Monday, 26 March 2012

Opening Roads

Ive been playing with an online graphics program and decided to give the blog a new fancy look, hope you all like the oldy worldy dime store magic theme and dont think it too pretentious!

Anyways, on with the conjure :)

Sometimes your just stuck in limbo, things dont seem to be going anywhere, either in general or in specific areas of your life. It happens to the best of us. There are worse things than being stuck in a rut, but sometimes we have just got to get moving, we need to open our roads.

Thankfully the Good Lord has given us roots and power over their spirits to help us on our way.

Id like to talk about a botanical mixture employed in root work called Road Opener.

What exactly is road opener? Road opener is a specific mixture of herbs, spices and resins sometimes also known by its spanish name "abre camino", each botanical in the mix has a specific characteristic that takes people foward, the characteristics include luck, victory,  prosperity, clearing etc.

Road Opener is available in every conceivable form : sprays, floorwashes, incenses, soaps, oils, bath salts etc. It has a strong yet pleasant clean cinnamony-menthol scent.

It can be utilised in many ways. Somefolk like to infuse the mixture in a bucket of hot water and scrub the floors of their home or business down with it whilst reciting the 21st psalm to ensure prosperity and opportunity in all its forms. Other people carve their name into an orange candle and annoint the candle with road opener oils or the powdered road opener herbs and pray over it to overcome certain blocks in their life or to get out of a rut.

Here is a powerful road opener ritual I use that has formed through trial and error in my own practice, its an amalgamation of several different trads (mainly hoodoo), but it has never failed me and hopefully it will also work for you. After this ritual I always feel optomistic, find myself having luck, making new friends, enjoying better communication  and finding new doors opening in even the most unlikely areas of life.

triple wick lamp and road opener oil

To perform this ritual you will need:

  • Road opener oil
  • A light neutral carrier oil such as vegetable oil (make sure the oil is light or it will not draw up through your lamp wicks)
  • 3 cotton lamp wicks (available from hindu shops)
  • An oil lamp (I like to use clay puja lamps from the hindu hardware store, but use any container you like.)
  • Road opener soap (the soap is available online, if you cant get it, use cinnamon scented soap, not great but workable)
  • Road opener bath mix
  • A key
  • A bay leaf
  • red or orange sharpie pen
  • A lump of camphor
  • Some florida water
  • A china saucer
  • A basin of hot water

First take your lump of camphor, pass it around your head 3 times imagining all the doubt being sucked out your head and soaked into the little block. Place it on your china saucer. Take it outside and balance your key on top, pour a little florida water on it and light it. Stand well back and do not inhale the fumes or let them get in your eyes(!) The key should heat up and melt through the camphor, this is symbolic of the key cutting through your crap and breaking blocks.

Wait for the key to cool, take it inside and drop it into your basin. Add your bath mix to the basin and recite the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be (if you are not catholic use whatever prayers you like, asking your God/s to bless the bath.)

Take your basin and stand it in your shower stall, get yourself wet and scrub yourself all over with your road opening soap, I use special prayers and songs that are personal to me whilst im soaping up, you use whatever songs and prayers are apropriate to your faith.
 Some folk like to pray psalms, some like to pray to St Peter, some sing to Legba, some pray to Ganesha, Hecate, Inari, Elvis, whoever, God is God and angels are angels, whatever names we ascribe to them, at the end of the day we are all talking to the same, you go with whats best for you and what your faith dictates.
Pay special attention to your feet and your head whilst soaping though :)

Once all covered in suds, use a sponge to wash the suds off with the road opening mix in the basin, until all of it is used up and all the suds are gone.
Now you are ready for your Road Opening Lamp. Take your container and fill it with carrier oil, add some road opener oil (not too much, remember road opener contains camphor which may sting your nose and eyes as the lamp burns if you put too much in. One teaspoon to every cup of carrier oil is more than enough.)

Take your bay leaf and write your name on it with your sharpie pen, if you have a specific problem you can write the solution to your problem on the reverse of the leaf. For example if you are unemployed write "Employment", if you are struggling with finances write "Money" etc. Drop this into your lamp oil. Now take your cotton wicks, and place them in the container. Set the lamp on a plate and place it on your spiritual altar or somewhere safe. Light the wicks in a clock wise direction and pray over the lamp using any psalms or prayers you feel are appropriate.

Best of Luck!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Chain of St Michael.

I first encountered St Michael's chain in 2010. I was approached by an American friend of mine who asked me if I had knowledge of it as he wanted to learn the method of using it.

I told him I didn't know the method nor had I ever heard of it.

He told me he heard it was a form of divination that originated in Sicily and Southern Italy.
Bemused, I decided to do a little research of my own. I had never come across this method of divination whilst in Southern Italy nor had I ever heard of it.

However being of proud dyed in the wool Calabrese stock, a fortune teller and a devotee of St Michael the Archangel, I was naturally delighted by the possibility of such a divination system.

After a little research on the Internet I found.....nothing.

There were mentions of a St Michael's chain online, however this was a chain of office that was used in the confraternity of St Michael, it seemed to have no link to any kind of divination system.

I started asking around my Sicilian and Calabrese family and friends to see if anyone knew anything. They all just scratched their heads and looked puzzled.

A little disappointed, I packed the idea away in my mind and forgot about it.

Autumn 2011 and I came across a pamphlet on Sicilian folk magic written by an Italian-American author. In the book there was a description of the chain and how to use it.
The description given in the book was somewhat clumsy, unclear and badly written. It claimed the chain was a form of divination used to communicate directly with the Archangel Michael himself.

After a little study, I realised the chain was little more than a very simple form of geomancy.

4 holy medals of St Michael the Archangel where to be attached at equal lengths along a chain, the chain would then be thrown after certain prayers and ritual gestures. The chain produces a binary system depending on if medals land "up" or "down" that in turn make up 16 geomantic patterns, the 16 patterns where the same geomantic patterns found in traditional European geomancy and West African Ifa.
However their meanings deviated from both these systems separate interpretations (though admittedly one or two of the meanings of the patterns did coincide directly with the traditional European geomantic interpretations.)

There was also a second method of employing the chain in the book, this method again relied on forming binary patterns.
However in this instance only five patterns could be produced. It struck me that these five patterns where identical to the five outcomes of Obi divination utilised in Santeria.

Intrigued and not really sure what to make of the whole thing, I decided to go ahead and test the method of divination nevertheless.

I attached 4 St Michael medals to a chain, blessed them in the name of the Archangel and invited some friends to pose questions.

To our surprise, we found the chain to be an immensely accurate form of divination. So accurate in fact that I found the insights and predictions it provided quite remarkable.

The first question posed was by a friend of mine who has an eye disease called retina pigmentosa, she enquired if there was anything to help her medical treatment. The answer from the chain: "Pray to St Lucy" (patron of the blind and eye disorders.)

The second question posed was by my friend who worked in a bar and often would often walk through a bad area of town in the early hours to get home, he posed a question for general advice in his life, the answer: "beware violent crimes, beware thieves and avoid being in dangerous places at night." After this result he confided in me that the previous night he had been followed by a potential attacker, who had tried to corner him. He took the chains advice and decided to get taxis home from work from then on!

Origins of The Chain:

In the book from which I learnt the divination method, the author made no real claims to the origin of the chain or how he came to learn it. It could be that he did indeed formulate the entire system himself by fusing together Geomancy, Ifa and Obi.

After a little more research, I found that geomancy style divination was indeed practised in Southern Italy. I have even spoke to someone who had geomantic readings performed with 4 coins to produce the binary patterns (in the same way the medals of the chain produce patterns).

This hardly surprised me though. Ive seen all sorts of bizarre forms of divination coming out of southern italy, divination isn't so much a practise in Italy, as a national obsession. Ive seen everything from scopa cards to sex position dream interpretation (I kid you not, there's some scary old women who will divine your sordid nocturnal fantasies into winning lotto numbers.)

But, sadly alas, no mention specifically of a St Michael's chain.

In truth; I have no knowledge to what the origin of the chains is, whether it is the relatively recent invention of an Italian-American benedetto or the product of time tested traditional Italian folk Catholicism, I dont know.  I would really like to say its the latter, but I cant, simply because I don't have any evidence to say it is.

It seems of little consequence regarding the pragmatics of divination anyway.

What is important is that it works. Which Ive found it does.
But whats so special about it, that's warranting this blog post, is that it works to a level of divinatory accuracy that is almost disturbing. I have no doubt the chain and its system is a damn useful divination tool and not something I'm prepared to just throw away, just because it might not be of antique origin.

Speculations of the Chains Historic origins:

The chain is definitely influenced by some form of geomancy, there is no two ways about it. It also works, old or not, it taps into something powerful. Infact Id really apreciate it if anyone reading this experienced with Geomancy or Ifa would be kind enough to share any of their thoughts and ideas on how it might work.

Geomancy itself is Arabic to my understanding. The mythological origins of geomancy are that the Islamic prophet Idris was given the binary figures by Jibreel (Archangel Gabriel.) though its actual historic invention is shrouded in mystery and speculation.
The method was brought to Europe in the middle ages, probably through Spain and Italy. It may have also been taken to West Africa by Arab traders and slavers, where it evolved into the seperate religious divinatotry practice of Ifa. However many other people think Ifa divination is a system that evolved independently and the feature of its binary figures being similar in nature to Arabic/European geomancy are purely coincidental.

With this information, we can speculate that Arabian geomancy might have once had a strong hold in Southern Italy. Arabic ethnicity, culture and language all have had a heavy influence on Puglia, Calabria and Sicily that is strongly evident even to this day.

It doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to see a system under the patronage of one Archangel (Gabriel) shift under the patronage of another one, who is more popular in the region it is being practised (Michael). But again, Ill leave it to you to decide what you think the chains origins are.
I am sitting firmly on the fence. I'm quite happy throwing my St Michael chain and getting good results whatever its origins.

Assalamu Alaykum,
(as my Arab ancestors would have said.)