Thursday, August 18, 2011

About Miller's Mysteries and a Mess of Cobwebs

I have been very busy of late with several big projects which has kept me away from the Conjure Corner forum more than usual. One of those projects was finishing up on the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook. Who knew there were to be so many reviews before the final copy is approved? I mean, just when I thought I was done I had to review it yet again. But I am glad that I did as there were those last minute changes that needed to be made. All in all, I am VERY happy with the book and the way it turned out. And I am thrilled to have endorsements from Dorothy Morrison, Ray Buckland, Aaron Leitch, and Christian Day, among others.

My only regret is that I had to cut out a lot of material to make the approved page count. But, I decided that the cut material is every bit as important as what remained, and so I will be publishing that material at some point in the future. The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook Volume 2 anyone?

Another of my big projects is the redesign of Doc Miller's hoodoo drugstore website, medicinesandcurios.com. This website is the sister site to Miller's Rexall, which is his main business located in downtown Atlanta. And let me tell you, this has been some project! With over 4000 products I am still adding pictures and descriptions, but we are happy to announce that it is live and awaiting your visit. I am not kidding when I say he has everything you ever wanted and if it is not listed, just call the store and ask and I am sure he can get it for you. You can find the contact info at the site.

Real hoodoo drugstores don't exist like they used to down south or anywhere else for that matter. Especially in New Orleans, we had plenty of them and I remember frequenting the Dixie Drugstore as a kid, but that was many moons ago. I'm talking about real pharmacies that also carry a complete inventory of hoodoo materia medica, not some website that has sprung up on the internet in the past couple of years that calls itself a hoodoo drugstore or puts itself in the class of a hoodoo drugstore. I'm talking about a hoodoo drugstore that has withstood the test of time and that persists from a bygone era. I'm talking about a hoodoo drugstore that is employed by folks from the neighborhood who know what folks from the neighborhood are looking for. And as a bonus, I am talking about a hoodoo drugstore that is owned and operated by one of the nicest people I know.

The hoodoo drugstore is Miller's Rexall, in business since 1965, and the new and improved website is medicinesandcurios.com.

Read an excerpt from Volume 2 of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly about Doc Miller and his historic enterprise at our blog, Miller's Mysteries.

Miller's Mysteries: A MESS OF COBWEBS MAKES A BELIEVER OUT OF DOC MILLER...: OVER 45 YEARS AGO, Richard "Doc" Miller was just 12 years old when he started working with his uncle Dr. (Doc) Donald Miller at Miller's Rexall in downtown Atlanta...

 
Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.
 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Curse, Paranoia, or Psychology?

Okay, I think we need to talk about this one because it is an issue I am perpetually hearing. Life is going to hell in a hand basket, relationships are going sour, finances suck, health is going bad, interpersonal conflicts, bill collectors, can't find a job, your Facebook page has been hacked, you are the victim of identity theft, your best friend sleeps with your husband or wife, and the list goes on and on.

You must be cursed, right? Surely, this can't be a natural phenomenon, it MUST be the result of someone throwing some left-handed conjure your way, right?

WRONG.

98% of the time this is the result of life folks, not a curse, not some enemy throwing down at you. It is the result of choices YOU make and beliefs you have that cause you to continue to make choices that result in a state of living that is less than your desired life.

Sometimes it all starts with a significant event that occurs at some point in your life, maybe in childhood or maybe in adulthood. Maybe you were abused as a child and internalized those events so that your core belief about yourself is that you do not deserve to have an easy, free living life. You believe you don't deserve happiness because that is what you were told when you were little. Everything that happens to us when we are 5 to 6 years old shapes our personality and life perception for the rest of our lives. If you were beaten or sexually abused when you were so little, the messages that go along with that kind of treatment are:

*You aren't worthy of respect.
*Your body does not belong to you.
*You are less than everyone else.
*You better not say anything or you will suffer more atrocities.
*You can't trust anyone.
*You have no control over your life.
*Life is not safe.
*No one will come to your rescue because you aren't worthy, your body doesn't belong to you, you are less than everyone else and you better not say anything because you will be hurt again or someone else will be hurt and it will be your fault, life is not safe, you have no control, and you DEFINITELY cant trust anyone.

These are the messages you carry with you into your adulthood, and these are the messages that guide your decision making. Often, as adults, we will recreate the same abuse we suffered as children as a subconscious means of resolving and working through the trauma. But it doesn't work, does it? You continue to get in one abusive relationship after another, you continue to be attracted to the same kinds of people who treat you disrespectfully, constantly invade your boundaries, treat you like you are less than everyone else. You settle for a man or a woman who is unfaithful, a drunk or drug addict, won't work, or in some way closely resembles the person who abused you as a child.

No wonder you think it has always been that way! No wonder you come to the conclusion that you must have been born with a curse!

But you weren't born with a curse. You may have been born into a fucked up situation, treated badly and learned insecurity and low self esteem, but you have not been cursed.

What about those of you for whom you were not abused as children? What about the chain of bad luck that has happened ever since the death of your mother, father, best friend? Ever since you got married or into a relationship with a certain partner?

Everything we experience comes with a set of beliefs we form as a result of those experiences. If for example, you are sad and do not allow yourself to grieve, you can become emotionally stuck. It can become hard to make even the smallest of decisions. You just don't have the energy to fight for yourself anymore. The bills have piled up and you are so overwhelmed you can't DO anything except wonder, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Surely this isn't normal? It must be a curse!

There's an old saying "life is hard and then you die" (and several variations on that theme). The fact of the matter is that life IS hard. People die. People are not perfect. People will betray us, not everyone will treat us the way we deserve to be treated. We get sick. People we love get sick. Our animals die. We will always have bills and most of us will never be wealthy. OMG, I am exhausted just thinking about it! Why bother, right?

Now, let's think about the saying from a different perspective. Life is hard and then you die. What does that mean?

The fact of the matter is that life IS hard, but there is also joy if we look for it.

People die, but people live longer than they die.

People are not perfect, thank Buddha! Could you imagine if you had to live up to the standard of perfection?

People will betray us, but people will also be loyal to us. We will have friends along the way if we are open to receiving them.

Not everyone will treat us the way we deserve to be treated...IF YOU ALLOW IT. We train people how to treat us. If we allow people to treat us like shit then guess what? We will be treated like shit.

We get sick but we also have periods of good health. And along this line of thinking, what have you done today to ensure you have good health? Are you smoking, drinking excessively, eating junk food, smoking pot, doing drugs and sitting on the couch all day? or are you making a conscious decision about everything that goes into your body? Are you treating your body like the temple it is?

People we love die. Yes, but they also live, usually a lot longer than the process of death. Are you appreciating everyone who means something to you on a daily basis? Or are you taking them for granted? And guess what? The longer we live, the more people we know will die. That is a fact of life...death is a fact of life. Death is part of the life-death-life cycle. Without death, there is no life.

Our animals die. Our animals live...longer than they die. Are you loving your animal companion to the best of your ability today?

We will always have bills. Yes, but we can learn how to pay them off. We can understand that some things we will always have to pay for and then there are those things we never had to buy in the first place.

Most of us will never be wealthy. If we are talking about money, this is true. Can you be happy without being wealthy? What is wealth? What is happiness?

Is the glass half empty or half full? If it is my tendency to believe the glass is half empty, then I will be more inclined to believe that life happens TO me. I am more inclined to believe I must be crossed. If I believe the glass is half full, I will find the joy in each day, turn problems into challenges, and reclaim my life. I am empowered to change the things I can and find serenity in knowing there are things I simply cannot.

There is a concept in psychology of the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is what I am talking about. If I believe it to be, so it will be. This can work for the positive and for the negative, equally.

Life happens. This doesn't mean a curse has been laid on you. It means if life sucks for you, then guess what? You can change it! And how freeing and empowering it is when you come to that realization. This is why magick is so powerful; it gives us tools we can use to make the changes we need. Just know that magick is a cocreative process. Waving a magic wand only has its place in Harry Potter movies, not real life. In real life we have to align our thoughts and behaviors to be consistent with our vision for ourselves and consistent with the work we do.

Here is the basic truth: we were all born sacred and divine human beings, perfect just as we are. No matter what has ever happened, this is the truth. We grow to be adults with the POWER to change. We can co create our lives in partnership with universal forces to be the lives we always wanted to live. Remember this and you will no longer have the need to believe you are cursed.


Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.
 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Casey Anthony Voodoo Dolls: Profit from Murder or Justified Revenge?



When the whole country first became aware of the murder of little Caylee Anthony, the media latched on to the story like no other. And after the arrest of her mother Casey Anthony on July 16, 2008, people with a macabre perception of  free enterprise clamored to make a buck off of  what panned out to be one of the most notable cases of this century for the murder of a child.

It wasn't long before someone claiming to be from my hometown of New Orleans created a voodoo doll representing Casey and put it on eBay for sale. What that person did with the money, I don't know. In fact, for the longest time I tried to find out who was making these dolls, but never did find out. It certainly got more than the appropriate share of press which I am certain spawned further sales. And of course, others jumped on the bandwagon with their attempt to make a more "palatable" doll in the eyes of the general public when the Caylee Anthony Sunshine Doll was created in 2009. Fortunately, this distasteful product launch was not met with the public's embrace and the Anthony family attorney demanded it to be taken off the shelf, which it ultimately was.

Now, I am getting Google feeds daily about the demand for Casey and Cindy Anthony voodoo dolls. I have even been approached about making these dolls. After all, I have written articles and have several mini sites dedicated to predators and child sexual abuse AND I make Voodoo dolls. But here is a big difference: I make Voodoo dolls and these other folks make voodoo dolls. Furthermore, my websites that are geared towards predators and child abuse are all not for profit with 100% of the proceeds going to the Polly Klass Foundation.


Casey Anthony Voodoo Doll
http://www.theweeklyvice.com/2009/01/casey-anthony-voo-doo-doll-for-those.html

This whole issue of people profiting off of the murder of others spawns many discussions, the least of which is the question of morality. Is it right to profit from other people's pain? This is a complicated question in the world of hoodoo if one is a two headed practitioner. And the answer would be "yes", if we are to be completely honest. People come to practitioners because they are hurting, desperate, tired, and sick and tired of some person, place or situation. We do what we can to help them change it, whatever it is. But, there is a big difference in this kind of profit as opposed to profiting off of the murder of a child, or any murdered person for that matter.

Many folks will say there is no moral code in hoodoo, usually in reference to the concepts of karma and the Wiccan rede that are not part of the African-derived traditions. But I disagree with this. Of course there is a moral code in hoodoo, and it is as individual as the practitioners themselves. We are all guided by our own set of morals, shaped by our upbringings, beliefs, and life experiences. To say otherwise is just ignorant.


http://www.babble.com/mom/selling-casey-anthony-25-weird-wacky-items-from-etsy-ebay/


Yet, the whole discussion of "hoodoo morals" is, in my opinion,  a good one. All religions and spiritual practices have a set of guidelines governing moral behavior. The idea that in hoodoo or the public concept of voodoo one can do whatever they want because there is not a written or universally determined body that regulates behavior is ludicrous. Typically, this stance is defended because hoodoo is a "magickal system" and the general public has no real understanding of the Voodoo/Vodou religions. If this is true, then why do we always say to perform cleansings after doing such work? Because we aren't worried there will be negative side effects? Because we want to separate our energy from the energy that we have manipulated? Because we don't want to be attached to whatever situation it is we are working? Because we don't want our families and pets to suffer as a result of putting the mojo on someone? Or all of the above? The World of Spirit has its own set of rules, and if you are going to be a player in that world, you had best be ready to deal with the consequences of your choices within that world.

But is revenge ever justified? And is it ever justified to do Voodoo or hoodoo on a perpetrator? Of course it is. Particularly in cases of child abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and murder of a child it is justified and we have specific spirits that are more than willing to take on these cases upon request. The best discussion I have ever read to date on this issue is in Luisah Teish's book Jambalaya; The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals. In that book, Chief Luisah Teish discusses the case of rape and how one might going about seeking revenge in a manner that has the desired outcome in terms of punishing the offender and keeping oneself safe from negative consequences of initiating such revenge. If this book is not a part of your library, whether you are a man or a woman, I highly recommend it.

Casey Anthony and Cindy Anthony Voodoo dolls are wrong and I will not be among those people who make them and sell them on eBay. Not only do I hate eBay, I hate the very idea of profiting off of a child's murder. There is nothing in that scenario that I can see to make it a good idea, unless one is doing it for the express purpose of raising money for an appropriate, related organization with the power to do a lot of good in this world. Otherwise, these folks are creating their own bad mojo. Whether you believe in karma or not, or Newton's Law that states all actions have an opposite and equal reaction, or that the actions of a hoodoo has no consequences, none of us live in a vacuum in this world. We are all connected,and as such, we all effect one another.

If you are outraged by the release of Casey Anthony and want to honor Caylee's memory, and the memory of all murdered children, check out the Polly Klass Foundation as a start. There are many things we can do on a personal and social level to make a difference in the prevention of violence against children and to help in finding missing and exploited children. I have listed a few links below for your convenience.

Finally, there is power in numbers. Whether it is a social cause or spiritual cause, when a group of people focus their energy to a desired end, there is a greater chance of seeing the change you want to see. If you wish to effect change on a spiritual level, work in tandem with the people in your magickal circle towards a specific purpose. Help to send light and protection to the children in the world who need it. Bind the perpetrators. Do whatever you feel is within your power to do. The important thing is to take action. Sitting idly by without doing anything is complacency, and that has its own set of consequences.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
(Margaret Mead 1901-1978)

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Image Credit: (Top) http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/crime/orl-casey-voodoo-doll-photo-photo.html

Friday, June 24, 2011

There is No Such Thing as War Water

Did I get your attention? Good, because I want to talk about what is tradition and what is not tradition.

 



Here’s the great debate: War Water is rusty water that may contain cut nails, rusty nails, or coffin nails. The nails may come from different places in order to take advantage of their magical correspondences and amplify the formula. In Louisiana, war water was often oil of tar in swamp water with a little Spanish moss thrown in. The latter is the formula I am most familiar with as a New Orleans native, though I make a nice rusty water too. Nails may or may not be an addition to this basic recipe. Though, as with anything hoodoo, formulas vary between families and practitioners.

I can hear it now...some folks reading this are throwing a fit...you can’t have war water without rust! You have to have nails in the water! The nails have to be cut so they can oxidize in the water! War Water has to have rust because rust is a by product of iron and iron is associated with Mars, the god of war and ...wait, what does Mars have to do with hoodoo? (Okay, don't answer that one because I know about European influences).




So this is where I am going with this article...the arguments about “my war water is more authentic than your war water” is a moot point if we really want to talk authentic, traditional formulas. War Water shouldn’t even be in the same sentence because it is not a traditional formula or hoodoo weapon.  Africans used other methods of warfare, as did the Indians. And when they were forced together through the slave trade, if they compared notes, I'm pretty sure war water wasn’t in those notes.

The preferred weapon of war was gris gris, which was reconstructed through the diaspora. Gris gris was brought to these shores via the marabouts and their occult skills and military traditions. It was used in numerous slave revolts as well as in the Haitian revolution. On the other hand, War Water was the creation of the hoodoo marketeers, white folks who looked to make a buck off of the black folk. Then there are the well-meaning white folks who started serving the black communities because there was a need as many stopped preparing their own remedies and so the hoodoo drugstore was one place to go for these remedies. There are many such creations that we tend to call traditional or authentic, when in reality, they do not  originate in African or indigenous spirituality, religion, or folk magic. Things like War Water and the fictional antidote Peace Water  is not an African product; it is the result of commercialized hoodoo.

Marie Laveau was well versed in the art of gris gris, as was Dr. John. Some venture to say Dr. John was an even better gris gris doctor than she and that he taught her about gris gris. My guess is that if Marie Laveau’s  Peace Water is actually her formula, she would have used it to cool down conditions or used it to bless people, places, and things. It would not have been used as an antidote to War Water because there was no War Water during her time.

And if that isn’t enough to get you going, here is something that might. Where I come from, hoodoo is Voodoo (I can hear it again, folks going off on me ...how dare I say they are one and the same? hoodoo is the magic, Voodoo is the religion...blah, blah, blah). The magic is PART of the religion, not separate from it. Those who separate it and those who practice hoodoo as “African American folk magic” are only “using” part of the actual tradition, which has become an American tradition. And while I am at it (oh, this is good!), Christianity was NOT one of the original religions- Voudon, Orisha, Ifa, Mami Wata, Islam and others were among the traditional religions brought to the Americas via the slave trade. Africans were not even allowed to worship as Christians during slavery. Then later, Christianity was imposed on Africans as part of the Code Noir and if they did not conform they were tortured or even killed. But the Africans knew who they were praying to, and it wasn’t Saint Peter.

So, to show you I am not a fool with my head in the sand, I am quite aware that many folks believe Christianity is what makes hoodoo authentic. Moving forward in time, we see many of the colonized folks adopting aspects of Christianity and eventually completely converting. And likewise, we see many descendents of the colonizers defining Hoodoo as a Christian tradition. But hoodoo did not start on these shores. It is not a “later” development. Its origin comes straight from Africa, and is a complete magicospiritual tradition that is intimately connected to the spirits of Voudon (that’s right, the religion).

In my opinion, it is tragic why Christianity is such a big part of American hoodoo. It is the direct result of colonization, a process that interrupted the transmission of the religious aspects of Voudon to subsequent generations and that caused folks to fear their own cultures of origin to the point of rejecting their ancestry.

As I always say when I make such controversial statements, not everyone in New Orleans sees it the way I do. Not everyone uses the power of the spirits to energize their magic and gris gris. But many do. However, it has remained underground for a long time and there are those who still will not come out publicly. I have been taken by my elders to secret locations for ceremonies heretofore undisclosed for fear of intrusion and harassment by outsiders. I am still sworn to secrecy. So I understand. One day, perhaps we won’t have to fear being open about our true religious preferences.

What I have presented is food for thought. Whether you agree with this article or not does not matter to me. I am telling it the way I see it, it’s my opinion, and I am not going to argue about it, though I am happy to have lively discussions.

Reference

Diouf, S. A.  (1998). Servants of Allah: African Muslims enslaved in the Americas.  New York: NYU Press

Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In the Company of Black Hawk

We all know that Black Hawk is an important figure in many spiritualist churches. He is not found in all churches, which is evidence of the independent nature of the various congregations. Typically, it is the spirits that follow the reverend mothers and bishops of the churches that dictate which spirits are emphasized in worship.

The emergence of Black Hawk among spiritualists can be traced to Leafy Anderson, who, according to some reports, was half Mohawk Indian and the assumed founder of the spiritualist church in New Orleans. She is reported to have said Black Hawk was the saint of the south while White Hawk was the saint of the north. I don't remember anything about White Hawk in New Orleans; what I know of him is from an indigenous perspective and from study of the spiritualist church doctrine and manual for reverend mothers.

Though spiritualists will often deny any association with Voodoo or hoodoo, there are a number of similarities and correspondences. The emphatic public dissociation with Voodoo and hoodoo makes sense given the sociopolitical climate in the early twentieth century when African Americans were routinely hassled for their religious beliefs and often imprisoned.

There are a few major spirit guides that are emphasized among spiritualists in New Orleans. Among them are St. Patrick, not surprising given the importance of Damballah Wedo in the New Orleans Voodoo pantheon and the subsequent syncretization of the two. Queen Esther is another major Spirit guide, though she did not take off in popularity like Black Hawk or St. Patrick. This is curious given her worship is focused on the empowerment of women and breaking the confines of socially determined gender roles. The spiritualist church is clearly a female dominated tradition.

Father John is another of the popular spirits of devotion in the Church. It is difficult to determine his origin and it seems to depend on who you talk to. He is affectionately referred to as Cousin John, Father John and some say Father Jones, though it is not clear whether or not Father John and Father Jones are the same spirit. Father John is reputed to be a great doctor and healer and guiding force among the spirits themselves. For this reason, he is often said to be the spirit of Dr. John, the famous gris gris doctor in New Orleans during the time of Marie Laveau. His energy feels consistent with this theory to me.

In addition to these popular spirit guides that appear among spiritualist circles, it is interesting to note that Black Hawk sometimes appears with two other spirits on his altar. This is something that you may not be aware of unless you are from New Orleans and have ever peered into a church yourself. I call them the Holy Trinity of Spiritualism, though not everyone will share this perspective since there is great variation in the spirit guides among churches themselves. However, they appear frequently enough that I believe it is a fitting description.

There is the common depiction of Black Hawk's altar consisting of his statue sitting in a bucket of sand. Yes, this is one way of creating his altar, but is by no means the only way, nor is it the manner in which he is situated in the Spiritualist Churches themselves. The "Black Hawk in a bucket" scenario is often promoted by those with no real ties to the Spiritualist Churches of New Orleans or with New Orleans Voodoo and hoodoo. Alternately, it is a tradition practiced by some elders in the Hoodoo tradition who maintain an altar in this manner in the privacy of their homes. I personally have Black Hawk sitting in a metal galvanized bucket that is filled with a mixture of different earths; some from the land of his birthplace, some from a crossroads, some from a graveyard, etc. The earth blend that he sits on is a very powerful blend that can be used in other works pertaining to him and in starting buckets for others who tutelage under me. Having Black Hawk sit on a blend of earths such as I have described is an old tradition that seems to have been whitewashed in the bucket of sand scenario.


There are many other nuances about Black Hawk that I may eventually share as someone who is an insider looking out as opposed to an outsider looking in. What I want to focus on and stimulate discussion about is his relationship with two other spirits that sometimes appear on his altar in what I call  the Holy Trinity of Spiritualism. These two other Spirit Guides are St. Michael the Archangel and Dr. Martin Luther King.

There are numerous cultural and religious implications with this trinity of spirits, and close examination of the three reveals a lot about the collective psyche of the people who follow this tradition. New Orleans is a wonderful city in many ways but it has an awful, dark history of discrimination and oppression of people of color, particularly Africans and Indians. This fact is one common ground that unites the two populations. From this perspective, it is not surprising to see Black Hawk and Dr. Martin Luther King gracing the same altar.

It is also not surprising to see St. Michael share the same altar. St. Michael is said to be the defender and Guardian of Israel. He also is a protector and defender of an oppressed people. An altar to Black Hawk will many times have one or two statues of St. Michael flanking the statue of Black Hawk with a photograph of Dr. Martin Luther King hanging on the wall behind or standing in a frame behind Black Hawk.

But what do Jewish people have to do with New Orleans, you may ask? Well, the Jews were right up there with Africans in the Code Noir (Black Code) set forth and implemented by King Louis of France, which called for the forced religious conversion of all Africans to Catholicism and the expulsion of Jews from the city. The first three articles of the Code speak for themselves:

Article I. We desire and we expect that the Edict of 23 April 1615 of the late King, our most honored lord and father who remains glorious in our memory, be executed in our islands. This accomplished, we enjoin all of our officers to chase from our islands all the Jews who have established residence there. As with all declared enemies of Christianity, we command them to be gone within three months of the day of issuance of the present [order], at the risk of confiscation of their persons and their goods.

Article II. All slaves that shall be in our islands shall be baptized and instructed in the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith. We enjoin the inhabitants who shall purchase newly-arrived Negroes to inform the Governor and Intendant of said islands of this fact within no more that eight days, or risk being fined an arbitrary amount. They shall give the necessary orders to have them instructed and baptized within a suitable amount of time.

Article III. We forbid any religion other than the Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith from being practiced in public. We desire that offenders be punished as rebels disobedient of our orders. We forbid any gathering to that end, which we declare to be conventicle, illegal, and seditious, and subject to the same punishment as would be applicable to the masters who permit it or accept it from their slaves.(Édit du Roi, Touchant la Police des Isles de l'Amérique Française (Paris, 1687), 28–58).

Given the eventual syncretization of Catholic saints into the New Orleans Voodoo pantheon, it is logical and clear as to how St. Michael found his way on the altar beside Black Hawk and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Black Hawk is referred to as the "Watchman on the Wall" who will "fight your battles for you". He is the guardian of a combined Indian nation, the Sauc and Fox (together referred to as Meskwaki). St Michael is the Guardian of the nation of Israel and her people, and Dr. Martin Luther king is the champion of the Civil Rights movement and representative of freedom from bondage and great leadership. All three of these spirits convey a message of strength, victory, and militancy.


References

Édit du Roi, Touchant la Police des Isles de l'Amérique Française (Paris, 1687), 28–58

Painting of St. Michael by Erzengel Michael, circa 1636, p.d.

Photo of Black Hawk Bust copyright 2009 by Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved.

Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King from the Library of Congress. New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, p.d.
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Copyright 2010-2013 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ask Voodoomama: How NOT to Ask Voodoo Mama a Question

In case you don't follow my other blog Ask Voodoo Mama, I just posted a discussion about the kinds of questions I get that I really shouldn't be getting. That old saying "There is no such thing as a stupid question" is a downright lie. Check it out and tell me if you agree.

Ask Voodoomama: How NOT to Ask Voodoo Mama a Question

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who Skinned the Black Cat? Online Botanica sells the Face of a Black Cat as Good Luck Curio




I want to know, since when was a black cat face used for good luck?

I don't quite remember how I stumbled upon this page the other day, all I know is that I did.  I normally like to peruse Papa Jim's Botanica site because he carries stuff I don't carry. However, this is one item I won't be purchasing from him or anyone else, and I certainly won't be aspiring to carry it.

The website says "Black Cat Face. Place in your home or business for Good Luck, Protection From Evil."

"This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 24 February, 2011."

Now, I am all for  the rare and hard to find curios and I will climb a mountain or mountains (literally) to get them. But a black cat face?

I don't even know where to begin with this one.

Well, I posted a link to it on my Facebook page and got a lot of responses, which is why I thought I would blog about it and do a little scientific examination of the evidence. And, being the scientist that I am, I have an inquiring mind and I want to know, who skinned the black cat?

Any research begins with a question. We want to find out something, so we research it. We form a hypothesis and develop a theory, collect our data and then methodically go about proving or disproving the hypothesis. The results may or may not support the hypothesis. Either way, if we can confirm one way or another it's good research, even if we don't confirm the initial hypothesis because at least we have accurate information about the issue at hand and draw a conclusion or conclusions based on facts. We end up with more information than we had in the beginning of the research so we add to a specific body of knowledge that everyone can draw from. Not only do we benefit the scientific community with new found knowledge, we also benefit society at large.

Research also begins with something the researcher is passionate about. When I saw this image and the accompanying advertisement, I was appalled. And I am  not alone. Here are a couple of the comments that supported my initial reaction:

Sorcha Puridai Isn't there some law against that? It should be reported. If it originates from outside the country, it's illegal to import - or export if its inside. There should be a way to shut this down. More education is needed because there are superstitious and impressionable people out there who support this kind of trade ...

Fred Cislo Jr Okay that is just wrong! I would be pissed if somebody told me they bought that!

And there were more. but then, there was this post:

Willa Wylde im betting its not a cat face at all but a fox, you can buy them from various leather places like Tandy, i used to use them to make dream catches and such it even looks like the fox shape...just saying

It's always good to have different opinions about things. Sometimes we can't see the other side of Exu's hat because we can't stand on both sides of the street at one time. But, if we are open-minded and don't jump to conclusions, we can discover the truth based on the evidence at hand.

After reading Willa's comment, I questioned whether or not it was in fact a fox and not a cat. I am not convinced either way...yet.

Now I am writing an article about black cat sacrifice in Volume 2 of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly so I don't want to repeat that here, but I do want to give a little contextual background for our informal study of this alleged black cat face. There is no doubt that the use of black cats in magick has a long history in Europe and in hoodoo. Cats played a large role in ancient Egyptian society, for example, as they were used for pest control and were deified (i.e. Bast, Mafdet). In fact, cats  were afforded the same mummification and burial as people were. In ancient Greece, cats were revered and if one was found hurting or killing a cat, even accidentally, the punishment was death.

In New Orleans Voodoo, black cats have been the subject of controversial sacrifice  in the past, particularly with regards to finding the one bone in the body that is all powerful.

Thanks to Robert Tallant and other writers who focused on specific excerpts of his mostly inaccurate and sensationalized account of New Orleans Voodoo, the urban legend of the black cat as THE sacrificial lamb of New Orleans Voodoo has become an undisputed historical fact. He even has a chapter in his book Voodoo in New Orleans called Skin a Black Cat with your Teeth. According to Tallant, “ Sacrifice and the drinking of blood were integral parts of all Voodoo ceremonies. Usually it was the blood of a kid that was used, but often it was that of a black cat”(Tallant, p. 15). The prevalence and inaccuracy of such accounts is something I discuss in the article in HCQ. One thing I have not been able to find, whether truth or fiction, is the use of a black cat face specifically, for good luck.

In at least 20 articles I researched for the article in HCQ, absolute statements are made about the orgiastic parties led by Marie Laveau where the Voodoo worshippers danced around a cauldron filled with frogs and into which snakes and a black cat was tossed. Where did they get their information? Tallant of course, typically the only source cited for these statements. Since the sacred serpent, Li Grande Zombi, is our major Spirit in New Orleans, I hardly doubt anyone was throwing snakes into a cauldron. With such proliferation of unsubstantiated claims, it has become an almost iconic representation of New Orleans Voodoo, albeit completely biased and unfounded. It reminds me of a similar phenomenon that is prevalent on the internet today where people take one source, usually Wikipedia, and regurgitate the information without any critical analysis of the information and without any original authorship that contributes to the body of knowledge. YAWN....

Now the black cat bone is another issue, and it is seemingly supported by local lore and in various blues songs such as the one I have in this post. The truth is, however, the use of black cats in sacrifice didn't start with New Orleans Voodoo or hoodoo. For example, here is a description of the gruesome black cat bone ritual found in the book of St. Cyprian (O Antigo Livro de São Cipriano: Capa de Aço) first published in 1849:


Cook the body of a black cat in boiling water witH white seeds and wood from the willow until the meat is loosened from the bones. Strain the bones in a linen cloth and, in front of the mirror, place the bones, one by one in your mouth, until you find that you have the magic to make you become invisible. Keep the bone with the magic property and, if you want to go somewhere without being seen, place the bone in your mouth."


Do I have to say that a black cat bone, even the "one" alleged special bone will not make you invisible? Admittedly I have not tried it, but I would bet it just ain't so.

During the 17th century, a cat boiled in oil was believed to be excellent for dressing wounds (Russell, 1972). While the mental picture of this is reprehensible, there may have been some (unknown at the time) scientific merit to this, if it was a black cat that was used.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health discovered the gene mutations associated with a black coat in three types of black cats: the domestic cat, jaguar and South American jaguarundi. Apparently, the mutations affect a gene in the same family as one that causes a resistance to HIV in humans. "There is a mutation in humans that knocks this gene out and causes complete resistance to HIV," O'Brien said. So it may be that the same gene responsible for a black coat may also provide resistance to diseases. You can read the whole article here.

In hoodoo and in New Orleans Voodoo, black cats are associated with good luck and have been advertised as such since the late 1930s. They are particularly good luck in sports and games of chance. The tail of a black cat when pointing upward was considered lucky, and if you stroke a cat's tail nine times before playing cards, it is said to give you a winning edge in card games.

There are many references to the various mystical attributes of black cats from numerous cultures - some positive and some negative. Most "superstitions" about black cats are positive, up until the Middle Ages, that is.

I was born and raised in New Orleans and lived there over thirty years, and I never heard of using the face of a black cat for good luck or anything else. That doesn't mean it never was, just that I never heard of it anecdotally. Even the folks I knew who practiced the darker arts never used the skin of black cats. And try as I might, I can't find reference to the use of a black cat face specifically as a good luck curio in any of the folkloric or anthropological literature. I searched the entire database of literature available through the American Anthropological Association, as well as the library at Walden University, through which I have access to hundreds of academic journals. Nothing...not even a hint. If anyone knows of a reference, please post it in the comments section because I would really love to know if I missed something.

However, my question, who skinned the black cat? is jumping the gun. I have to first prove there is indeed a black cat face on Papa Jim's website.

Research Question: Is Papa Jim's Botanica really selling a skinned black cat face on their website?

Or, is it the face of a fox? Let's examine the evidence, beginning with the obvious. Papa Jim's Botanica states: "BLACK CAT FACE... Place in your home or business for good luck, protection from evil."

Of course, you can't believe everything you read or see, so let's check out the photos and and see if we can differentiate the alleged black cat face from a black fox face.

The first aspect of the images to compare is the shape of the faces. I found a couple of photos of black fox faces and compared them against the black cat face found on Papa Jim's Botanica website. To do this, I used Photoshop to remove the backgrounds of both photos and placed them side by side for comparison. And to be completely fair, I am aware of the variations of pelts and there are some fox faces that appear more rounded than pointed, so I did a side by side comparison of those  as well.

Sample 1:



Sample 2:




Next, I took the individual photos and superimposed them on top of each other, taking care to size them to equal sizes without distorting the ratio. Note that in the images, I made the cat face image into a colored graphic in order to clearly see any similarities or differences in the overall shape of the faces.

Sample 1: Cat face superimposed on fox face

 
Sample 2: Cat face superimposed on rounded fox face


Next, I examined the details of the photos, starting with the noses. The alleged cat face appears to have a smaller nose than the fox face, which appears to be a bit square. In addition, in both of the fox photos, the snouts are narrower than the alleged black cat photo, although the fox face with a rounded nose is not as elongated.

Another detail I noticed is the fur. The fur on the fox appears a bit coarser than the fur on the alleged black cat. And the ears...it looks as if the ears of the alleged black cat face are smaller  and more centrally located than the fox ears, which appear to be larger and laying to the sides.

So far, it's not looking good.

That said, my observations are extremely limited in both the photos and the lack of an ability to hold and feel both specimens firsthand. Further, it is difficult to see the details of either picture clearly.

Even if it is not a real black cat, shouldn't the consumer be told? Why would they say it is a black cat if it is not? It's not like they are asking hundreds of dollars for it. Is it worth selling a black cat face for $22.00?

What do you think?

I have chosen not to link to the site because I am already giving them free advertising as the subject of this blog post. No doubt, some freak will read this and want to buy it. That is on them, not me. If you want to see the ad, just google the words "black cat face" and it will come right up (unfortunately).

My first cat was a black cat named Moses. He was so sweet and I really miss him even though it has been over thirty years since he has passed. I can't imagine someone skinning a black cat and saving the face to sell on a website for good luck. That just can't be good karma.







Black Cat Ju Ju at Creole Moon
 

References

Tallant, R. (1946). Voodoo in New Orleans
California Folklore Society (1964). Western Folklore, Vol 23.



Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Black Hat Tactics in Clandestine Hoodoo Wars


The term black hat comes from the internet marketing field and refers to unethical and borderline illegal (if not illegal) tactics for garnering traffic and business. They employ methods for SEO (search engine optimization) that include spamming, link farms and article spinning (basically rewriting someone else's article via the use of special software). These are the messages you get in your emails that say "Long time no see" or "check this out" or "have you seen this yet?" and when you click on the link it takes you to those prescription drug sites or some other place you have no interest in. Where do they get your emails from? Well, a lot of places, but many find mine through my contact information at my websites. They email me as if placing an order or asking a question.

There are many underhanded tactics these folks use to achieve their goals; some are effective, many are actually counterintuitive. Eventually, these techniques get the attention of Google and other search engines who remove the Black Hatter’s sites from their indices. Their sites are no longer crawled by the spiders and no longer show up in search results.

I have spent years studying the techniques of the internet marketing gurus in an effort to learn how to market by business on the internet. I have spent time on hackers forums to learn how to keep people from hacking my sites and know how to fix vulnerabilities when it does happen (and it has). The other side of the coin are the legitimate, organic means of SEO, referred to as White Hat tactics. It’s like learning to be a two headed root woman, you need to know both sides of the coin to deal with any given condition that presents itself.
I was thinking about these Black Hat/White Hat tactics and how nicely the terms apply to the internet community of hoodoos.

For example, have you ever been to a blog and someone writes a nasty little comment  from “Anonymous?” I had a few of those here during the Alvarado vs Yronwode incident. Insults were hurled complete with name calling and slander. I deleted those.

For some reason, people get riled up about something, undoubtedly triggered by a blog entry, and then go off on a tangent that has little, if anything, to do with the blog post. They speak confidently and write fearlessly, stating their opinions and making accusations that may or may not be true, but their comments are not done with any integrity because they hide behind the “anonymous” signature. Black hat hoodoo…spreading negative energy on the downlow.

How about this one: private messaging members of a forum, carefully sidestepping the forum owner, sporting their wares and promoting their business. This is usually done under an alias so they are not easily identified by the forum owner. Black hat hoodoo…advertising on someone else’s dime.

Here’s another one: writing disparaging reviews on Amazon.com that stick out like a sore thumb. This only applies if you are an author, but it’s pretty obvious when a review is an actual “critical review” as opposed to a criticism of the author fueled by some underlying jealousy or whatever. As an author, I don’t expect to get 100% positive reviews. I shouldn’t be in the business if I have unrealistic expectations like that. But, it is easy to tell when someone has a chip on their shoulder as opposed to someone who actually has some good feedback for you. I have noticed this has happened to several authors, usually by the same group of people. I even had someone write a negative review of one of my books and they admitted they never even read the book! Still, their little rating goes a long way in the overall ranking of the book. Whatever, Black Hat hoodoo… taking unfair and unprofessional pot shots with no foundation on a competitor.

Here’s a good one: links on your Facebook page by a competitor. This is a real pet peeve of mine. Post on your own damn wall, and if you don’t have enough friends and fans, then spend a few years like the rest of us staying up and working fiendishly all night, studying, marketing, and creating good products and information. Build relationships with people, learn how to network… get in the game or get out.

Here’s one that really gets my goat: the person who joins my forum and steals my content and ideas. The content is copied and pasted to another site without permission or attribution. Since I have devoted a couple of posts going off on that tangent, I will spare you another rant. I’m just sayin’…it falls into the category of Black hat hoodoo.

Okay, I have one more thing on that note and then I will move on…there is one such person on my forum who has ordered from me and copied the design and labeling of some of my products and has them for sale on their site (you know who you are). Now that’s Black Hat hoodoo with extremely LARGE huevos!

So far, the examples I have given are annoying and rude tactics, but not really dangerous. I mean, if I offer a good quality service and products then I don’t have anything to really worry about…except for the time that it takes to get these folks off of my junk.

Oh, there is one other thing I have to worry about - being banned from Google for duplicate content. Not that I am duplicating content, but that my content is copied by someone else and Google, whose behavior is shaped by algorithms, can’t tell where the original content came from. All it knows is that it is a duplication and one site has to go. Just pray it ain’t mine.

Now, there are other tactics used that are dangerous and anyone who is in the business of conjure should be aware of some of these. For example, so-called “friends” who only show up at “special” times. I call these folks the Spy Boys of hoodoo. This is a term borrowed from the Mardi Gras Indian tradition in New Orleans. On Mardi Gras and St. Joseph's night, one member of a gang - the Spy Boy - runs reconnaissance missions around his gang's path, looking for feathers and listening for chants of rival gangs. They are the scouts for the Chief. In hoodoo, these are the spies of a jealous competitor, someone who has it out for you and who is doing a work or planning a work on you. They get off on their underground alliance and report to their “chief” who needs information and wants to know what you are up to. They want to know where your vulnerabilities are. And since we are all human and the internet consists of social networking, we often post personal information about ourselves and experiences we go through. The Spy Boy, who could be female as well as male, is the snitch and reports to their “leader” and is an active participant in the Black Hat tactic.

Have you ever belonged to a forum and noticed  that if you disagree with someone or post information about something (let’s use our new magazine journal Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly as an example), say you want to tell everyone about his great new hoodoo mag, and your comment is deleted or you are reprimanded by the forum administrator or moderator? What is that about? In this case, the Black Hat tactic is a defensive measure, designed to squelch the success of another.

Then, you notice that because you are a friend of the person who posted the discussion, all of a sudden you start experiencing a streak of “bad luck” And, that bad luck gets worse and worse until something downright dangerous happens. Maybe your children and pets have even suffered… you wonder what’s going on. You don’t want to be paranoid so maybe you talk about it to a few people you trust, and find out you are not alone. Similar things are happening to other people who have similar associations. It seems to be too much of a coincidence to BE a coincidence. So then you have a divination done and see what that might reveal and your suspicions are confirmed. This is Black Hat hoodoo at its lowest, folks.

In fact, there are tenets against targeting children and animals in most, if not all of the organized ATRs. People who breach these taboos are said to lose their power and the power of their main spirits. They only have the lower entities left to work with, and the allegiance of these lower spirits cannot be guaranteed.

People who stoop to the lowest of the Black Hat hoodoo tactics are the most dangerous because they have no super-ego monitoring their id, to put it in psychoanalytic terms. The super-ego is the part of the psyche that sets boundaries on behavior based on morals and ethics. The id is the part of the psyche that is comprised of pure instinct and impulse. They don’t care if they lose control because they have no morals. The out of control behavior that results with a poorly functioning super-ego feels powerful because of its intensity. The lengths to which they go to exact revenge with unbridled instincts makes them feel superhuman and untouchable, as if the laws of nature do not apply to them. But this is just an illusion…out of control is out of control, pure and simple. And anyone who acts maliciously towards another out of jealousy or competitiveness will eventually find themselves sucked into a dark hole with no way out. Unfortunately, these folks tend to do a lot of damage on their way down.

I am sure many people have their own examples of Black Hat hoodoo that they have experienced. Truth be told, I have merely scratched the surface here.

Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.

Friday, February 25, 2011

How to Make a Voodoo Doll

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Absinthe Conjure Oil (Green Fairy Oil)


Here is a sneak peak into the revised edition of the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook. It is an excerpt from the formulary section about Absinthe. If anyone decides to try it, please do share the results!

Absinthe is a potent alcoholic beverage made from select herbs and a large percentage of the purest alcohol. In French, the word "absinthe" means "wormwood." Accounts in ancient texts date as far as 1500 B.C. mention wormwood's medicinal as well as religious significance. The original recipe was simply wormwood leaves soaked in wine.

Absinthe was also known as the "Green Fairy" during its heyday in France in the 1800s. The Green Fairy is the English translation of La Fee Verte, the French nickname given to absinthe in the 19th century. The nickname stuck, and over a century later, “absinthe", "Green Fairy", “Green Goddess”, and “Madness in a Bottle” are some of the names that continue to be used.

According to some accounts, absinthe was first formulated in the 1790s by Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland. He made it by combining wormwood with other herbs such as hyssop, coriander, anise, and melissa, with 68% alcohol. He created the amazing elixir to treat his patients and patented it as a “cure-all”, guaranteed to heal what ails you.

The legacy of absinthe as a mystifying, addictive, and mind-altering elixir continues to this day. Absinthe has been largely and incorrectly portrayed in fine art, music, literature and the media as an unnaturally glowing green liquid that causes over-the-top hallucinations and madness.

Absinthe is an anise-flavored liquor or spirit that is made by steeping wormwood (wormwood has been defined as the quinine of the poor) and other aromatic herbs (hyssop, lemon balm, and angelica) in alcohol. The drink is distinguished by its dazzling emerald blue-green clarity, due to its chlorophyll content. When mixed with water, the liquor changes to cloudy white. Absinthe drinking was exported to New Orleans and the French Quarter, where the Old Absinthe House has been a tourist attraction for more than a century. Absinthe appeared in New Orleans liquor advertisements as early as 1837, but its popularity didn't take off until the latter half of the 19th century with the opening of the barroom that would become the Old Absinthe House in 1874.

The classic French absinthe ritual involves placing a sugar cube on a flat perforated spoon, which
rests on the rim of the glass containing a measure or “dose” of absinthe. Iced water is then very
slowly dripped on to the sugar cube, which gradually dissolves and drips, along with the water, into
the absinthe, causing the green liquor to louche (“loosh”) into an opaque opalescent white as the
essential oils precipitate out of the alcoholic solution. Usually three to four parts water are added to one part of 68% absinthe.[1]

In the Czech Republic they have a different absinthe drinking ritual, which is not recommended. They set it up similar to the traditional way with a slotted spoon and sugar cubes, except they soak the sugar directly in the absinthe, then set it on the spoon and put a match to it. The absinthe in the glass, and the sugar, both ignite and the sugar melts and drips down into the glass. The remnants of the cube are eventually dropped into the absinthe and the fire is blown out. The warm absinthe is now ready to drink. This method of absinthe preparation is obviously dangerous, and again is not recommended.[2]

Aleister Crowley wrote about the spiritual/metaphysical function of water in the making of absinthe in 1917:

 "Here, too are marble basins hollowed—and hallowed!--by the drippings of the water which creates by baptism the new spirit of absinthe."

Absinthe conjure oil is used to enhance psychic visions and create unusual spiritual clarity and heightened clarity of mind and vision. This oil will also produce vivid dreams and is a powerful aphrodisiac.  

Like the absinthe ritual for creating the beverage, conjuring the magickal oil also involves a ritual of baptizing the spirit of absinthe into being. Make sure your herbs are fresh and green, though dried. This is extremely important for the final product. Here is the formula for making absinthe:

Herbs
  • Cardamom
  • Lemon balm (Melissa)
  • Hyssop
  • Common wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)
  • Petite Absinthe (Artemesia Pontica)
  • Green anise or Spanish anise, powdered
  • Whole and powdered fennel
  • Calamus, powdered (minor ingredient)
  • Fennel, powdered
  • Peppermint

Essential Oils:
  • Oil of wormwood
  • Anise essential oil
  • Peppermint essential oil

Additional ingredients:
  • Base alcohol (beet alcohol or grape alcohol is traditionally used, but you can substitute Everclear since we are not concerned with the taste)
  • Distilled water
  • Sugar cube

If you have gathered your own wormwood, your will need to strip the leaves from the stems because you only want to use the leaves. Combine all of the herbs in a mortar. Gently macerate the herbs together until they are well mixed and the fragrance is strong. Pour a quantity of base alcohol in a copper pot and dilute with distilled water to about 85%. Add the herb mix and allow to steep in the alcohol over night. In the morning, add a little more water and heat over the stove on low heat for about an hour. Keep the pot covered, and periodically stir the mixture and collect the condensation from the lid of the pot. Take off of the stove and allow the liquid to cool. Strain the alcohol out of the herbs and do a second maceration with the artemesia, hyssop, and lemon balm using about half of the strained liquid. You can either add the herbs in loose, or put them in a tea bag to make the straining process easier later. Warm over the stove until hot but do not allow it to boil. Remove the mixture from the stove and allow it to cool. This mixture should be a bright emerald green. Strain the liquid again. Filter through cheesecloth into a clear bottle until clear of herbs and sediment. Add the first liquid to the bottle and cover tightly.

Allow this mixture to sit for a couple of weeks to allow all of the fine sediment to settle to the bottom of the container. When the liquid appears very clear, you are ready to make your smaller bottles of Absinthe Conjure Oils.

For a one dram bottle of Absinthe Conjure Oil, take about 10 full droppers of the Green Fairy liquid and put in the bowl. Add one full of dropper each of the oil of Wormwood and the anise essential oil. To this, add about half a dropper full of peppermint. Gently stir the oils and liquid. Now, fill your smaller dram bottle about 3/4 of the way full with the Green Fairy liquid.  Place a funnel into the top of the smaller one dram bottle and put a sugar cube into funnel, so that the distilled water you will add has to pass through the sugar. This is the actual baptism of the Green Fairy. Using an eye dropper, slowly add the distilled water, drop by drop, on the sugar cube until the bottle is full. The final mixture should be a milky green if done correctly.

You should have enough extra absinthe elixir to last a long, long time. It will not go bad so long as you store it in a cool dark place, in a dark amber bottle (or other dark colored glass). Do not refrigerate your absinthe elixir because some of the chemical constituents may crystallize and may not remix with the other ingredients when it reaches room temperature.

Most folks who make the Green Fairy conjure oil will simply blend the essential oils in a base of grapeseed oil, perhaps with a sprig of wormwood added to the bottle. This is certainly a less complicated method. However, as you can imagine, the effect is not nearly the same on a magickal level. You don't have the intimate relationship with the herbs, the same kind of intensity of intent from the whole process, and you don't have the baptism of the spirit of absinthe. The technique I have described here really is a fabulous process and you will feel ecstatic when you get it right.

The base absinthe formula is a vintage recipe for the absinthe brew and so it can technically be drunk as an alcoholic beverage. Please exercise caution when consuming absinthe as it is an extremely powerful Spirit.

Here are a couple of vintage New Orleans recipes for drinking absinthe. While drinking absinthe is not a hoodoo activity, it is decidedly New Orleans and so I have included them as a little lagniappe for their historical value.

Green Fairy Frappe

1 ounce base Green Fairy formula
½ ounce simple syrup
7 fresh mint leaves
1 ounce soda water

Combine mint leaves and simple syrup in a tall glass. Add crushed ice. Place an absinthe spoon over the top of the glass and place a sugar cube. Add the absinthe by carefully pouring it through the sugar cube into the glass. When all the absinthe has been poured into the glass through the sugar cube, cover with a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Top off the drink with soda water.

Absinthe Cocktail

1 jigger absinthe
1 teaspoon sugar syrup
1 dash anisette
2 dashes Peychaud bitters
2 ounces charged water

Fill a highball glass a little more than half full with cracked or crushed ice. Pour in the absinthe, sugar sirup, anisette, and bitters, then squirt in carbonated or other live water. Jiggle with a barspoon until the mixture is well frapped. Strain into cocktail glasses which have been iced ahead of time.[3]


[1]The Virtual Absinthe Museum, (2002-2008). Retrieved, July 27, 2010 from  http://www.oxygenee.com/absinthe-ritual.html
[2] Earl, J. (2008). A Brief History of Absinthe
[3] From Famous New Orleans Drinks and how to mix‘em by S.C. Arthur 1937

Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.