Posted tagged ‘curios’

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 13 – Lucky 13

August 13, 2010

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 13-

Summary
On this, our Lucky 13th episode, released on Friday the 13th, we’re looking at luck charms and where they come from.  We’ve also got a money bowl spell in WitchCraft, and Van Van oil in Spelled Out.

Play:

Download:  New World Witchery – Episode 13

-Sources-
We reference lots of sources, including:
-Cat Yronwode’s Lucky W Amulet Archive
-The Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris
-Harry M. Hyatt’s Hoodoo – Conjuration – Witchcraft – Rootwork
-The article “Charles Chestnutt & the Doctrine of Conjuration”) by Bettye Jo Crissler Carr
-Judika Illes’s book Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells
Ozark Magic & Folklore by Vance Randolph
-The Chan Chu money frog of Chinese lore
-Richard Dorson’s Buying the Wind

Promos & Music
Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.
Promo 1- Witchery of One
Promo 2- Media Astra ac Terra
Promo 3- Borealis Meditation
Promo 4 – Iron Powaqa

Blog Post 78 – More Mojos for Success

August 10, 2010

Back in Blog Post 76, I mentioned that I’d be following up with some other types of success mojos.  Academic success is fantastic, but if you’re not in school it’s probably not going to help you much.  So today I thought I’d take that scholastic success mojo hand and rework it for a few other needs.  I hope it helps!

Building upon the basic Crown of Success mojo, which would generally include a John the Conqueror root in a red flannel sack anointed with Crown of Success oil, you could vary your specific ingredients for particular results:

Better Business – Add herbs like sassafras, five-finger grass, or cinnamon, plus a lodestone and magnetic sand.  Try to use an odd number of ingredients.  Pray Psalm 8 or a similar prayer.

Gentle Judge – A court-case success hand.  Use gravel root, little John to chew/galangal, cascara sagrada  bark, sugar, and tobacco.  Pray Psalm 36 or a similar prayer.

High Rollers – This is a gambling success mojo.  Use Job’s tears, a gator paw, a badger or gator tooth, a raccoon penis bone, a rabbit’s foot, and/or a four-leaf clover charm (primarily use curios for this one).  Pray Psalm 41 or Psalm 62 or a similar prayer.

Lucky in Love – With this success hand, it’s less about attracting a new love and more about strengthening one that exists (say, for example, during the process of courtship and marriage).  Add angelica root, violets, and roses (if trying to court a woman) or vanilla, tobacco, and dragon’s blood resin (for courting a man).  You can use lavender if you’re courting someone of the same sex, as well.  Pray Psalm 139 or a similar prayer.

Make It Rain Money – Add cinnamon, collard seeds, beans or peas, lucky hand root, rice, and/or rose of Jericho (things like seeds, beans, peas, and rice all signify abundance).  Add a lucky penny or a silver dime if you like, or a silver charm like a four-leaf clover.  Pray Psalm 126 or a similar prayer.

There are so many variations on these types of mojos, so please try them out and experiment.  I’ve had a lot of success (and the irony of that is not lost on me) working with these types of hands, so I encourage everyone to give them a try.

I’d like to close this post by sharing something one of our wonderful readers mentioned to me.  Odom of the Evil Eye recently wrote me about an academic success hand he’s working on, and he included an ingredient that struck me as just perfect for that kind of work:  coffee.  He made an excellent point that as a stimulant coffee can help keep one awake and alert, and that the university coffee house is such a ubiquitous piece of the college landscape it almost serves as a shrine to this kind of work.  So good eye for that connection, Odom!

Thanks for reading,
-Cory

Podcast 11 – Magical Tools

June 3, 2010

-SHOWNOTES FOR EPISODE 11-

Summary
Today we announce the upcoming break due to Cory’s grad school (don’t worry, we’ll be back sooner than you think!).  Then we talk about magical tools in American witchcraft, and we have our WitchCraft and Spelled Out segments.

Play:

Download:  New World Witchery – Episode 11

-Sources-
Mules & Men, by Zora Neale Hurston – mentioned in the show
Lucky Mojo site – particularly rabbits’ feet, gator parts, and raccoon bones
Hoodoo Root & Herb Magic, by Catherine Yronwode – lots of info on magical curios
Mojo:  Conjure Stories, by Nalo Hopkinson – the book I’m reading now which I mentioned when discussing gator heads

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

Blog Post 40 – Dirt Dauber Nest

March 31, 2010

With warmer days just around the bend, lots of our little insect friends are getting out and about.  One of the insects I least liked before studying hoodoo was the wasp (having wandered into a nest of them once while trying to get newborn kittens out of a barn, I feel I had some justification for my squeamishness about them).  However, hoodoo has given me a new appreciation of at least one kind of wasp:  the dirt (or mud) dauber.

This relatively harmless little black wasp (colors vary a bit, but most of the ones I’ve seen have been dark brown to black) likes to build its nests in long “pipes” from mud it gathers near puddles.  This has earned the wasp the occasional nickname of “pipe organ wasp,” and its nest is usually described as a pipe organ nest.  While the dirt dauber is a keen predator, often hunting spiders which it paralyzes and brings back to its nest for food, it seldom stings people unless provoked.  Though I don’t recommend provoking them.

However, if you can find an abandoned mud dauber nest, it’s well worth collecting it and keeping it in a sealed jar (just in case it’s not as abandoned as you thought) or plastic container.  Often, individual tubes may be abandoned and can be harvested for use as long as you’re careful not to bother any of the more active tubes.

In folk magic, these nests have all sorts of uses.  Once you’ve powdered the nest—an easy task since it crumbles readily—you can add it to hot foot workings, break-up spells, good luck hands, business drawing blends, and lots more.  Harry Middleton Hyatt lists several uses of dauber nest in his work, including:

  • Carrying around a bit of nest in your wallet or purse to draw money and luck (Vol. 2, p.1552)
  • Adding it to a vinegar jar with a couple’s name paper (names written crossing each other, of course) and red pepper and beef gall in order to break them up (Vol. 2, p. 1513)
  • Adding it to a Hot Foot working and placing it someone’s shoe to drive them off (Vol.2 , p. 1505)
  • Mixing it with Graveyard Dirt and Sugar in order to help heal a marriage (the wasps are one of the few where the male wasp stays at the nest to guard it, thus ensuring that the “family” is safe and united, which is probably why the dauber is associated with a faithful marriage) (Vol. 2, p. 1325)
  • Adding Dauber Nest to Graveyard Dirt and throwing it on train tracks to kill someone (there’s more to it than this, of course, but I’d rather not get too into that here) (Vol. 2, p. 1089)

Catherine Yronwode mentions many spells involving Dauber Nest in her book, including spells to destroy an enemy, control an errant husband, and draw new customers to a business.  This last spells involves mixing the nest with Grains of Paradise and sprinkling the powder around the business, as high as you can.  According to Yronwode, because daubers build their nests up high, it symbolizes success.

As a final bit of folklore, if you happen to have daubers building nests on your front porch, leave them there.  They will bring peace and protection to the home, and it can be fun to watch them build their nests on a summer day over a glass of iced tea.

Thanks for reading!

-Cory

Blog Post 38 – High John

March 29, 2010

Howdy all!

I hope you had a great weekend!  This week, I’m going to be focusing on herbs, roots, and curios used in various American magical practices.  I’m starting with one of the most common and most important roots in hoodoo:  High John the Conqueror.

This shriveled root is part of the Ipomoea genus, and is a relative of the Morning Glory.  Its resemblance to a shrunken testicle has made it a powerful symbol of potency and virility.   I consider it to be one of the quintessential hoodoo herbs (which is the reason I included it in my “hoodoo kit” post).  Catherine Yronwode says of the root in her Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic book, “ A person possessing a John the Conqueror Root will never be long without money or a lover and will be extremely lucky in games of chance and business” (HHRM p. 111).

Some of the most common ways to use this root are to put it into a jar of neutral oil (such as safflower or olive) and let it sit for a few weeks, occasionally shaking the jar.  The resulting oil (which will have little to no smell and to which you should add some vitamin E or tincture of benzoin to prevent rancidity) can be used to anoint anything that needs more power.  Rubbed on your hands and feet, it adds personal power to everything you do.  Rubbed on money kept in your wallet, it helps you be more successful in luck and business endeavors.  Rubbed (very lightly) on the penis, it restores male virility and enhances sexual prowess.

Another key way to use this root is to keep a whole root in your pocket, either by itself or wrapped in a red cloth bag as a mojo hand.  Fed regularly (once a week at least) with whiskey or the High John Oil I just described, it keeps you empowered and potent at all times.  According to the lore, money comes easier, luck favors you, love finds you, and sex is better than ever.

You can also add John the Conqueror (by the way, you say it “John the Con-ker”) chips or oil to other mojo hands to increase their potency as well.  I like to add them to success and business workings, because they tend to work faster and require less finagling on my part after my initial efforts.

The High John root has appeared in pop culture several times, too.  Whenever hoodoo comes up in songs, a mention of this root is seldom far behind.  For example, in the Allman Brothers Band remake of Willie Dixon’s “Hoochie Coochie Man,” radio audiences of the 70’s heard the lyrics:

“Got a John the Conquerer root and got some mojo too,
We got a black cat bone, we’re gonna slip it to you.”

Considering the libertine behavior the singer boasts of elsewhere in the song, having a little magic keeping his virility charged certainly seems like a good idea (I’ll address the black cat bone reference in another post).  Muddy Waters (who worked with Willie Dixon quite a lot) also recorded a blues song featuring the hoodoo charm, entitled (appropriately) “My John the Conqueror Root.”

There are lots of places to find this root on the web, and if you have a local botanica of some kind, they will also likely carry this curio.  I highly recommend anyone looking into American magic familiarize him/herself with High John.  Who couldn’t use a magical boost from such a potent little root?

Thanks for reading!

-Cory

Blog Post 7 – Into the Woods

January 21, 2010

I don’t get out into the woods as often as I like anymore.  I have an infant son to help care for, and a steady 9-to-5 job that eats up most of the best time for tramping through the forest.  Still, when I have the opportunity, I love to put on some old shoes and jeans (and a heavy coat in our current weather) and wander out into the thickest parts of the brush.  In summer, I have to carry a walking stick, as we are in rattlesnake country here (a rake works even better but is a bit more unwieldy), but in winter I can just bring a satchel for collecting things that I find out there.

I generally don’t go out expecting to find anything, though I do bring offerings and hand shears in case anything strikes my fancy.  Sometimes I get lucky and find a good set of fir or juniper branches for making incense or smudge sticks.  Often, I simply find animal trails and follow those to see where they lead.  Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of interesting wildlife near our home, including bobcats, wild pigs, turkeys, deer, and—on one memorable occasion—a gorgeous smoke-colored owl.  It’s a great way to spend a day, getting lost in the winding trails and then finding my way home again when I can feel the sun starting to set.

Forests can be frightening, too, though.  Nature, red in tooth and claw, as Tennyson wrote, is not a gentle place.  There are many stories from around the world which use the forest motif to represent a “dark night of the soul” or a period of primal self-transformation, from which the heroes of the tales emerge stronger and wiser than before:  Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, Gawain and Dame Ragnell (itself based on the “Wife of Bath’s Tale” from Chaucer).  From even a simply physical standpoint, the woods can be frightening simply because there are truly wild animals there, some of which are very hungry.

Part of being a witch, in my opinion, is overcoming fear.  If a person fears the woods, that is fine, because a little fear is healthy and may keep him or her alive for another day.  But a witch should know that taking a deep breath and stepping off the path and into the woods is an act of fearlessness that can be rewarded by gifts greater than mere survival.  I’m not advocating that everyone must immediately go out into the forest and start poking at badgers with sticks, mind you—wisdom should temper boldness.  If one has no experience in traipsing about the wild places of the world, then hiking the nature trails in the local national park is a good place to start; at least, it’s a better place than wandering off into a bobcat’s den and surprising the rather toothy and claw-y beast unawares.

However, for the witch who can walk the wilds and follow an animal trail, there are often rewards for that fearlessness if he or she keeps eyes wide open.  This past weekend, while following a deer trail in the woods near my home, I was given a little gift for my efforts:

I found the skull and bones of what looks like a juvenile deer (I can’t tell the species exactly because some of the bone has been chewed away and there are no antler buds to go by either).  The bones were picked clean, likely at least 6 months old, and had only been partially buried by leaf litter.  I said a prayer of thanks to the spirits there, and poured out an offering before proceeding.  I had brought plastic bags in my satchel, so I used those to pick up and wrap the skull, some leg bones, what appears to be a piece of the sternum, and some vertebrae.  They were muddy, but partially sun-bleached, and when I got them home I managed to clean them off with a mild soap-and-water combination.  They still need to be set to soak in a peroxide solution to finish the bleaching, and then I will have to decide if I want to seal them or carve them first.  I’m thinking I may use the skull for some Otherworld workings, and I will probably try to carve the two leg bones into tools of some kind.  The vertebrae will likely be used for candle-holders.

I should note I wore gloves during the cleaning process, and until I have bleached them in peroxide, I probably won’t touch the actual bones—bacteria can be present for a long time in a dead animal’s remains.

I have deep reverence for the animal which has been gifted to me, and a fine appreciation of the wild place in which I found its bones.  I have to keep this respect front and center, because there’s always a chance that one day my own bones will be out there, buried in leaves and picked clean by wild things.  I can certainly think of worse fates than that, but for now I’ll be bold only so far as it is wise.

Thanks for reading!

-Cory


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