Category Archives: Spiritual healing work
Book Review: Candle and the Crossroads by Orion Foxwood
The Candle and the Crossroads:
A book of Appalachian Conjure And Southern Rootwork
This is one of the most powerful books I have read in recent history on spirituality in general. While yes the book focuses on Rootwork and Conjure as the author knows them, the book is highly spiritually focused. For me even if I don’t put all of the information into practice, the components of the book that made me question spirituality and what it means were well worth the investment.
So to begin my review I have to say that even if you don’t follow any magical spiritual path as a guide for spirituality any one of any path can get something out of it. I would even recommend this book to Christians who are looking to deepen their personal spirituality and connection to their religion. Everyone on any path in life can get something out of this book. The connection to your own spirit that this book teaches us to develop is important for everyone and everything.
If you are looking for a book on spells you wont find them in this book. There are several workings discussed but actual spell work for money, wealth, love, etc are not really seen in this book. There are magical techniques for baths and creating mojos as well as connecting to spirits in this book. So there is magic with in the book but not necessarily spells for luck, love or mney drawing as most people are familiar with.
The focus on this book is the spiritual component of Hoodoo and Conjure rather than the spells. Too often people want to jump into the spells and workings of magic without the spirit component and thus they miss a huge part of the Southern Conjure traditions. This book provides that spiritual information. It is that focus which sets this book aside from others.
This is one book I am going to be referencing again and again. There are several exercises, meditations, and self questions that I am going to be looking at periodically. There are many things in this book that made me think and start to evaluate my personal path and practices. For this reason I am going to be using this as a reference and guide to develop my own connection to my spirituality and my own personal spirit.
The first chapter in the book is all about the foundation of this practice. Here we learn the authors experiences and his history with the practice as he knows it. This is where we see how his experiences and lessons in life and explains the reasons why he wrote this book. He mentions what the foundations of his personal magical practice are. By knowing this information you can better understand the worldview and practices presented in the rest of the book.
The second chapter is about the starting of finding your paths to the spirit that is you. The core teaching of this book is that humans are spirits as well. We are spirits having a physical existence as humans. In the teachings of this book and worldview if you start to realize this you will not only come into your own power but also start be be more whole yourself. This chapter starts a basic discussion on types of spirits that walk with us as well as types of spiritual paths. After talking about the paths there are also descriptions on how we are called to find our paths including symptoms of the different calls.
The third chapter is short but very important. Here is where we get into the history of the actual practices that formed Southern Conjure as the author knows it. The author mentions slavery and African traditions and their importance in the tradition. Here we see what Conjure really is about and how it survives over the years. There are warnings in this chapter about working with the spirits of Conjure and how powerful they are. There is a quote that illustrates the power and spirirt of Conjure work very well that I am going to share with you here.:
“If you are not willing to cry for, be angry for, pray for, and ask help of its spirits, then stay away from this work. These spirits went through hell when they first came to America in boats of flesh. No one can change this root, and why would we want to?
If you want to find the root that cannot be bound, then then root spirit of conjure is for you. If you want to grow your spirit from a place of truth and spirit power then conjure is for you. If you want to reach deep and pray high, then welcome to this deep well of spirit and spiritual nuturance.
But come through the door blessing and praying for the ancestors that suffered. This builds a bridge of grace to the spirit world and begins to establish the essence and flavor of the spirits that come when you conjure.”-Orion Foxwood Conjure and the Crossroads
The rest of the chapter focused on what the Root of conjure and the cultural mixtures that made up his conjure. The author mentions honoring his own Roots and how he works with them. After mentioning the spirits of African, Native American, and European folk practices who settled in that area he goes into the roles that Conjure played in that culture and still continues to play to this day.
The fourth chapter is about the Nature and Power of conjure. Here the author gets into the fact that Conjure does have ties to Christian spirituality and Christian religions. He addresses that many conjures use words like God and Creator and occasionally Maker. Here we see the power in conjure comes from the source of creation and the power to create which resides in our own personal spirit. The author gets into a few types of spirits that are connected to this power. One of them being the God of Christianity and divine beings. The author is specific in that for the reader and seeker that it doesn’t have to be the God of Christianity but it is the Source of all creation and all essence which is a spirit of sorts.
This is where we first start to actually get introduced into some of the techniques in this practice. The author goes into several different ways that conjure works with spirit. These include prayer, baths, blessings, healing, and cleansing. After starting the basics on techniques we are introduced to a few of the different types of spirits that are worked with in conjure.
Chapter five was probably my favorite chapter in the book. Its for me really the most important chapter in the book. This is the chapter that focuses on growing our spirit. The author had previously mentioned that working with ones own spirit and knowing ones own spirit was the most important thing in conjure. Here we finally learn to address the spirit and work with our spirit.
The best part of this chapter was the checklist on the attumement to our spirit. Not only does the author give a list of questions and symptoms of disconnect with our spirit but he provides remedies to help fix the situation. For me this was really the way for me to start to see how connected I am to my own spirit and what I can do to fix it. The author does mention that some of those ailments are actual symptoms of health issues (depression, anxiety and other mental health issues) and if you answered yes to many of them that you should seek professional help. For me that disclaimer and statement shows the connection between the mind, the body, and the spirit and how mental health can effect spiritual health.
This section provided me with the most enlightenment. It gave me tools to adjust and start working on my own personal spiritual path and development. One of the reasons I had started to explore Conjure and Rootwork was for a spiritual connection and a way to deepen and develop my spirituality beyond the basic 101 books. Here I have tools to find what I was missing and develop my path. The chapter ends with providing you with the steps to growing in your spirit which is what you need to do after you start the work of attuning to your own spirit.
Chapter six is about maintain spiritual health. The main focus on this chapter is spiritual cleansing and cleaning. The author explains how important is is to cleanse ourselves from the different forces in our lives that can cause spiritual clutter. He told a story of a client that his mother had to illustrate the issue. The author ends with a working for spiritual cleansing. This provides the start of our practical conjure spirit workings.
Chapter seven is about fixing or attracting good spirits to you. Here we learn how actions we take and the way we live our life sends signals to spirit. One of the first lessons in this chapter is that often we focus on our lack of something when we want something then more often than not we are going to be stuck with more of what we do not have. The author then begins to go into how we send images and messages to spirit so we can attract what we actually want.
The author then starts getting information on working on attracting the right spirits. The first real focus is on a prosperity spirit. The author provides a recipe or a ritual working outline to attract a prosperous spirit. One thing this working outlines is that in Conjure everything is spirit and everything has spirit. If you can accept that view and work with it then you are going to work conjure.
After the pot the author talks about maintain the spirit and provides steps and techniques to keep spirit alive. The first part of this practice is the establishment of an altar. The author continues with a ritual working for the altar set up and the consecration of the altar, yourself, and your home. While the workings are not exact they provide you an outline to make the conjure your own. In the end you must be the one to do the work.
Chapter eight was probably my second favorite chapter in the book. One thing I have personally been interested in for years has been working with graveyards and various forms of graveyard magic. This book is the first book I have seen that addresses this practice. Its considered Taboo in many modern magical traditions yet many acknowledge that there is strong power in the graveyard. Finding this chapter thrilled me to the core. It started to lift the veil on these workings.
There is so much in this chapter that covering the techniques and information would be a review in itself. I will say the author provides information on the power of the graveyard works and why we should work with graveyards. He provides information on working with graveyard spirits as well as how to gather graveyard dirt and work with graveyard dirt. The author spends the other half of the chapter talking about working with our ancestors and providing ways to honor them and work with them in our home and life.
Chapter nine is an interesting chapter. It covers ways to enter into the spirit world as well as working with a spirit unique to his tradition and practice. The technique discussed I found most interesting and will most likely try myself was the concept of tapping or knocking. Its essentially like you are knocking on the door to the spirit world like you would a regular door. After tapping and knocking he covers river magic as well as fire and candle access to the spirit world. Here there is a working for river magic specifically outlined.
The last part of the chapter includes a ritual and a poem I am likely to work into ritual work. Here is where the author teaches us about the Dark Ridder and gives us a way to introduce ourselves to him and work with him. The spirit known as the dark rider had been mentioned earlier in the book as a traditional spirit but not much was told about him until now. The author does make it clear that what he shows us is not the full formula for encountering this spirit. The working he provides is an introduction to the spirit and nothing more.
Chapter ten is the final chapter in the book. In some ways it works very much like a conclusion focusing on working the Root or working the spirit which is the force of Conjure and Root work. This is how the chapter starts anyway. It is here we see the final outline of the techniques and practices covered in the book to develop and connect with our spirit. The chapter ends with talking about a few specific plant spirits and with a formula for making a spirit bag.
This book provides several powerful tools for any spiritual tradition. In the end this book illustrates not only the power of Conjure and Southern Rootwork but also the power of working from your own spirit. The author provides an excellent introduction to the spiritual components of Rootwork and Conjure while also providing a few practical workings in the magical sense.
Realizing teachings from spirits
So here is something interesting I thought of recently. I started making my own incense for different workings 10 years ago. At the time I had no recipes. I had no books to guide me other than Cunningham’s herbal encyclopedia and magical herbalism.
I had a mortar and pestal and I had some herbs on hand for different workings (but I was mostly clueless at the time). I realize now that really the ones who taught me how to make incense were not the books. They were in fact the spirits of the plants. Which is why my recipes and practices are as effective and as powerful as they are.
I mention this now because there have been times I have mentioned that the spirits really haven’t taught me all that much. I look back and realize now that the lessons were much more subtle. They actually were more my partners than anything else.
Just like how I’ve always listened to the spirits of the land when it comes to my practice on the sabbats. I’ve always worked and done them really when it felt more energetically appropriate for me and the land that I live on.
The apartment I currently live in was gifted by the spirits of this land. After we left our viewing I said a simple prayer to those spirits asking them that the apartment go to the ones who need it the most, and the right people for the land. The next morning I get a call saying we have the apartment. If that is not spirits working for me and with me, guiding me I dont know what is.
Forming new Products
The process of forming new Products
Today I am going to discuss the process that goes into developing each and every herbal product that we sell. I handcraft each tincture and each incense blend and over the next few weeks will be crafting oils and candles. The process that goes into crafting each of these items is the same regardless of what form the product takes. It is a mixture of intuition, research, and hearing experiences from others in crafting similar items or when working with similar oils and products. The process is intense and it does take a lot of time but I as a witch and magician learn a lot about herbs and oils through this research and am able to grow my craft so I can best benefit you my customers.
In this post I am going to discuss the importance of each part in crafting the items I sell for you here. Without any one of the aspects of this process I would not be able to ensure the quality of the products I have to my customers. These parts are also essential to how I approach my spiritual crafts and practices in general so the crossover is essential. As I grow in my craft and practice so do my skills and my abilities to provide products that serve the needs of my customers.
When it comes time to develop a new product I think about what I want to make. For example when I think of oils I make a list of oils I have thought about working with and or have worked with. I also think about spells and what sort of magical oils would best work with those spells I want to help my customers cast. With the list of the oils I want to craft based on needs created I turn to books and websites. This is where the research portion really begins.
There are three Primary books I work with on my general witchcraft and magical oils, incenses, tinctures, and brews. Those books are Magical Aroma Therapy, & The complete book of Incense, Oils, and Brews both by Scott Cunningham. The last physical book I work with is the book Kitchen Witchery by Marilyn Daniels. These three books form the basis of my general occult, witchcraft, and magical herbal products.. I also have an e-book by Lady Gianne called The Magical Oil Recipe Book.
A few of my new Oils, Tinctures, and Powders have a Hoodoo Inspiration to them. This is true. I am starting to as I have mentioned on the Facebook page, this blog and our other outlets that I am starting to study and explore the practice of Hoodoo. These products that are inspired by Hoodoo have been deeply researched. I have books and websites I have looked into for herbal associations, recipes, and spells from the Hoodoo perspective.
These Hoodoo inspired products have additional prayers and charging aspects done with them. They are also prepared in a slightly different mentality as the ethics within Hoodoo vastly differs from the ethics found within most modern witchcraft traditions. So I make it my own by adding my witchy inspiration to the mix. Its the addition of herbs from a witches cabinet as well as those from Hoodoo/Rootwork/Southern Conjure that makes the products Hoodoo inspired rather than being strictly traditional Hoodoo.
After I use my book resources I start to look into the second phase of developing my products. The second phase of product development really doesn’t make any sense without the research first. The research prepares you for what you might encounter in this next phase. For me this helps temper my overwhelming inspiration and intuition at times with the research.
This second phase is one of the main reasons I have joined so many different forums and social media exchanges related to witchcraft over the years. The sharing of personal experiences for me is one of the best ways to explore experiences both that you have had and that you have and those you have read about. The sharing of personal experiences by others is also a way to prepare oneself for doing new work. Its a way of gathering insight and may provide ways of looking at things that you would not otherwise consider.
Personal experiences with herbs can also help a person develop a wider understanding of herbal spirits and practices. While there are some spiritual and magical aspects that seem to cross cultures with various herbs, other experiences are based in culture or tradition specific practices. By combing the traditional lore shared in books with personal experiences deeper relationships with herbs can develop.
At the same time new herbs and new ways of performing magic and working with herbs based on the needs can also be learned through discussions of personal experience. Through these discussions healing charms that can be carried in the pocket and may be a single herb can be learned about and simplicity can be embraced. Other applications could be learning edible and medicinal aspects to herbs as well as folk medicine and remedies that one may not have considered before.
One personal experience notes have been taken down and added to the notes from book research the final stage of the actual preparation begins. This is the stage where my witch hat gets applied and my spirit speaks through me. This is where the actual crafting of the spell and magical actions beginnings before the physical development starts. here is the mental preparation and focus.
During the research portion I write down copies of the recipes that spark my intuition and make me think “yes this is what I want”. When I am done with the personal experience notes I gather the recipes and I put them into piles based on need and topic (all money oils together, all healing oils together etc). After a while I look at the piles. I will then take all the recipes of that need (lets work with money for example here) and compare the components in each recipe.
I’ve noticed that it is very common to have multiple recipes in a book related to needs. There are several different types of money oils I have found in each of my resources. In noticing this factor I also made a note of the exact nature of the money oil (wealth, employment, fast cash, etc). This helped me further refine my own product decisions and allowed me to start refining magical and spiritual practices to more specific needs and desires.
I make a list of the herbs and oils I find in each recipe. From there I look at my herbal correspondence lists from earlier research. These lists provide excellent resources for future development as associations are already listed and correspondences have started to become known. Through using the herbs in multiple ways I start to know them very well. After working with them in a time the knowledge becomes second nature and I just know what herbs to add to a spell or ritual.
Its at this point that I start to write down what oils and herbs are going to be used in what new product. I often look at what I already have in stock so I can continue to develop working relationships with those herbs. However I am also always looking for new herbs and minerals to add to my practice. In each new product release I am working with a new herb or mineral. The last batch added sea salt to my practice. This new batch is adding several new herbs and essential oils.
Once I have the herbs and oils decided I can start the actual blending. After making decisions based on the research and personal experience my intuition decided in the end which herbs and oils to be used for each blend. Aside from choosing the herbs and oils there is one other essential aspect to the product development with the use of my intuition. That is the actual ratios of the herbs.
Often times in practice the actual plans end up needing to be changed to an extent. The ground herbs can take up more or less space than originally planned and envisioned. In this case slight changes need to be made based on how much of an individual herb I have left as well as for occasionally looking at substitutions.
This is where the intuition and personal knowledge and experience with the herbs comes into play. The more I know an herb through experience the better I can decide what to substitute and what to add. This also for me is where being crafty can come into play as I have to let the spirits of the plants and my spirit speak to me much as artists must let their muse speak to them. The blending of herbs is an art form in its own right. Its a spiritual art that often goes unappreciated.
Once these are all placed into balance the product has been developed. I test its use myself and keep some of each batch for my own personal use. This ensures to me that the quality of the product I send out is the same quality I would use myself. If I wouldn’t use it I wont sell it. This philosophy is also why the development of herbal products is tied directly into my own personal spiritual development and magical studies. The more I study and experience the more I can provide here.
Review: The Reiki Guidebook
The author Sasha Vivelo is clearly well informed about the practice of Reiki. This book The Reiki Guide provides what you need to know in order to understand Reiki. The author even provides some information and meditations which may possible allow you to attune to and become a practitioner of Reiki as well.
The Reiki Guidebook is divided into two parts. These two sections cover the first two degrees of Reiki material. These sections each provide a mixture of personal experience, exercises to try, and practical information. These two sections provide enough information for the reader to be able to start doing some energy work on themselves.
The first section covers the first degree material for Reiki which is the basic hands on aspects to the treatment. Here the author covered theory, practice, history, and what the three degrees of Reiki are. This section even includes a point by point guide for laying your hands on the person receiving the treatment.
The two most interesting sections in the first part of the book are the chapter on the atunement process and the chapter on further Reiki practice including how to treat small children, animals, and plants with reiki. In the chapter on the atunement process while the author does give an exercise for a personal atunement so you can practice on your own with your family and friends, the author does say that nothing can replace the in person atunement process given by a Master.
The second part of the book covers the material for the second degree of Reiki training. In this section you are given tools to treat family, friends, and many other people at a distance. You are even shown how to create and use the symbols associated with Reiki work. This part of the book also gives you an idea of how you can continue to give reiki treatments for extended time periods at a distance and even to yourself.
The most interesting chapter in the second part of the book was the section that dealt with using Reiki to aid in the transition from this life to the next life or from life to death. Here the author shared a few different experiences with her own end of the life work with her family members as well as with other people. We learn how Reiki can be beneficial in those with terminal illnesses by helping them manage the pain, and be more at peace with the world in general.
The combination of personal tales and experiences, the practical application, exercises, and the philosophy associated with Reiki makes this a very valuable book in anyone’s collection. For those who are interested in Reiki it gives you the tools to explore Reiki on your own before taking a formal plunge into the practice with your own Master.