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Posts tagged ‘conjure’

Wow, new followers

WordPress keeps sending me notices that more and more people are following this blog. That’s a little scary because it means I can’t slack off and write these posts drunk and blindfolded. Thank you!

While many of my posts do sound drunk and blindfolded, I also have fun reviewing a few books, talking about authors, and occasionally saying a few things about writing. Yet, I have madness in my method and that is something that I believe needs to be said. I say it in fiction. This Facebook cover picture pretty well sums it up:

 

My publisher is working on a new edition. She just sent me photographs of it this morning. Wow, for a grey and rainy day, they really make me happy. You’re going to like it. More on that later, of course.

Malcolm

 

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Conjure Herbs: Master of the Woods

Wikipedia photo

Master of the Woods (Asperula ordorata) is a strongly scented, 12-20-inch long herbaceous perennial typically referred to as woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby’s breath that is often used as a ground cover. Its four-petal white blooms appear between April and May. It has been used in perfumes, teas, and potpourris.

According to Sunlight Gardens, the semi-evergreen is easy to grow in shady, moderately moist areas, is resistant to deer and is “great with Bellwort, Gingers, Lenten Rose, and acid-loving shrubs.”

Medical Uses

According to Web MD, “sweet woodruff contains ingredients that can help decrease swelling (inflammation) and kill germs.” Other uses include circulation problems, restlessness, nerve pain, urinary disorders, and blood purification. Botanical.com notes that the plant has been used as a medicine since the middle ages; “The fresh leaves, bruised and applied to cuts and wounds, were said to have a healing effect, and formerly a strong decoction of the fresh herb was used as a cordial and stomachic. It is also said to be useful for removing biliary obstructions of the liver.” (Medical information is presented here more or less for historical or traditional background without warranty of any kind.)

Conjure Uses

You can buy herbal packets online at curio suppliers such as Lucky Mojo.

According to catherine yronwode’s Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic–the primary source I used when writing my conjure novels–Master of the Woods is a “commanding and ruling herb.” This implies that uses, in or out of mojo bags, will include strength, protection, control over enemies, personal energy, and even getting a job.

Mama Starr uses master of the woods, Jezebel root, calamus, loveage, and lavender boiled and steeped in water and placed in a spray bottle while ironing clothes along with a prayer and a petition that your target (a spouse, for example) will behave (whatever that might mean to you). You can also gain the upper hand over an opponent by sprinkling master of the woods in an area where that person will walk.

Auntyflo says that “the herb has very strong power in commanding, most people carry it along for to get protection from various harms, additionally, it helps the owner get out of any trouble they may encounter in their day to day activities. When combined with gravel root, it helps the job seeker get that job they have always desired. On the other hand, sprinkling the herb over the masters allows you commanding powers over them when they cross it.”

Like many herbs, master of the woods can be used alone or in combination oils, water, minerals, and other herbs to provide a root doctor or hoodoo practioner with mastery over situations as well as opposing forces, including enemies and situations.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Conjure Woman’s Cat” and other novels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to tell if you’re an empath

“Being an Empath or having sensitivity to people, places, animals can be a good thing and a bad thing if you do not know how to control this ability.    Sometimes it leads to people having too many animals, having a relationship with a bully or abusive person because you “feel” you can change them, you can’t say ‘no’ because you don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.   Places and things bother you while to others they think you’re just nuts—-well, you’re not.   You are an Empath.”

Source: SPIRITUAL INFORMATION: how to tell if you’re an empath

This post is two years old, but it continues to apply today as more and more people develop their psychic skills and find that they are becoming more sensitive to the emotions of other people. It can be good, but it’s not easy to control. This is an interesting discussion of the subject.

–Malcolm

Amazon Kindle cover.

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of three “conjure and crime” novels that have been collected into one volume.

Harry Middleton Hyatt – folklore and hoodoo

Hyatt – Open Library photo

“Harry Middleton Hyatt was an Anglican minister who collected folklore as a hobby. Raised in Quincy, Illinois, Hyatt received his M.A. and D.D. at Kenyon College and Oxford University. He served as assistant rector at the Church of the Holy Spirit in New York City from 1951 to 1965. After his retirement in 1965, he returned to his home-town of Quincy, Illinois.

“As a folklorist, Hyatt began this work in his own home-town, and then proceeded onward to collect magical spells throughout the South. His two major works in this field were “Folklore From Adams County Illinois” (1935) and “Hoodoo – Conjuration – Witchcraft – Rootwork” (1970). ”

Source: Harry Middleton Hyatt

I’ve noticed that many people arrive on this blog by searching for Harry Middleton Hyatt. Rather than trying to write my own overview of his work, it’s more efficient to refer you to the information about him on the Lucky Mojo site.  In many ways, he helped bring information about conjure to the attention of many people who were unaware of it.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Florida Folk Magic Stories,” three novels about conjure and crime set in 1950s Florida combined in one e-book.

Adder’s Tongue

“Erythronium americanum (trout lily, yellow trout lily, yellow dogtooth violet) is a species of perennial, colony forming, spring ephemeral flower native to North America and dwelling in woodland habitats. Within its range it is a very common and widespread species, especially in eastern North America. The common name ‘trout lily’ refers to the appearance of its gray-green leaves mottled with brown or gray, which allegedly resemble the coloring of brook trout.” – Wikipedia

Wikipedia photo

The perennial forb/herb, which can be found in the eastern United States and Canada, but typically not in Florida, is also called Adder’s Tongue. While some people call it a dogtooth violet, it’s not related to violets. Even  though this is a native plant, you can purchase the seeds commercially. My focus here is folk magic usage, but I’m noting traditional edible/medical uses for reference only.

While the plant has a strong emetic impact on some people, the petals have been used in tossed salads. WebMD has the following caution: “People apply English adder’s tongue directly to the skin to treat ulcers. Don’t confuse English adder’s tongue (Ophioglossum vulgatum) with American adder’s tongue (Erythronium americanum).” Other sites say that the plant can be made into a poultice and applied to wounds that aren’t healing. Check with your doctor before using any part of the plant as a poultice or a tea even though those have been traditional folk medicine uses

Hoodoo

Traditionally used to stop people from slandering you, including nasty relatives. Dry the leaves and grind them into a powder and then sprinkle them around the front door the home of those who are slandering you, or gossiping about you in ways that border on slander.

Or, you can combine the leaves with ground-up Slippery Elm bark, brew it, cool it and strain it and then pour it over yourself from your shoulders to your toes. Some suggest reciting the 23rd Psalm while doing this. If the people who have been slandering you are visitors to your house–such as relatives or neighbors–collect this mixture from your bathtub, add one teaspoon of ammonia, and you’ll have a wash you can use for scrubbing our doorstep and front walk. If your entry hall can be cleaned with liquids, use the wash there as well.

As for the name, potentially it was inspired the shape if the spore-bearing spike and, for usage, by Psalm 140:5, “They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips.”

Voodoo practitioners would keep meddlesome people way with powdered dried beef tongue for use, sometimes in combinations with herbs, in mojo bags or as a sachet powder. Witches (traditional natural religion practitioners) have been known to use the drug for healing, divination, and magical spells involving dreams.

Some curio suppliers provide adder’s tongue in small packets for you to use with your own spells. This is rather expensive when contrasted with finding colonies in of the plant yourself in places with plenty of spring sunlight.

–Malcolm

 

 

 

Dear Flora

Watching down on creation from the great sanctified church in the sky, I’m sure you are spry enough again to sing and dance in a ring shout circle, and re-conjure your memories of a life well lived.

Partial view of the cover art work for “Lena.”

As you watch us muddle through our days, perhaps you notice this old writer whom you once knew as that white boy around the corner who stopped by daily to see his best friend in the house where you worked as a maid in Tallahassee. Because my friend’s parents were frequently absent due to work, volunteer, and church schedules, you were the stern ruler of that household from dawn to dark.

In those days, I saw you as the heart and soul of that home even though our flawed traditions wouldn’t allow you to walk in through the front door. I loved and respected (and sometimes) feared you then, but I was not allowed to tell you so. After my mother and my grandmother, you were the best cook on the planet, but Southern booking wasn’t the best of what I learned from you.

I learned about faith and forbearance and streetwise savviness in a dangerous world along with the value of humor and tall tales as antidotes to the slights and terrors of the day. In those days, perhaps you saw me as part of the fair number of kids who hung out around that house and the woods behind it and had no way of knowing whether I’d end up in reform school or the priesthood. Well, I guess you knew I wasn’t destined to become a priest!

Like the children who lived in that house, Flora, I went off to college and then into the Navy and then into a life a thousand miles away. I’m sorry I lost track of you then. I wish I had hugged you goodbye before I went off into the world.

Now, as Lena, the third novel in my Florida Folk Magic series is nearing its release date, I want you to know that the book’s acknowledgements tell my readers you are my inspiration for Eulalie, the conjure woman who is the heart and soul of the series. Thank you for everything you taught me and my apologies for everything I have forgotten.

with love,

Malcolm

Conjurers implement ‘Congress Be Gone’ spell work

Washington, D.C., March 10, 2018, Star-Gazer News Service–Dumbfounded federal agents admitted in the dawn’s early light here today that they have no “anti-spell” technology available to stop the Conjure Women of America’s powerful Congress Be Gone spell.

“Congressmen and women are dropping like flies as the spell flows through the Capitol building like left over green slime from an old horror movie,” said Washington station agent Charles W. Chesnutt.

Implemented when Senators and Representatives begin using greyed out speech balloons that led to squabbling and gridlock instead of action, the spell is forcing lawmakers to put their rails between their legs and leave.

“We wrote down old regrets on parchment and tied them up with devil’s shoestrings and a pinch of goofer dust while burning black candles dressed with fermented sodium pentothal,” said Caroline Dye, matriarch of Conjure Women of America, LLC.

Devil’s Shoestrings – Wikipedia photo

“They’ve got out nuts roasting over an open fire,” said Chesnutt. “Someday soon the halls of government will be cleared out, deadsville, flat empty, lights on but nobody’s home, and I’m betting my pension we’ll be going with them.”

Analysts at the Seals of Solomon Think Tank on Backlick Road said they can’t think of anything to do except draw their paychecks like Congress while doing “absolutely nothing.”

“When it comes to Congress, the tail ain’t even wagging the dog,” said Chief Thinker, Daniel Stormy. “Damn town has turned into a giant hoax-a-thon.”

“Congress has turned into a pack of dogs that won’t hunt,” Dye told reporters at her Chillum, Maryland moonshine still. “Once they pack it up, we’ll let the good Lord sort things out.

-30-

Story filed by Jock Stewart, Special Investigative Reporter.

Briefly Noted: ‘Old Style Conjure’ by Starr Casas

Those who know Mama Starr Casas from her Old Style Conjure website, need no introduction to this practical guidebook published in September. Like her website commentaries, it’s blunt, practical, based on the culture she grew up in, and overviews works (spells) and approaches in an easy to understand manner. The book reminds us that conjure (hoodoo, rootwork) is directly linked to African American ancestors, the Christian Bible, and common sense approaches to magic based on the materials at hand in a typical Southern household.

Conjure workers are usually Christian. I like Casas’ statement, “If you remove the Bible from Old Style Conjure work then what you are doing really isn’t Conjure work! It then becomes something else. If you can hold the greatest Conjure book ever written in your hands and learn the power from it; why in the world would you let anyone stop you?” She also doesn’t agree with people who mix hoodoo with other forms of magic in a roll-your-own approach.

Publisher’s Description:

Conjure, hoodoo, rootwork―these are all names for southern American folk magic. Conjure first emerged in the days of slavery and plantations and is widely considered among the most potent forms of magic. Its popularity continues to increase, both in the United States and worldwide. This book is a guide to using conjure to achieve love, success, safety, prosperity, and spiritual fulfillment. Author Starr Casas, a hereditary master of the art, introduces readers to the history and philosophy of conjure and provides practical information for using it. Featuring Casas’s own rituals, spells, and home recipes, the book provides useful information suitable for novices and seasoned practitioners alike.

In its pages, you’ll learn about:

  • Bone reading
  • Candle burning
  • Conjure bags
  • Building your own conjure altar

Research or Practical Use

This book is readable and should be very helpful to those who are interested in folk magic as an avocation, want to try out spell work themselves, or are fascinated by the history and culture of hoodoo. Students of magic will also enjoy the inspirational forward by Orion Foxwood.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of two hoodoo novels, “Conjure Woman’s Cat” and “Eulalie and Washerwoman.”

A smattering of writing news

  • I’m slowly working on a new novel called Lena as a sequel to Conjure Woman’s Cat and Eulalie and Washerwoman. For reasons that might become apparent once it’s published, you’ll see why I’m moving so slowly on it. It begins like this: “So, Eulalie sang ‘Lady Luck Blues’ as she drove the 1949 clover green Studebaker pickup truck down that southbound road while creeks, wiregrass, longleaf pines, and sunny autumn afternoon savannahs slow-drag danced past the open windows and South Wind’s children teased her hair into sweet disorder. She was happy and heading for Willie Tate down in Carrabelle.” Unfortunately for Eulalie, the happiness isn’t going to last.
  • I rely on a lot of books and websites for source material about conjure. Unfortunately, Spiritual Information–featuring Voodoo Queen–will no longer have new posts. The author, who is older than I am, has become too ill  to continue, and wants to retire after she finishes healing. The good news is that her blog will remain online as a reference. There’s a handy index of topics on the left side of the screen. A quick glance at this list will show you how wonderful this blog has been for those who want to learn more about the oldest hoodoo traditions from days gone by.
  • My publisher Thomas-Jacob will be featuring Eulalie and Washerwoman, Redeeming Grace (Smoky Zeidel), A Shallow River of Mercy (Robert Hays) and The History of my Body (Sharon Heath) in Amazon promotions during December. Keep an eye on Amazon for some wonderful books and opportunities.  While Robert Hays’new book will be released on December first, it’s already available for pre-order.
  • I appreciate the support of those of you who also followed my other blog “The Sun Singer’s Travels.” In trying to simplify (whatever that means), I’ve closed that blog. It was my oldest, having started on Blogger many years ago, subsequently moving here to WordPress. I’ll try to keep you up to date on this blog as well as my website.
  • This has nothing to do with writing, but my friend and Thomas-Jacob colleague Smoky Zeidel, who lives in a southern California desert community, has been posting glorious pictures of her vegetable garden on Facebook. I’m jealous. My tomatoes, banana peppers and jalapenos finally bit the dust with our cooler temperatures. I still have some hardy oregano and parsley. If you’re taking notes, the oregano and parsley won’t be on the test.

–Malcolm

Briefly Noted: ‘Spiritual Merchants’ by Carolyn Morrow Long

Spiritual Merchants: Religion Magic & Commerce Paperback – May 31, 2001

This is a very thorough, readable and well-illustrated reference to the traditionally large and widespread practice of selling hoodoo, Voodoo and other spiritual supplies via mail order, web sites, and retail stores. The book begins with a compact description about the origins of hoodoo and charms–one of the best descriptions I’ve seen–and then goes on to discuss the nature of selling charms, herbal mixtures and other supplies by mail. The book includes a list of current (as of the publication date) merchants that were in business along with their histories.

One thing you notice before reading too far into the mechanizing section is the sad truth that many merchants faked what they were selling.  The ingredients were either not as advertised or were not prepared in the proper manner. Carolyn Long conducted extensive interviews with catherine yronwode (pronounced “Ironwood”) who founded the Lucky Mojo Curio Company. Long notes that yronwode not only has a great deal of hoodoo information (history, spells, practices) on her site but guarantees that the powders, oils, herbs, candles and other supplies she sells are genuine.

All savvy merchants, current and historical, were likely to run afoul of the USPS if they claimed their merchandise would actually produce working magical spells and/or cure ailments. For that reason, merchants sold–and continue to sell–their products “as curios only.”

Long includes a chapter about one of the more famous products, High John the Conqueror (and related “John” products) which are generally used for protection. The irony is, nobody’s sure what it is. Many plants have been considered that are native and non-native to the United States. The problem goes back to the fact that early conjurers were not, of course, using the scientific name of the root, so now we’re stuck having to guess. Until shown otherwise, I would tend to believe yronwode’s description here.

From the Publisher

They can be found along the side streets of many American cities: herb or candle shops catering to practitioners of Voodoo, hoodoo, Santería, and similar beliefs. Here one can purchase ritual items and raw materials for the fabrication of traditional charms, plus a variety of soaps, powders, and aromatic goods known in the trade as “spiritual products.” For those seeking health or success, love or protection, these potions offer the power of the saints and the authority of the African gods.

In Spiritual Merchants, Carolyn Morrow Long provides an inside look at the followers of African-based belief systems and the retailers and manufacturers who supply them. Traveling from New Orleans to New York, from Charleston to Los Angeles, she takes readers on a tour of these shops, examines the origins of the products, and profiles the merchants who sell them.

If you are researching hoodoo and/or writing a hoodoo-based folk magic novel, this book will serve as a handy reference.

–Malcolm

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the hoodoo-based novels “Conjure Woman’s Cat” and “Eulalie and Washerwoman.”