Monday, June 17, 2013
St. John’s Eve is the Holy Day of New Orleans Voodoo and is one of the only feast Days in Catholicism that celebrates the birth of St. John the Baptist, the other two being Jesus and Our Lady. Usually, feast days celebrate the deaths of saints. In New Orleans, it is the day for celebrating the Mother and Father of New Orleans Voodoo, Marie Laveaux and Dr. John Montanet.
The celebrations of St. John's Eve typically honor Marie Laveaux. I am certainly among those to pay homage to our Queen this time of year. However, I think it is time to start deliberately celebrating Dr. John, as well. After all, he did as much for New Orleans Voodoo as did Marie Laveaux. He brought gris gris into the commercial practice, taught Marie Laveaux the art of gris gris, and played a prominent role as a drummer in the celebrations at Congo Square - rhythms that can still be heard today.
There are a number of small things you can do to begin incorporating Dr. John into your yearly celebrations. As he is considered the patron loa to drummers and male Voodoo practitioners (although, as a lover of women and other personal reasons I will not disclose at this time, I believe he can just as well be patron loa to women as well), any celebration that incorporates drums and drumming is appropriate. Since he was a rootdoctor, offerings of any medicinal plants and foods can be made to him. Louis Martinie suggests medicinal liquids like camphor are also appropriate.
Some customs to observe this day in honor of Dr. John and St. John center around the gathering of St. John’s Wort, Mother Earth’s own protection ward and antidepressant. To harvest, cut the top half of the plant, tie into a bundle and hang to dry. Hang a few sprigs above doors and windows as a protective ward. Tie a few sprigs together with red string and hang above the image of St. John to keep evil away. Better yet, plant a few in your garden in honor of the great rootdoctor.
St, John's Wort is a wonderful medicinal herb. It can be used medicinally as a general tonic for wellbeing or for specific conditions such as depression, sleep disorders, chronic tension headaches, and mild rheumatic pain. To reap the benefits of this marvelous little magical and medicinal herb, make a tea or tincture:
- To make a tea, place two teaspoons of the dried herb in a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes, strain and drink 3 times a day. Add sweetener to taste.
- To make a tincture, place 3 ounces of the dried flowers or fresh herb to fill a one pint jar. Cover with Everclear and shake the contents well. Let steep for two weeks, shaking the jar once a day. The resulting liquid should be a bright red, which represents the color of the blood of St. John, whose beheading is remembered on August 29th. Strain out the herbs and pour into 1 oz dropper bottles Drink two droppers full three times a day for adults and one dropper full for children.*
A custom in celebration of St. John is to make a wreath and hang it on the front door. Wreaths are made from the foliage of magnolia and oak trees, cushion bush, asparagus fern, bay laurel and marjoram. Flowers for the wreath can include lavender, larkspur, hydrangea, baby's breath, goldenrod, pussy willow, yarrow, purple coneflower, roses and globe thistle.
I will post a magic lamp for Dr. John in an upcoming post so stay tuned! You might also be interested in an article I posted at the New Orleans Voodoo Examiner called What can we Learn about Dr. John Montenet from his Handwriting?
Article Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado All rights reserved.
* This information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not a substitute for medical care given by physicians or trained medical professionals.
Absolutely Free Tarot
Love, Relationships, Money, Career, Life Direction - answers to your questions - many spreads to choose from
Thursday, January 3, 2013
It's the beginning of the year and a time for reevaluation of things. Many folks continue to struggle and look to all sorts of ways to increase their chances of business success. One of the ways this can be done in the realm of New Orleans Hoodoo is by making a gris gris bag for your business or job. Before you do this you should perform a house, shop and office cleansing for the New Year. You can find an example in my blog post How to Perform a House Cleansing. In addition, you can try Marie Laveau's Floor Wash for Business Success shown in the image below from the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook that appeared in Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly #2.
Making Your Business Success Gris Gris
Gris gris is a system of magic brought over form Africa by the traditional Bambaran Africans as well as the Muslim marabouts. Jean Montenet, aka Dr. John, himself a Bambaran, utilized gris gris in his healing practice and was considered a master at his craft. Some speculate Marie Laveau was an apprentice of sorts to Dr. John for awhile and learned the art of gris gris from him. It has also been suggested that her mother was from the Congo, and so she likely learned the art from her mother, as well. Wherever she learned it, and however it ended up in New Orleans is secondary to the influence it continues to have on New Orleans Voodoo today, thanks to Marie Laveau's business savvy. And all of us professional rootworkers owe a debt to the Mother and Father of New Orleans Voodoo - Dr. John Montenet and Mamz'elle Laveau - for making a business out of Hoodoo in New Orleans and all along the Southern Bayous.
If you haven't seen my other blog Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, you should take a look at the excerpt on gris gris there for a more in depth background of the practice. You should also refer to the article How to Make a Gris Gris Bag for details on the process that I won't repeat here because I have already written about it in the other article.
So let's make a business gris gris in the Marie Laveau tradition for the New Year. You will need yellow or green flannel or a piece of leather and the following items:
- Solomon's Seal
- High John the Conqueror Root
- Devil's Shoestring
- Silver mercury dime
- Black eyed pea
- Palm ashes
- Dragon's Blood
- Personal effect of your own such as fingernail clippings or hair
- Material effect from your business like a business card or receipt
- Dried toadstool
- Small piece of pound cake offered to St. Expedite
|Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado|
God's Glory and Man's Honor
To the chief Musician upon Git'tith, A Psalm of David.
O LORD our Lord,
how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength
because of thine enemies,
that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
what is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels,
and hast crowned him with glory and honor.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;
thou hast put all things under his feet:
all sheep and oxen,
yea, and the beasts of the field;
the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea,
and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
O LORD our Lord,
how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
All text, images and graphics Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy without my express permission.