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