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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Being A Client

The relationship between a root doctor and his clients is not far off from having a regular doctor, or a therapist. Except instead of physical medicine or psychological treatment, a root doctor provides spiritual help. It's not about having a conjurer "on retainer," as it were. It's not often that someone thinks "I need some prosperity work" and just calls up their root doctor to set some lights for them (although there are those who do that sort of thing).

Generally speaking, you develop a relationship with your root doctor. He knows what's going on in your life. Like any good ethical worker with insight into your private business, he keeps that business private. A client may express things that are perhaps less-than-flattering if others knew about them, or reveal very private aspects of their life. It's inevitable when doing spiritual works that peoples hopes, dreams, fears and vices all come bubbling to the surface.

A client can expect a lot of things from her rootworker. A willingness to listen, a readiness to be severe when it's called for, compassionate when it is needful and above all else, truthful. Your root doctor is your ally, assisting you in living the kind of life you want to live, helping you tend to the spiritual aspects of your life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Consultations: What To Expect

Many conjurefolk offer consultations, usually with a fee attached. A lot of folks new to hoodoo don't invest in those consultations, however, for a simple reason: they're not sure what to expect. Those portions of American culture that maintain a connection with conjure - mostly those areas with a solidly Southern African-American background - have operated with them for so long that many workers don't really think about explaining the idea to newcomers.

A consultation is just that: a chunk of the root worker's time, in which the client discusses what his or her problems at current are, and the root worker discusses possible remedies. Many consultations also come with other aspects, as well. For instance, a great many hoodoos do very simple divinations during the course of a consultation, just to get a bit of perspective beyond the immediate words of the client.

This isn't because they believe a client isn't being truthful, although many clients do tend to either rose-tint the situation, or paint it as more dire than it is. In truth, it's to give the root worker an additional perspective on what is going on. For that reason, many readers also employ their own psychic talents, reading the client in order to gain further insight.

Each reader has a different technique, and includes different elements as part of their services. Some of the various elements include:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Reading: 05•25•2012

Seven of Cups  •  The Magician  •  Ace of Wands, Inverse
Hello, all. Hope everyone had a great week, and here's wishing you a wonderful weekend. This week's reading is something of a sombre wake-up call. It's not just a warning, but it also tells you what to be careful of. If this is for you, take heed!

Spread: Seven of Cups, The Magician, Ace of Wands (Inverse)

The Seven of Cups is a card about day dreaming and wishful thinking. It's a card about unrealistic goals - of what you'd really like things to be rather than what they are.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Anointing Oils 3: How They Are Used

Anointing oils are extremely versatile. As we already discussed,  conjure oils - called "anointing" or "condition" oils - are made in a very specific fashion, according to a recipe that incorporates a variety of ingredients - Mother Oil, essential oils and curios - all chosen with a specific "flavor" of mojo in mind.

Then, the oils are given a name that aligns with what purpose the oil is intended. See our previous post on the Types of Oils we make and sell here at Crossroads Joe's Ministrations for a sample, though these are far from the only ones out there!

At right is the short list of ways to use anointing oils, in general. Just about any oil can be used in this fashion.

Head, Hands, Heart
Anointing heads, hands and heart is an excellent way of using any oil that you would want to have an effect on you (so, not Hot Foot Oil, for instance!). Anointing the head (or "crown anointing," as its sometimes called) brings the power both to your intellect and to your higher spiritual awareness; anointing the hands brings that spiritual power into all that you do and undertake; and anointing the heart brings that spiritual power into your emotional centers and your experiences.

Mop Water
Adding condition oils to mop water is a great old-fashioned way of distributing the blessings of that oil through your home. Even if you don't use a mop bucket, you can add the oil to whatever you might use to clean the floors: add it to a spritzer bottle of cleaning solution, or a drop or two on the business side of a moist swiffer pad, for instance.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Anointing Oils 2: The Different Varieties

Fiery Wall of Protection Oil
The kinds and types of oils available to the modern rootworker can be absolutely staggering. Large producers can have dozens or even hundreds of different kinds of oils, each with their own recipe, name, label and intended use.

In this post, I'm going to talk about my oils. At current, I maintain a formulary of seventeen oils whose recipes produce oils that I am confident providing to my clients. Each has been tested by myself and other workers close to me that I trust. Sometimes, the recipe had to go. Ultimately, though, these oils provide just the level of functionality and aromatic bouquet that I want in them.

Also provided are links to entries for each of these oils, currently on the Facebook page for Crossroads Joe's Hoodoo Ministrations & Conjure Formulas. Come check us out!

Cast Off Evil Oil: Aid in throwing off stagnant and wicked influences, habits and addictions.
Fiery Wall of Protection Oil: For protection from harm.
Van Van Oil: For cleansing and purification.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

That Hoodoo That You Doo!

Hello, all. I wanted to take a moment to point folks to a wonderful blog, written by a good friend of mine, Miss Strata. In it, she details her journey into conjure. In the short time she's been Working, she's become a wonderful and talented conjure-woman. Here's a link to her blog: Hoodoo You Doo

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Anointing Oils 1: How They Are Made

This week, I'm doing a little examination of the use of anointing oils. Also referred to as "condition oils" because they're formulated to deal with specific conditions, these oils are extremely versatile and inexpensive, making them an excellent tool in anyone's hoodoo arsenal, whether a professional rootworker or someone who just does work for themselves and loved ones.

My Mother Oils

Now, the exact formulas used in my conjure oils - or in any reputable rootworker's, for that matter - are a closely-guarded secret. Many conjure-folk create their oils from a simple carrier and essential oils mixture.

I admit to enjoying the process of creation quite a bit, so I get a little elaborate. My oils consist of four things: the Mother Oil, the Essential Oils, the Curios and the Crossroads Sealing.

The Mother Oils are a selection of carrier oils that I use as a base. Each Mother Oil is an infusion of a specific root or herb that sits in the oil for a good long while. Some of them, like High John, are what are called hot infusions, in which the oil is heated to allow the properties of a tough root or bark to properly infuse the oil. Most, however, are cold infusions, in which the oil is sufficient at room temperature to draw out the botanical virtues of these herbs. Some oils have the same base as others, because the herbs I use for my Mother Oils are often potent curios with a variety of uses in traditional conjure.

It should be noted that I use almond oil in this process. If you or someone you know is allergic to nuts, you should absolutely not use any of my conjure oils in oil-to-skin contact with that person.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Reading: 5/18/2012

The Emperor  •  The Chariot  •  Four of Swords
Hello, all. Today's Friday Reading is quite a doozie! Two major arcana cards, right side up indicates someone going through something quite major. Let's find out what it is.

Spread: The Emperor, the Chariot, Four of Swords

The Emperor is a card that represents an authority figure, or simply the presence of authority in your life.

The Chariot is direction and forward movement. It can mean actual travel sometimes, but it often indicated progress along a path of some sort.

Finally, the Four of Swords is a card of repose, of taking a rest and gaining some recuperation. Fours are about the cresting of action, and this card represents a moment of respite after some measure of grief and conflict.

Interpretation: There are two ways this reading could go, and they are based on the Emperor card there. His place represents authority in power, but the question is how do you fit into that dynamic? Either you have had an authority figure over you, like a boss or a parent, or you have been the authority figure.

In either case, the Swords card tells us that there has been conflict around that authority: you have been struggling with maintaining your authority with those you lead, or you have been in conflict with someone who is in a position of authority over you.

Fortunately, the Chariot tells us that there has been progress and consolidation. Something has changed recently, and it's likely not a matter of becoming accustomed to that authority. The Chariot says that movement has happened, so either you have managed to get out of having to be in a position of authority, or you've gotten out from under the thumb of the authority figure you were finding so difficult.

The Four of Swords counsels rest. BE CAREFUL not to put yourself right back into the same situation. If you were a leader, stay out of leadership positions for a while; if you were under someone else, do yourself a favor and remain a free agent for a little bit. The difficulty you had recently has been stressful, and you deserve some time to recover from that.

Prescription: In order to speed up this process, I suggest some cleansing work on your end. A simple Van Van spiritual wash or a Hyssop bath should do the trick. That will clear away any lingering mess associated with all of that conflict.

If you are finding it difficult to not re-engage with that situation, and it keeps coming back to haunt you, I suggest doing some Cut & Clearing work. This kind of work is traditional to hoodoo and used to sever ties from previous experiences, keeping the stuff you want and getting rid of the rest of it. If you feel you need this kind of work, get in touch with a credible rootworker. They can either teach you to do the work and sell you the proper supplies, or can be hired to do the work on your behalf.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lucky Blessed Candles

A selection of candles
In the manuscript called Black & White Magic - which purports to have been written by Marie Laveau herself - the sections on astrological lore denote a "Lucky Blessed Candle" for each sign of the Zodiac.

Lucky Blessed Candles, when used in this context, are stand-ins for the individual. That is, they are you, expressed in candle magic purposes. They are a wonderful and simple way of Setting Lights for yourself without resorting to a huge variety of different candle colors.

Each sign has two colors associated with it. You can use either color, though most people will have an affinity for one over the other. Some people also choose to use one for attracting conditions and the other for repelling or protection against them. Use prayer and your intuition to figure out what works best for you.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Master Candles

Master Candles with my Crossroads Keys
The tradition of a Master Candle isn't ubiquitous to all hoodoos. Most of my experience is with Louisiana and "western Southern" conjure, and even among those folks it isn't necessarily universal. Conjure from that part of the South has a lot of its history steeped in Catholicism, as compared to the strong Protestant strains of conjure in the rest of the South. With Catholicism comes candle burning, so it's probably no surprise that some of the traditions that have cropped up there have become a little nuanced and specialized.

In the photo at right, you can see my collection of Master Candles. The one front and center, undecorated (and about ready to be replaced!) is my Master Spirit Candle. From left to right, the others are: my Master Prosperity candle, Master Healing candle, Master Blessings & Protection candle, Master Love candle and my Master Road Opener candle.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Reading: 5/11/2012

Death   •   Seven of Cups   •   Two of Cups
Here is today's three-card Tarot reading, in which I simply apply to Source for insight, and to allow whoever is supposed to see this to see it.

Spread: Death, Seven of Cups, Two of Cups

The Death card reflects transformations, particularly the ongoing continuation of cycles of ending and beginnings, with a period of fallow inbetween.

The Seven of Cups is the dreamer's card, representing wishful thinking, day dreams, even visions and hopes.

The Two of Cups is a card of partnership, of balance and good communication. It can also reflect a new love relationship.

With two out of the three cards in this reading being of the suit of Cups, this reading is probably one dealing with relationships and emotional connections, probably a love relationship.

You've just been through something heavy. Some big changes lie in your recent past, changes with great impact. They may not have been hard to accomplish, mind - like death, you might not have had much of a choice in them and were simply swept along. I'd say you were probably abandoned in some manner, broken up with and not even given a choice to do anything about it: that other person was just gone before you knew it.

Right now, you're doing a lot of daydreaming and wishful thinking. Have you gotten to the point where you're imagining what your next relationship will look like? How it will improve, how beautiful or handsome that next love will be, how they will treat you better? All of that is good! Sometimes our failed relationships aren't failures; they're ways of showing us what we actually want out of relationships, opportunities to identify what it is we want out of them.

The important thing is going to be communication. In the relatively near future, you're going to have an opportunity for that new relationship. This reading is very clear: COMMUNICATION IS KEY. You need a partnership. The temptation will be to go into your next relationship with all sorts of demands based on what was wrong with your last relationship, but be careful - relationships are about compromise and communication, figuring out the wonderful middle ground between the extremes of who the two of you are, and if you hold on too tightly to those daydreams, you'll never find that perfect mate.

This doesn't mean you sacrifice all of those ideas, of course - but find a way to be reasonable about them, to get what you want that doesn't force your new love to demolish who they are in order to be with you.

Best of luck! Get your best perfume or cologne on, and maybe spiffy up your wardrobe, because that someone is just around the corner.

And if you need a little help - maybe some Love-Drawing oil, spiritual wash, or even a mojo hand to help out with all of that, you let me know!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chinese Wash

Freshly Mixed Chinese Wash
Chinese Wash is the name of a cleaning product, originally produced as "Young's Chinese Wash." It quickly earned a reputation among hoodoofolk as an excellent cleanser, sharing many of its essential oils with an oil well-known for its cleansing and purification properties: the New Orleans formula called Van Van Oil.

Traditionally, when you first get a bottle of Chinese Wash, you're supposed to add seven broom straws snipped from your own home broom, the idea being those straws will impart the purpose they've been put to the wash. That is, you've used the broom to clean your house, so some of that "cleaning mojo" will come along with them, fixing that bottle of Chinese Wash with the purpose of cleaning your home.

Add between one and three tablespoons of Chinese Wash to your mop water before mopping, and mop your home from top floor to bottom, back of the house to front. Then, when you're done, throw that water out the front door or into the front lawn, throwing it towards the East when possible.

If you'd like a little strengthening to it, you can add a couple drops of Cast Off Evil or Van Van Oil to the bucket of mop water. Alternately, you can add other oils to it to bring the virtues of those oils into your home: Love-Drawing, Money-Drawing, Healing, whatever you like.

Lot of folks don't use mop buckets these days, so use Chinese Wash like any floor-cleansing product. Add a little of it to spray bottles, for instance, if you use those Swiffer-style cleaners, or to lightly spray your carpet. You can also add a little to a bowl of hot water, and use that with a cloth or sponge to wipe down walls, window sills, baseboards and the like.

Warning: There are oils in Chinese Wash that can stain carpets or walls, so please test it out first.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

High John the Conquerer

High John the Conquerer Roots
High John the Conquerer is an important part of my conjure practice. It isn't uncommon to find roots used in hoodoo to great effect, but few have quite the same sort of reverence and mojo backing them up.

Zora Neale Hurston writes a little about High John the Conquerer, saying
High John de Conquer came to be a man, and a mighty man at that. But he was not a natural man in the beginning. First off, he was a whisper, a will to hope, a wish to find something worthy of laughter and song. Then the whisper put on flesh.
She goes on to paint a picture of a sort of trickster messiah, who came to African slaves with songs of a new world, since they'd left their old songs behind in Africa (using the term "songs" to clearly mean something other than music, but more like "attunement with the magic of a land").

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ol' John Bear

Ol' John Bear and my Crossroads Keys
There are strong connections between roots and spirits in hoodoo. Though many herbs are revered for their strong mojo and the benefits derived from them, roots are often accorded a different sort of place entirely. It's not uncommon for a root doctor to speak to the herbs he works with, interacting with them as though they were their very own people, in some way (albeit somewhat simple-minded and focused ones).

Zora Neale Hurston talks about the legend of High John the Conquerer, a trickster figure in Southern African-American slave-lore named after the root (or for whom the root is named). In it, he promised to always come and lend aid when folks held that particular root.

Now, some conjurers will find a particular affinity with a given root, most often a High John the Conquerer root. This affinity usually develops into something of a working relationship: the root lends aid in conjure workings, adding it's own contributions of mojo to the trick, while the conjurer feeds and names the root, as is done with a toby.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cooking Your Mojo

Old John-Bear with two of my Master Candles
"Mojo" is a funny word. It probably comes from a West African word mojuba, which means "charm" but its use in Southern culture - influenced by its use in conjure, of course - has transformed. You can get an idea of what mojo means by its various uses. From advertising of conjure curios to blues lyrics, it has come to mean an awful lot of things: sexual potency, skill, luck, self-esteem, confidence.

One old rootworker lady I used to know used it in a way that I've since fallen in love with. It took me a long time to figure out what she meant by the term "mojo." She used it to describe the essential traits of not just people, but animals, things and places too. If she were a neo-pagan, she might have used the term "energy," but that phrase doesn't quite encompass it.

When it came to conjure, though, it is all about the mojo. The rootworker has mojo that she lends to the work she's doing. Some rootworkers don't need a whole lot more than their own mojo, laying on hands, using breath and spittle and prayer.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tobys: Care & Feeding of Your Mojo Bag

Crossroad Joe's
"Good Doctor" Mojo Hand
Your mojo bag (also called a “hand,” a “toby” or a “gris gris”) is not just a “spell bag,” as some people call it. It’s more than that: your little toby is a spiritual being carefully crafted and given the Breath of Life by the rootworker who made him.

Though he’s a simple little guy, he’s dedicated to his work and devoted to you. All his efforts will be bent towards the purpose he was created, and he works night and day. But there are a couple of old conjure “rules” for dealing with him:

Give him a Name. He’s his own little fellow, and so he needs a name. I’m not going to give that to him, so when you first get your toby, feed him for the first time (see below) and you give him a name. Just whisper it to him: “You name is ______” three times.

Keep him close for a week. For one week, you keep him really, really close to you. Skin contact, and as constant as possible. Women traditionally tuck a toby into their brassiere for that first week, and both men and women frequently pin him to the inside of their underclothes. It will probably be inconvenient, but this week’s worth of contact is necessary. He’s “getting to know you” during that time. Just think of him like a baby - he’s bonding during that first week.

Inaugural Post

Welcome to my blog. This blog, which will probably be updated only infrequently, will serve as a constant resource for myself and my clientele. It'll be a sort of "filing cabinet" where I can send folks to for specific pieces of information on the use of various conjure formulas, provide some background and information on certain practices in hoodoo and in general act as a sort of clearing house for things I think my people should know.

Of course, you don't have to be one of my clients to use this site. Please feel free to help yourself to what's here, although I do retain any applicable copyrights, naturally. If there's anything you'd like to see or if you have any questions about what you find here, drop me a line. I'd be happy to talk about it with you.