Posted tagged ‘Judika Illes’

Podcast 51 – Magical Places

April 29, 2013

Podcast 51 – Magical Places

Summary

This time around, we’re looking at a variety of magical locations from legend, myth, and folklore. Plus we have the results of our Spring Lore Contest!

Play:

Download: Episode 51 – Magical Places
Play:

 -Sources-

We draw much of our primary theme from Judika Illes’ Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (and you can find a lot of that information in condensed form in Judika’s Weiser Field Guide to Witches).

Also:

  • Cory mentions Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, which is an excellent read if you like magical cemetery stories.
  • Laine cites the classic “Allegory of the Cave,” which is definitely worth a read.
  • We also mention the episode on “The Horned Women,” which involves a magical well.

We apologize for the echo effect in the first ten minutes of the show. It does go away and get better right around minute eleven.

If you have feedback you’d like to share, email us or leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter!

 Promos & Music
Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.

Promo 1- Inciting a Riot
Promo 2 – The iPod Witch

Blog Post 130 – War Water

June 7, 2011

In my Spelled Out section of Podcast 30, I gave the recipe and basic uses of a conjure formula called War Water. For those who didn’t have a pen handy, I thought now would be a good time to provide a little of the provenance, process, and practice surrounding this mixture.

War Water, which is also commonly called Mars Water or Iron Water, is in its most essential form, simply water in which iron has been allowed to rust. The presence of iron in the water gives it a reddish-brown hue, looking a bit like blood even in some cases. Draja Mickaharic makes a good case for why iron’s presence in the water empowers it:

“Iron is the metal of the planet Mars, the planet astrologers credit with ruling warfare and combat, as well as sex. Used either for defense or attack, war water is a strong carrier of the negative emotional energy used in magical battles” (Century of Spells, p. 27).

Mickaharic also points out that the formula was originally used to treat anemia (an iron deficiency in the blood), though far better treatments are now available. Cat Yronwode notes on her site that the Martian association indicates that it is not originally an African recipe: “Since the Roman god Mars was the god of war and his symbolic metal was iron, it seems pretty clear that War Water is a European contribution to hoodoo” (“War Water” par. 1). Despite its origins, however, this particular magical mixture is firmly planted in hoodoo and conjure practice now.

So how does a person make War Water? Almost every source—except one—agree that the basic recipe involves putting cut iron of some type into a container, covering it with a bit of water, and letting it rust. There are plenty of variations, sometimes depending on the intent, and sometimes just depending on who’s telling you how to make it. Judika Illes breaks down the formula by intent:

Protective War Water

  • Iron nails (cut iron), ones that rust easily
  • Enough water to cover nails in a mason jar
  • Let rust for about 7-10 days (open periodically to allow oxidation)
  • Keep adding water as the rust builds
  • Strain and use as needed (but discard if bacteria form)

Malevolent War Water

  • Thunderstorm water in a jar
  • Rusty nails, sulfur, and urine

(Encylopedia of 5000 Spells, p. 1080)

This formulation is essentially the same as the one found in Draja Mickaharic’s Century of Spells, though Mickaharic’s version is a bit looser, calling for about 3/4 pound of cut iron nails in a 2 quart bottle. These are covered with tap water and allowed to rust. After the rust begins, more water is added, and the bottle is covered (though occasionally uncovered for rusting purposes).

The alternative recipe comes from the normally quite reputable Zora Neale Hurston’s “Hoodoo in America,” in which she describes War Water as “Oil of Tar in water (filtered)” (p. 412). Oil of Tar is essentially a thick distillate of creosote or burned pine resin—which is carcinogenic and dangerous. A reasonable substitution for Oil of Tar would be turpentine, another pine distillate with slightly less caustic properties. However, almost every formulary I found other than Hurston’s had separate distinctions for War Water and a formula called “Tar Water,” which is much more like Hurston’s recipe and which is used to remove psychic sludge from one’s life. I would then conclude that Hurston recorded the Tar Water recipe as a War Water recipe in error, or quite possibly an editor inserted this formula without knowing the difference (which commonly happened to Hurston’s work).

There are also additional ingredients that you can add to the water to help “flavor” it for your magical purposes. One of the most common additions is Spanish moss, a dense vegetal beard which covers trees in the Deep South. Once it begins to rot in the liquid, it turns the mixture black and gives it a decaying scent. Adding sulphur or gunpowder would also give it a powerfully aggressive and dangerous vibe. My teacher, Stephanie Palm, makes a formula that basically takes Mississippi River water and turns it into War Water with these sorts of additions in it, which she calls “Swamp Water.”

Once you have War Water, how do you use it? There are several methods for deploying this water, depending on just what your final intent might be. If you only intend to use the most basic rust-water formula for protective purposes, here are some ways you might apply it:

  • As an addition to a spiritual bath
  • As a wash for the outside of your home or business
  • As a sprinkle for any letters or papers you might be sending out to someone hostile to you (such as legal papers)

The most common use of War Water, however, is as a component of psychic warfare. Cat Yronwode says of it:

“To use it, you shake a bottle up and hurl it at the doorstep of your enemy, where it should break, leaving a rusty, dangerously sharp mess for him or her to step in. When i was a young woman coming up in the East Bay in the 1960s, War Water was used by fractious root workers to declare occult war on each other. Since these folks were already at odds to the extent that they could not simply walk into each other’s yards and smash the glass bottle on the doorstep, they would make “drive by” attacks, rumbling through the residential streets of Oakland in the midnight hour and tossing bottles of War Water into the yards of their enemies, like occult Molotov cocktails. Ah, those were the days …” (“War Water” par. 4).

In Jim Haskins’ Voodoo & Hoodoo, he says that to use War Water you should “obtain the nest of a dirt dauber, break it apart and mix it with graveyard dirt. Put the mixture in a bottle with War Water and shake it up. Smash it on the person’s walkway” (p. 130).  Hurston does not mention smashing the bottle, but she does call for sprinkling it in front of an enemy’s house. She also provides a secondary method which requires that you “take a fresh black hen’s egg, make a hole big enough to get the egg out and take the names, pepper sauce and mustard and fill the egg up and soak it in War Water for nine days and throw ito ver the house, and it will cross the house and they will have to move away” (“Hoodoo in America,” p. 375).

As a final note, if you are considering starting a psychic war, Draja Mickaharic makes a good case for having sturdy defenses in place before beginning any attack:

“If you are going to declare psychic war on someone you should mop your stairs, porch, doorway, and any outside surfaces of your home on which anything can be cast or thrown before you begin the war. This ensures that you will be protected when the other person’s inevitable counterattack comes. In most cases War Water will cause any spell which is placed on your doorstep to rebound instantly to the sender.” (Century of Spells, p. 28)

So that’s War Water. My own personal inclinations with this water would be to use a railroad spike, coffin nails, and urine in a jar for defensive and protective magic, while perhaps using coffin nails, goofer dust, red pepper, sulphur/gunpowder, and Spanish moss for a more aggressive formula. But that’s just me, and quite frankly I have yet to need either of these formulas. My only real experience with War Water thusfar is as a spiritual bath for protection, and in that case only in it’s iron-and-water form. It seemed to work fine, so unless the need for a more advanced concoction presents itself, that’s probably as far as I’d take it.

If you have used this formula or one like it and want to share, please do.

Thanks for reading!

-Cory

Blog Post 100 – Winter Lore Contest!

November 9, 2010

So I said last week I wanted the 100th blog post to be special, and I thought a contest might just be the way to add that little bit of extra charm.  If you listened to the podcast we posted yesterday, you probably already know about this contest, at least to some extent.    We’re hoping to put together some Yuletide specials, and part of that will involve getting lore from all over the continent (or the world, even) and incorporating that into our shows during December.  We’d love your lore, especially, and we’re even willing to give away some prizes to encourage you to send in your best winter holiday traditions.  Here’s the gist of it:

What We’re Looking For:  Your winter folklore, including (but not limited to) holiday traditions, recipes, songs, and stories; superstitions about specific days, events, omens, or signs are welcome; ghost stories set during the winter, bits of historical information, and ethnic customs are greatly appreciated, too!  We already know that many folks put up decorated trees and exchange presents, so no fair telling us that.  Pretty much everything else is fair game, though.  Try to include as much information as you can, and give us your general location (such as “Pacific Northwest” or “Southern France”).   Also, please tell us if we can use your name when we read your contribution.

What We’re Giving Away:  We’ve got two (2) signed copies of Judika Illes’ latest book, The Weiser Field Guide to Witches that we’re giving away as runner-up prizes.  If you don’t know about this book, here’s the blurb from the publisher:

“Witches peek from greeting cards and advertisements, and they dig twisted roots from the ground. Witches dance beneath the stars and lurk around cauldrons. Witches heal, witches scare, witches creep, and witches teach! A compendium of witches through the ages, from earliest prehistory to some of the most significant modern practitioners, The Weiser Field Guide to Witches explores who and what is a witch. From such famed historical legends as Aleister Crowley, Marie Laveau and Elizabeth Bathory to the popular literary and cinematic figures Harry Potter and The Wicked Witch of the West, Illes offers a complete range of the history of witches. Included also are the sacred–Isis, Hekate, Aradia–and the profane–the Salem Witch trials and The Burning Times. The Weiser Field Guide to Witches is appropriate for readers of all ages and serves as an excellent and entertaining introduction for those fascinated by the topic.”

Those of you who are familiar with our blog and podcast probably know how highly we regard Ms. Illes, and this book is a wonderful addition to anyone’s magical library.

Our grand prize is a Compass & Key Hoodoo Kit, which will contain a number of sensational conjurational goodies, including:

  • A bottle of each of our current condition oils (Attraction, Crown of Success, Uncrossing, Saints & Spirits, and Wall of Flame)
  • A custom-made mojo bag, designed for Success & Prosperity
  • Herb and Curio samples, such as a High John root, Chewing John, Gravel Root, & Spirit Money
  • Condition Soaps designed for ritual bathing
  • Flannel squares for making your own mojo bags
  • A Lucky Rabbit’s Foot
  • And more!

This kit would be a great way to get started with hoodoo, or build upon your current practice.

How to Enter: We want this to be easy, so please just leave a comment on either this blog post or the Podcast 19 Shownotes, or better yet send us an email with your submission at compassandkey@gmail.com!  You can get an extra submission by blogging, tweeting, or sharing our contest and contact information with your social network and sending us either a screenshot or a direct link to where you’ve posted about us.  The cutoff for submissions is Midnight (12:00 AM Central Standard Time) on December 6th (St. Nicholas Day).

If you have questions, feel free to email us those as well!  We really want to get as much lore as we can, so please encourage others to send in their contributions (or if they aren’t interested in witchcraft, just find out their lore and send it in as part of your own entry).
Thank you so much everyone for making this blog such a wonderful place, and we’ll be looking forward to all your submissions very soon!

Thanks for reading!

-Cory

Podcast 16– An Interview with Judika Illes and Listener Feedback

September 28, 2010

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 16-

Summary
Today we answer some listener questions and present some feedback.  Then we have an interview with magical author Judika Illes.

Play:

Download:  New World Witchery – Episode 16

-Sources-

Books by Judika Illes:
The Encyclopedia of Spirits
The Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells
Magic When You Need It
Pure Magic
The Weiser Field Guide to Witches

Author Website:  http://www.judikailles.com/

Promos & Music
Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.
Promo 1 – Iron Powaqa
Promo 2 – Witches Brewhaha


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