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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Catching a Criminal

A little while ago there was a tragic story all over the news where a young paramedic and Giants fan was beaten down and assaulted after a Dodgers game. His attackers jumped him and left him brain-damaged and in critical condition. The vehemence of the attack and the utter travesty that such an event could take place after a sports competition in the "civilized" world left a lot of people reeling. The victim was an upstanding paramedic and single father whose story really touched people.

What made matters worse was that the bastard assailants had gotten away. There were no leads and almost no witnesses to the crime. They had rough descriptions of the attackers, no means of identification, no license plates, nothing.

For a while the case seemed to have gone nowhere and the leads were non-existent. It made the situation all the more frustrating.

Some of the members of AIRR were friends with the friends of the victim or had strong ties the communities impacted and so undertook works of healing and recovery for the poor guy. I, on the otherhand, decided that catching the bastards would be my task. I've been called upon to help local police departments before and felt that this was the way to go.

I undertook a special conjure that involved the intervention of some chthonic allies and a secret technique that is particularly effacious at catching bad guys. Here's what it looks like:

The work was a success. After one month of no leads or progress in the case that left the young father and paramedic in a coma, I performed this conjure. Within three weeks we got results. It was a colleague of mine who actually sent me the update on the case. I hope that the other suspects will shortly be caught as well.

The great thing was that the tip came from the parole officer of one of the guys who thought his parolee looked similar to one of the sketches and got suspicious when the parolee got new tattoos in an attempt at obfuscation.

For those that are interested here is how to do this spell:

What you'll need:
Description of Criminal (sketch, or describe what type of criminal they are)
Black Devil Candle
Black Arts Oil
Red Pepper
Devil's Shoe String
Black Thread
Vandal Root
Graveyard dirt (Properly purchased from a cop or soldier)
Heat proof dish with aluminum foil, or a pie dish.

Take the paper description, or sketh and cover and cross it with the command "Unable to Escape." Take your Black Arts oil and five spot the paper and set it on your dish.

Take your graveyard dirt and mix it with Sulfur, Red Pepper, and Vandal root and sprinkle that all over the paper while you call out to the spirit to go forth and find the criminal and bring him to justice. Take up your Devil's Shoe String and pray that it tie up the devils and trip up the criminals so that they get caught and place this atop the dirt in the dish.

Get your Black Devil Candle and carve on one side the description of the criminal (e.g. "Assailant in _ Case, Theif of _) and on the other side inscribe, "Bound, Restrained, and Caught."

Now dress the candle with your oil while praying that the spirits rise up and track the person down. Sprinkle the candle with Knotweed while praying to tie them down, then take your black thread and tie up the candle's eyes, arms, and legs, but leaving a good portion of the string as a tail. As you do this pray with a vengeful heart for justice.

Take the tail that you've left and hang the candle upside down over the pan or plate with your dirt mixture and papers. Light the candle and as you do so call out,

"You who hide from the law, I call upon Justice and Vengeance;
May you have not a second of peace, or respite,
May your every attempt to escape be hampered and tripped up,
May you feel the hot breath of the Law on your neck as they bear down on you,
May you fail and fall. There is no escape for you now.
May the Devil himself take you and hold you.
May God smite you,
And may the dead haunt you.
You will be caught. You will be caught.
There is no escape.
A cell awaits you!
By God and the Devil may the Hounds of Hell track you down and bring you to justice.

Pray with a wrathful heart and let the candle drip onto the papers and dirt. Monitor this candle closely for it bruns in a fantastic show of light and flames as the strings catch fire and the candle drops to the plate. Make sure to place it in a safe spot.

Now there is a secret trick called "lettin' loose the hounds" that is part of this spell, but that's a secret. The above should be enough for most things.

I pray the work continues to bring the victim justice.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Uncrossing and Curse Removal

In the previous post I disucussed some points about curses, so in this we'll discuss the act of removing those curses.

Almost every magical tradition deals with the removal of negative conditions, curses, and other malefic magicks.  Folk magic in particular pays a great deal of attention to the idea of curses and how to remove them. In traditions like conjure/hoodoo, the idea of removing crossed conditions is integrally tied to the role of the conjure doctor who acts as a spiritual physician who diagnosis the magical ailment then proceeds to treat and undo the damage.

In conjure, this process is done in a series of steps. The client seeks out a two-headed doctor (interpreted differently by different people, but it generally means someone who is skilled at reading and conjuring, or someone who knows how to cure and harm), who then through magical means diagnosis what is wrong with the client. This diagnosis is the most important step in the entire uncrossing, or curse-removal process. With this insight the spiritual practitioner as able to to determine what needs to be specifically done. From there a series of rites are undertaken with the specific purpose of cleansing the client and restoring them to their natural state. This latter points to a purview that views healing not as a process like surgery, but rather a holistic approach that aims at returning things to their natural state of health and well-being.

Depending on what was done to the client, the conjurer will approach this work differently. If crossing powders were laid out for the client, then a footwash may be performed. If candles were lit on the clients photo then a spiritual bath in conjunction with a candle rite might be enacted. Or if a spirit of the dead was attached to the victim, then the conjure doctor may perform a cleansing rite that involves banishing, removing, and sealing a person and home.

What is essential is determining what exactly was done. This element is the same in spiritual practitioners world-wide. While there are instances where general cleansings and basic rites of curse-removal are given out, the professional who works in the spiritual field more often than not approaches the situation from the grounds of insight rather than going in blind.

This gives us a rather clear view of how uncrossing is done in African American conjure traditions, however an interesting question was brought up by Michael C., a prominant grimoire magician and blogger; can a curse or crossing from one tradition be dealt with by a system of magic other than the one that was used to enact the maelific work?

The answer is yes. However what I've personally found is that working with the system that brought about the curse to also remove it is highly effective. In my opinion, this has nothing to do with the power of the system, but rather the approach. As I detailed in the outline of how a conjure doctor removes crossed conditions, the key is using insight to discover the cause of the condition and then treating it accordingly.

By understanding the nature of the curse we understand how to deal with it, by understanding what is being effected, we can provide the proper remedy. To illustrate this point, consider: a doctor may perscribe asprin for a headache, but if that headache was caused by the ingesting of a poison then a different medication would be needed to treat the *cause* of the symptom.

In order to deal with curses from other magical systems it is important to understand what exactly was done to that person. With that insight the approach can be tailored to properly remove the malady.

For example, for those suffering from the powers of a gaze, like the evil eye, an apotropaic talisman can be fashioned. For someone who has been cursed by sending a spirit after them an exorcism can be performed. And for those who are suffering from contagion magic a rite can be crafted using magica materia.

I'll give an example. Roughly a year and a half ago I had a client who has been badly crossed up by Palero who has created a bilongo that was then buried at his house. As a conjure doctor I usually approach such cases by locating the object and working with it to undo and reverse the curse. Unfortunately the client had been forced to move across the country and it had been years that he was suffering from the effects of the curse.

My ancestors indicated that I needed to appraoch the case with my skills as a grimoire mage rather than a conjure doctor. So, I created a wash under the guidance of Michael who I invoked to help break the curse by consecrating the wash. I had the client bathe in the wash to remove any ties to the curse sent by the Palero, then anointed them with Holy Oil.

I fashioned a talisman with the seal of the Sun to help set things right in the clients life and performed an evocation of a chthonic spirit to send back the mess right to the Palero.

The work was extremely effective and the client who had suffered from ill-health, terrible night terrors, and worse had his life completely turn around. The combination of working with angelic and planetary to cleanse along with the chthonic to exact a reversal worked well.

Knowing that a bilongo was made using magica materia, personal concerns, and then buried so as to infect the client, the work I did targeted these issues. They cleansed away the mess that was put on him through phsysical contact with a physical bath. It brought in the proper energies and spirits into his life to settle down the turbulence and chaos, then finally worked with a chthonic power to match that of the Palero's necromancy and send it all hurtling back.

They key is tailoring your approach to address the underlying causes, just like any good doctor.

Monday, May 16, 2011


As a professional rootworker, magician, and reader I often come across clients who feel that they are under magical attack. These poor individuals have had their life turned upside down, inside out, and frankly feel cursed. Everything they touch turns to vinegar and everywhere they go they find their roads blocked. Despite the utter shit that their lives have been transformed too, interestingly, divination doesn't always point to a curse directed at them.

Now in conjure the idea of "crossed conditions" is considered the ulitimate manifestation of a curse. A person versed in roots can cross you by utlimately tying your pretty little life into knots and while this threat is very much real, it also isn't as likely as people fear.

I would say that 80% of the people who come to me thinking they've been cursed, actually are suffering from something else entirely. I say this because in reality the number of people who truly have the ability to carry out such curses often are interested in other things then attacking you. Why is that? Well that's because magical attack ultimately takes effort. You have to be worth the effort for someone of some skill to go out of their way to curse. And frankly, that doesn't happen all to often.

Are crossed conditions and curses real? Absolutely. I myself have engaged in justified curses and magical assaults and I've seen people who truly suffer from them. However the reality of the matter is that if the person knows what they are doing, then you'll never know what hit you. Before you can blink an eye you'll find your life in a cesspool and you'll have no idea how it got there.

Instead, what we find in most of the cases of the "false curse" is that the person is under the fear that they've been targeted. That fear is so powerful that they have convinced themselves that they are under attack. This leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy where normal every day life shit is interpreted completely out-of-porportion. Your mind is a powerful thing and if you believe there is a wall keeping you from happiness then, that wall is as real as a true brick, or stone obstacle.

To help you truly determine if you've been cursed look for the following signs:

1. A dramatic and sudden shift in your life's rhythm and flow. Spilling coffee on yourself doesn't fulfill this sign, but getting in repeated car accidents does.
2. A drastic turn in your health. Magical work can absolutely impact your health. I'm not talking about cold, I'm talking about your health being dramatically impacted in a way that either results in a medical condition or a physical sensation that is undeniable.
3. Sudden interruptions to your life. This can be things like being physically accosted, or a death in the family.
4. Dark omens. Finding yourself surrounded by flies, having an *unusual* appearance of ravens, crows, owls etc. Or dreaming of your guardian spirits who come to warn  you.
5. Disruptions to your sleep. Night-terrors or spiritual invasions are strong indications of attacks.
6. Attempts to get help are blocked. If you light candles and they suddenly are blown out, if you go to a root doctor, but something keeps you from it then chances are someone may actively be working against you.
7. Feeling disconnected from your life. If you feel like your life is in a miasma, or that you seem completely disjointed from everything around you then you may be suffering from crossed conditions.
8. Foreign thought. If you start to have uncharacteristic thoughts then you may be coming under the influence of someone.
9. Inability to find peace. This doesn't mean loosing a couple nights sleep, it means consistent anxiety and restlessness when you generally don't suffer from anxiety disorders.
10. Relationships start to sour and die out. If old friendship, loves, and family ties suddenly start to sour quickly and all at once, someone may be trying to isolate you.

Now it is important to understand that things happen in life. No single sign can tell you 100% that you are facing a curse. However a prevelance of those issues may point to something that needs to be checked out. This can be done by a reading. Note the signs, don't give into fear, and seek out a professional who can help determine if you are indeed facing magical attack.

As my old Mama Jay once told me, "Roots being thrown happen far less than people fear and far more than they think."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Catholic Hoodoo

A colleague and friend of mine, Mister M, has joined the blogosphere with his new blog. What makes his new blog unique is that he has created a platform for information on a rather hard-to-find subject: Latin American magical folk practices, with emphasis on the practices of folk-Catholicism. Mister M, definitely knows his stuff and his blog offers a reliable resource on a subject that has a scarcity of valuble information available.

Mister M's blog brings up an interesting topic for discussion that seems to get a great deal of misinformation on the net these days: Catholic Hoodoo. There are some who claim they work in a historical Catholic Hoodoo tradition; such a thing does not exist. Through out history less than 8% of African Americans have ever been Catholic. In fact there has historically been more Muslims than Catholic African Americans. So claiming that hoodoo has significant Catholic roots seems quite unlikely.

This may seem at conflict with the fact that there is a prevelance of people either asking about saints or claiming to work with saints today. This however is a relatively new introduction into Hoodoo that began in the mid-twentieth century. The introduction of the saints into Hoodoo actually comes straight out of the Spiritualist Church Movement and was limited to areas like New Orleans. With the migration of African Americans to Chicago, Oakland, and New York the Spiritualist Church with their candle shops moved as well. It is in these metropolitan, where contact with Latin American populations helped to take saint-work into a larger demographic. The final wave came with the internet where people saw the saints as an approach for non-Christians to enter into Hoodoo and work with its Christian symbology and spirituality.

The influence of the Spiritualist Church has been omitted by people who've revised history by over-emphasizing the Catholic element. I am not saying Catholicism didn't have an influence on Hoodoo, but rather it has be grossly overexaggerated and in reality was nothing more than a small regional variation. Even in New Orleans most of the practices can be associated with the Spiritualist Church, not Catholicism. Evidence of the Spiritualist Church is found from the manner in which the saints are approached in hoodoo work: giving alcohol for saints, praying for things that may be seen as "non-Christian," and in the manner of "payment" or offerings given to those saints.

This proof is further illustrated by the very saints that have a history in these regions. Most of them are folk-saints or saints highly popular in the Spiritualist Church. On the other hand some of the major Catholic saints are missing from these regions. You don't see many conjure works in hoodoo that revolve around the Holy Virgin, Saint George, Saint Philomena, Saint Augustine, or other popular Catholic saints. Rather, there is a prevelance of saints that are "outside" the mainstream, but who have a strong presence in the Spiritualist Church.

The introduction of the Latin American traditions in areas like New York, the Tex-Mex border, and California have brought a new element to working with saints and as such resources like Mister M's blog are invaluable. It is this mingling of Latin Amerian traditions with Hoodoo that has brought saints that are seen more commonly in Catholicism.

It is important to note that I am not saying Catholicism didn't have a place in Hoodoo, but rather the role that its portrayed as having by today's "Catholic Hoodoos" is simply not accurate. The idea of Catholic hoodoo as a large tradition within conjure is simply incorrect. Rather what we see is a small regional influence of Spiritualist Churches that introduced saints to come hoodoos.