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A collection of ConjureMan Ali's thoughts about magic, the occult, and spirituality.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So you'd like to learn hoodoo part 2...

In this second installment of "So you'd like to learn hoodoo" I am going to go over resources that will help you get actual real one-on-one instruction on various conjure practices, how to spot a fake and phoney,  followed up by advice from me on how to get started in this work.

Courses/Teachers/Coaches:

*Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course- This is a correspondence course taught in a group setting online and via an instructional text on the basics of getting involved in rootwork. It is aimed at both beginner and professional alike. Miss cat yronwode has put together this course over the decades of her experience and provides this information for those interested. She does have the prerequesite of being a customer of hers and passing a phone interview before she takes you on as a student--a very reasonable requirement that helps her to get to know you and shows that you are of good standing.

*Lucky Mojo Apprenticeship-What most people don't know is that the previous correspondence course is actually meant to be followed up by the apprenticeship. The course is really an introduction and survey of conjure practices and while it goes in-depth on a great deal of things, the apprenticeship gives you the hands-on training that will help you take your studies to the next level. This apprenticeship is free for all graduates and is offered during certain times of the year and will go over the making of various products, history, theory, actual conjure practices etc. You'll get a chance to make real spiritual products, prepare, dress, and set candle for spiritual purposes, make jackballs etc. A must for those interested in pursuing their studies.

*Old Style Conjure Mini Courses- Momma Starr offers a series of mini courses that are done either in person, or over the phone for 2 hours. These mini courses are an immensly valuable resources because they offer real traditional teachings from a conjure woman with a vast knowledge of her craft. Among classes like honey jars and vinegar jars, working with herbs, and similar basic courses, she offers the only place where you can learn real traditional formulae and recipes for crafting mojo hands and oil. Momma Starr offers a no-nonsense approach that is coupled with her approachable style. In addition Momma Starr also offers the only place where you can actually learn about working with saints in the traditional manner. Most people who approach the saints do so in a fashion that is not common in conjure, in my opinion Momma Starr is one of the few people who knows this work for real.

*Note: I have taken both Miss cat and Momma Starr's courses and can attest to their vast knowledge. These women come from different backgrounds and represent two different streams of conjure. You'll find Miss cat teaches from a tradition closely tied to urban settings and spiritual shops while Momma Starr teaches from a tradition closely tied to the rural and old school south. I suggest taking both courses to help broaden one's knowledge of conjure and learning how vast and beautiful this system is.

*Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Workshop Weekend- This is a anual weekend get together where some of the best from the hoodoo world come to present workshops on various conjure practices. This is your opportunity to get to meet your fellow seekers and professionals alike. Set in beautfiul Forestville, California, these workshops are done on the campus of Lucky Mojo itself and provide a great opportunity to do some shoping while learning hands-on from real practitioners. Workshops have covered everything like money conjures, love spells, candle work, lamp work, cleansings and traditional footwashes, making doll babies, divination methods like astrology and tarot etc.

*Folk Magic Festival-Another magical weekend for people looking to learn some conjure. While the Lucky Mojo Workshops are in the Spring, the Folk Magic Festival is in Autumn. Here practitioners and my colleagues from AIRR, Momma Starr, Auntie Sindy, Susan Diamond, join forces with Bloody Mary and notable author and practitioner Orion Foxwood to present a serires of folk-magic and conjure workshops. Set in beautiful New Orleans, this workshop is another great place to get the chance to mingle with fellow conjurers and learn hands-on from some of the top-notch workers. It also is one of the only workshops in the country that includes graveyard/crossroads work as well as Momma Starr's course on the Spirit of BlackHawk. You really don't get opportunities like that elsewhere.

*Magical Coaching from the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers- Magical coaching is one of the least known services available from AIRR. Not only is this site a massive resource on spiritual matters and a directory for ethical and talented professional rootworkers and readers, but those some of those same readers and rootworkers offer magical coaching services. This service allows you to hire on one of these talented and knowledgable professionals to act as your coach for your spiritual and magical endeavor. In these sessions you'll be coached step-by-step through the spells, prayers, and work that you need to help deal with the situations at hand. Members like myself (ConjureMan Ali), Miss cat, Momma Starr, Miss Bri etc all offer this service. This is a great resource, but also one that is overlooked. I myself have used this magical coaching service to learn certain tricks and have worked personally with Dr. Johannes, Miss cat, and Momma Starr some of the tricks of the trade. I highly recommend it.

*Conjure Man's Spiritual Practice's Email Courses- This has been a project in the works for a while, but my own private practice will shortly be offering a serires of several week email courses that will cover such things like doll babies, spirit magick, djinn magick, and the basics of hoodoo. I've been developing these courses for a while and they are a nice addition for the learning conjurer and long-time student alike. I used to take on physical apprentices, but my graduate degress and work and research as a professional academic don't allow me that luxury anymore. Look for these courses in the near future.

*Note: I hope that the email courses that I provide will be a valuable resource, but you will find me referring to Momma Starr's Mini Courses and Miss cat's correspondence course quite a bit, so you'd do yourself a favor of checking those out first, it is not a requirement for my courses, but it will help you quite a bit.

How to Spot a Charlatan:

Charlatans and fakes have existed for as long as there has been such a thing as magical practice. Huksters selling talismans, potions, and fake magical work is not a new phenomenon and it is important to keep yourself on guard for them. Here is an article written by Miss cat that deals with of them:

http://www.luckymojo.com/blackgypsies.html

*Certification- Please bear in mind that certification does not ever prove that a person is the real deal. Just because someone claims all sorts of certifications doesn't make authentic. However, there are some that carry a strong reputation and even stronger backing and can help be an indicator of that person's training and ethical standing. The Lucky Mojo Certified Graduate for example is one of these. If a person shows the Lucky Mojo Certified Graduate certification then chances are that you are dealing with someone who has real training in the field and is most likely of good character.

Again a certification isn't always a guarentee and there are plenty of old school, real professions without any type of certification, but some certification carry some weight and can help you come to an accurate conclusion.

*100% Guarentee- In addition to credentials look for "guarentees;" if a person is offering you a "100% Guarentee" for their magical work then run the other way. This is the surest sign of a fraud. Surgeons can't give 100% guarentees, nor can lawyers. The same goes for magical practitioners. Magick is never a 100% guarentee and anyone who is offer this to you is lying and is a fraud.

*Consistency and Ethical Character- Examine a person's moral character. A liar will give themselves away by their actions and their words. If they are a prolific writer this makes the job easier. For example if they are a practitioner of ceremonial magick and they tell you accounts of how they are have acheived Conversation with their Holy Guardian Angel but then go on to talk about how they also do hard drugs because of a demons influence, they are more often than not a fake. In this latter case, being initiated to the degree of gaining a rapport with such a high being doesn't make you perfect, but it also helps you avoid things like the influence of demons to make you do hard drugs. Another example would be a santero who tells you that they can teach you all about Pomba Gira. In this case, the fraud can't even tell the difference between Lukumi and Quimbanda--two separate spiritual practices. Their words and actions will give them away. Check their sources, see if they are ripping off someone else--people who plagerize are generally fakes. Frauds will rip information from others and present it as a means of you thinking that they are authentic.

Examine their moral character, if they are an ethical practitoners they will weigh their decisions on their moral standing, not the money they can make, they will demonstrate a real knowledge in the field not a superficial one, check to their moral standing (are they a liar, do they avoid answering important question, have they ripped people off, or plagerized?) and most importantly for the real deal their interest is not in a transaction, but in you yourself.

*Common Sense- Finally use common sense. Don't disregard your rational mind in your desperation to get teaching or magical help. If something doesn't make sense, ask them about it.

Don't let yourself be victimized by these parasits.

Practical Steps to Conjuring:

1. Cleanse- Many people go through life collecting a great deal of baggage and spiritual blocks. Take the time to really cleanse yourself of the things that have held you back. People have come to magical practice for a variety of reasons; whether it is because you are desperate to change something in your life, or you are seeking more control, or you have a spiritual calling. It doesn't matter, take the time to clear your head and heart of all the mess that life throws at you.

Take nice cleansing baths, do egg cleansings, light healing and uncrossing candles, do some cut and clears. Do whatever it takes to help you start fresh. By laying out a strong foundation for you to build on you'll be doing yourself a world of good.

2. Build Back Up-  Once you've cleared the slate, its time to build yourself back up. Doing some work on yourself. We go through life getting beat down so badly that we forget our god-given power to create, prosper, and succeed. This is the time to reclaim that heritage. Dress yourself with some power oils like John the Conqueror, Master Key/Mastery etc.

Light a few candles here or there to help yourself out in things. The aim is to do things to help build your confidence and support your own power. Take courses to give yourself a great foundation of knowledge. Get out and speak to candle shop owners, don't be afraid to travel. Speak to real practitioners and listen to what they have to say. Its important to learn the "how" before diving in. Learn how to approach a graveyard, learn how to dress a candle--get the technical knowledge along with the spiritual.

3. Develop the Connection- Ceremonial magick can be categorized as ceremonies and rituals aimed at tapping into the "other" or that transcendent numinous power. Conjure/Hoodoo as a form of natural magick works in a different fashion. The key to conjure is developing relationships and connections to the natural world. Spend time outdoors at parks, rivers, and forests. Learning to just be and learning to listen. Take some trips to the crossroads and sit and get a feeling for the power of the pace, do the same with a graveyard. Spend time with the fauna and flora of the land, and especially spend time with herbs, roots, etc that you plan on using in your conjure.

This is the time to develop a strong connection with both your higher power and your ancestors. For the former spend time in daily prayer. Learn to pray so that you can develop that connection where you speak and you are heard. For your ancestors set up an altar to them. Get to know about them when they were alive, dedicate a space for them and welcome them into your home. Set out a glass of water for them and light a small candle. Do this religiously and you'll soon find your life filled with the benevolent guidance of your ancestors. I suggest burning offerings of Acacia and Althaea to help really draw your spirit guides to you and help your ancestors start taking a place in your life.

4. Sharpen The Focus- Pick up a divinatory practice. The power to read and divine is more than predicting the future accurately. A talented reader and diviner is intimiately aware of the connections that bind all of reality and are aware of their own place in that vast web of life. By picking up a divinatory practice you help take the connection to the next level.

It helps to get readings from professional readers and rootworkers. Learn tips from them. When you need guidance don't be afraid to seek it, you'll learn not just from the answers you get, but also from how you arrive to those answers.

Let yourself be guided by your guides to really fine-tune your work. Begin working conjures not just in times of need, but applying what you're learning masterfully to your life. Sweeten bosses, compel debtors, drive off enemies, and bless those who need it. By allowing yourself to get engaged on a variety of levels you are expanding and fine-tuning your focus.

You need to begin thinking like a conjure worker or rootworker. Even if you don't actually do a conjure for a situation examine all the ways that you could approach it with your magical talents. This will help sharpen your mind. Again this is the time to do things like take power baths, make mojo hands to help you in your work etc.

5. Making it Your Own- Hoodoo and conjure is not a set of instructions that you simply follow. It isn't like a machine where you pull a lever and something happens. It is a spiritual practice based off of the powerful natural power that arises from the interconnection of the natural world, us, and the Divine. Learn to make your conjures personal and add something of yourself.

This doesn't mean to go all willy nilly and do what you want and butcher the practices. Rather there conjure has a set of principles that allow you the freedom to explore. You'll find that certain herb combinations work really well for you, you'll find that you get great results when you pray in a certain fasion, you'll find a certain set of practices resonates with you.

The point is to take your studies and transform them from a rote discipline into something alive.

Get this down and you are on a great start on an amazing journey.

Good luck!

7 comments:

Leanna said...

What basic/daily DIY cleansing baths do you recommend for people wanting to undertake the first practical steps to conjuring? Perhaps something non-commercial, so that you don't have to wait in between orders.

ConjureMan Ali said...

Salt baths are probably some of the most underrated baths, but are a great cleansing bath that can remove all sorts of "gunk" off of you.

A nice little bath that I often prescribe help clear out and prepare you for future work is Salt, Bay Leaves, and Eucalyptus.

Auberon Draenen Wen said...

Do we have to spill the water at a crossroads or can it just go down the drain?

ConjureMan Ali said...

The way I was taught, by old timey workers is to spill the water at the crossroads to get it completely out of your house and off of you. You can also toss into a river, or at a tree.

Its surprisingly easy even if the nearest crossrads is a bit far. I can tell you it is worth the effort.

Auberon Draenen Wen said...

Yeap I've thinking of doing just this, there are a few good crossroads near me that I could use. How much water do I need to bring with me?

I was thinking of ordering one of the glass containers from Lucky Mojo for this.

The Cheery Peregrina said...

I have a question about the ancestors suggestions you were making... If I am adopted and know absolutely nothing about my origins, would I pray to the familial ancestors of the family I was brought into, or none, or would it be worth it to do a search if only to regain the spiritual link? Thanks.

ConjureMan Ali said...

Ancestors are more than blood ancestor, they can be spiritual and adopted.

I suggest calling upon your uknown blood ancestors and your known adopted ancestors.