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.
    -->


    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.






      Tuesday, December 4, 2012

      Indian Spirit Hoodoo: Working with an Indian Medicine Bag

      A few of my medicine bags


      In order to understand how to work a medicine bag, we need to define medicine as it is understood in the Indian worldview. To the Native American, medicine refers to anything mysterious, magical, spiritual and supernatural. It is the roots, stones, sticks, and bones of conjure. The three most powerful forms of Indian medicine are water, tears, and laughter (Gene Thin Elk, personal communication, 1994).

      A medicine bag is very much like a mojo bag. They are worn or carried on the person for any number of purposes and often the same bag is used for a multitude of purposes, i.e. protection, healing, dream enhancement, and empowerment. Medicine bags can be made for yourself or for other people, just like a mojo or gris gris bag.

      Medicine bags are used somewhat differently than mojo and gris gris bags, however. For example, once a mojo bag or gris gris is made, we don't open it up and mess around with the things inside unless we are taking it apart or recharging it. With your medicine bag, you can take an object out, talk to it and ask it for guidance. Ask it for its medicine. For example, if you are feeling scared or apprehensive about something and you have a bear claw in your medicine bag, you can take the bear claw out of the bag and ask the bear for its medicine or protection, strength, and courage. When you are done, place the claw back in the bag and carry the bag with you as usual.

      As you can see from the photographs, medicine bags come in all shapes and sizes. I have quite a few medicine bags, these are but a few. I have a special medicine bag that holds corn pollen and a separate one that hold my tobacco. I have several smaller medicine bags that are held inside a larger medicine bag, and those inside an even larger medicine bag. The different bags contain different medicines that I use frequently and are not to be mixed with other herbs. When I am sitting in the darkness of the sweat lodge for example, I cannot see, but I can feel which bag has my cedar when I want to sprinkle some on the hot elders (stones) inside.

      Medicine bags will contain special objects of power or "tokens" given to a person as well as power objects found in the natural environment that speak to the person finding it. Unlike gris gris bags which typically do not have more than 13 items and always an odd number in them, a medicine bag can contain as many items as a person wants. Sometimes people will consciously only keep as many items as a sacred number, but that is not a hard and fast rule. Sacred numbers for Indians are 4 (for the four sacred directions - North, East, South, West) 7 (for the seven sacred directions - North, East, South, West, Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Self),  21 (seven times 3) and 28 (seven times four).

      There is a lot of misinformation on the web about Native American spirituality and culture, including misinformation about the basics of a medicine bag. According to one website for example, "A Native American medicine bag doesn't necessarily contain medicine. Instead, in Native American culture, items are placed inside the small bag that holds a spiritual significance to the wearer." This statement was obviously written by someone who doesn't have a clue as to what constitutes Native American medicine. The contents inside the bag ARE the medicine. The medicine comes from the realms of animal, plant, mineral, and human and yes, they hold spiritual significance to the wearer, but they also heal and empower.

      "To enhance the supernatural and spiritual abilities of the wearer, healers often use the contents to perform the ritual known as vision quest." Again, a misinformed writer. The Vision Quest ceremony has nothing to do with the contents of your medicine bag. The Vision Quest has everything to do with increasing one's own understanding of self/community/the world and one's relationship to the community and the world (meaning Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants, great and small, four-legged, two-legged, eight-legged or no legs, as well as all of her processes). The Vision Quest or hunblecha is one of the Seven Sacred Rites of the Lakota people. Traditionally, this ceremony is conducted in places considered sacred such as The Black Hills and the Badlands. Bear Butte is a traditional site for hunblecha. Often a person will discover their animal spirit guides during the ceremony, but the contents of a medicine bag are not used to perform the ceremony itself.

      The Thunder Beings (Wakinyan) live in the Black Hills according to Lakota tradition. At White Horse Mountain, where I participated in my first vision quest, the ancestors still dance and they can be seen and heard in the stillness of that ceremony.

      Anything that speaks to you strongly can go into your medicine bag. Some typical tokens found in medicine bags include:

      Plant Kingdom 

      • Sage 
      • Cedar 
      • Sweetgrass 
      • Corn 
      • Beans 
      • Seeds 
      • Tobacco 
      • Corn pollen 
      • Corn meal 
      • Roots

      Animal Kingdom 

      • Bones 
      • Teeth 
      • Scales 
      • Lock of hair or mane 
      • Claw or nail 
      • Feather 
      • Shell

      Mineral Kingdom 

      • Stone fetish 
      • Arrowhead 
      • Stones 
      • Crystals
      • Dirts

      Human Kingdom

      • Coin 
      • Key 
      • Photo 
      • Bullet

      In order to find your medicine, you will have to take regular Nature Walks if you are not the outdoorsy type. Don't just pick up anything, there has to be a strong and clear connection between you and it. You will know when you hold it in your hands and see it. Talk to it and ask it what lessons it has for you. Then, write down any insights you receive in your medicine journal. 

      To learn more about Native American concepts and their connection to Southern Rootwork and Hoodoo, check out the course Indian Spirit Hoodoo: Working with Black Hawk and Indian Spirit Guides in the Southern Conjure Tradition. In addition to learning about how to work with Black Hawk and Indian Spirit guides, this course teaches about Indian medicine, herbalism and curios, provides and Indian conjure formulary, several tutorials and a variety of works. It also discusses working with other Indian Spirits such as Red Hawk, White Eagle, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha and Sitting Bull. In addition you will learn about Thunder Medicine and how to make Thunderbolt Powder and hands. I guarantee you you will learn things in this course you will not find anywhere else.



      *The above article is excerpted from Indian Spirit Hoodoo:Working with Black Hawk and Indian Spirit Guides in the Southern Conjure Tradition by Denise Alvarado.

      *All contents of this article including text and photos are copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy and reuse without my permission.

      _____________________________________________________________

      Sign up for the Indian Spirit Hoodoo Course now and get started within 24 hours! Cost includes the book and a kit. Questions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below or email me.

      $74.95

       


      Monday, December 3, 2012

      Cute Puppies and Sons of Bitches


      So, many of you know of the falling out between myself and my former business partner earlier this year which I have laid to rest a long time ago. I have refrained from publicly assassinating her as she did me, and only wish her well. After all, I have way too many things going on to focus on nurturing negativity. And that god awful rip off report full of lies, well she did issue somewhat of an apology and indicated she would like the initial report she made removed. Unfortunately most people don't read through the entire dissertation of a report...but if you did, you would find this at the end of it all:
      But in the end, this is all too mean-spirited for me, it`s not at all descriptive of what I`m really like. That`s why I`ll endeavor to remove any and all negative comments I`ve made about her and her businesses or work. The truth is that I do admire Denise`s artistic talents, and I`ve always found her to be an intelligent and congenial person. I do not want to feel this kind of anger or pain any longer, and I don`t want to block Denise`s ability to make a living. And so I would urge others to go ahead and order from her.
      Truth is, that site is a scam in and of itself. The only way you can have reports removed is if you pay the owner $2000.00 and even then all they do is "amend" the report, so it stays there. I don't know how they get away with it. The site may have some legitimate complaints, but there has been an alarming trend of people using it to air dirty laundry between personal relationships, as a means for getting even with an enemy or simply used as a means to discredit someone for whom they have a chip on their shoulder.

      Take this recent report, for example, written by one transparent little man under the name  "New Orleans Internet" about me:
      Denise Alvarado Planet Voodoo Crossroads University, Hoodoo Almanac, Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly ...psychology Internet

      How can this woman be allowed to get away with what she does? I sent her lots of money for voodoo dolls and hoodoo spell products, all of it worthless. Took months for me to get this crap also. The dolls are cheap looking. Other stuff just didn`t work but I was desperate when I tried this. She claims to be a "pipe carrier" of a native american tribe that has no pipe carriers. http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=3857.0  She`s a member of professional organizations that take anybody who will pay the entrance fee (e.g. one organization of "native american" "anthropologists"). Her books are full of stolen or inaccurate info. Next I`m filing a better business bureau report. I suppose in some ways I deserve what I got. What kind of idiot believes in this stuff right? I can be happy even if I have been ripped-off so long as I can help others to avoid her and those associated with her. Oh that is a "madrina angelique" (crossroads mamas is another con site they run).  
      Baron Samedi on Blue Bloods

      First of all, if this were a real customer, I would have heard from them and they would use their real name. Legitimate complaints are typically done by people using their real names, especially those who threaten to file BBB reports. This person did neither because they never were a customer and therefore cannot file a BBB report. That in and of itself is proof of THEIR fraudulence. Secondly, anyone who has ever bought a doll of mine knows my art is nothing cheap....they are very well made, very powerful, and full of spirit, so much so they have been used by several TV shows including National Geographic's Taboo, Blue Bloods and Vampire Diaries as well as thousands of satisfied customers over a period of 8 years.

      The issue of being a pipe carrier is simply a matter of the person distorting my words to suit their agenda. I am indeed a pipe carrier, but I am also Cherokee. Most tribes have sacred pipes, you imbecil. The title of Pipe Carrier comes from the Lakota religion, the Way of the Sacred Pipe. One of my teachers was Lakota, and I have been to Sundance. I am not Lakota, so I do not call myself a Lakota Pipe Carrier...THAT would be fraudulent. I do admit that folks who are unfamiliar with Native American traditions could easily be confused and so I have clarified the language on my site. However you slice this loaf of bread, there is nothing that this person can say or do to change the fact that I am who I say I am and I have LIVED the life of a native person. Not something someone who dresses up like an Indian on Halloween can ever do or change. It must really irk him to know that I am what he wants to be so his way of dealing with that is to trash my name.

      "She`s a member of professional organizations" - another idiotic statement. Like this is something bad. Of course I am a member of professional organizations, I am a member of the American Anthropological Association and a member of the Association for Indigenous Anthropologists. Professional organizations are something most academics subscribe to...this is evidence of the professional academic keeping up on the latest research in their area of expertise and affiliation with said profession. The Association of Indigenous Anthropologists seeks to advance anthropological study relating to Indigenous peoples, both past and present among other things. To join the AIA Section of AAA, you have to be a member of the American Anthropological Association. "Anyone" can not just join. My professional life has been for years dedicated to the advocacy and support of indigenous peoples; my thesis  and dissertation are both on Native American issues. Native American issues is my area of professional and personal expertise. There is nothing fraudulent about that, nothing shameful about that...except on the part of the person who wrote this report. I guarantee you this person has never been where I have been, seen the things I have seen, and helped as many people as I have helped from the third world areas of the country called reservations. So before you slam me for being a professional, do your homework.

      The other place where this issue was raised was at the new age fraud forum. Again, pretty transparent as to who the folks are doing the "reporting". I have written the owner of the forum disputing the report, and like most scam sites, I never got a response. Obviously they don't do their homework. One person there even said I was confused about my Aztec ancestry. Really? No my friend, you are confused.

      Next, "her book is full of stolen or inaccurate info". Funny how the trio of my main haters have all accused me of this yet no one has been able to produce a single substantiated example. The reason? There's nothing to the accusation. I have cited my information like a scholar even in my popular books that don't require such stringent citations.  I have given credit where credit is due. Next...

      Filing a Better Business report...where is it my dear hater? Well, in order to file a complaint with the BBB you have to have made a purchase somewhere along the line and of course, this person has never made a purchase so they can't file a report. 

      And the "what kind of person believes in this stuff" comment, need I really address that? Obviously a poor attempt at trying to present themselves as a victim. Anyone who lives a spiritual life believes in something spiritual, even the person who wrote the complaint. Sad they have to resort to such low life tactics in their attempts to get even. Not very spiritual behavior for someone supposedly so spiritual.

      And finally, "...help others to avoid her and those associated with her." The mention of Madrina's name is a dead giveaway for who this person is. Stupid fool can't even get the name of our supposed "con" website right. It's not crossroads mamas you idiot, our website is Crossroads Mojo  and our Etsy shop is Crossroads Mojo as well (and we are having a 50% off sale now until December 22, by the way so check it out). Yet another example of acting with a hot head, not doing your research and simply acting out of meanness. This reflects YOUR character, not mine.


      Now, the million dollar question I have been asked is, why? Why are these people writing this crap about you? Well, it all started when I kicked him out of my FB group and forum for being disrespectful.  That's it. I never said anything publicly, I never made a big deal out of it. People remove people from groups all the time, but to hold a grudge about it like this and 8 months later still playing this character assassination game? Really?

      And a little tidbit of information...let's see how can I put this...well, the title he once held is not longer his because...of the very same arrogant and disrespectful behavior he displayed in my group. Now it must have been really bad to lose your t-t-t-title. That almost never happens. And it all could have been avoided with a simple apology...not to me but to his elders. But when people are more concerned about being right than doing right, well it'll bite them in the ass in the end every time.

      Now, how has this dishonest rip off report affected me and my business? Fantastic! I have just signed another contract with Weiser books for my second book with them and I couldn't be happier. ALL of my websites are doing fabulous, I am making more friends with wonderful people on a daily basis, and I have learned who my real, true, close friends really are. My FB group Hoodoo and Conjure Magazine is an incredible group of supportive people...more like family than just a group (if you want to join, pm me on FB and I will add you). My forum boasts more than 1300 people, our student body is growing every day, and I have more trail blazing projects on the horizon that are going to make 2013 even better. A famous author once told me, if they aren't writing negative reviews or hatin' then you aren't doing something right. So thanks, my haters! Because with as much as you hate, I must be doing a whole lot right.







       * Article and images are copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.
       * Image of demon coming out of the man's mouth from http://www.fantasy-workshop.com/faw/image-files/demon-clip-art-13.png and is in the public domain.


      Oh, I almost forgot! I had originally wanted to share some photos of my cute puppies and how to bless your animal friends but then got sidetracked. So, I'll save that for another post. In the meantime, here's one of my favorite pics of Zephyr. Oh, and he does have a Facebook page if you want to head over there and show him some love by liking it;) Zephyr's Facebook page



      Tuesday, November 27, 2012

      San Simón Wishing Spell



      This work is from my book, The Voodoo Doll Spellbook, which I am very happy to announce is currently being republished with Weiser books next year.

      San Simón, also known as Maximón (pronounced Masheemon), is a folk saint venerated in various forms by Mayan people of Western Guatemala. San Simon is referred to as “Champion of the Hopeless” by some folks because of his ability and willingness to work with just about anyone for just about anything. He is able to grant wishes of any kind, if you offer him the right gifts.

      San Simón is believed to be a Catholicized form of the pre-Columbian Mayan god Mam (meaning Ancient One). There are many, many forms of San Simón, his evolution coinciding with the influence of European contact and missionaries.[1] Under the influence of Catholicism, he became associated with Judas. According to another theory, he is the deification of one of my ancient ancestors, Pedro de Alvarado. Pedro de Alvarado was a Spanish conquistador who was not only responsible for bringing Catholicism to the indigenous people, he married the daughter of the Aztec King Xicotencotl el Viejo, was responsible for having the first Mixtec children.

      As the incarnation of the ancient Mayan god of sexuality, San Simón is said to have slept with all of the wives in a village one day while all of the men were out in the fields. When they returned and discovered what he had done, they were so pissed off they cut off his arms and legs! This story explains why effigies of San Simón are short and stubby with no arms.

      Altars to San Simón always have a doll or effigy of some kind representing him along with cloth that is characteristic of the indigenous peoples of South and Central America. People turn to him with requests of good health, family harmony, job security, good crops, and the like. He has what is referred to as a dark side as well, but I like to refer to it as human. He is said to grant requests that have something to do with revenge and success at the expense of others.

      In areas where San Simón is venerated, he resides in a different house each year, moving to a new residence on every November first. He is tended to by two people referred to as Cofradia, who take care of him and maintain his altar. He is typically dressed in 18th century garb, reportedly an attempt by the indigenous people to convince the Christians of their successful conversion (not!). He usually has a lit cigarette or cigar in his mouth and wears a black cowboy hat. In some places, he wears dark sunglasses and a bandana. He often has a hole in his mouth where it is poured a drink. The alcohol passes through a tube and into a vessel and reused at a later time.

      For this ritual, I will describe how to petition San Simón for a wish. First, you must create an effigy of him, or you can buy a statue if you would prefer (I would be happy to make one for you...email me with your inquiry at planetvoodoo (at) planetvoodoo.com). I think there is something to be said about creating your own effigy because it will be personal and full of your own energy, not some store’s or manufacturer’s and who knows how many other people have may have touched a store bought figure or statue. To create a San Simón doll, find a thick tree branch or tree stump (not so large that you can’t carry it) and carve out a hole in the top. You will be placing some items inside the hole so your San Simon is not empty. Since no one really knows what goes inside San Simon (except for the initiated), we will use items known to be sacred to his tradition. Fill the hole in the stump with rose petals, 40 red beans, 40 black beans, pine resin, and Indian tobacco. Seal the hole by placing another small stump on tope of his body. This will function as his head. If making him out of a stump is beyond your ability, then simply create a doll out of fabric and stuff with then aforementioned items. You will also need Guatemalan fabric and numerous colorful scarves to dress him. If you are really crafty, you can mold a face for him out of clay or paper maché, or carve his face in the stump. Otherwise, you can buy one of those unfinished full face masks available at any craft store, and paint it. Purchase a small black cowboy hat to keep on his head. These little hats can be found at any craft store.

      Next, create a special place for San Simón. He should be kept in a corner of the bedroom, preferably on the floor, along with a glass of water, a red candle, corn tortillas, incense (copal) and flowers. You can add textiles from Latin America and folk art pieces to further decorate his altar space.  You may also offer him cigars, cigarettes, coins from several countries, hot sauce, parrot feathers, stones, and Aguardiente. Incense should be burned daily at 12:00 noon sharp and an offering made in the name of the person needing help.

      Depending on the nature of your wish, you should use candles in colors that are appropriate for your wish. In his tradition, the colors are as follows:

      Red – love, faith, and good will
      Green – prosperity and help in business
      Blue – luck and work
      Pink – health, hope, purity, innocence
      Yellow – protection of loved ones
      Black – counteract evil and negativity, against enemies, dispel spiritual  
      attacks
      White – protection for children

      San Simon altar candle available at crossroadsmojo.com

      Once you have his space set up and the correct color of candle to go with your wish, write down your petition on a piece of paper and set it under the candle. Then, tap on the glass of water three times and say the following prayer:

      Oh powerful San Simón, help me with all of my actions and with any dangers that may arise that I may need assistance. If I need help in matters of love, you will draw the one I love closer to me, if it be business, that I will be successful, if it be enemies, that you will help me to overcome them, and to keep hidden troubles away from me. I offer you your cigar, your tortilla, your liquor, and your candles if in return you will keep me safe from any danger I may come across. (State your petition). Amen.[2]

      It is customary to keep his altar set up and work with him daily for best results.

      See Pieper’s (2002) book Guatemalan Folk Saints for a fabulous and detailed description of San Simon and his evolution throughout history.
      [2] Prayer is found on the back of 7 day San Simon candles, reproduced in Pieper’s (2002) book Guatemalan Folk Saints.

      Keywords: San Simón, Maximon, Hoodoo, Conjure, Guatemala, Mayan, ritual, candles, prayer
      Denise Alvarado www.planetvoodoo.com, www.crossroadsuniversity.com, published author. Sharon Marino apologizes for being a bitch. "I`ll endeavor to remove any and all negative comments I`ve made about Denise and her businesses or work. The truth is that I do admire Denise`s artistic talents, and I`ve always found her to be an intelligent and congenial person. I do not want to feel this kind of anger or pain any longer, and I don`t want to block Denise`s ability to make a living. And so I would urge others to go ahead and order from her. I regret this whole experience and I will do whatever I can to heal the hurt of it." re: rip off report filed earlier this year Denise Alvarado www.planetvoodoo.com, www.crossroadsuniversity.com, published author, Educated? Absolutely! 

      Copyright 2012, Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.

      Monday, November 26, 2012

      What Came First, the Indian Chicken or the Hoodoo Egg? Exploring Native American Influences on Southern Conjure




      A long time ago the Cherokees went to war against a giant monster. They killed him, brought his head home in triumph, and placed it upon the top of a cedar pole in front of the townhouse. The blood trickling down along the trunk colored the pole red and so the wood of the cedar is red to this day.


      In traditional Native American medicine, there are four primary herbs found across most tribes: cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco. If these were the only herbs you had access to, it is more than enough. However, in the context of Hoodoo and rootwork, there are numerous plants, roots and herbs utilized that are believed to be the result of the cross-pollination of African and indigenous cultures. Native American tribes such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Seminole, Houma, and Choctaw were in close proximity to African slaves and as a result, the natural blending of traditions occurred.

      In addition, both Native Americans and African cultures routinely used animal parts—teeth, feet, tails, skins, innards—in both medicine and conjure. It comes as no surprise that some of the local Indian uses of animal parts became incorporated into Hoodoo, acquiring a broader meaning and purpose as a result. In the Native way, if you want to know the meaning of a particular animal part, look to the animal’s nature and you will find your answer.

      Both African American and Native American folk medicine and magic relied heavily on the laws of similarity to guide the use of their medzin/medicine. James Mooney, a famous anthropologist noted for his work among the Cherokee observed this phenomenon and likened it to the idea of fetichism:

      Cherokee medicine is an empiric development of the fetich idea. For a disease caused by the rabbit the antidote must be a plant called “rabbit’s food,” “rabbit’s ear,” or “rabbit’s tail;” for snake dreams the plant used is “snake’s tooth;” for worms a plant resembling a worm in appearance, and for inflamed eyes a flower having the appearance and name of “deer’s eye.” A yellow root must be good when the patient vomits yellow bile, and a black one when dark circles come about his eyes, and in each case the disease and the plant alike are named from the color. A decoction of burs must be a cure for forgetfulness, for there is nothing else that will stick like a bur; and a decoction of the wiry roots of the “devil’s shoestrings” must be an efficacious wash to toughen the ballplayer’s muscles, for they are almost strong enough to stop the plowshare in the furrow. It must be evident that under such a system the failures must far outnumber the cures, yet it is not so long since half our own medical practice was based upon the same idea of correspondences, for the mediæval physicians taught that and have we not all heard that “the hair of the dog will cure the bite?” ~ James Mooney, 1891

      To the Native American, every living thing is a source of spiritual power and as such should be revered. This is similar to the African concept of aché. From the native worldview, however, all living things are also our relations—our relatives—aunt, uncle, sister, brother, and cousin. We look to our plant, animal and mineral relations as Bird people or Winged Ones, Fish people, Snake people, Four-leggeds, Animal people, and Tree people. The rocks and minerals are our grandfathers and grandmothers. The elements Lightening and Thunder, Wind and Rain, Earthquake and Fire—all are powers of nature with the ability to transform and teach, as well as to destroy and put us, the two-leggeds, in our place when necessary.

      There are many supernatural meanings associated with the various animals and plants from the native worldview. Some of the meanings remain consistent in the context of Hoodoo and others have changed. Some animals play a significant role in a person’s life and make a regular appearance in a variety of situations, including the dreamtime. When one specific animal seems to figure  prominently through a person’s entire lifetime, it is often considered an animal totem or spirit guide. Animal totems bring messages as well as medicine. In fact, whenever a person encounters an animal, the Indian will consider the medicine it brings with it. The medicine of these animals is reflected in the animals’ nature and skills, calling to mind the concept of fetichism as described by Mooney (1891).

      The French settlers in Louisiana respected the herbal knowledge and healing skills of the Native peoples, who freely shared their techniques. The Indians made poultices, baths, teas, compounded herbs, and used steam and smoke in a curative fashion. Not surprisingly, the reputation of “Indian as healer” reached its height in popularity in the nineteenth century. Out of this popularity emerged the white Indian doctor, who claimed to have learned botanical curative powers from the local Indians. Some claimed to have acquired the knowledge while held captive. Many of these white Indian doctors took out ads in newspapers to advertise their healing abilities and expertise and as a result, this class of practitioner became known nationwide.

      As Native American beliefs and traditions blended with African and European beliefs and traditions, they naturally changed. With the added influence of Christianity, the blend of cultures emerged as a unique system of folk magic and medicine that retained elements of all three cultures but also took on new meanings. Hoodoo continues to evolve and change to adapt to the needs of the people who practice it. That is its nature as a practical, simple, and utilitarian tradition.
      Following is a short list of animals, herbs and curios posited to have roots in Indian cultures. By no means exhaustive, it will give you a good idea of how the various materia medica are used in Indian medicine and culture, how they have been adapted to African American folk magic, and how they have evolved within the context of folk magic in contemporary society. 

      Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis)

      The alligator is an animal of great significance to both Native Americans and traditional African cultures. Hoodoo revolves around veneration of water spirits, and in Louisiana, Papa Gator carries with him the essence of rootwork, and is the keeper of ancient wisdom.

      Alligator Foot (Alligator mississippiensis)

      Alligator feet have their place in folk magic, particularly of the swamp variety. A small alligator foot can be a powerful protective talisman. On a key chain, it can draw luck for gamblers. To protect money: Place a piece of pyrite and a gold Sacagawea coin in the palm of the gator foot and wrap with green flannel and wear around the neck to keep your money safe and close to you. In the absence of a Sacagawea coin, a buffalo nickel or Indian head penny can be used. For fertility: Make a charm by placing Adam and Eve root in the palm of the alligator foot and wrap with red string. Wear about the waist to boost fertility. 

      Arrowheads

      Interestingly, the historical and archaeological evidence suggests African Americans used Native American artifacts for magical and ritual purposes. This theory is based on ethnographic studies of objects such as arrowheads found on the Oakley Plantation in West Feliciana, Louisiana, a tenant house in South Carolina (see Orser, 1985), King’s Bay Plantations in Georgia (see Adams, 1987), and other locations. Indian arrowheads are considered to be lucky charms. Although they are called Indian arrowheads, they are believed to have been made by the Creator. This belief can be traced back to the Akan-speaking people from the African Gold Coast who believed prehistoric stone projectile points had magic powers. They called arrowheads nyame akuma (God’s axes) and believed they formed from lightning bolts that hit the earth (Alvarado, Dean and Pustanio, 2012).
        

      Bearberry (Arctostaphylos Uva-Ursi)

      Also called Uva-Ursi and Kinnikinnick, this plant is one of the most widely used among Native tribes. Bearberries are three species of small shrubs with evergreen leaves largely found in the Northern hemisphere. Only the dried leaves are used in medicine. In consequence of the powerful astringency of the leaves, Uva-Ursi has a place not only in all the old herbals, but also in the modern Pharmacopoeias (Grieve, 1931). Indigenous peoples have been reported to use bearberry as an anticonvulsant, to stimulate appetite, and to treat anemia, hemorrhage, tuberculosis, stomach disorders, heart troubles, respiratory infections, earaches, sinus infection and congestion, and other ailments (Moerman 1998). Native Americans still use it as spiritual smoke, used as a psychic and spiritual incense and tea. It is often mixed with other herbs and tobacco. I was taught it is mixed with red willow bark and smoked as Kinnikinnick. The Blackfoot used the plant as a dermatological aid. Infusion of the plant, mixed with grease & boiled hoof was applied as a salve to itching and peeling scalp and to rashes and skin sores. An infusion was also used as a wash for babies’ heads. Infusion of the plant has been used as a mouthwash for cankers and sore gums (Hellson, 1974).  Leaves were placed on a piece of wood, roasted to a powder and placed on a cut for rapid healing, and leaves pounded into a paste were applied to boils and pimples (Hocking, 1949). The Cherokee used the plant for kidney disease and urinary problems (Hamel and Chiltoskey, 1975). The Cheyenne  made an infusion of stems, leaves and berries for sprained backs (Grinnel, 1972) and the berries were used as an ingredient in medicinal mixtures (Hart, 1981). The Cheyenne make a sacred tobacco by combining it with red willow bark (Grinnel). In fact, many tribes, including the Cree, Clallam, Ojibwa, Inuit, Great Basin Indians, Hesquiot, Hoh, Jemez and Lakota, use bearberry either alone or in combination with other herbs as a sacred tobacco. The Chippewa used bearberry as an analgesic. They pulverized the dried leaves and compounded and smoked for headaches (Densmore, 1928). Among the Kwakiutl and Ojibwa the leaves are smoked as a narcotic (Reagan, 1928; Turner and Bell, 1973). The Black Foot mix the leaves with tobacco, dried cambium or red osier dogwood and use it in religious bundles. The Black Foot also used the dried berries in ceremonial rattles and strung them on necklaces for jewelry (Hellson, 1974). The Ojibwa smoked the roots as a hunting charm to attract game (Densmore). To repel evil: the leaves can be burned to drive away bad spirits for people who are going crazy.

      Black Snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria)

      Also known as Virginia Snakeroot, Virginia Dutchmanspipe, and Virginia Serpentary. A perennial with somewhat heart-shaped leaves and small white flowers in branched clusters.  Blooms July to October. The dried rhizome is a popular herbal tonic. Some old Cherokee Indian remedies consists of a decoction of black snakeroot blown upon patient for fever and feverish headache, and drunk for coughs; root chewed and spit upon wound to cure snake bites; bruised root placed in hollow tooth for toothache, and held against nose made sore by constant blowing in colds (Mooney, 1891). As a tea, “Blacksnake root is good tuh nuse [use] in de homes fo' heart trouble, nerves, broken down systems an' any bad feet dat chew have tuh de body” (Hyatt #3, p. 2195). To keep away thieves and undesirables: Make a powder from dried, pulverized snakeroot and spread about the home to keep undesirables and thieves away. For courage: Chewing a piece of snakeroot is said to give a man courage (Hyatt, #3). To keep a man: Add a piece of black snake root, gunpowder and powdered sugar to a mojo hand and carry it with you to keep the man you desire.

      Cedar

      Cedar in its many varieties is one of the most widely used and versatile plants among Native people. Cedar is found to be used as cordage, as fiber for making mats, rugs, blankets, clothing, canoes, boats, decorations, bows and other hunting and fishing items, For example, paper birch and cedar form the two most sacred trees of the Ojibwe (Smith, 1932). Among the Bella Coola, the inner bark of the tree is used as a fiber for weaving mats, blankets and capes (Turner & Bell, 1973). Among the Haisla, the inner bark fiber is used to make clothing for the nobility (Gottesfeld, 1992), and among the Haisla and Hanaksiala, the wood is used to make racing paddles for canoes and boat ribs, while the inner bark is used to make loin cloths (Compton, 1993).  Among the Hesquiat, cedar wood is used for making ornamental dishes and headdresses and the bark is softened with special oil for weaving capes and other clothing of head chiefs (Turner and Efrat, 1982).
        
      In certain Native American traditions, cedar is used to carry prayers to the Creator. It is used toconnect heaven and earth. Cedar is burned to banish negative energies from a person and their environment; thus, opening the door for good spirits and energies to enter. It can be used as loose leaf  or as a smudge stick and burned in an abalone shell. Cedar is often used in the sweat lodge ceremony (inipi) to bless the lodge and prepare the space for the Spirits to enter. A small amount is thrown onto the red-hot rocks we call Elders which immediately sparks a red glow. This releases the fresh aroma (medicine), and often makes crackling and popping sounds that are said to be the voices of our Ancestors. In folk magic, cedar is used for healing, purification, money and protection. To keep business flowing and to keep renters from skipping out on rent: Wear oil of cedar and place on doorknobs where people pass through and you will always have renters and always have customers. For business success: Get 6 red onions, some garlic and oil of cedar and boil together. Make a broom from cedar branches and mop the floor with the solution for business success. For gambling luck: Rub hands with oil of cedar before gambling for good luck. For purification and blessings: Burn dried cedar leaves and waft the smoke over yourself or any item in need of blessings and purification. Use the smoke to fumigate a room to purify it.

      Lightening Struck Wood 

      Lightning struck wood can be added to any work to increase its power. It is particularly good for commanding spells, sex spells, and spells of destruction, which draw on its fire energy to destroy. Fire also has a dual nature to transform; hence its ability to be used in positive works as well. Add to mojo bags and gris gris to provide a serious boost in power. To use in candle magic: One way to use lightning struck wood in candle magic is to take some splinters and stick it into the candle wax. Another way is to grind some of it down to a powder, and sprinkle the tops of glass encased candles or roll candles in the powder. To enhance sexual nature: Combine with 2 round High John the Conqueror roots and a pair of lodestones in a mojo bag and carry it with you.

      Water

      According to Gene Thin Elk, a Lakota spiritual leader, the first medicine for Indian people is the sacred water or mni wakan (G. Thin Elk, personal communication, 1994). Indeed, the healing powers of water are reflected in many Native American stories and legends. According to the Kiowa, healing powers come from deep underwater and are a gift of the Spirit (Baines, 1993). Seawater has been used by the Tlingits to purge impurities from inside one’s body, and many tribes use water to carry the healing properties of certain plants into the body in the form of teas. Water also plays a crucial role in many ceremonies, most notably, the sweat lodge ceremony. Additionally, some medicine people have the ability to instill healing powers into an ordinary glass of water through prayer, and the patient is healed by drinking the blessed water. 

      Likewise, water is an integral component of the medzin in the African traditions.  Pouring libations is an ancestral tradition, just as pouring water is an ancestral tradition in the Native American experience. There are differences between cultures, of course. For example, in the African traditions libations can consist of alcohol, as well as water. When and what to pour is determined by an experienced elder in concert with the purpose of the offering. Water is for cooling and healing, while alcohol is for rousing and igniting, or more commonly referred to as firing up in southern conjure.

      In Hoodoo, taking spiritual baths to remove hexes, unblock obstacles, remove and transform illness and grief are just some of the conditions for which water is used as a removing agent. For example, a common means of disposing specific types of works is to toss a work or the remaining elements of a work into a moving body of water. A similar practice is found among the Meskwaki. When a medicine person wishes to use water to remove illness from a person, they will go to a running stream or river and scoop up some water, dipping with the current, thereby capturing water that holds the necessary properties of making the illness run freely from the person (Harrington, 1915).

      Wolf Tooth

      Wolf teeth are carried for protection and function as a buffer between a person and harsh words. In addition, they are believed to assist in discovering the identity of thieves.  According to John George Hohman’s Pow Wow or Long Lost Friend, if a person carries a wolf tooth along with a sunflower collected in August, and wrapped with a laurel leaf  “will never be addressed harshly by anyone, but all will speak to him kindly and peaceably. And if anything has been stolen from you put this under your head during the night, and you will surely see the whole figure of the thief. This has been found true” (Hohman, 1819, p. 15). Wolf teeth are also carried for fostering family loyalty.


      References

      Alvarado, D., Dean, C. and Pustanio, A. (2012). The Hoodoo Almanac 2012. Prescott Valley, AZ: Creole Moon Publications.

      Compton, B. D. (1993). Upper North Wakashan and Southern Tsimshian Ethnobotany: The Knowledge and Usage of Plants. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of British Columbia.  
         
      Densmore, F. (1928). Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians. SI-BAE Annual Report #44:273-379.
      Gottesfeld, L. M. J. (1992). The Importance of Bark Products in the Aboriginal Economies of Northwestern British Columbia, Canada. Economic Botany 46(2):148-15. 

      Grieve, M. (1931). A Modern Herbal:  The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folk-Lore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs & Trees with their Modern Scientific Uses.  Harcourt, Brace & Company. 

      Grinnell, G. B. (1972). The Cheyenne Indians - Their History and Ways of Life Vol.2. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

      Hamel, P. B. and Chiltoskey, M. U. (1975). Cherokee Plants and Their Uses -- A 400 Year History. Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co.
          
      Hart, J. A. (1981). The Ethnobotany of the Northern Cheyenne Indians of Montana. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 4:1-55 (p. 25)
          
      Hellson, J. C. (1974). Ethnobotany of the Blackfoot Indians. Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series.

      Hohman, J. G. (1856). Pow Wows or the Long Lost Friend. Harrisburg, Pa.: T.F. Scheffer.  
      Hyatt, H. M. (1970-78).  Hoodoo-Conjuration-Witchcraft-Rootwork, 5 vols. Hannibal, MO: Western Publishing. 
      Moerman, D. E. (1998). Native American Ethnobotany. Timber Press, Portland.
        
      Mooney, J. (1891). Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. 7th Annual report, Bureau of American Ethnology.

      Smith, H. H. (1932).  Ethnobotany of the Ojibwe Indians. Bulletin of the Public Museum of Milwaukee 4:327-525 
        
      Turner, N. C. and Bell, M. A. (1973). The Ethnobotany of the Southern Kwakiutl Indians of British Columbia. Economic Botany 27:257-310

      Turner, N. J. and Efrat, B. S.  (1982). Ethnobotany of the Hesquiat Indians of Vancouver Island. Victoria. British Columbia Provincial Museum.

      _________________________________________________________________
      Keywords:  Black Hawk, Native American, Indian, Indian Spirit Guide, Indian Spirit Hoodoo, Denise Alvarado, medicine, native American medicine, African Americans, James Mooney, alligator foot, arrowheads, kinnikinnick, bearberry, black snakeroot, cedar, lightning struck wood, wolf tooth
      Denise Alvarado www.planetvoodoo.com, www.crossroadsuniversity.com, published author, Educated, artist, internet. I`ll endeavor to remove any and all negative comments I`ve made about her and her businesses or work. The truth is that I do admire Denise`s artistic talents, and I`ve always found her to be an intelligent and congenial person. I do not want to feel this kind of anger or pain any longer, and I don`t want to block Denise`s ability to make a living. And so I would urge others to go ahead and order from her. I regret this whole experience and I will do whatever I can to heal the hurt of it. 

      Copyright 2012, Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.

      _________________________________________________________________


      Conjuring Black Hawk




      Since Mother Leafy Anderson brought him to New Orleans with her Spiritualist Church in the early twentieth century, Black Hawk has played a central and symbolic role in the fight against oppression and discrimination among devotees...Black Hawk is venerated as an ancestral spirit among the Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans Voudouists, as well as rootworkers and conjure doctors. Native Americans consider him a hero, African Americans view him as defender and liberator, and European Americans admire him as the noble savage who despite defeat, fought the good fight. While most of what is written about Black Hawk has either been from a historical perspective or from the perspective of the Spiritualist Church, Black Hawk cannot be confined to a single context. It has become more than evident that he has been adopted by people from many different spiritual traditions as a powerful Indian Spirit to whom devotees believe they can turn to for help and guidance when needed.

      There are many mysteries surrounding this legendary figure who has a permanent place in the sacred spiritual environs of New Orleans.

      Never before has a book been written about Father Black Hawk from the perspective of a Creole Native who has walked inside the longhouses, sat in the sweat lodges, cried on a hill for a vision, and received the mysteries through a variety of traditional and intertribal Native American ceremonies. The information contained in these pages will blow your mind, burst apart the stereotypes, and give Father Black Hawk the final say in how he should be honored and served. The reader should set aside all expectations for what they think they know and be ready for a true and authentic cultural smorgasbord of Southern Conjure Indian medicine with Black Hawk seated at the top of the Sacred Circle.

      This is a preorder. Conjuring Black Hawk is scheduled for release in June 2016. People who preorder the book will be invited to join the Conjuring Black Hawk membership site where you will have access to archived images and articles about Black Hawk and other members-only exclusives.

      Preorder your copy of the long-awaited Conjuring Black Hawk today!

      Thursday, November 22, 2012

      To Fire Up or Not to Fire Up, That is the Question


      Working with Indian Spirit Guides is an ancestral tradition more than anything else. As such, respect for our ancestors is paramount. This means listening to them, not only in our hearts, but also with our minds and our eyes. We are lucky to have the words of Black Hawk, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, Geronimo and others transcribed in written form and preserved for us to draw from and learn. They tell us who they are and what they like—we don't have to guess. For example, the popular practice of giving Black Hawk alcohol to “fire him up” is completely contrary to both Native American spiritual traditions, as well as Black Hawk’s belief system (not to mention horribly stereotypical). He tells us how much he hated alcohol because of what it did (and continues to do) to his people. Consider the following passages from his biography where Black Hawk states in no uncertain terms exactly how he feels about alcohol: 

      “Why did the Great Spirit ever send the whites to this island to drive us from our homes and introduce among us poisonous liquors, disease and death?”

      ”I found several barrels of whiskey on the captured boat, knocked in the heads and emptied the bad medicine into the river.”

      “Our people got more liquor from the small traders than customary. I used all my influence to prevent drunkenness, but without effect. As the settlements progressed towards us, we became worse off and unhappy.”

      Perhaps, this passage from his autobiography is the best example for not offering Black Hawk alcohol:

      "The white people brought whiskey to our village, made our people drink, and cheated them out of their homes, guns and traps. This fraudulent system was carried to such an extent that I anticipated serious difficulties might occur, unless a stop was put to it. Consequently I visited all the whites and begged them not to sell my people whiskey. One of them continued the practice openly; I took a party of my young men, went to his house, took out his barrel, broke in the head and poured out the whiskey. I did this for fear some of the whites might get killed by my people when they were drunk."

      So, in the above passage, he refers to those who brought the alcohol as fraudulent. Knowing how strongly he felt about alcohol, why would we give it to him? Do you want to be a fraud in his eyes? He doesn’t want it and he doesn’t need it. In fact, it is likely to piss him right off and not fight for you at all; but, fight against you. He is a warrior spirit—warriors do not need alcohol to fight their battles. While giving spirits alcohol as an offering is commonplace in Hoodoo, it is not a blanket practice. Not everyone gets rum and whiskey. So the inevitable argument that alcohol is an appropriate offering to Black Hawk in the conjure tradition is an irresponsible and disrespectful excuse on the part of the rootworker, especially in the context of ancestor reverence.


      Tuesday, November 20, 2012

      Uncle Monday


      Uncle Monday was a medicine man from Africa, brought over with the slave trade to South Carolina where he escaped and went to Florida to live among the Seminoles and maroons. He brought his crocodile medicine with him. We know the Seminoles hold the alligator very sacred as well and like Uncle Monday’s crocodile medicine, they have their alligator medicine.

      Legend says that Uncle Monday refused to surrender to the whites, even though he said the spirits told him resistance was futile. But he swore he would never submit to slavery or death at the hands of whites and said he would change himself into an alligator until the wars were over. Then he would come forth from the waters in peace.

      So the Seminoles held a ceremony for his transformation. As he danced to the drum beats, his legs began to become shorter and his face longer, his skin became scaly and his voice changed to thunder. He began to bellow, and in response hundreds of gators bellowed and came up from the swamp…thousands of gators actually, so the story goes. They lined up in two lines leaving a space between them.

      Uncle Monday turned into the biggest gator of them all and he sauntered in between the two rows of gators and slid right into the water. As he let out the loudest bellow, all of the other gators slid into the water after him.
      And that's how Uncle Monday changed himself into an alligator. They say he still lives in the swamps and every now and again he comes from the water and changes back into a man, walking among the living casting all sorts of spells—good and bad.

      Now, there was this old lady name Judy Bronson, she went around bragging that Uncle Monday was no better a hoodoo doctor than she was. She said she could not only undo any spell he cast, but she could throw it right back at him.

      Uncle Monday heard about her bragging and said "The foolishness of tongues is higher than mountains!"
      One day, Judy wanted to go fishing at Blue Sink, which is the lake where Uncle Monday had been seen and was believed to live. Folks warned her about going there because they say Blue Sink is bottomless and a dangerous place. But, being the arrogant old lady she was, she insisted on going. So, she got to Blue Sink at sundown and tossed in her baited pole. No sooner did it hit the water than did she feel a pull on it. A BIG pull. So BIG she was scared as a cat in a dog pound and paralyzed with fear.

      Old Judy's biggest fears were the dark and the water—and there she was at sundown, near the water, being pulled in by a force she couldn’t resist. She couldn't move - her legs were frozen. Somehow she found the strength to scream and as she did, a bright beam of light shone upon her. At this point, you may think that the light helped others find her and rescue her…BUT… No such luck.

      Old Judy looked up and as she did, she saw Uncle Monday walking across the water like Jesus, dressed in flowing robes and marching right towards her with an army of gators behind him. He walked up to her and said "I brought you here, and here you will stay until you get off your high horse and admit that you can't do no such magic as me."

      Soon, the light faded and it was black as night. Uncle Monday and his army of gators slid back into the water, leaving one gator behind to stand guard with Judy. He edged right up to her so she could feel his scaly skin. She couldn't help but touch him with every breath she took.

      Old Judy hated more than anything—even more than the dark and the water at this point—to give in to Uncle Monday's challenge. But she was too scared to let her pride get in the way. So, first she admitted to herself that she was not as big and bad a hoodoo doctor as Uncle Monday. Then, she shouted it out loud: “I AIN’T AS BIG AND BAD A HOODOO DOCTOR AS UNCLE MONDAY!”

      As soon as she said it out loud, the gator that was on guard quickly swam off into the darkness and that’s when Old Judy heard her grandma calling for her. Within a few minutes, some of the locals found her and lifted her out of the water and carried her home. The people tried to tell her that she fell and had a stroke; but, Old Judy, she knew differently, of course.

      Well, after that swamp scrape Old Judy threw away all of her Voodoo and hoodoo stuff. From them on she said she had Uncle Monday to thank for being able to walk again.

      Uncle Monday still walks through the countryside as a man, but he always changes back to a gator and swims in the waters, keeping an eye on things, especially arrogant folks.

      When he goes back into the waters, all of the other gators start to bellowing and carrying on... and when the people hear that, they know Uncle Monday has returned to the waters and they can breathe a sigh of relief again.

      ~Oral tradition
      Copyright 2010-2012 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide. Please ask if you would like to repost this article.
       
      Denise Alvarado www.planetvoodoo.com, www.crossroadsuniversity.com, published author, Educated, artist, internet. I`ll endeavor to remove any and all negative comments I`ve made about her and her businesses or work. The truth is that I do admire Denise`s artistic talents, and I`ve always found her to be an intelligent and congenial person. I do not want to feel this kind of anger or pain any longer, and I don`t want to block Denise`s ability to make a living. And so I would urge others to go ahead and order from her. I regret this whole experience and I will do whatever I can to heal the hurt of it. 

      Copyright 2012, Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.