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Basil in Hoodoo, Voodoo Wiccan & Pagan Rituals: Folklore and Spells

Posted on July 23, 2015 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

When it comes to conjure, Basil is thought to be one of the more versatile kitchen herbs to work with. Known to aid in matters of luck, money, purification, banishment, love and a number of other magical uses, Basil serves as the perfect herb to always keep on hand. It has a vast history with numerous connections to ancient lore. In modern times it continues to be widely utilized for it's powerful effects, and this is certainly true when it comes to kitchen witchery.

 

Basil, once believed by the Greeks to have the power to aid in divination, once was used as a means to detect witches. One of the more popular methods employed by the ancient Greeks was to simply name out suspected witches while Basil was being burned. When it made a crackling sound as a name was called, it suggested who was practicing witchcraft. The ancient Hebrews used Basil for courage and strength while other middle eastern cultures used it as an herb of mourning.

 

The ancient Roman's, however, had quite a different take on Basil. The Romans used Basil as a means to curse their enemies. One of their rituals was to curse their enemies as they sowed the seeds. They believed that the more you mistreated the herb, the better it would grow. To ensure a good crop, one was to curse the herb and pray to the gods that the herb would not grow.

 

In India, on the other hand, both Basil and Holy Basil have is associations to Vishnu and Krishna. It is considered to be a sacred herb and is kept in the home to protect against Evil. It is also believed to have wonderful healing properties. Not only is basil used for it's medicinal properties, it is commonly prayed to.

 

When it comes to love, Basil also served many purposes. A husband could find out if his wife was unfaithful by having her hold a sprig of basil. If the leaves shriveled, the woman was believed to have been unfaithful. Another common belief maintained that if you smelled basil, you would attract a new lover. And another popular myth that suggested if a young maiden wanted a husband, she merely had to plant some basil and in a years times a new suitor would show up.

 

In Santeria, Basil can be for purification and luck baths. It is also widely used as a fumigating herb, known to remove spirits from a home. Mixed with passion flower, it can be made into a powerful cleansing bath. It is also commonly used in a number of sacred objects and talismans.

 

With so many magickal attributes, the use of Basil in spells can still be used today. Below, I mention a number of them:

 

Purification Spray:

 

Simmer cut lemon and fresh basil in water. When cooled and added to a spray bottle, it can be used to clean sacred objects, candles, altars, spaces, the work environment, etc.

 

Purification Bath:

 

Mix basil, eucalyptus and rosemary into some epsom or kosher salt. Add 3 tablespoons of this mixture into your bath. To banish bad habits or negative energy, perform a spiritual bath by lighting two black candles at each side of the tub. Mix the salt mixture into a warm bucket of water and pour over your body, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.

 

Exorcism Incense (to remove evil spirits from the home):

 

Mix basil, rue, hyssop and myrrh and grind to a powder. Burn over a charcoal making sure you fumigated every corner of your home.

 

Banishing Incense or Banishing Bath (to remove negative people or bad habits)

 

Mix basil, pine, lemon peel and Devils Shoestring. Either grind to a powder and burn over charcoal for incense. Or Simmer in water for a bath wash.

 

Harmony, Love and Forgiveness Incense:

 

Mix basil, marjoram, lavender and balm of gilead and grind them down to a powder. Burn over a charcoal in the center of the home. This same recipe can be used for reconciliation, particularly if you add a bit of violet.

 

To Draw in Money:

 

Carry a basil leaf in your wallet.

 

Simmer basil, cinnamon and chamomile. Once cool, use as a floor wash for your home and/ or business.

 

Sources:

 

Watts, Donald. Dictionary of Plant Lore. Amsterdam: Elsevier/AP, 2007. Print.

Irizarry Jr., Mr. William J., Ewe Osain: 221 Plants, Herbs and Trees essential to the Lucumi tradition. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012. Print

Cunningham, Scott. Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1985. Print.

Beyerl, Paul. The Master Book of Herbalism. Custer, WA: Phoenix Pub., 1984. Print.

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Ancient Love Spells for Conjure, Hoodoo, Wiccan & Pagan Rituals

Posted on July 04, 2015 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

Love Spells and Rituals are nothing new. In fact, history tells us they have been performed for centuries. For those of you with a strong inclination towards hoodoo, you will clearly see many similarities in the following spells. These spells are based on a number of resources. They have been modified and altered in order to make them more practical. To review the spells in their original forms, I have added their sources and encourage you to look them up.

 

Spell to Summon a Woman

Ancient Egypt (from the Demotic Magical Papyrus of London and Leiden, Verso Col. XVI)

 

The intention of the following spell was to summon a female from her home and make her love a male. Of course, I assume this is referring to something entirely sexual but it can be used in many ways. I also believe this may be worked in the same way for a woman who desires to summon a male.

Obtain a clean strip of linen and myrrh ink (you can make Myrrh ink by mixing myrrh resin in olive oil). Write out your petition on the linen with the myrrh ink. Take your strip of linen and place it in a clean oil lamp. If you obtained a hair from your object of desire, attach it to the wick. Light it from evening to morning.

Source: Budge, E. A. Wallis, F. Ll. Griffith, Herbert Thompson, and Aleister Blackwell. Ancient Egyptian Spells Not to Try at Home. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. 

 

Love Spell of Attraction with the help of heroes (or gladiators) who have died a violent death.

Ancient Greece (from the Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, PGM IV 1390-1490)

 

To perform this spell as dictated by the original text, you would most likely need to fly to Rome and seek out an ancient amphitheater. However, some modern practitioners may simply advise you to go to your local graveyard and seek out the grave of a soldier to aid you.

 

Take a bit of bread from something you have eaten. Break up the bread into seven pieces. Go to the place where hero has died or was buried. Say your spell (petition) to the pieces of bread and throw them. Pick up the dirt from the place in which the ritual was performed. Take this dirt and throw it on the property (or in the home) of your object of desire.

Source: Betz, Hans Dieter. The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation: Including the Demotic Spells. Chicago U.a.: U of Chicago Pr., 1986. Print.

 

A Spell to Arouse Love In Another

(Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Fold Religion, Pg. 102)

 

To perform this spell take a hot bath. After you bathe, cover your entire body with flour until you sweat. Wipe the sweat off with a clean white piece of linen and wring the sweat into a dish. Mix in an egg, and a bit of nail clippings and hair from the entire body. Burn these to a powder. Add this powder to a dish and serve to your desired love object. As noted in the original text, the following spell most likely originated out of medieval Germany. The significance of this largely reflects the influence of the German culture of this time.

Source: Trachtenberg, Joshua. Jewish Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion. New York: Behrman's Jewish Book House, 1939. Print.

 

European Potion to Make you Irresistible

(from Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy as translated by J. Courtenay Lock, Pg. 187)

 

Take elecampane root (preferably gathered on St. Johns Eve) an orange and ambergris. While mixing these together add in a piece of paper with the word “Sheva” on it.

*Interestingly, the word “Sheva” may has it's origin in the Old Testament. It may refer to the name “Sheba”, perhaps a possible connection to Queen Sheba.

 

Simple European Spell to Gain the Love of Another Person

(from Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy as translated by J. Courtenay Lock, Pg. 190)

 

To get another person to love you, simply rub your hands with the juice from vervain and touch the person you wish to love you.

Source: Givry, E. A. Geillot De. Witchcraft, Magic & Alchemy. London: George G. Harrap, 1931. Print.

 

A Pawnee Love Charm

(from Magic Medicines of the Indians, Pg. 63)

 

There are two versions of a particular love charm that I am familiar with. The first is referenced in C.A. Weslager's Book entitled the “Magic Medicines of the Indians”. 

Get the root of a Cardinal Flower. Clean it and rub it all over your body to attract a new love. Some are even known to talk to the root and ask it to aid them in the search for love. 

Another simple to technique mentioned in Donald Watt's book, “The Dictionary of Folklore”, is to take cardinal root, American ginseng, wild columbine and carrot leaved parsley to make a love charm. I would suggest powdering them together and then wrap the mixture in a piece of fabric. Carry it on you to attract love.

 

Sources: Watts, Donald. Dictionary of Plant Lore. Amsterdam: Elsevier/AP, 2007. Print.

Weslager, C. A. Magic Medicines of the Indians. Somerset, NJ: Middle Atlantic, 1973. Print.

 

 

 

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The Book of Abramelin in Conjure & Folk Magic

Posted on January 21, 2015 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

I have recently been perusing literature related to Abramelin the Mage. What's so fascinating about the history behind the 15th century grimoire, is it's influence on both Neo-Paganism and Hoodoo. For those of you who have strong feelings about the discrepancy regarding the differences between the two, you can not escape the fact that ancient grimoires have influenced both modalities. For example, Macgregory Mathers did indeed translate the “Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage .” Mathers was one of the original founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Now if you are a fan of the Tarot, you will certainly understand how widespread Mathers work has influenced occult practices. In fact, when exploring the first book of Abramelin the Sage (there are three) I was immediately struck by the journey of the Fool as he transcends into an enlightenment through his passage of the Major Arcana. For Tarot Enthusiasts, the Golden Dawn Tarot deck is a reflection of Mather's work. Mather's would later influence both Aleister Crawley and A.E. Waite.

 

There is no question the Talmud did indeed influence “The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Sage.” It truly does reference the need for “righteousness” which is unquestionably Hebrew. There are also references to the Kabala (please keep in mind I'm not a Kabala scholar). However, there certainly are other influences. The first I recognized was the magic of the Ancient Egyptians. Not surprisingly, Mathers does do an excellent job of referencing ancient influences. So he deserves quite a bit of credit. What is more interesting, is that the ingredients of the popular Conjure oil, “Abramelin Oil” tends to utilize Mather's recipe rather than the one used in the 15th century manuscript. But this does vary from practioner to practioner. The recipe dictated from the original manuscript seems to be more of the likes of “Holy Oil”. In either case, the ingredients in both encompass ancient herbs that have been utilized for centuries. They both work.

 

The underlying concept of The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Sage” is that of developing a relationship with your Guardian Angel. If you are at all familiar with Santeria, then you may be aware of the process of bringing down your guardian angel. In Santeria your Guardian Angel is one of the Orishas. This is the Orisha that crowns a person's head. There is always an element of fate in this relationship. You can not choose your guardian angel as your guardian angel is there to help you in spiritual matters that you are destined to work through. I have had my own guardian angel brought down. It certainly was one I did not expect although it does make perfect sense! The concept of a Guardian Angel certainly has it roots in ancient history. The old testament for example references the significance of Angels. Early Christianity seems to have really developed the guardian angel concept believing that individuals can have specific angels that do indeed “guard” them.

 

With that being said, you can not deny the Christian influence on “The Book of Sacred Magic of Abramelin” There is a great deal of controversy over who the actual 15th century author was. I don't really think it matters. In my opinion it is not solely based on Hebrew mysticism. Like I mentioned earlier I am not a Kabala scholar. All I can say is that from what I understand of Judiasm is that the primary relationship for man is that with God, “Hashem.”

 

The concept of working with Angels and Demons also relates to Obeah. Of course, this process is in many other grimoires including those in the 6th & 7th Books of Moses. Again I'm not a scholar and from what I understand, Obeah developed in the Caribbean during the slave migration. Sources report that Obeah developed out of the religion of the Igbo tribe but also has influences from other tribes particularly those from the Congo and Nigeria. When it comes to the modalities of folk magic, particularly those from the West Indies, Cuba And Haiti, it becomes very easy to see the influences of Christianity and the texts of notable European grimoires.

 

When it comes to conjure, you simply can't deny the impact and significance of historical grimoires. Now, whether you choose to study these is completely up to you. Fundamentally, if you really want to understand Conjure you should familiarize yourself with them. You can find all sorts of literature and websites that explore Hoodoo and Conjure most of them proclaim that conjure is something that is taught not learned. Keep in mind that the folk magic from this country is simply not that old even though it does have ancient influences. Quite frankly, all religions have ancient influences and even though Hoodoo is not a religion, it too has ancient influences. If you really want to learn more about conjure, I suggest beginning by researching a bit of history. For example, I was recently reading the “The Leyden Papyrus”, an ancient Egyptian manuscript. Talk about conjure! I have always wondered about the origins of dove's blood and within this manuscript I saw a spell that utilized it. Who knew it's use dated as far back as the Ancient Egyptians? Somehow I'm not surprised.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.hermetics.org/pdf/magick_revival.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Abramelin

http://www.catholicdoors.com/misc/apologetics/guardianangel.htm

http://www.golden-dawn.org/truth_mathers.html

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Working with a Talisman, Seal, Sacred Object or Spirit Box in Conjure

Posted on January 12, 2015 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

Over time, I have had many questions regarding the use of icons, amulets, talismans, seals, dollies, and saints. After all, these symbols and representation still play a large role in contemporary magic, particularly in hoodoo, conjure, voodoo, and paganism. To truly understand the basic use of symbolic representations, it may be best to take a journey to the past to help you understand the fundamental theory of this type of ritual practice. For the new practitioner it is sometimes helpful to get a broader understanding of a certain function in magical observances. Working with metaphors and symbolism can prove to add a powerful component to any to of ritual, especially magic!

 

When it comes to prayer and ritual, it is not uncommon to work with icons, statues, seals, amulets,spirit boxes, or even labeled candles associated to a saints and deity. This remains the case in many types of divination and worship. This type of worship devotion has occurred throughout time and was employed by a vast array of cultures. For a deeper understanding of such practices, one may choose to go back in time, to the roots of all ancient magic.

 

The Sumerians, for example, carved the names on of the Gods on simple stones. In affect, these were the first early talismans. They also created clay figures, not unlike the early ushabtis of Ancient Egypt, that had magic infused into them through certain spells and rituals. Magical seals were also created by carving images of a particular deity with an inscription. In some cases it was merely a symbol.

 

Like the Sumerians, the Babylonians also held symbols and icons in high regard. Take for example, the universal image of the dove. Today, we associate it with peace, love and the Holy Spirit. But the symbol of the dove dates much further back then Christianity official Roman stamp of approval in 300 A.D. It is frequently mentioned in the Old Testament and the early cultures of Mesopotamia. In Babylonia, the image of the dove was linked to several deities and would eventually come to symbolize the mother goddess. During the reign of King Hammurabi, stone steals were made that illustrated specific curses on those who chose to rebel against his laws. Remember, eye for an eye? Necromancy was also a widely practiced as the Babylonians believed that the dead were far more available to the living than their deities. They too had magical talisman such as dead bird heads and stones. Stones could be used as talismans and figurines that were believed to hold magical power. Furthermore, the Babylonians created great temples, and in some cases entire cities would be deemed holy. The Babylonians were also the great “star gazers”. Stones could be associated with certain powers as the Babylonians believed that their powers came from the stars.

 

However if you truly wish to understand the use of symbolism and iconography, the Egyptians refined this practice. There is no question that their influence on the ancient Hebrews and African significantly contributed to their religious views and rituals. The Egyptians are really the great instructors on how to work with this type of ritual particularly when it comes to your own practice.

 

The Egyptians would take their rituals very seriously. Their deities were depicted by stone, wood or clay statues, sometimes large, sometimes, small. Every day they would wash and oil them. They would then offer them food and drink, wine being the most common. It was believed that this provided the gods nourishment. Prayers and incantations would be made. They Ancient Egyptians had a strong belief in the afterlife. They worshiped their ancestors. Like the Gods, spirits of the dead could do good or cause harm. They believed their ancestors  could continue to have influence in their lives. As a consequence, burial rites held great importance. Much care was taken in the burial of their loved ones as they believed it ensured their ancestors a safe journey into the afterlife. Mummification was reserved to only those who could afford it. The commoner was buried in the ground with his most important personal items.

 

When embarking on a ritual that involves the use of a symbolic object, I suggest learning from the Ancient Egyptians. Offerings should be made. The item should be cleansed at least once a week. If your item is a bowl or box that holds a spirit, make sure you feed it some whiskey or blow a little cigar smoke into it once a week. Anoint you object with holy oils. Talk to it. Pray for it's help. The more you do this, the more life and power will bloom from it. This may seem somewhat of a pagan experience to you. If your are Christian of Jewish like myself, try working with a saint or archangel. The Old Testament is a sacred object in its own right as are the psalms. It's a wonderful way to make an invocation and proves to be quite effective.

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Magic, Iron and the Lucky Horseshoe

Posted on January 11, 2015 by AUTHOR (edit in theme settings)

Iron. Nearly every ancient culture venerates it and lets face it, they named an entire age after it. The Iron Age, a category of our historical history known to have entered the picture post 1300 B.C. (although in some cultures it was utilized far earlier). It's magic was in it's strength both for weapons and in agriculture.  And iron was considered magical! Many cultures believed it had the ability to ward off evil. After all, It protected warriors and their families and helped crops flourish. For example, If an invasion occurred and you happened to have a solid iron weapon, you would be in much better shape than if you had a bronze or stone one.

 

Enter the horseshoe. The magical talisman most likely entered the picture much earlier. Try Ancient Greece, 4th century BC. As for the horseshoe, well it gave the equine added protection and strength in flight. Even today, it is considered one of the greatest symbols of luck and protection, particularly when hung above one's door with with the points facing up (although some cultures prefer to hanging the points down). An upright horseshoe may may remind you of the crescent moon, another ancient symbol. And it's very ancient. The Babylonians associated it to their God Sin, the god of the moon who was most often depicted with the bull. Yes, the horns of a bull clearly have a similar resemblance to a crescent moon. Many draw the connection of the crescent moon to fertility due to it's association with cattle, the lunar cycles and of course, menstrual cycles. When one relates this to the much more contemporary ritual acts of Hoodoo, it may draw a connection to the power of using one's own menstrual blood in love spells. Just a thought.....

 

Back to the horseshoe. Enter the Romans who took the horseshoe one step further. They refined it's use on their fellow equestrians but preserved it's use as a magical talisman. Of course, iron horseshoes are forged with fire. And those who have done some research on magical elements may know that Fire is considered to be protective. Furthermore, the Romans venerated metalwork and even had their own God associated to it, aka Vulcan who forged with “fire”. The Romans then in carried it into Christianity and Europe for that matter. In European folklore the horseshoe was believed to ward of “faeries” and supernatural beings due to the fact that spirits simply do not like cold Iron. When the Middle Ages rolled in, superstitions were at an all time high, particularly when it came to witches! A horseshoe on the door was believed to protect a home from witches who flew on brooms. Why? Well apparently witches didn't like horses too much. Why the door? That may be apparent but in the middle ages witches could also enter through chimneys and windows particularly in the form of a black cat or other animals. If you get a chance, read the story of St. Dunstan and the devil. It's a classic example of how Christianity borrowed an ancient symbol and made it their own.

 

The symbol of the horseshoe nailed onto the door may have it's root's from the ancient Hebrews. Passover to be exact; and this goes all the way back to when Ancient Egyptians had enslaved the Jews. The myth, at least according to Exodus, goes something like this: The Jews had migrated to Egypt. The Pharaoh, being acutely aware of the growing Jewish population decides to enslave the Jews. An order is called by the Pharaoh that all first born sons of Jews be killed. Enter a first born male, the son of a Jewish woman. As a means to avoid execution, she places her child in a basket and floats him down the Nile river. He is found by a the Pharaoh's daughter, who names him Moses. Moses sees the suffering of the Hebrew people. Moses goes to God and God tells him to have every Israelite  kill a lamb and put it's blood on their front doors so God may' pass over" their homes when he comes down to take every first born child. This myth has made an impact, particularly for the Christians of the middle ages believed that protection on the front door served as protection against a great evil. Even today, some cultures will still place blood on their doors, however it's usually the blood from a chicken.

 

Today, the horseshoe remains an important symbol of protection and luck. It is even commonly worn as a talisman on the neck and wrist. I have a iron railroad spike behind my door, and quite frankly I'm not opposed to putting a horseshoe up there as well. Horseshoe aren't just for the door  either. They can also be hung over fireplaces (which no doubt stems from from the fear of witches from the middle ages). For the Hoodoo fan, get some Moses or Holy Oil and anoint that horseshoe. Place it above your door with three iron nails or if you happen to have a horseshoe with seven holes, even better! Put seven nails in there. Hang one in your bedroom to prevent nightmares or to protect you from the wandering bad spirit. FYI, if you have the opportunity to find an old horseshoe, it's believed to be much more powerful than a new one. So hit those flea markets and antique stores! Iron horseshoes, by the way, are also a traditional wedding gift given to new brides and grooms for good luck in their marriage. So if your stumped on what to get your friend for their wedding, try a good old fashioned iron horseshoe. Chances are it may do much better good than your typical coffee maker.

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