Friday, February 22, 2013

Planet Voodoo's Gumbo Ya Ya - Voodoo Cache at Devil's Bayou




I found some funny but cool videos by Tru TV in my Google feed this morning.These guys are a hoot. I was hoping they would dig up one of Louisiana’s infamous Voodoo doll coffin spells, lol, but alas, no coffin and no doll. However, they did find some things equally as interesting. You have to check out what the guys found…a veritable Voodoo cache at Devil’s Bayou, where one of the old Voodoo Queens used to hold her Voodoo ceremonies.

The Voodoo Queen at this area would not have been Marie Laveau. According to New Orleans Folklore and paranormal expert Alyne Pustanio, she says it could have been a woman known as Black Cat Coteau.

In the other video Voodoo Queen's Land, see if you think there is any connection between what they found...

Screen shot from Video Devil's Cache
  
and this...  

War Water from Planet Voodoo

Read more and find the link to the other video on Planet Voodoo's Gumbo Ya Ya Ezine- Voodoo Cache at Devil's Bayou.

*The first image is a screen shot from Voodoo Queen’s Land by Tru TV located http://www.trutv.com/video/swamp-hunters/voodoo-queens-land.html The image is used under terms of their copyright: “You may use material from this site and other sites controlled by truTV only for your own personal, non-commercial use.”

The second image is copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The 1st Annual Bayou City Conjure Community Awards: Statement of Gratitude from Denise Alvarado



Greetings folks!

I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you who voted for me and several of my projects and mutual endeavors with others that resulted in winning awards for the 1st Annual Conjure Community Awards 2012 hosted by Bayou City Conjure Radio. I am so honored for the recognition as Best Visual Artist as this award not only recognizes me, but also my ancestors; specifically, my Mother and Father who both inspired and nurtured by talents from the moment I could hold a pen, paint brush and sewing needle. 

A big surprise was winning the award for Best Blog – this blog, The Art of Conjure. I am not an everyday blogger; I blog when I have time and feel I have something to give and say. This blog simply consists of my thoughts and musings as a conjure woman who likes to share personal experiences in the hopes that it inspires and informs others.

The additional awards of which I am a part include Best Home Business - Crossroads Mojo with Madrina Angelique. The success of our young business is the result of what can happen with true teamwork, a mutual vision, and support and encouragement from countless others who believe in us, our products and our devotional art. Working with Madrina Angelique has been one of the most positive and professional experiences I have had the privilege of participating in. Above all, the Best Home Business Award for Crossroads Mojo is dedicated to Papa Legba, without whom the website would never have come to be.



Finally to win Best Facebook Group - Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine is quite the irony considering our beginnings. Even with the group out of the public eye, the satisfaction I feel for winning this award is immense, to say the least. But this award would not be possible without the blood, sweat, and tears of the writers, contributors, partnerships and all my brilliant fellow conjurers and group members who routinely give to each other and treat each other with respect. You are integral in creating and maintaining the group as a true, supportive, nonjudgmental community. Thank you to Carolina Dean, Madrina Angelique, Alyne Pustanio, Winsom Winsom and all group members who so graciously contribute their time and energy to both the magazine and to keeping the group running in my absence. Even with a few bumps in the road, you never give up. I am honored and humbled by the recognition and acknowledgment of the magazine’s group and our purpose, and most of all for having such loyal friends in my life. This award belongs to all of us.

I extend my congratulations to all of the other winners. Special congratulations go to a couple of Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine contributors whose light shone bright in their own right. Dorothy Morrison as Best Authoryou are an inspiration, a witch of integrity and a true friend. Thank you for your life’s work, much of which I was reading long before writing myself. Dragon Ritual Drummers as Best Music Group – thank you for the awesome drums and rhythms, providing us an expression of and connection to the heartbeat of the Spirits. Witchdoctor Utu in particular, I thank you for your support and friendship. Priestess Miriam as Best Community Figure - you and the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple represent what New Orleans Voodoo should be all about. Well done, my friends!

Finally, many thanks to Bayou City Conjure Radio for giving all of us an opportunity to acknowledge individuals and groups who contribute in a positive way to the conjure community. May 2013 be the best year ever!

Peace and love,

Denise Alvarado

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to Make and Use a Business Success Gris Gris

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
  • Lodestone
  • Dried toadstool
  • Small piece of pound cake offered to St. Expedite

Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado
Light a green, yellow or gold candle and hold your bag while focusing on the need or desire you have. Say Psalm 8 twenty-seven times while imagining yourself accomplishing your goal. Once you can say the prayer and have a clear vision of your goal in mind (this does take practice), your gris gris will begin to attract the changes you seek. Do this exercise daily, first thing in the morning or right before bedtime. Feed your gris gris every Friday evening by placing it on a dish of sugar and pouring a few drops of Crown of Success conjure oil onto the ingredients inside the bag. Leave it to sit overnight. It’s okay for the oil to leech into the sugar. In the morning, put the sugar in a bucket of soapy water and wash down the entrance of your business. Keep your gris gris with you if at all possible; women keep it on the left side while men keep them on the right. Anytime you need extra blessings, hold the gris gris in your hands and breathe into it while reciting the prayer.



Psalm 8(KJV)

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!

Find a complete selection of authentic New Orleans Gris Gris at Planet Voodoo.
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All text, images and graphics Copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy without my express permission.

Friday, December 7, 2012

13 Creole Hoodoo Recipes for Le Bon Appétit: Louisiana Money Greens and Magic Money Lamp



Greens of all kinds are popular among Southerners, particularly in rural communities. My grandmother and my mother grew all of greens in their gardens – mustard greens, collard greens, turnip greens... There is nothing like the taste of fresh greens cooked down in ham hock gravy or bacon drippings.

Greens are associated with attracting money; hence, the name money greens. Before making this dish, prepare an olive oil money lamp that you can burn in the kitchen while you are cooking. Olive oil is a great choice for making oil lamps because it doesn’t smoke or smell bad like commercially prepared lamp oils. It is also not combustible so even if you drop a match into the oil, it won't catch fire.

Magic Money Lamp

To make your olive oil money lamp, you will need:

  • A small glass jar like a miniature jelly jar
  • or small minced garlic jar with a metal lid
  • A wick
  • Olive oil
  • Money herbs, i.e. basil, mint, cinnamon, sassafras
  • Money drawing conjure oil
  • Petition
  • Piece of pyrite
  • Personal concerns

    1.      Prepare the vessel by washing it with Florida Water or salt water and dress it with Louisiana Van Van Oil. Breathe into the jar and fill it with your breath and say a few words of intention. If you use the Psalms in your work, say the 23rd Psalm.
    2.      Write your petition on a small piece of parchment paper and attach it to the wick with a safety pin or straight pin. This part of the wick should be at the bottom of the jar.
    3.      Poke a hole in the lid of the jar and pull the wick through it so that about a quarter of an inch of wick is coming out of the top of the lamp.
    4.      Place the bottom of the wick with the petition attached in the bottom of the jar.
    5.      Add the herbs, pyrite and personal concerns to the jar and cover with olive oil. Do not fill the jar to the top—you have to leave about a quarter of an inch space from the top. Add a few drops of conjure oil. With each ingredient you add offer it to the four directions and say a short prayer or statement telling each ingredient what you want it to do for you.
    6.     Place the lid on the lamp and light it. Once your lamp is together, say the 23rd Psalm if you do Psalms or say a heartfelt prayer of your own that asks for what you need and offers gratitude to the powers that be for all that you have. 

    Once you have set your lamp, choose one of the following recipes for making your money greens. One is made with ham hocks, and the other with bacon. Either one is absolutely delicious so you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose. Remember, when you cook greens they will wilt and reduce a lot, so you will have to add more than you may expect if you have never cooked greens before. Another thing is that some folks say greens tend to be bitter. Well, if you pick them when they are young and tender you won’t have to worry about that. Furthermore, it’s a little Creole secret to add a tablespoon of sugar to just about everything and that takes care of any slight hint of bitterness.
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    Here are two recipes for money greens - one with ham hocks, and the other with bacon. Either one is absolutely delicious so you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose.
     

    MONEY GREENS WITH HAM HOCKS

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1/2 cup wheat flour
    • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow onions
    • 1/2 cup chopped celery
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
    • 8 cups Chicken Stock
    • 3 pounds ham hocks (about 4 medium-size hocks)
    • 2 bunches (about 2 1/4 pounds) each of collards, mustard, and turnip greens, thoroughly washed, picked over for blemished leaves, and tough stems removed
    • 1 cup spring water

    DIRECTIONS

    Combine the oil and flour in an 8-quart pot over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, to make a blonde roux, about 8 minutes.

    Add the onions, celery, salt, cayenne, bay leaves, garlic, stock, and ham hocks. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, until the hocks are very tender, about 2 hours.

    Add the greens, by the handful, until all of them are combined in the mixture. They will wilt. Add the water. Simmer until the greens are very tender and the mixture is thick, about 45 minutes.

    Remove the bay leaves and serve warm. Yield: 8 to 10 servings    

    MONEY GREENS WITH BACON

    Some folks say to barely cook the bacon, but I like to cook it through. Also, I cook some extra crispy for sprinkling on top of each serving.

    Ingredients

    • 6 strips thick-sliced bacon
    • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 Tbsp sugar
    • 1 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • Several dashes hot sauce
    • 1/4 cup apple-cider vinegar
    • 2 pounds collard greens, stems removed, sliced into 3-inch-wide strips (can substitute kale or chard)
    • 1 cup chicken broth (or water)*
    • 2 bay leaves

      DIRECTIONS

      1 Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Cook the bacon in the skillet until it just begins to brown around the edges, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and cook until they have softened and are just starting to brown.

      2 Add the garlic, salt, pepper, sugar and hot sauce. Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant, about a minute. Add the vinegar, bring to a simmer, and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by half, stirring and scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.

      3 Add the collard greens and the chicken broth (or water) and bring to a simmer. Reduce the temp to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the collard greens have wilted and have lost their brightness. Season to taste with hot sauce. Serve with some of the pan juices from the pan. Serves 6 to 8.

      *Excerpt from the book 13 Creole Hoodoo Recipes for Le Bon Appétit by Denise Alvarado. All content and images on this blog are copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not reblog or reuse without my permission.

      Thursday, December 6, 2012

      Custom Devotional Altar Dolls



      Mad busy this time of year with Custom Voodoo Devotional Altar Dolls! Tell me who you want and I will make it for you! These custom devotional altar dolls are lovingly constructed from a base of sticks and Spanish moss in true New Orleans Voodoo folk art tradition. They are self standing and measure around 10 to 12 inches tall. No spirit is off limits, we are inspired to create sacred spiritual art from any tradition to suit your needs. We use the finest fabrics, lace brocade, ribbons and fancy yarns, feathers, beads, leather, fur, and semi precious stones. The faces are hand sculpted out of polymer clay and painted. All of our dolls are anointed with highly perfumed, exotic oils. Put the icing on your favorite altar with one of our one of a kind devotional altar dolls. Order now and get your order by Christmas! Pictured is Serket. You can see all my dolls at Planet Voodoo www.planetvoodoo.com and purchase from that site if you prefer or crossroadsmojo.com.