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How to Spice Up Parties & Events with Plant Spirits & Conjure

31 May
nightlife party conjure hoodoo dance event promoter

Heat up parties and events with conjure and let the good times roll.

In light of my conjure sister Madame Nadia‘s recent blog post on working with Licorice for beauty and domination, I’ve decided it’s time for me to come out

— as a Party Animal.

Yes, it’s true. Don’t judge me. I have an affliction known as Venus in Gemini that makes me yearn for more stimuli than an electrical socket, and various other — ahem — occult and diabolic resonances also speak to my penchant for nightlife, soirees, and social events of all types. Few things grab my attention like a rooftop party on a summer night and all of the serendipitous fun that can occur when people drop their baggage, pick up a libation, and drop it like it’s hot till the early hours of the coming day.

It’s no surprise that I spent my college years studying ritual as some of my favorite memories are of parties I’ve thrown and DJ sets I’ve played where everything was just right. The right beats dropped at the exact perfect moment and the collective vibe was synchronized in such a way that the event was more than the sum of its parts. The magic was palpable because of a keen attention to atmosphere and detail.

It feels like a strange thing to be committed to – a Nirvana of luminous social ecstasy that might seem impossible to achieve at every gala and gathering. I guess that’s why I spend a lot of time imagining the application of conjure to nightlife for both producers and consumers thereof.

(I mean, who cares about working with plant spirits for healing if we’re not celebrating at the club afterwards, am I right?)

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Fuck healing. Let’s dance.

Plants, minerals, and animalia can definitely be worked with to create and enhance atmosphere. They are perfect allies for those of us who are engaged in event planning and promotion and, frankly, the idea isn’t entirely new. Business owners in cultures all over the world have used folk magic to ensure that their spaces remained filled and their patrons were happy. In Black-American conjure, the Hyatt texts provide more than a few accounts of the use of plant spirit magic to get the party started, with this one filed in catherine yronwode’s Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic under Ginger:

Ginger is a beloved spice for inducing passion between people and can be called upon to bring the

Ginger is a beloved spice for inducing passion between people and can be called upon to bring the “wild” to an event.

To Get a New Club, Restaurant, Dance Hall, or House of Prostitution Off to a Good Start: After cleansing the premises, but before decorating, mix equal parts of Sulphur powder and powdered Ginger and burn them on charcoal in the center of the hall. Go outdoors while this burns (it is not safe to breathe Sulphur fumes), and nail a used horseshoe over the front door. The Sulphur will purify the place and the Ginger will liven it up.

Hot and invigorating, Ginger is often added to love spells in hoodoo rootwork and Brazilian macumba for heating up a love affair, ensuring that passionate lust is a driving motivation in the union (or re-union) of partners.

Likewise, it’s an excellent ally for heating up the dancefloor, helping to ensure that a party vibe stays upbeat and exciting.

Cinnamon, a premiere plant in many Attraction formulas, can be used to ensure a heightened energy of friendship and connection ring through the space. No one need dance alone at your event.

And if your party is the type of party where folks are hoping they’ll meet someone in the lobby, Cubeb and Cardamom are spices that can help, with the former setting an R. Kelly tone and the latter being beloved for its help in attracting new love. Nothing ensures repeat partygoers like making them confident they’ll find the connections they’re looking for.

Make it a night to remember for your guests by charging the atmosphere with plant spirits that encourage meeting someone new.

Make it a night to remember for your guests by charging the atmosphere with plant spirits that encourage meeting someone new.

These spices, barks, and roots can be burned on charcoal and used to smoke the space prior to everyone’s arrival, or added in essential oil form to a spray bottle with a bit of water and spritzed in the air. If the actual scents are conducive to your event, consider aromatherapy diffusers – both the candlelit kind and the electric ones for larger spaces.

Of course, not every party aims to look like an LMFAO music video. For a more chill, lounge-y vibe leave out the Ginger and go for sultry Damiana – not only an aphrodisiac, but an incredible plant for creating euphoria, helping ensure that stimulating conversations and interactions reach peak levels and that even the shyest of guests feels sexy and included.

A well-cleansed space provides the perfect blank canvas for creating the atmosphere you want, but if there’s a chance that things could get rowdy, Licorice Root is known for granting its wielder commanding power and such power can be wielded over a room when a bit of it is placed in the four corners and center (traditionally, with Commanding Powder, but I’ve had excellent results controlling a room of people working with just the root). Depending on how rowdy things might get – and how legal your shindig is to begin with – it could be wise to employ Law Keep Away products and associated curios to keep your party shielded from the prying eyes of the law and those that would alert them.

Additional precautions can be taken with the help of the Boldo plant whose leaves can be sprinkled across a threshold to bar undesirable patrons and customers from entering. Oregano, a staple in Law Keep Away products, can also aid in protecting your space and guests by keeping out meddlers who totes would dull the vibe if not poop the party altogether.

The right atmosphere and a good soundsystem alone can go a LONG way toward creating an inviting scene that people want to stay at and invite their friends to. A houseparty I threw in Brooklyn a few summers ago, having prepped the space well with conjure enhancements, resulted in my phone ringing off the hook late into the night with calls from unknown party-seekers in Manhattan who wanted to know if our party was still happening. If you’re from NYC, you know that such reverse-transit nightlife is rare (unless we’re talking spots along the L line — and we’re not).

See you on the dancefloor.

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.

Intimacy: Delving Deeper with the Spirits

25 Jul
St. Cyprian Amparo

St. Cyprian Amparo

Ok, it’s confession time: some of my spirit relationships began from a place of ego.

It’s true. At one point, I thought “If I want people to take me seriously as a spiritworker, I’ve GOT be working with this guy” and “If I want to be a badass, an altar to this spirit is necessary.”

Perhaps it’s not so much a shock. In the internet-age where photos of altars work as social currency amongst spiritual practitioners and there’s greater access to knowledge about various world spiritual practices and the lauded entities associated with them than ever before, it’s quite easy to let our consumerist habits rule the way we see, well, everything. As the main point of entry in my recent webinar on spiritual allies and magical power, the idea of “relationship” (and being in “good relationship” I might add) is the primary focus of my practice – not only with anthropomorphized spirits, but that of botanicals and minerals – though it took some time to get there.

First, there was paring back the “stuff” – from the many botanicals and curios I thought for sure I needed in order to do effective work to the statues of saints I was excited about working with due to their being known especially for helping in certain situations but whom I really didn’t need to work with to be an effective practitioner.

Then there was specificity – making more room for the spirits in my life that building relationships with would be most helpful due to their resonance with my own medicine and their ability to help me bring that medicine into the world more fully.

And then, there was a lull – a pregnant silence that eventually gave birth to a sense of connection that, had I made room for it earlier on in my practice, may have helped me avoid some pitfalls.

The most obvious turning point came during a nine-day vegetarian fast I took under the tutelage of Saint Cyprian during which, each evening, I’d spend some devotional time with him, reading aloud scriptures he’d pointed me to – scriptures I was shocked to find speaking so clearly to my life. I’d made room for his presence to be stronger than ever and I found myself asking “Whoa — when did we become friends? When did things get so deep between us?” The rote practices that were stepping stones toward this moment fell away and I found myself moved in ways I didn’t know were possible with this particular spirit.

And, honestly, I found myself crying. A lot. Not only at his altar, but at the altars of the few other spirits I’ve invited into my court as a spiritworker. Sure, it was an especially vulnerable time in my life for various other reasons, but having made room for my strongest allies, I was able to receive their love and support that much more fully.

And I didn’t know that I could feel them so concretely.

And I found myself moved to sing.

My partner sings to his helping spirits in his shamanic practice all the time. I know beautiful chants from my Neo-Pagan path, a few songs from other traditions I work in, and am even aware of some of the role that icaros, or plant-spirit songs, play in the Amazonian shamanic traditions. But I’d never thought to apply the same technology toward the saints and spirits associated with modern American folk magick, with whom I’d been interacting solely through prayer, candles, offerings, and conjurations.

In so many traditions around the world, song calls the spirits down. Rattles are shaken, drums are beaten, and voices are sent like winged messengers to their ears, letting them know their allies and devotees seek to speak and work with them. It’s so simple. It’s so obvious. It’s all around us. But I guess the Western bubble gets in the way.

When I took a cue from my clear-hearted significant other and began to sing to my spirits every time I opened a session with them, or even during the day as a simple act of connecting – words really can’t express the shift that occurred. Stepping into that space of vulnerable full expression with them opened up so much that it was a wonder that I’d ever held back; that I hadn’t even realized I was doing so.

The truth is that I began to have some questions about my plugging everything into a safe, altar-object-focused context when, during a Spiritual Court Mediumship Reading for a client, a southwestern American Indian spirit that walks with her left me feeling a bit confused when he said he didn’t want a statue, candles, or any other altar-ware for her to connect with him.

I listened closer, pulled a few more cards, and the obvious dawned on me – he wanted her to dance.

To make a special garb, sit by a fire, and dance with him. That the places he wanted to take her would not be a journey through the mind, but through the uncomfortable spaces she was avoiding in her body. That this would lead to the medicine she needed to cultivate for herself and her family. One of the helping spirits who’d chosen to accompany her in this lifetime was waiting for her to show up more fully than she had imagined and altar tools she could purchase weren’t going to cut it.

Maybe the term “armchair occultist” doesn’t only apply to non-practitioners who simply know a lot of stuff. Maybe it’s applicable to those of us spending most of our practices sitting and kneeling, saying only the cool old traditional things and not the clear open-hearted things – some of which can’t be spoken, but only sung, danced, laughed, and howled.

Maybe we need to do more getting off of our asses and out of our heads, even with the spirits we’ve imagined to be as stagnant, still, and pious as their statuary may lead us to believe they are.

I don’t know any devotional songs to the popular spirits worked with in American folk magick today (aside from one for San Simon), but singing this simple song has been perfect for getting me to a deeper place with my spirits, both those chosen and those innately walking with me:

I’ve also found it to be very powerful to write your own tunes, even parodying popular songs on behalf of the spirits you work with. I actually really encourage it. Treating our spirits like lovers in nearly every sense I now feel is what sweetens the pot and makes our relationships with them that much more potent.

In short, if your spiritual practice is looking pretty object-focused or altar-bound – Sing. Dance. Drum. Choose spontaneity. Choose intimacy. You might be surprised by the spirits who love this form of devotion, even if all the high and might manuals about them say they only accept physical offerings on certain dates, at certain times, etc.

Let’s be in our bodies. Let’s give fully. The returns are tremendous.

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.

New Online Webinar: Spiritual Allies & Magical Power

20 Jun

Spiritual Allies & Magical Power

Symbolism, metaphor, and tradition are all popular ways of accessing the power of herbs, roots, minerals, and zoological curios for magic and rootwork. In the Internet age, it’s never been easier to search for a spell or working that worked for someone else, however– this doesnt mean it will work for us.

How can we develop even deeper intimacy with materia magica (herbs, roots, etc.) to empower us in our spiritual work and in our daily lives? How can we *really* access and harness the medicine around us moving out of spiritual consumerism and into deep relationship?

In this webinar, perfect for beginners and advanced spiritual practitioners alike, we’ll explore:

  • what makes spiritual work actually *work*
  • how to develop our mediumship and trance skills to engage in intimate conversation with our plant, mineral and animal allies
  • how to engage our allies to achieve immediate, concrete results in our everyday lives
  • how to engage with the physical world as a teacher and follow the path of our own healing

Join us as we stretch our sense-perception, intuition, and instincts to craft more potent medicine, using a shamanic perspective to unlock the full potential of traditional conjure.

The webinar session will be followed by a short Q&A.

Wednesday, July 2nd @ 8pm EST

Registration: $25. Limited spots available!

Register here!

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.

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.