Tuesday, 19 July 2011

21 Card Gypsy Spread and Bone Casting: Part 2, Casting The Bones....

So, we've got our 21 card Gypsy spread laid out, already we have quite a detailed narrative forming, now its time to cast the bones directly onto the cards to add an extra dimension to our reading.

Ok, Ok I know I keep saying "casting the bones" but I shouldn't really say that as its a bit misleading, Ive been informed the term I should be using is in fact "sortilege", as the objects I'm going to be throwing onto the spread of 21 cards aren't just bones, they include cowrie shells and coloured dice.

When I normally use sortilege, I use 21 objects (3x7= a powerful number with a touch of destiny about it.) These 21 objects include 13 bones from certain animals, 4 dice of different colours (red, green, black and white) and 4 cowrie shells.
However this method is a private practice and somewhat secret, so sorry, I'm not going to be sharing it here.

The sortilege method I'm going to be using here for demonstration purposes is very much a watered down version of the sortilege system I normally use and will only consist of 13 objects: 5 chicken bones, 4 coloured dice and 4 cowries.

But, its still workable and lots of fun if you want to give it a go.

You will need:
a wing bone, 2 leg bones, a broken wing bone and a rib bone all taken from a chicken.
Red, green, white and black 6 sided spot dice.
4 cowrie shells

I believe divination is a spiritual ritual, therefore it deserves to be treated as such, so take a few moments to relax and clear your mind and then follow the instructions below.
You will be surprised at how much easier it is to get into a divinatory state of mind if you incorporate little rituals like this into your divination practice.

Take the objects in your hands, with great ceremony close your eyes and breathe on them to give them breath with which to speak.
Shake them over a 21 card gypsy spread in the form of a cross: up, down, left and then right. This represents the cardinal points of the compass and is a statement that the objects will cover the world reflected in the cards below.
As you do this say the following words:

Hear this, all peoples
Give ear all inhabitants of the Earth
Both low and high
Rich and poor together
My mouth shall speak wisdom
And the meditation of my heart shall give understanding
I will incline my ear to a proverb
I will lay my dark saying upon the harp


Drop them from a height through the middle of the cross youve just traced in the air, this symbolises them passing through lifes eternal crossroads, allow them to scatter where fate wills them.
Now open your eyes....

Reading the Chicken Bones:

Look how the bones have landed, what patterns do they make? Look for shapes and interpret them accordingly in relation to the core narrative of the reading and what cards they have landed on.

Some common patterns to look out for and their possible meanings might include:

Cross bones: which bones are crossed? is it an x or is it a cruciform shape? which bone lies on top of the other? for example if a leg bone has a broken rib bone fallen on top of it in an X shape this could perhaps be interpreted as basic foundations to a situation being disrupted by an accident.

Triangles: Which direction is the triangle pointing? some folk associate upward pointing triangles with masculinity and downward pointing ones with femininity. Is it an upward pointing triangle that screams a warning to your intuition like a traffic road sign? Or does your intuition see it as an alchemical symbol? What cards are at the points of the triangle? What card lays in the centre?

"Greater than" and "less than" signs: Are two of the bones making this shape "<", or this shape ">"? If so are they indicating something is greater than or less than something? Or perhaps your intuition points at shapes like this as being crude arrows, if so what are they pointing at?

Horizontal and vertical lines: is a bone connecting two cards? or perhaps cutting one in half?

"T" shape: does the querent feel as though they are at a junction? or does your intuition suggest a path is being blocked?

Here are some associations you may wish to place on the bones themselves, these are not set in stone, just some ideas, go with what the bones are telling you:

Wing bone: flight, freedom, distant travel, victory, success

Broken wing bone: calamity, being grounded, futility

Leg bones: a journey, solid foundations, perhaps their phallic shape represents to you potency or fertility

Rib bone: a cage bar representing confinement, a precursor to a woman (think the story of adams rib), the ability to hold things together, structure

In our reading; a broken wing bone has fallen over the mouth of the king of cups, given the position of this card I interpret this as although the querent will pull through bad times, in the future he must be careful to not allow himself to listen to bad counsel given by an older man who is going through similar troubles our querent has had, this man is jealous of our querents success and seeks to discourage him on his path to happiness through spiteful envy.  

Reading the Dice:

There are many different ways to read dice, this is how I do it.

I always read with 4 dice, a black one, a white one, a green one and a red one.

Each coloured dice has its own set connotations, black is negative, white is positive, green relates to luck/money/health, red relates to love and sex etc.

The number each dice rolls are related to these connotations, however, the way they are interpreted depends on the context of the question put to them, where they land in relation to the cards and the other sortilege objects, not to mention the general narrative of the reading.
The association connected to whatever number each one rolls should be determined by the diviners intuition, after all its the diviner doing the divination, not the dice.

Here are some examples below, however bare in mind they are just examples, they are not set in stone!

The black dice is generally negative so some associations of which numbers it rolls might be as follows:
1. Loneliness, abandonment, sadness
2. Deceit, lies
3. Infidelity, bullying, aggression
4. Stagnation
5. Black magic
6. Poison, greed

The white dice is generally positive, some associations of which numbers it rolls are:
1. Joy, fulfillment, victory
2. Marriage, trust
3. Friendships, family, spirituality
4. Order, peace
5. Blessings
6. Healing, abundance

The green dice relates to matters of health, wealth and luck, some interpretations of which numbers it rolls might be:
1. Management, financial independence, a doctor
2. Business transaction
3. Uncanny turn of fate
4. Steady income, a winning streak
5. Sickness, misfortune
6. International commerce, the unseen influencing personal luck

The red dice relates to matters of love, romance, relationships and sex, some associations of which numbers it rolls might be:
1. Sexual frustration, sexual independence or awareness
2. Partnership, a relationship
3. Fertility, pregnancy, a love triangle
4. Stable relationships
5. Jealousy
6. Sex, flirtatiousness, promiscuity

Yes and no answers can also easily be determined by the dice, odd numbers for yes, even numbers for no.

So, in our example reading, a green dice has landed on the queen of wands displaying a number 3 along with a red dice displaying a number 2, given the position this card lays within the spread this omen could be interpreted as an ex lover, an emotional woman with a bohemian nature who once parted company with the querent, possibly because of infidelity on his part, still holds a flame for him and may be swayed into reconciliation if a gift is given as a peace offering.

Reading the Cowries:

I have to be a bit careful here, as not to tread on any toes, I always read with  4 cowries, however i stress this is not the 4 cowrie shell oracle of obi.
Although obi is very easy to learn in terms of how the shells land, please do not attempt it unless you are an aborisha and wish to communicate directly with Elegua.

The method here is totally unrelated to Obi divination and is just a simple form of divination, pennies work just as well as cowries for this. Think of the shells as coins, mouth side up is heads, mouth side down is tails, indicating positive and negatives.

Cowries can represent other things too, especially money, as in West Africa cowries where once used as currency. Some people also associate the shape of the cowrie with a vagina, therefore they can have associations with sex, fertility and gynaecological issues. Others associate cowries with little mouths, are the cowries speaking? It looks so in our reading....

Two cowries have fell mouth to mouth on the station of the immediate future with a black dice displaying a 3 in between them. The card they have landed on is the 10 of wands. I take this to be a warning about gossip, lies and slander, don't bitch about other people, even to close friends, it will only draw negativity and make your life more hard work by encouraging a negative mindset.

Anyways that enough for now, i would like to go into sortilege much deeper, but I simply don't have the time and energy, try it for yourself its easier than you think.......In the 3rd and finally part of this blog post I will be putting it all together to show what a reading might look like.

Thanks for reading, have fun throwing your lots.
Peace x

Monday, 18 July 2011

21 Card Gypsy Spread and Bone Casting: Part 1

I'd like to share the method of divination I have used in e-mail correspondence readings.
Due to the heavy content nature of this reading I rarely use this method in face to face readings.
This spread is excellent for querents who have not given you many specifics to work with and want a general all over reading.

To perform this method of divination I use the following items.

A rosary, a wine glass of water to which kananga water has been added and a white candle
A deck of tarot cards (with tarot I only ever use the Rider Waite Deck or the Tarot of Marseilles but you go with whats right for you.)

First I pray on the rosary, asking God for a blessing, I then light the candle next to the glass water and perform a small secret ritual to invoke the spirits of the Ancestors calling them to come forward and help me divine.
If you honour your ancestral spirits then you too can pray to them to help you with your reading, if not call upon whatever divinatory spirit you have a relationship with.
If you do not get on with spirits, then just light a candle (if you want) and ask either your God(s), your higher self,  guardian angel or whatever to help you see clearly what you need to see.

I then take the cards and give them a good shuffle, concentrating heavily on the querent and his problem.
I then lay them out in 3 rows of seven, 21 cards in all.

This particular spread is called "the gypsy spread", it is quite a difficult spread to use and requires some practice.
If you are starting out in tarot you can practice the trimmed down 9 card version of this that I gave in an earlier blog post until you feel confident.

There are two different ways to read this spread, it can be read from right to left, or it can be read left to right. I read it left to right.

The cards along the top row are called the "crowns"
The cards in the middle row are "stations"
And the cards along the bottom row I like to call "roots"

The cards are read in columns, each column consisting of a crown, station and a root. There are 7 columns in all, the columns, from left to right, represent:

The past.
The present.
The future.
Obstacles and solutions within the querents power.
What the querent hopes for and what he fears.
The querents home, friends and family
Destiny, the ultimate outcome that is fated and cannot change.

This however is just my way of interpreting the columns, other readers use other methods, if you don't like it, feel free to change it and see what works best for you.
The station within the column gives the primary meaning to the column, the crown colours this meaning and the root demonstrates where it has come from, adding depth.

Here is a spread I have laid out for someone I used to know, he shall remain anonymous:

21 card gypsy spread.

In the above spread, if we look at the first column we see the moon in station, crowned by the 3 swords with its roots in the 7 of cups.

This is a very bad omen, this column says: in the past the querent has suffered from depression brought about by either drink or drug abuse.
The Moon represents mental illness, because it is crowned by the 3 of swords which represents unhappiness then the mental illness comes in the form of depression.
Because the 7 of cups can represent substance abuse and lies in the roots, we deduce that the depression came about because of substance abuse.

We then proceed to go through each column.

In the second column representing the present we have The Magician in station, crowned by Death with Judgement in root.

The Magician = One who facilitates change in the world around them.
Death = Drastic change, an ending but also a new beginning.
Judgement = Decision, criticism and responsibility.

With these cards we can read: at present the querent has taken control of their life making great changes born from harsh self criticism of their past.

It should be noted by the diviner that the prevalence of major arcana cards in this column shows this column is of particular significance, what is happening in the present is a major event in the querents life.

Column 3, the future, 10 of wands in station, crowned by Strength with the 5 of cups in root.
The querent will find the future difficult, during dark days losses and regrets from a dark past will come to haunt him, however although the burden is heavy he continues to move forward as he has determination and has an iron constitution.

And so on.....

So putting all the columns together already we have quite a good narrative building up.

Now we need to look at additional information given by the cards.

First we look at where the major arcana has landed in the spread.

A major arcana sits in the very centre of the reading, this sets the whole tone for the spread, the card is The Star, this means the overall theme of the reading is one of hope and a need for guidance for the querent to navigate life.

We see which columns they land in, this will give us insight to the most important areas of his life.

The column with the most major arcana in it is the one representing the present, meaning the present is of the utmost importance, we have already deciphered its meaning (see above).
His past, future, hope and fears and destiny all feature major arcana cards and therefore are the columns deserving the most attention when building a base to lay on specifics for the meaning.

Then we look at which major arcana land in the rows, this gives us insight into the querent himself:

Death and Strength.
Crowns determine ideals, aspiration, mode of thought, subconscious thought etc
Here we can decipher the querent is a determined person who holds change in his life to be an ideal that should be strived for. 

The Moon, The Magician, The Star and The Lovers.
Stations are core tangible themes, very real and present.
Here we see the querent is lonely, carrying much baggage and sadness yet  he is an optimist and has the ability to not only recognise change must start within himself but also recognises he has the power to facilitate that change.

The roots represent the origins of the stations, the driving force behind them, what has brought them into being and the reasons for it, since there is only one major arcana in the roots.
This indicates criticism, decisions and responsibility are key driving forces within the the querents life.

Secondly, we look at repeating pips and courts throughout the spread:

In this spread we have 3 lots of pairs.

We have a pair of 5s.
The querent should be wary of unexpected U turns and back pedaling at unexpected times.

A pair of 9s.
Minimum wage or small profit in business, but profit and money none the less.

And a pair of queens.
Trustworthy friends are in the querents company even though the querent does not realise it.

The balance of suits present in the spread is another thing we can look at to give us clues.
In this querents spread there are no coins whatsoever.
Meaning: finance, commerce, business, property, legality, education and bearacracy are not current themes of concern, influence or importance in the querents life at the moment.
Swords are present, however the balance of suits tips quite heavily towards cups and staffs.
This means the querent is going through a deeply emotional time with no real catalyst other than himself to bring this upheaval about.
A heavily prevalence of staffs combined with cups in a male querents spread can also point towards effeminancy, passive agression and selfishness, on a more positive note it can also indicate artistic tendancies, creativity, emotional sensitivity and sensuality.

The over all suit balance of this spread at first glance suggests the querent is an emotionally sensitive person and does not communicate verbally well with others, he can be somewhat of a dreamer, a moody person and a loner. He is however passionate and interesting, possibly with talents or interests in expressive art forms, he veers more towards the impractical, may have some tendancies toward immaturity when it comes to day to day activities.

We already have quite a bit of information building up here and are starting to get a core narrative of which to work with, yet in this early stage it is still all very vague.
As more comes out the longer we read the cards, the more we can play the interpretations off against each other and develop some specifics.

Still, its about to get more complicated, in part 2 of this post I'm going to cast the bones on the cards and then put the whole thing together to give you an idea of what a half decent professional reading should look like.

To be continued...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Walk On The Dark Side 2: A sacrifice of pain.

I'm not adverse to working aggressive magic when it is called for, I would like to relay something I've just finished working on and hopefully it will give you folks a good idea of what aggressive magic looks like.

I was approached by a family friend who has a 16 year old son, hes a good kid but sadly as naive as they come. Hes recently started a homosexual relationship with a man a lot older than himself, this man is a complete waster, he is dole scum, he sells him drugs, cheats on him and treats him like dirt. Sadly the boy is not very worldly and suffers from very low self confidence, interpreting his sleazy interest in him for love.

His mother is very worried about him, she doesn't want to drive him away to be made homeless, her biggest fear is that he will contract AIDS from this man who spends his time doing disgusting things in gay bath houses, on pornographic Internet sites and in public toilets.

She asked me to split them up.

My first inclination was to do a hot foot working, to send this guy packing, however I decided against this as it may well send him packing but there is a good chance it would send him packing with the lad in tow.

(The work in progress)

So I decided to work a good old fashion break up trick. This trick is a more aggressive version of a separation trick, however unlike the separation trick the split isn't amicable and ensures the targets are filled with an absolute disgust with one another that ensures they will never get back together.

Here is what I did.

1 large 7 day black candle.
1 bottle of break up oil.
2 squares of parchment paper torn so no edge has been cut by steel.
1 bottle of Bats Blood.
1 scotch bonnet pepper.
A picture of St Sebastian
2 halves of a lemon.
A bowl
A small amount of compelling powder.
13 pins.
A length of black ribbon.

 (a beautiful image of St Sebastian)

The working is simplicity in itself. starting on a Saturday (curses levelled on a Saturday tend to stick.), I wrote both their names back to back on a piece of parchment paper, I then tore the paper in 2 separating their names. I then placed the two strips in an X, thereby crossing up their relationship.

I then took my candle and carved both their names into it, with word BREAK UP in between them either side. I then dressed it in break up oil pulling from the middle outwards to imitate them separating.
break up oil is a nasty little concoction, it contains the hair of a black dog and black cat (so the targets hate one another like cat and dog), hellish smelling sulphur, inflammatory spices such as pepper corns and chili peppers among other fantastical things.

I then placed the candle in the bowl, and from my left hand blew compelling powder onto the candle, blowing life into the working and compelling the couple to split.

I then lit the candle, knelt before the image of St Sebastian (patron saint of homosexual men) and placed the scotch bonnet pepper in my mouth. Scotch bonnets are one of the hottest peppers you can buy, the pain was unbearable, I did not flinch however and simply took the pain as the tears rolled down my cheeks. It was important to take the pain in good grace so the good Saint would have pity on me and fulfill my request.

I then prostrated myself before St Sebastian and prayed:

Good Saint and Martyr,
I come and suffer before you,
Take pity on me,
For I am a lowly sinner,
Pity the pain in my body,
Pity the pain in my heart,
Pity my weakness and wretchedness,
I beg you with fire in my mouth and tears on my cheeks,
Break up (N) and (N),
Ensure they never see one another again,
This I pray in the name of my sweet Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I repeated this over and over until I physically could bear no more.

I then apologised for not suffering more and left the candle in the room alone to burn out completely and the scotch bonnet pepper to dry out in a secret place were no-one could see or touch it.
 (Spiritual seal of working)

I pulverised the pepper and mixed it with some compelling powder, I spread this across the doorstep of the man, to ensure both him and the lad would walk through it.

I removed the name papers and pushed one each into each half of the lemon to cause them both to feel no sweetness in their company together, only bitterness.

On a piece of parchment paper i copied out the above symbol in bats blood. I placed it in between the 2 halves of lemon, then I bound the lemon together using the ribbon and the 13 pins.

I then took it to the nearest cemetery and hung it from a tree and left it to rot, walking away and not looking back.

So far the working has shown signs of success. It is still early days however.

Not a particularly nice working but effective, sometime you have to be cruel to be kind.

Peace xx

Friday, 3 June 2011

A Walk On The Dark Side: The Devils Cook Book.

I have been wanting to write a little bit about the dark side of ritual and magic for a while, but I was unsure where to start.

I thought ethics might be a good place to start but to be honest the ethics of magic is pretty cut and dry:

If you are performing a ritual to hurt someone, then you are performing a ritual to hurt someone.
That's about it.
The ethics of such things are somewhat over analysed in my opinion. Curse someone and you may as well punch them repeatedly in the face.

When is it OK to punch someone repeatedly in the face? Some would say never, others would say in extreme circumstances. The more unhinged of us would say whenever you please. Morals are morals, and we all have our own values as we are all adults with independent minds, therefore I'm not going to discuss or lecture on ethics.

If you do something you know in your heart is evil, then you are a shitty human being, there is no two ways about it.

Now that's out of the way, I feel I must say why I want to write about the dark side.
Simply because to not do so would be to give a false account of magic. People perform rituals to harm others out of spite, hate, fear, revenge or because they want justice. It happens all the time, so I'm going to relay it for the sake of interest.

Having said that I am not going to be giving away too much detail, just so my conscience is clear and I get to sleep at night ;)

In this particular post about the dark side of magic I specifically want to talk about ingredients; roots, minerals and the like used in the work of crossing and cursing.
This list is far from exhaustive but I think Ive managed to nail some of the most famous ingredients used in the black art of cursing.

Look in the cupboard someone who works with both hands and you're bound to find a jar of this nasty stuff.

A sickly greyish-yellow colour and smelling faintly of musty old coffins, Goofer Dust is the cursing agent par excellence.

The word "goofer" is supposed to come from the Congolese word "kuffar", which means "to kill". Goofer Dust is quite literally "killing dust". You use it to kill people with.

Ingredients for this foul little concoction varies from person to person, with a few staple ingredients that always remain the same, among them sulphur, dried snails and crushed snake skins, though I'm not going to give you the full list here :P
Optional additives Ive seen in other peoples recipes vary from anything like dirt from an infants grave to ground up pieces of human bone.

Goofer Dust is often labeled as a magical poison, which is true. However it is never added to food, it is unlikely that ingesting a small amount Goofer Dust would actually do you any physical harm (unlike some magical poisons), its use is purely ritualistic.

Goofer Dust can be used in foot track magic, the mixture can be spread over a persons doorway in certain rituals for the person to step in and trek into their life.

One vicious little ritual involves mixing equal parts of goofer dust with equal parts of dirt ritualistically taken from a specific type of grave in a cemetery, this mixture is then spread in a certain shape over the persons doorstep again with certain prayers, incantations and ritual gestures, the sorcerer then walks backwards from the victims house leaving a little pile of the mixture at each crossroads he passes through until he reaches the cemetery gates, there he leaves another certain shape identical to the one on the victims doorstep.

The idea is that the person is quite literally "led to the cemetery through the crossroads" i.e he dies.

Another curse that employs goofer dust to kill involves a sorcerer taking the photograph of his victim, he then places some blood, hair and fingernail clippings from his victim on the photo and covers it with a little pile of goofer dust. He folds it up into a tight little package and wraps it in a leaf from a certain secret plant (that shall remain nameless!), he then binds it all tightly with black thread knotting it 9 times.
The sorcerer then goes out and buys a snake, he takes the snake and his little package to the cemetery in the dead of night, he finds a suitable grave and does a certain ritual to invoke the spirit inhabitant of the grave, he then force feeds the package to the snake by ramming it down the reptiles throat. He then buries the snake alive in the grave along with offerings to the inhabitant of the grave. He does further rituals over the grave for the next 9 nights.

The victim will then die and rot as the snake did, in the fashion that the inhabitant of the grave died, for example if the inhabitant of the grave died of cancer then the victim will get sick and die, if the inhabitant of the grave died of suicide then the victim will kill himself, if the inhabitant of the grave was a murder victim.....well, you get the idea.

It can also be used by women on men in aggressive love magic, where a john the conquerer root is defaced by sawing a slit in it, turing from a male symbol (a testicle) into a female symbol (a vagina), this is then stuffed with goffer dust and personal concerns and wound into a jack ball. This is called a "love me or die spell" the man cannot stand to be without the woman, he gets sick everytime he leaves her, if he stays away too long, he dies.

A pungent oil, its smell is very distinct, a good quality crossing oil should have an acrid scent that burns the nostrils, crossing oil is anything from a pale brownish yellow to a murky green colour depending on the individual consistency, as people like to add their own twists on a pretty much uniform recipe. It has lots of uses it can be used for dressing objects like fetishes, anointing candles used in cursing or it can even be applied directly to the victim, some people dress the victims doorknob with it so the victim unwittingly carries it into their house and inadvertently dresses all their personal belongings with it.

Quite literally dirt from a grave. Graveyard dirt is often employed in left handed works, though not always, it has many positive uses too. The folklore and traditions surrounding Graveyard dirt are numerous and deserve a blog post of their own, what type of dirt, whose grave to get it from, how to gather it, what part of the grave to get it from etc, etc all form a rich tradition surrounding this magical ingredient.

Depending on the specific work in question, dirt taken from the graves of murderers, executed criminals and even still born babies are among the favoured types of dirt employed in various curses.

There are literally hundreds of hexing rituals that call for the use of graveyard dirt.

This stands for Death Unto My Enemies. D.U.M.E products are readily available in the form of incense, oils and sprinkling powders. All variations on the same recipe.

Sulphur can be used in very intense cleansing rites however since its foul odour is reputed to be what hell and demons smell like it is often used in black magic. Red sulphur is particularly prized as a hexing agent.

This oil is usually dark brown to reddish in colour and has a rich savoury almost chocolaty smell.
used for raising hell and causing harm.

It is arguable whether this oil is actually a cursing agent or not, many view it as an oil that is employed in rituals that dispense swift and fierce justice unto wrongdoers, seeing it as an agent of justice rather than an all out cursing agent.

Still I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of it.

Some people believe this oil can be used in a ritual to literal bring damnation on someone. I personally do not believe anyone can visit damnation on another individual.

I believe only an individual can condemn themselves to hell.

Traditionally quite literally the blood out of a bat, nowadays a mixture of resins and essential oils, it is a deep crimson colour and looks very much like blood, it has a musty yet slightly peppery smell.

Bats blood is used for writing out names, seals and sigils in order to curse someone.

A sorcerer may write the name of a victim across a piece of paper that depicts the 6th seal of Saturn in bats blood and dress it in 9 drops of voodoo oil later burning it in a crossroads as part of a larger magical rite to bring someone misfortune.

VANDAL ROOT (AKA Valerian Root)
I can only liken the smell of this root to the smell of sweaty gym socks. It is vile (though admittedly not as rancid as Asofoetida). Reputed to be a root associated with evil as legend says it was the only plant to bare flower on Golgotha when Jesus was crucified.

Sold in health food shops and herbalists, it can be used to make a nice relaxing tea to soothe your nerves or put it in a bag for your kitty and use it as an alternative to catnip.

Alternatively it can be used in magical rituals to cause car crashes.

A tablespoon of the root is tied up in a gris-gris with other magical ingredients and hidden under the victims car seat.

Other uses for it include a general hexing agent where it used along with candle burning to bring misfortune and misery to the victim.

It is also an ingredient in some crossing oils, powders and incenses. It can also added to a certain incense then used in a 13 day ritual to destroy an enemy.

DEVILS DUNG (AKA Asofetida.)
Devil dung is readily available in the Asian food aisle of your local supermarket in powder form under its name asofetida as an ingredient for certain curries....God knows why, The stench of this stuff is utterly unbearable, I cant imagine why anyone would want to put it in food, ever.

As its name suggests, it reeks as though it was produced by the very arse of Beelzebub himself.

Local witch annoying you? Then go round and sprinkle some of this stuff on her tools, its unholy stench desecrates consecrated objects, stripping them of their power.

There is a million different uses for this spice, most of them dark, everything from stopping up a woman's period so she dies in screaming agony to more light hearted comical mischief involving toilet humour.

Can be used for all manner of nasty things from carving victims names into black candles to making witch bottles.

DATURA STROMIUM (Aka Devil Weed, Hells Bells, Devils Trumpet.)
In Haiti this plant is known as Kokomb Zombi (The Zombies Cucumber) and is an ingredient used for turning people into zombies.

A poison since ancient times, both magical and non-magical. Used to be sacred to some Hindu followers of Shiva but they gave it up in favour of marijuana, due to its potentially lethal nature and hellish effects.

Don't even mess about with this plant, feeding just one leaf of this plant to someone could land you on a murder charge. In fact, depending on your country, even keeping dried leaves of this plant in your house could land you in trouble with the law.

If datura doesn't kill you it could render you permanently insane. Datura is immensely toxic, despite some sources saying it is a hallucinogen, it isn't, it is a delirient which causes the victim to fall into a delirium and lose all sense of reality and control.

Datura poisoning is unmistakable, the victim crawls round in circles on all fours like an animal shrieking and bellowing, often losing the ability to speak, if they can speak then they don't make any sense, they sweat, shake and tremble in terror, when confronted they fly into violent fits of panic and rage, they lose all sense of time, space and their surroundings, their temperature soars and they lose the ability to urinate. Death usually occurs due to heart, liver or kidney failure, if the victim survives then delirium can last anything up to 4 days, permanent damage to internal organs may also occur.

Leave zombies to Hollywood movies and horror novels, this plant is poison, pure and simple.

Used in certain rituals to cause confusion to a victim. The seeds of the opium poppy (papaver somniferum) are particularly prized for this work. Contrary to popular belief the opium poppy is perfectly legal to cultivate in most countries (so long no attempt to harvest opium from them is made), seeds are inexpensive and can usually be found in your local garden centre.

Not cursing ingredients per se, but can be used in certain rituals and spellwork that involves bending another person to your will, sometimes in an aggressive way. Therefore worth a brief mention.

Used for visiting neurological complaints on the victim.

I could go on, there are literally hundreds of nasty things people use, but I think this gives a brief overview to some of the more popular ones.

Stay safe and be good.

Peace x

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Saint Michael the Archangel

St Michael the Archangel has a huge cult attached to him, he is a figure in Christianity, Judaism and Islam, even some Hindus and pagans call upon him! He is found in religion, spiritualism, ceremonial magic and folk magic. And it is small wonder he can be found in all these traditions, he is a powerful and wonderful spirit.

(my little space for the angel)

I'd like to talk a little bit about him, I could easily write much more on him, as he has been a wonderful patron of mine for a long time and has a lot of rich folklore attached to him.
However I am going to keep it short and stick to the basics giving a brief introduction and some simple tips you may find useful if you want to draw him close.

Archangel Michael's historical origins are uncertain, some academics have traced his cult back further than the old testament, suggesting he was worshipped in ancient Sumeria as a deity or spirit of fire, but in truth his historical origins are pretty much lost in the midst of time.

Michael is referred to in scripture as "THE" archangel, i.e an angel above all others as well as belonging to the rank of archangels. In abrahamic religious traditions he is the warrior angel that defeated Lucifer and threw him and the rebel angels into Hell. His name translates as "who is like God?", which is his battle cry.

He is usually depicted as a warrior wearing the uniform of a roman soldier, he carries a flaming sword and sometimes a pair of scales representing judgement, he is often depicted crushing a devil or dragon underfoot and surrounded by flames.

Sunday is his favoured day of the week, he favours the colours red, green and gold. Some folk associate him with cobalt blue. I prefer to honour him with the colours red and green, especially red because it is fearsome and warlike. Though you go with whatever colour feels right for you.

Because of his hot fiery nature, offerings of candles and incense smoke are particularly pleasing to him, commercial St Michael blends of incense come in the form of punk incense and joss sticks which are available from botanicas and occult stores.
Because he is an angel, holy incenses such as frankincense and sandalwood to a lesser extent copal (I personally despise the smell of copal, but it is quite traditional in some practices) are particularly favoured. He also likes dragons blood resin burnt as an incense, as it speaks of his hot fiery nature and his ability to clear away evil.
Flowers are also well received by him, especially red ones such as carnations and roses. Michaelmas daisies are also traditional, especially on his feast day (29th September).
Because he has such a large cult, traditional offerings to him range from the sublime to the strange: rum, perfumes, cigars, red wine, bread, beads, oranges studded with cloves, blood sacrifices of red roosters, pieces of brass, even bullets and shoes are all considered traditional offerings by different devotees in different cultures.
I personally prefer to give him sincere prayers, flowers, red candles dressed in certain oils and a nice burnt offering of frankincense, I rarely offer him food and never offer him blood sacrifices. But you go with whatever feels right for you.

(a magic seal for Michael)

St Michael favours many people, some people born on a Sunday (like me!) consider St Michael as their personal guardian angel as Sunday is his sacred day.
St Michael also favours police officers, soldiers, fighter pilots, paratroopers, weapon manufacturers, fencers, paramedics, grocers, mariners, dying people, haberdashers, hat makers, artist and pharmacists, some even say drug dealers and people on the run from the law!  But don't worry if you don't fall under any of these categories, you can still develop a good relationship with him, he is always ready to defend and protect those who call on him in good faith. He is the archetypal soldier, brave, fiercely loyal and honourable, always ready to do defend humans against the powers of darkness.

Since he defeated Satan then he is credited with the power to banish or bind any demon or evil spirit. He also affords protection to his devotees from any kind of dangerous threat, be it spiritual, mental or physical. He is also a healer, many shrines, holy wells and springs credited with miraculous healing properties fall under his patronage.

However he also has a very harsh side, he is sometimes seen by some as the personification of epidemic disease sent on mankind as divine retribution from God. He has the power to strike people down with illness and death, he can prophesy impending death and is also believed to have the power to torment people with insomnia.
In Italian spiritual traditions, such as benedicaria, he is often invoked to pronounce swift and fierce judgements upon people, this image of him as a harsh punitive judge is also seen in Voodoo and Hoodoo, as some houngans and root workers keep a statue or image of St Michael in their home to indicate to people they are willing to perform aggressive works on behalf of their clients.

He is a very "hot" spirit, therefore "hot" herbs, roots and resins such as dragons blood, grains of paradise, sarsaparilla, chili peppers etc are all under his patronage. Other herbs under his patronage include angelica (sacred to all angels), Bay (representing victory over Lucifer), Michaelmas daisies (of course!) and garlic (hence the reason it is believed to ward off evil).

Because St Michael is considered the general of Gods angelic army, in Haiti he is syncretised with the Voodoo spirit Ogou Badagris, who is envisioned as an army general.

In the Dominican Republic he is associated with the warrior spirit Belie Belcan, some say they are so closely related they are in fact the same entity.

He is an important figure in Sicily and southern Italy where he is seen as a protector and divine judge who will dispense harsh punishment on the enemies of his devotees, he is mostly invoked as a patron of men and boys, males often wearing his image as a charm to increase strength, bravery, masculinity and for protection against violent crime (especially gun and knife crime). He is also used in honour rituals (especially in gang or fraternity initiations), here a man will smear his blood on a prayer card depicting the angel and burn it in the palm of his hand swearing "as this image of the angel burns in my hand then so shall my soul burn in hell if I betray my brothers".


Easy, just talk to him! this is the most famous prayer to St Michael, recite it as many times as you want, anytime you like, wherever is comfortable for you:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
Defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Perhaps you would like to build a shrine to St Michael in your home, I have kept a shrine to St Michael in my house for years. This can be as elaborate or as simple as you want. It can be a simple framed picture of him with a candle in front of it, to something much more elaborate.
For a more permanent devotional shrine I recommend taking a flat surface, cover it with a red cloth, place a statue of him on it flanked by two red candles, in front of his image place a censer where you can offer him incense, you may also wish to give him a knife or sword so he can fight for you. Though of course devotional altars are personal and you should go with what feels right, look up traditional things associated with him and place whatever of these you feel right on your devotional space for him.

Perhaps you would like to honour him by wearing a saint medal depicting him or wearing his colours on his sacred day.

Perform a novena to him, a novena is a prayer recited over 9 days. He has a beautiful novena chaplet that can be recited on his own specific chaplet or on a standard rosary. You can find the novena chaplet for St Michael on most catholic websites, it calls upon both him and a different rank of angel (seraphim, cherubim, oraphim etc.) each day. Before you perform this novena, write a letter to St Michael on paper in dragons blood ink, in the letter make a request for anything you like but also promise him something in return if he fulfills your request, perhaps some nice new decorations for his shrine, a donation to a charity in his name or an evening of devotional prayer. Place the letter under the novena candle or statue of him on his shrine and leave it there for the duration of the novena, when you have finished burn the paper to ashes and scatter it to the winds, be sure to fulfill your end of the bargain if he grants your request.

Though I think the best way to get on his good side would be perhaps to make a donation in his name to a charity that deals with soldiers or your local police force.


Take two small red flannel bags, in each one place a bay leaf, a teaspoon of angelica, a clove of garlic and a pinch of grains of paradise and a small piece of dragons blood resin. Sew the bags shut, glue a small image of St Michael to each bag and anoint them with fiery wall of protection oil, pray to St Michael as you fix one bag above your front door and one above your back door. This will protect your home and keep evil out.

Light a novena candle to him, place it on top of a photograph of someone you want to keep safe and recite psalm 91 (ideally this should be done at a shrine to him either in your home or in a catholic church), the person will be under his protection so long as the candle burns.

Take his bath on a Sunday or even better on his holy day 29th of September. You can buy his bath commercially from a botanica or a root worker, if you cannot get his bath commercially, then infuse bay, spearmint and angelica in a pan of boiling water, cool it off and add a splash of holy water and some red food colouring and you will have something workable (though a proper bath fixed by a root worker would be better) add it to your bath water, recite the prayer to St Michael as you bathe, wash downwards to take off a crossed condition, wash upwards for strength and protection.

Take a holy St Michael medal and place it on a china plate, pour a little florida water over it and light it, recite the prayer to St Michael as the cologne burns, once the flames burn away and it cools, dress it with a little fiery wall of protection oil and wear on a chain around your neck for protection.

To get rid of spooky unwanted entities in a haunted house, fumigate the place with St Michael incense whilst reciting his holy litany followed by psalm 10.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Cartomancy: Scopa cards and Playing cards.

I've spoke a little on tarot on this blog but I would like to talk about some other forms of cartomancy, tarot has always been my preferred method of divination but i would like to talk about some lesser known forms of cartomancy.

Scopa cards
(Italian 40 card deck playing cards)

Whilst writing this post and looking for pictures of scopa cards I suddenly learned there is more than one type of scopa deck, apparently different regions of Italy have different cards. However here I will be referring to the deck above, as this is the only scopa deck I have ever known, which is the deck used in southern calabria. I think this style of scopa may be called the Neapolitan deck as this style deck probably originated in 15th century Naples.

There are 40 cards in a scopa deck, 4 suits: Spade (swords), Bastoni (clubs), Coppe (cups) and Soldi (coins, though i have read on the Internet they are sometimes refered to as "denari", I have only ever heard of them being refered to simply as "soldi" which translates as "monies").
There are 7 cards in each suit that run from 1-7 plus 3 court cards: Fante (soldier), Cavallo (knight) and Re (king). There are no queens.
In divination the court cards do not have any overtly auspicious meaning, however the aces, the 3 of clubs, the 5 of swords, the 2 and 7 of coins are all considered to have overtly important meanings.

Any standard tarot spread may be used to read scopa, however a very traditional method that I would like to share involves laying the cards out in 4 rows of 4.
The cards are then read using a scrying method of free association, the diviner looks for cards that jump out of the arrangement, interpretting the positions of the cards freestyle, is an important card skirting the edge of the spread? then perhaps it is a situation the querent is trying to ignore or is unaware of. Does a particular card jump out representing the querent themselves? then what are the cards above it? is this a person/situation influencing their choices? what lies in front of them/behind them?

The horseshoe spread is another spread commonly used with scopa. 7 cards are spread out in a horseshoe shape. This can be read in one of 2 ways.

First method: (imagine the cards are numbered 1-7 left to right)

1. The past
2. The present
3. The immediate future, that which can be changed either by circumstance or action.
4. The querents attitude/mindset, also what is theirs to use
5. Other people, helpers and hinderers
6. Warnings
7. The ultimate outcome, fate.

Second method: (a simple, but fun variation on the above)

The centre card represents the querent or the querent's situation, cards to the right represent the future, further from the querent further they are into the future, cards to the left represent the past further from the querent card further in the past it is.

I shall be discussing more complex card spreads in more depth on another post.
Sample scopa card reading:

The querent is a young man in his early 20s wanting a general reading, here is a simple diagnostic 7 card horseshoe spread to highlight the issues currently in his life.

1. The two of swords.
2. 5 of coins.
3. 6 of clubs.
4. The soldier of clubs.
5. the king of swords.
6. 2 of cups.
7. 7 of cups.

from this little spread we can divine that one of the main currents in the querents life is that he has recently come out of a relationship and is distracting himself with work (the two of swords followed by the 5 of coins) however is likely to be tiring of this already and is planning a short break in the near future (6 of clubs laid in the third position).
Given that he has come out of a relationship and the soldier of clubs (a dark skinned young educated man) is in the 4th position (playing on his mind) then is there someone causing him jealousy? perhaps a certain someone who brought about the end of his relationship? The 5th position is the king of swords, he isn't overtly happy in his job, his boss is giving him flak. The 2 of cups in the 6th position suggests he needs to relax and remember he is young and to enjoy the sweet things in life, he has been neglecting the everyday fun pleasures of friendship and youth. The 7 of cups as his fate is a card of good omens, the querent should be reminded every cloud has a silver lining and his current troubles are merely a little blip in the great scheme of things.

2 clubs or 2 swords occurring in a reading can sometimes suggest a physical fight, since 2 swords AND 2 clubs appear in this reading coupled with the suggestion of a jealous rival, the querent should be warned to keep himself out of trouble if he hasn't already been in a scrap.


An interesting method of divination to use with playing cards is fusion divination, cartomancy and bone casting, the cards can be laid out in 3 rows of 3, this will be your base for casting your bones. Each column represents the past, present and future respectively, the top row cards represent fated influences, influences that are beyond the control of the querent and the diviner, the middle row represents the situations as they are, and the bottom row represents things that are under the control of the querent. Chicken bones can be cast upon the cards, paying especial attention to where and how they land, I recommend a rib bone (to represent things that are being held together), a wing bone (for travel), a leg bone (to indicate cards that represent sound foundations to the situation being queried) a skull (to indicate cards whose meaning require meditation).

Anyway, more on casting bones in another post.

Playing cards are also excellent for giving specific dates, a deck of playing cards is not unlike a calendar, there are 52 cards in a deck as weeks in a year, 4 suits like 4 four seasons, Red and Black like day and night.

Important cards:

The ace of spades, perhaps the most famous card of ill omen, also known as the dead mans hand, in a reading this indicates literal or metaphorical death, destruction, failure and ruin.

The king of hearts: Also known as the suicide king, he is an omen of self destruction and a downfall brought on by the querents own hand, he is suicide in all its forms.

The queen of hearts: fickle Lady Luck, she can fling you up to the stars or cast you down in the dirt..... depending on her mood, which is anyones guess of course.

Jokers: these represent the unexpected and unseen, they are the wild cards.


This suit tends to contain cards of good omen, they are usually associated with wealth and business.

These tend to be symbols of ill fortune and warning.

The meanings of the cards in this suit is varied, though they can centre around travel and business.

Its a bit of a no brainer to say what this suit is most associated with!

Sample playing card reading:

Here is a sample from a reading using a very simple 9 card spread (3 rows of 3) as a diagnostic spread to get the session started.
The querent is a woman in her mid thirties, who is in a relationship with trust issues, she wants to know if her new partner is being faithful.

The left column represents the past, here we have the ace of spades in the middle, crowned by the king of spades and the queen of spades in the roots. 3 spades so closely linked indicates a very unhappy past. Because the king of spades crowns the ace of spades it would suggest she has had very bad experiences with a man or men in general. The queen of spades crowned by the ace of spades is a classical omen of miscarriage and abortion, given the queen is in the roots position of the past this is indicative that this trauma is deeply rooted.

The middle column represents the present, in the centre of the column is the 2 of hearts which represents a new partnership, being in the middle of the whole spread this is what should be focused on throughout beyond the initial diagnostic reading as this is the most pressing current issue in the querents life. This is crowned by the 10 of clubs meaning the relationship came about either through travel or her new partner is someone from a foreign country, below the 2 of hearts there is the 9 of spades indicating the querents baggage from her past issues is spoiling her enjoyment of her new relationship.

The last column represents the future, in the middle there is a joker, stating her path is in a limbo state, crowning this is the 9 of hearts, in this context it is somewhat of a warning meaning her path to happiness could be ruined by jealousy and mistrust. Rooted at the base of this reading is the queen of hearts, meaning she should take advice from female friends and enjoy their support .

This is a simple diagnostic spread, but as you can see it sets the tone for the rest of the reading giving the diviner lots of avenues to explore, divine and discuss with the querent opening up dialogue.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

credit crunch conjure

Just a quickie post (since half of the large post I was writing on playing card and scopa card divination fell foul of a dodgy Internet connection and disappeared into the ether.)

I was recently helping a friend get accepted for a loan.

In the current climate, borrowing money can prove difficult, so you can use the following conjure to get accepted for any kind of financial lending, from private lending to credit cards, overdraft extensions and mortgages.

You will need:
  • a censer
  • a bowl
  • a jar
  • cotton wicking
  • string
  • 1 green bayberry scented candle
  • 1 piece of blessed chalk
  • manzanilla
  • calendula
  • coconut oil
  • double fast luck oil
  • high john oil
  • money drawing oil
  • dragons blood oil
  • crown of success oil
  • special favor oil
  • spearmint oil
  • high john the conqueror punk incense
  • vesta powder
Use the string as a compass to draw a circle on the floor with your blessed chalk, once you've done this take your string in hand and state your petition aloud 7 times, each time you state your petition tie a knot in the string to "catch" it.

Dress your candle with a little of each of the oils, minus the coconut oil, drawing the oils towards you as you anoint them on the candle.

Drop the candle in the jar and sprinkle a little manzanilla and calendula into the jar also, wind your knotted string clockwise around the top of the jar.

Mix a little JTC punk incense with manzanilla and calendula and place it in your censer in a little pile.

Fill your bowl 3/4 full of coconut oil (melt it in hot water first), add a little of each of the other oils along with a sprinkle of manzanilla and calendula. Drop your cotton wicking into the bowl to make a lamp (see magical lamps post for more information on making magical lamps).

Draw the following symbol inside the circle with the blessed chalk:

Take all your items and place them in the positions shown on the photograph at the top of the post, also make a little pile of vesta powder on foil in the centre of the circle. Light your candle, lamp and incense, say psalm 23 and any prayers or invocations you find appropriate specific to your cause, light the vesta powder to seal the work. Leave all the items to burn down.

Good luck!

Friday, 8 April 2011


(a spiritual bath being prepared under the patronage and with the help of the Voodoo spirit Papa Agwe, this bath is to cleanse away bad luck and bring prosperity in its place)

Id like to talk a little bit about cleansing, firstly some problems with cleansing, secondly some common cleansing agents and thirdly some cleansing techniques. To go into specific cleansing rituals and formulas would be far beyond the scope of a generic blog post like this, but hopefully this will give you a simple overview to help you think about ways to make your cleansing rituals more specific and thereby more effective.

Spiritual cleansing is a great practice and can be practiced regularly, however I feel sometimes people use cleansing rituals ineffectively, often cleansing over-zealously or using certain methods inappropriate for the situation.

I see a couple of problems arising time and again with cleansings.

Ritual without purpose is pointless, if you are performing cleansing for the sake of it without a truly specific intent you risk wasting your time.

But a more troublesome problem is that over zealous or inappropriate cleansing may lead to spiritual stripping:
I know of many people who are obsessed, the slightest bump in the night or cold shiver and they fill their house with sulphur fumes and scrub every surface with blessed salt and water...they then wonder why they are living in a spiritually sterile environment.
It is worthwhile having a think about any work you are doing currently and how the cleansing might effect it.
For example, whats the point in go to the trouble of taking an Adam and Eve love bath if the next day you are going to bathe in salt and blueing?

Its something to think about, ask yourself before every cleansing "why exactly do I need to perform a spiritual cleansing?"

Some people think any type of cleansing ritual can sort out any type of problem, this isn't necessarily true, although it is fair to say many cleansing rituals have quite broad targets, still, an inappropriately prescribed cleansing ritual has the potential to leave your problems unsolved.

E.g Say you've crossed yourself up because you've been up to no good and laying tricks on people, that's OK, a little uncrossing incense in the house and a white chinese bath will fix that right? Possibly, but could it be your guilty status that is crossing you up? what you probably need is a repentance type cleansing, such as the psalm 51 holy hyssop ritual.

Inappropriate cleansing may also inadvertently cause more harm than good.
An example might be that there is a spirit in your house disturbing you and yours. That's OK, St Michael slays demons, we can scrub the house with a St Michael floor wash.
No. The spirit disturbing you could well be an ally, say an ancestor carrying a warning, or a helpful spirit trying to get your attention because they have something to offer you in exchange for service, to accuse said spirit of being a demon and making it unwelcome is probably not a good idea.

So, another good question to ask yourself before performing any cleansing rite might be "what exactly am I cleansing away and why have I chosen this particular method?"



Here are some issues that might call for personal and home cleansing, beneath is a lists of herbs, substances and products that might be good for dealing with them, not all are specific cleansing agents by themselves, one or two are simply added as part of cleansing rituals to replace the bad cleared out with a good influence.

This list is far from exhaustive and is just a brief overview off the top of my head to give you a quick idea of some common things employed in cleansing rituals for specific problems.

Holy Water, Basil, Garlic, Run devil run, St Michael's Go Away Evil products, Blessed Salt.

John the Conqueror, Louisiana Van-van, White Chinese Wash, White Sage, Florida Water, Blueing*, Hoyt's Cologne, Helping Hand products.

Hyssop, Holy Water.

Rue, Uncrossing products, Wahoo Bark, Sulphur, Blueing, St Ciprian products, Lye, Rosemary, Basil, Blessed Salt.

Almond, Coconut Milk, Water of Notre Dame

Blueing, Florida Water, Grains of Paradise, Sulphur, Vesta Powder.

*note about blueing: NEVER use bluestone (copper sulphate) sold in some botanicas or online stores as a blueing agent, it is toxic, not safe to bathe in and not safe to put on the floor if you have pets, use laundry blue balls instead, if you cant get blue balls then mix blue food colouring with a small amount of bio washing powder and some salt and you will have something workable.



Ritual baths can be taken to wash away negative influences, depending on the type of bath, different rites are practiced. Some bathing mixtures need to be poured over your head a prescribed number of times, some are to never be poured over the head, some need special candles to be burnt during the bathing, certain prayers and psalms are needed to be said with certain baths, ad infinitum.

In regards to baths aimed at cleansing, a general rule seems to be wash downwards to clean off negativity, lighting a white candle and reciting psalm 23 is a good generic practice during any ritual so this too can be employed, afterwards gather some of the bath water up and throw it in the crossroads towards the West to throw the evil washed off you out of your life
For a good general all purpose cleansing bath I recommend white chinese wash or St Michael go away evil bath.

If you're unsure about how to bathe in a certain mixture then stick to buying commercial baths from suppliers, such as Indio, and follow the instructions on the bottle.

The mixtures used for baths can usually also be used as floor scrubs, add it to a mop bucket of water and pray psalm 23 as you scrub your floors down, put some in a spray bottle for wiping down windows and surfaces.

Take two black taper candles and dress them in uncrossing oil. Light them and hold them in the shape of an X, go about your house gathering up all the bad vibes in your house as though catching cobwebs, when your done uncross the candles and leave them to burn out.

Alternatively take a black 7 day candle and dress it in uncrossing oil, leave it to burn out in the centre of your home, the black wax represents evil and the flame good, visualise that good will conquer the evil in your home and melt it away.

Swing a censer about your house or stand over it, there are plenty of uncrossing and purifying incenses on the market.
For a really intense cleansing sulphur may be used in a censer, but please use with caution, sulphur fumes are highly toxic.

Vesta powder is a great way to burn away evil, mix a little saltpeter with icing sugar, make a little pile of it on a plate and light the top, stand back and enjoy the fireworks!

White sage smudge sticks are good for cleansing too, terribly new age, but what the hell, if it works, it works.

A black hens wing can be pinned out and dried, this can be swept over a person or object to cleanse it of negativity, I personally use a whisk made out of a bundle of black hens feather sprinkled with van-van attached to a dried chickens foot much to the same effect. Black hens feathers are a ritual object associated with reversing and cleansing away black magic.

A trick taken from Italian Benedicaria I sometimes employ to cleanse a person is to take an egg, wash it in holy water whilst praying the Ave Maria, the egg is then rubbed all over a persons body, drawing up the negative influences (this is especially useful against the evil eye), the egg is then smashed down the toilet and flushed away.

Great for cleaning out a room, a person or large object. A small amount of rum is taken in the mouth and sprayed out of the mouth in a fine mist (this takes some practice) over the subject to be cleansed, a handle full of either basil or rosemary is then passed over the person or object front to back.

For cleaning out a house of bad vibes after trouble and strife take a coconut and kick it all about the house like a football, until it breaks, throw the shards out the backdoor and piss on them, especially good after a heated relationship break up.

Making a racket to scare off evil spirits is an ancient practice found in many cultures and traditions, i used to use a large gourde rattle covered in cowrie shells as it was so noisy, give something similar a good shake all about the house during cleansing rituals to make evil spirits know they are unwelcome.

So there you have it,  hope this helps you in keeping you and your home clean.
Peace xx

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Magic Lamps

Lamps are a relatively new trick Ive acquired, Ive been aware of them for a long time, but never really bothered with them much. Ive always used candles instead (much easier and less messier), however after a little persistence, the extra effort to make them really pays off and Ive found them to be a fantastically powerful ritual technique and an elegant addition to any spiritual altar.

(here is a simple lamp for healing a minor crossed condition, made with the help of st michael.)

You can use them in the tradition of the long term setting of lights for specific requests (unlike candles they can be kept going pretty much indefinitely if you keep them topped up with oil.), they can be used to "heat up" spirits, i.e filled up with the favourite oils and herbs associated with a particular spirit and used as an offering to whatever entity you are invoking. They can also simply be used as a focal point for your prayers and rituals.

Because the making of lamps is something I have only recently got the hang of, I feel i should credit the people and sources that have helped me develop this practice.

The first person is a vodouisant (voodoo practitioner) friend who is a devotee of the Vodou spirit Erzulie Dantor, she has used lamps successfully many times over the years in service to this spirit. I am not going to talk about the use of lamps in Haitian Vodou here, as I feel I don't know enough about the specifics of them because Haitian Vodou lamps are a complex ritual practice in their own right.
However much of the practical advice of about getting a lamp lit and keeping it going safely with a big fat juicy flame has come from her.

The second source comes from one of my favourite blogs written by an American conjure practitioner, he has some fantastic ideas surrounding ritual techniques that I've incorporated into my practice with great effect.

The third is my root worker friend and his partner who own a fantastic little old school style botanica, they often keep lamps going for their clients, they were the ones who inspired me to give lamps another go.

So, what exactly is a lamp? A lamp is just basically a flame proof container filled with oil and then a wick is placed in the oil and lit, producing a bright flame, they are safe as when done properly the oil gets warm but not hot and are much more contained than candles.


Almost any flame proof container can be used for an oil lamp, Ive found a small iron cauldron or an enamel breakfast cereal bowl works best, though others use all manner of container from half cut coconuts to tin cans. Try and choose a container that speaks of the work you are doing, e.g an iron pot for "hot" aggressive works such as crossing or perhaps a white ceramic bowl for "cooler" works such as blessing etc.


Ive found coconut oil (for cool works) and red palm oil (for hot works) works best, some folk recommend olive oil but I've never been able to get this working, olive oil always seems too heavy to be drawn up through the wicks I use, it also stinks to high heaven. Other oils I've seen recommended include sweet almond oil, vegetable oil and grape seed oil, I've never tried any of these but feel free to experiment. I found that the Anna Riva sprinkling powders (yes, yes I know everyone thinks they are crap) are useful as they stain the oil a bright colour, this is useful as you can stain the oil a nice colour related to the work you are doing, for example I once put some Anna Riva love powder in a love lamp and it stained the coconut oil a bright pink, perfect as a focus for love and romance work.


Ive seen all manner of things being used as wicks, from gauze to specialised ghee lamp wicks from Hindu hardware stores. Ive had the most success with a wad of pure virgin cotton (don't use cotton wool!), I simple take a small ball of cotton, give it a bit of a twist to form a wick poking out of it and stick it in the oil with the wick poking above the surface (this was taught to me by my vodouisant friend), this burns with a large bright yellow flame that does not go out and saves for messing around with bits of tin foil to keep the wick afloat.


You can put anything you like in your oil lamp relating to the work you are doing, herbs, conjure oils, powders, prayer cards, lodestones, seals, sigils....get creative, though try and place an odd number of items in your lamp, multiples of 3s, 5s, 7s and 13s are all auspicious and powerful.
A very sweet and clever thing I've seen is the use of baby dolls carved from wax being placed in oil lamps as part of love magic. Two baby dolls are carved from candle wax representing the targets of the spell, they are tied together in red thread and placed in the oil, as the oil warms, the wax gently melts the dolls so they become liquid, they mingle together and with the magical ingredients of the oil, they are then drawn up through the wick to be burnt in the flame.



Here's a very watered down version of a little work i recently did for someone, you can try it to get yourself a new job or promotion. It can also be modified slightly to make a house sale go easily. St Joseph loves helping people find work or a nice place to live.
This lamp calls on the power of st Joseph. If you are a man with a family to support (especially a foster dad or a step father to someone else's children) then St Joseph is likely to favour you, but if you are a woman or a man with no dependants, don't worry, you can still invoke him for this working as he is a kind and charitable spirit, always willing to help the needy.

Take a white ceramic cereal bowl and give it a good scrub with salt water, then dry it off and wipe it over with Florida water (this is how I cleanse most ritual objects).

Take a large dry bay leaf (bay leaves are for victory, think the Olympic games) and carefully write your intention on the leaf with dragons blood ink, something along the lines of "pass my job interview" or "find work" is fine. Drop this into the bowl along with a catholic medal of St Joseph and a liberal amount of crown of success oil.
Take a bottle of coconut oil and run it under the hot water tap until the oil becomes liquid, pour it over the items in the bowl until the bowl is about 2/3rds full, add a sprinkle of Anna Riva crown of success powder or powdered yellow chalk to the oil to colour it yellow (i.e gold, the colour of success) if you wish.

Place your oil lamp somewhere safe on a flat surface (make sure its away from anything that might catch fire, St Joseph doesn't want you to burn your house down!), add your cotton wick, light it, get on your knees and pray to whatever God you worship asking for his/her/its blessing.
Then speak openly and humbly to St Joseph, imploring his favour, tell him your problems, remember he is your friend waiting to help you (but only if you're willing to help yourself! pray till the cows come home but if you don't get off your arse and get sending your CV out, nothing is likely to happen), tell him you have made this lamp in his honour, state your request clearly and ask him to grant it.
Return daily and speak to him or just leave the lamp to burn, I personally recommend a novena (pray and speak to him everyday for 9 days) and then leave the lamp to burn as long as it takes to fulfill your request.
St Joseph is the patron of workers, the dying, housing and fathers, so if he grants your request thank him by letting his spirit do its good work through you and ensure you make a donation to a charity that deals with the homeless, orphans, the terminally ill or struggling families.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Cartomancy, the early years.

(Granny story alert!) When i was knee high to a grasshopper my grandmother used to have a treasure drawer in her kitchen filled with all kinds of objects fascinating to small curious hands, paper clips, cigarette lighters, bits of string, broken watches, keys, sticky tape, magnify glasses and her tarot cards...

I remember at a very young age rooting through her kitchen treasure drawer when I stumbled across the brown cardboard box held together with yellowing tape, the box had the words "mystic fortune telling cards" printed on it in faded blue ink amidst strange occult symbols.

"What are these Nonna?"

"Don't touch those Paolo, they are dangerous, they can show the future but playing with them when you don't know what you are doing can invite evil spirits."

She took the "dangerous" pack out of my hands and spread them across the surface of the kitchen table revealing a fan of vivid colours and strange symbols, depictions of skeletons, dogs, bats, stars, suns, moons, arabs, sphinxes, swords, angels, kings, queens, knights, castles...as quick as she did this, skillfully as a poker croupier, she scooped the cards up and slid them back into the little cardboard box. I was captivated, my love affair with cartomancy was sparked.

Still in junior school, I acquired a pack of ordinary playing cards, i would wow my friends with simple card tricks, I would also wow them with my ability to "talk to the devil", ask a question and he will answer, a red card for yes, a black card for no, but careful, if he shows you the ace of spades then you will die...

It was summer and I was out on the school playing fields with my friend Adam, i was flipping the cards for him to see if a girl called Lorna in our class would marry him, the devil seemed to think this young love was promising, according to Old Nick they were to marry, become pop stars and have 12 children.

A girl called Corrine came over; "what are you doing?" she obnoxiously inquired.

"talking to the devil" I said non-chalently

She pulled a face.

So, I explained the divination method.

"Thats stupid, its just the way the cards are laid in the deck" she snorted, "your such a weirdo". A small group of children were starting to gather around us and gawp.

Angry, slightly embarrassed and filled with the spite and cruelty that seems to come so easily to children, I began to shuffle the cards and announced in a dead pan and serious voice:

"is Corrine going to die?"

Tension suddenly filled the air, Corrine went silent and her eyes became wide, as the now fairly large group of children around us murmed to each other.

I flipped the card on top of the deck...a red card.

I looked at her silent and smug, her eyes began to fill up with tears, "that's stupid, you're stupid there's no such thing as the devil..." she began.

Adam cut her off  "if you don't believe in the devil that means you don't believe in God, so you're going to go to hell"

"Yeah Corrine, your going to die and go to hell and theres nothing you can do about it" I chipped in.

"Corrines going to hell, Corrines going to hell..." Adam began to sing in a mocking voice, me and the other kids began to join in "Corrines going to hell, Corrines going to hell..."

Corrine really began to choke up, she quickly turned around and ran off to find the nearest teacher.

An hour later, a much deserved slap on the arse off a teacher with an old gym shoe and confiscation of my magic cards nailed the coffin lid shut on my junior school fortune telling career.....

When I was 14 years old, my mother bought me my first deck of tarot cards. The Rider Waite. The very same deck i still use today.
It didn't take me long to memorise the meanings of the 78 cards, as I laid them out in front of me it was easy to see patterns in between the cards as their basic meanings played out against each other.
Every time I saw a new pattern between the cards, even more complex patterns became evident, patterns made out of patterns, then patterns made out of patterns made out of patterns, and as these layered symbolic meanings became ever more complex and yet ever more clear, they exploded into a matrix tapestry of narratives, instructions and insights.

I started reading professionally in my late teens and early twenties, it was during my period as a professional tarot reader in my twenties, working for the local African and Caribbean communities in my home town I began to become more heavily involved in the secrets of hoodoo, conjure and obeah, but that's a whole other post.

I've had lots of adventures as a tarot reader and hopefully will be able to tell you about some of them at some other point in this blog, I've had djinn doctors, criminals, obeah men, pagans, hookers, gypsies, bored housewives, ladyboys, catholic priests, hippies, witches, drug dealers, businessmen, lawyers, the good, the bad, black, white, brown, rich, poor, old, young, gay, straight, the mad, the sane all coming a story to tell, each one a beautiful mystery in its own right ready to be reflected in the mystical mirror of tarot.

Anyway, enough of my dramatic musings. I want this blog to be focused on the practical so I would like to give some tips for anyone starting out in tarot.


Many people when starting out in tarot and learning the individual meanings of the cards discard the minor arcana and concentrate on learning the major arcana, I advise against this, the symbolism of the major arcana is relatively simplistic compared with much of the minor arcana, start with the hardest cards, the court cards, then once you have got over the hard bit, the rest should be easier.

Don't despair if it takes you a long time to learn tarot, contrary to popular belief tarot is NOT an easy method of divination, in fact it is one of the most complicated methods readily available.

Don't be discouraged if you cant read for yourself as the querent, reading for yourself is the hardest thing to do. If you are starting out in tarot and are too shy to practice on friends and family then try divining for fictional characters in your favourite soap operas and TV series, you might be suprised at the results!

Be ethical. Sometimes the line between intuition and cold reading can become blurred without the reader even realising it, be vigilant that you are not cold reading someone, COLD READING IS DISHONEST and a fast way to ruin your reputation as a reader before you've even built it.
As a reader part of your job is a counsellor, but its important to remember that divination isn't just counselling, don't be swept away  by the new skool tarot fad of psychobabble-lets-talk-about-your-feelings, if someone wants (or needs) therapy then point them in the direction of a professional counsellor, it is your job to provide practical insights as much as to provide emotional support. Id much rather hear this weeks winning lottery numbers or that my partner is sleeping around off a fortune teller than throwaway advice like "youre at a crossroads in your life" or "you need to love yourself more".

Use your intuition, let images wash over you, listen to your spirits, if you're suddenly struck by a strange image don't be afraid to say it, it may be meaningless to you, but may have great meaning for your querent.

If you're charging, don't take the piss, only charge if you can fully read tarot, to do anything else is simply not fair and is fraud, you are being paid to interpret a symbolic language written on randomn cards, that is a skill if you believe in the mystical side of tarot or not, if you don't fully know the symbols and are setting yourself up as a reader then you are a fraud, plain and simple.
Charging someone between £25-£40 for an hour of your time is reasonable. However by the same token don't undercharge, £5 for an hour says an hour of your time isn't really worth much.

Don't offer baths, gris-gris, mojos, rituals etc unless you know what you are doing and you think your client absolutely needs it. Be very careful about the sale of these things as part of a reading, familiarise yourself with your countries laws on the sale of spiritual goods and services. Don't over charge for these goods either, charge for the materials it takes to make them and the time it takes you to make them, anything else is exploitation.

There are many myths and traditions associated with tarot, sleeping with them under your pillow, wrapping them up in silk of your favourite colour, reading by candlelight, not letting other people touch your deck etc. If you find any of these help with your reading in any way, then incorporate them into your practice, it certainly cant hurt.