Welcome

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



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to my wonderful readers, clients, and friends. May your holidays be blessed with good food, wonderful friends and family, and memories to remember always.

blessings to all!

ConjureMan Ali

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Check Out Lamplighter Blues

Silver Shadow from The Pagan Rapport and Doctor Hob from Pennies for the Boneyard have joined forces to produce an excellent new podcast called Lamplighter Blues. This is an amazing podcast that provides a great resource for various hoodoo topics.

In their first episode they disucussed mirror boxes and in the new post they discuss ritual bathing.

What is excellent is that there is a lot of different podcasts out there, but Lamplighter Blues talks about specific aspects of hoodoo work and so the show not only provides excellent information but provides practical information as well.

They also have a segment called "second hand hoodoo" where they show how hoodoo can be used creatively with simple items found in second-hand store; something that really captures the pragmatic nature of hoodoo. In their latest episode I make a quick appearance to take part in the discussion.

I'm really enjoying the episodes and would highly recommend it to all. If you are looking for a new hoodoo podcast and learning to learn more about folk magic, this is the podcast for you.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Book Review: Exu & The Quimbanda of Night and Fire

I received Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold's latest book, Exu & the Quimbanda of Night and Fire about a week ago and I have not been able to put it down since. Visually stunning in night black cloth with blood red letters, it is an exquisite work of art and quality I have come to expect from Scarlet Imprint. But it is the content that makes this book come alive; I would consider this book to be Nick's magnum opus.

From beginning to end the book is filled with so much information about the little known cult of Quimbanda that it has something for everyone whether initiate or not. Nick beautifully weaves the history of Quimbanda by untangling its serpentine roots from the forgetful fog of the past and in doing so shows stellar scholarship that makes this book not only practical, but deeply impactful for academics and anthroplogists looking for a source text. But he goes much further than providing a history lesson on the roots of Quimbanda, he reveals some of the deeper theological mysteries guarded by the cult.

Quimbanda like all the African Traditional Religions is a modern day mystery cult revolving around the synthesis of mysteries drawn from the Old World and birthed in the New. For the first time, an initiated Tata Quimbanda reveals some of the myesteries as part of the cult. He discusses the gnostic elements of Exu and the connection with Christian and African mysteries while providing one of the most lucid and articulate descriptions of the cult as it is practiced. He acknowledges the variations within the cult while presenting a complete view from the inside.

Some of what he has written is clearly meant to be understood by initiates alone, while the rest is fully understood by all. He navigates the tricky boundary between what he can reveal and what is hidden by oaths, but dares to take everyone right up to that boundary without obfuscation. One of the best features of this book is the section on the herbs of Exu under the name of Gardens of Hell,  this alone is worth the books weight in gold. He provides a thorough listing of the various herbs, roots, sticks, and minerals employed in the works of Exu that will come as a delight for the ethnobotonist as well as the practicing initiate.

He briely touches upon the magical technology of Quimbanda hinting at that underpinning spiritual powerhouse of macumba that makes the sorcery of Quimbanda so deadly effective before diving into one of the most comprehensive spirit catalogues where he introduces the major Exus, their lines, Kingdoms, while also providing their songs, signatures, and various workings.

But what the book does above all else, is reveal that Quimbanda is more than just a system of black magic--though it is that too--but is the path of the sorcerous warrior who heals and works medicine for people and community. He allows the reader a peek behind the devilish mask of Exu to reveal how this host of spirits who have been demonized and viewed in one-dimensional terms are actually some of the most powerful mentors and teachers out there who act as our mirrors to temper the character and soul while granting access to a kingdom of untold power and mystery.

Nick is part of a breed of mages who is also a scholar and for this I give thanks. He sets a high standard for occult books of the future as we move away from books which were too imbalanced, either being entirely impactical by being nothing more than works of anthropology, or works that were nothing more than a collection of spells with no context or foundation. Nick provides the whole package and his audience ranges from the academic, to the practitioner, to the curious and all can benefit from reading the book. But what is most remarkable about this book is that its a work of pure magic. While Nick's skills as an author, anthropologist, and practitioner cannot be ignored, neither can his ability as a medium. The book is the inspiration of spirit born of blood and fire. Reading it aloud reveals a cadence of an oracular prophecy as through ink Nick transcribes the words of Exu himself and thus births not just a book, but a sorcerous text that will transform the study of the cult of Quimbanda.

My only hope is that Nick continues to write and hopefully devotes smaller more focused books on the specific aspects of the cult as there are always limitations to trying to write an overview or general book on a religion or magical path. Together with his Pomba Gira book these two mark the beginning of a new age of Quimbanda with more wonderous things hopefully to come.

Do yourself a favor and pick up Exu & The Quimbanda of Night and Fire and Pomba Gira and the Quimbanda of Mbumba Nzila.

 

Monday, December 10, 2012

ConjureMan Ali at Candelo's Corner

Catch me today, December 10th, at Candelo's Corner; one of the best internet radio shows for Palo and the African Traditional Religions. I will be joining Tata Candelo and Dr. E to provide spiritual readings for callers. You will get an opportunity to see the powerful divination methods of Palo, Quimbanda, and Hoodoo meet and provide a voice to the spirits--all to answer your questions.

Tune in today, December 10th at 5pm Pacific/8pm Eastern time. You can listen in as a guest, or you can log in with facebook or your blogtalk radio account to chat with us live. You can catch us live here.

And be sure to check out Candelo's website where you can find previous podcasts. HIs website is: www.kimbisa.org

Hope to see you all there,
ConjureMan Ali

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Review of My Santisima Muerte Book

I've been getting great feedback and reviews for my Santisima Muerte book including a blog post by Doctor Hob, a skilled rootworker and reader, who has put up a review on his site. It is a great review so definitely check it out.

Be sure to also check out his blog which is filled with many other reviews, great insights, and wonderful information.

If you haven't picked up your copy you can grab it directly from Hadean Press.

Blessings!
ConjureMan Ali

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Check Out My Interview on the Pagan Rapport

Silver Shadow over at The Pagan Rapport has uploaded a new episode where he has interviewed me. Under the archives you should find it as Episode 9. It was great getting a chance to sit down and chat with Silver Shadow who runs an excellent show and podcast.

During the episode I answered a whole host of great questions which allowed us to cover some really interesting topics like the Djinn, Goetia, Hoodoo, Quimbanda, Santisima Muerte, my newest books, and much more. I just finished listening to it and its a great show. Do check it out here and be sure to download it.

If you have not already subscribed to The Pagan Rapport, I highly recommend it as Silver Shadow puts up quality interviews, podcasts, and posts that are interesting, informative, and very engaging.

I hope you all enjoy the interview and be sure to send me your feedback!

Friday, November 2, 2012

My New Book: Santisima Muerte

Hadean Press has just released my new book called Santisima Muerte: How to Call and Work with Holy Death. This short treatise is a complete instruction manual for anyone interested in learning about or working with Santisima Muerte. I go over her history, her legends and background, how to set up a proper altar, and how to properly work with her. There is a great deal of misinformation about Santisima Muerte and this text hopes to finally offer for the English-speaker her whole cult from someone who actually works with her.

The book is the culmination of years of research, study under curanderas, and actual work by a member of her cult. I have worked with Santisima Muerte for quite some time and honor her regularly and the book itself is my offering to her for all the wonderful things she has done for me.

In addition to everything you need to know on how to get started with her, I've also included several actual "trabajos" or works with her. You'll have step-by-step instructions on how to perform her novena, how to do love-bindings, to call upon her protection, make amulets, and even how invoke the Santisima Muerte for revenge and justice. I've also included instructions on how to appease Santisima Muerte as there are instances of people who have had an enemy invoke her against them. This text will teach you how to turn back the hand of Death should it have been raised against you.

For those who are interested in her academically, while the history aspect is brief as I wanted to emphasize the practical, it is thorough and  my own background in academia has ensured that the anthropolgist and researcher will have enough meat to find the text useful.

You can purchase the book directly from Hadean Press here.

If you have not picked up my previous text on Saint Cyprian, you might want to check it out as these two spirits and saints often go hand-in-hand and you'll find it useful to read up on both of them together.



 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tis the Season for Ancestor Work

As All Hallow's Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day (also commonly known as the Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos) approaches the timing is just right for work with ancestors; those who have passed on, but have left their mark upon our lives and destiny.

Some traditions talk about a thinning of the veil that separates the world of the dead from the world of the living. Perhaps for this reason many cultures around the world remember and honor their dead and celebrate their lives during this time. Or maybe it is for entirely different reasons. In either case it is a great time to focus on the significance of the great equilizer we know as death and remember those who have passed for if they are remembered they are not truly gone.

Ancestor veneration is a central aspect of various tradition-based cultures and the practices blur the lines between the religious and the magical, reminding us of how arbitary that boundary is anyway.

In African-American Conjure and the various African Traditional Religions, the role of the ancestor is of extreme importance for it is the ancestors who act as the ultimate guide, protector, and provider of their descendents. In fact, the ancestors are seen as the first line of defense in many of these magical and religous tradition. For example, for conjurers of old it was more common for them to appeal to their ancestors than to call upon the spirit of a random dead. It was believed that the blood link not only allowed the petition to be conveyed easier, but because of that link the ancestor still had power in this world.

It is intersting to note that in many religions some of the ancestral dead became elevated to great heights becoming powerful forces not only in the lives of their blood descenents, but a spiritual force for all those who may have some resonance with them. Here we find the Heroic Dead of the Hellenic world, some of the gods of Africa who once were mortal men, but rose to heights of deification, as well as Saints who are the ancestral dead of the Church. My own ancestors from the Middle East and North Africa fit into this category. Many of them were sages and magi who went on to become folk saints and legendary figures and joined the greater dead.

In either case, I believe that ancestor work is of great significance for those walking spiritual paths. They can become guides, teachers, protectors, and providers. They remind us that we are but a drop in an endless sea of souls and that for now we may have a corporeal shell, but that we too will soon join them in the ancestral waters.

To that, the simple offering of a candle, some water, or cooking the favorite meal of a beloved ancestor while remembering them can go a long way to keep us connected to that great line of beings who made our lives possible in the first place, who have had our back since time immemorial and to whose embrace we return.

For anyone interested in more regular work with them, which I highly recommend and it is the first thing I teach my conjure students, I suggest setting up a space for them. It can be a mantle piece or on top of a small drawer, but let it be their space. Put up photos of your ancestors, any mementos of them you may have for they are charged relics, and once a week offer them prayers, candles, and fresh water. Simple work, but it goes a long way. Remember them and they will remember you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: The Book of Abrasax

Michael Cecchetelli of Crossed Keys fame has released his new book, The Book of Abrasax: A Grimoire of the Hidden Gods. This book promises to be a complete grimoire developed using manuscripts from a magical tradition that has been neglected by all except academia and let me say, it delivers.

This book is of interest to me for several reasons, first and foremost because I am a modern magician working within the magical current of North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Sabians, and this book revolves around a very similar tradition. Secondly, because I am an academic whose speciality happens to be this part of the world and their magical and religious traditions. So from both perspectives, I was very interested in the release of this book and I was not let down. Even its timing is auspicious as I have begun an academic study of the Coptic manuscripts by comparing them to the Greek Magical Papyri.

Like his previous works, Michael Ceccetelli demonstrates a high level of scholarship that ranks him among the quality writers of our time, but more importantly this book is down-right practical. While the source of the text is something familiar to academia, what the author has done is take those sources and make them accessible to the modern magician by presenting a complete system of magic that carries on the Graeco-Egyptian Gnostic and Coptic culture. Here we have a grimoire about ancient magic, but for the modern magus. Grimoires of the past were notorious for being incomplete or often having obscure instructions, but not The Book of Abrasax.

The book delivers on all fronts and presents for the reader not only a glimpse into this ancient magical current, but revives it and makes it accessible for the modern practitioner. The words of ancient Coptic Magi could be heard within the pages teaching you how to cast spells to capture love, to crush an enemy, or even to bring down the hidden gods and luminaries whose power could shake your very world.

The book is divided into several sections that begins by setting the stage and introducing the topic then dives right into the practical magic of it all. Here are found spells whose flavor will be quite familiar to those acquainted with Hoodoo or the Greek Magical Papyri--the book captures the powers of the ancients and it can be felt. I have already tried the methods for securing space and creating boundaries and the power is tangible; calling the Sevenths and vibrating the voces magicae have a palable result that you can feel in the air. Further to my excitement, The Book of Abrasax also reveals detailed instructions on the creation of difixiones or Hellenic curse-tablets along with instructions for the making of a magical statue--literally the secrets of god-making. Here are ancient powers that academics have marveled over, but now available for the first time in ages to the mage.

But the book does not stop there, it goes on to present rites of evocation, invocation, and most imporantly of all the author reveals an initiatory rite called the "Triune Baptism" which reveals this text as not just an ordinary grimoire, but the remergence of a Gnostic mystery--here in the Transcendental magic of the Book of Abrasax is found the keys to the hidden realities guarded by the magi of the Graeco-Eyptian world. The path to hidden gods and forgotten powers is laid out clearly and open to all with the courage to walk it.

We live in interesting times. Mages have turned to history to find the roots our spiritual ancestry and returned with the keys to ancient magic unlocking the future. I could not recommend this book more and forsee it having a deep and lasting impact on the magical current. I strongly suspect that in the years to come we will see people making difixiones once more along with practicing other long-forgotten secrets and that makes me happy.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Saint Cyprian's Feast Day

The month of September is always very busy for me, doubly so because at my practice we spend all month preparing for Saint Cyprian's Feast Day. Saint Cyprian is my patron who I published a text on last year. His feast is always a big occassion for me and my house. Because he is the patron of sorcerers and the occult sciences, I devote the entire month to teaching my apprentices and students. So, the month of September is always characterized with my spiritual practice bustling with students coming and going at all hours, working and teaching until the the wee hours of the night, and preparing for the the 26th which is his feast day. It is also the reason why I tend to be absent from my favorite online forums like Lucky Mojo and EvocationMagic--just too busy.

My apprentices and I spend the weeks prior to the 26th, performing spiritual cleansings for clients, setting lights, and performing charitable magical work. During this month, I take several pro bono cases and perform free cleansings, exorcisms, and uncrossings. All of this is done in honor of Saint Cyprian for the wonderful blessings he's brought into my life and the thriving practice that he has bestowed to me. It is to him that all credit is due and thanks to him that I am one of the most successful professional mages and rootworkers.

After a month of teaching and charitble magical workings we prepare by cleansing his altar, getting a new altar cloth, set up his offerings, and finally on his feast day celebrate the magic of Saint Cyprian with the praying of his orisons, the presenting of his offerings, and partaking in his mysteries.

In honor of that, here is a spell that be worked with Saint Cyprian to protect yourself and your home from witchcraft and curses.

Materials:

Purple Candle
Cup of fresh water
Image of Saint Cyprian
Bay Leaf
Pen/Pencil

Set up an altar for Saint Cyprian with his image and the purple candle to the left and in front of that image and the cup of water to the right and infront of that image. All three together should form a small triangle.

Light your candle and pray from your heart to Saint Cyprian that he protect you from the snares of the wicked and the witchcraft of the evil.

On your Bay Leaf write, "I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress." You can use both sides to write this. Place this in the center of the triangle formed by the image, the candle, and the cup and just bask in the power of Saint Cyprian.

The next day replace the cup of water with a fresh cup and place the Bay Leaf under your doormat. So long as that Bay Leaf remains under the doormat, the protection of Saint Cyprian will surround your house.

To learn more about Saint Cyprian you can check out the text I wrote about him at Hadean Press or if you are in the US buy it from Lucky Mojo.

Monday, September 17, 2012

ConjureMan Ali's Tips for Increasing Psychic Abilities

In Hoodoo there are a variety of ways that an individual can increase and expand their natural latent psychic and clairvoyant abilities. This tradition gave birth to the 20th century line of hoodoo products crafted for the same purpose, an example of which would be Lucky Mojo's Psychic Vision products. I actually highly recommend these products as they really pack a punch and I've used them with great success.

Some people are looking to open up their senses, while other are trying to gain more mastery over what they already have. In either case there are ways which you can use natural herbs, roots, curios with traditional hoodoo techniques to hone those psychic abilities and develop your senses to the heights that you desire.

In light of this, I will provide my ultimate resource for anyone looking to improve these abilities.

ConjureMan Ali's Ultimate Hoodoo Guide for Psychic Development:

Herbs, Root, Minerals etc:

 1. Anise-Not to be confused with Star Anise which has a star-like shape, where as anise is fennel-like. Anise is native to the Mediterranean where it is used for digestion. In hoodoo it is fundamental for the making of Psychic Vision products. It can induce prophetic dreams, protect from the evil eye, and help to increase your clairvoyant abilities. 

2. Acacia- A sacred funerary herb among the Egyptian and the Jews, Acacia is great for ancestral work and contacting the dead via mediumship. It features prominently in the Bible and can be used in rites honoring the dead. Used as an incense it can aid in gaining visions of the dead.

3. Althaea- The use of Althaea also revolves around spirits. Where as Acacia helps with communing with the spirits of the dead, especially ancestral, Althaea draws good spirits. One can mix the two into an incense to help increase communication with one's spiritual guides and guardians. Althaea also has a soothing and healing quality and will help improve one's inner vision.

4. Laurel- Is excellent for gaining the mental clarity associated with psychic visions. Often known as Bay Laurel, its a wonderful addition to any psychic development work for it gives the mental clairty and power needed to harness your inner abilities.

5. Blueing Balls- This laundry product has replaced the traditionally used Bluestones, which is toxic and dangerous to handle. Blueing balls are often added to washes and baths aimed at improving psychic ability, especially the ability for forsee lucky numbers.

6. Camphor- This resin has a strong purifying effect. Burned with intent it can purify a home and drive out trickster spirits and other troublesome entities. However it can also be mixed with other psychic-enhancing elements to help boost your natural powers. Camphor purifies and so it will remove any chaotic influence and spirits, helping your psychic vision to be clearer.

7. Celery Seeds- Excellent for any psychic development work and can be mixed with other seeds like Star Anise, or Anise etc to create powerful oils, washes, and mojo bags. It can also be burned as an incense.

8. Copal- An essential resin used in spirit-work. Native to Central America, it was used by the indigenous religions for trance-work and to enter the underworld. Today it has been adopted in various Catholic churches across Central America as a replacement for the traditional Catholic preference of Frankincense and Myrrh. Copal burned as a resin is excellent for contacting spirits and will help you enter into trances.

9. Dandelion- Dandelion Root is great for developing your prophetic abilities. It increases your natural senses and can be the best friend of people who want to become readers. It is often brewed into a tea to be drunk, or bathed in. You can also wash your hands in it before doing a card reading.

10. Flax- This is one that I don't personally use very often, but a friend swears by it. Traditionally it has a protective quality, but it often is included in various psychic development works.

11. Frankincense- A great resin for any type of spirit-contact work and is sacred to the Middle East. It is burned as incense to carry prayers up to god, helps induce visions, and can be used to increase the power of spells, or the intensity of your consecration. If a person is having a hard time using their psychic abilities to see the future clearly, burning some Frankincense can help increase the concentration to peer through the mists of time.

12. Mugwort- An absolute must for anyone doing oracular work. A tea of Mugwort can be used to wash your reading tools like dark mirrors, crystals, pendulum etc. It can also be included in mojo bags and washes to increase prophetic dreams.

13. Star Anis- My absolute favorite, Star anis is considered a staple in any psychic development product, spell, or practice. It's star-like shape informs its usage via the Doctrine of Signatures and it is excellent to not only to develop latent abilities, but grant control over them. It is especially great for dream work and for warding off envy. Including it in a love spell can also ensure that the target dreams of you.

14. Tobacco- This plant is sacred to the Americas and is used in a variety of spirit work. While in hoodoo it has become part of the Court Case class of plants, it is also great for any type of spiritual contact, or can be used to compell someone to contact you. It is burnt as an offering to spirits, and can fortify your own spiritual guardians thus increasing your communication with them.

15. Wormwood- Is great for inducing visions and increasing your spiritual abilities. It is sacred to many spirits and often can be used to fortify your connection with your guides. It is included in mojo bags and washes to induce dreams and visions. It also has the ability to ward off evil and envy.

I would also add to this list Florida Water, Kanaga Water, Rose Water or Rose Blossom and Orange Blossom Water. Florida Water is used for cleansings and offerings to the dead in Afro-Carribean traditions along with Orange Blossom, Kanaga Water is connected to the Malay offerings to the dead, Rose Water is given to ancestors in Middle Eastern magic. Each can be used to increase communication with your ancestral spirits or other spirits of the dead.

Using a mixture of any of the above herbs, roots, curios can help increase psychic abilities, with the right combinations focusing on either dreams, clairvoyance, prediction of numbers etc.

Here are some recipes for psychic abilities that I have used and found to work wonderfully.

ConjureMan Ali's Recipes for Enhancement of Psychic Abilities:

1. Psychic Bath To Increase Abilities as a Reader:
  • Mugwort
  • Star Anise
  • Anise
  • Dandelion root
  • Laurel
  • Celery Seeds
  • Florida Water
Brew it all into a tea while praying over it. Once the tea has been brewed add a splash of Florida Water and let it cool a bit. Stand in a tub and pour the tea over yourself but wash upwards with your hands from your feet to your head. Pray that your abilities be enhanced and you be given the powers to see clearly into the future. Let yourself air dry and gather a bit of the used bath water and sprinkle it on your front door step.

2. Mojo Bag for Psychic Mastery:

  • Laurel
  • Star Anise
  • Anise
  • Master Root
  • Althaea
  • Celergy Seeds
  • Tobacco
  • Red flannel draw-string bag
  • purple candle
  • Psychic Vision Oil
  • charcoal and incense burner
  • Frankincense, Myrrh, and Copal
Light your charcoal and place it in the incense burner. Sprinkle your Frankincense, Myrrh, and Copal resin mix and let the smoke waft up. Dress your purple candle with Psychic Vision Oil from base to tip and light it.

Take the Laurel and write your name on one side and the words "Psychic Mastery" on the other, pass this through the smoke and then put it in your flannel bag. One by one pass each element of the mojo bag through the smoke of the incense while asking the herb, seed, or root to lend its power to the work. Put them in to the flannel bag one by one with focus and prayer. Once they are all in the bag, hold the bag to your mouth and pray your intent into the bag letting your breath fill the bag with life. Tie off the bag by pulling it closed and knotting it three times.

Pass the bag through the fire of the candle three times while praying, careful not to burn it, just letting it warm up. Then hold it above the incense from the string and pray as the mojo bag is brought to life. Dab some Psychic Vision Oil on it and let the candle burn down. Keep this bag on you to increase your psychic mastery and feed it once a week from Psychic Vision Oil.

3. Dream Pillow

  • Mugwort
  • Wormwood
  • Celery seed
  • Rectangular pice of cloth (white or red)
  • needle and string
  • Psychic Vision Oil
Fold the cloth and sew all the sides except the top. Stuff the pillow with Mugwort, Wormwood, and Celery Seeds. Hold this to your mouth and pray that it grant you prophetic dreams. Sew the top to make a little pillow. Put a dab of Psychic Vision oil and keep this under your pillow.

I suggest keeping a record of your dreams.

The combinations and possibilities are endless and there is a lot of room for experimentation using tradition as a guide and base for further work.

Enjoy!


 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Making Magical Chalks

I love magical chalks. They are easy to make, pack a punch, and can be used for nearly anything. They can be made for use in rituals and spells, both to add power, or as part of the central part of the rite and for those familiar with Hoodoo, or the African Diasporic Traditions they are an excellent way of deploying sneaking tricks.

Natural chalks hold a very strong charge and can be imbued with the proper mix of magical powders, prayers, and herbs to accomplish the ends of the magician. With the right mix, one could make them to add power to a magical rite like evocation, or make them for a variety of conditions like love, money, protection etc. In addition, they are quite easy to use. For example, one could make a commanding-type chalk, carry it in the pocket and when going to shake hands, rub some of the chalk on your hands then touch that person, or while sitting at the table with that person, subtly mark the underside of the table with the chalk.

The same techniques can be used for any condition, one could lay down a line with a love chalk for your intended to walk through, one could mark and X on the foot path of an enemy with a destruction chalk, or one could create a barrier around your property with a protection chalk. They can even be used for healing, marking specific points on the body to turn back an illness, remove a spirit, or seal the body from further sickness. They can also be an easy way to carry powders; forming them into a stick, one could carry any magical powder ready to use, crumble in your hand and blow the powder to deploy.

To make magical chalk you'll need:

6 Eggs
Flour
Hot water
Magical powder of choice or herbs for your intent
Colored powders, or tempera paint if you want to color your chalk. (I prefer powdered colors)



1. Crack the eggs to get their eggshells, or save the eggshells from your baking, cooking etc. Make sure to remove the collagen or inner membrane from the eggshells. The membrane is often a pinkish hue and comes off easily with some picking. Make sure your eggshells are washed and clean before using. Its best to let them dry for about 24 hours before use.

2. Once the eggshells are dry grind them up in a mortar. You'll need to grind them into a fine powder. This will take some time and patience, but make sure you grind it into as fine a powder as possible, removing any larger pieces that wont grind down any further. Pray your intent into this powder. You can make a general prayer of power and blessing, or pray for a specific intent if the chalk is made for a specific condition.



Powdered eggshell is called cascarilla and is found commonly among the practitioners of the ATRs, Latin American folk magic and other traditions. Cascarilla is used to mark the body at specific spots, for cleansings, purification, and protection. Cascarilla has made its way into modern hoodoo practices, via outside traditions. But while cascarilla may not have been used in traditional hoodoo, homemade eggshell powder and eggshell chalks were, likely a replacement for West and Central African uses for efun/pemba, they simply didn't call it cascarilla.

3. Once you've ground up the eggshells mix in 1 tsp of flour with 1 tablespoon of the powdered eggshell. You can eye it to make sure that you've got an even mixture. The flour is used as binder so make sure to mix them together thoroughly. At this point add in your powders and just a pinch of the herbs you want. Too man herbs will break up the mixture so be careful. Again mix it thoroughly. Make sure to pray over the herbs, powders, and the mixtures. It is also at this point you can add your colors. If you are making a black chalk, I also suggest adding pinch of drawing charcoal.

4. Add in a tsp of hot water and mixing it in. The mixture will begin to be sticky, but keep mixing to get all the pieces. Squish it all together to make a nice little ball.

5. Roll the ball in your hands or against wax paper to make it into a cylindrical shape or what shape you want. Wrap this in a paper towel or wax paper and tie it closed. Set this aside for at least three days.



6. Now you've got yourself magical chalk! Add it to your magical work and tricks and experiement with the different effects and combinations.   

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Join Me On Candelo's Corner Podcast

I'll be a guest on Candelo's Corner this Monday the 27th where my colleague, Dr. E and I will be joining Candelo to combine forces and provide free spiritual readings for people. For the first time on radio, three different divination styles from the Congo will be used to provide readings for callers. If you are interested in Kimbanda, Palo, or Hoodoo you don't want to miss this show. It is going to be a Congo sorcery power hour.

Be sure to join me in the chat where we can hang out, or call in for a free reading. The show starts at 5pm pacific time.  Candelo's Corner is on every Monday from 5-7pm Pacific or 8-10pm Eastern time via blogtalkradio. It is one of the first and longest running radio shows about Palo, the ATRs and is an amazing resource for anyone interested in those topics.

Check out the website for Candelo's Corner here

and be sure to join us this Monday here



  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Be sure to pick up At the Crossroads

If you haven't already done so, be sure to pick up Scarlet Imprint's latest anthology, At the Crossroads. In addition to having an essay by yours truly, it has a great collection of some of the notables of the occult world.

This book truly represents the future of magic in the West as practitioners from both old world traditions and diaspora meet and conjure side-by-side. Whether you are interested in the African Diasporic Traditions or the sorceries of the Goetia and the grimoires, this book has something for you. It promises to be eye-opening and insightful and from what I've read so far, it delivers.

It was at the crossroads that many of the traditions discussed worked their magic and so it is with At the Crossroads that magic once more is taking place.



Monday, August 13, 2012

Check out this awesome blog

My good friend and colleague from AIRR, Khi Armand has started a new blog. Khi is a talented root doctor, shaman, and reader. I intend to follow his blog with interest and know that much can be learned from what he posts and encourage others to check out his blog.

Check out his blog here: Conjure in the City

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pomba Gira: Mistress of Witchcraft


Pomba Gira, the Mistress of Witchcraft, is a spirit veiled in mystery and magic. She forms one part of the principle spirits called upon in Quimbanda though she also makes an appearance in the other Afro-Brazilian cults. Her nature, like that of her counterpart is often a mystery revealed only to those who are her devotees and initiates.

To the outsider she is known as the Lover and Mistress of the Devil; a woman of the night who embodies sensuality and witchcraft.  But to her initiates she is the wise sorceress born from a legacy of African necromancy and European witchcraft.

It is theorized that the etymology of “Pomba Gira” can be traced back to the Kongo spirit of the crossroads, Bombojila who known by some as Aluvaia. How the rather masculine figure of Aluvaia became Pomba Gira, a decidedly female spirit, rests in the nature of Aluvaia as containing both sexes. Some depictions of this spirit often showed both male and female combined into one figure.

Along with this connection to the Kongo spirit of the crossroads, the figure of Pomba Gira is also linked to the concept of the African witch. Any syncretism between the iyami and Pomba Gira would be misleading, but certainly the idea behind the African witches can be seen as the spiritual ancestor to Pomba Gira. She is the force of woman that is lethal in its power and mighty in sorcery, a nearly inhuman force of the night. From this springs the image of Pomba  Gira as a serpent descending from a tree in the middle of the crossroads.

Her European heritage can be found in the figure of the red witches of Spain and Portugal. Women who worked malefic magic for love and destruction and who find their epitome in Maria Padilha, the legendary sorceress and mistress of royalty whose name is immortalized in incantations that call upon her alongside devils and demons. The red witches, like Maria Padilha were famed for their mastery of gypsy potions and poisons, and for their mastery of the magic of the Moors and the necromancy of the ngangas.

And it is through this melding of the red witch schooled in the magics of Africa with the inhuman night witch of the West African people birthed in the fires of the crossroads ruled by Bombojila that Brazilian Pomba Gira is born.

While both Exu and Pomba Gira are deeply connected to their African roots, Pomba Gira in her various incarnations is a true spirit of Brazil. Like the nation that birthed her, she is rooted in Africa, accepts a European influence, and yet retains her own unique identity.  

Pomba Gira is legion, and like her counterpart, she is the collective of the sorcerous spirits of witches and priestess of Quimbanda, nurtured in fire and found in her respective queendoms of crossroad, tavern, ocean, forest, and cemetery among other such places of power. Her power rests in the liminal tied to the fires that spark in the night. Sometimes called Exu Woman, she is in reality no one’s woman, but her own. She represents the free woman whose powerful sexuality is both a seductive lure to men and a threat to patriarchal society which seeks to label her.

The vulgar see her as a whore to be bought, but the wise recognize her as Woman unfettered by the restraints of society and brimming with sexual potency and sorcery. She is sex for the purpose of sex, love for the purpose of love, and best knows the human heart with all its woes and troubles. To those who come with these woes to her, she offers quick solutions bringing them the love that they desire while offering them solace and comfort.

She is a demanding and voluptous mistress whose path truly is harsh. Born from a mingling of blood, fire, and sulfur, Pomba Gira is a force that sometimes defies definition and challenges you to see beyond the restrictions our socialized mind puts on her. Approaching her can be dangerous to the uninitiated for she is fiercely protective of her cult and will destroy those who try to circumvent it, though after she takes you for a ride.

While her magic is capable of anything, she is particularly skilled in all matters dealing with women, the erotic, and love. She combines her sensuality with her sorcery in the most lethal of witchcrafts; with a look she can inspire lust and love in the hearts of even the coldest of humans, or lay waste to her enemies.  She is the crossroads where death, love, and sex meet.

Where Exu is met at the four-way crossroads, Pomba Gira rules the T-crossroads. When her devotees call she arrives in a flurry of skirts to grant prophecy and work magic. Each Pomba Gira has their own tastes, but generally enjoys roses without thorns, wines, champagne, cigarillos, ribbons, fruit and fine cloths and jewels.  But for those who attempt to use her as a whore, or appropriate her from her cult, she’ll feast on them rather than the offerings.


There have been some attempts by North American and European practitioners to appropriate her into Thelemic circles as Babylon, or by others (like the so-called New Orleans Voodoo practitioners) as a Sacred Feminine. These attempts are based off incorrect ideas about her and contrary to her nature. She is neither Babylon nor is she some love goddess. She is a legion of spirits who in addition to love and sex is associated with death and destruction. Such appropriations are not only incorrect, but potentially lethal for they assume that she can be approached by anyone. She cannot. She is a demanding spirit who will burn those who dare to try to use her.

To those she takes as her devotees she is the oracular serpent of the crossroads whose words of truth bring wisdom and whose magic can weave the threads of destiny in their favor.

She is Queen, She is Legion, She is Pomba Gira. Sarava Pomba Gira!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Exu: Master of Magic


One of the primary spirits worked with in Quimbanda is Exu, the Lord of Magic who is surrounded with much mystery. The nature of Exu (pronouched “Eshoo”) is complicated to behold and often his reality is hidden as a mystery of the cult and revealed only to the devotees who fully initiate into those mysteries. Outsiders wishing to glimpse his mysteries will at best be granted but an iota of his Truth and at worse taken for a ride for lacking the proper spiritual backing (initiation and proper guidance) in approaching him. Note that Exu, despite the name he has adopted, is not the Eshu or Ellegua of the Yoruban traditions. If nothing else, Exu can be seen as the Lord of Reality and the Master of Macumba for his ability to carry out spells and works of sorcery are truly unparalleled.
Some Kimbandieros view Exu as the manifestation and emanation of Aluvaia and therefore is the first child of Nsambi the creator, who created Aluvaia to reach into the darkness with his fire and go where even Nsambi could not.  In this view, Quimbanda can be seen as the descendent of the Kongo and Angolan cults of Aluvaia and Kalunga who are transformed into Exu and Omolu/Xapana respectively in Brazil.
Through his association with Aluvaia, Exu is the force of creation, transformation, movement, and the power to change destiny. He represents the contact between the world of the unfathomable and the power to access that world. He is a being with one foot in both worlds and therefore is the lynchpin of creation and as such its shaper. Through him the Tata can work powerful magic that change the very destinies of man and transform reality.
In addition to being associated with these primal forces, Exu is also the sum of the dead priests of the cult; the ancestral teachers of Quimbanda who have passed on and returned to guide other devotees. Through this his nature can be seen as similar to the calundu spirits of Angola and the nkuyu of Kongo.  They are spirits who have resonated with the fire of Quimbanda throughout the river time and become sparks of creation through which reality is born into existence. Exu is the primal and chthonic spirit of fire who embodies the night and brings creation even into the darkest of realms while drawing his spark from the infernal and primordial. In this way he is like the saint but inversed. Where the saint withdraws from life and ascends with Light, Exu wades into life and brings the Light of creation into the world. In fact, where other spirits of the African Diaspora adopted the saints as their masks, Exu’s fire could only be contained in the mask of devils and demons complete with horns and tridents. Such is part of his mystery and the taking on of such devilish masks reveals a hint of the true depths of his fire.



Exu is the guardian that stands at all places of power, representing the liminal state between this and that. We find him at the crossroads, in the forest, at the cemetery, doorways, at taverns and even along shorelines; wherever there is an exchange, a change, or movement. He is at every place where the worlds meet and sparks fly. He is the power that has been birthed by Nsambi that connects the material world with the world of spirit. He incarnates from time to time into life while inspiring the lives of others. 
Exu is a spirit of night, fire, and sorcery. He is truly legion and his power to work magic and transform the very fabric of reality makes him among the most powerful and effective forces in the universe. He is tied directly to the passions and desires of man, linked to our psyche, especially our shadow. Because of this, walking his path is a line that can lead those weak of character or those easily swayed and obsessive into madness and insanity.  But to those individuals of unshakable character and whose spirit burn with fire, Exu can uplift them into lofty states granting wisdom and purging transformation. To those he takes as his people, he stands as guardian, guide, and worker of miracles. To his enemies, he can truly be a devil that unleashes unstoppable devestation.



And so Exu can be seen as the spirit, born first of Nsambi, tied to Aluvaia and the spirits of dead sorcerers and Tatas, who embodies the purging and searing flames of the infernal sparking through the darkness of night to bring life and power to creation called upon the living sorcerers of Quimbanda to work magic, mystery, and power.
When he manifests in the temple, or Nzo/Nzila he comes down in a blaze. He speaks truth and power to those with the courage to listen and gives solace and strength to those who seek him out. At the time of power when the clock strikes midnight he roars into life, dancing, drinking, smoking and granting his blessings and mysteries to the worthy. Sometimes he is the keeper of riddles and at times a trickster, but always he is a force of transformation and growth.

Through his priests and mediums he receives his children who seek out his help. To some he gives a word of advice, others he grants boons, and to others he carries out works of magic to save them from the hardships of their lives. Whether it is love, money, protection, or vegeance, Exu accepts them all and grants without judgement, but always with wisdom for he understands the plight of man. 

Each Exu is divided into various legions according to the Kingdom they are found in and the Line to which they belong-- a subject to which attention will be given to later-- but for now it is sufficient to see Exu as the primal force that first stirred the waters of creation and who is legion in number and terrible in might.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interview with Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold at Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole

Check out this great interview with Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold at Deeper Down the Rabbit Hole. Nick is an initiate of several ATRs and is one of the best modern occult authors on traditional craft, Palo, and Kimbanda.

Check out the interview here where he gives an excellent introduction into Kimbanda and discusses Pomba Gira and his amazing book Pomba Gira and the Quimbanda of Mbumba Nzila.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

At the Crossroads by Scarlet Imprint

Scarlet Imprint has just opened up their new title, At the Crossroads, for pre-order. This book is an anthology that involves the intersection of the new world and old world magics. It focuses on the interaction between the African diasporic traditions with the European traditions.

It has pieces by some amazing authors like Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, Jake Stratton-Kent, Michael Cecchetelli, my fellow AIRR member, Balthazar, Christopher Bradford, by yours truly, and many other familiar names.  I don't think ever before has there been a gathering of such varied backgrounds from initiates of Vodou and Lukumi, to Tatas of Palo and Kimbanda, from Conjure Doctors, to Goetic Necromancers. The intellectual baby of this august gathering is certainly fated to be interesting, insightful, and deeply impactful.

It is a book worth checking out for those interested in either the African diasporic traditions or the goetic and grimoire traditions of Europe. The focus of this anthology is significant to today's current occult interests and will likely have an important impact on the direction occult study will take in the decades to come and I am not just saying that because it contains an article written by me ;-).

You can preorder your copy here

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Quimbanda: A Brief Introduction

Quimbanda is an Afro-Brazilian cult that is growing in popularity here in the United States thanks in large part to the stellar works of Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold. It has always been a significant part of Brazilian culture and its history and impact on the rest of the Afro-Brazilian religions is worthy of anthropological study.

The term "Quimbanda" comes from the Kimbundu work "ki-mbanda" which refers to a healer-diviner involved in a cult of possession. The root of this cult is with spiritual practices of the Kongo and Angola which was colonized by the Portuguese and bought to the new world via African slaves transported to Brazil.

The kimbanda and nganga priests that were brought to Brazil formed Calunda cults that revolved around possession by Kongo fire spirits and working with the forces of Kalunga. Along with the Macumba practices these Calunda (also sometimes called Cabula) cults formed the basis of Quimbanda.

Macumba, an often derogatory term, was used to refer to black magic or the sorcerous practices of Afro-Brazilians. These practices were heavily influenced by Kongo sorcery, European witchcraft, and Amerindian or Caboclo shamanism. The firey Bantu spirits that formed the core of the Calunda cults became the masters of macumba and from this was born the cult of Quimbanda which can be seen in contrast to Umbanda, a separate religion that resulted from the dividing of macumba.

In the 1920's the medium Zelio formed the religion of Umbanda which took some of the spirits of its predecessor Macumba and Calunda and restrained them under the power of various Orixa, Caboclo, Saints, and Preto Velhos. In contrast, Quimbanda was relegated to the "left" and was viewed as a cult of darkness and fire. It would be more accurate, however, to view Quimbanda as a preservation of the older cults of Calunda and the practices of macumba and therefore a preservation and continuation of Bantu magic and religion.

Quimbanda works with two enties, who in of themselves are legions, Exu and Pomba Gira. These two spirits are highly complex spirits whose nature is often difficult to convey into words. Ultimately however they are spirits of night and fire tied to natural sites of powers and lines of spiritual ancestry. They are called upon to carry out works of magic and divination. True to its Bantu roots, Quimbanda is a cult of posession in which Exu and Pomba Gira ride the mediums and Tata and provide prophecy, give advice and consultation to their devotees, and perform healings and magic.

These spirits are renown for their devestating power and are often called the kings and queens of reality as a result of their ability to manifest the desires and petitions of their devotees with amazing speed. It is this speed and efficacy that has garnered their reputation as hot spirits. Exu and Pomba Gira are also reputed to be amoral, but this should not be confused with immoral or evil. These spirits do not judge those who come to them and will just as swiftly work for spells of healing and mending as they will for spells of break ups and destruction. But Exu and Pomba Gira are wise just as they are powerful and they are just as ready to teach as they are to work magic, if one has the courage to listen to what they have to say.

Given their complex and often hot nature, working with Exu and Pomba Gira  is one that should not be done without proper guidance and consultation from an initiate. There is a proper protocol to working with these spirits who are very big on respect.

Just like its spirits, Quimbanda as a cult has a fierce reputation for being a cult of powerful sorcery and necromancy. While the fire of Quimbanda cannot be denied; its potential for providing wisdom and sustenance for the spirit that thirsts for primal truths also cannot be denied. Quimbanda, like its Bantu roots, does not discriminate between spiritual elevation and material happiness. A blessed person is one who is spiritually evolved *and* one who is provided for physically. This is what the cult of Quimbanda offers and promises.

In the end, Quimbanda is a spiritual tree born of an ancient Kongo seed, planted in Brazilian soil, nourished with European and Native American influences that blossomed into the force it is today--a cult of spirits of night and fire giving wisdom and power to life.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Join Me Today on Candelo's Corner

Today I will be the guest on Candelo's Corner, a prominent radio show revolving around Palo and the ATRs. Join me today at 5pm pacific/ 8pm Eastern as we talk about Hoodoo and the ATRs.

If you have a blogtalk radio account be sure to log in so that we can talk in the chatroom. You can join us here.

You can learn more about Candelo's Corner here.  

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Hoodoo Workshops


Spirit Traps workshop--using fire and a demon bowl to purge parasitic spirits as we prepare our own personal spirit traps





This past weekend I flew out to Santa Rosa to participate in the Hoodoo Workshops put together by
Missionary Independent Spiritualist Church. What an amazing weekend.

I had the opportunity to mingle with my fellow conjurers and meet many familiar names who I have gotten to know as clients, friends of the forum, or followers of the radio show.

The weekend was started by a Lukumi Road Opening and Blessing ceremony performed by Dr. E and assisted by Mamma E and myself. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony orchestrated and guided with a gentle hand by my good friend, Dr. E. This set the tone for the rest of the weekend and ensured a productive, positive, and all-around excellent time spent together.

Several of the great names of conjure gathered together to present workshops on various topics from grocery store magic, to bone reading, from mojo bags, to a panel on cursing.

The weekend was managed by the impressively capable Sister Robin who ensured that everything went smoothly and brought a professional quality to the workshops while still keep a friendly atmosphere.

This weekend's workshops were more successful than previous years as they continue to grow and expand.

I got a chance to sit in on a few workshops and loved every second. I took the bone reading workshop taught by cat yronwode which also featured the release of her new book (review upcoming) and found myself deeply engrossed in the oracular systems of the world as she once more demonstrated her nearly encyclopedic level of knowledge. Through bone and dice we connected to our ancestors and peered through the veil into the world of spirit where past and future mingled.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Dr. E's presentation on mojo bags. While I have been making mojo bags for longer than I can remember and make a mean one myself, Dr. E's presentation shows that no matter how much you think you know there is always more to learn. So just because you think you know a topic doesn't mean you should skip the class. He presented a unique style of working with mojo hands that creates layers of complexity and life, making the mojo bag an indisposable ally. It is a class I would highly recommend again.

All the classes were great and the workshops were a blast.

I was invited to teach a workshop this year and presented a class on the use of Spirit traps. We discussed the historical and cultural uses of spirit vessels and spirit traps around the world and how they distilled into the practices of the conjure and hoodoo. I presented a personal demon bowl from my family's tradition which we used in a simple rite of cleansing. Each student was instructed step by step on how to construct a spirit trap and left having made a fully functional spirit bottle.

I was happy to see that my workshop was a great success and was proud to bring another good class to the workshop weekend.

Dr. E, catherine yronwode, nagasiva yronwode, Ms. Robin, Deacon Millett, and I then joined together for a panel discussion on cursing work. It was an hour of heavy-hitting tips, tricks, and spells from a gathering of the big names of American conjure. We discussed little-known techniques, shared powerful secrets, and everyone left with pages of notes and an arsenal of spiritual weapons for defense and offense.

Ms. Robin brought with her several of her personal doll babies made for powerful cursing conjure, and Miss cat unleashed her inner taskmistress by demonstrating a traditional conjure hot foot using a whip. Dr. E showed the class a rare technique of how to close down a person's road, while nagasiva taught clever ways of double-crossing work. Deacon Millett discussed a new way of working cold break ups, while I taught the class how to attack a person's strength and mind.

The class was wonderfully successful with attentive students and intelligent questions.

What was great about the workshops was not only did they provide an amazing resource for hands on teaching on conjure from some of today's reputable and famed conjure doctors, but they afforded an opportunity for fellowship. People of all backgrounds and all levels of experience mingled, got a chance to talk to people they had only heard of by name or met online, and enjoy one another's company. It was a time for old friends to get together and catch up and new friends to be made.

It was a great experience and look forward to it next year. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Practice Closed from 5/4-5/7

ConjureMan's Spiritual Practice will be closed from May 4th to May 7th as I will be away at the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Workshops.

Be sure to sign up for the classes if you haven't done so yet and stop by to say hello if you make it out. We have an amazing workshop planned this year with lots of people. Even if you aren't signed up you can still stop by to hang out and mingle.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Join Me At the Hoodoo Workshops

May 5th and 6th Lucky Mojo is holding its annual Hoodoo Workshops with nationally renown and famed rootworkers and conjure doctors gathering together to share secrets, teach, and mingle.

I'll be presenting two workshops. The first will focus on spirit traps and vessels. I will go over various traditional techniques from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East on making spirit traps, djinn vessels, and demon bowls. Each student will then make a fully functioning spirit trap under my direction to take home and employ. We will start the hands on portion with a small rite that will capture any lingering malevolent forces and then move to crafting the spirit bottles. All supplies will be provided.

The second workshop is a pannel discussion where I will join Dr. E, Cat Yronwode, Nagasiva Yronwode, Ms. Robin, and Deacon Millett to share the secrets of curses. We will mention esoteric techniques from the various ATRs and Hoodoo and will teach how to make your curses effective. We will go beyond the basics of curses to delve into some of the more unique methods.

This years workshops are one of a kind with classes and topics you won't find anywhere else. We have workshops on bone readings, Santisima Muerte, spirit traps, mojo bags and much more so be sure to sign up and don't miss out on this rare opportunity.

So come join us. For more information click here: http://missionaryindependent.org/workshops.html

And be sure to come up to me and introduce yourself.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Talisman from a Grimoire Magus: My Review

I stopped buying talismans a long time ago. Once you have the ability to make your own effective talismans, especially if you are good at them, you usually aren't that insterested in buying talismans from other people. In a similar fashion when the quality of the talismans out there is less than medicore, the interest to buy talismans from makers isn't really there.

But I was very interested in buying a talisman from Magus Michael Cecchetelli and he sure didn't disappoint. Todays modern grimoire students focus almost excusively on evocation--one would argue at the expense of the other traditional goetic and grimoire arts like talisman makings, folk spells, working with herbs, necromancy, divination etc. So when an exceptional grimoire magus starts offering talismans it definitely piques an interest.

I received the talisman this week and it absolutely met my high expectations. Having gotten to know Michael Cecchetelli's work, I expected no less. The attention and focus he gives to these talismans is apparent and they certainly are filled with vibrancy and potency.

I have a love altar upon which I do love work for clients and his Venus talisman found its home upon that altar and quickly brought a new level of power and energy to the ongoing work (it is due to this ongoing client work that I can't post a picture right now).

Suffice to say, I highly recommend his talismans. Not only are his talismans a work of beautiful art, crafted in a traditional fashion that harkens back to the magic of the ancients, but they pack a powerful punch.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finding the Real Deal

As long as the relationship between teacher and student has existed so too has the chance for exploitation and fraud. While this exists in many traditions around the world it has become a prickly situation for those people interested in joining one of the African Traditional Religions.

With the growing interest in these traditions people from a variety of backgrounds have been attempting to join the various cults and learn the mysteries they contain. But one of the first obstacles that they come across is finding a legitimate house and teacher. Frankly, this is no easy task.

For a variety of reasons, including socio-economic, some members of the various African Traditional Religions view the growing interest in their cults as a means by which to make money that they often desperately need. So you have authentic initiates and teachers gouging newcomings and exploiting their interest. On the other hand, you have scammers who have seen how much money the ATRs can make via initiations and such and have set up their own shop. Navigating between the two can be tricky.

The existence of both of these are legitimate concerns and should be taken into account for anyone who wishes to join these cults. Then there are those houses that are legitimate, ethical, and whose teachers are sincere, but miserly with their teachings. These houses will initiate people and be sincere in their desire to teach, but due to their own psychological pitfalls will leave the young aspirant lacking proper training. They give out information and secrets little by little and will hold back a great deal. Sometimes this is done for fear that the student will rise up and become a power in his own right.

And so the picture that emerges from this situation is rather complex. We have a set of cults and religions that offer immense power and deep insights into primal secrets. Over years their magical systems have proven themselved devestatingly effective and so they have garned the interest of all sorts of people. Yet, to enter into these cults and claim that power it has becomes a bit of a labyrinth of dangers and pitfalls, or an ocean filled with hidden threats.

The question is how do you avoid these pitfalls and find the real deal?

The answer is two-fold. The first is ultimately spiritual. If you are meant to be part of these traditions and if the spirits are indeed willing to become your allies, then the first step is to ask them to open your roads and lead you to the house right for you. Whatever tradition you are interested in, there are spirits who can guide and open roads. When you take the first step towards the ATRs everything that happens can become a lesson used by these spirits and your path becomes guided by these powerful forces.

For some, asking these spirits to guide them will lead them unerringly to their perfect house. They will find their journey to their new family and house smooth and without difficulty. Similarly, if the time is right then the spirits will ensure that you have the financial means to follow through with initiation. For those who are desperate to initiate but who lack the funds to do so, I would take this as an indication of the spirits telling you to first tend to your life before you are ready to undertake the responsibilities that come with initiation. It is easy to forget that with initiation comes oaths of responsibility as this is often overshadowed by the promise of power and knowledge. But the reality is that if you are at a point in your life where you cannot afford initiation then it may not be the right time to take on further obligations that come with joining an ATR.

Under the guidance and aid of the spirits that you call upon, the path towards your destined teacher and house may be smooth. But sometimes they lead you to hard places. Many of the ATRs walk a fiery road and with that road comes some difficulty. This tempers the soul and gives the necessary willpower to be able to deal effectively with the powers. In light of this, one may say that the scammers and dysfunctional houses do play a role in the overall scheme of things, even if it is to weed out some or provide necessary lessons. (Note, I am not saying that if you get scammed you are not meant to walk this path, but rather it may not be the right time or there is likely a lesson in it).

After you've called upon the spirits of the tradition you seek to help you, the second step is practical, but one that is so easily overlooked. It comes down to discernment. So many people are in a rush to get initiated that they completely abandon common sense and logic. They go and spend thousands that they don't have and only later realize that in their rush they put themselves under the tutelage of a not-so-good teacher.

There is no rush to be initiated. Take your time and get to know  your house, get to know your teacher, and the character that he and his spirit family have. Is your teacher open about his teachings, does his ethics match your own, is his personality one that clashes with yours? These are all questions that you should be considering. Like any magical group, a house in the ATRs is filled with personalities. You have to ask yourself if those personalities will clash with your own. Ask yourself if the teacher seems greedy with knowledge and money, or do they have a generous character? Does your teacher's style match what you need? Some people need teachers who are more about self-exploration while others require attentive teachers. I personally need a teacher who is attentive, who spends time teaching, as my mind is inquisitive. Are they a teacher that answers your questions? Is there pressure to initiate?

This latter is a tricky one but is important to consider. While initiation is important and there are some who are truly called, it also is a fallacy that initiation is necessary for the ATRs. These are not priestly cults but are cults for the people and so often have a laity. There are levels of involvement within each of the ATRs and your path may be different than initiation. Initiation is the call to become a priest-sorcerer and get involved with these spirits casually. Many honor these spirits without taking up the mantle of priesthood. What *is* necessary is to have a teacher. These waters are difficult and relying just on books or the internet is dangerous. Guidance is necessary to be involved with these traditions. Just as they are not priestly cults so too are they not private faiths. These are communal religions and so traditionally even the laity is connected to a house and teacher. So find a house and teacher and then simply get to know them. This is a spiritual path so don't rush things. Spend time among the laity and get to know the character of the house and its leaders and see if you are truly called to become a priest or if you are better served by honoring these spirits in a different fashion. If however you want to get involved in a more intimate way with these spirits then initiation is necessary.

The key is patience; don't go diving in before you take the time to really get to know what you are getting yourself into. It is not uncommon to spend years getting to know a tradition before taking the leap into initiation. If you follow the guidance of the spirits and use a little bit of patience and discernment you can avoid a great many pitfalls.

This has worked for many of my colleagues and myself as well. I've always been cautious in getting involved in the ATRs. Coming from a background of hoodoo where initiations don't really exist, putting yourself under someone else's spiritual care is a scary thing. The risk for spiritual damage during initiation is high. An incompetent or fraudulent teacher may end up doing more harm than good, so I took my time and the key to my success was all of the above.

As a result, I avoided scams, pitfalls and ended up in a wonderful house with amazing godparents. I got the chance to meet two of the most knowledgable, generous, and spiritually-gifted people in my life. My godfather is generous with this knowledge, holds nothing back, is immensely wise and attentive (something that I know my personality sometimes needs). My godmother is one of the most knowledgable people I have met and is a very talented medium and reader. I am fortunate to have met both of them and my life is blessed for it. But I met them because I didn't rush into things, trusted the guidance of the spirits who led me to them, and took the time to get to know what I was getting myself into.

I think with a balanced and patient approach one can decrease the chances of pitfalls and safely navigate through the Scylla and Charibdis that sometimes stand in the way for those interested in joining the African Traditional Religions.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Readings and Consultations update

I've been hard at work whittling away at the 1000+ email queue that developed while I was out of town. I've managed to bring this down to a couple hundred and am still at work.

Anyone who ordered a reading/consultation from the 9th-19th should have received a response from me as to the estimate of when they will receive their reading/consultation or should have received their reading already. If you have not received at least a confirmation email from me then your request may not have reached me or was drowned in the pile. Send me another email with your request just to be safe.

Anyone who ordered services this past week from the 20th-25th should be receiving a response in the next few days.

Please do not send multiple emails within a short period of time. Please allow a reasonable amount of time for me to get back to each email--at least 5 days. If you haven't heard from me after 5 days then it is acceptable to check up on your first email.

Thanks you for your patience.

ConjureMan Ali

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back in Office-Conjure Man's Spiritual Practice Open

I am back in office and back to work. First, I want to thank all the lovely clients and friends for their well wishes on the trip, it was a beautiful time and experience.

For those who have sent emails or ordered services while I was away, please bear with me as I catch up. I have well over a thousand emails and so will be working diligently through them, so remain patient during this time.

All other services are available once more and my spiritual practice is open again.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Closed from 3/9-3/18

Conjure Man's Spiritual Practice will be closed from 3/9-3/18. I will be away from the office and therefore will not have access to my emails. If you email me or purchase a reading during this time do not expect a response until after 3/18.

Though I will be back in office on 3/18 it may take me a few days to catch up with all the emails.

For those seeking readings from me (ConjureMan Ali) I would suggest that you try one of my colleagues from AIRR.

Friday, February 17, 2012

ConjureMan Ali Review: Testimonial from a client

In December of 2011 I had a client whose marriage was broken up by another woman. This woman came from a long line of spiritual workers and she herself was an initate of an ATR. My client's husband worked with this other woman and for a while she had been making moves on the husband but the husband had been staunchly rejecting the advances. Then in the span of 3 weeks he went from doting husband to a completely different man.

He was acting erratically, confused, lashing out, and seemed almost as if he was under the influence of substances. He left his wife and moved in with this other woman. My client approached me and asked me to help.

Divination revaled that spiritual work had been done on the husband through the use of a specific entity. My own guides and spirits agreed to take on the case and we went to work.

I first nuetralized the rival, unbound the husband and cleansed him, returned him home and bound him strongly to his wife and kids. I started this work in December 2011, by the second week of January the rival had fallen deeply ill and was hospitalized. By January 27th he moved back in with his wife. On Valentines day he recommitted himself to his wife in a very clear and beautiful manner.

This is what my client has to say, reposted with her permission:

"ConjureMan Ali I cannot thank you enough. You gave me a MIRACLE. I was in a bad place when i came to you but I know you could help me and you did. My family is whole again and my husband is back. We love each other more than ever. Everything that happened seems like a bad nightmare like it almost wasn't real but at least it is now in the past. You got some powerful magic on your side. Please thank your spirits for me. Bless you for all that you do. You got a client for life!!" --SR

Saving relationships during the month of love--It's times like these that remind me why I do what I do.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rev. Fred's Blog: Mayan Folk Magic

My colleague from AIRR, Rev. Fred has started a new blog where he'll be uploading pictures of his work and giving instructions on traditional folk magic.

Rev. Fred is a talented Italian rootworker and hoodoo doctor specializing in cleansing work, but in addition to this he regularly spends time in Guatemala where he is studying to become a Ajq'ij, or priest in Mayan spiritual work and Guatemalan folk-magic. His blog already has some interesting and informative posts and it is definitely worth checking out.

His blog is the only place where you can learn more about Mayan spiritual work and work with Guatemalan folk saints and spirits like San Simone, Rey Pascual, and El Duende Diego.

Check out his blog here and his website here.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Welcoming a New AIRR Member: Devi Spring

The Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers has just accepted a new member: Devi Spring. Devi is a dear friend and fellow blogger who is well-known to the members of the Lucky Mojo forum where she has volunteered as a moderator helping thousands by providing free advice and spiritual guidance.

She is a compassionate worker and talented reader and root doctor. AIRR is enriched by her presence and I am sure clients will find her to be of superb skill. Devi is also a gifted healer whose work in Reiki combined with her spiritual practice allows her to heal the minds, hearts, and bodies of her clients.

You can find her new profile here where you can learn more about her and book her services.

I join my colleagues by welcoming Devi and look foward to working with her.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Secret to Money Conjure

Every rootworker has their own secrets that they've picked up about the different work that they do. They often have developed a certain technique or learned a trick from an elder that gives their work that extra oomph.

For money magic, I find that adding an element of protection really takes things to the next level. Money is a fluid concept and also very susceptible to being jinxed. In fact, when I come across people who have been the victim of a curse or even the Evil Eye, I find that their finances are the first thing to go.

So for me, I learned long ago to add an element of protection to all the money work that I do. Not only does this save your money from being jinxed, but more importantly it ensures that the money that you do draw in stays with you. No point in doing money drawing spells if it all goes down a bottomless hole.

I was taught by a root doctor in Georgia to use Devil's Shoe Strings in all money work to tie down the Devil and make sure he isn't causing mischief with your money. Similarly, I find that adding Alkanet or Alfalfa will have a similar quality of protecting your money and making sure that you keep what you draw in.

For an effective money drawing spell you'll need:

Sugar Jar
Alfalfa (you can substitute either Alkanet or Devil's Shoe String)
Cinammon
Magnet
Five Finger Grass
Bayberry
Blue Flag
$20 bill.
Some type of money oil.

Write your petition right on the bill, asking for money to come to you, money enough to cover your expenses and help you live comfortably, and for the money to stay with you. Cover and cross this petition with your name by turning it clockwise 1/4th of a turn and writing your name three times over it. Five spot the bill with your oil and place the Magnet and herbs in the center of the bill.

Fold the bill by turning it clockwise and folding towards you until you have a little packet. Place this packet into a jar of Sugar and breathe Psalm 23 into the jar before you shut it close.

You can then place this jar on a prosperity altar, light candles on it, shake it up and pray over it. You'll find that not only will it sweeten and draw money to you, but it will protect your money from jinxes, mishaps, and other things that may cause money to normally slip out of your hands.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Welcoming a New Member at AIRR

The Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers has just accepted a new member into its fold; Khi Armand of Conjure in the City is now a member of AIRR and I would like to welcome him.

Khi is an excellent reader and rootworker and I am glad to call him a colleague. His page is up at at AIRR with his bio, a list of his spiritual services, and wonderful photos of his spiritual work. You can check him out here.

I look forward to working with him and know that he will be a great addition to AIRR.

For those that don't know what the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers is, it is a group of independent spiritual workers who have met a high criteria of ethical standards, skill, and have passed through a series of intense reviews that placed their character, knowledge, and talents under peer scrutiny.

In addition to spiritual services, AIRR provides thousands of free pages on various spiritual topics and can be seen in its expansive wiki on folk magic and folk traditions. Read more about AIRR here.