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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday School: The First Commandment


Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me. 
                                                                                           ---Exodus 20:3

Moses the Law-Giver

Commentary: The Ten Commandments are widely believed to be the moral foundation of the Christian religion. The first four commandments concern themselves with the relationship between God and the people, while the last six commandments concern themselves with the relationship between people. However, it is the first commandment that I would look to talk to you about today. 

In the book of Matthew Chapter 22, when Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment his reply is given as "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind." He is also believed to have said "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." However, his former answer has come to be known as the first, or greatest, commandment. 

The First Commandment, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me" has been interpreted by priest, biblical scholars, and evangelist to paint the Christian God as a jealous and angry god who forbids the worship of any god other than he alone. This belief has lead to many atrocities in history from the burning of witches, to the murder of Jews, Muslims, and anyone unwilling to convert to Christianity. However, I believe, that there is another interpretation of this verse that is much more in line with a loving God who wants only the best for his people. 

Before I analyze the first commandment, let us review exactly who and what "God" is. When I was a child, I believed that God was an old man with white hair and a long beard who lived in the sky and saw everything that everyone did. We were told that his grace fell upon a virgin who gave birth to Jesus, his "only begotten son" who was also God himself. I was taught that he loved us, but only if we were afraid of him and obeyed his commandments. 

When my spiritual journey took me away from Christianity and I found Wicca I was taught that "god" was our Mother AND our Father. Through the cycle of the seasons the Goddess gives birth to the God who grows, matures and becomes her lover; that he impregnates her and dies only to be reborn again. We did not worship them inasmuch as we honored them, and we were empowered to take total responsibility for our thoughts, words, and our deeds. 

When I rediscovered the folk-magic practices of the South and began learning more about Hoodoo and Conjure, Jesus re-entered and I had to reevaluate my view and perception of him. Whereas I some magickal practitioners seemed to treat Jesus as some kind of genie, or viewed him as a mythological figure,  I see Jesus as the ultimate example of what man's relationship with God can be.
Throughout my spiritual journey, whether I prayed to Jesus, burned a candle to Hestia, danced in circles with witches, engaged in ritual sex with a trusted partner, one thing was constant, one thing was held by all the religions and belief systems I studied. That is, God is love. Think about that. God is Love.

With that in mind, let's read the first commandment again. Thou shalt have no other gods before me (love). Notice too, that the verse reads no other gods before me. Not before or after me, but simply before me. What this means to me is that no matter who you choose to worship, honor, petition, etc....you should always put love (God) first. If you put love first, it doesn't matter if you worship Kali, Buddha, Jesus, Diana, Damballah, Kernunnos, or any other god. 

This should sound familiar to those of you who are my Wiccan and Pagan readers. Have we not said to one another "Love is the Law, Love Under Will"? Have we not said "Do what ye wilt, so long as ye harm none?" It would seem that upon closer inspection that Christians and Pagans have more in common that meets the eye.  And there is no reason why we, as humans, cannot co-exist in peace so long as we love god and love others.

In Conclusion

When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he said that it is to love god and love everybody. It is my belief that God is love and so long as we put love first we we are living godly (loving) lives and it doesn't matter whether you call God (love) Diana, Kali, Buddha, Kernunnos, Damballah, or by any other name.  I think that this is a basic philosophy that anyone of any positive religion can agree upon. 

Blessings,

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beyond Remains: Divination with Candles



Types of Divination

Magickal practitioners have long used candles in their work to perform divinations, as well as to cast spells. Most forms of divination with candles takes three forms, they are:

  • Pyromancy: By the Actions of the Flame.
  • Ceromancy: By the wax left behind, or poured into cool water.
  • Capnomancy: By the movement or pattern of smoke during/after a fire. 

Pyromancy, or divination by fire,  itself can be broken down into several subcategories of divination. However, most of these subsets consist of either 1) observation of the flame 2) burning materials such as dried herbs, bones, or shells and 3) a combination of both.

Review: About Signs 

Burning a candle for one's goals is akin to a journey. The top of the candle represents the beginning of your path and the bottom of the candle is where you end up regardless of your intended destination. The signs or marks that appear on a candle (soot, wax, etc..), the behavior of the flame,  the events that transpire while the candle is burning---these things act as a record of your journey, your experiences, and what you can expect to occur.

For example, a candle that starts with a weak from but grows stronger as it burns could indicate that you got off to a bad start but that you will achieve your goal. Conversely, if you candle starts out burning strong but burns out with a slow, weak flame could indicate that you got off to a strong start but your goal will not manifest. If you were burning a glass-encased candle there may be dark smudges on the glass at the point where things went wrong. The pattern of the smudge may indicate who, or what, interfered with your working. If you were burning a free-standing candle and there was wax leftover, there may be signs in the form of symbols that were left behind in the wax.

Beyond Spells and Workings

You need not be performing a spell or working to use candles for divination. In another entry I describe how you can use candles to Perform a Spiritual Checkup. In a similar fashion, you an use candles to divine answers to subjective or specific question. I will describe two methods below. 

The first method consist of choosing a candle whose color matches the nature of your question. For example, if your question concerns love you may use Red, or Pink; if money, green; if protection, blue, etc....Next, you can write your question directly on the candle itself, hold it in your hands while thinking intently on your question, or writing your question on a scrap of paper and placing this under your candle or burning it in the flame of the candle after it is lit.  Finally, light the candle and watch it for signs and omens which should speak directly to the nature of the question. 

This next method is used specifically for questions of a subjective nature (i.e. yes or no). Write your question on a piece of paper, and place it between a black candle (representing "no") and a white one (representing "yes"). Finally light the candles and watch them closely. Should the white candle burn out first, you answer is no; if the black candle burns out first, the answer is yes. 

This second method may be used to determine the name of a thief, potential lover, or other choice. You can have more than two choices by increasing the number of candles, just be sure that you know which candle represents which person or outcome by slipping a piece of paper under each candle with its designation written on it or draw a little diagram for yourself so that you know which candle is which.

For example, you have three potential suitors: Tom, Dick, and Harry. You each of their photos under its own red candle and light them. Tom's candle burns out half way through, and Harry's candle burns weak and eventually drowns in its own wax. However, Dick's candle burns strong and bright long after the other two flames have died. Therefore, Dick the person that is right for you. 

Spirit in the Flame

As we have seen spiritual practitioners and rootworkers have traditionally placed a great deal of emphases on the behavior of a spell-candle's flame and signs that may have been left behind after its burning.  However, candles themselves can be used as tools for divination in a similar manner as Ouija Boards and Pendulums.

The technique that I am about to share with you is one that I discovered quite by accident. I have not seen any other practitioner use this method of divination, nor have I read about it in any book, blog, or other written form of communication. 

When I was a member of a small coven, we often got together on regular occasions for ritual, teaching, field trips, and socializing. The boyfriend of one of the group's members had been having difficulty with the passing over his mother a year prior. The boyfriend was skeptical of our witchcraft, but we decided to get together to perform a seance so as to help the boyfriend make peace with his mother's passing. 

We sat at the dinner-table in the center of which was placed a ouija-board. The lights were dimmed, a single white-candle was lit and we invoked the Goddess for protection (this was a Wiccan circle). The four of us placed our hands on the planchette. As the leader, I explained why we had come together that evening and petitoned the spirit of the mother to come forward and communicate with us if she was both inclined and able. The planchette slowly swirled about the board, but the movement was weak and whatever power which moved it seemed unable to spell out any message.

Determined to help bring healing to the situation, we continued asking for the spirit to appear and speak with us. At some point, my attention move away from the board and to the candle we had lit. It was then that I noticed that all the while we were focusing on the board the candle flame had been jumping up and down! I took my hand off the planchette and addressed the candle directly. "Naomi, is that you?" The candle flame rose up about four inches, then returned to normal. 

Wary of trickster spirits, we asked Naomi a series of yes/no questions (with the help of the boyfriend) to which only she would know the answer.  Knowing that the spirit had a 50/50 chance of getting any subjective question we asked right, we took our divinations a step further. A simple question was asked followed by the slow recitation of the alphabet. When the flame rose up at the correct letter, it eventually spelled out simple words and phrases. Using this method of spirit-contact we were about to help heal the pain of the boyfriend's loss and he was able to move at with his life at peace. 

The Spirit of Divination

After establishing contact with Naomi, I used the same technique to establish communication with my own ancestors. I improved the process by placing the candle near my spirit-pot on the Ancestor Altar where I  interact with the spirits of my Ancestors on a daily basis. Through the help of my ancestors, I was able to come into contact and develop a relationship with my familiar-spirit, or spirit-of-divination.

Though I initially communicated with my spirit-of-divination through the candle, he has since taken up home in a special house in the form of a human skull. The top of the skull comes off and I am able to place items inside. I started off with two black-eyed peas with which the spirit is able to see into both worlds, a cowrie shell through which is is able to speak (the shell resembling a mouth), and a small piece of amethyst which is said to aid in divination. 

He (I have been instructed not to reveal his name, nor to post any pictures of his skull) can now be found on my reading-table where I keep my main deck of tarot cards, my pendulum, and a copy of the Psalms and where I do most, if not all, of my divinations. I often have discussions with the spirit while in the process of reading the cards and he has helped me greatly in the practice of interpreting the Psalms.  

Conclusion 

Divination with fire is an ancient practice that has continually evolved throughout the centuries into several subsets of divination which mainly consist of burning materials, observation of the flames, or both. Modern spiritual practitioners emphasis observation of the candle flame, the manner of its burning, and any signs left behind with the candle is spent.  A candle may be used alone or in conjunction with other objects as tools for divining the answer to subjective questions as well as to communicate with spirits of the dead, as well as other types of spirit.

Happy Hoodoo-ing!


Monday, July 9, 2012

Mailbag Monday: Too Many Mojos!

Dear Carolina Dean,

I currently have 3 mojo-bags. One is for [love-drawing], one is for [keeping money], and the third is for [work.] I will be traveling out of the country in a few weeks and I would like to make one for [protection while traveling], however I am concerned that I would have too many mojos.
Is there a such a thing as having too many mojos? Can having several mojo's actually work against me. How many can I carry at one time? Help!

Signed,

Mojo Mama in Mississippi


Hi Mojo Mama!

Your Mojo is Your Friend
You pose a very good question and one that I hear often. Many rootworkers emphasize that a person's mojo is alive and that it is not simply a charged object but rather a spiritual ally. Therefore, owning a mojo-bag, for lack of a better word,  is a huge responsibility and in many respects it is akin to owning a pet. Just like you build a relationship with a pet you have to build a relationship with your mojo bag---this means giving it the proper food (oils) and care as well as spending time with the mojo communicating your wishes and giving it lots of praise and encouragement when it is working for you.

That being said, my opinion is that you should never have more mojo-bags than you can successfully care for and maintain at any one time. For some people that number may be low, while for others it may be high. It really depends on the individual. Supposing your mojo-bag was properly fixed and consecrated,  it should stay strong and working for you so long as you give it the proper care and maintenance.

How many mojo-bags you carry at any given time is entirely up to you and you have several choices in the matter. You can carry all your mojo's on your person at one time, or you can selectively wear them at certain times and/or on certain days. In my personal practices, I currently have three mojo bags. They are a love-mojo, a money-mojo and a success-mojo bag. 

I carry my success-mojo on the job every day so that I will be successful in my profession. However, I carry my love-mojo on me in the evenings and on weekends when I am away from work and socializing. Finally, my money mojo bag is carried on Fridays when I get paid and on the first day of the new and full moons when they are fed with appropriate conditions oils and prayed over.

You may wish to only carry your love-drawing mojo on Fridays as Friday is associated with Love; or carry your money mojo on the day of the week that you get paid. Ofcourse you will want to carry your safe-travel mojo bag on you the entire time that you are traveling abroad. 


Happy Hoodooing!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Blam-Scam, No Thank you Ma'am!

or..How NOT to Leave a Comment for Carolina Dean 




We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you the following announcement. It seems that I have become the latest target for what appears to be a very prolific blammer. For those of you not in the know, a blammer is someone who submits blam or blog spam in the comment section of your blogs. Such comments are often unwanted solicitation to other goods and services and sometimes the links will lead you to malicious malware that can seriously f*ck up your computer or potentially make you vulnerable to identity theft. So if you own a blog, or you read any blogs be very careful about clicking on any links you read in blog comments.

The person who has attempted to leave the above comment on three of my blogs this week identifies herself as Doris Pinto. Doris Pinto can be contacted at Dorispinto1001@gmail.com. It is my hope that all the world will know that Doris Pinto (Dorispinto1001@gmail.com) is a no good, lousy SPAMMER. Doris Pinto (Dorispinto1001@gmail.com) is not welcome to comment in this blog. This and all future comments made by that lousy, no good SPAMMER Doris Pinto (Dorispinto1001@gmail.com) will be marked as SPAM and deleted never to see the light of day in this blog.

It would serve Doris Pinto (Dorispinto1001@gmail.com) right if she was signed up for every newsletter, mailing list, etc.. in existence so that she Doris Pinto (Dorispinto1001@gmail.com) being the lousy SPAMMER that she is would get a taste of her own medicine.


You may now return to your regularly scheduled bullshit.


Monday, July 2, 2012

Mailbag Monday: Man's Purpose in God's Design

Dear Carolina Dean,

I was reading your site where you said that God marked everything he created with a sign that indicates its use in medicine and witchcraft. For example, you say they walnuts will help heal head-wounds because they look like a person's head. If this is truly the case, then what does your doctrine of signatures say about man's purpose in God's design?

Signed, 

Sybok 

Hi Sybok, 

Thank you for your question. First of all, the Doctrine of Signatures (DOS) is not my own concept but one that has been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It can be found in many cultures and has been written about numerous times. Two of the most popular writers on the subject of the DOS are Paracelsus von Hohenheim (1493-1541) and Jakob Bohme (1575-1624). In addition, Nicholas Culpepper’s often reprinted herbal takes the doctrine of signatures as common knowledge and its influence can be detected still in modern herbal lore. 

That being said, the Holy Bible states that man was created in the image of God; therefore, I believe that man's purpose in God's design is to be as God himself. What I mean by that is, on a very basic level, we are here to love one another as God loves us. We are to use the power of that love to heal our souls, to nourish our spirits, to learn that we are more than our physical bodies.  If you would like to get more specific, then I'll reiterate what I have shared before on this subject.  Whenever I have been asked, What do you believe? Who do you worship? This has been my response. 

"That which has been called God and will herein be referred to as Spirit is neither male nor female, but rather is both androgynous and asexual, and which exist as pure love.  Because we as humans find it difficult to identify with someone or something that is simultaneously male, female, and neuter we attempt to understand Spirit by associating it as one or more of many archetypes, including male, female, and even sometimes animal forms as in Ancient Egyptian and Native American belief systems. For example, a woman who has been abused by men may find strength and comfort in a divine being who is a Warrior-Goddess; or a gay man wishing to draw closer to God may see him as a beautiful man who loves and accepts him.  

Many individuals find it extremely difficult to accept forgiveness and unconditional love, as represented by Spirit. Therefore, rather than take responsibility for our own failings, humans have often painted their concept of God as having traits which we find undesirable within our selves resulting in mythologies that portray God as jealous, petty, and cruel, as well as loving, kind, and generous.  Those who are in pain, who blame 'god' for their lot in life or who feel disenfranchised or cast out by society may need to see 'god' as the Satan because they have never experienced true love, or friendship.

All living things from humans to animals, and plants, all the way down to the “lowest” forms of life carries within their self the divine spark which is that part of themselves that is Spirit and which is connected to all living things and seeks to reunite with the original source of this light (the cosmic consciousness).Spirit experiences what it means to be alive through the divine spark within all life. Spirit shares the full range of human and non-human experience, such as falling in love, being scared, being lonely, being hungry, being happy, being healthy, etc….Through the divine spark in the plants and animals, Spirit knows what it means to be sacrificed as food in order for other life to continue, what it means to be planted in the Earth as a seed, to grow and sprout and join the natural order. 

Therefore, Spirit has the highest compassion for every living thing and the desire for all living things to reach their highest potential and to be in harmony with one another." 
 
This philosophy speaks to my spirit. It has allowed me to heal the emotional wounds of my past and embrace a God that I once turned away from simply because I did not believe that I was worthy of "his" love the love that is there and available to anyone...whey they are ready.
 
Blessings

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bottle Spells in the Hoodoo Tradition

Hoodoo Protection Bottle
This type of magic consists of spells which have been sealed inside bottles or jars. The jars themselves can be plain or they may be decorated with paint, ribbon, cloth, charms, decoupage, or anything of an aesthetic value. From the type of bottle used, its color, the herbs, roots, curios, condition oils,  petitions, etc...that are placed inside of them----everything about bottle spells speaks to the nature of the work being performed. For example, a bottle spell to hotfoot (or drive away) an enemy would traditionally be made from an old used bottle of hot-sauce; whereas a bottle spell for healing may be made from a pill bottle.

Arguably, the most popular form of bottle-spell is the witch-bottle for protection. Witch-Bottles consist of bottles which have been filled with broken pieces of mirror, pins, needles, razors, and other sharp instruments. In some cases, depending on the practitioner, herbs or other curios may be placed inside the jar before it is filled with the individual's urine and sealed. The bottle is then secretly buried on the property of the person who made it (usually near the front door) in the belief that it will attract and destroy any evil that is directed towards them.

What you do with your jar largely depends on the nature of the work. They may be kept on an altar where they are worked at regular intervals, they may be buried on or off your property, they may be thrown into running water, they may be left at a crossroads or some other variation of disposing of your work.

Types of Bottles & How to Use Them

Picture
A Honey Jar

Honey Jars

Honey Jars are a type of container-spell which uses sweeteners such as honey, syrup, molasses, etc… in conjunction with the burning of a series of fixed-candles for the purpose of compelling an individual to favor your petition in business, love, or court-cases.

A typical honey jar is created using a small glass container, such as a baby-food jar, that has a metal lid and filling it with honey. Depending on your specific intent as well as what herbs, curios, and/or personal concerns you have available, additional items may or may not be placed inside the honey. At the very least, a written petition should be placed inside the honey. The jar is then sealed and a prepared candle is affixed to the top of the lid.

The candle is lit as one’s prayer or petition is made and then allowed to burn itself out. The following day, and each successive day for a total of seven days, a new fixed candle is burned on the honey-jar to heat up the situation and get movement on your issue. After the first seven days, a new fixed candle is burned three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Theoretically, honey-jars work on various principles including sympathetic magick and correspondences.

Sympathetic magic is a concept which states that “invisible bonds connect all things.”  It can be divided into two distinct subcategories. They are:

  • Homeopathic Magick holds that “like attracts like.” While making the petition for a honey jar, the practitioner will often ask that the individual it is intended to affect will become as sweet to the practitioner as the honey is to the taste.
  • Contagious Magick holds that “things once in contact with one another continue to exert an influence on one another after they have been separated.” When available, the personal-concerns of the individual the honey jar is to affect will be included in the jar so that it will have a more powerful affect on him or her. Examples of personal concerns include: blood, hair, semen, photograph, handwriting, etc….

Correspondences refer to the relationships that can be used for magickal workings. They make use of how things relate to one another. It is helpful to think of correspondences as a list of possible ingredients from which you can make selections. Correspondences are present in the form of the herbs and or curios, if any, that are included in the honey jar as well as the color of the candle chosen and the type of condition oil with which it is anointed.

The term correspondences can also refer one’s choice of time in which to work the spell. Choices include the Moon Phase, Moon’s Sign, Day of the Week, and Hour of the Day. Most honey jars are worked for positive purposes, therefore they will often be begun while the moon is Waxing, or growing in size. The reasoning for burning the candle on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays has to do with the planetary correspondences attributed to those days of the week as well as their associations.

  • Monday: The Moon, emotions
  • Wednesday: Mercury, Communication
  • Friday: Venus, Friendship and Love

As most honey jars are worked for love and friendship, the burning of the candles on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays is to communicate the emotion of love and friendship to the individual and have those feelings returned in the form of having one’s petition granted.

Although most honey jars are worked on individuals, I have seen instances in which honey-jars have been worked on inanimate objects/concepts such as “Prosperity” in order to get that concept to favor the petitioner. In other instances, I have seen honey-jars worked on entire cities.

In the first instance, the petition was written on a two-dollar bill which was wrapped around a lodestone fed with magnetic-sand. The jar included herbs for money drawing and increase such as cinnamon, chamomile, thyme, and basil to name a few. Finally, green candles anointed with Money-Drawing Oil were burned on top of the jar three times per week.

As you can see, honey-jars are a powerful tool to sway others to your cause and win favors in business, love, or even court cases.

Vinegar Jars

Vinegar Jars are a harmful type of bottle spell used to sour a person's life. They are usually created by placing the individual's personal concerns in a jar along with your specific herbs, curios, petitions, etc... and then filling the bottle about 3/4 of the way with vinegar. Similar to doll-baby, you ritually call that person's spirit into the bottle and then shake it everyday or on certain days, moon-phases, etc..calling their name and affirming that their life will become "as sour as this vinegar".

It is important that you safely store your vinegar jar when not in use as the gases in the vinegar have been known to build up causing the bottles to explode. I usually place mine in a minimum of three ziplock bags and store them in the storage shed off my patio.

Hot-Foot Jars

Hot-Foot Jars are used to drive away enemies and other troublesome individuals. They are typically made from bottles of hot-sauce. In fact, one Rootworker taught me the following hot-foot spell to drive off an enemy. Purchase a bottle of Texas-Pete hot sauce. When the moon is full, write your enemy's name 13 times backwards on a piece of paper, roll it up away from you and insert it in the bottle. As the sun goes down, take the bottle and shake it several times calling the person by name saying "John Brown, as another day is gone and can never return may you leave this place and don't come back!" Do this every day for 12 days as the moon wanes and on the 13th day you toss that bottle in running water.

Break-Up Bottles

These types of bottles are used to bring about the end of a person's relationship. Although they are commonly used on romantic or married couples, I have known folks to employ these types of spells to break-up friends and even business partners! In addition to the personal concerns belonging to the individuals, break up bottle usually contain an assortment of herbs and curios that are thought to make people argue and fight such as pins, needles, nails, red-pepper, black-pepper, black-cat hair, and black-dog hair. Similar to a  Hot-Foot Jar, you would shake the break-up bottle at regular intervals calling on the two individuals to argue and fight until they separate from one another.

Conclusion

Picture
A Peaceful Home Jar
 
Bottle-spells are a versatile type of magic which can be adapted to virtually any purpose. Everything placed inside the bottle as well as the bottle itself will speak to the nature of the work being done. They may be plain or decorated as in the Peaceful Home Jar (at left) which has been decorated with verses from the Holy Bible.

In addition to the types of bottles and jars listed above, you can find bottle spells for virtually any condition including Love-Me, Boss-Fix, Follow-Me, and Un-Crossing to name just a few.

How you use your jar will depend on the purpose of the jar. They may be kept worked at regular interval, they may be buried, they may be thrown into running water, left at a crossroads, a graveyard, or some other variation of disposing of your work.


Happy Hoodooing