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Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Write Your Own Spells in the Hoodoo Tradition

Spells. Workings. Jobs. These are terms used in Hoodoo to describe acts of magic which are performed to achieve one's goals. Spells are performed for virtually any conceivable purpose including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Prosperity
  • Health
  • Protection 
  • Love
  • Controlling
  • Sexual Desire
  • Justice 
  • Banishing Evil
  • Cursing 
  • Success
  • Domination 
  • Blessing 
  • Death 
  • Confusion
Chances are, if you require a spell, one already exists. However, if you cannot find a spell or working which fits your specific needs then you can write your own and here is how to do it! As you begin to write your own spells, you may want to record your progress in a special book or journal.

Step One : Identify the Problem 

The first thing to consider before casting a spell is the reason you want to cast a spell in the first place. Magick should never be done simply for the sake of magick. There must be a real need or a powerful drive behind a spell, or it may fail. While considering your reasons you may wish to eliminate all distractions and sit quietly with a pen and paper in order to write down your thoughts. If you desire, you may also light a candle and ask for wisdom and inspiration.

Step Two: Determine a Course of Amelioration  

Once the problem or situation has been defined, you must then consider how you wish to address the issue. What is it that you really want? However, keep in mind the tale of The Monkey’s Paw, wherein the farmer wished for a large sum of money only to have his wish come true by collecting on his only son’s life insurance policy after the son dies in a horrible accident. It is important that you consider the consequences of your actions. 

To help you decide the best course of action to ameliorate your problem, or bring about your chosen goal, a divination should be performed. The divination could be performed by yourself or another. The most popular tools used to perform divination include:
  1. The Bible
  2. The Pendulum
  3. The Tarot 
  4. Dreaming True
If you cannot perform a divination for yourself, or have another individual do it for you, it is wise to wait and "pray on it". Prayer is your direct line to God, your Ancestors, and/or Guides. If you pray to them, they will answer you in dreams, with signs, and with omens. 

Step Three: Identify a Higher Power to Petition

The spiritual world is inhabited by a plethora of spirits, deities, and various powers such as:
  • God
  • Gods and Goddesses
  • Demi-Gods
  • Spirits of the Dead (Ancestors, Saints)
  • Familiar Spirits 
  • Plant/Animal Spirits 
  • Anthropomorphic Spirits  
Some of these spirits are known for assisting humans in their endeavors and some will only help you if you pay their price. Different spirits require different types of payment, or offerings, in return for their help such as food, water, candy, coins, cigars, etc...Some spirits are known for assisting you in certain areas of your life or for certain needs, while others are of the catch-all variety. For example, Ganesha is known for helping one to remove obstacles and open the way while the Intranquil Spirit will help you return a lost love.

Most workers usually have an established relationship with their spirits, but if you are just starting out you are going to have to foster a relationship with your spirits and guides. Practitioners of Hoodoo who are Catholic may direct their prayers and petitions to God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, Angels, or even Saints. In those areas, such as New Orleans, where Catholicism was absorbed into the beliefs and practices of Voodoo a Catholic practitioner of Hoodoo may also petition those deities associated with the religion of Voodoo.

Spiritual workers who were raised in any of the Protestant denominations usually direct their prayers and petitions to “The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” or simply “in Jesus’ name.”  In some instances where the biblical figure of Satan merged with the trickster-deity of the crossroads, these practitioners may direct certain types of prayers or petitions to the devil. However it should be noted that, in these instances, the devil and Satan are thought to be two completely different entities.  In other cases, they may direct their petitions and build altars to spirits of the dead or even to spirits and/or deities outside their religion.

Step Four: Write a Petition 

A written petition is a physical representation of your intention and is the first step in clearly framing your goal. In the Hoodoo tradition, one is typically advised to write one's petition on brown paper torn, usually from a grocery type sack, on all four sides by hand. This is thought to make the paper pure. However, there are instances where the practitioner is allowed to cut the paper with a pair of scissors. The use of scissors is seen as symbolic of using weapons such as swords, knives, and daggers against one's enemies. Some situations in which you would cut your petition paper with scissors can include when driving two people apart, or working enemy tricks.

In my personal practices, I prefer the paper to form a perfect square. However, I've never seen any reference where this was a traditional rule sacred to the practice of Hoodoo. Ideally I like to use brown paper bags and lead pencils or regular ink pens whose colors match my goal (red for love, green for money, etc…) and usually paired with black for contrast.

A written petition can take several forms, such as:
  • A brief paragraph clearly stating your goal. 
  • Your own name written several times in a row.
  • Another person's name written several times in a row.
  • A name crossing and covering another name. 
  • A name crossing and covering a description of your goal. 
  • Any combination of the above. 
For example, a prosperity petition would have my name nine times in black ink and crossed nine time with 'prosperity' in green ink. If I am writing a petition that will have an effect on two people, such as bringing them together or driving them apart; I will cross one name with the other and write what I want to happen in a circle around the names. If I am writing a petition that is meant to command or compel another person, I will write their name in all lower case letters and cross and cover their name with my command in all caps (usually with a sharpie). Again, my specific command will be written around the names in a circle.

Petitions are incorporated into spells in several ways, including being placed under a prepared-candle, tucked inside a mojo-bag, or sewn into a doll to name a few.

Step Five: Research and Gather Your Signatures 

Once you have prepared your petition, the next step is to research the signatures that relate to your goal. Signatures are those things that vibrate at the same, or similar, frequency as your goal. The are based on a concept known as the Doctrine of Signatures which states that God marked all things with a sign, or signature which indicates its use or purpose. Signatures are grouped into three classes. They are:

  • Astrological- Astrological signatures refers to the energies of the Moon Phases, Days of the Week, Hours of the Day, and the position of the Moon in the Zodiac, etc... as they pertain to the timing of casting your spells.
  • Natural- Refers to those things occurring in nature which relate to our goals in a direct manner. These correspondences include color, shape, sound, numbers, herbs, incense, gems, elements, animal energies, deity energy, the energy of the cardinal points, the winds, oils, incenses, etc….
  • Personal- Those signatures which resonate with us on a deeply personal level, and which empowers us more than any other correspondence.
For example, the New Moon is a time for goals pertaining to drawing in, or increasing, certain influences and conditions; the colors green and gold are associated with wealth and riches. Therefore a basic spell to increase one's wealth would entail writing your wish on a piece of paper and placing it under a green or gold candle when the moon is New. The candle would be lit with your sincere prayer to a higher power for increase wealth and prosperity as the moon grows.

Step Six: Determine Your Medium 

The next step in crafting your spell is to decide how you will use the correspondences that you have chosen. There are several flavors, or types, of magical applications available to you. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

These types of magic can be used alone or in conjunction with others. For example, herbs are often included in mojo bags, or you may burn a candle while soaking in a prepared-bath. To use these various modes of magic, you will have to learn for yourself how each application works.

There are several ways to determine the correct medium for your situation. They include divination with a pendulum, the Holy-Bible, or even the Tarot. I know one worker who has suggested that the suits in a tarot spread can determine the correct medium for you to use. According to her Wands (fire) represent candle-magick; Cups (water) represent the magic of charged waters or spiritual baths; Swords (air) represent incense; and Pentacles (earth) represent the magic of dirts, talismans, and/or mojo bags. 

In addition inspiration for various spells may come from certain cards or combinations of cards. For example, the Three of Swords next to the Lovers may indicate that a lover may be drawn back by constructing a doll-baby of him or her and piercing the heart with three pins. 

If these options do not yield any results for you, you may pray for guidance. When this occurs, pay attention to what is going on around you because the answer may lie in a dream, a sign, or an omen. In other instances you may mentally hear instructions or you may simply know what it is that you must do. You will often know that you are doing the right thing because it will feel right for you. 

Step Seven: Determine Your Timing 

In the book of Ecclesiastes 3:1 it states that "to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." In rural communities, farmers were known to plan different activities such as planting, castrating bulls, harvesting, etc... by signs. In like fashion, some workers have interpreted this scripture to mean that certain times are efficacious for spiritual workings as well.

This belief works on the principle that certain energies of the Sun, Moon, and Planets are in sympathy with one’s goal.  Considerations include
  • Moon Phase
  • Moon's Sign
  • Day of the Week
  • Time of Day
For example, the New Moon is for fresh starts and new beginnings and Friday is associated with Venus, the planet of love; therefore, a spell to draw a new unknown lover to yourself would best be performed on a New Moon on a Friday.

Step Eight: Perform Your Working

The final step, of course, is to perform your spell and record it in your magickal journal. This will be a record of what you did, when you did it, and what you used. You may also include any other information that you feel is pertinent to the situation. Your journal will become a valuable resource in the recording of information that you will often refer back to in your studies. Be sure to leave room in your journal to record the results, if any, of your spell or working.

In Conclusion 

When people think about magick, they often assume that its all about burning candles before strange altars, sticking pins in dolls, or chanting gibberish in order to instantaneously bring about their wishes. They often believe that magick will make their life easier, when in fact it is very hard work! The truth is that it takes a long time to learn how to successfully practice magick. In fact, magick is a science and an art that in all likelihood you will never master—which is why witches, magicians, and sorcerers are said to practice magick. 

However, much like many other aspects of life, magick itself is subject to certain rules (for lack of a better word) which the earnest student can use as a guide to creating his or her own spells and thus moving one step closer to bringing their dreams into reality.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Curse of the Mirrored Box (Hoodoo)

The curse of the mirrored-box is a very old type of reversing spell used in folk magic traditions to send evil back to its source. The source is usually another individual who is attempting to work evil upon a victim. Interestingly enough I first heard of this type of spell on an episode of Baywatch Nights.

There are several methods of constructing a mirror box. The most traditional method I know consists of purchasing, or otherwise obtaining, a new mirror. It is very important that you do not allow this mirror to capture your own reflection because you don't want to get any part of yourself mixed up in the spell. However, it can be very difficult (almost impossible) not to allow this to happen....unless you are invisible. The mirror is usually covered with a cloth and broken with a hammer or rock.  Finally, the individual pieces are glued inside a box. The box can be made of anything such as a cheap chipboard box like those found in craft stores, a shoebox, a small jewelry box, etc....I have even known crafty practitioners who make their own boxes to resemble tiny coffins in which they place dolls.

Other methods of creating a mirror box include, but are not limited to, gluing one small mirror to the inside bottom and inside lid of a an altoids can, constructing a box from 6 mirror tiles (four walls, a ceiling, and floor) with the mirrored side pointing inwards. Alternately, if you are in a hurry you can simply press a person's photo, hair, name-paper, or other small personal concerns between two mirror tiles. The tiles can then be bound with cord, twine, or even tape (yes duct tape has its uses in the magickal world too.) 

From there, The curse usually consist of ritually placing a prepared-doll, photograph, or other representation of the individual inside a mirror-box. The ritual can also include the burning of reversing candles and should be accompanied by one's sincere prayer that any evil the perpetrator is sending against you be directed back at him or her. In my own personal practices, I burn a prepared reversing candle on top of the box itself saying something along the lines of "[N], may all the evil you send to me now and forever return to you!" The candle is then allowed to burn down over the box, sealing the person inside, and setting the curse. 

Some practitioners choose to only keep the person inside the box until they feel that the danger is passed or until the individual learns his or her lesson. In these cases, the doll is removed from the box and the box is destroyed. Other practitioners go a step further and take the mirror-box to a graveyard where they petition a spirit to guard over the box and keep the individual "down". Once a spirit has agreed to these terms, the box is buried at their grave along with payment. 

As is the case with many curses, in the Hoodoo Tradition, it is very important that you consult with your divination tool, spirit guides, etc... to determine if this method is justified in your situation before you decide to invoke the Curse of the Mirrored Box. 

Now, I can't share the Curse of the Mirrored Box with you, without also explaining the Reverse-Mirror Box Spell. The Reverse-Mirror Box Spell is similar to the Curse of the Mirror-Box in that it is a box which has been decorated with mirrors on the outside, rather than the inside.  Some individuals create such a box by taking 6 mirror tiles and gluing them together to create a box with the mirrored-side facing out. Inside the box the individual would place a prepared doll, photograph, name paper, or written petition representing them self rather than another person. 

The purpose of such a mirror box is to protect the individual from any and all negativity that may be directed at him or her regardless of where it originates. However, some folks say that this type of box will also prevent you from receiving the blessings as well. It is up to the individual to decide if this type of protection spell is appropriate for their situation.

Happy Hoodooing!