June 6, 2020 § Leave a comment
Updates on items/shop stuff, what I’m currently working on, etc., are posted to the Seraphin Station blog. So if you’re following this blog but not Seraphin Station, you could be missing news and announcements (plus general rambling, of course).
And if you want to sign up for the mailing list/newsletter, you can click on Hi Top here.You can get a “welcome coupon,” plus I send out subscriber-only offers, advance access to cool stuff, and surveys that I weigh very seriously when I’m deciding what soap to make next or what kind of Rewards Program stuff to set up for y’all.
I’m going to edit and update the existing resources and links here at Big Lucky Hoodoo, turning the old blog posts into actual articles and organizing everything over time, as I have time. Ideally I’m hoping to finally finish at least one of the book projects I started along the way, once I have my head above water again. But we’ll see – in the meantime, this blog won’t be updated with actual new stuff all that often, but Seraphin Station will be.
October 7, 2020 § Leave a comment
Communication and shipping both are a little slow right now, I’m sorry. There was a sudden and quite unexpected death in the family late Sun night/early Mon morning. I’m just not processing things at top speed right now. If it’s not a message or call distracting me, it’s my own train of thought or memories.
But it is still business as usual around here, just with a little added delay to account for my brain being kind of scrambled. I sort of feel like I got hit by a truck, and a crapton of emails came in between Friday and Sunday, like maybe Etsy’s algorithm decided I existed again so I could show up on search pages.
But I’m here, I’m working on it, and I’m not ignoring anybody! I’ll keep working on getting orders and services completed and out the door. There is, however, another hurricane headed our way…
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September 26, 2020 § 1 Comment
…Or why legit workers aren’t even slightly interested in doing Psychic Pet Tricks for free to convince you to be their client, and what you should do instead of playing Test the Psychic.
Q: I was wondering if there was a way you could help me to prove you are genuine by maybe stating something about me that i have not told you. I want help, but I am tired of encountering all these fake psychics when i search.
A: [Name], what you need to do is not search but *research.*
There is a lot of good advice out there to help you avoid getting scammed. There is also a lot of bad advice, given by scammers themselves on their scam websites and ads. Then there’s a lot of well-meaning advice that is inaccurate, biased, or just plain ignorant. So it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff when you don’t know the warning signs and don’t understand the principles of spiritual work.
Alas, asking a professional rootworker for a free reading, even a tiny one, is not going to be a good method to determine who is and isn’t a scam. It might be a good method to determine who is actually busy with real clients and who has time on their hands to send cold reading tidbits out to whoever asks because their time is not taken up doing any actual spells or readings, though.
If a worker gives *every single person who writes* a sales pitch, without even knowing what that person is after, that worker should make you wary; legitimate spiritual workers will not take every single case every time. But it’s safe to say that the willingness to work for free in order to tantalize new clients will never be on a legitimate list of things to look for when looking for a good worker.
I am a firm believer that only the open hand can receive, and I have seen firsthand the miracles that can be accomplished from the kindness of strangers, so I try to play some part in all that by doing some pro bono work for clients in urgent situations who are unable to pay my regular rates. We never know where our miracles will come from.*
But like many professional workers, I generally have a queue at least a dozen deep of people who have booked work or consultations who are waiting their turn, so it makes absolutely no sense to go out of my way to try to “reel in” an unknown client, especially one who has had the sorts of bad experiences that tend to indicate lack of knowledge about the principles and realities of spiritual work. (This is not a jab at you – a lot of very good people have been ripped off because very bad people preyed on their emotions, hopes, and desperation.)
It’s not because they are bad people or want unworthy things, but because their expectations are usually coming out of left field, and they need to learn some basic principles of spiritual work and research before they pay anyone else (including me) to do any more spells or readings for them.
So most legitimate spiritual workers aren’t receiving emails like this and feeling any sense of “oh my god, I’d better convince this person I have never met, whose case I might not accept anyway, that I’m for real.” (Most of us probably get at least twenty emails like this every day, as well; even if I wanted to, I couldn’t oblige all the people writing them.)
I’m sure you’re a great person, and I am positive you do not deserve the treatment you have received. But I’ve found that clients who have been repeatedly scammed are too often seeking very unlikely or even impossible results that make them vulnerable to the unethical who will promise anything (e.g. reconciliation with an ex in a case where the ex has decisively moved on, a huge lottery win on a short lead, a drastic change to their physical appearance through spellwork). They don’t know much about how spellwork actually works and instead have lots of misconceptions in their heads that they’ve picked up from a variety of dubious sources online and in the media.
But you can’t just be a passive consumer. You need to understand the difference between voodoo and hoodoo, between wicca and rootwork, between an empath and a card reader and a clairvoyant and a high priestess, to be able to recognize liars and cheats.
You have to do research, which should start at the very least with reading what a reader or worker has written about their own work and practice and seeing what there is about them online. How long have they been doing this? Do you know who they are and where they are, or is all that obscured under some grandiose language about “powerful covens” and “we” and “dual casting” and “spellcasting awards”?
“Psychic” means so many different things to so many people that it’s nearly useless as a word. Some people think all spiritual workers are psychic or that all psychics are spiritual workers. Some people think psychic = empathic, or that psychic = clairvoyant, or that psychic = medium, or that psychic = returns lovers. None of that is necessarily true. Not everyone gifted for doing spiritual work is also gifted for doing the type of readings that many clients are looking for. And not everyone gifted for doing readings has even a modicum of ability as someone who can perform a given type of spiritual work. Finally, not everyone who *can* do certain types of things is therefore *willing* to do them in every case.
If you’d done research on me, for instance, or even just skimmed over my blog page about me, or my website pages on altar work or consultations, you’d know that I do not refer to myself by this useless term “psychic.” I am a rootworker, and I do traditional rootwork. I do consultations for clients seeking rootwork and those involve divination, but I don’t even do what you’re asking for, which is tell total strangers, whose cases I might not even accept, something about themselves.
In addition, even if I wanted to convince you of my ability to do whatever it is you’re looking for, you haven’t given me enough information to do it. When you read about “psychics” who don’t need you to tell them anything but they can just tell you what’s going on without you saying a word, you are usually reading about a classic scam called a “cold reading.” Here ya go:
You have a box of unsorted photographs in your house, you see yourself as an independent thinker, you had a scary experience with water in your childhood, you haven’t quite lived up to your full potential, someone has broken your heart, you aren’t naive but people have taken advantage of you in the past, you’re having problems with a friend or relative, you are sometimes insecure with people you don’t know very well, you are close to someone whose name starts with a J.
All of these statements are statistically likely to apply to a majority of any given United States or UK sub-population, and with some minor alterations, to the Latin American and southern European populations. That’s not a reading. It’s a game of throwing darts and seeing what gets a reaction.
The kind of person you are looking for — one who can tune into anyone immediately from a two-line email and see a particular recess of their lives in detail that will be relevant to them and put it into words in a way they can immediately understand and see the value of — does not exist. I say this as someone who’s given (and received) thousands of readings over the last almost 40 years. While you should not fork your cash over to scam artists, you won’t get far knocking on doors and introducing yourself by saying “prove you’re real.” *You* have to do research on *them,* just like you would (I hope) before you choose a veterinarian or mechanic or attorney.
A final point is that established workers are not generally desperate enough for new clients to do free readings upon demand to get them. Professional workers do not take all comers. I personally refuse more work than I take. This stuff requires significant investment in energy and time.
For example, I generally have no more than a dozen clients’ mid-to-longer-term/intensity work or issues in various stages on my desk or altars at any time (not including vigil lights and paid consultations). That’s all I want to handle at once, since I’m not a corporation, a company with employees, or a front for a marketing scheme, and since I do other things with much of my time besides just readings or just altar work.**
But I get more emails than that every day inquiring about work. And I’m more likely to decline to work with a client who doesn’t understand how spiritual work and readings actually work rather than take lots of extra time educating them, when what they probably need is to stop spending money on “spellcasters,” period. So here’s what I suggest.
Stop searching and start researching.
What you find at the top when you search are people who know how to have their sites turn up high in results due to search engine optimization. That’s all. They may or may not be legitimate, but they have good tech guys. Those sites that handle thousands of clients in a short period of time are owned by a group of people who know how to write their own testimonials and who know how to send out dozens of “readings” and “spell work reports” a day that are all the same vague thing but with the name changed.
Second, have a look at my FAQ here and pay particular attention to these:
- Backfiring Work, Karma, the Threefold “Law”: More Conjure Myths
- Ethics and Accountability: “No Real Spellcaster would….” and other Myths and Legends
- Scam Artists: How to Avoid
- How to Get a Lame Reading
- Scams: The Collected Posts
- Success Rates and Guarantees: Why You Should Be Wary of Those Who Advertise Them
- Suggestions for Clients, at Lucky Mojo
My blog also links to other readers and workers whom I personally know to be reputable and ethical. You will find, at their sites or blogs, photographs of work they have done that *they* took and uploaded, a glimpse into their background that doesn’t sound like it came from a made-for-TV movie, some mention of what types of work they do and what types they do not do, You’ll see a person, not just a bunch of vague, generic marketing copy.
Third, pick an area of spiritual work or readings to learn about, just something small to start, and learn about it from a variety of places, not just one so-called authority. Even this small step will help you begin to learn to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Until you know how to do that, until you know enough about what you’re venturing into so that you can be sure your hopes and emotions aren’t putting you in a place where you are vulnerable to scam artists, don’t buy any more spells from anyone. Learn the principles of candle magic and spiritual bathing instead, spend your money on a few simple and inexpensive supplies, and learn how to use them for the types of spell you want to do.
I offer you my sincerest best wishes for your pursuit of your goals.
- photo credit Jose Antonio Gallego Vazquez, unsplash.
*So I actually do occasionally work for free, or for extremely discounted fees. When I was a member of AIRR, I’d regularly do work for indigent clients who were accepted into AIRR’s pro bono program, and I have always tried in some way to help people in crisis situations who couldn’t afford my usual rates.
I do a lot of pro bono and reduced rate work for the following:
- people with legal trouble because someone else is abusing the legal system to harass them or force a certain action, esp. when children are involved
- parents trying to get child support and/or cooperation from the child’s other parent
- people trying to leave abusive relationships
- people facing charges for non-violent drug offenses
- people, esp. single parents, facing housing difficulties
- people who badly need spiritual cleansing or uncrossing and need help getting that work done
- people in populations historically or habitually targeted by law enforcement and government for profiling or harassment who need protection
And I regularly set lights on several community altars on a pay-what-you-can basis. These don’t come with light setting reports or anything like that, but anyone can ask to have their name and petition paper added to my community work for getting steady work, for blessing, and now in the era of COVID, for health/safety and protection from illness. (Anyone interested in doing that can just contact me via the website. I’ve been trying to post it as its own product all week and keep getting derailed by various things, but I’ll get it eventually…)
In addition, for years I hosted local events (local to me, but people traveled from other states for them frequently) in which I did in-person consults and then performed whatever spiritual cleansing, spiritual bathing, headwashing, footwashing, censing, etc. the client needed. (If the world doesn’t end first, I’ll do them again one day when COVID cuts us some slack).
But what I don’t do is free work for just anybody on just any situation just because they asked or showed up in my inbox. Love work and gambling work will never be eligible for pro bono consideration, for instance.
**People who do only readings and no altar work can do more readings; people who do no readings and only altar work can do more altar work. But I do consultations, readings, altar work, teaching, translating, writing, and research, as well as make and ship products, answer crap-tons of email every week, design and make jewelry, and run a small farm. I am not sitting in front of the computer all day.
September 25, 2020 § Leave a comment
September 19, 2020 § Leave a comment
Hallelujah, the power’s back on. Cell service is really spotty and Internet is not really happening, though. Lots of work needed outside to clean up and repair and chop up fallen limbs, but i plan to work all weekend alternating between indoors and out to get caught up on messages and orders (assuming the DSL ever decides to cooperate).
September 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
Hurricane Sally is landing right on top of us – I live in Grand Bay, which is – you guessed it – on the bay. Internet has been horrible, will probably lose it entirely here in a bit. Power outages likely. Expect delays with mail in and out of the region. Be patient if I don’t get back to you right away, please!
September 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
September 5, 2020 § Leave a comment
Earn 2X rewards on all purchases made through midnight. Read more.
Chuparosa formulas made their way into hoodoo from south of the border, and this delightful oil is named for the hummingbird as a symbol of serious, committed, faithful love. The hummingbird has long history in Mexican folk magic, one that once involved using actual hummingbirds. The hummingbirds didn’t come out the other side of this intact. Read more.
This handmade ornament is intended to evoke the Blessed Mother’s elegance and grace but without removing all the rough edges and scuff marks that are part of this icon’s history and that characterize the fabric of her devotees’ genuine lived lives. Read more.
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August 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
Ok, where all y’all at who *didn’t* come up mixing up the exotic essential oils and hand blended stuff but in your house, y’all use Kolonia 1800 and M & L Rue Cologne and if it was bright orange or the color of antifreeze, that meant it was legit? Who can tell the difference between Crusellas and Murray & Lanman smelling it blindfolded? ‘Cause I need some of y’all to volunteer to get some free shit in the mail from me and give me some feedback on it
I’ve spent *weeks* now reworking some of my formulas in light of half a dozen different things, and there’s a real question to be asked, I think, of whether it’s even worth making some of this stuff given how much more it’s always gonna cost for somebody like me to make it vs. some company that can wholesale and store 500 gallons of…
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July 16, 2020 § Leave a comment
For the next 48 hours at the Seraphin Station storefront, you can earn 50 bonus points in the Rewards program. That means you get whatever points you would normally get per dollar spent, but you also get 50 bonus points on top of that if you spend $20 or more.
The Rewards program will also give you the option to get a bunch of points for filling out a profile, visiting a web page, referring a friend, stuff like that. Just takes a few seconds, and you can use them right away if you want to. The only one right now that you can’t use immediately is the one for 30% off a mojo or paket. You need to allow up to 48 hours from redeeming that reward to have a code manually generated and sent to you to use at checkout. But everything else you should be able to use right away.
There might still be some feathers sticking out as I haven’t had that many people check out using the program, so do email if something doesn’t seem to be working right and I’ll look into it.
July 5, 2020 § 1 Comment
This will be in progress for a while, but I figured I could start organizing the stuff that’s already on the blog somewhere so folks can get to it from a single “directory” page instead of a list of scattered links.
Turns out I’m gonna have to do this in multiple sittings/sessions, though, and honestly that’s just as well, because that will give me a chance to solicit the input of some folks who *didn’t* just spend four years offline living under a rock like I did. So they are in a better position to comment on some of the more recently-available resources and recent evolutions/innovations within the cult. [*] So I’ll go ahead and do this as a short series of posts for now, and then I guess I’ll edit it down into a single page to list in the Rootwork Resources later.
[*] I’m using cult in the academic sense of the word to mean simply a system of beliefs and practices shared by a group of devotees. In this sense, it’s a neutral term and doesn’t imply anything about legitimacy or illegitimacy or make any judgment about devotees.
Santisima Muerte, or Most Holy Death, was not a mainstream figure at all when I started working with her just about 20 years ago now, and there was very little available in English about her. Devotees tended to keep her altars hidden and not honor her publicly, and while there were a few exceptions, there was still pretty widespread negativity and backlash around her cult. This was beginning to change when I began learning about and working with her, first slowly and then faster and faster as her reputation and devotion spread further and further.
Now people all over the globe honor her and petition her, and while the Catholic Church still objects and cautions the faithful about falling into idolatry and devil worship, it is easy to see evidence of her cult in broad daylight all over the place now. There are now multiple English publications and websites dedicated to her and it’s not difficult to find a worker versed in her cult.
I’m saying all this because it’s going to become apparent very quickly that I am a lot more old-fashioned and conservative about working with her than a lot of people are these days. You will find extensive resources online that essentially say “she’s wonderful and everyone should worship her!” and I am not going to agree with that at all lol, especially when the “everyone” we’re talking about is largely people who do not come from a Catholic background and are not from a culture that tends to treat the dead and ancestors as still-active and still-important members of spiritual society, as it were.
A quick example from an Etsy listing I saw the other day: a seller was offering an herbal mixture as a substitute for graveyard dirt and said in the listing that they thought it was disrespectful to disturb the rest of the dead to collect graveyard dirt.
That perspective is totally at odds with that of the culture from which graveyard dirt as materia magica sprang. I’ll pick just one unstated assumption that needs taking apart: the idea that the dead are asleep, peacefully resting when we don’t bother them, and that our interacting with them is bothersome. This is not even how the world works from a hoodoo perspective.
And a perspective like that would be totally at odds with that of Santisima Muerte’s culture of origin. It’s totally at odds with the way Catholics conceive of the afterlife and the relationship between the living and the dead. (And not just Catholics, of course – there are plenty of cultures and religions in which ancestors play important roles or death is seen as just a different phase of existence, not a permanent “exit stage left and proceed to oblivion” stage direction. But I’m gonna stick to discussing it in terms of Catholicism for this blog post for obvious reasons).
Here’s the deal: Protestants by and large do not even conceive of the ontological categories — or the available modes of being, if you will — within creation the same way as Catholics. They do not see the universe the same way or understand the relationship between the living and the dead the same way. They don’t conceive of the afterlife the same way, and they don’t understand any nuances of obligation or reciprocity that are all tied up in those relationships. And they often aren’t even aware of the extent of these differences because they don’t actually know anything about Catholicism or know any Catholics to ask.
People who do not understand how death is conceived of in a Catholic culture cannot possibly understand Santisima Muerte. You can learn about it and come to understand it, sure! But an awful lot of “witchy”-type folks like to play “flea market bingo” or “all-you-can-appropriate buffet” and just collect whatever looks cool without bothering to really grok the underlying system or tradition or culture it came from.
That’s always shitty.
But when it comes to working with Santisima Muerte, it’s also flat-out dangerous.
And of course, as her cult spreads beyond Mexico, there will be plenty of people who don’t want to say all those traditional Catholic prayers and have all those Catholic things on the altar because they’re not Catholic and they don’t see the Catholic aspect as important. They don’t see Santisima Muerte as having anything really to do with Catholicism. Some, in fact, seem to be patting themselves on the back for “liberating” her from what they apparently see as dreary and unimportant nonsense. They see her veneration (and some even use the word “worship”) as a totally new and completely separate religion.
In my opinion, they’re dead wrong, and in my experience, they’re risking the wrath of the very being they claim to be worshiping. And in being so chipper with the “everybody worship her, she’s wonderful!” stuff and not spending any time discussing cultural and religious context, they are in my opinion giving out bad and potentially dangerous advice to their readers who also don’t understand any of this and aren’t even aware of how much they’re missing and misunderstanding.
I’m going to quote from an exchange I was part of on an email discussion list a while back by way of illustration and discuss it in part 2. – it might have been more than 10 years ago now. I don’t have access to that email account anymore to be sure. But this discussion touches on some of these things I mean by “dangerous.”