Archive | Divination RSS feed for this section

Business Solutions & Shamanism

14 Aug
6 of Cups

The 6 of Cups card in the Tarot often indicates something from the past returning in an attempt to be resolved.

To me, shamanism is about finding solutions we would probably not find anywhere else. One of my favorite stories from the past few months is of a consultation that I had with a client at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival at Lucky Mojo Curio Co. in Forestville, CA . The client was a young woman who runs her own intuitive consulting practice focused especially on work with the tarot as a tool of divination.

After sorting through the more mundane details of what she could expect this summer, we arrived at this season’s primary lesson for her – structure. Though passionate and creative, like many spiritually-inclined folks, she not only lacked grounding but subconsciously resisted it. I could relate to the experience that being human can sometimes feel dense, heavy, and restricting. Gratefully, there are innumerable tools to remedy such feelings and bring greater grace to physical embodiment.

The lessons around grounding and structure were not new to her; the 6 of Cups card indicated that this season would not only provide a new glimpse of an old pattern, but that it would be experienced within her family dynamic. And this was accurate, she said, as she’d be helping her practical, grounded father manage his business temporarily over the upcoming months. The anxiety she felt about their incompatibility was palpable, borne from a childhood spent under his constricting glare.

Since she was able to locate a felt sense of that anxiety in her body, we moved right into an emotional clearing session, bringing back a lost childhood part of herself that felt more animal than human, more wild than civil, letting that part know that it was loved and could come along and enjoy the ride. An expanded sense of being instantly came over her as she experienced greater safety in her body and her True Nature. The seeming insurmountability of the lesson eased.

(The link above is to Langston Kahn’s emotional clearing practice, my own mentor in that modality.)

SpiderTransforming rigid internal patterns can seem daunting, if not impossible, and many folks don’t know where to start aside from obsessively thinking about ways to avoid or transform them. This is one of many places where allies in the plant and animal worlds can be extremely supportive as they lend us their perspectives – their medicine – to help us make the changes on an energetic level.

Though I’m used to retrieving plant and animal allies on behalf of clients, divination indicated that my client should go to Spirit herself and ask for one of the latter to help her find a new way of not only looking at structure, grounding, and organization, but experiencing it.

She came back to me about two hours later excited as hell.

“I found it! I found my animal ally.”

“Who?” I asked, curious that enough time had passed for a suitable ally to have made itself known.

“I went wandering in the labyrinth and asked for my ally and immediately saw a spider weaving its web in the trees. Spider creates a structure so it can capture the resources it needs to survive and, when its done, can pack it up and go.”

It was so jaw-droppingly appropriate. It comes to mind that spiders can also create multiple structures in different locations to capture those resources and return to them later to retrieve what they’ve caught. Little tending is needed after the initial structure has been built.

This ally was perfect for a woman-on-the-go who wanted to enjoy the openness, creativity, and freedom her chosen career afforded her, but needed to ensure that she wasn’t sabotaging her own interests by a) re-living old childhood traumas and b) not having her basics covered.

Anyone who knows me knows that I talk about plant spirits A LOT, but Animal Helping Spirits are a close second in my life. One of the most exciting times in my work is when I’m in journey for a client and one makes its aid known.

The question most folks ask is: What do I do when I get an Animal Helping Spirit?

The following two episodes of my podcast, On Sacred Ground, address that very question through anecdotes from both my personal life and my practice:

On Sacred Ground with Khi Armand (Ep. 8): Animal Helping Spirits, Part I

On Sacred Ground with Khi Armand (Ep. 9): Animal Helping Spirits, Part II

There are more ways of engagement than even these two episodes suggest, so you can be sure it’s a topic I’ll be returning to here.

Shamanic solutions for our lives and businesses abound and simply require that we that we receive and engage the answers we are given.

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.

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.

Why Shamanism Now?, Pagan Activism, & Other Sightings

21 Nov

I recently had the tremendous privilege of being a guest on shaman Christina Pratt‘s podcast Why Shamanism Now? (which I invite you to be addicted to along with me). The topic was Hoodoo Rootwork and the result was some of the deepest conversation about spiritwork that I’ve been privy to participate in. Dig in!

Pagan Activism Conference Online

Shortly thereafter I was a guest on the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour with hosts catherine yronwode and ConjureMan Ali discussing spirit intrusions and exorcisms and joining in with divination and rootwork advice for callers.

This weekend the Pantheon Foundation is hosting an Pagan Activism Conference Online with such notable authors, speakers, ritualists, and activists as Starhawk and T. Thorn Coyle sharing their wisdom and insights on contemporary American animistic traditions. I’ll be a guest on the Activism Among Pagans of Color panel taking place tomorrow (November 22nd), at 3pm EST (12pm PT) which, like all of the panels, can be attended on its own.

“Think about it: when was the last time you sat down for a chat at your kitchen table with the likes of T. Thorn Coyle, or Starhawk? At this event, that is exactly what you will be able to do.”

From my understanding, the entire conference will be video recorded and available shortly after this weekend.Conjure in the City Hoodoo Condition Oils

This Sunday, November 23rd, I’ll be a guest on The Blue Clique: Expression of Spirit radio show from 2pm-4pm EST discussing hoodoo rootwork / Southern conjure with the show’s wonderful hosts.

Next Saturday, November 29th, I’ll be leading a workshop titled “Marketing Prophecy” at the NY Regional Diviner’s Conference in Fishkill, NY. The line-up is incredible so if you’re in the tri-state area, consider coming. There’s so much to learn and so much great fellowship to be had

Monday, December 1st, starts Flora Luck‘s free annual Magick-Miracles & Mojo Telesummit and my interview with her will be released on December 3rd. I’ll be a guest along with such other radically awesome individuals as acclaimed Conjure Diva Madame Nadia.

And if you’re in the NYC area, on Sunday, December 14th I’ll be performing mini-Tarot readings and launching the Conjure in the City Apothecary at the Queer Exchange Fair in Brooklyn! I can think of no better venue for the upgrading of my plant spirit medicine offerings to begin.

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.

House Cleansing, House Spirits, & Spirits of the Land

21 Apr

It’s been a rather unique Spring thus far and I’ve got a lot of blog posts I’m excited to catch up on, but over at the Pagan Blog Project, it’s time for the letter “H”. I’ll start here and work backwards as time permits.

Letter H

———————

The spiritual work of tending the home is found in every culture around the world because the home is an extension of the body. One can be spiritually cleansed in their personhood but be living in a space that isn’t at all conducive to wellness. There are all kinds of factors at play when it comes to a dwelling’s ability to support us in our endeavors – building layouts, history, spirits attached to the space, other entities (both benign and not-so-much), land spirits, local influences, and those sharing the space with us. Unfortunately, almost all of the protocols inherent in the building and care of homes and buildings as found in world traditions have been entirely abandoned by those of us living in the West, leaving yet another door wide open to us experiencing dis-ease and disharmony.

Chinese Feng Shui is a popular (and highly effective, I might add) form of architectural and design orientation and remediation.

Some Northern European towns still adamantly plan city projects and construction away from known local hotspots and dwellings of little folk, or non-human and rarely seen races of people that live under the earth.

Some African cultures, like that of the Dagara, build their homes on a foundation of ash made from the dirt and remains of their ancestors, forming the basis of their home’s protection.

Besides the multitude of ritual acts that went into traditional European house building and barn raising, innumerable charms and fetishes have been remembered from this and other regions for warding off evil, inviting prosperity, and maintaining peace, all directly tied to the power of the home as an extension of the bodies of those living there.

I'm unfortunately a bit too busy to be a receptionist for every dead person that shows up on my doorstep.

I’m unfortunately a bit too busy to be a receptionist for every dead person that shows up on my doorstep.

After moving into my current abode, I found myself battling a number of energetic issues that I’d never faced before. Between a passive-aggressive house spirit (a conscious entity comprised of a former roommate’s own familial traumas), a building layout that seemed to direct lost souls directly to my bedroom, and all-around difficult energy to push, cut, and wade through on a daily basis, I was getting convinced that I’d have to leave. After turning the house spirit into an ally through almost a full day’s work of journeying to help resolve the family history entangled in it and crafting unique wards prescribed by my helping spirits for keeping hungry lost dead at bay, there was still something inherently “off” about the space that my usual house cleansing techniques couldn’t remedy.

While journeying to speak with my spirits on a separate topic, one of my helping spirits dropped a corn kernel into my hand. The symbol repeated itself the next day with ears of corn catching my eye at the local grocery store. Upon divining, my spirits indicated that offerings made to the land spirits on my block would bring a big improvement. Being a healthy shaman and spiritworker for me has meant regular grounding exercises, intense dancing in ritual space, and other actions that directly draw on the energetic resources of the land for support. $1.29 later, I was walking around my Brooklyn block sprinkling corn kernels at spots that seemed “hungry,” all the while apologizing to the spirits of the land for the actions of my species and expressing my desire to be in good relationship with them.

I returned home and sat down to answer some e-mails but quickly found myself completely overwhelmed by what I can only describe as an energetic “whoosh” from beneath me to high above and the feeling of being far beneath the ground for a period of at least 20 minutes. The land spirits here are hungry and even a cursory look into the industrial history of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (home of NYC’s only chemical and nuclear storage facility) can give us a clue as to why.

Gratefully, my home / land issues were brought to an end and things feel entirely different her. Now the house spirit gets a mug of tea every Sunday (he’s fancy). The land spirits — albeit an ongoing project of resolution far beyond one person’s ability to handle — get red wine and corn monthly. And my maintenance rites of smudging and cleansing are far more effective.

But what would it look like if the relationship between humans, land, and the spirits that dwell between us were tended again on a grand scale?

I’ve found that the most effective housing and building remedies are uncovered through divination and / or shamanic journeying, but most folks have beloved go-to rites that they employ at regular intervals in the spaces that they inhabit. In the hoodoo tradition, the most beloved rite is a floorwash — a literal washing of floors and other surfaces with a infusion of botanicals and minerals of choice. It works equally well for homes as well as businesses and other spaces, though there are many popular variations based on the purpose of the space.

How to Perform a Spiritual Cleansing of Your Space

Chinese Wash is the most popular preparation for cleansing spaces among practitioners in the hoodoo tradition.

Chinese Wash is the most popular preparation for cleansing spaces among practitioners of hoodoo.

Pour a teaspoon, tablespoon, or more of Chinese Wash into a bucket of hot water, depending on the size of the premises. (In a pinch, a strong tea of Lemongrass might do the trick.)

As led by Spirit, you may desire to add an additional infusion of herbs or curios with cleansing properties to this floorwash as well – Hyssop, Florida Water, and Sea Salt are all great options in accordance with their correspondences in hoodoo lore. A capful of Ammonia can be added, but bear in mind that it’s known to really strip away everything in the space, so only do this in the case of serious spiritual grime (and be prepared to do some spiritual rebuilding of conjurations particular to your home). If an Uncrossing bath has been performed, a bit of the run-off captured from the bath can be added to the floorwash as well.

Pray over this infusion, intending that any and all harmful energies in the space will be removed. You can add a commercial detergent as well, depending upon the needs of your space. With a mop, squeegee, or sponge, cleanse the space from the back room to the front or main room. If multi-floored, start by cleansing the top floor and work your way down, ending with the groundfloor and always working from the back of the space to the front / entrance, including with each room. As you cleanse, pray and intend that your space is made clean and new. Some find reciting Psalm 23 to be very appropriate for this rite.

If the space is carpeted, lightly wetting a broom and sweeping it over the carpet in the same fashion works just as well. Make sure to give the entryways of the home and of each room extra attention.

When finished, pour the leftover scrub water into your front yard or dispose of it at a crossroads. I like to throw it toward the West, in the direction of the sun’s setting (bringing an end to any crossed conditions), but many prefer the East as per tradition.

Now make a new floorwash, but this time using conjure and condition oils and / or an infusion of botanicals, minerals, and curios that speak to the things you’d like to attract into your space. Some ideas include Basil for protection, Mint for money, Rose for love, Lavender for peace and harmony, or other favorite allies as you are led by Spirit. Mop or scrub from the sidewalk, outer hallway, or up the steps into the entryway of your home, again paying special attention to the home’s threshold. Pray and intend that those things you desire are present in your life and visualize with confidence that you have them already. Pour this floorwash in your backyard (if living in an apartment, down your toilet will probably suffice).

Now take a conjure or condition oil that is intended to aid with protection and anoint all doors and windows leading to the outside world in a five-spot pattern – one dab in each corner and one in the center. Intend that your space is protected from any and all harm and that all blessings that you receive are kept.

Some folks follow this up with the sprinkling of such preparations as Peace Water for harmony at home and the inviting of peaceful spirits or Four Thieves Vinegar for protecting the space.

Performing this rite at regular intervals can make a huge impact on your space’s harmony and ability to support productivity.

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.

Debt, Shamanism, & Issues in Reciprocity

22 Feb

Six of PentaclesI recently had a dear client ask me if I knew of any rituals that would help him to sell his soul to (insert various possible entities) for fame and fortune. Such requests pop up in the boxes of professional conjurers all the time, but I saw it as an opportunity to explain some of the work I do in my practice, why I do it, and some of the larger ramifications in this type of work.

This particular client found me when he was pretty down and out, unknowingly having been tricked and subdued by a sneakily practicing partner into being super-submissive with everything from his own life plans to his wallet. Old-time hoodoos would say he was a bit “confused in his mind” in his displaying a lack of ambition and a blindness to his circumstances. The condition of being “confused in one’s mind” is often, though not always, an outcome of having strong love and domination work performed on you, if not due to an outright jinx with effects on one’s mental health. Gratefully, this client was in his right mind and sense of will enough to seek help and my reading was clear in exposing the spell he’d been under and the type of work that would be most efficacious in releasing him from it, as well as helping him regain a sense of sovereignty about the goals and ambitions he had put aside.

Within a few weeks after performing a spiritual cleansing routine, he moved out-of-state, started a new enterprise, and sent me a great testimonial about the 180 degree change in his life. Still, a bit unsure of his ability to get what he wanted through hard work and a good magical strategy and having heard from dubious sources about the efficacy of attaining instant life success through means of spirit trafficking (well, slavery, really), he wanted my take on things as an honest and ethical practitioner.

You can surmise my response to him (a definite “do not go forth in to that terrible night”), but I accompanied it with why:

  1. There’s an unfortunate amount of hell playing out in our world right now resulting from unpaid debts to spirits.
  2. Most folk magicians know the importance of paying what is promised to a spirit as not doing so can often lead to misfortune not too far down the road. A discerning practitioner should be able to realize what’s going on and right the wrong before things get worse. (Keeping a log / journal of notes in one’s practice is essential.)
  3. Serious spirit debts, if left unpaid, can even carry over into someone’s next lifetime, causing varying amounts of pain and misfortune, even as far as addiction, obsession, infertility, and mental illness, without someone having an inkling why.
  4. Debts to spirits can sometimes have ancestral components to them. In other words, an ancestor’s unpaid debt to a spirit (whether through irresponsible or forgetful spirit trafficking, or circumstances specific to a traditional and otherwise sustainable spiritual / tribal lineage) can be passed on to a descendant.
  5. Regarding the former possibility in #3, it’s important to consider that in many traditional cosmologies, souls are reborn again and again within the same ancestral line, meaning that we are literally our own ancestors and ancestors-yet-to-come.
  6. The latter of #3 can happen especially if a descendant is gifted for the work (spiritually gifted) and the recently broken familial / tribal spiritual pact with a spirit has been forgotten due to issues of migration and Christianization, or simply forgetting to pass on the tradition in a globalizing world. Despite the Western world’s colonization machine telling us otherwise, we’ve been quite silly in thinking that animism is just a toy that our ancestors played with that can be put aside for more serious and modern adult games (like corporate ladders, Candy Crush, and cultural amnesia).
  7. There’s no amount of spiritual cleansing, uncrossing, or protection work that can fix a spiritual debt. Ward it off a little? Maybe. But definitely not fix it. Some spirit traps might, which is the route I’m sure many very good non-traditional contemporary practitioners might take (making them very good solely by virtue of their being able to see such a condition being played out, especially if past life or ancestral contexts are at play). But it probably won’t solve the problem as a debt being left unpaid might just leave a void within which something else, possibly even a related entity, can come in and stake claim. Spirit traps as worked within folk magic also might not be big enough to trap something playing out in the latter category of #3 as such a spirit probably not only has the backing of god-knows-how-many-millenia of being honored behind it, but natural laws of reciprocity as well. The game really is in their court.

And that’s the thing – there are natural laws of reciprocity and we live in a closed energetic system in a beautiful cycle of give-and-take. As a folk magick, hoodoo doesn’t give much attention to the larger ramifications within the whole cycle-of-reciprocity-thing as its focus is on fixing things and getting results, but the laws of reciprocity are evident in the care a worker takes to ensure that a spirit is paid for their efforts.

A prime example is the popular offering of poundcake and a public display of affection given to the magnificent St. Expedite when he’s come through on someone’s behalf, or a glass of wine and a milagro (a recent payment in my own practice) given to St. Cyprian for aiding a person in their pursuit of justice. When you take from the pot, you have to put something back in, and some of the most effective spiritual practitioners I know spend a decent amount of time ensuring that their spirits are well cared for with regular offerings given out of love for their presence in their lives.

Offerings given to St. Expedite in thanks for his aiding a client.

Offerings given to St. Expedite in thanks for his help on a client’s case.

Of course, I’m not saying that working with spirits is bad, though it certainly isn’t as safe as some might make it seem.

What I am saying that choosing your words and actions carefully is of tremendous importance. Try keeping your promises to a minimum.

I’m also suggesting meticulous record-keeping because “Oops, I forgot” doesn’t fix things after the shit hits the fan (though “I’m sorry, please forgive me” can go a long way toward righting wrongs and mending relationships).

I’m suggesting that you discern your helping spirits from the spirits you simply have an affinity for and work well with from the spirits you’re just working with for the time being or toward a specific goal. These differences matter and may keep you from asking for help from spirits who have less loyalty toward you and might be less likely (or even able) to help while you have spirits close by who are just waiting for you to call upon their aid (and will probably be more forgiving if you mess up, which happens from time to time – we’re human).

I’m also suggesting that you give offerings. Give offerings plentifully to your helping spirits and those spirits that you have an affinity for and work well with. Give bountiful offerings and simple offerings. Regular offerings mean so much more than once-in-a-blue-moon offerings, much like how that friend that you call weekly will be closer to you than the one you send a big present to once a year. And consider giving offerings to the spirit of your home, to the spirits of the land, and the spirits of natural forces in your environment. Or just do it, really, because this is the necessary work.

Gratefully, the work of resolving a serious spirit debt in a good way is often entirely possible – the scales want to be balanced in our world. The greatest hindrance lies in the lack of diagnosis, or our culture simply not seeing this as an issue or possible condition. If a situation is really out of hand, energetic static or even spiritual influence may get in the way of divination and diagnosis, so ensuring that one has guardians or sorcery specifically focused on their work of divination and seership can help one see through thicker patches of an issue and get to the underlying reason behind an unfortunate condition.

My own initiatory helping spirit caused me a few headaches until a wise colleague and mentor pointed out that this very issue was probably what I was facing. Not only was I able to resolve it so that our relationship could move forward in a good way, but in the work of resolution I was shown many of the pitfalls that others before me had gotten lost in when hearing Her call, ultimately missing out on what are arguably the most beneficial parts of Her medicine in the grander scope of things.

And speaking of the grander scope of things, the imperative toward ayni (a term roughly translated as “right relationship” from the Quechua language) is a constant; it always has been and always will be. This is the reason that so many of our ancestors had songs for the elements and forces of nature – we are supported by so many allies, both seen and unseen. As a society, we need to get back into the flow and remember, because –

We are profoundly out of balance with land and nature spirits.

We are profoundly out of balance with the helping spirits that aided our ancestors through famine and storm.

We are profoundly out of balance as a society in our denial and denigration of the medicine brought by certain communities and demographics toward gender, sex, ability, and collective ancestral human wholeness.

And, in our denial of our own gifts and in our confusion around our individual life purposes, we are profoundly out of balance within ourselves.

But ayni? Ayni is beautiful. Ayni is glorious. Maintaining right relationship is what makes my work so successful, especially the stickiest, most knotted parts that simply cannot be undone without the aid of the spirits that walk with me. We can accomplish so much more as individuals and as a community when we are in right relationship with the world around us than when we are not. As humans, it is up to us to re-member and tilt the scales back to a state of balance.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.” – Psalm 133:1-3, KJV

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.

2014: Renewing Ourselves in the New Year

29 Dec
regret

It’s the New Year – and you’re ready for it.

Wikipedia says 2014 will be a common year, but I think we can prove them wrong. 😉

In all seriousness, the New Year really is a mere few days away and, in the lives of most around me, the tumultuous winds brought to us by the December, 2012 shift have died down into a reflective lull signifying either full integration of the year’s transformative lessons or a more “eye of the storm” pause for recuperation, recharging, and re-weaponizing for what’s ahead.

With the holidays behind us and both family and social dynamics fully on-display for our consideration, we’re left with the task of considering what has served us these past 12 months, what serves us moving forward, and, at the core of it all, the question “Am I truly being who I came here to be?”

Circumstances help mould and shape us based on the decisions we make in response to them and the decision to change whatever isn’t working in ourselves and in the world around us is the first step toward transformation. Gratefully, there’s so much help available to us in the form of signs from our guiding spirits, perspectives from plant and animal medicines, and our innate ability to simply tune-in to our heart’s yearnings and begin to move in that direction – even if the goings are slow at first.

In the style of many New Year’s encouraging to-do lists, I offer my own seven below:

  • Readings at Conjure in the City are discounted thru Friday, January 3rd.

    Readings at Conjure in the City are discounted thru Friday, January 3rd.

    Get a Spiritual Reading & Consultation. Spiritual Readings at Conjure in the City are discounted through Friday, Jan. 3rd, so it’s a great time to check-in about what awaits you in the New Year, how rootwork and shamanic healing can help you reach your goals, and receive guidance on how to integrate the lessons this year brought you so you can close the book and start a fresh chapter. If you run a business, are a creative, or are simply starting a new project or endeavor, you can also hire me on retainer to receive guidance and conjure work bi-weekly or monthly to aid in your success!

  • Cleanse yourself. Cleansing baths are one of my favorite ways to start fresh and ensure that my energy body is unaffected by the outside world and that I’m in alignment with the most positive forces of luck and blessing in the Universe. Hyssop, Rue, Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Salt are all very popular botanical and mineral medicines in the Hoodoo tradition for spiritual cleansing. Really, though – take one. Three. Seven. Nine. Or thirteen in a row. You’ll know when you’re good.
  • Cleanse your home. Many people perform a New Year’s rite of renewal in their homes and businesses which may be as simple as sweeping the floor from the back of the space to the front – and right out the door. You can up the ante with a preparation of Chinese Wash, a staple in the Hoodoo tradition for space cleansing. Simply prepare a floorwash and mop (or sweep if your space is carpeted) from the back to the front of your space, paying extra attention to thresholds and windowsills. Then, prepare a floorwash using an infusion of oils and / or herbs known for attracting the kinds of ideals you seek and wash the walkway leading up to the front door of your abode in an inward-fashion. Bayberry is known for helping with cashflow while Thyme is known for helping to keep that which comes in. Rose, of course, can be a wonderful aid for nourishing love (including self-love) while Cinnamon is known for being helpful in all types of attraction work. (And in lieu of Chinese Wash, a simple tea of Lemongrass would do quite nicely.)
  • Keep up-to-date. Astrology has long been an important aid for me to not only schedule my rootwork, but for understanding myself and the world around me. Compared to most other celestial bodies, our home planet is actually rather small and our even smaller Moon’s orbit affects the tides of oceans and rivers. Humans are, on average, made up of about 70% water, so it’s easy to see how the pull of celestial bodies affects us and our interactions as well. Stay on top of astrological happenings with the monthly forecasts of Susan Miller over at Astrology Zone and the poetic weekly horoscopes of Rob Brezsny at Free Will Astrology. Both are helpful guides for monitoring your own cycles and for planning ahead.
  • Change your ringtone. It’s funny how some songs elicit a sarcastic response from people due to their optimism. Put the snark aside for a month or two and brave the possible laugh with a ringtone change to one of your favorite uplifting songs that’ll remind you that it’s a new day and you have the power to change whatever circumstance is muting your heart’s true song. Your iTunes too emo? Consider Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Vitamin C’s sunshine-y Put a Smile On Your Face or, one of my personal favorites, Jamiroquai’s Use the Force. Remember: perception is everything.

    Lake

    A game of perception. How are you viewing possibility in your life?

  • Get involved. A lack of passion marks our age of consumerism and without a sense of where the fire is that we are called to tend and be warmed by, it’s easy to mistake the ease / status / practicality / security of mundanity and being in societal flow for purpose when, indeed, we may be being called to engage in something that puts our hearts (or even our lives) at risk. Start engaging somewhere: the community theatre or choir, the suicide hotline, the local pantry, or the shut-in service in your county. Find something that tugs at your heartstrings and go be a part of it. In the words of the author and theologian Howard Thurman, “‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
  • Be human. One of my favorite podcasts as of late is Why Shamanism Now? by the esteemed shaman Christina Pratt of Last Mask Center. Though developing shamanic skills is the topic of some of her shows, her real aim is toward helping us become more human in an age of false ideas of progress where-in we are encouraged to imagine ourselves as post-human before remembering what the glorious call to be human even means. I strongly recommend her podcast to anyone interested in living life with more heart, more connection, and less fear and isolation.

May Abundance and Joy accompany you in 2014!

Blessings,
Khi Armand