What’s Inside Hoodoo and Conjure Issue #2


If you were wondering what is inside Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly Issue #2, this blog will answer that question. It is over 50 pages longer than the premiere issue and chock full of good and interesting information. I hope you have a minute or two because we have a lot to cover including our new contributors and some fabulous new artwork to go with their incredible articles.

REGULAR FEATURES

For those of you interested in the Native American influence on Hoodoo and conjure, I have written an article Indian Spirit Hoodoo that discusses some of the various Native American herbs and curios that can be found in New Orleans Hoodoo.

Indian Spirit Hoodoo

Indian Spirit Hoodoo by Denise Alvarado

Appalachian Hoodoo practitioner Byron Ballard, also known as Asheville’s Village Witch, reminds us of the benefits of DIY Hoodoo in her article Homegrown and Homemade: How to Grow a Botannica in Your Backyard.

Homegrown and Homemade

Homegrown and Homemade by H. Byron Ballard

A fascinating look into the journey of Doc Miller and his legendary Hoodoo Drugstore is presented in Issue #2. Who knew that it would be a mess of cobwebs that would make a believer out of Doc Miller?

Doc Miller’s 21st Century Hoodoo Drugstore

Doc Miller’s 21st Century Hoodoo Drugstore by Denise Alvarado

CHARMS AND FORMULARY

Of course we have a nice selection of charms and formularies for those applied folk magic practitioners out there. The illustrious Dorothy Morrison brings us her Sex Magic Formulary with artwork by our new artist Inga Kimberly Brown.

Sex Magic Formulary

Sex Magic Formulary by Dorothy Morrison

For our readers interested in GLBTQ issues in the ATRs, Chiron Armand brings us his article The Lavender Passage. Armand is a magickal practitioner for almost a decade, he is an initiate in the Unnamed Path shamanic tradition.

The Lavender Passage

The Lavender Passage by Chiron Armand

NEW FEATURES

We have a new column brought to you by Koz Mraz called Myth, Magick, and Motorcycle and he takes us along his journey to Joshua Tree. You may be interested in knowing that it is Koz’s band Studio Voodoo that provides the music for our video trailer.

Myth, Magic and Motorcycle

CONJURE ARTIST PROFILE

Contributed by Alyne Pustanio is our featured conjure artist profile on The Slow Poisoner (alias Andrew Goldfarb). According to Pustanio, Andrew Goldfarb “is a one man surrealistic-rock-and-roll- band from San Francisco. He strums a guitar shaped like a dying swan and sings about swamp women, weeping willows, furtive rituals, cosmic paranoia, creeping fungi, forgotten diseases and witches in the woods. He keeps time by thumping on a kick drum rigged with sleigh bells, and while performing displays elaborately painted signs that bear the title of each song being sung…” (Pustanio, 2011, p. 109).

The Slow Poisoner

The Slow Poisoner by Alyne Pustanio

INTERNATIONAL CONJURE

And as the infomercials say “But wait, that’s not all!” We also have a couple of new contributors that offer their experiences with conjure from an international perspective. Witchdoctor Utu gives us a unique glimpse into working with Mama Moses (Harriet Tubman) and the ancestral spirits of the underground railroad in Canada. Utu discusses the historical background of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and shares with the reader how to build a cairn to honor Mama Moses and the ancestors. He is the founder of the Dragon Ritual Drummers, the Niagara Voodoo Shrine, and is a member and drummer for the New Orleans Voodoo Spiritual Temple.

Mama Moses and the Conjure Tradition of the Underground Railroad by Witchdoctor Utu

And then we are proud to have African-born Winsom Winsom from Belize, a very wise woman I am honored to call my friend and soul sister. Yes, that is her real name and it means “Covering of the Ocean.” She shares with us her experiences with the death rites of Belize. Winsom holds multiple initiations including initiation into the West African fetish healing tradition and initiation in Matanzas, Cuba as a Priestess into Santeria. Winsom studied and worked with healers such as Sobonfu Some, and Malidome Patrice Some and has taken part in Rituals in New Orleans Priestess Miriam and others. According to Winsom, “I continue to bring about the synchronization of my art and spirituality and believe “true power originates internal spiritual enlightenment, and that we must use this power to reach our higher selves: creating harmony”. Yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about!

Cry a Bucket of Tears for My Daughter by Winsom Winsom

Continuing with our international contributors, we have with us Doktor Snake, legendary bluesman, cult author, and Voodoo conjurer from England. He shares with us the story of how his Hoodoo mentor Earl Marlowe first taught him How to Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads. Doktor Snake also wrote the kick-ass forward for my new book the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook.

How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads

How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads by Doktor Snake

FOLKLORE

No magazine about Hoodoo, conjure and the indigenous traditions would be true to the cause without the inclusion of folklore. Oral tradition is the cornerstone of indigenous knowledge. It is the means by which our ancestors pass on their wisdom and ways of life so that we may benefit and carry them to generations to come (Alvarado, 2011). Following this train of thought, we have included not only the article by Doktor Snake, How to Sell Your Soul to the Devil at the Crossroads, we also bring to you How Br’er Rabbit Lost his Foot or The Rabbit in Magic and Folklore by Matthew Venus and the Plate Eye by Carolina Dean.

How Br'er Rabbit Lost His Foot or The Rabbit in Magic and Folklore

How Br’er Rabbit Lost His Foot or The Rabbit in Magic and Folklore by Matthew Venus

Of course, our resident New Orleans folklorist  and my homegirl Alyne Pustanio  presents a fabulous article on The Gree Gree Men: Voodoo Doctors of New Orleans as only she can tell it.

The Gree Gree Men of New Orleans

The Gree Gree Men of New Orleans by Alyne Pustanio

TUTORIALS

We have gotten some very good feedback about the tutorials we offered in the first issue and so we have continued to meet the needs of our readers by providing some very unique tutorials in this issue, as well. For example, Aaron Leitch, author of Secrets of the Magickal Grimoires, and The Angelical Language: Vols.I and II brings us an Offering Ritual for Archangel Iophiel  where he not only tells how to petition this angel for assistance but also provides a tutorial for making Jupiter Cakes.

Offering Ritual for Iophiel

Among my personal contributions to this issue of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly is the very New Orleans Voodoo tradition of How to Make Red Brick Dust that follows my Curio Spotlight on Red Brick Dust.

How to Make Red Brick Dust

I also provide a tutorial for making Ant bed Conjure Dolls to go with my article on Mississppi Death Conjure or Killing Hurts. Don’t let the title scare you off –  this is a class of works that goes way back in the Hoodoo tradition before Hoodoo even arrived on these shores. There are also a couple of video tutorials that go along with the article and tutorial that can be found on our YouTube channel hoodooconjurejournal.

Part 1 of Mississippi Death Conjure is based on a class of hoodoo spells referred to as “death conjure” or “killing hurts”. Part 1 illustrates the creation of two conjure doll babies and their preparation for the ant bed spell.

Part 2 of Mississippi Death Conjure documents the “Ant Bed Spell”, based on a class of hoodoo spells referred to as “death conjure” or “killing hurts”. Part 1 illustrated the creation of two conjure doll babies and their preparation for the ant bed spell.

Now, its no secret that I am a lover of doll conjure, having authored two books that focus exclusively on that subject, Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual and The Voodoo Doll Spellbook. Another of our contributors is also a well-versed doll conjurer in his own right, Carolina Dean. Between the two of us, you can be sure to find something on doll conjure in every issue of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly. Dean gives us a slightly more palatable tutorial than mine in his article Spirit Dolls. He tells how to prepare the doll, how to call a spirit into the doll and how to work with it for any practical magical purpose.

Spirit Dolls

Spirit Dolls by Carolina Dean

Then we have for you another type of fetish tutorial brought to you by Madrina Angelique. This is How to Make a Business Elegba specifically for the layperson. For those who may need a little help with their businesses and finances, try making one of these powerful fetishes and see what happens.

Making Elegba

Making Elegba by Madrina Angelique

ARTWORK

Finally, if you thought the artwork was off the hook in the premier issue, wait til you see this issue! The screenshots I have posted for this blog gives you a good idea of what to expect but there is so much more I am NOT showing and that you will only find in the magazine itself. I have created some powerful pieces to complement our contributor’s articles, and Karen Miranda Augustine has provided us with her take on Pomba Gira while Ricky Pustanio gives us his interpretation of the gree gree men. We also have two new artists, Inga Kimberly Brown and the Slow poisoner, aka Andrew Goldfarb. And we cannot forget the fantastic photography provided for us by Matthew Venus. I’m telling y’all, you won’t want to miss this issue!

There is much more to this issue than I have presented here, but this will give those of you who have yet to see the magazine a good preview of what you will find within its pages. No go forth and get your own copy of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly #2, the magazine that looks, feels, and reads like a book!

Find it on Amazon.com.

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Conjure As the Latest Cash Cow Trend?


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The Voodoo Doktors of New OrleansThere are so many folks taking advantage of the tradition into which I was born and which is my lineage. It simply amazes me how many folks take a course or read a few books, join a forum or two and “practice” for a couple of years or less and then see fit to criticize those of us who didn’t have to learn it that way. Like, we don’t fit in to their cozy little insignificant worlds, we don’t fit the definition of “rootworker” or “hoodoo” or “Voodoo” that they have closed their little minds to. Funny how these same people were supporters of the very folks who stole my work a few months back. Things that make you go hmmm…

The fact is that the appropriation of indigenous spirituality and religions is nothing new. Non indigenous people have been taking what they want from my ancestors for a long, long time, without respect. They just take and do what they want with the spirits and traditions and criticize us, the ones from whom our traditions and spirituality are stolen, as if we are less than or somehow not worthy of their approval. Somehow, we can’t possibly know more than they know because they have fallen into the deeply ingrained societal belief that people of color are not equal to White folks. They would never admit this though, and would fight to the finish denying what is the absolute truth because of sheer arrogance and ignorance.

Shoe and Foot Track Magick by Carolina DeanThen, there are those who are not indigenous who have respectfully adopted indigenous spirituality and traditions and do not promote an air of superiority, though they are as white as those that do.

In fact, the contributors to Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly are from a variety of different backgrounds, some of which are of European descent. Most of these folks I didn’t even know before publishing the magazine but when approached about the project they were intrigued, enough so that they were right on board with us. And get this… they don’t get paid. I have funded the entire project myself and I have haven’t even been paid yet, much less have the ability to pay others. Yet they are eager to contribute and are dedicated to the purpose. They believe in the magazine as I do and know we are successful and know our success will continue to grow. So where is this so-called cash cow?

But, a legitimate question has been raised, and that is, just what is the allure of this fabulous publication that yes, was my idea? How is it that Chad Balthazar, a Lucky Mojo graduate, and Carolina Dean, another Lucky Mojo graduate, would actually contribute to the publication? And how could it be that the one and only Aaron Leitch would find this project worthy of his contribution? And Madrina Angelique, one of the strongest and most intelligent spiritual women I know, why would she waste her time writing for a magazine I created? Why would a successful author like Dorothy Morrison give away her time and talent? Oh, and why would Catherine Yronwode subscribe to the magazine and give us her complements for a job well done? Just what is the allure anyway?

planetery magickWell, I could tell you what the allure is. All you have to do is pick up a copy and hold it in your hands and see for yourself. You can see the love and respect that forms the very essence of the publication, you can feel the positive energy that surrounds it, and if you read it, you can even learn a thing or two.

But don’t take my word for it. We are getting glowing reviews at Amazon.com. Here are a few of the reviews we have gotten thus far:

“I received my copy at the beginning of the week and I just can’t put it down. It’s full of wonderful articles, stories, pictures and more. It’s obvious that a lot of time, energy and love went into putting this journal together. Kudos to all that participated in it’s making.”

“I recently received my copy of this magazine. It arrived quickly, despite being sent to an APO in the mid-east. I have to say that this journal blew away my expectations. I started reading it as soon as I opened my box and didn’t put it down until I reach the back cover. The articles are well planned, and the artwork is superb. I am already starting to re-read many of the articles so I can better understand and put to use the knowledge and techniques described. Can’t wait to see the next issue!”

“Denise Alvarado has outdone herself with this quarterly magazine! It is more of a book rather than a simple mag. They cover so many different “techniques” of VooDoo and HooDoo and I especially enjoyed the Folklore and Folk Magic articles. This is a MUST for anyone who is interested in VooDoo and HooDoo whether you are a beginner or an old soul. I highly recommend this publication and cannot wait for Issue 2 (or as I said, their second “book”). Bravo!”

“Conceived by Denise Alvarado (The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual, The Voodoo Doll Spellbook) and her business partner and brought to you by Planet Voodoo, Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly is a full color journal published four times a year. It is bound in the same manner as a paper-back book and contains several recipes, a template for a hoodoo-doll, formulas, spells, tutorials, beautiful art and photographs, as well as articles written by some of today’s most talented writers and practitioners. As the first of its kind, it will definitely become a collector’s item. I look forward to the next issue!”

“For a start, I must say that this is a beautiful book rather than a journal. It is “perfect bound” like a paperback book, and so far transcends simply the title “magazine.” It is also a beautiful work of art. The detail that has gone into this journal is superlative. I have never seen a journal packed so full of useful information. I have spent the last couple of decades reading journals, and usually find only one article per journal useful; on the other hand, I found every article in this journal most useful. I was unable to put it down, and stayed up reading it until the wee small hours of the morning. I have since referred to it several times.
This is the very first issue, and clearly will become a collector’s item. For this reason, I suggest buying two.
I most highly recommend the Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly. If you are even half way interested in any magickal tradition, you will find the Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly a superb, even necessary, addition to your shelves.”

“This is a great magazine covering topics not found in many other periodicals. I have always enjoyed Denise’s books and artistry and the art work in the magazine is a real treat. If you are interested in these traditions I would recommend this magazine, it is very well done. Keep it real!”

And so, there you have it. HCQ sells itself. It is real, it is pure eye candy and real substance, and it is everything and more that it was envisioned it to be. I for one, am very grateful to all of my contributors for making the journal such a success. And though we can’t milk money out of the cow just yet, when we do, and I know we will much to the chagrin of the naysayers, we have plans to give back to people of New Orleans who continue to struggle as a result of hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast oil Spill. Yeah, we are humanitarians too. Damn, guess that makes me doubly inauthentic.

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And so this post is not wasted on simply a facebook url, I thought I would let you know about a regular featured section in Hoodoo & Conjure Quarterly called the Curio Spotlight. In this section, various curios are spotlighted and formulary is discussed. Many of the elements are discussed in the larger context of folk magick and hoodoo, and then specifically about their use in New Orleans hoodoo. Here is a screenshot of the curio spotlight on red brick dust in issue #2.:

Curio Spotlight: Red Brick Dust

Curio Spotlight: Red Brick Dust

Red bricks can be seen all over New Orleans, from the old brick streets to the brick graves in the Cities of the Dead. New Orleanians have found a variety of esoteric uses for them—they are the preferred writing implement for marking 3 cross marks on the grave of our infamous Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and they are used in pulverized form at the front door to keep away evil. It comes as no surprise that red bricks would also be used in the makeshift shrines seen around the city in the aftermath of  hurricane Katrina.

But where did this practice come from? One can only surmise; but a brief jaunt through history reveals that red ochre clays have been used medicinally and ritualistically since the earliest of times. For example, medicinal use of red ochre clay is described in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt, dating to about 1550 B.C. (Ferguson, 2006). And, ochre pigments were used by Cro-Magnon artists who painted pre-historic cave paintings in southern Europe between 32,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Residues of red ochre clays have been found in burial contexts all over the world from Paleolithic peoples in Europe to Late Holocene peoples of the Americas. Red ochre paint was used to imbue the newly departed with symbolic blood. For example, a human burial ground was found at Caplen Mound on Galveston Island, Texas which had a clam shell covered with a thin layer of red ochre. The shell was found within the grave and is assumed by archeologists to have functioned as the receptacle which held the paint used during body preparation rituals (Campbell, 1957).

Many suggest that the origin of the use of red brick dust can be traced to traditional African    irosun powder. Irosun powder is red dust produced by termites from the barwood (Pterocarpus osun) and camwood (Baphia nitida) trees. Termites eat the outer white portion  of  the  wood,  leaving  the  heartwood to produce the reddish powder called osun. Irosun powder is used in Ifá for divining purposes; it is sprinkled on the divining tray by the diviner and figures of Ifá are marked on the tray in the powder (Bascom, 1991).

In Yoruba, the word irosun signifies menstrual blood and is used to consecrate the pot of Ogun, the Yoruban orisha of iron and technology. The color red is often associated with blood, and blood is associated with power and the sacred. According to Luisah Teish (n.d.):

Oya, the Yoruba Amazon queen is associated with a grass skirt often dyed bright red; she is said to be the heart pumping blood through the body and a fierce warrior. And the most popular proverb for the Goddess Oshun is “Success is in your blood.” (Teish, n.d., par. 38).

In New Orleans, the most commonly known use for red brick dust is its application in pulverized dust form to the front steps of the home as a means of keeping evil away. It is said that red bricks were taken from the Dumaine Street Brickyard—the earliest place in New Orleans in which Voodoo rituals occurred—and were used in rituals and floor washes. The last reference to the Dumaine Street Brickyard in print was in connection with Voodoo Queen Sanité Dédé in 1825. Since that time, red bricks remain plentiful and can be procured all over the city.

Excerpted from Hoodoo and Conjure #2

 

REFERENCES

Bascom, W. R. (1991 ). Ifá divination: communication between gods and men in West Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Campbell, T. N. (1957).  Archaeological Investigations at the Caplen Site, Galveston County, Texas. Texas Journal of Science 9:448-471.

Ferguson, J. B. (2006). The Ebers Papyrus Possibly Having to Do With Diabetes Mellitus. Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY. Retrieved August 8, 2011 from http://biology.bard.edu/ferguson/course/bio407/Carpenter_et_al_%281998%29.pdf

Teish, L. (n.d.). Shedding old skin: A search for new origin stories. Metaforma: A Journal of Menstruation and Culture. Retrieved May 2011 from: http://www.metaformia.org/articles/shedding-old-skin/