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New Dates! Online Trance, Mediumship, & Divination Class

13 Sep
A Hamatsa shaman in a state of trance.

A First Nations Hamatsa medicine person photographed in a trance state.

If you were considering joining the 6-week online webinar series on Trance, Mediumship, & Divination, it’s not too late!

Some late summer technical difficulties and unexpected inquiries about the class resulted in its postponement to its definite new start date of Tuesday, October 6th @ 8:30pm EST (and as the webinars will be recorded, attendance at the live class is not necessary for participation).

However, a number of great things happen from this:

  1. The class completely misses Mercury Retrograde, which can take a toll through unexpected technical and communication mishaps.
  2. The class will take place during the time of year famous for the Veil being thin between our world and the spiritworld (hence holidays like Samhain, All Saint’s Day, and Dia de Los Muertos). It’s the perfect time to deepen skills in psychism and divination.
  3. I got to do a whole episode of On Sacred Ground on cultivating skills in trance and mediumship!

So, the details are as follows (registration ends September 25th):

Tuesdays, October 6th – November 10th, 2015 @ 8:30pm EST
 
Since ancient times, magicians, diviners, witches, root doctors, and spiritworkers in every culture have been able to skillfully work with non-ordinary states of consciousness – trance states – to receive information, explore different planes of existence, communicate with unseen helping spirits, and re-weave the threads of fate.
 
This class is especially helpful for:
  • people who are ready to go deeper on their personal healing paths,
  • tarot readers, palm readers, astrologers, and other types of diviners who are ready to sharpen and expand their skills,
  • healers, mediums, spiritworkers, magicians, and root doctors eager to engage their helping spirits and the Spirit world more fully in their practices,
  • and artists, visionaries, and other creatives ready to plumb the depths of their internal landscapes toward inspiration and creative expansion.
 
In this 6-week immersion, participants will:
  • gain applicable skills in multiple forms of trance including dreaming, mediumship, embodiment, shamanic journeywork, and visualization,
  • deepen intuitive divining skills across multiple platforms,
  • meet and develop relationships with personal helping spirits and learn to interpret their symbolic language,
  • learn how to troubleshoot and resolve energetic patterns in our lives and environments,
  • and explore ways of incorporating skillful trancework into their current spiritual practices.
 
Classes will be held weekly via online video webinar and outside resources (readings, online videos, etc.) will be provided weekly. There will also be a group forum. As the subject matter is broad and deeply transformative, active participation through completion of weekly homework assignments and regular exercises is expected.
 
Register early (limited slots available) and register here!

Online Trance & Mediumship Class + Anniversary Sale

11 Aug
Image from Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

Image from Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold

The WayBack Machine is a truly glorious invention for archiving the ever-changing landscape of the world wide web. I’d known that this month, August, marked the five year anniversary of Conjure in the City‘s existence, but I hadn’t known that yesterday – the day I waybacked myself – was LITERALLY its birthday, marked by my first blog post on my original site.

It’s been an amazing experience being a full-time intuitive, shamanic, and magical consultant working with incredible people and transformative tools to help heal old stories and shape brand new realities in our lives and in the world at large.

To celebrate this Five Year Anniversary, all consultations are 33% off through August 20th AND the ever-popular Spirit Guide Consultations have been extended 30 minutes because I just can’t cram all that stuff into just one hour. Dead folks really know how to talk!

Khi Armand, Conjure in the City

And in other news, I’m teaching a 6-week online webinar series that starts September 1st titled

Tuesdays, September 1st – October 6th, 2015 @ 8:30pm EST

(Classes will be recorded so participation without live attendance is possible.)

Since ancient times, magicians, diviners, witches, root doctors, and spiritworkers in every culture have been able to skillfully work with non-ordinary states of consciousness – trance states – to receive information, explore different planes of existence, communicate with unseen helping spirits, and re-weave the threads of fate.

This class is especially helpful for:
  • people who are ready to go deeper on their personal healing paths,
  • tarot readers, palm readers, astrologers, and other types of diviners who are ready to sharpen and expand their skills,
  • healers, mediums, spiritworkers, magicians, and root doctors eager to engage their helping spirits and the Spirit world more fully in their practices,
  • and artists, visionaries, and other creatives ready to plumb the depths of their internal landscapes toward inspiration and creative expansion.
In this 6-week immersion, participants will:
  • gain applicable skills in multiple forms of trance including dreaming, mediumship, embodiment, shamanic journeywork, and visualization,
  • deepen intuitive divining skills across multiple platforms,
  • meet and develop relationships with personal helping spirits and learn to interpret their symbolic language,
  • learn how to troubleshoot and resolve energetic patterns in our lives and environments,
  • and explore ways of incorporating skillful trancework into their current spiritual practices.

Classes will be held weekly via online video webinar and outside resources (readings, online videos, etc.) will be provided weekly. There will also be a group forum. As the subject matter is broad and deeply transformative, active participation through completion of weekly homework assignments and regular exercises is expected.

Limited slots are available, so register early.
Class Investment: $250
booknow

Participants will receive an introduction to the course via e-mail and instructions for how to access the weekly video webinars over the weeks leading up to the first class.

In addition to group lessons, feedback, and interaction, this class will provide a lot for those seeking personal mentorship toward enhancing their psychic gifts and visionary skills. It’s been on my heart for a long while and it’s a thrill to see it finally manifest.

Khi Armand is an NYC-based Intuitive Consultant and Shamanic Healer who provides transformative solutions for life and business. He is the proprietor of Conjure in the City and author of Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection.
 

Curses, Jinxes, Crossed Conditions, and Deliverance!

31 Jul

Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, and Protection by Khi ArmandI’ve mentioned it here and there but have yet to truly announce it on my own blog: I wrote a book – Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection.

In her review of it on Amazon.com, my AIRR colleague Susan Barnes called me “the Sherlock Holmes of curses and jinxes” which is a really fitting moniker! I happen to excel at the work of both detecting and removing crossed conditions, and there’s a good reason for this:

I’ve survived a buttload of them — and lived to tell the tale.

Really. You name it, I’ve experienced it.

Incessant entity intrusions? More than you can shake a stick at.

Active curses laid by enemies? Been there.

Heir to crappy ancestral patterns? Yep.

Angry ancient deities? Hmph…tell me about it.

Past-life issues? You betcha.

Near-crippling depression and anxiety? Alas.

There’s not much that I haven’t been through.

But what I learned through these experiences of trial (and much, much error) I decided to turn into as indispensable a resource as I could muster — a first-aid kit (if you will) for some of life’s most pesky (if not enduring) difficulties.

In the worldview of Hoodoo Rootwork, the primary folk magic tradition of the American South, we are divinely entitled to a life of wellbeing. What we want (within due reason), we should be able to get, and if we are finding ourselves thwarted in our efforts toward living a good life, we are experiencing crossed conditions.

Figural candles and botanicals in a spell for uncrossing and protecting members of a family.

Figural candles and botanicals in a spell for uncrossing and protecting members of a family.

Crossed conditions can indeed be caused by someone “throwing for us” (a term used in Hoodoo to denote being the victim of a curse) and can also be the result of unfortunate happenstance, from moving into a haunted house or office space to inadvertently picking up a wandering intrusive spirit. The withering effects of the dreaded Evil Eye fall under this category as well as mundane human interactions in the home and workplace that aren’t peaceful, progressive, and supportive.

What we find in folk magic, shamanic practices, and other Earth-based wellness traditions is a deep engagement with the other side of the coin of manifestation and the ever-popular “Law of Attraction.” It’s the question of “What’s standing in the way?” coupled with a wide plethora of formulas, allies, and ritual acts for remediating conditions that are blocking the path to achieving our aims.

In Hoodoo, root doctors are known not only for their ability to remove such blockages, but for diagnosing what the blocks actually are and helping to protect their client from their return. Though methods of diagnosis vary between practitioners and require skills in divination and mediumship, a few simple methods toward ascertaining whether or not one is under a curse or jinx are included in this book.

In 21st century Rootwork, the most common form of curse and jinx removal is the ubiquitous “Uncrossing bath” that’s meant to not only rid oneself of the harmful intentions of enemies but the accumulation of other types of harmful energies picked up as a result of simply living from day-to-day. Our spiritual bodies, like our physical bodies, need to be refreshed and restored on a regular basis if we want to move with the flow of goodness that’s available to us. Recipes for Uncrossing baths surely number in the dozens and a variety of them are included in this book (along with directions for how they are traditionally performed).

Not all of the types of conditions I’ve encountered in my life and practice are included in Deliverance! because Hoodoo, as a folk magic, doesn’t include within its cosmology such concerns as past-life experiences – and that’s OK. No one modality on Earth is meant to address every type of difficulty that can be encountered. This brings me to the underlying message behind this work —

Choose faith and follow the path.

Life itself is our most powerful teacher and in all of the spiritual warfare I’ve encountered in my practice as a root doctor and folk magician, it was bringing healing to the war within myself that was the greatest catalyst in my writing this book. Self-healing is an oft-overlooked aspect of magic and manifestation that goes beyond spiritual cleansing and protection, and I did my best to address this topic using the tools that are commonly found in the Conjure tradition.

CONTENTS

Dedication and Acknowledgements 4
About This Book 5
Who Will Deliver Us? 6
        What Is Hoodoo? 7
        The Terminology of Conjure 8
        On the Purchase of Spiritual Products 9
        On Botanicals, Minerals, and Animal Curios 10
        Diagnosing Spiritual Problems 11
        Understanding Magic 11
        Understanding Spiritual Gifts 13
        Understanding Initiatory Crises 14
        Understanding Jinxes and Crossed Conditions 16
        Understanding Intrusive Spirits and Energies 17
        Understanding Curses 18
        Interpreting Dreams, Signs, and Omens 20
        Formal Methods of Divination and Reading 23
        Spiritual First Aid Spells 26
        Uncrossing and Spiritual Cleansing 29
        Uncrossing Money: Deliverance from Poverty 39
        Uncrossing Love: Deliverance from Loneliness 45
        Uncrossing Health Matters 49
        Uncrossing Legal Matters 54
        Dealing with Intrusive Spirits and Energies 58
        Reversing and Protection 60
        Carrying the Good Work On 66
        Unlocking Clarity and Self-Mastery 66
        When You Are Stuck: Block Buster Work 69
        When You Are Ready: Road Opener Work 71
        Maintenance: How Often Should You Cleanse? 72
        Developing Relationships with Helping Spirits 73
        Developing Relationships with Ancestors 74
        Developing Relationships with Angels and Saints 79
        How to Find the Right Root Doctor 86
        Spiritual and Social Resources 89
Frequently Asked Questions 90
Bibliography 96

Deliverance! can be purchased from Lucky Mojo Curio Co. or from Amazon.com. I pray it is a helpful aid in your endeavors.

Khi Armand is an NYC-based Intuitive Consultant and Shamanic Healer who provides transformative solutions for life and business. He is the proprietor of Conjure in the City and author of Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection.

Shaman Sickness, Part II: Obeah Woman

14 Nov

He laughed and told me that I wouldn’t be the first to run like hell from my initiatory helping spirit. It’s par for the course.

This is Part II in a four-part series on shaman sickness and initiation.
Part I can be found here.

It was shortly after suddenly splitting into multiple personalities but shortly before the nightmares about the devouring tiger that I journeyed to find answers about what was happening. Night after night unseen hands groped around inside me, pulling things out and putting things in, agonizingly stretching my sense of what it means to be human – or, whatever it was I was finding myself to be.

I hoped my helping spirit Maria would have some answers, but she was nowhere to be found.

An ocean’s surface.

Delve beneath. 

A cave.

Inside, a woman draped in jewels and fine cloths.

“Obeah Woman,” I found myself exclaiming.

She let out a hearty laugh.

Such words had never come out of my mouth, nor had I ever heard them. And while I knew next to nothing about the tradition of Jamaican Obeah, there was something West Indian about her. I also knew that she loved molasses. She didn’t tell me that – I just knew it.

This was my initiatory helping spirit. This was the spirit that was causing my death.

Obeah Woman

Both spirit-induced and human-led initiations into spiritual traditions often involve a tutelary helping spirit whose medicine the initiate will spend at least some portion of their lives bringing into the world. This helping spirit might also carry traits that are a reflection of the initiate’s own personality, whether those traits are on display or hidden in the sub/unconscious.

The relationship between the initiate and the helping spirit is sometimes intimate enough that its boundaries can be blurry. In the Yoruba tradition of Ifa and its African-diasporic offshoot Lucumí / Santería, children of a particular Orisha (who is said to “crown” them or “have their head”) in some ways represent that spirit here on earth, and even their relationships with children of other Orishas can mimic their crowning spirits’ relationships with one another as found in sacred lore. Similarly, Odin’s wives – women in god-spouse relationships with the All-Father of Norse tradition – often happen to be rivals of one another. In short, the veil between the worlds is nearly thin enough as to be non-existent.

One medicine person I know in the Lakota tradition was told by their primary helping spirit that their work with them – a certain set of teachings they were delivering to a group of people – would be complete in a couple of years. On the other hand, I know of more than one shaman who is a lifelong god-slave to a spirit due to past-life debts – for them, even romantic relationships with other humans requires permission and appeasement through divination and sacrifices.

Initiatory and tutelary helping spirit relationships come in many varieties from different origin points but are always deeply intimate teacher-student relationships centered around healing the parts of yourself standing in the way of being able to fully carry that spirit’s medicine in the world – and then carrying it for the greater good of a community.

RW-Tower

The idea of a spirit having the ability to up-end someone’s life without warning may be foreign or uncomfortable in magickal traditions in which gods, saints, and other entities are primarily seen as working spirits helping with requests put forth by the practitioner in exchange for offerings and devotion. Even modern American Neo-Pagan traditions maintain a narrative that posits the agency of the practitioner above all else. A deity or other spirit may make themselves known to someone through signs and visitations, but whether or not a real relationship develops is in the hands of the human being.

When refusal of the spirit’s advances isn’t an option and the practitioner’s life inevitably begins to crumble, our collective ignorance about such processes often results in such individuals being shunned and seen as unstable — the latter of which is not entirely untrue given the liminality of any initiatory process. But in a shamanic or indigenous community, there’s a greater chance that someone will understand what is going on and community resources can be put toward helping the individual make it through the trial.

In our contemporary animistic communities, writings about spirit-induced initiations by individuals like Raven Kaldera and Galina Krasskova have resulted in controversy and public denouncements as contemporary American practitioners prefer their gods relegated to mythology, working spirit roles, and as excuses to buy pretty things rather than seeing them as the forces of agency that they are, sometimes demanding sacrifices of some individuals in exchange for gifts that they are not allowed to refuse.

Every contemporary shaman and dead-man-walking spiritworker I know has experienced homelessness during at least one of their spirit-induced initiations. I also know of a Mambo in Haitian Vodou who was a nurse before she fell and broke her leg, taking it as a sign that patience had run out on her starting her sosyete. And I once performed a reading with a Protestant Christian black American woman whose son had been stricken with an undiagnosable illness and she was sure that his girlfriend had put roots on him despite her staying by his bedside. My reading indicated that this wasn’t the first time this had happened and if he didn’t change his ways and heed the call to ministry that he knew was on his life, it would end. She knew exactly what I meant. I prescribed bathing his eyes in a weak tea of Eyebright to bring clarity and suggested she call a trustworthy Pastor or other official from her church to her son’s bedside too so that he could begin taking the necessary actions in alignment with his destiny.

Spiritual callings are cross-cultural and even the term “shaman sickness” fails to encompass the wide breadth of these kinds of sudden life emergencies that trigger a death and rebirth within the individual. But if we, as a culture, can learn to recognize the signs, we’ll all be the better for it.

Fail a lot. Don’t consider yourself an expert until you have collapsed your life as a side effect of practicing magic because that’s what it does. Ask any shaman ever. – Gordon White of Rune Soup

Obeah Woman 2

Throughout the sickness, I searched endlessly for Obeah Woman’s true name – something that I recognized from a tradition familiar to me. Was she really Olokun of the Yoruba people? She displayed gender-variant traits like them. Or maybe she was La Sirene, the mermaid lwa of Vodou. Many initiatory helping spirits don’t reveal their names early on so as to avoid confusion about their true natures, wanting their initiates to get to know them first before turning to their myths or the accounts of others.

But not in my case.

It wouldn’t be too long before I came across Nina Simone’s ecstatic live track in which she exclaims “I’m the Obeah Woman / From beneath the sea / To get to Satan / You have to pass through me.”

I also found her embodied in character of Addaperle the Feel Good Girl and her motion picture counterpart Miss One, the Good Witch of the North, in the 1970s film adaptation of the Broadway play The Wiz, carrying a chalkboard etched with lucky numbers for winning policy games and oozing that “eccentric aunt” feeling that’s so particularly electric.

Miss One

Then I found her in the theme song from the 1990s sitcom Living Single as the silhouetted woman with dance moves both warrior- and river-like shortly after realizing that she reminded me precisely of how the ocean feels along the beaches I grew up on in Far Rockaway, Queens.

But this was before I’d seen her other aspects. During the more grueling months of my trials with her, particularly while being forced to resolve my childhood wounds around gender expression, she often appeared as a short large-breasted huge-dicked hermaphrodite Pygmy witch.

Then, as a pipe-smoking Plains American Indian woman.

And then in what I consider to be her original form – a young gender/role-variant African woman with child in one arm, weapon in the other. Both fierce warrior and loving mother. Something akin to how my own energy runs, I discovered. But then again, what is gender except how our energy runs?

Karin Miller, “African Mermaid,” ca. 2011, from the series Sea Changes.

Karin Miller, “African Mermaid,” ca. 2011, from the series Sea Changes.

It was another friend of mine who introduced me to Mami Wata, a pantheon of female African water spirits, and it was there that I found the closest match. Apart from the obvious, Mami Wata’s ties to symbols of prosperity and divinatory gifts are keenly similar to Obeah Woman’s regal presence, and anthropological records of black and indigenous West Indian adherents speaking of “Mammy-Water” help account for Obeah Woman’s unmistakably New World essence.

“The prevailing literature [on Mami Wata] tends to exclude African-Americans without realizing that they are even more connected to African spirits because of the devastation of slavery in which Mami also suffered. Far too many young black men are suffering mental disorders especially schizophrenia, starting as young as 13 yrs., because the source of their problem is Mami.”

Overt “shamanic” initiation aside, our culture’s relentless narrative that the value of young black American men lies especially in their ability to forsake all vestiges of beauty, compassion, depth, and receptivity is entirely at odds with such an entity’s gifts, and perhaps even her demands if the genealogical timing is such that a young American brother has fallen under her gaze. These cultural pressures are in no way absent for queer and gender-variant black men, often resulting in internalized homo- and transphobia as absence of full and authentic personal expression is seen as the epitome of masculinity and is the precursor for its erotic consumption in our current age.

“Black men who are traditionally initiated to Mami as a balance of their masculine force, are often unaware of their ancestral matrilineal heritage, and pressure is often forced on them to conform to a false machismo not characteristics of ancient African philosophy or culture. In America, when black men are born to Mami Wata, they are often at a loss to explain their spiritual sufferings, and some tend to self-medicate with illicit drugs, alcohol or other dissociative means. Some even resort to crime, or exhibit such psychotic behavior that they are eventually institutionalized.”

Such observations provide powerful commentary on the active power of ancestral lineage in the lives of contemporary Americans, and as a spirit who is as much Woman as she is the total defiance of gender norms, Obeah Woman’s medicine as a re-balancer of the scales is sorely needed in our age. May She be hailed.

She is a goddess of prosperity. She is a goddess of death and of truth-telling. She is the storm that clears the air and makes way for a new day when what has been collectively forgotten is remembered, and we mourn. We mourn for our hearts. We mourn for those lost. We mourn for the Great Forgetting.

And then we remember.

And then, we dance.

(to the tune of “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree”)

Obeah Woman laughs far beneath the sea

Draped in jewels and gold, laughing “ke ke ke”

Laugh! Obeah Woman, laugh!

Lead us to our authenticity!

Khi Armand is an NYC-based psychic intuitive, shamanic healer, and folk magician. He is the proprietor of Conjure in the City and author of Deliverance! Hoodoo Spells of Uncrossing, Healing, & Protection.

Intimacy, Part 2: Going Farther with the Spirits

4 Aug

blue fire heartI’ve got many more blog posts to catch-up on for the Pagan Blog Project, but there’s so much more to be said about stepping into intimacy in our spiritual practices – far beyond what I can muster in a few words.

I think fear of intimacy is at the crux of a lot of our concerns in the Western world. Racism, sexism, homo / transphobia (and all the others) all shine an eery light on ways in which we’re afraid of engaging not only with others, but with parts of ourselves that we’ve exiled, our ancestors exiled, and that we’re so used to exiling that we’ve long forgotten how vital they are to our personal and collective well-being.

We don’t live in a culture that encourages intimacy with ourselves or anyone else. Intimacy gets in the way of productivity, we’re told. It stifles our constant yang-yang-yang expression and, of course, were we to really stop and be present with our wounds, our deeper desires, and the real longing in our hearts, well – we may get hurt. We may be rejected. We may find ourselves abandoned.

Of course, so sayeth our false selves in an effort to keep us from going deeper, being with what’s coming up, and healing old stories that hold us back from experiencing something new.

Choosing intimacy is like building a muscle – it’s a practice that we cultivate by returning to it again and again in our daily lives. For me, its the glue between my spiritual life and my mundane life, helping me rid myself of even that false dichotomy that sets them apart from one another. That being said, here are a few more ideas that may help deepen the connection between you and your spirits:

  • Be spontaneous. Conversations with my spirits happen at their altars – but also while I’m on the subway. Impromptu libations may be poured outside of a bar and pennies may be left at a crossroads during my commute. When we weave our spirits into our everyday lives and are candid about our everyday lives with our spirits, we’re that much more supported, connected, in-tune, and clear about what is needed for transformation.
  • Ask the deeper questions. Many of us study how to ask helping spirits to help us achieve a task or bring something into our lives – but what is our capacity to listen and enter into deep relationship with them beyond give-and-take? How do our spirits view us and our responsibilities in our process – not just in terms of mundane efforts (e.g. – making sure you’re job searching while doing magick to find a job) but in terms of personal narratives that might be standing in the way of our success. In addition to petitioning your spirits for help, ask them to show you how to get out of your own way and ask them what questions they really think you should be asking them.
  • Say what you’re afraid to say. Growing up in a monotheistic culture, we’ve been taught to relate with the spiritworld in a way that is small and fearful. No matter how long we’ve been practicing animists, this is something embedded in our culture – how TV, entertainment, and advertisements show us as humans relating to “God” / the Divine – and it’s something to keep mindful of as we tread old waters into a new story. This is not to say that devotion isn’t a healthy part of any relationship, but that you here for a reason. You’re a big part of the Big Scheme of Things. So say what you’re afraid to say. Empty your heart out. “Show me why I never get an answer from you. Show me a clear sign in the next three days.” Real intimacy involves push-and-pull, tensions between receiving, not receiving, doubt, frustration, and bliss. If we’re willing to be in the thick of all of these stages with our helping spirits, we’ll find our intimacy deepened – just like a relationship with a lover that might sometimes be on the rocks or feel more questionable than gratifying. Sometimes healthy devotion is paired with a healthy amount of profanity. Throw yourself at them. Tell them you’re doing all you can. When you’re in the thick of it and it seems like your helping spirits aren’t doing their share of supporting you, demand answers. Demand clarity. Give them some offerings and then rail at them. And then, maybe listen, do what they say, and see what happens.
  • Give offerings often. When I give offerings to spirits, I generally tend to imagine them as multiplied a billion times over (something I learned from Jason Miller) and I do find that it makes a difference – there’s something more “full” about it. A practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism, Miller is well-versed in the art of giving offerings as, in his tradition, offerings are made constantly to a pretty serious retinue of spirits – both those friendly and familial and those considered hostile to keep them pleased. “If you make regular offerings, sometimes you will not need directed magic at all. The world just returns the favor. Thanks world.” Let’s take a cue from this great sorcerer and give. And keep giving. Don’t have much? That’s ok. A pinch of that sandwich you’re eating is a beautiful sacrifice. Giving doesn’t have to be about money. It’s about willingness to offer. It’s about forging bonds, empowering your helpers to help you, and inviting the help you need in.
  • Get out of your own head. This is a big one, especially in a culture obsessed with empirical evidence, “reason,” and head-based logic. Anyone who’s ever done any type of dream interpretation knows that the spiritworld often speaks to us in a sort of crazy logic that bypasses our logical, reasoning mind and goes right to the heart of things using symbolic language. One of my mentors often comments that the False Self – that part of ourselves so easily fortified in our culture that we see glimpses of in our self-sabotaging habits, inner criticisms, self-limiting thoughts and behaviors, etc. – is as smart as we are and has access to all of the tools that we do. This is one reason why spontaneous acts from the heart are so powerful – they throw the fear and limit-based False Self off its guard so we can really engage beyond the borders it so neatly has us regularly operating within. Hence, sing. Dance. Drum. Do. Something. Different. So often its our false dichotomies and over-analyzing that leave us standing in our own way, unable to hear what our spirits are really saying to us about our next best steps forward.

More on intimacy from our good friend, the musician Robert Een:

Ancestor Work 101: An Online Class with Galina Krasskova

28 Feb

One of my colleagues and dear friends is teaching an 8-week online class in Ancestor Work 101, starting this Saturday, March 1st. Last I heard, there are just a few spots left!

Galina is a Northern Tradition shaman, polytheist, conjure woman, and one of the best Ancestor workers I know with a thriving personal practice infusing her daily life as well as the work she does with her community.

More info below:

Ancestor Work 101: Getting Started

Galina Krasskova

Instructor: Galina Krasskova, krasskova@gmail.com
Recommended Texts: “Spiritual Protection” by Sophie Reicher
Length of Course: 8 weeks: March 1  through April 26.
Cost of Course: $125.00

I am going to be starting another eight week course in the basics of ancestor veneration: what it is, why we do it, how to get started and what problems might arise. This course is non-denominational (anyone may take it, you don’t have to be Heathen) and open to everyone. Lessons will be sent around once a week via a private yahoogroup email. Each lesson will contain a “lecture”, reading assignment, and homework. There will be a discussion group on yahoogroups for the duration of the class. There are ten spots available so if you’re interested, please contact me at krasskova at gmail.com as soon as possible to reserve your spot.

Hands-On Hoodoo Apprenticeship Series in NYC!

15 Dec

Hoodoo-Magic-Ancestor-Altar-Spirit-Guides-BovedaAfter receiving such a great response from this past week’s “Hoodoo + Conjure 101: American Folk Magick Series” lecture at Catland Books in Brooklyn, NY, I’m even more excited to launch:

Hoodoo – Conjure – Rootwork
A Hands-On Apprenticeship in African-American Folk Medicine & Magic

(9) Sundays, January 12 – March 30, 2014 @ Catland Books,Brooklyn, NY
Registration fee is $400. Class size is limited.

Some payment arrangements are available.

  • weekly readings & discussions
  • hands-on crafting of folk medicinal + magical objects including oils, baths, washes, powders, and talismans
  • home & field assignments
  • emphasis on discovering your own specialties in conjure and spiritual service
  • shamanic approach to building spiritual alliances
  • geared towards building your personal apothecary and formulary

In this 9-week immersion, you’ll learn the practical application of herbs, roots, stones, and bones along with techniques and tools for dreaming, divination, and mediumship. Class requires  (2) texts – other reading materials and most supplies provided.

Apprenticeship will be taught by Khi Armand, a neo-traditional shaman, macumbeiro, and professional hoodoo rootdoctor. He has studied and apprenticed with North American shamans, medicine people, and ethnomagicologists for nearly a decade and holds an MA in Performance Studies from Tisch @ NYU.

Apply today!

This is going to be an incredible experience for everyone involved as we investigate the history and politics of folk magic and folk doctoring in the U.S. from the 17th century to the current day, broader indigenous philosophies and epistemologies of well-being, magical ethics and the ethics of spiritual service, and our own unique spiritual gifts and how to make the best use of them alongside practical crafting of folk medicinal and magical tools and objects for our own use and to aid those in our communities.

For more information, e-mail khi@conjureinthecity.com.