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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Abate Weight: Weight Loss Workings with Rootwork

Before I begin this blog entry let me begin by saying that no spell, ritual, or working alone will cause you to lose weight (especially a large amount of weight.) In fact, losing a substantial amount of weight takes time but the formula is pretty simple: eat less + exercise more + patience = weight loss. However, you should always consult your doctor or physician before beginning any weight loss program 

I would also like to say that in addition to the workings below as well as eating less and increasing my physical activity I have lost 8 pounds in the last 6 weeks myself. My magical regimen for weight loss is three fold and is made up of the following:

  • Daily Prayer / Affirmations 
  • Weekly Fat Flush Spiritual Bath 
  • Monthly Abate Weight Candle Spell 

Daily: Prayer / Affirmations

My day starts with the following prayer:

"Help me O Lord to refrain from defiling the temple of my body for the sake of food, but rather to release every weight and sin that clings to me and run with endurance the race set before me. In Jesus name. Amen."

This prayer is taken from two verses in the Bible. They are Hebrews 12:01 and Romans 14:20 


Weekly: Fat Flush Spiritual Bath 

Make a tea of Hyssop and pour this into a warm bath. Place a few drops of Cast off Evil oil in the bath. Remove your clothing and sit in the bath for a few minutes. When you are ready,  sincerely recite these words or something similar:

"Have mercy upon me, o God, according to your loving kindness, according to the multitude of they tender mercies blot out my transgression.  For I acknowledge my transgression, and my sin is ever before me. Behold I am shapen in iniquity. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse from from my sin.  Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be white than snow. In Jesus name. Amen."  

Your may recognize these words from Psalm 51, though they have been slightly re-arranged to suit our purpose. 

Next, using a cup or bowl scoop up some water and pour it over your head over and over saying:

"As the water runs down, wash away the unhealthy fat from my body. As the water runs down, wash away the temptation to overeat, the temptation to be lazy, the temptation to accept my present condition as it is when I know it can be better.  As the water runs down, cleanse me in mind, body, and spirit; strengthen my resolve and empower me to achieve my weight loss goal. In Jesus name. Amen."

Rise and step out of the tub. Dress in clean clothing and capture a small portion of your used bath water. This is to be carried to a strong, old tree where it is poured over the roots asking the tree to take your fat and grow. 


Monthly: Abate Weight Candle Spell 

When the Moon is Full, take a yellow- candle and carve the amount of weight that you wish to lose in the wax (be reasonable). Incidentally, I chose yellow not for it's traditional color symbolism but rather because whenever I have seen images of body fat it appears to be yellow. Therefore, in this case the candle represents your own body fat. 

Dress the candle with Cast off Evil Oil and then rub it over your body where you want to lose weight. You know your own problems areas, but they are typically the stomach, buttocks, double-chin, the inner thighs, and upper arms, etc....

Set the candle in a holder. Light it and say:

"With God's blessings and assistance, as this candle burns so may I successfully burn those calories necessary for healthy weight loss; as it melts away, so may the unhealthy fat melt off my body. As the moon above wanes, so may I shrink down to my target weight of (target weight). In Jesus name. Amen." 

When the candle burns down, dispose of any remains off of your property. 


Conclusion 

As stated above. There is no spell, ritual,  or working that will make you lose weight without also making positive changes that include diet and exercise. However, the spells and workings above will help support you in the spirit of your goal. 

Blessings, 

Rev. Carolina Dean 

PS: I should also mention that I carrying a weight-loss mojo bag of my own design to assist me in my weight loss goal. I entertained the idea of sharing the recipe here, but once I am successful and know the mojo works for me (and so far it has), I may offer it for sale to others through Carolina Conjure. 


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Law of Attraction Tarot Spread

The Law of Attraction tarot-spread is of my own creation and I have been developing it over the last few weeks.  After practicing it on myself, friends, and offering free readings to potential clients of my rootwork practice I feel that it is a very good spread and would like to share it with you, my readers, today. 

Review: Definition of Terms 

Law of Attraction: A belief that a person will attract and manifest that which they focus their conscious as well as their subconscious thoughts on. 

Tarot 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 Law of Attraction Tarot Spread 

Use this spread to identify your thoughts and feelings in general or about a specific subject and see how your thoughts are manifesting your reality and what you can do to improve your condition or situation. 

The Spread 


  1. This card represents you at the moment. It is not chosen beforehand, it is a part of the reading. 
  2. This card represents your feelings. 
  3. This card represents your thoughts 
  4. This card represents what you are manifesting. 
  5. This represents what you should do to address your condition. If card #4 is of a positive nature, this card indicates how you can continue to manifest that which is positive. 
  6. This represents the outcome.

Sample Reading 

Our question comes from "Jack", he states that he is "unlucky in love", that he cannot meet anyone or that the women he does meet he can't seem to get close to. He would like to know how he can improve his condition.

The Cards 




Interpretation

The five of wands tells me that you are a person who has a great deal of conflict at the moment about your situation. You want love and a relationship, however, you are hesitant to position yourself to be both physically and emotionally present and available so that you can receive love. 

The five of pentacles represents what you are feeling. This is not a happy card. Your loneliness is tangible and manifests as depression and bitterness.  Notice how one figure in the card is looking down and another is looking up and neither is looking ahead of themselves.  You don't really envision a future for yourself in which anything has changed. 

The three of swords represent what you are thinking. Again, this is not a happy card. It represents pain and suffering. I feel like your thoughts are centering on a past break up or a lost love that you are not completely over.  Like the swords stuck in the heart, you are stuck in a certain mindset. When two people break up or end their relationship for whatever reason there is a sense of loss in many cases and one or both parties goes through a grieving process from which they eventually move on. However, it would seem that you have become stuck in the grieving stage and have not yet moved on. 

The Ten of Swords represents what you are manifesting. Based on this card, I would venture to say that your last relationship ended due to infidelity on the part of your partner leaving you feeling dejected, defeated and betrayed. This has resulted in your inability to trust anyone or get close to them for fear of being betrayed again. This is the source of the internal conflict mentioned earlier.  

The Star represents what you can do to improve your ameliorate your condition. Just like the female figure in the card who has removed her clothes, you must remove these negative thoughts and beliefs. While you believe that these thoughts protect you from getting hurt again, they also keep you stuck in the grieving phase unable to move on and heal. The first thing I want you to do is stop thinking of yourself as "unlucky in love", instead I want you to think of yourself as lucky in love. I want you to practice saying affirmations both out loud as well as internally. You may want to say something such as "Every time I turn around there's a new attractive woman who wants to date me" or " I frequently and effortlessly attract single, beautiful women". I am also recommending a series of spiritual bath for healing and road opening to help you move forward. 

The Two of Cups represents the outcome of following the advice of the cards. I would have preferred to see The Lovers here, but this is also a very good omen. Many readers have a tendency to see the images in the Tarot as external influences, and they often are; but sometimes that are also internal influences. In the beginning of this reading the five of wands spoke of your internal conflict, but with the two of cups your internal forces (thoughts and feelings) are working together for you rather than against you. I also feel that this augurs that you will meet someone that with whom you are compatible. Success often comes in degrees so while she may not be "the one", she will help you to heal and move forward so that you know that love is not only possible but inevitable. 


Blessings,

Carolina Dean 



Saturday, October 17, 2015

Container Spells

Container spells are similar to bottle spells in that they are spells which are housed in some form of container. Common containers include bottles, jars, boxes, but also blown out egg shells or even potted plants. However, doll babies and mojo-bags may also be considered a type of container spell.

The container may be decorated beforehand to indicate its specific purpose or to identify the person that it is intended to affect. This is especially helpful if you have several container spells and wish to quickly identify them. Otherwise they may also be left plain and un-decorated.

Items placed in a container spell often resonate with the purpose or intended outcome of the spell. In the case of a love spell to draw a lover, certain herbs, roots, seals, curios, personal concerns of your targeted individual, as well as your petition, and any other items deemed necessary will be placed in the container. Each item will be prayed over, and possibly dressed with a specific condition oil, for its specific purpose as it is placed in its container. When all items have been placed in the container, it is ritually sealed and prayed over.

In my personal practices, I typically use tea-lights to ritually seal a container spell. Tea lights are known to burn hotter than regular candles. If the container spell is for a positive purpose I place three tea-lights around the container in the form of an upright triangle. If the purpose of the container is to move something away or for a negative end such as enacting revenge on an enemy the candles form an upside down triangle. A fourth tea-light will be placed on top of the container.

The "triangle" candles are lit one at a time in the name of the Father (light first candle), the Son (light the second candle), and the Holy Spirit (light the third candle). Finally, the tea-light on top of the container is lit and you make your prayer or petition. I also have incense burning on the altar during the ritual to carry my prayer to heaven.

What is done with the container afterward depends on the purpose of the spell. For instance, if it is to hot-foot an individual away it may tossed into running water, buried or left at a crossroads, etc..; if, however, it is for some type attracting or drawing something to you such as money or love it may be given a place on your altar where the container may be "worked" at regular intervals by burning candles on or around it, shaking it while making your petition, or praying over the container. In some instances, it may be buried on your property at the base of a strong tree to continually work for you drawing power from the living tree.

A Cursing Container Spell

This is one of my favorite conjures for enacting revenge on an enemy. I like working with dolls, especially for dealing with strong enemies or for doing enemy work over long periods of time. Once I have a doll made of my enemy, I will gather my container, petition, herbs, roots, personal concerns, etc...

The herbs, roots, petition, etc... will be placed inside the container which I have decorated and prepared before hand. Typically I will stick the doll full of pins all over the body as I announce my curses upon the head of my enemy and praying for their downfall. When I am done, the doll will be placed inside the container upside down (similar to the practice of burying bodies upside down in the belief that the dead in trying to dig their way out of the grave would dig deeper into the earth).

The container is sealed (this may or may not be permanent). In the case of permanently sealing the lid, I usually place glue on the inside of the lid before placing the screw-on lid back on the jar or container. I don't always permanently seal the lids on the container so that I can add items to it or take out the doll and and "work" it occasionally.

The container is placed in the center of three candles which form an upside down triangle as described earlier. The candles are lit and the container shaken violently as I make my prayer or call down curses on my enemy. As the container is shaken, the doll inside is violently thrown against the inside walls of the container and the pins are driven further into the body.

Afterward the container is hidden in a dark place at the back of a closet or cabinet. In some cases it may be placed on the floor behind the toilet. The container is brought out again at regular intervals (such as at the waning moon, when the moon is in the enemy's sun sign, or simply when you are in a bad mood) and shaken violently while calling down your curses again.

Once your container spell has served its purpose it may be disposed of. How you dispose of your container will largely depend on what the it was used for.I strongly suggest that you dispose of your doll in a manner consistent with the work. If the container was for a positive purpose and worked well for you, it should not come to a violent end such as burning or being thrown in water but rather buried with honor. If you are unsure of how to dispose of your doll, perform a divination or petition your spirits for answers.

Happy Hoodoo-ing!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Journaling: Mercury Retrograde and You


Another Mercury Retrograde (MR) has come and gone and many folks are breathing a sigh of relief that it is now behind them. The next MR will not occur until Jan 5th of next year and so I'd like to take this opportunity to discuss how you can better understand how MR affects you and you can be prepared for when it occurs. 

First, however, let's review exactly what MR is. Mercury Retrograde is a term that you have probably heard before but aren't sure exactly what it means. During periods of retrograde, a planet appears to move backwards from its normal trek around the sun. Those areas of life governed by the planet tend to suffer setbacks and breakdowns. There are many retrograde including Mars Retrograde, Venus Retrograde, Jupiter Retrograde, in fact all the planets turn retrograde at some point. However, Mercury Retrograde is arguably the one you hear about most often.

Generally speaking MR is associated with communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, computer and other electronic malfunctions as well as disruptions in traveling and movement. As Mercury, and the other planets, orbit our Sun they pass through 12 Astrological Signs. Each of those signs governs a different aspect of human life and culture. The sign in which mercury transits, or moves through, during MR indicates how MR will generally affect the masses.
However, to discover how MR affects the individual, one must cast their astrological chart to ascertain the house which mercury transits during retrograde.  Just like there are 12 signs, there are also 12 houses and they also govern different aspects of human life. During MR, mercury will transit through the the same Sign for everyone, however, it can pass through one of any 12 houses. For this reason, MC will affect different people differently. I have previously written how to determine which house mercury is transiting during MR in your astrological chart and ascertain how it will affect you. However, this is only the first step. 

Once you get comfortable with this process, the next step would be to keep a journal of the things which occur to you during the retrograde and compare it to your chart for accuracy. If you do this each time MR occurs you will eventually have notes for when MR occurs in each of the 12 houses. When MR occurs in one of these houses again, you will have a better understanding of how MR will affect you. Forewarned is forearmed, after all. 

For example. this past MR transited my 12 house of Karma and is characterized by a time of reviewing the past, evaluating the present and finding closure with old issues. For me personally this MR was about purging and healing. False friends were revealed and removed out of my life, I paid off a large debt freeing me from that financial burden each month, and I came to terms with a long standing issue personal issue and began the process of making decisions that will lead me to a healing. So the next time MR occurs in my 12th house I'll have a greater idea of what to expect. 

Granted this will be a long process as MR only occurs about 3 times a year and houses can and will repeat so it may take several years before MR occurs in each of the 12 houses in your chart. However, if you are interested in astrology, how MR affects you, and have patience this process will prove rewarding. 

Blessing. 

Links:


Sunday, September 13, 2015

When Vigil Lights Break: A Primer

First we must consider that there is no such thing as a "bad" candle. The Bible is filled with stories of God using the worst sinners to do great good, so it is not unreasonable that what we perceive as a "bad" candle is not part of God's plan and that even a poorly manufactured candle can and often does produce  accurate signs. 

A broken candle is typically considered a "bad" sign, however, it must be considered in relation to the type of candle that is being burned. If this candle is burned to bring some kind of increase or bring two people together it is a bad sign; if the work is for decrease, it is symbolic of a split or break to come and this often occurs in a sudden and unexpected manner. For example, 

  • if the candle is for money-drawing and the glass breaks, this may mean that the person for whom the candle is being burned will also be "broke" (i.e. have no money). If the break or crack results in running wax, it could augur their money running out and / or their inability to hold on to any money at all. 
  • if this candle is for keeping a lover such as follow-me-boy or stay-with-me, then this may be symbolic of a break or separation to come. 
  • if the candle was for success or achievement such as crown-of-success and the candle breaks off near the top or "crown", then this would be a bad sign. 
Sometimes a break indicates that the candle took a "hit" for you in the case of a protection candle; in other cases (such as crossing or hot-footing another) it may mean that the target is protected by spells or by a strong spirit. The target may be resisting your spell and is also fighting back. If you are petitioning a spirit, a broken or cracked candle may mean that the spirit petitioned does not wish to work with you or is warning that your actions or unjustified. 

In any case, a complete picture may only be obtained by closely inspecting your spent candle and considering the broken / cracked glass along with any other signs produced from burning your candle. In some cases, it may be necessary to consult your divination tool for clarification or further details. 

Blessings,
Carolina Dean 



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Making Your Own Oracle Deck



I was always fascinated by the cards. Some of my earliest memories of reading cards include the 1973 film "Live and Let Die" which features Jane Seymour as a tarot-card reader who retains her prophetic powers so long as she remains a virgin. Unfortunately, if my youth I was long on virginity but short on tarot cards and so I started out reading cards by using a deck of playing cards.

I started out by simply ignoring the major arcana and substituting the suits of the minor arcana in the playing cards for those found in the tarot. For example:
  • Clubs --- Wands
  • Diamonds --- Pentacles
  • Spades --- Swords
  • Hearts --- Cups

So that in a reading the meaning of the two of cups would be ascribed to the two of hearts and so on and so forth. Over time I expanded on these meanings by associating the twelve signs of the zodiac with the twelve pip (or people) cards.

For example:

  • King of Clubs (Aries- The Leader) outward appearance, ego, self identity.
  • King of Diamonds (Taurus- The Provider) money and material matters.
  • King of Spades (Gemini- The Judge) communication, siblings, short journeys.
  • King of Hearts (Cancer- The Adviser) home and family.
  • Queen of Clubs (Leo- The Achiever) love, children, and creativity.
  • Queen of Diamonds (Virgo- The Supporter) health, work, and pets.
  • Queen of Spades (Libra-The Worrier) marriage, agreements, and partnerships.
  • Queen of Hearts (Scorpio- The Healer) sex and death.
  • Jack of Clubs (Sagittarius-The Adventurer) spiritual growth, dreams, and long journeys.
  • Jack of Diamonds (Capricorn- The Gambler) career, ambition, profession.
  • Jack of Spades (Aquarius- The Trouble-Maker) friends, associations, and open enemies.
  • Jack of Hearts (Pisces- The Lover) karma, transformation, and self-undoing.


With regard to the numbered cards, I associated them in part with each of the 10 planets (Aces are the sun, 2’s are the moon, 3’s are mercury, etc…) and other numerological associations.

The problem, however, is that whereas the Tarot has pictures that act as a springboard for one’s intuition a reader of playing cards has to rely on his or her memory alone for the determining the meaning of a particular card. To address this, many readers will often mark their cards in some way. They may write little keywords on their cards in permanent marker, or use a lead pencil to place a little dot on one side of their cards to determine if a card is upright or reversed. Commercial decks are available, but they do not have the advantage of using your own personalized key words.

Another technique and one which I like and used myself consist of cutting keywords and phrases out of newspapers, magazines, etc… and gluing them to the cards.




The project took 4 days and was completed over two successive weekends. Each week I purchased a Sunday paper because it is usually the largest one and the one that would have the most words from which to choose. I also had an old dream book that was falling apart from which I was able to cull some words and short phrases. I was also lucky in that the first weekend I started this project a new phone book was left by my front door from which I also took some words. 


When all the cards were done, they were allowed to dry completely before a coat of clear seal was put on them to seal and protect the cards.  I used clear seal because that was just what I happened to have at the time, however, I suspect you could use a very light brown seal to give your cards an aged looked should you choose to do so. 

Overall I enjoyed the process and am really happy with how my playing card oracle turned out. 

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Modern Magic: The Best Apps for Rootwork & Rootworkers

I've talked about the use of modern technology in the past before. For instance, how you can use computer programs to manipulate a person's signature, alter their photograph, or create a sigil. Today, however, I would like to share with you some of my favorite apps (applications) that I personally use in my rootwork practice and which I feel helps me to be the best rootworker that I can be.   

Notes Master 

Notes Master is exactly what it sounds like. It is a tool for making notes in your iphone.  Some of its features include the ability to create different categories / files for notes, to password protect each category or only selected categories. You can insert multiple photos from your phone directly into your notes, format text, and have several options for background styles. In addition, you have the options to share notes directly from the app to an email address or post directly to facebook; print from your phone to a wireless printer, or change a note from one category to another. The best feature of Notes Master, however, is that it syncs directly with your google drive or dropbox account with a simple set up.

I use notes master in my rootwork practice to write candle burn reports for my clients. I have a file specifically for candle burn reports with subfolders for each individual client / candle. I use the app to insert data  such as the client's information, dates, observations, and photos. When I am ready to finalize my report and email it to my client, I simply go to my google drive and copy my notes into an email to my client. Before Notes Master, I kept hand-written notes on a legal pad which I transcribed into an email. I also had to take the candle photo, email it to myself, download it and then add it to my report. Incorporating Notes Master into my practice has streamlined my process and allowed me to provide my clients with their report faster. At only $3.99, I find Notes Master to be an invaluable resource.  

ILuna 

Iluna is an interactive astrological calender. This app allows you to quickly determine the moon phase, moon sign, and if the moon is void-of-course.  In my practice, I like to work with different aspects of the moon. For example, if you are working a coercive spell on an individual, I was taught that you begin your work when the moon is in that person's sun sign; or if you are working to draw money and you quickly check your calender to find that the moon is waning--- in this case I would shift my focus from drawing money to banishing debt.

iLuna is the perfect app for getting the information that I need quickly and in a format that I understand. The only thing about iLuna that I do not like is that on the monthly calendar the week starts on Monday rather than Sunday but it is only a minor annoyance until you get used to the foreign format. iLuna cost $1.99 in the app store. 

Time-Passages Pro

Speaking of astrology Time Passages is probably the best astrological app I have found in the app store. It offers a plethora of astrological information from the current moon phase, moon sign, if the moon is void-of-course, if and when Mercury (or other planets) is retrograde is and it allows you to cast charts for yourself and others and compare those two charts.  By clicking on headings, you can see what certain planetary positions or aspects mean for you. For those interested in horary astrology you can get a current astrological chart for your time and place at the touch of a button.  

I am not a professional astrologer, but I have been studying astrology off and on for about as long as I have been studying the Tarot only slightly less enthusiastically.  However, with the advent of computers and smartphones it has become increasingly easy to gain useful information about the stars to help with daily life. I use Time Passages in my rootwork practice to determine how Mercury Retrograde will affect me or clients, and sometimes I draw up charts on my clients to better understand them, their needs, their challenges, and their relationships. Time-Passages Pro cost about $30.00 but there is also a free version with less features and more advertisements. 

VA Recorder 

VA Recorder is a voice-activated recorder. I love the fact that it does not record continuously but rather only records when there is sound to record. You can set the intensity of the sound you'd like to record so that it only records when the strength of the sound exceeds that intensity. Not only can you record sound, but you can also save it to your phone and email the sound file to another party.

I use VA Recorder when I am doing tarot readings by email. I have sometimes found that when I perform a tarot reading for a client that it interrupts my flow to constantly stop to type out my thoughts, feeling, intuitions about the card spread before me. With VA Recorder, I simply do my reading as if my client is sitting right across from me and then I got back and transcribe what I have said. In some instances, I have clients who suffer from vision problems and so they get the sound file at no extra charge.  The only drawback with VA Recorder is that when I save the sound file to my computer I have to use a third party service to change the file type to something that is compatible with my Acer Chromebook if I want to listen to the file myself.  Those who have a PC will not likely have this issue. VA Recorder cost $1.99 in the app store. 

Lenormand ! 

Lenormand!, aka the Dondorf Lenormand is one of many apps developed and offered through The Fool's Dog LLC.  It cost $2.99 in the app store and offers the convenience of being a resource for learning Lenormand (especially on the go), as well as being a useful tool for drawing daily cards, doing readings for yourself or others if you don't have a deck or simply do have access to one at the time.  

It offers several different options for personalizing the app from which cards to use, whether you want to use reversals, the card style, how to shuffle and cut, whether to draw from the top or bottom of the deck, and offers voice prompts! You can also personalize the app by editing the meanings associated with the various cards; and you can even choose which meanings you want the app to display for readings, either the standard ones or your new edited ones. 

Lenormand also has a built in journal which keeps an account of all your activity but also includes the option of deleting any entries in your journal.  It comes complete with an 87 page booklet with an Introduction to the Lenormand.  The Fool's Dog also offers a similiar app Tarot! with the same features and which focuses on the tarot-reading with the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and there are apps associated with many other decks as well.

Insta-Size

InstaSize is a photo sharing app similar to instagram. Like instagram, it allows you to post pictures to social media platforms such as facebook and instagram itself, however, it offers a few special features that instagram does not. For example, InstaSize allows you to post larger pictures, that instagram simply will not, by resizing them. It also has its own set of filters and gives you the choice to post to instagram, directly to facebook, or to save a photo to your camera roll to post at a later time.

The best feature of InstaSize, in my opinion, is that it allows you to add text to your pictures. I use Instasize in my practice to post pictures of my work which I have watermarked with my own name and / or website address to my facebook business page as well as my instagram account. This helps me build my brand and prevents other folks from stealing my photos and claiming them as their own.

Conclusion 

While some folks may not like these apps due to cost, keep in mind that many developers often offer free versions of their apps with less features and which include annoying ads. If you are interested in any of these apps, considering use the free version before making your purchase

Use the comment section below to let us know what apps, if any, you find useful in your magical practice.

Blessings,

Carolina Dean 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Art of Candle Doctoring


Doctor (Verb) - To treat medically. Synonyms: heal, cure, minister to, care for, nurse. 

As a candle worker, I have ran across many a candle in less than perfect condition. Sometimes candles get broken in transit, sometimes they explode while burning, and something the wick burns all the way down to the bottom and does not melt away any wax at all!

Now I am not always inclined to say that this is a "bad sign" because candles are made by human beings, or by machines built by human beings, and you will sometimes get a bad batch. In addition, I hate waste so I have developed procedures for doctoring a candle that is not always cooperative. 

When a wick burns down to the bottom of the candle and leaves all the wax behind, or the wick gets drowned and I am not able to save it or re-lit it with a splint, or it is not otherwise salvageable then I perform the following procedure.

First, I drive a knife down the center of the candle all the way to the bottom. With a tight grip, I twist the knife in a circle leaving a large hole in  the wax.

The excess wax is then dumped out. This sometimes results in the loss of any herbs / oils that were placed in the candle previously so a little bit of herbs and a few drops of condition oil is placed in this hole to make up for that. 

Next a household taper is marked with the name(s) of the person(s) the vigil light was meant to affect and it is then dressed with an appropriate condition oil.

It may or may not also be rolled in an herbal mixture or sachet powder which sticks to the candle by virtue of the oil with which it was dressed.  The candle is then inserted in the hole which was made in the vigil light and lit with affirmative prayer.

It is important that when you make your hole in the vigil light and insert your fixed candle that the candle go all way down to the bottom of the vigil light otherwise the candle will only burn to the bottom of the inserted candle and then go out.   

As you can see from the photo at the left once the candle burns down it melds with the wax from the vigil light and burns normally until it is spent. Once the candle is spent, it may be read for signs.

Sometimes I take into account having to "doctor" the candle as an negative sign, and sometimes I do not. As I stated earlier, sometimes you simply get a "bad batch" of candle but even getting a bad batch can also be a sign.

You will have to use your own judgement  and intuition to determine if a "bad burn" is a negative reflection on the work or the product of bad workmanship, or low quality materials at the candle factory. 

Carolina Dean

Links


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review: Miss Cleo Power Deck

Miss Cleo

You may not remember her, but Youree Dell Harris was something of a minor celebrity of dubious reputation in the late '90s. Operating under the name of Miss Cleo and claiming to be a Jamaican Shaman, Harris appeared in late-night infomercials as well as several 30 second commercials for the Psychic Readers Network. As the spokesman for the network, Miss Cleo offered psychic advice and predictions based on Tarot readings while a prominent 1-900 number appeared on the screen inviting listeners to call in for their own reading at .99 cents a minute or more. 

While some believe that the calls were scripted or that the callers were actors who were hired to "play along" with the readings, it is clear that Miss Cleo had some knowledge of the Tarot. Her warm, friendly and inviting manner with her callers made her a magnetic and charismatic figure later parodied on shows such as The Simpsons, MadTV, and Angel to name a few.

Several lawsuits were filed against the Psychic Readers Network and Miss Cleo herself  in 1999 over deceptive business practices, which included spamming and false-advertising.  The lawsuits were later settled out of court, but not before much of Miss Cleo's claims regarding her past had been discredited. During this time it was revealed that Miss Cleo was actually Youree Dell Harris, who was born in Los Angeles and who is not Jamaican.

It was later reported that Harris had previously created a version of  the character of Miss Cleo for one of her self-penned plays Women Only: A Celebration of Love, Life and Healing in which she played the part of Miss Cleo. After settling the lawsuits filed against her, Harris went into private practice as a shaman and spiritual-adviser through a company located in Florida. In October of 2006, Harris came out as a lesbian in an issue of The Advocate. Harris also claimed to be a survivor of domestic abuse.

For many people interested in the Tarot, Miss Cleo's infomercials were the closest they could get to seeing a reader actually ply her craft.  Despite claims that the infomercials were scripted I never saw an instance where I felt that Miss Cleo gave her callers bad advice. Despite her previous past, it is clear that Miss Cleo was responsible for introducing the Tarot to a whole generation of individuals.

Miss Cleo Power Deck 

I first received a Miss Cleo Power Deck around 2002 from a friend who ordered a lot of 20 of these decks from a seller on ebay. She had gotten them fairly cheap and it was her intention to distribute them among the prisons we visited as part of our Pagan Prison Ministry. She felt that if we were to be using this deck as a teaching tool that I should be familiar with its art and symbolism.

As an avid collector of tarot decks, I was happy to add another deck to my collection, however, I wasn't sure what to expect from this deck.  The cards measure roughly 2.75 X 4.75 inches on a medium card stock that is, surprisingly, not flimsy at all. They were created by Seth Stephens and J.F. Lambert for Radar Communications (the company that also produced the Miss Cleo Infomercials) and follow the standard structure of a 78 card tarot deck comprised on 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana in Staffs, Cups, Swords, and Coins. The Pip, or people, cards are named as the King, Queen, Knight, and Page.

The Miss Cleo Power Deck became something of a collector's item after Miss Cleo's downfall and subsequent disappearance from the airwaves and is available online either alone or with an accompanying book and VHS video in which Miss Cleo gives a rudimentary explanation of the cards and how they are read. She also explains three tarot spreads including the Past, Present and Future Spread, the Four Door Spread and the Celtic Cross Spread.  and the deck itself comes with the requisite LWB (little white book) with a basic explanation of each card's meaning.

Unlike the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) deck she used on television, this deck is drawn in an pseudo-Egyptian theme.  I understand that the maker of this deck could not sell a RSW deck due to copyright laws but you would think that she would have used her own deck to do readings on television. Of course no one knew at the time that Miss Cleo would be a pop culture sensation and this deck was obviously an effort to take advantage of her influence at the height of her popularity and the public's interest in the Tarot at the time.

The Miss Cleo Power Deck is definitely a RWS clone with a few changes here and there which, I feel, changes the intended meaning of the cards. For example, the female figure in the Strength card does not seem to be able to control the lion. The Fool is stepping off of a cliff backwards, and the figure in the 10 of Wands does not seem to be burdened at all by the load he is carrying (see photos below)


In other instances I feel that these changes improve upon what has gone before. For example, the 10 of Cups ---a card which traditionally shows a heterosexual couple surrounded by their children and associated with home, family, happiness, etc...--- depicts two men whose posture and position mirror one another. The slight difference is that one man has a sword strapped to his waist and the other has a bow. They appear to be tying a knot in a snake-like rope and the overall effect resembles a large heart surrounding them.

That being said, this is a very gay-friendly deck in that the male figure are drawn stripped to the waist with athletic figures which many gay men and straight women may appreciate. The one thing I do not like about the figures is the lack of pupils in the eyes, which in my opinion robs them of any personality or humanity.

The cards handle quite nicely when shuffling and cutting them, and I have gotten some very good readings out of this deck.  I find that the artwork does grow on you after a while and the differences between the traditional RWS imagery and that of the Miss Cleo Power Deck does open the door to new interpretations and meanings associated with the cards which seems to compliment her style of reading the cards.

Overall, I would say that this is a decent, though average, tarot deck that is certainly usable and which would appeal to a certain tarot enthusiasts. There is something of a catch-22 to this deck in that it is largely overshadowed by the ignominious legacy of Miss Cleo without which this deck would not have been created and popularized in the first place.

Blessings,

Carolina Dean




Thursday, January 8, 2015

Review: The Gay Tarot


Description:  The Gay Tarot focuses on the experience and identity of homosexual men. While men are featured as all the major figures, women are not excluded. The 78 images are fully illustrated, with people are of all ethnicities, shapes and sizes and in modern, contemporary settings.

Created By: By Lee Bursten & Antonella Platano


Review: The Gay Tarot is something of a Rider-Clone with modern twists on some of the images. For example, the 8 of Swords shows a young man in a subway surrounded on all sides by other people (alone yet not alone), the Chariot now takes the form of a skater-boy being pulled along by two dogs.

There are very few females in this deck, which is fitting because it was made specifically by and for gay men. I personally don't find this a problem as there are many feminist decks on the market which don't feature men. However, the exclusion of women necessitated a few changes and therefore the High Priestess becomes the Intuitive and the Empress, the Protector. Other changes include replacing the traditional Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages with Sages, Men, Youths, and Guides respectively. Finally, significant changes to the Major Arcana include replacing the Devil with Self-Hatred, and the Tower with Revelation.

In addition the numbered cards of each suit relate to one another in profound ways. For example, with the exception of the 3 of Swords,  the 3's of each suit display scenes of a single-father caring for his young daughter. Some figures appear in different cards at various points in their lives. For example, the Fool shows a handsome young man standing along the highway with a puppy asleep at his feet. Later, the same young man can be seen in the 10 of Wands. Here he is still traveling the highway. His book-bag is more tattered, his dog has grown and he himself is more mature. 

I like that the cards aren't  full of young attractive white men but rather shows men of all ages, races, and types. The Gay Tarot consists of the young and the old, single and committed, single-parents, and happy families.  I like that all of the images are tasteful and there's very little nudity in this deck and does not perpetuate the idea that gay men are all about sex and pornography. In fact, there is very little that I do not like about this deck. The most I can say that I dislike about the Gay Tarot are the extra titles on each card which gives the card's names in six different languages. 

Once you get used to the differences, especially if you are accustomed to the traditional structure of the Rider-Waite deck, I think that you'll find many insights and nuances that add depth and meaning to your readings. All in all, this is a great deck that reflects the lives of gay men and speaks directly to their experiences in the modern world.

Happy Hoodooing!

Links

The Gay Tarot (Aeclectic Tarot)



Sunday, January 4, 2015

MIPC: Love Potion

For this entry in my Magic in Popular Culture (MIPC) series, I would like to share with you a love potion from the 1984 motion Picture Supergirl. Those of you familiar with this series will note that I have written about this movie before as it is rich with spells, concepts, and symbolism

The Potion

"Take a spider off its web and shut him up inside two shells of a nut. Boil the nut in oil, into which has been added a piece of the web. With a silver spoon, put two drops of oil into the water. He who drinks the water shall be in love with the first person he sees, so long as the spider stays shut up inside the nutshell, or one day goes by...which ever comes first."

See the Scene








Commentary

While on the surface this may seem to be something that was made up by the writers to move the plot along, however, a closer looks at elements of this potion reveal that it is quite sophisticated.

First of all, like men in primitive cultures, spider's are endeared as hunters. They often build their web to trap their pray. Nuts, symbolically are associated with the testicles and therefore male sexuality. Therefore, I believe this potion is about capturing a man's nature so that he can be controlled (i.e. the spider trapped in his own web) under the guise of love and sex.

Boiling the nut is symbolic of putting "heat" on the situation, to make the man "hot" for you and susceptible to your charming ways (the silver spoon, being born with "a silver spoon in your mouth"). 

Finally, feeding the man two drops of oil in water is all about duality and confusion. We all know that oil and water do not mix, and so here we have the heat of desire, symbolized by the oil, conflicting with the cool clarity of the water to confuse the man and keep him under your control.

The fact that the victim will fall in love with the first person they see goes all the way back to Shakespear's time, and probably earlier than that, and is a common element place on love potions. (See A Midsummer Night's Dream).

The spider sealed inside the nut then comes to represent the man himself and in that respect it is similar to a Voodoo Doll, in that so long as the spider stays trapped in the nutshell so will the man remained in the witch's thrall. However, the fact that the spells is broken after 24 hours tells me that this spell is less about love and more about seduction and sex.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Setting Lights: A Rootworker's Perspective

Praying Over a Candle
Setting Lights, or candle-altar service, is a service offered by many spiritual-workers and owners of candle-shops. The setting of lights entails the burning of a fixed Vigil-Candle on top of a client’s petition for a period of 7 to 9 days, however long it takes for the candle to burn. Each worker has his or her own process and today I would like to explain my methods in further detail.

All of my business is conducted through my website, and I have many choices of candle types to select from. Typically a client will purchase their candle and the payment comes to me via paypal. However, sometimes a client will email me first with a description of their issue or condition and I will recommend an appropriate candle.

Once I receive the order, the client is emailed a confirmation as soon as possible explaining that their candle will be lit the following day and to expect their report in 7-10 days. The reason for this is simple. I have a day job and am not home 24 hours a day to start candles the same day. If someone orders a candle at 2:00 am on a Tuesday I am sleeping. I will generally send them a confirmation that morning when I wake up. However, I do not have time to go through my process that day. Their candle will be prepared that evening when I return from work and lit the following morning (see below) 


Vigil Lights with Labels Attached 


The process begins when I print the paypal receipt containing all the client's information. I also print an appropriate label and glue it to a candle.  On a legal pad in which each page is dedicated to a specific client's candle I write down the following information which will form the basis of my candle-burn reports.


  • Name of Client: The person who ordered the candle. 
  • Email Address: The address I will be emailing the candle burn report 
  • Date Started: The day the candle was lit. 
  • Moon Phase: The Moon Phase and sign the moon occupies when the candle was lit. 
  • Date Ended: Obviously this area is left blank and filled in later.  
  • Moon Phase: Again this is filled in later. 
  • Number of Times Re-lit: How many times, if any, the candle went out and had to be lit again. This is usually represented by X's 
  • Target: I.E., the person the candle is intended to affect if not the client themselves. 
  • Notes: In this section I will note my observations about how the candle is burning. 


A Written Petition
The necessary herbs, roots, and oil(s) are then pulled down and set aside with the candle. If the client has not provided me with a petition, I write one up myself and set it aside. If the client has provided me with a written petition, that is also printed out and set aside. 

I then fix the candle with the herbs and dress it with the oils. The candle is then set on the altar with the petition underneath until the following morning as it is my preference that all candles fixed for positive purposes be lit first thing in the morning shortly before sunrise so that love, health, wealth, prosperty, etc... grow with the Sun.

Road Opener Candle Burning 
The following morning, I light the altar candles and incense on my altar and offer up my morning prayers. I then remove the client's petition from under their Vigil Light, and read it over carefully. I five spot the petition with a specific condition oil and then smoke it in incense as I pray for their cause. The petition is then folded and placed under the Vigil Light. The Vigil Light is sealed with prayer and by knocking on it three times. Finally the candle is lit and allowed to burn.

The candle is observed over the following days and I note my observations on the legal pad. When the candle is spent it is removed from the altar and placed in a designated spot in my office along with the sheet torn from the legal pad where I will write up the candle-burn report. The candle is photographed against a backdrop for clarity, the photograph is emailed to me an the candle is moved to my desk.


A Sign Leftover from the Candle 

At my desk I open up an email and transcribe all my notes into an email to the client in a clear, logical order. I explain how the candle burned, any sounds it may have made any odd occurrences, any signed left behind in the wax or herb matter, etc....All pictures are inserted into the email and / or added as attachments. Finally, I give the client a Spiritual Prescription, that is any follow up work that I recommend me done.  

In addition to the client, I always BCC a special email address which I have set up specially to archive all candle-burn reports (and tarot-readings) that I send out for record-keeping purposes. I also print these reports and place them in a special journal I keep as a hard-copy.

The clients petition is then burned and dropped inside the Vigil Light glass after which it is disposed of.

If I hear back from the client within three days, I will make a note of their feedback in the journal. If I do not hear back from the client within three days I send them a follow up email with a link to my online feedback form. If they chose to fill out the simple form, I will make note of their feedback in the journal. If they do not fill out the form, I will not ask again.



Blessings,

Carolina Dean