Live the magic – Conjure Edition (in 3 parts)
Pt 1 - The Birth of Motor City Hoo Doo - What is special about Detroit Anyway?
Every place has its spirit made up of the people, the environment and the history of events. Detroit is one of those places that is filled with spirit and seems to be a place of magic. It may not seem like it with all the decline Detroit has gone through, but Detroit has some bad ass power. It survives, we survive.
Back in 1701, Antoine Cadillac, the founder of Detroit was foretold about a run in with “Nain Rouge” the little red devil and if he didn’t treat this devil with respect he would doom his greatest creation, Detroit, to struggle and that it would burn every 100 years. Detroit has “burned” either through tragedy or economic corruption every 100 years or so since then yet it always rises from the ashes by the power of the people who live here.
Detroit was born in magic and power with the Masons as they designed the city to align with the Kabbalistic tree of life and continued to attract more magic to it through immigration and the northern migration. In the early 1900, during the South’s drought and the rise of the auto industry, workers flocked to Detroit with the promise of work and during World War 2 the strength of manufacturing just grew. Who came to Detroit were people of the earth, people who carried on the folk magic traditions of their people and it started to blend here and become part of the spirit of Detroit. The Black, Irish, Polish and most recently the Arabic folk traditions seep into this land and keep the spirit of Detroit alive and powerful.
When Patty, Renee and I were spending time cleaning and cleansing Coventry to power it up and rebuild from the 2001 downturn that almost put us out of business, we started talking about our “Deetroit Voodoo” and how nothing can get us down. That quickly turned to our “Motor City Hoo Doo” and we all felt the powerful shift. In 2004 there was little in print about Hoo Doo and conjure, yet this is the magic that both Renee and I had learned in conjunction with our Wicca training. Renee, a priestess in Santeria, confirmed for me that the reason why my magical workings did not fit into the Scott Cunningham school of magic is because I worked conjure and had always worked in.
Renee has since moved onto other endeavors but that time where we re-awakened our conjure roots, worked with intuition and dove into the magic that is all around Detroit is one of my favorites. I may not be a 4th generation conjure woman, I may not have native or African blood in my veins but I dove into the world of conjure and know that I have come home.
The Motor City Hoo Doo line was created through the exploration of this powerful, primal tradition and the recipes came from the Spirit of magic that is all around us in our bad ass Detroit city. When you light a MCHD candle or use an oil you can feel the primal power of rebirth letting your own magic awaken and empower your intent.
So go ahead and Keep it Magic and power up your intent!
Pt 2 - The Primal Power of Conjure
To understand the core and power of Hoo Doo you have to dive into history. It is the push of history, the push of the oppressed into unfamiliar and repressive situations that created the Hoo Doo we know today. This is not a tradition that follows a straight line, but one that curves upon itself in repeating stories and situations. It is one that joins it with other conjure traditions from other oppressed, degraded and repressed people. This journey through history that Hoo Doo takes you in is critical because it takes you from that place where victims live in fear to the mountaintop of glory where we experience personal power. Hoo Doo is a journey through your own self-imposed oppression into the root of your soul where you find the wound, heal it and then experience a life of spiritual freedom.
From the forests of the Kongo, through the Blood Coast of Africa to the plantations of the south, Hoo Doo was kept hidden, yet kept alive. In the Appalachian hills you will find people of the earth who live and dies by conjure, keeping the old ways alive through faith. In the southern plains you will find first nation people who held strong to their connection to spirit and magic even while their people were being systematically obliterated. In the cities you will find Jewish immigrants who struggle to carve out a community and stay connected to the sacred and mystical teachings that hold them together.
All of these people, conjurers each one, know the hell of oppression, segregation, and institutionalized prejudice. Yet, they manage to thrive, find joy, build families and stay strong individually and collectively. That is primal power, to burst through those societal limitations and work from a place of divine authority. To do this, magic has to come from the root of your soul, the root of your pain and make change where change seems impossible. That is the power of conjure.
When you are working with the Divine allies of conjure they know your pain and can lend you the power you need to break free of the oppression that blocks you. When you are tapping into the long standing forces of conjure you are tapping into primal creative forces. Crown of Glory, Come to me, High John, Fiery Wall of protection, Helping hand all have a collective power behind them and when you call that energy up, it meets you where you are and help create primal, root healing magical change.
Because no-body can touch your bad ass primal Hoo Doo. Now, go make some change.
Pt 3 - 21st Century Conjure
We are not struggling with life and death on a daily basis like our ancestors did. We have freezers for our food, over stocked groceries stores, transportation, shelter and heat in the winter and even cooling centers in the summer. Today, our problems are #firstworldproblems and are about moving from surviving into thriving. So, how does this old school country conjure fit into our new school city needs?
It’s hard to get away with plucking a black rooster on steps of the courthouse – even at midnight – without getting arrested. There are very few crossroads to bury things in the center of since they have all been paved over. When is the last time you were close to a natural body of water that you could throw a 4 thieves bottle into? It’s time to step into the 21st century with our magic and start finding the things that will work in today’s world.
Crossroads – They are every quarter mile in the city so how do you know which ones to use? Crossroads that unite communities or cross boundaries add to the crossroad energy. Crossroads that are in the center of a community are also an excellent choice.
Laying tricks – Trying to lay powder in your bosses office can cause a work shutdown while they test the substance for anthrax! It’s time to get creative with laying of tricks. Give them a pen that has been doused in the oil or powder. Put a little oil on your report or take them to lunch and have them sit in a trick that you put in the passenger seat. No matter who the trick is for – name it to the person for whom it is intended. When you name it, the trick won’t affect anyone but them.
Setting lights – (burning candles) Not many of us have the luxury of lighting a 7 day candle and letting it go until it burns out. We have to extinguish the candle before you leave for work or even before you leave the room because of your pets or kids. GO ahead and extinguish that candle and say – “I snuff our flam in this world as it is lit in the next, continuing my magic. I will relight you again at ______ to reaffirm this work.” Make sure you light it then or that magic you are working will slowly fade away.
Personal Concerns – Anything that is connected to the person you are working a trick on or magic for is a personal concern. The obvious ones are a tissue, a piece of clothing, spit, hair, etc. Then there is their signature or a picture but that is not as powerful. Think about what is unique to that person and add it to their picture; their Soc Sec. number, their cell phone number, their email address, facebook ID, or any social media id. Think about printing out a profile picture of them, especially if it has been up for a while and no one else is in the picture. This is how hundreds of people identify with them so why not? The point of a personal concern is to tap into the energy of the person who you are working magic. When you don’t have DNA, stack your personal concern with everything you can that connect you to them.
It’s ok to update and evolve the conjure that was taught back in the day. The symbology and sympathetic magic that they used back then rang true for their times. Ring your conjure with today’s 21st century bell and work your computer, your phone, your car, your internet. Work with what makes sense for you. If you need a mojo bag and an empty Altloid tin inspires you, work your mojo in there! Recently I used a purple Crown Royal bag for the BEST Crown of Glory spell ever. I even used a cola and a Mentos to put some energy into a project. How about Crystal Skull vodka bottle for some spirit work?
Putting out a resume via the internet? Put the oil on your hands before you type up the resume and send it off. Dating online? Print out your profile picture and work your conjure on it. Waiting on a phone call? Pull up an image of the Page of Swords on your phone and leave it there until they call.
Go have some 21st Century conjure fun and let me know what you come up with!
Jacki Smith is the Founder, enchantress and trouble maker at Coventry Creations. Follow her articles here on Coventry Creations.com, listen to her and Storm Cestavani on Keep It Magic (Blog Talk Radio), Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or drop her a line through Coventry!
Power up your intent & find your motivation!
I have a question for you... Why is it you can meet some challenges and not others? Why is it you can set two goals of equal value and urgency and one of them gets totally tossed away and underserved? This is a question I ask myself all the time. Actually, it seems to be one of the eternal questions….. Why do we do what we do, when we do?
One reason is that in some challenges we set ourselves up to fail. When that challenge is not in line with our personal “Why” our core sense motivation and identity we associate ourselves with we will block and sabotage it
We all have a deep sense of self, of identity, of desires and passions and many of us have denied ourselves permission to live from that. So often we feel that our identity or destiny is complicated, deep and near impossible to manifest. We are taught that ego, or having a sense of self and boundaries are bad and greedy and to avoid allowing any tiny bit of narcissism to peek through layers of service and compromise that we cloak ourselves with. We are often told that to love yourself first is narcissistic yet if you don’t love yourself first you will never find your “Why”. Yet it is in that tiny bit of narcissism that we can find the ego, bring out its positive aspects and start living in alignment with our true passions.
When you align with your personal “Why” you can start to act more instinctively, make decisions with less distress and really get your intentions and magic to line up with your purpose. It’s like peddling fast while going downhill with the wind at your back – no resistance baby! When you set your intent on something that your core self is NOT in alignment with you will fail, over and over again. Your core purpose, the mission of your ego, your instinct will stand in the way and you will not get your wish. This is not to say give up, it is to say wake up! Understand yourself better and deeper and then you know how to frame your intent so it fits with you. This also helps you get deeper with your wants and desire and fine tune them to your needs.
Have I scared you yet? It can be a scary thing to actually find your core self and take the authority over your life. What happens if you actually find your “Why” and that increases your personal power? What happens if you accept that power and awakening? What happens when you realize parts of your life are not in alignment with your core self? It’s ok, you change. You change at a rate that makes sense for you to alter your life to create that place where your vision and passion can manifest.
You have created an amazing defense mechanism to hide your “Why” from yourself and to plow right into it can cause anxiety and confusion and lots of therapy. An easier way to peel back the layers of defense that stand sentinel to your fears is to ask questions and answer them. It is within the consistence of your answers that you will find that core why and core self. You can do this on your own by writing out your answers or you can find a trusted friend who will let you ramble a bit, keep you on track and record your answers without comment. You can also read the “Why Is That” section in the Coventry Magic book to get yourself started.
Let’s make this even easier and set up the energy in the room to help you release any resistance. Use the Witches Brew Oil to give yourself a boost in confidence, light a Truth and Justice, Stability and a Protection Blessed Herbal Candle to help the truth come out while you feel solid and protected. Now start with answering the following questions:
What is the biggest challenge in your life?
What is the biggest frustration with that challenge?
What does happiness l mean to you?
What does being fulfilled mean to you?
What three things make your happy?
What are your favorite three things to do?
What is your biggest internal struggle?
What frustrates you the most about that struggle?
What is your biggest, scariest most outrageous goal?
What do you feel is missing from your life?
When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
What was your favorite pastime as a child?
Who influenced you the most in your life?
What was your favorite quality about them?
If money were no object, what would you do with your time?
Look at your answers, or have your friend review the answers with you and find the repeating theme in your words. Was there a sentiment that you returned to over and over again? Was there a common frustration? If so what was at the core of that frustration and what is your desired outcome for that frustration?
Pull out those items and then start crafting your personal “Why”, your core identity and put it in a simple sentence.
(your passion) so that (catalyst) can happen.
For instance, my personal “Why” is; “I help awaken your personal power so you can take authority over your own life.”
A friend of mine has, “I help the unseen be seen and the unheard be heard to bring a balance to this world.”
Another friend had, “I find healing in every moment to show you it is possible to create the life that you want.”
Another friend is, “I create opportunity to show others they can be anything.”
Another is, “I want every client to go so much out joy of the experience that feeds them through their daily life.”
Most of these statements are from regular folks who just want to write a new ticket and create a life filled with experiences they choose. They are simple, straight forward and clear. They give each person the power to say yes to what they want and more importantly say no to what distracts them from their core identity.
It’s now your turn to take charge of your experience, write your own ticket, find out what you really want. Enjoy the journey and remember, you bring your party with you wherever you go.
Keep it Magic!
Enchantress and Trouble Maker
Welcome to 2015! Forget about some stupid unsustainable resolution and step into the most sacred journey of self-discovery!
This year, my staff had the amazing idea of taking them (and all of you) through the steps to creating a magical transformation in your life that I wrote about in my book Coventry Magic with Herbs, Oils and Candles. This process of transformation is one that we all naturally go through in our struggles to change and when we apply magical principles at the same time it can become a source of spiritual enlightenment and magic.
The first step in the process is called “Getting comfortable in your own skin”. This place of personal acceptance is critical to successful and long lasting magic. With this acceptance you are starting from a solid ground to grow from. When you start in a place of denial you are in a place precarious balance where anything you build can come crashing down.
Denial reminds me of an old lullaby
Rock-a-bye baby, on the tree top
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks the cradle will fall
Down will com baby, cradle and all.
We try to sooth ourselves with a fantasy of what life is like for us; we sooth ourselves with anything that will validate that invention. We deny that we have set ourselves precariously up in the tree where no one can harm us and then are surprised when it just doesn’t work out. When you try to skip this step of owning and understanding where you are today, you are sabotaging the success of your magic before you even get started.
From Coventry Magic, p 37–
Get into your body in the here and now, love and appreciate yourself, and discover your own personal power reserves. You made it all the way through your life to today. You made decisions that, good or bad, have kept you alive and relatively sane. You may not like it, but you can still love it, be it, and own it because that is who you are today, baby!
Take a look at all you have done to survive up until now. That is a miracle within itself; just escaping high school without more scars than you have is a feat! Own your survival and forgive yourself for the impossible task of doing better when you didn’t know how.
You are an amazing being right now in your current imperfect state. Forget about any stupid New Year’s resolution to be miraculously transform into something that you cannot sustain. Celebrate that you are beginning a new journey of self-discovery this year. You are going to unravel the mystery that is you and find that core belief that informs the unhealthy decisions that you are making in your current life.
Now – let’s turn this into a magical experience and light a candle. Start with the Affirmation Goddess or the Blessed Herbal Stability and add in a protection candle (like Evil Eye, Fiery Wall of Protection or the Blessed Herbal Protection candle to secure that soft mushy middle that you are about to open up.
Light your candles and say this variation on the Hindu prayer for the body
I recognize my body is the temple in which my spirit
and creative energy dwell.
I have created you from my need to have my spirit manifested on earth
so that I may have this time to learn and grow.
I offer you sustenance in many forms so that you may continue to
sustain my creative energy, my spirit, my soul.
I offer this to you with love, and a sincere desire
for you to remain free from disease and disharmony.
I accept you as my own creation. I need you. I love you.
Open up your favorite journal and start writing about who you are today. This is a discovery of you, your motivations and your fears. If you feel persecuted or victimized ask yourself how you have contributed to this. If you find yourself impoverished, ask yourself what you are spending your energy and money on. If you find yourself alone, ask what about you is pushes people away.
You are taking a step out of being a victim where you have handed the power and control of your energy to another being. You are taking a step into empowerment where you build new healthy energy from within that you choose how it is spent – and may that be in a healthy way.
This is not a onetime event, but a month long discovery process. Write every day, or at least several times a week to dig deep into yourself and get comfortable in your own skin. Rock the cradle, fall out of the tree and find yourself on solid ground where you can plant the seeds given specially to you from the divine and grow from there.
This is not a test. There will never be a test of your ability to be perfect. There is only the messiness of life so turn off the DIY home improvement shows, leave your overfilled cart in the craft store, close the Good Housekeeping magazine, step off the treadmill and get back into your body. It's time to celebrate your messy, imperfect self.
There is a growing lie out there and it only gets worse during the holidays. This lie is told to us by the chaos of judgmental voices in our head that say if we just do this next thing perfectly we will be accepted, admires, loved, and free of all the pain that past judgments have caused us. We are inundated with external voices of advertising that tells us that children judge our yellow teeth, diets will save us from being outcasts in society and that a perfect parent makes Rice Krispy treats while helping their four children complete their calculus homework. It's all a lie because life is messy, emotional, damaging, inspiring and plain old boring at times.
Perfection is the lie and trap that gets us in trouble over and over again. Geneen Roth in her book "When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair" tell us "The fourth laws of the universe is that for every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge." It's a trap that we put ourselves in, for every moment of perfect we attempt to invest in, there is an equal and opposite failure that our emotions define ourselves with. This is like being trapped in a game if tic-tac-toe where no one ever wins and eventually you just stop playing.
Every human has basic fundamental desires; sustenance, affection, security, recognition, community, safety, freedom, creativity and identity. This messy life we lead is all about meeting these needs and our growing basket of experiences defined how we approach meeting those needs. Unfortunately many experiences and messages that form that internal judgmental voice tell us that if we just master the art of perfection in our life all of these basic fundamental needs will be met. We will be more loved, more respected, get more money and have more security if we just get it right. This is where the lie is created because in the end, we are all, every last one of us, are more concerned in our own struggle of perfection than yours. Every judgmental statement made by others that we take in as proof of our need for perfection is actually that person judging themselves and has very little to do with how they are seeing you. We all are mirrors to each other and what you dislike in another is what you are in conflict with yourself over.
What if the truth is that we are not really judged as imperfect by others and that it's all an internal process that we are actually in control of? What if the truth is we are all so busy judging ourselves that there isn't much time to really judge others? What if we stepped off the need for perfection and stepped onto the patch of enjoying the moment in all its messy glory? What if it's not about how the present is wrapped and more about what the actual present is?
So, how do we get out of the perfection trap? We get grateful! When we value who we are today, the talents we have and what we have already created in our lives we shine a light on our own imperfect beauty. Perfection is boring, it doesn't leave room for inspired mistakes, unique personalities and interesting adventures. When we shine a light on our imperfections we get to be genuine, amazing and approachable.
I challenge you for this month to find 30 imperfect things that you are grateful for and have made your life a better place. I challenge you to become empowered with your unique self and let the pain of your imperfection be released and healed.
This is magic, this is transforming your life, healing yourself and embracing your power. Personal power is never found in perfection or even in happiness. It is found in pain, struggle and failure and your ability to grow and thrive because of it. Magic is finding the blessing, the joy and the divine in everything – that is when you transform and get all of those fundamental needs and desire met.
Live some magic with me today!