Tuesday, February 22, 2011
When I first started in this arte my sole obsession was to be "powerful" with no real definition of what that meant. I just knew that I wanted things and was going to use my spells to get them. When workings would fail I would attribute it to not having enough power and go in search of some new thing that would increase my personal power. I beat my head against that metaphysical wall for years. Slowly but surely I gained more experience with magic and came to the conclusion that in my opinion there is no such thing as a powerful sorcery, only a skillful one. Let me clarify that a bit. Most sorcerers work with spirits in some shape or form be they ancestral, elemental, angelic, infernal, etc. The knowledge of how to employ the spirits to aid you is an acquired skill and a trade to be learned. Getting the desired results is dependent upon ones skill at petitioning and maintaining a relationship with these working spirits. That does not rely wholly on one's level of personal power as it does the ability to follow protocols and traditions of the particular paradigm in which they work. Even outside of the realm of spirit magic disciplines such as planetary and talismanic magic relies less on personal power and more one the workers knowledge of correct metals, stones, times, etc harnessing and directing the energies toward the desired goal.
For example in Voudon, say someone is cursed by a particular Bokor by way of one of the l
Lwa and has to seek a Houngan for help. Would the Houngan simply remove the spell using his store of personal power? Not at all, he would divine which spirit was used the inflict the damage and then petition them to cease their actions. Once you start getting more results under your belt and a higher success to fail ratio it is easy and dangerous to start having delusions of grandeur. I also feel that taking all of the credit is not giving the forces involved their due, which in my opinion is a big faux pas. Don't get me wrong, over time and with practice one does build up a lot of personal power and knowledge of how to direct it, and you can achieve great things with just that. However I would still maintain that the most successful sorcerer is in fact a skillful one. Some might even call them cunning.
"Don't quote me boy cuz I ain't said shit." Eazy-E
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
One thing that I have noticed to be sorely missing from most of the books on Hoodoo and Rootwork is the concept of plant spirits. I honestly don’t know if animism part of the rootwork tradition, but it is safe to say that it is part of both the African and Native American roots of conjure. Most of the conjure books that I come across make it seem as if the simple fact of throwing some dried herbs into a red flannel pouch and then consecrating it is enough to make a powerful mojo hand. In My opinion this is far from being the case. I always like to say we call it rootwork because the roots do the work!
When our predecessors would have gathered their herbs and roots for working or medicine they would have addressed the spirits of each individual plant letting their intentions being known in the process. I feel that this is something that many modern workers have neglected while allowing their ego to believe that all the power in their working comes from them alone. To me a proficient conjurer is successful because of his skill with working with the spirits and not as much because of personal power. Knowing which energies are best suited for a particular situation, how to call them forth and then direct them toward their task is what a conjurer does.
There is no set way for someone to honor the plant spirits so I encourage each worker to devise their own. My ritual is pretty simple. I set all of the items out on the altar and then hold each one in my hand individually and talk to it. I address the spirit, let my desires be known, and then ask that the spirit reawaken and bring energy by to the plant for the desired purpose. I then set that plant on a plate and feed the spirit with a few drops of rum (whiskey also works fine). After all of the plants have been laid out on the plate and given offerings I set out four cups of water around the plate in a “cross” shape. I add a dash of spearmint water to each cup which is used as a way to thank spirits for their service and light a tea light in each cup. Let that sit over night or at least until the lights have burned out and then use them for whatever they were charged for.
Address and honor the spirits and I promise that you will see a dramatic improvement in your workings.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Recently I crafted an Item for my ancestral altar that I wanted to share here. I had a paper mache skull that I bought around Samhain that ended up just sitting around in my crafts supplies. So my ancestors wanted me to make something for their altar so using their guidance I crafted the skull into a centerpiece.
First I painted it white using acrylic paint. Then to darken the eyes, nose, and jaw area, I crushed up charcoal that had been used to burn offerings on the altar. Adding some water to the dust I made a pigment and applied it by hand. Then I decided one other pigment was needed for this piece, blood. Whenever I make blood offerings to spirits (a topic for another blog) I use a lancet device. I guess I am a bleeder because I can get a surprising amount of blood from one finger prick. Five pricks later and I had added some additional designs including one that is mean to call forth the spirits of the dead. I then placed offerings of Yew needles (For calling ancestors), Hellebore root (for necromantic energies), and tobacco. After a quick consecration is was ready for service on my altar.
I often enjoy the creative process of making fetishes and amulets. I seem to learn so much more about the energies that I am working with and the forces that I want to harness by approaching them artistically and letting inspiration take hold. I am glad that I listened to the spirits and created this piece.