until the chakra candles burns out completely. 

    Carolina Dean 

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    Bill-Bu$ter Spells

    To begin, I’d like to extend a very politically correct “Happy Holidays” to all my readers. Whether you are Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, Muslim, Buddhist, or Other–I wish you all the best this holiday season.

    This is the time of year when many people will be celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice (Yule), Kwanzaa etc. While these holidays are observed by different religions they each center around a theme of blessings, miracles, birth, and renewal and are often celebrated with the exchanging of gifts. Many people will go into debt to buy presents for their family, friends, loved ones, and in some cases, people that they cannot stand.

    Still, as the economy slumps along, many people are struggling to find a job, keep the job they have, put food on the table, stay warm, and generally provide themselves with the basic necessities in life. Sadly, for many this holiday will not be as Merry as in past years. Today, I’d like to share a spell that will assist you in drawing in prosperity and allow you to pay your bills. To perform this spell you will need:

    * Green Vigil Light
    * Copies of All Your Bills
    * A Permanent Marker
    * Dried Mint
    * Cinnamon Chips
    * Dried Chamomile
    * 4 small chunks of pyrite
    * Wealthy Way Oil
    * Bible

    Gather together the above equipment and materials. In addition to the items listed above you may want to have a long nail or Philip’s head screw driver, an eye dropper, a small saucer and a mortar and pestle. Begin by wiping down the vigil light with a little bit of ammonia to cleanse it of any previous energy. When it is dry glue the above Bill-Bu$ter Vigil Candle Label (above) to the front of the candle.

    Combine some of the dried mint, cinnamon chips, and chamomile in the mortar. Add nine drop of Wealthy Way Oil and grind the mixture up with the pestle. As you grind the herbs together talk to them and tell them what it is that you wish them to do. When you are done, set the herbs aside for now. Using a nail, or Phillip’s head screw-driver, bore four holes in the vigil light at equidistant points around the wick. Carefully fill the holes in the Vigil Light with your herbal mixture. Place three drops of Wealthy Way Oil in each of the hour holes and finally plug each hole with a small piece of pyrite chunk. Set the candle aside for now.

    Using the permanent marker, write PAID IN FULL over all of your bills in big bold letters. Lay the stack of bills on your ritual space and place the saucer on top of them upside down. Place your Bill-Bu$ter Vigil Light on top of the over-turned saucer. Place your hands a few inches over the vigil-candle light and and visualizing your desire, pray for prosperity.

    Your prayer may be extemporaneous or you may wish to pray from the scripture. Some of my favorite bible-verses for prosperity work include:

    • Psalm 23 (The Lord is my shepard…)
    • Psalm 35:27 (The Lord has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant)
    • Psalm 37: 3-11 (Delight in the Lord and he shall give thee the desire in your heart)
    • Psalm 84:11 (The Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will be withheld)
    • Psalm 85:12 (The Lord will give that which is good and the land shall yield her increase)
    • Psalm 118:25 (Save me now, O Lord, send me prosperity!)
    • 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 (The Prayer of Jabez)

    When you are done, place your left hand over the top of the candle and pick it up with your right hand. Gently tap the candle on the altar three times and then return it to the over-turned saucer. Light the candle and let it go to work for you. The following day, and each day thereafter as the candle burns, return to your altar and repeat your prayer with sincerity and faith.

    When the candle burns out, inspect it for signs of your work. Finally, burn the copies of your bills and scatter the ashes at a place where two roads meet (the crossroads).

    Carolina Dean

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    A Ritual To Bless Your Tarot Cards

    Making a habit of cleansing one’s tools and materials is a very important practice to maintain. You may think that you are safe with a new deck of tarot cards, however the materials use to make them probably have been handled, the machines used to manufacture them are maintained by people whose energy can be transferred to the cards through the manufacturing process, and the final product is probably handled by at least one person for quality control.

    If you purchased your deck from an online store, you don’t know the environment they have been stored it, how they have been handled, or how many people have handled them. If you purchased your deck from a brick-and-mortar store you then have to take into account all the employees who may have handled the deck but also the number of customers who picked up the box and considered buying the deck before you came along and purchased it.

    Objects can, and often do, absorb energy from its environment and the people in the environment. Human thoughts and emotions can transcend time and space so what makes you think a little thing like cardboard and plastic can keep out these energies?

    Here’s a ritual to cleanse a new (or even an old) tarot deck. To perform this ritual you will need:

    • Tarot Deck
    • Blessing Oil
    • King Solomon Wisdom Oil
    • Psychic Vision Oil
    • Candle
    • Blessing Incense
    • Holy Water
    • Salt
    • Clean, White Cloth

    Begin by setting up your ritual space and placing the items before you in a manner pleasing to your eye. When you are ready, light the candle and incense and then anoint your hand with Blessing Oil, King Solomon Wisdom Oil, and Psychic Vision Oil. Open your cards and look through the deck. Examine each card and notice how you react to each image. Take your time moving through the deck. Next shuffle the cards several times and get a handle for how they feel.

    When you are done hold the cards over the Salt and say: “As this salt cleanses and purifies, may these cards be cleansed and purified and serve me to reveal, instruct, and prophesize!”

    Shuffle the cards again and then hold them over the Incense and say: “As this incense moves ever skyward, may these cards always be used for the highest good and represent my purest ideals.”

    Shuffle the cards again and then hold them safely above the Fire Candle and say: “As light dispels darkness, may these cards dispel the shadows of fear and ignorance, revealing only the highest truth.”

    Shuffle the cards again and then hold them over the Water and say: “As water is fluid, may I always remember that the future is ever changing, and that it is mine to create through the choices that I make.”

    At this point you may or may not wish to perform your first reading with your cards. Finally, wrap the card in a clean, white cloth and put them in a safe place until you are ready to use them again.

    Carolina Dean

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    How I Conduct a Tarot Reading

    Before the Reading
    I start the session by telling the seeker a little about the Tarot, what it will and will not tell them. I explain that the Tarot is simply a tool and that it has no power in and of itself. A reading is like a road-map, it provides information so that you can make the best possible choices for yourself. I explain that the future is not fixed or fated and that the power to make positive changes in life is within the power of the individual through the choices that they make.

    Pre-Reading Ritual
    My pre-reading ritual consists of my spreading out a cloth to lay the cards upon. In addition I light a candle and set out a clear glass of water. As I do this, I silently ask for guidance in order to give the individual the best possible reading. I take out my cards and pass them over the water to cleanse them. Then I ask the client to cut the cards and put them back together. This card usually gives me an indication of the persons current mood, outlook, the issue they are dealing with, etc and I use this as the persons signifier (see below).

    Formulating the Question

    I talk to the seeker about asking the right questions and this is often the most difficult part of any reading. I tell the person to avoid asking such questions as Will I ever get married? Will I lose weight? Will I find a soul mate? Will I get pregnant?

    Instead of asking questions such as the above, I usually advise the seeker to restate them like such: My partner seems to lack a sense of commitment, can you tell me if I am making the right choice by being with him/her? I am on a weight loss program, can you tell me if I am making wish choices that will help me reach my goal? I can seem to meet a compatible mate, can you tell me what I am doing wrong? I am trying to get pregnant, do you have any advice for me?

    If the person has never had a Tarot reading before, and are unsure about what they want to talk about, I usually do a general reading and then if they have further questions address them in a separate reading.

    Choosing a Signifier

    A signifier is a card that is meant to represent a person who is either posing the question or who is the subject of the reading. Before reading the cards, remove the card from the deck that represents the individual, or subject of the reading. There are many different methods which have been used to determine a person's signifier, or calling card, the most traditional of which concerns itself with matching the individual's age and temperament to the pip, or face, cards in a tarot deck. For example, adult males are Kings, adult females are Queens, whereas young adults and teenagers are Knights and children are pages. Other methods include:
    • Some readers determine the suit to use for a person's signifier by using the element associated with the person's Sun Sign. Using this methods Wands represent the fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius), Cups represent water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces), Swords represent air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and Pentacles represent earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn).
    • Some readers determine the suit by considering the person's temperament. Wands are driven, over achievers, Cups are emotional and empathetic, Swords are the intellectual types, and Pentacles are earthy and creative.
    • Some readers take into account the individual's coloring. For example, Wands represent blonds, Cups represent dark blond to light brown, Swords represent Red heads, and Pentacles represent dark brown to black hair.
    • One of the simplest method of determining a person's signifier which I know utilizes the Magician for a Man, the High Priestess for a woman, or the Fool for anyone. In other instances, you may wish to take a more literal approach and use the Empress for a pregnant woman, the Emperor for a male authority figure, The Hierophant for a Priest or member of clergy, the Chariot for a race car driver, The Moon for a psychic, the Sun for a person with a "sunny disposition", The Death Card for a mortician, etc... However, keep in mind that you are not limited to the Major Arcana when choosing signifiers. The same creative vision can be applied to the Minor Arcana for this purpose. For example, the Six of Swords can represent a sailor, or ferry worker. The Nine of Pentacles can represent someone with a green thumb and a love for animals. In addition, depending on the deck you have, there may be cards that are not in a traditional deck.

    Shuffling and Cutting

    The cards are to be shuffled in the most comfortable manner either by riffling them or shuffling them hand over hand. If you are reading for yourself, you shuffle your own cards, but if you are reading for another, they are to shuffle the cards. Some readers prefer to have the client hold their signifier while shuffling the cards themselves, however, this is not my personal practice.

    While the cards are being shuffled, the person shuffling them should concentrate on the specific question or issue that they wish to know more about. If while you are shuffling the cards, any cards which fly out of the deck are collected and placed aside face down. After the reading, these cards can be consulted for extra information.

    There is no certain number of times the cards are to be shuffled, just shuffle them until they feel right to you. Once you are done shuffling the cards they are cut into three stacks to the right and then placed back together again to the right, or some prefer to do this at random

    The Reading

    The cards are then collected by the reader and arranged according to a spread. A Spread is a term used to describe the pattern in which Tarot-Cards are laid out after shuffling them and prior to reading them. Usually, but not always, each position in a spread signifies an area of life, a feeling, one's thoughts, or a specific time period such as the  past, present, or future. The meaning of a tarot card is read according  to its position in the spread. The cards are read in relation to the position it occupies within the spread. As you read the cards, you attempt to weave the reading into a cohesive story, being specific as you possibly can.
    If after all the cards have been read, and the person needs more clarification on the matter that I usually take a card from the bottom of the deck and read it as I would any outcome card.

    After the Reading

    Often after the reading, the person will want to discuss some of the things that you have said during the reading, giving you confirmation on your insights. When given such information it may help you to further guide the individual and set them on the right path. However, if the person does not offer you any feedback, don't pressure them. Often during the reading, the person may not be able to connect what you are telling them with the question asked, but later, after much thought, it may make sense.

    Payment for Readings

    I never charge brother or sister witches for readings, or even close friends or family members. However, when reading for the general public, I advise them to pay me what they feel the reading is worth. The reasons for this is not that I do not have confidence in my abilities, but simply to get around the fortune-telling laws in many states which forbid charging for fortune-telling.

    When I read for a paying client, I normally have a plate on the table for the person to leave their offering as I prefer no to touch the money until they have gone.

    Carolina Dean

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    Dear Santa

    Dear Santa,

    How are you and Mrs. Claus? I hope you're keeping warm up at the North Pole. My name is Dean and I am 37 years old. I have been good all year. I have eaten all my vegetables (even the broccoli), and said my prayers every night. I have kept my room clean and not gotten into any trouble. 

    I have observed all the Esbats and Sabbats. I have helped my fellow man whenever I was able in whatever way I was able. I have donated to the poor despite falling on hard times myself,  I have contributed to the well-being of others, and even helped an old lady cross the street! In addition I have not violated the Wiccan Rede and I have only broken one commandment. I'm sure you know which one, but she had it coming and if you review the situation I am sure that you will agree with me. 

    This year I would like the following things. 
    • A new Husband, although I'd take a used one as long as he isn't too damaged. 
    • A cell-phone upgrade
    • A new car
    • Cherylindrea's Wand 
    • The Mountain Dream Tarot Deck  
    • A Copy of Eve's Bayou (Region 1) 
    • A fully-functional omegahedron
    • Some Runts
    • A Skeleton Key  
    • A Charmed Book of Shadows replica 
    • A pony 
    • An Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.
    • An Ever-Lasting Gobstopper 
    • Papa Justify's receipt book 
    • An autographed picture of Tom Welling (preferably shirtless)
    • Two Tickets to Paradise
    • A Maltese Falcon
    • A Rambaldi Device
    • Pandora's Box 
    • Some Unobtainium
    • Aunt Morgana's "recipe" book
    • An All-Spark 
    • A Continuum Transfunctioner
    • A Rabbit's Foot 
    • A Genesis Device
    • A Copy of Voodoo Without Sacrificing Chickens
    • An Audio-Vibratory Physio-molecular Transport Device 
    • A Matter-Wand 
    • A Magic Carpet 
    • The One Ring 
    • A Horcrux
    • A Cloak Of Invisibility 
    • A Hex Bag 
    • A Resurrection Stone 
    • A Horn of Plenty 
    • An Orb of Thesulah
    • A Tedarka Talisman
    • A Flux Capacitor 

    I will be leaving out some milk and sugar cookies as usual. Please clean up after yourself when you are done by placing the dirty dishes in the dishwasher; and please bring your own plastic bags for Rudolph's 'leavings'. Also I would like to remind you to please do not come into my bedroom to check on me if you hear screaming and moaning. We don't want a repeat of what happened last year. That guy still want return my phone calls or emails.

    Merry Christmas, 


      Tuesday, November 30, 2010

      Understanding Court Cards

      Many students who are new to the Tarot often have a difficult time in learning exactly how to read Court Cards. The Court Cards are the Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages of any given suit. With four suits and four court cards to a suit there are sixteen court cards in a standard deck of Tarot Cards.

      The four suits are said to relate to specific professions associated with them. For example:
      • Wands represent merchants.
      • Cups represent the clergy. 
      • Pentacles represent businessmen. 
      • Swords represent the military.
      Court Cards are often used as a signifier in a reading. A signifier is a card that is meant to represent a person who is either posing the question or who is the subject of the reading. There are many different methods which have been used to determine a person's signifier, or calling card, the most traditional of which concerns itself with matching the individual's age and temperament to the Court Cards. For example, adult males are Kings, adult females are Queens, whereas young adults and teenagers are Knights and children  of either gender are pages.

      Other Methods of determining a person's signifier include, but are not limited to, the following:

      • Some readers determine the suit to use for a person's signifier by using the element associated with the person's Sun Sign. Using this methods Wands represent the fire signs (Aries, Leo, Sagitarrius), Cups represent water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces), Swords represent air signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) and Pentacles represent earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn).
      • Some readers determine the suit by considering the person's temperament. Wands are driven, over achievers, Cups are emotional and empathetic, Swords are the intellectual types, and Pentacles are earthy and creative.
      • Finally, some readers take into account the individual's coloring. For example, Wands represent blonds, Cups represent dark blond to light brown, Swords represent Red heads, and Pentacles represent dark brown to black hair
      • Another method of determining a person's signifier utilizes the Magician for a Man, the High Priestess for a woman, or the Fool for anyone. In other instances, you may wish to take a more literal approach and use the Empress for a pregnant woman, the Emperor for a male authority figure, The Hierophant for a Priest or member of clergy, the Chariot for a race car driver, The Moon for a psychic, the Sun for a person with a "sunny disposition", The Death Card for a mortician, etc...However, keep in mind that you are not limited to the Major Arcana when choosing a signifier. The same creative vision can be applied to the Minor Arcana for this purpose. For example, the Six of Swords can represent a sailor, or ferry worker. The Nine of Pentacles can represent someone with a green thumb and a love for animals. In addition, depending on the deck you have, there may be cards that are not in a traditional deck.
      • In my personal practices, I simply have the person cut the cards before the reading. The card which is on the top of the deck after they are cut is drawn and used as that person's signifier. 
      Generally speaking, the numbered cards (Ace through 10) represent day to day events and actions (the what), while the court cards represent the people who participate in these events and actions (the who). The Major Arcana concerns itself with the deeper meaning, or the why, behind the who and the what. In my experience, court cards can represent any of three things in a reading. They are
      1. An aspect of the seeker's personality
      2. Another individual in the seeker's life.
      3. Events or Movement
      Aspect of the Personality

      Either for better or for worse, people often change. Change can come quickly, or slowly over time as a person matures. The truth is a person's personality and temperament can change from day to day or situation to situation. We all probably know someone who is a wall-flower around strangers but who becomes the life of the party once he or she gets to know the crowd. Then there are those who are very outgoing online, but very shy and reserved in person. In certain instances, it is entirely possible that two or more court cards can represent aspects of one personality.

      Some readers apply astrological archetypes to the cards. In the Golden Dawn System the Kings, Queens, and Knights of each suit are assigned to specific Astrological Signs and given their attributes. Such as

      • The King of Wands represents Aries, the Leader. 
      • The King of Pentacles represents Taurus, the Provider. 
      • The King of Swords represents Gemini, the Judge
      • The King of Cups represent Cancer, the Adviser. 
      • The Queen of Wands represent Leo, the Achiever
      • The Queen of Pentacles represents Virgo, the Supporter
      • The Queen of Swords represent Libra, the Worrier
      • The Queen of Cups represents Scorpio, the Healer 
      • The Knight of Wands represent Sagittarius, the Adventurer
      • The Knight of Pentacles represents Capricorn, the Gambler
      • The Knight of Swords represents Aquarius, the Trouble-Maker 
      • The Knight of Cups represents Pisces, the Lover 

      In these instances the Pages are not given any astrological attributes.

      Other Individuals

      More often than not, court cards represent other individuals in the life of the seeker. These can be people that we presently know, people from our past, or a person who will be coming into our life--depending on the position of the card in the reading. In these cases the same astrological attributes as given for the individual can apply to other individuals in the seeker's life.

      Events or Movement
      Sometimes a court card can represent an event or movement concerning the issue being asked about. Traditionally, Pages are said to represent messages while Knights represent some type of movement or lack thereof. Kings are read as logical, fixed, and sometimes stagnant. Queens are read as emotional, fluid, and wishy-washy. Knights are read as being in a state of flux. Pages are read as potential, influences not fully formed.Whenever you are unsure, you can always refer to surrounding cards for more information. 

      Getting to Know You

      Here is an exercise that will assist you in getting to know the Court Cards better. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. In the left hand column list the 16 court cards. Now one by one, meditate on each card and write down three traits associated with that card. Finally, in the third column list the name(s) of an individual who fits that description. 

      For example: The King of Cups 


      1. A man of business, law, or divinity. 
      2. Sympathetic to others, yet logical.
      3. Gives Good Advice 

      1. Bill Clinton 
      2. Dr. Drew Pinsky
      3. Judge Wapner

      Carolina Dean

          Wednesday, November 24, 2010

          Be a CAPTAIN of Industry!

          Customer Service

          Customer Service refers to the assistance given to a customer before, during, and after the sale. However, it not only refers to the level of assistance that is given but also the manner in which that service is given. Let’s look at two examples.

          • Example One

          You walk into an establishment looking for a specific product, but you are unsure where it is located in the store. You approach someone who works for the store and ask them about the product. Without stopping what they are doing, the employee points in the general direction of the item and simply replies that it is on aisle three.

          • Example Two

          You walk into an establishment looking for a specific product, but you are unsure where it is located in the store.  An employee notices your hesitation and approaches you. He or she looks you in the eye, says hello and asks you how they may help you. When you tell them what you are looking for they take you to where the product is located in the store. Before leaving, he or she asks if you need help finding anything else.

          Which business are you more likely to go to the next time you need something? Hopefully you said number two. Just like any other business, the spiritual practitioner who recognizes the core value of providing good customer service will attract customers and ensure their loyalty so that they keep coming back to you for all their magickal needs.

          There are few spiritual practitioners for whom their practice is their only source of income. Many spiritual workers often have day jobs that have nothing to do with their spiritual practice. If you are a spiritual worker who has never worked in the field of customer-service, this is an area of your practice in which you will have to educate yourself.

          How to be a “Captain” of Industry

          CAPTAIN is an acronym which represents seven principles which are paramount to providing your customers with good customer service. The letters stand for Communication, Accountability, Positivity, Treatment, Above and Beyond, Initiative, and Need.

          Communication- Unlike in earlier years when people often traveled to see a spiritual practitioner in person, most workers today provide their services over the internet and/or phone. As technology such as email has become more accessible to the general public new rules of behavior have emerged with which many may not be familiar. Below I’d like to share some insights into effective communication with clients.

          • When speaking with a client on the phone, smile. The client will not see it, but the energy will come through over the phone.
          • When speaking with a client on the phone, turn off any background noise such as the radio or your television.
          • No matter how friendly you have become with a client, always keep your wording professional. Observe the same rules that you would if you were mailing a business letter to another.
          • DO NOT use emoticons or internet slang such as LOL, LMAO, ROFL.
          • Before sending your email, check it for spelling and grammatical errors.
          • Whenever possible, always try to return phone calls before the end of the business day and respond to emails within 24 hours.
          • Communicate updates/changes to customer in a timely manner.

          Accountability- As a spiritual worker you are the face of your practice and you’re often its sole employee. Therefore, you must be prepared to be fully responsible for your customer’s complete satisfaction. This means:

          • Apologize and accept responsibility for the problem or issue.
          • Don’t make excuses or blame others.
          • Don’t make up answers. If you don’t know why the problem occurred, let the customer know that you will get back to them.
          • The focus should be on solving the issue or problem and ensuring that it does not happen again.

          Positivity- Would you go to a doctor who was always sick? Hire a mechanic whose car was always broken down? Seek advice from a dietician who was overweight? As a spiritual worker, customers come to you to improve their life in some way. Because you are a spiritual worker, they expect you to have your own life in order. Therefore it is important that

          • You always adopt a positive attitude.
          • Remember that your time with your client is about them, not yourself. Therefore, you should never discuss your personal problems with your client.
          • The exception to this rule is using yourself as an example of how you overcame a past problem. It is perfectly fine to give advice to a client from the position of someone who has been in the same situation and how successfully resolved the issue or problem.
          • If your problems are such that you cannot effectively assist your clients you should be honest with them, refer them to another worker and suspend your practice until you get your own life in order.

          Treatment- We are all familiar with the golden rule, which states “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What this means as a customer service representative is that you should treat your customer they way in which you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. Sometimes you will be given the advice to treat others the way you would treat a loved one. However, you should keep in mind that…

          • If you listen attentively to your clients they will tell you what they expect out of their relationship with you.
          • You cannot box all people into the same category. What works for one person will not work for another. You will have some customers who will want to keep things very professional and other customers who will want to be your friend and keep things very informal.
          • People change. You may have a customer who starts off wanting a professional relationship that develops into a more informal one.
          • Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from clients.

          Above and Beyond- You’ll often hear this phrase in the customer service industry, but what does it mean? Well going above and beyond refers to not only meeting but surpassing a customer’s expectation. Some of the ways in which we can go above and beyond for our customers include:

          • Train your memory to remember your client’s specific issues or needs when you hear from them. For example you pick up your phone and the first thing you hear is “Hi, this is Sally from Montana”. If Sally is one of your customers, you should immediately know who she is and what her previous issues are. You may reply by saying “Oh Hi Sally, how are you? The last time we talked you were having a problem with a co-worker. What can I do for you today?”
          • It is normal to have clients mail you items for your work such as personal concerns, petitions, etc… and to provide you with basic information about themselves such as their date of birth. You can make a habit of keeping track of your client’s birthdays and mailing them a hand-written card along with a coupon for your service such as a free 30 minute reading or the setting of a Vigil light and candle-burn report.
          • Practice service after the sale. Don’t wait for clients to get back to you about results, make it your habit to follow up with clients and make sure they are happy with your service and or product. For example a customer’s Vigil Light burns down with positive signs and you direct the customer to wait 3 weeks to watch for movement on the issue. Make a note on your calendar to follow-up with that customer in three weeks.

          Initiative- Initiative refers to being pro-active with your potential clients and customers. Remember in our example above how the employee approached the customer and asked them if they needed assistance? To provide effective customer service you often have to be willing to take the first step. Some of the ways that we can take the initiative include:

          • Be Approachable. You never know when you are going to run into a potential client. It is important that you always conduct yourself appropriately when in the public and project a warm, friendly manner. For example, you may be at the concession stand at the movies when someone approaches you asking “Aren’t you that tarot lady? I’ve always wanted to have a reading done but I’m scared of receiving bad news.” The manner in which you react can either drive more business to you or away from you.  
          • Recognize those in need. You may be in line at the supermarket and strike up a conversation with someone else in line. Through your conversation you may learn something about them that would lead you to believe that they would benefit from your products and/or services. You may identify yourself as a spiritual worker, give them some brief advice, and leave them with your card.

          Need- Need refers to identifying exactly what your customer needs which may be different from what they want and helping the customer to understand how your service can address their issue or problem. So of the ways we can recognize our customer’s needs include.

          • Showing the client that you care.
          • Actively listen to your customer and ask questions to clarify statements.
          • Understand and respond to their specific needs.
          • Explain their options in relation to your product/service and how it can address their issue.

           These are just some of the way that you as a spiritual practitioner can strive to provide your clients with a high level of customer service, attract new customers, and keep them returning to you again and again.

          Carolina Dean

          Saturday, November 20, 2010

          MM: How to Recognize a Good Customer

          I often see people online and in various forums seeking "a good reader/worker". There seems to be some debate on what exactly separates a good worker from a bad worker. 

          Many workers have their own personal policies and procedures which they have instituted to lay the ground rules for their services, make their practice run more smoothly, and weed out undesirable customers.  Obviously what works for one customer will not work for another.

          Some of the major complaints I read about include:
          • The reader was not accurate. 
          • The worker did not produce results. 
          • The worker didn't respond to calls/emails promptly
          • The worker didn't have a good rapport with the customer 
          • Results were taking too long to manifest.
          In my last installment of this series on 'magickal marketing" I gave six characteristics of a good Rootworker or Spiritual Practitioner. Other workers may disagree with me, but I like to think that the best workers are those that hold to the attitude that they don't work for you as much as they work with you. However, today I'd like to turn things around and talk a bit about how a Spiritual Practitioner recognizes a "good customer" or how to be a good customer.

          Characteristics of a Good Customer

          Knowledge of the Tradition. A good customer will often have some knowledge of the tradition of magic that their worker practices or of magickal principles in general. These types of customers may be amateur practitioners themselves or have successfully worked with another practitioner in the past. A customer who has some knowledge of the tradition will often understand instructions better than a customer who doesn't know anything about magic at all. The worker will not have to waste time explaining the basics of how to take a spiritual bath, how to dispose of a candle wax, etc... and can focus on answering the more immediate questions regarding your case. If the reader/worker charges by the hour, half-hour, or even the number of questions it will also save the customer money to educate him or herself about the basics of the work.

          In addition, a customer who is also a practitioner or has worked successfully with another worker in the past will often have a greater belief in the tradition, or in magick itself, which will go a long way towards helping him or her obtain their desires. 

          Honesty. A good customer will be honest about his or her situation and answer all of the workers questions truthfully and to the best of their ability. Reasons a customer may fib about their situation may include  embarrassment, an unwillingness to take responsibility for their predicament, or to make themselves look better in the eyes of the worker. Just like it is important to be honest with your medical doctor about your symptoms, medical history, etc... it is important to be honest with your worker so that he or she can correctly address your issues or problem. A detail which you believe may be trivial may actually lead to a breakthrough or solution.

          Clearly Defined Goal.  A good customer will have a clearly defined goal and know exactly what  it is that he or she needs versus what he or she wants and can prioritize their issues. For example, a customer may approaches you about gaining a new, unknown-lover, but after asking a few questions you find out that the individual has lost their job, has no means of income, no prospects for a new job, and are facing eviction! The customer is putting their wants before their needs.

          In other instances you may have a customer who only thinks they know what they want. They may be desperate, they may be coming from a place of deep emotional pain, their judgment may be impaired, or they may not know how to express what it is they really want. A very good example of this is in the movie Eve's Bayou. In the film a young girl learns that her father is cheating on her mother. The girl goes to an unscrupulous spiritual practitioner and pays for her services thinking that she would get a voodoo doll of her father in return which she planned to stick full of pins. She later finds out that the practitioner has put a death-spell on her father who actually dies later in the film. In this case the girl was hurt over her father's actions and the doll was to be her way of acting out her pain but she didn't really want her father to die.

          Understands the Value of Time.  A good customer understands that time is money. Therefore he or she will actually 1) Pay for his or her appointment and 2) Show up on time. Many readers allow customers to schedule an appointment online and then be directed to a secondary website such as paypal to pay for their appointment. When they make the appointment but do not pay for it that slot is unavailable for another customer, which costs the reader money

          A reader may have several readings scheduled throughout the day, and he or she will often allow a certain amount of time between readings to go the bathroom, return phone calls and emails, or simply regenerate themselves with a few cleanings breaths or a quick meditation. When you fail to show up for your reading or consultation on time that can throw off the workers schedule. Most readers and workers will have a notice somewhere on their website that states their policy in these matters. They will usually allow anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes before canceling your appointment after which you will not receive their service. If you fail to pay for a scheduled reading or fail to show up on time you may find that the reader will not refund your money and may not allow you to schedule future appointments. 

          In addition a good customer will make an effort to understand what they will get for their money. For example, many workers charge a certain fee for the setting of lights, and in return the customer can usually expect to at least get a candle burn report and possibly a photo of the spent candle in return. However, some customers may wish for more. I have known customers who wanted daily reports on how a vigil light is burning. I personally don't know of any worker who provides daily reports on vigil lights as things change from day to day and they would rather wait until the candle is spent. Some customers may just want to 'check in' with you on a daily basis to let you know how things are going and get reassurance in return. Many workers are very busy and schedule every moment of their day. If you as a customer are not happy with what you are getting in return for a service and want more then you should expect to pay more money.

          Has Reasonable Expectations. A good customer will have reasonable expectations about the work and how long it will take to manifest. In addition, he or she will not wait until it is almost too late before coming to a spiritual practitioner with their issues. For example, a customer who has been arrested for an offense such as drunk driving and who comes to you the night before their court date. In this instance, you may or may not accept the case depending on your personal policy or divination concerning the outcome. Some workers even require that they have a certain amount of time to work on an issue before they will or will not take a case. Cat Yronwode recently gave an example on the LMHR Radio Hour of a worker who requires at least 9 days before a court date before she will accept any type of court-case work.

          Can Follow Directions. This ability could fall into the first category above but it bears emphasis here. A good customer is someone who can follow directions. Hoodoo is a form of magickal practice that has certain rules which are traditional and should be followed to the best of your ability in order to be successful in your endeavors. Just like when you hire an accountant or a lawyer, when you engage a spiritual practitioner you are making an investment in your own future. Hopefully you hired your worker because they seem knowledgeable about their tradition, you have a good rapport with him or her, and you trust their advice. 

          I'm not saying that you should blindly follow your worker, but do so with discretion. When a spiritual worker directs you to rise before dawn to take a spiritual bath, they are not being arbitrary, nor are they trying to inconvenience you. However, should your worker suddenly tell you that you are cursed and have to give them hundreds or thousands of dollars of your own money so that they can cleanse it for you in order to take off the curse then I think a second-opinion would be in order to say the least. Also, if you don't understand instructions it is perfectly acceptable to get clarification to ensure that you are following them correctly. 

          These are just a few characteristics that, in my opinion make a good customer. In and of themselves they may or may not be reason enough for a worker to refuse your case or drop you as a client. Therefore it is important for you as the customer to educate yourself about the policies and procedures of your Spiritual Practitioner as well as to familiarize yourself with how they work, what to expect from their services and make the most of your time and communication with your worker. 

          Carolina Dean