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Detroit Hoodoo Month: Louisiana Conjure: Faith, Remedies and Roots.

 

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Louisiana Conjure: Faith, Remedies and Roots


by Denise Alvarado

 

Denise Alvarado  is a New Orleans-born, native Creole raised in the rich culture of New Orleans, Louisiana. She has studied indigenous healing traditions from a personal, professional and academic perspective for over four decades. She is the author of numerous books about southern conjure, including the The Conjurer's Guide to St. Expedite, The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, the Hoodoo Almanacs, Workin' in da Boneyard, Hoodoo and Conjure New Orleans, Crossroads Mamas 2015 Spiritual Baths for Every Occasion, the Voodoo Doll Spellbook, Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual and more. Her provocative artwork has been featured on several
television shows including National Geographic's Taboo, The Originals, and Blue Bloods, as well as in several books by other authors. She is a rootworker in the Louisiana Hoodoo tradition, a spiritual artist, and teacher of southern conjure at Crossroads University,www.crossroadsuniversity.com. Visit her websites:http://www.creolemoon.com andwww.voodoomuse.org for a little sweet tea and conjure.

 

 

In the olden days, it was commonplace for women to have a variety of animal, mineral and botanical elements within reach so as to be able to tend to any number of conditions presented. Women were the primary healers in the family; as the kitchen was their domain, so was the doctoring. Of course, there were also men who worked roots, but learning about the healing properties of herbs and roots were just part of women’s work in the home.

 

The materia medica of the typical household would have consisted of animal substances such as fat, milk, bones, bugs and excrement (I know, yuck, but such was the case). Mineral and chemical substances included vinegar, bluestone, sulphur, Vaseline, camphor, turpentine, Epsom salts, baking soda, gasoline, ammonia, snuff, coal oil and kerosene. Most had gardens or knew the local flora and fauna well enough to have a variety of natural medicines on hand for rootdoctoring. All of these things were used to make ointments, compresses, poultices, decoctions, teas, baths, infusions, tonics, liniments and conjury. You wouldn’t hear Mama say she was conjuring anything; usually, she was just “fixin’” something.

 

While many families had someone who was knowledgeable of folk remedies and cures and even conjure – that being the realm of the supernatural – there are actually three categories of healers in Louisiana: the reméde man or woman, the traiteur, and the rootworker (also known as rootdoctor, hoodoo or gris gris man or woman). The reméde man treats natural physical ailments with plants, medicine from the drugstore and domestic remedies. The traiteur heals natural and spiritual conditions with prayer, laying of hands and charms. They claim to have God-given powers that allow them to heal through faith. The rootworker or hoodoo cures and creates unnatural diseases and conditions through spells, gris gris, and a variety of charms and tricks.             

 

True to the very essence of hoodoo and rootwork, if an ingredient was needed that wasn’t on hand, a substitution was made in all of the above cases. Many family recipes served multiple purposes and for the most part the goal was the alleviation of symptoms as opposed to a cure; although, a cure at any time is always a welcomed event.

 

Often there is prayer involved in serious cases. Faith combined with the spirit of the medicine served and continues to serve to heal many people who could not afford a conventional doctor.

 

Curin’ takes on several forms, including poultices, compresses, tinctures and infusions. Most commonly a poultice is used to apply an external herbal cure. In general, a homemade poultice is made by mashing herbs and other ingredients with warm water or natural oils to make a paste. The paste is then applied directly to the skin and covered with a piece of clean cloth. A compress is made similarly except the raw, prepared materials are applied to a cloth which is then applied to the affected area. Tinctures and infusions were often applied as compresses. Poultices and compresses are reapplied every 3 to 4 hours or when the material had dried out.

 

To make a slippery elm and thyme poultice for the treatment of boils, for example, grind up fresh thyme leaves using a mortar and pestle, then cover with boiling water. Pour off the excess liquid and add powdered slippery elm bark. It should be the consistency of a paste. Apply directly to the boil and cover with gauze. Keep it covered for several hours.

 

Another common form of medicine is the liniment. They are simple to make, keep well and offer instant relief for pain, inflamed muscles, circulation problems, arthritis, bruises and sprains. They can also be used as antiseptics depending on the botanicals used. They can be created to provide warming or cooling. Herbs and spices like cayenne pepper, black pepper and ginger can be added to stimulate blood circulation and assist with arthritis, pain, stiffness, and conditions aggravated by exertion or cold weather. Cooling ingredients such as peppermint or menthol crystals are ideal for inflammation and swelling, and areas that are “hot” due to sprains, bruises, and other injuries.

 

Liniments are made in a base of alcohol, witch hazel, or oil. The base functions as a carrier for the other herbal ingredients to effectively penetrate into the affected area and provide relief.

 

For example, an old folk liniment to treat a chest cold consists of a concoction of turpentine, oil of cedar, camphor, and Vaseline which is then smeared on the chest area. To treat rheumatism, a preparation can be made from Pokeberry root (Phytolacca americana) mixed with sweet almond oil, mineral oil or lard.

 

Here are some more examples of old time remedies for a number of conditions.

 

COLDS

 

Internal Remedies

  • A tea of magnolia, sassafras and citronella.

  • An infusion of elderberry flowers.

  • The bark of a peach tree boiled down and turned to the East.

  • A syrup made of honey, soda, olive oil and the crushed grains of coral tree.

  • A tonic called Whiskey Camfré, which consists of whiskey poured over crushed camphor and bottled to be taken a spoonful at a time.

 

 

External Remedies

  • An ointment made from sheep’s tallow, turpentine and olive oil.

  • A rubdown with Whiskey Camfré.

 

 

MINOR CUTS, SORES AND ABRASIONS

  • A poultice of hot milk.

  • A poultice of brown sugar and soap.

  • A poultice of sugar and corn husks.

  • A poultice of snuff and honey (also good for bee stings).

  • A poultice of bread and milk.

 

 

 

INSECT BITES AND BEE STINGS

  • Chew a plantain leaf and don’t swallow it. Spit it out and put on the insect bite and cover with gauze or a Band-Aid.

  • Clean mud applied directly to a bite. Does not have to be covered.

  • A sliced raw onion held directly on a bite or sting is said to bring quick relief.

 

 

SORE THROAT

  • Gargle with a decoction made from the roots of the blackberry bush.

  • Gargle with a decoction made from persimmon tree blossoms.

  • Rub the neck with Whiskey Camfré.

  • Drink an infusion of boiled flies or chicken gizzards.

 

 

BLEEDING

  • A handful of spider webs placed on the affected area will stop bleeding. Check out this article for an interesting read about this: A Mess of Cobwebs Makes a Believer out of Doc Miller.

  • Wear a key on a string around the neck to stop nosebleeds.

 

 

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

  • A tea made from yellow root (goldenseal).

  • Eat 2 cloves of garlic daily.

  • A tea made from 2-3 bay leaves (also relieves migraines).

 

 

In addition to the use of household items and plants in curing, there are superstitions and old wives tales associated with certain practices. Magic formulas, protective amulets, faith healing, and prayer are used in Louisiana folk medicine, as well as conjure, and often the lines between the two are blurred. For example:

 

  • Wearing a strand of amber beads will stop a toothache.

  • Making the sign of the cross with a black cat’s tail over a sty will make the sty disappear.

  • Two matches crossed on a person’s head will make a headache go away.

  • A red string tied around the little finger will stop a nosebleed.

  • A toad placed on the head will transfer a headache to the toad. When the toad dies, the headache will disappear.

  • Lie on a bed of cool willow leaves to get rid of a fever. Once the leaves are warm, it is said the fever has been transferred into the leaves and they must be discarded.

  • To cure a burn, pass your hand over the burn and say nine times, “When Jacquot was crossing the sea someone told him: it kills fire, it kills frost, in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost.”

 

 

In the past, as in the present, protective amulets are numerous and consist of plants and animals. Some of the items used as amulets include:

 

  • Alligator teeth

  • Rattlesnake rattles

  • Pecan nuts

  • Coins

  • Hog teeth

  • A red flannel bag containing sulfur or Asafoetida

 

 

 

FORMULA FOR PINE PITCH OINTMENT

Pine pitch is a very effective folk remedy with numerous uses. It helps to dislodge splinters and bring boils to a head. It is good for rheumatism due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used as an external treatment for burns and sores. It can be used as a glue, sealant and as fuel. The uses for pine pitch are endless, really.

 

To make pine pitch ointment, gather some pine sap. Fill up a mason jar about 1/3 full. The softest sap goes on the bottom and break up the harder pieces to the smallest size possible. Don’t use your mortar and pestle for this unless you have one you use only for pine resin as it is incredibly sticky.

 

Fill the jar with olive oil and give the jar a little shake to mix it up. Set the jar in a pan of water or a double boiler and heat on low heat until the pitch is dissolved. Carefully stir the pine oil.

 

Next add the beeswax and stir. The ratio for making the ointment is one part pitch to 2 parts oil and beeswax. When all is melted, pour into smaller containers and allow it to harden. Voila! You should have enough pine pitch salve to last a very long time.

 

 

Here are some folk remedies using pine pitch:

 

  • To prevent infection of wounds, get tallow (preferably mutton tallow), mix it with pine pitch, and apply. The pitch has antiseptic powers.

  • For colds, inhale several times a day the smoke from a shovel of red hot coals, covered by one layer of lightwood splinters from pitchy pine stumps, one layer of rags to hold in flames and keep the fire smoldering, a light sprinkling of tar and of turpentine distilled from pinewood of first two layers.

  • Pine pitch and bear’s fat applied to running sores (Cherokee remedy).

 

References

-Clark, Joseph D. "North Carolina Popular Beliefs and Superstitions." North Carolina Folklore, 18 (1970), 1-66.

Mellinger, Marie B. "Medicine of the Cherokees." Foxfire. 1, no. 3 (1967), 13-20; 65-72.

-Sexton, R. (1992). Cajun and Creole Treaters: Magico-Religious Folk Healing in French Louisiana, Western Folklore Vol. 51, No. 3/4 (Jul. - Oct., 1992), pp. 237-248

-Swett, J. (2009) French Louisiana Traiteurs. Retrieved from http://www.louisianafolklife.org/LT/Articles_Essays/LFMtraiteurs.html

 

 

To learn more about Southern folk culture on a formal basis, please visit crossroadsuniversity.com.

 

  Copyright 2015 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.

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Detroit Hoodoo Month: A Conjure With No Name.

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A Conjure with No Name

By Bryon Ballard

 

H. Byron Ballard, BA, MFA, is a ritualist, teacher, speaker  and writer. She has served as a featured speaker and teacher at Sacred Space Conference, Pagan Unity Festival, Pagan Spirit Gathering, Southeast Wise Women’s Herbal Conference, Glastonbury Goddess Conference, FaerieFest and other gatherings. She serves as elder priestess at Mother Grove Goddess Temple, a church devoted to the many faces of the Divine Feminine, where she teaches religious education and leads rituals.bryon.jpg

Her essays are featured in several anthologies, and She blogs as “Asheville’s Village Witch” (myvillagewitch.wordpress.com) and as The Village Witch for Witches andPagans Magazine (witchesandpagans.com/The-Village-Witch), where she is also a regular columnist.

 

Her pamphlet “Back to the Garden: a Handbook for New Pagans“ has been widely distributed and her first book “Staubs and Ditchwater: an Introduction to Hillfolks Hoodoo” (Silver Rings Press)  debuted in June 2012.  Byron is currently at work on the companion volume “Asfidity and Mad-Stones” and “Earth Works: Eight Ceremonies for a Changing Planet”. Contact her atwww.myvillagewitch.com, [email protected]

 

A conjure with no name

Words are important. Language is important.  How we use it, how it morphs depending on the situation and the company, how it can be used as both balm and bomb—this is endlessly fascinating to those of us who are self-described word nerds.

 

In modern Western Pagan communities, we relentlessly parse our language in an attempt to be clear and to make our definitions stick. There are words that evolve over time—like the word “gay”—and there are other words that are deliberately and consciously re-defined in an act of reclamation, like the word “witch”.

 

This dedication is undergirded by a harsh reality: many experiences simply can’t be described in words. They needs smells, and touches. They require an experiential understanding that can only be kenned by the doing of a thing.

 

When it comes to what I do, the sort of practical magic I both teach and perform, it doesn’t have a name, not really. At some point, I will have enough time to research who tacked “Appalachian Granny Magic” onto this old weird cultural practice but until then I call it “Hillfolks’ Hoodoo”

when I’m teaching.  It morphs into “Appalachian folk magic and healing modalities” when my audience is academic.

 

It comes from three major sources—British, German and Cherokee—and is a living tradition that is changing all the time.  The people who brought it into my little corner of the world were staunchly Protestant Christian, and still are.  They don’t call it “magic” at all and are offended when anyone suggests that it is anything but the shaped power of God. It is standard operating procedure to always disavow any personal ability but to insist that the healer is an agent of the Divine, a channel through whom the Will and Love of Jesus is made manifest in some of the poorest of God’s children in the southern Appalachians.

 

The practitioners have often been older, experienced women and they have been called “granny women” and herb or yarb doctors. One of the earliest mentions I’ve found is from The Southern Highlander and His Homeland by John C. Campbell. Campbell was one of the flock of “song catchers” that arrived in the southern highlands at the beginning of the last century and there is a wonderful school named after him, where you can learn all sorts of beautiful and needful skills. (https://www.folkschool.org/)

 

Here’s what Campbell had to say:

 

There is something magnificent in many of the older women with their stern

theology -- part mysticism, part fatalism -- and their deep understanding

of life. ..."Granny" -- and one may be a grandmother young in the

mountains -- if she has survived the labor and tribulation of her younger

days, has gained a freedom and a place of irresponsible authority in the

home hardly rivaled by the men of the family. ...Though superstitious she

has a fund of common sense, and she is a shrewd judge of character. In

sickness she is the first to be consulted, for she is generally something

of an herb doctor, and her advice is sought by the young people of half

the countryside in all things from a love affair to putting a new web in

the loom. (John C. Campbell, The Southern Highlander and his Homeland,

Russell Sage foundation, 1921, pg. 140.

https://archive.org/details/southernhighland00camp)

 

It is a stern theology, to be sure.  They are joyous at funerals because the beloved one has gone home to Jesus.  They take trauma and tragedy in stride. They are tickled by the simplest things and count their blessings when they may.

 

But they didn’t call what they did magic, and they still don’t. Their religion precludes that. They did and do sometimes call the people who have these gifts “witches” but even that is getting rarer as the religions get more strict.

 

Though I share much of the cultural trappings of the southern highlands, I certainly don’t share the religious sensibilities.  I was raised unchurched, from Methodist stock, and formally became a practicing Pagan in the 70s.  I do call it magic and call myself a witch because the

restrictions of that Protestant dogma don’t apply to my tree-hugging dirt worship.

 

And this thing I do, it doesn’t really have a name.  Back in the day, the neighbors in a cove would know who to go to for doctoring, for water-finding, for midwifery.  They were practicing old techniques that didn’t require the sick person to get to a doctor, even if one was nearby. What I continue to learn, even as I practice it, is rural peasant healing, social engineering and justice work.

 

Appalachian folk magic—like all folk magic systems—is based on using available materials to achieve the desired end result. In this formerly-isolated culture, there is a general suspicion of outsiders, of the Law.  From catching babies, to distributing justice, to burying the dead these old systems serve poor people, people without recourse to urban centers of either healing or the law.

 

I call it hillfolks’ hoodoo because that suits me. I may sometimes call it conjure or rootwork when I am talking to other practitioners. The folks that still practice it in the remote fastnesses of these old mountains, though, don’t call it anything at all.

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Detroit Hoodoo Month: Gathering Graveyard Dirt.

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GATHERING GRAVEYARD DIRT


by Dorothy Morrison. Well known author of books as the author of Lucinda's Web, Everyday Magic, The Craft, Utterly Wicked and many other books. A native Texan, she is  a Third Degree Wiccan High Priestess of the Georgian Tradition, founded the Coven of the Crystal Garden in 1986, and spent many years teaching the Craft to students in eight states and in Australia. Dorothy currently ensconced in studies of the RavenMyst Circle Tradition, and enjoys membership in the Coven of the Raven.

 

There are probably as many theories on how to gather graveyard dirt as there are graves on the planet.  And the truth of the matter is that the exact procedure just depends upon who you ask.  For that reason, you’ll only find my personal protocol listed in the guidelines below.

   

Timing:  It’s said that for good works, graveyard dirt should be taken within the hour before midnight, and for evil, within the hour after midnight.  That’s all well and fine, but it can really pose a problem in today’s world.  The reason is that most cemeteries are locked up tighter than a drum at dusk.  And unless you want to open yourself up to a trespassing charge – and Gods know what else – you’d best be gathering your dirt during normal “business hours.”

   

That said, I usually don’t worry about what time of day I’m handling my collection.  Instead, I simply tell the spirit precisely why I want the dirt and wait for permission.  Yes, sometimes, permission is denied, but that’s okay, too.  When that happens, I just finish my conversation, thank the spirit for chatting with me, and strike up a conversation with another of the resident dead.

   

The only exception is when I need to work at cross-purposes with someone else.  And for that, I begin my digging at times when the hands of the clock are in direct opposition to each other, and in a position to cross-quarter its face if there were four hands instead of two.  The exact times are 9:15, 12:30, 2:45, and 6:00.

   

Protection:  Because spirits are not always the peaceable, gentle creatures we assume they are, you’ll occasionally run across one who decides to wreak havoc with your work.  For this reason I always wear a necklace that I’ve charged for protection when I enter a cemetery - any sort of amulet or talisman will do if it’s charged properly – and then ask Oya for Her blessing.  This keeps any ornery spirits at bay, since not even the most mischievous would dare to mess with Her!

 

 

Payment:  Never enter a cemetery without at least nine dimes in your pocket.  There are several reasons for this.  For one thing, it’s polite to give something back in payment for the dirt you’re taking, and nine dimes is the acceptable payment.  There’s also a theory that dimes cut the connection with harmful spirits, and if the dirt’s paid for in that medium, they won’t attach themselves to you or your property.  In any case, I always bury the dimes where I’ve taken the dirt and I’ve never had the slightest bit of trouble.

 

 

One more thing about the dimes:  Some folks insist that only Mercury dimes be used for payment, as His likeness appears on the coins and entices Him to aid in communications.  While I certainly see the sense in this, these particular dimes are not easy to come by anymore.  So, if you want Mercury’s help, a better solution might be to just come right out and ask Him for it.

   

Tools:  While the most acceptable form of gathering dirt is to dig it with your hands, there’s little I abhor more than getting dirt under my nails – and there’s no way to dig by hand and keep that from happening.  As a result, I’ve taken to using an old soup spoon.  It’s handy, it fits right in my purse, and is easily cleaned between diggings with a baby wipe.

   

Some practitioners also like to use a knife for digging, as they say it cuts any connection to unsavory spirits that may be hanging around.

   

Storing:  Some folks say it’s unlucky to bring graveyard dirt into your home, but I’ve never found that to be true.  However, I do keep it sealed in zippered plastic bags, labeled with my intention, the name of its donor, and the related birth and death dates.

 

Why even worry about the age of the donor?  Because depending on the work at hand, age may actually have a bearing on the results – especially if you intend for the related spirit to aid you in your efforts.  The dirt from a child’s grave, for example, might work well for cementing a loving friendship, but wouldn’t do much good if a scorching melt-you-into-a-puddle romance was at stake.  The rule of thumb here is to never use dirt from a donor that could not possibly have experienced your desired result.  And proper labeling is one way of avoiding that pitfall.

One more thing.  Please remember to check for earthworms before you bag the dirt, and release any that you find.  I can’t say for sure that dead earthworms are unlucky, but there’s certainly no point in finding out!

 

[Used by permission and excerpted from Utterly Wicked by Dorothy Morrison; published 2007 by WillowTree Press, St. Louis, MO]

 

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How to use Ganesha's power to overcome obstacles.

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How to use Ganesha to overcome obstacles

 

Ganesha is a candle from our World Magic Line. We represent Ganesha with an essential oil blend of date, tangerine and bergamot in a dark pink candle. He is the Lord of success and destroyer of evils and obstacles. He is also worshipped as the god of education, knowledge, wisdom and wealth.He is one of the main deities in Hinduism.

 

Ganesha's head symbolizes the Atman or the soul, which is the ultimate supreme reality of human existence, and his human body signifies Maya or the earthly existence of human beings. The elephant head denotes wisdom and its trunk represents Om, the sound symbol of cosmic reality. In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way. The noose in Ganesha's left hand is a gentle implement to capture all difficulties.

 

Ganesha also represents things like sacrifice, pursuit of knowledge, energy, spiritual pursuit and humility. This is some powerful energy to tap into in pursuit of conquering our own dreams and goals.   For the candle, we tap into these representations as what is needed to be worked on. Overcoming difficult and often impossible seeming obstacles.  Like many things in life, simply asking for the energy flow in the right direction is only the start of your journey, it can also lead to many other challenged to solve.  With attributes of Ganesha such as humility and sacrifice lazy or fearful sabotaged can be conquered.

 

The Ganesha candle is 10% off in April.  Enter coupon code WORLD10OFF at checkout.

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Responding to sparkly magical events.

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April’s series of blogs called “Why? Discovering your personal motivation” has been inspired by excerpts from Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   

 

Just to recap: For 2015, we are dedicating ourselves to unleashing your personal power. Since this is no overnight task, we have broken it down month by month. April, we talk about discovering what is your personal motivation.   It may seem obvious, but being honest about what and why you want the things you do can be a tricky and sometimes painful. Last week we talked about ways to break down those excuses and look for real solutions. This week it is all about becoming prepared for when the changes you wanted to make actually start to happen.   Each Saturday  there will be a new blog about motivation and what drives you.  These blogs are really just a summary of the real exercises found in Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith, for more detailed explanation, I recommend checking out the entire book.

 

Responding to Sparkly Magical Events

 

So you did it!  You did one of the most complicated things in life.  You made a real and lasting change to reach a goal or fix an issue.  Oh crap!  Success can be really scary.  From successful business folks to the guy who landed his first interview, most people feel like they have somehow tricked people to get where they are.  They feel unworthy of the opportunity. One day someone is going to march right in and expose them for the frauds that they are!  This is a typical response to when good things actually happen to you after the result of hard work and sacrifice. You have confronted your fears, moved past your blocks and things are moving, they are happening and it doesn’t quite feel right.  

 

This is just a tremor attack from your old fears and issues. Realizing your focus or what is motivating you is wonderful but incredibly scary.  Our lives are built upon the journey, if we know the path, it can’t really be true.  Old habits die hard and these feelings of being an imposter are those old fears refusing to die.  Our fears are like an addiction, they will never truly be gone and they will always be in the back of your head like ghost reminding you that you have put yourself out there and you can get hurt.  Surrounding yourself with a community of people who support your changes and letting go of those who want to keep you afraid can be key.

 

There is always something new to learn or conquer, the good news is that we will never quite have it completely figured out.  When you feel the fear that your life will be boring or you don’t deserve it, keep in mind that whatever you do, it is just a step.  Keep people in your life that support your changes and keep checking in with yourself to make sure you are still on the right path for what you want.

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What are some ways to use sage?

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What are some ways to use sage?

Sacred White Sage Pillar is 10% off in April.  Use coupon WORLD10OFF at checkout.

 

Smudging with sprays is a well known tradition. You can Google any number of combinations with sage and cleansing and smudging and receive many wonderful resources on how to use it for cleansing.  The most traditional way seems to be the smudge stick and there are many resources available on how to clear your home using this process. The Sacred White Sage candle is the less smokey alternative to use sage for cleansing.

 

Through out the years, I have heard both Jacki and Patty talk about different reasons to cleanse the space.  Here are some that our customers have found useful over the years. (especially those just digging into this world)

 

  1. Let’s get started-You woke up one morning and decided you are missing a spiritual connection to something.  Maybe it was just one yoga class too many or you read a book that made a thousand metaphysical light bulbs light up inside of you.  For many folks new to all this, it can be a scary thing.  Years of negative gunk and other peoples gunk clouding your spiritual path.  It could also be that your friends and loved ones may not be exactly accepting of your new focus.  They may be mocking or downright critical. Starting with Sage to clear all that out will put you in a much better place to get started.

  2. Spiritual housecleaning-It is good to clean out your spiritual self along with your regular house cleansing every once in a while.  This could be especially important after a trauma or conflict that can leave you feeling emotionally and spiritually stifled. Cleanse it out and strengthen your connection.  

  3. Spiritual Independence-Deciding to break away from family traditions or even to start down your own path opening yourself up to new ideas and beliefs will not always be an easy one.  Thankfully now, more than ever, there are communities to find and feel love and support.  Evan so, dealing with the those who will try to energetically block you from your breakthroughs and successes can make it a rough go.  A nice spiritual cleanse to keep yourself in a safe protected space and your eyes on your goals will help you feel the love and support from your higher power.

  4. Clearing out toxic romances-Get them out physically and get them out spiritually.  A toxic person will try to out all kinds of hooks in you.  They do not often go without a fight.

  5. Clearing out toxic friends-See above.  Whether it be unhealthy boundaries, jealousy or any number of bad habits a former friend might possess.  If you decided that they need to be cleared out of your life, clear them in all aspects.

  6. Clear out the office of toxic employees- Again see above. Same problem different title.

  7. Clearing out negative patterns in the office- Sometimes an attitude or negative thoughts can drain the productivity or creativeness of an office. Clear out the negative energy of that to bring back a productive workspace.

  8. Clearing an object that you have absorbing negative energies-Get that gunk out of that object so it is ready to protect you from more negative energies that may come.

 

Sacred White Sage Pillar is 10% off in April.  Use coupon WORLD10OFF at checkout.

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Don't just put a band aid on it.

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April’s series of blogs called “Why? Discovering your personal motivation” has been inspired by excerpts from Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   

 

Just to recap: For 2015, we are dedicating ourselves to unleashing your personal power. Since this is no overnight task, we have broken it down month by month. April, we talk about discovering what is your personal motivation.   It may seem obvious, but being honest about what and why you want the things you do can be a tricky and sometimes painful. Last week was all about confronting those excuses that keep you from moving forward. This week we talk about ways to break down those excuses and look for real solutions.   Each Saturday  there will be a new blog about motivation and what drives you.  These blogs are really just a summary of the real exercises found in Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith, for more detailed explanation, I recommend checking out the entire book.

 

Don’t Just Put a Band Aid On It

 

This month we have been talking about getting underneath the surface to discover your personal motivations. We have talked about discovering your blocks, admitting to them and now healing them. Taking on something that is rooted deep inside your fears and even beliefs you were raised with has got to be one of the most unnatural things we try to do.  We are by nature efficient machines and our mind and habits will often follow well worn path.  Why start a new one?  To even be at the step, you need to be somewhat self aware and self reflective. I don’t have to tell you that most of us are not. This is to say, if you are at this point where you have acknowledged what you blocks you and have confronted what that means, you are already half way there. You have already shown bravery and a strong sense of character to be here right now.

 

If you have followed the “why” factor question to discover the core of what is blocking you from progress you may have already picked up on that most of your “resolutions” of change of have been band aids more than solutions. In Coventry Magic, Jacki has a step by step process of getting you to where you really need to look to solve. The book goes into greater details about which tools you can use as a result of this mind exercise to help yourself heal, but here are the step she suggests you use to get there:

 

  1. Write down your challenge, issue or wish

  2. Ask yourself, why do you need this in your life?  You do not have to justify it, just give honest answers. (because really you will only be fooling yourself if you don’t)

  3. Keep following the layers down by asking why.  Once you get down a few steps, truths start to reveal themselves. Find the underlying reason.

  4. Ask yourself, where did that come from?  When you understand why and what you can change it.

  5. Looking at what you wrote, look at the words and phrases and underline the ones that really stand out to you. Now you are at a point where you can start to build up your words for manifesting this reality.

 

“Now you can start to empower your magic.” Jacki Smith-Coventry Magic

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Looking at the crap you hide from yourself.

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April’s series of blogs called “Why? Discovering your personal motivation” has been inspired by excerpts from Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   

 

Just to recap: For 2015, we are dedicating ourselves to unleashing your personal power. Since this is no overnight task, we have broken it down month by month. April, we talk about discovering what is your personal motivation.   It may seem obvious, but being honest about what and why you want the things you do can be a tricky and sometimes painful.  Last week we talked about things that block you. This week, it is all about confronting those excuses that keep you from moving forward.   Each Saturday  there will be a new blog about motivation and what drives you.  These blogs are really just a summary of the real exercises found in Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith, for more detailed explanation, I recommend checking out the entire book.

 

Looking at the Crap you Hide From Yourself

 

Nothing is ever as it seems to be. A trope yes, a popular line in a movie and song yes, but also true. You are always broke, on the surface, there may be a million and one reasons for this.  Rent it too high, your do not get paid enough, you don’t get enough hours, children are expensive, healthcare is expensive.  These are all true and sometimes crippling, but these are the symptoms of something bigger happening.

 

There are many things people will do to to combat the symptoms. Th scratch off lottery tickets, they go gambling, get rich schemes, prosperity spells and my favorite, just complaining a lot. They are easy to do because they require the smallest amount of effort, but they don’t really get to the core of it do they?  In Coventry magic, Jacki talks about why many times prosperity spells fail: “These spells (money) never dig a bit deeper into why you keep having prosperity issues.” Just with anything that makes a true difference, you need to dig deeper, you need to put in effort and you can’t expect it to just come to you.

 

Last week, I talked about using the “why” factor to get to the core of what is blocking you.  Now let’s take those blocks and really confront them.  Be honest about what they are any why you haven’t wanted to deal with them. For me, what I have been wanting to change for over 2 years now is my inactivity.  I was once a runner who lifted weights took pride in my health.  Lately, I have been struggling with this.  I look for excuses everyday to not do something that I used to love.  What changed?  This is a struggle for me to even confront. My go to are really just excuses so I follow the statement with a why.


I never run anymore   

    Why is that?

I am so out of shape that it will hurt too much

    Why is that?

Because I am not patient enough to start all over again

    Why is that?

I would rather watch TV or sleep in.

    Why is that?

because I have become tired all the time

    Why is that?

I eat a high in sugar diet which is causing me to be lethargic and have sleepless nights.

    Why is your diet sugary

I am too lazy to cook

 

I could keep going with this, why do I feel that I am lazy, but we could be here all night on that one.   Being lazy is my block.  Confronting that and really understanding that will be a long journey but I have identified it and admitted it. Next week we will talk about trying to work on your problems in a real way instead of just trying to fix the symptoms. 

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What is your block?

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April’s series of blogs called “Why? Discovering your personal motivation” has been inspired by excerpts from Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   

 

Just to recap: For 2015, we are dedicating ourselves to unleashing your personal power. Since this is no overnight task, we have broken it down month by month. April, we talk about discovering what is your personal motivation.   It may seem obvious, but being honest about what and why you want the things you do can be a tricky and sometimes painful.  This week, we talk about aspects that may block you from discovering your motivation.  Each Saturday  there will be a new blog about motivation and what drives you.  These blogs are really just a summary of the real exercises found in Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith, for more detailed explanation, I recommend checking out the entire book.

 

What is Your Block?

 

We all have flaws. (this is hard for me to admit as one of my flaws is that I do not like to back down or to admit that I was wrong) It doesn’t us bad people, but it can create self sabotage and negative consequences.   With a bit of self reflection and humility, most of our flaws are forgivable to the ones who love us and want to love us. The problem is that fatal flaw.  We all know someone with a fatal flaw, especially in the world of dating.  You will meet this attractive, charismatic, seemly well put together individual who can’t seem to make relationships work.  Sometimes the flaw is clear to you: they are obsessive, they are cruel to those who would care about them.  Sometimes it is something you can’t quite put your finger on, but it is there none the less, and the person afflicted with this fatal flaw turns the blame outward instead of looking at negative patterns or blocks. We all have that friend or that ex who can’t seem leave victim land long enough to realize it is them leaving bodies in their wake.

 

Jacki writes in Coventry Magic, that some of these “flaws” are actually blocks we have put up for ourselves.  Where I am sure they were originally created as some form of protection, the file has become corrupted and it may no longer be doing its proper job, or even working at all. Jacki says “your magic always works; you may not be able to see it in your current condition. When you need to work some magic in your life, it is because something is truly lacking.” Before you can see that fruits of a change you are trying to make, you need to confront the roadblocks you have set up for yourself.

 

So what are your blocks anyway? In previous blogs, I have talked about what Jacki calls the Why Factor.  This is an exercise which follows a question line to get at a core of an issue. Following statements that represent your blocks with the questions “why is that?”  With every answer, keep digging, asking “why is that” until you discover the original stopping point or fear.

 

Once you have identified the blocks that you would like to overcome, the next step is to take a hard look at where they come from and how you can get around them or destroy them all together.  Next week, we will talk about confronting these fears and excuses in order to move past them.





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Habits Can Be a Bitch to Break

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March’s series of blogs called “Clearing Negative Patterns” has been inspired by  excerpts from Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   

 

Just to recap: For 2015, we are dedicating ourselves to unleashing your personal power. Since this is no overnight task, we have broken it down month by month. March, we talk about what it takes to break negative patterns that keep you stuck.  We start with the acknowledgement that habits are very challenging to actually break and how to even start that process. Each Thursday, there will be a new instalment about breaking these habits and clearing negative energy.  These blogs are really just a summary of the real exercises found in Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith, for more detailed explanation, I recommend checking out the entire book.

 

Habits Can Be a Bitch to Break

 

There are habits that are not great for you.  Biting your nails, twirling your hair or even popping your pimples.  Then there are habits that are really, truly and I mean seriously unhealthy for you. These habits are addictions, they stunt you and keep you unhappy or from growing, yet they comfortable and familiar and so hard to let go.

 

Our brains are wonderful and efficient machines, but man it can be so zombie like. For many people, including myself, I am amazed how disconnected my worker bee brain from my conscious thoughtful brain.  Since our computer brain is efficient, it likes to hard wire pathways into the brain that make certain actions or thoughts easier to go to.  Think of it like the path of least resistance.  Your brain in some ways is so good at what it does, it can gid pathways to deeply in your mind that it seems almost impossible go a different way.

 

This is what you are dealing with with are dealing with a habit.  To really change something about your bad habits it is going to take a lot of effort.  I am talking about daily work.  It will take planning, introspective thinking, identifying the root of your habits and working daily on rewiring those pathways in your zombie brain.  It will require becoming more conscious in your everyday steps.  Think about things before you do that, ask yourself why you do it.  Why do I drive this way to work?  What is the first thing I do when I get home? How do I spend my time with my children?  Why do I ask the questions I do?  Just keep in mind even doing this is going against those already established paths that you have in your mind.  This will be tiring, frustrating and your instincts will tell you to just give up. HOWEVER,  if you can keep doing it, day after day. You brain will slowly start to rewire, slowly dig new paths and every day it will seem more and more natural and if you keep to it, you may even find that you have started to actually change in a bad habit or two in the process.

Personal note from Monica: If you would like me and are curious to know more about how habits work in the the brain, I just started a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. I am really excited to read and learn more about that brain of mine and to  help me understand and build bridges between my thinky side and my zombie side.



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Forgiving yourself

This series of blogs called “getting comfortable in your skin” has been inspired by Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   b2ap3_thumbnail_forgiving-yourself.jpg

 

Just to recap: For 2015, we are dedicating ourselves to unleashing your personal power. Since this is no overnight task, we have broken it down month by month. January, we talk about getting comfortable in your own skin.  Before you can become your most empowered self; our thought process is first you have to figure out who the hell are you before anything?  Last Wednesday, I wrote about looking down deep to discover what is really important to you. If you would like to read it, it is called: Getting into your body here and now.

 

Forgiving Yourself

 

I call them memory ninja attacks.  You are just about the drift off to sleep and then BAM a super embarrassing memory pops into your head leaving you wide awake and blushing.  We over focus and question everything we do.  Re analyze our actions, things we may have said, mistakes that we made.  The thing is, it is really just us that remembers them.  We all live in our own clouds replaying our own events to really focus on others. With this in mind, the only person really holding onto the existence of this event is you, so let memory go and give yourself a high five for being mature enough to know the only judging you is you.

 

The problem with not letting things go, to not allow forgiveness, is the scars that form around our personalities to avoid any more hurt.  We become less willing to take chances, less confident in our choices. How can you discover your true self when it is covered in the fog of memories you cannot let go?

The more honest we can be about what really motivates us, the more we can focus on the little things that will either help us to come to terms with our fears or help us feel more fulfilled in life. It is also much easier to give ourselves a break for not always being successful.

 

To start your own journey,  pick up a copy of Coventry Magic we can do it together! I would love to hear any updates on your progress and findings

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Heather Heartfull's Love Spell

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Our newest limited edition: The Power Brokers are here!  Introducing our special  pour of the the ladies The Love Edition. These candles combine ideas of empowerment and self improvement while focusing on matters of the heart and learning to love yourself.

 

Heather Heartful for Love Spell.  This is charisma in a candle. Lovespell is about bringing out all your charm leaving everyone enamored with you.  This is also a great candle to burn before things like presentations and job interview. Just be careful using it before speed dating!

 

The Power Brokers will only be available for a short time.  Whether you are looking to gain confidence, finding love or being an independant woman; these ladies are here for you!

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Who are you today anyway?

This series of blogs has been inspired by Coventry Magic by Jacki Smith.   b2ap3_thumbnail_who-are-you-today-anyway-1.jpg

 

I am sometimes shocked to see photos of myself nowadays. It's not like I have changed too much, but in my head  I am the cutest photo I have ever taken, that is my expectation.  Then in the seconds it takes for the actual picture to pop up, I feel a mini betrayal from my phone. That was not flattering phone! What were you thinking giving me a double chin phone!?

 

The truth is, we are not always really who we think we are.  This could be in a positive way like you consider your self boring, but you have everyone in your office in stitches most days.  It can also be in a more negative way(I am picturing the failed auditions from American Idol, talk about false sense of self!)

 

January’s theme for Coventry is getting comfortable in your own skin.  This is why we have the Affirmation line on promotion. Affirmations are all about reflecting and exploring with in. (coupon code AFSP10)  This is the first in a year long series of unlocking your personal power. The first thing you need to become your superhero self?  Figure out who you even are.

 

In the living with moon magic video for the full moon from last week, Patty gets the process started by suggesting questions to ask yourself to find out what you really value.  Be really honest with yourself about what you really find important. I may say losing weight is really important to me, but if I dig deeper, I find it is less about being thin and more about my fears of what unhealthy food is doing to my body and my long term quality of life.

 

So to get us started, I am putting myself out there and doing it too.

 

Here are my answers to Patty’s questions:

 

How old are you?I am 31 years old

What are you slacking off at?So many things, but honestly, I am slacking off at engaging in my relationships and being more physical.

What do you like about your job? That we work as a team, I feel very loved, supported and in a safe place.

What is your favorite outside of work activity?I don’t have any activities I am kinda in a rut, over focused on work and netflix.  So I guess my favorite activity is Netflix.

What have you been avoiding doing?Turning off Netflix

Who do you miss spending time with the most?My friends, especially those far away.

What do you feel you have had to give up last year, but you didn’t want to?This one is odd, we bought a house last year.  We recently returned to the states after living abroad many years. Buying this house meant, at least for now, giving up the idea of getting to go back there.

How much money do you want to see in your savings? What about your life prevents this?I wanted enough for 3-4 months of bills saved up.  Family trips and spending too much on food kept my from 100% my goal, but I did manage to save a bit.

 

Next I am going to take these answers and see what I can realistically pull out as my expectations for a more empowered me. Look for the article: Reality is the key word here coming next Wednesday. To start your own journey,  pick up a copy of Coventry Magic we can do it together!. I would love to hear any updates on your progress and findings!

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Create a personal revolution

I live in Michigan and lately the news hasn’t been good this past month.   From the national stage that told us of death, riots and torture to the local reality of Michigan defunding schools to fund roads and then telling us that anyone can claim religious freedom for a reason to discriminate.  I am frustrated, dismayed and feeling a bit hopeless.

 

 

The conversation turned to national and local concerns, no surprise there.  I talked about the astrological influences on our culture and that this is where we are testing our resolve.  Another Mom talked about her frustrations and worries around her son.   Then another mom (one of my favorites) shared a quote with us from an up and coming religious leader.

 

"Fundamentalism is a reaction to progress" Reza Aslan

 

Mr Aslan is a writer and a scholar of religious studies and a Muslim.   Many of us Americans want to cringe and discount and berate Muslim teachings, but when you peel away the extremists, it is a very peaceful and beautiful collection of spiritual teachings – but I am not here to talk about that.  I want to talk about how that quote and then looking up the author of that quote inspired me.  It inspired me to create a personal revolution.

 

You see, I can be a fundamentalist who is reacting to progress – even within my liberal views.   Mr. Aslan so eloquently captured our human response to life changing faster than we can assimilate – we regress to a simpler place.   That is usually power over another. It is also a place where we get to break it down to black and white, the personal version that is not interested in the comfort of others.

 

When my daughter was young and misbehaving it was easier to LAY DOWN THE LAW rather than take the time to uncover the real issue.  When I gained 20 pounds through stress eating it was easier to crash diet than take time to deal with the real issue.  When my staff was not performing up to par it is easier to create more rules than see what needed to be fixed.  

 

All of these issues are around growth and my struggle to keep up.  My daughter was figuring out who she is and how the world word works around her.  My stress eating was about the uncertainty of changes I was making and my staff issues were around growing product demand and outdated procedures.   Life is nothing but change and evolution and if we stop evolving we die.

 

So here is my personal revolution in my journey of evolution:

 

1 – I am kind to myself.  That doesn’t mean eating bonbons while watching the latest episode of The Voice.  This means that when I find myself turning inward and feeding my starving soul with junk I stop and ask myself what is wrong. Then I take care of it by whatever means necessary

 

2 – I make one person’s day just a bit better. Just one person is my quota and just a bit better is my goal.  Maybe only 10% better.  I figure it will only take 10 days to make the world 100% better in some way.

 

3 – I ask to remember that everyone is working from their own pain.  I don’t always remember this and often my pain reacts to your pain and then we are an angry mess. I ask myself to remember we all have our own perspective and needs that help us cope with whatever pain is in charge of the moment.   When I do this, I can stop the cycle and help bring healing.

 

4 – I smile at everyone I can smile at.  

 

This is not a huge revolution, it is not perfect, it is not a revelation in the moment but it does change me.  When I change, when I find happiness, when I share that happiness my world changes too.   When my world changes, it makes room for the whole world to change. 

 

 

 

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How to Heal a Broken Heart.

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Ask Aunt Jacki: How to Spiritually Cleanse your Space?

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For a Limited Time Only - 2 New Lines for the Fall Season!

b2ap3_thumbnail_Halloween.jpgThe Ghost Candles

 

The Veil between our world and the Spirit World is the thinnest in the Autumn. The Ghost Candles are a limited edition that we make this time of year to help work with these Spirits or Energies.  We have Home Clear and Bless, Ghost Repel, Night Terrors and Seance.

 

The Halloween Candles

 

This year, Jacki got together with Artist Tami Jo Urban to create the Halloween Candles.  These beautiful candles were sold in limited supplies to stores throughout the country as well as are available at coventrycreations.com. This years’ edition features Night of the Witches, Hekate, Day of the Dead and Santisima Muerte(the bony lady) To Check out more of Tammy Joe’s art, visit her website at www.tamijourban.com.

 

To get more information on these candles, how to use them and where you can get them, please visit www.coventrycreations.com under store and coventry blogs.

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Ask Aunt Jacki: How do I use the 2014 Halloween Candles?

Ask Aunt Jacki: How do I use the 2014 Halloween Candles?

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Talking to the dead

b2ap3_thumbnail_talking-to-the-dead.jpgTalking to our Ancestors


The Curiosity of who we are inevitably leads to the question of where we came from.  We honor our ancestors for many different reasons.  Sometimes it is necessary to dive in deeper and get up close and personal with our loved ones.  If you feel the need to communicate with those who came before you, we can offer our help in the way of the Limited Edition Seance Candle and the Witches Brew Original as a way to clear the space and help you be in the right space to communicate and understand the messages you receive.

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Ghost Candles are back at Coventry Creations

b2ap3_thumbnail_standard-video-image_20140902-002047_1.pngGhost Candles are back @coventrycreations!

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