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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.

How to Spot Psychic Scams & Spellcaster Frauds

4 Dec

I was 17 when I got my first storefront psychic reading. It was Halloween and I was on my way to see a room in Alphabet City, planning a move from Long Island and feeling like the world was opening up for me. I felt free to explore an aspect of life I had never encountered before.

The woman told me things would never work out for me in life because my ex- and I were meant to be together and until I got him back, life would be hopeless. It was not the time to tell me such things because my ex- was back on Long Island and here I was, starting my new life in the city. The wound from that breakup had been healed and there was no hook for her manipulative antics to latch onto. I walked out chuckling to myself, grateful for having had an “adult” experience.

How can you spot a fake psychic or fraudulent spellcaster? Learn the signs.

How can you spot a fake psychic or fraudulent spellcaster? Learn to spot the signs.

Unfortunately, 8 months later I’d be in another storefront psychic’s parlor after experiencing a string of bad luck while living with a woman who’d been teaching me magick before things got weird and she came to resent me while depending on me for company and rent money. The psychic told me – oh, I don’t remember – something about bathing with an egg and some nasty green fluid she sold me PLUS $5000 in cash that I would have to bring to her after sleeping with it under my pillow so she could remove the evil spells my roommate had put on me with the help of employees at the local occult store. Anything less than this amount might not remove the curse completely as it was equivalent to the curse’s magnitude. This time, I was desperate – desperate enough to hope a well-off friend would lend me the money. The psychic said she’d give it back once the curse was removed. What could go wrong?

Fast forward 8 years and I find myself making the trek with a housemate to Queens to retrieve the heirloom necklace given her by her late grandmother. Two kindly gentlemen claiming to belong to a spiritual brotherhood and speaking words of peace and love at an event had advised her to let them cleanse it because the sensed bad energy coming from it and wanted the highest good for her. She’d traveled with them to their home and met their mother who, upon performing an egg cleansing on her, had apparently produced blood and a lizard from the cracked egg and advised more spiritual work be done.

When I arrived a with her a week later, after a long argument, they admitted that the necklace had been pawned and was irretrievable. They admitted they were psychic scam artists.
Egg cleansings are an ancient form of hands-on cleansing found in folk healing traditions around the world. But the "strange species in the egg" trick is an old one used by spellcaster frauds and psychic scam artists

Egg cleansings are an ancient form of hands-on cleansing found in folk healing traditions around the world. But the “strange species in the egg” trick is an old one used by spellcaster frauds and psychic scam artists.

Smart people get scammed by fraudulent psychics everyday. Smart people lose precious valuables – even their life savings – to fake spellcasters everyday. It’s unfortunate, because these are sacred, necessary services. Always have been and always will be.
In a world that does everything to cut off our connection to the mystery that infuses all life, it’s probably never been easier for fraudulent psychics and fake spellcasters to flourish with claims of exclusive access to unseen information and divine knowledge.
Do curses exist? Yes. 100%. In more ways than we think.
Can jewelry be haunted? Absolutely. Just got rid of some a friend mistakenly gifted me last week.
Are egg cleansings used to remove harmful energies? They’re a tool found in folk magick and shamanic traditions all over the world, including in hoodoo rootwork.
And far more unique events can take place right in front of our eyes than blood spots and lizards coming out of a chicken’s egg. It’s not the uncanniness of it that concerns me. The problem is that it’s the oldest trick in the book for phony spellcasters, tarot readers, palm readers, and psychics (who don’t deserve these titles) to scare people and trick them into paying for services they either don’t need or do need and won’t get in the hands of these scammers.

So how can you tell an honest psychic or spellcaster from a scam artist?

I see wisdom in your future...

I see wisdom in your future…

  
Steer clear from:
  • $5 specials – I’ve never met a psychic hawking $5 specials who didn’t give a canned reading. These are meant to lure you in with information applicable to anyone and hook you through charismatic tactics. Don’t take the bait.
  • Scare tactics – If your psychic or spiritworker threatens you with a life of hopelessness or tells you that they are the only person who can help you, RUN – don’t walk – away. They are lying to you and trying to frighten you so that they can take your power (and your wallet).
  • Online psychics and spellcasters without photos – It’s easy for a con artist to set up a sparkly website with key phrases they know will attract desperate people. Few of them post photos of themselves. It’s not a hard line issue, but it’s something to consider. No genuine spiritworker I know hides themselves.
  • 24 Hour Love Returns & Reconciliations – Want to reconcile with a lover and not waste thousands of dollars? First, start by staying as far away from these “24 Hour Guarantee” people as possible. They are trying to scam you. Second, read this and this. Spiritual work involving mending relations between two or more people takes time, especially when hard feelings are still present. Honest spiritworkers who are gifted at reconciling lovers often have very specific conditions under which they will perform such work, provide their clients with a timeline for expected results, and sometimes even prescribe ritual acts for clients to perform.
  • Guarantees – Can a lawyer guarantee she will win your case? Can a surgeon guarantee that their work will heal you? The best person in any field can still only the best they can. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but steps can be taken toward wholeness, greater wellbeing, and goal achievement. Anyone who tells you otherwise only intends to harm you.
  • Most Powerful Spells / Self-Aggrandizement – It’s ok to feel confident in one’s abilities as a spiritual practitioner. Many folks have spent years counseling the public and helping remediate ills that other roles in Western society can’t, and some have had to undergo major trials to have such gifts. That being said, the person who says they’re the biggest and baddest mofo around probably isn’t. The most effective, clear, powerful spiritworkers I know are also deeply humble, knowing that unseen hands accompany their lives and their work and that their efficacy is at least partly an outgrowth of the relationship they have with the spiritworld. Seek out efficacy and deserved confidence, yes, but avoid…well…assholes.
  • Claims to solve all your problems – It’s this one that amazes me most. No psychic, shaman, spellcaster, or “voodoo priest(ess)” can solve all your problems. None of them. Nada. Zilch. An effective spiritworker can, however, help you understand where blocks might be in your life and how you can overcome them. Many spiritworkers I know encourage their clients to perform spells and ritual acts on their own or alongside their work on their behalf so that they’re engaged in their own wellbeing because at the root of most curses, hexes, jinxes, and lost love issues is a very real experience of power and soul loss that needs to be both directly and indirectly retrieved.

So what should you look for if you want to hire a psychic, spellcaster, or spiritworker?

Empowerment should be a goal in any field where advice is given. If your "psychic" or "spiritworker" threatens you, shames you, or tries to convince you that they are your only hope, RUN!

Empowerment should be a goal in any field where advice is given, let alone paid for. If your “psychic” or “spiritworker” threatens you, shames you, or tries to convince you that they are your only hope, get the hell outta there!

Seek out:

  • Honesty & Integrity – Forget the men and women of mystery who are too big and bad to reveal who they are. Again, the most effective psychics and practitioners I know tell it plainly. Some of them may use pseudonyms or titles, especially in alignment with the tradition or culture their work is borne from, but they’re glad to express who they are because their work is an outgrowth of their very real lives and experiences.
  • Empowerment – I’ve never seen a circumstance in my consultations in which there wasn’t vast opportunity to empower my client. In fact, no such circumstance in the Universe exists. If you walk away from a psychic reading feeling disempowered, firmly take your power back immediately and take a cleansing bath (or three). A light at the end of the tunnel can be conjured out of even the most crossed of conditions, and without you feeling the need to become entirely dependent on the practitioner who has read for you. Indeed, hiring a spiritworker’s help should feel empowering no matter what you’re hiring them for – not draining or terrifying. If it feels like the latter emotions, don’t work with them.
  • A desire to educate – Blogs, podcasts, radio shows, teleseminars, Facebook groups – if they’re an online psychic, chances are they are sharing their thoughts, philosophies, and experiences with the world. They may even prefer an educated client over those who buy into Miss Cleo-style fantasies of what their work is about (I get some interesting requests some days). Not every effective spiritworker has access to the internet or the technological know-how, of course, but the desire for you to understand their work in at least some capacity should be evident.
  • Clear communication guidelines – If you end up hiring a spiritworker, spellcaster, shaman, or other person to help remediate a circumstance or life condition, expect a timeline regarding when the work will start and end as well as what the communication expectations are. When would be a good time to check-in about the work? What methods of communication are most appropriate? How long should it take for you to get a response? Knowing the answers to these questions upfront will help you avoid a lot of frustration.
  • Custom work – In a culture of convenient “Click to Buy!” buttons galore, it’s a given that many will sell their supposed “most powerful spells” via such means. Personally, I think it’s awesome to have effective products and tools available for purchase, but I always recommend a consultation if a client is not sure of what they need or is confused about what the issue they’re facing even is. The resolution to a money problem isn’t always a Money Drawing Spell and not every type of spiritual cleansing is appropriate for every kind of spiritual malady.
  • Proof of work – Every spiritworker I know who’s worth their salt provides some evidence of the work they perform. This may be a photo of the ritual or candle lighting, or an audio recording narrating the practitioner’s trance journey on the client’s behalf. Don’t take someone’s word for it – specifically if you’ve never worked with them before.
  • Willingness to refer – I take the “doctor” suffix of “rootdoctor” very seriously. If I can’t help you, I’ll tell you so – and I’ll use my divinatory tools to do my best to refer you to someone who can. The spiritworkers I admire and consider colleagues do the same.
Above all, educate yourself. You’re the one in charge of your own spiritual hygiene and even honest and gifted psychics, spellcasters, spiritworkers, shamans, and rootdoctors don’t exist to replace your intuition or your responsibility for your own wellbeing. They are specialists in the sacred arts, not substitutes for your own hand, heart, and soul.
The Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers works to educate the public about folk magic practices and religion as well as the tricks spiritual con artists use to harm and thieve.

The Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers works to educate the public about folk magic practices and religion as well as the tricks spiritual con artists use to harm and thieve.

Organizations like the Association of Independent Readers & Rootworkers (of which I am a member) have taken great strides toward encouraging accountability of the type that I’ve mentioned above, including an Ombudsman for resolving concerns between practitioners and their clients should the need arise.
In addition to providing public education on psychic scams and frauds, they provide a Pro Bono Fund for clients experiencing financial crisis.
Affiliate site LuckyMojo.com hosts a must-read exposé on psychic scam tricks, many of which have been used to trick people for ages – some of which are being used on folks as I write this. A thread on their forum exists where folks can share their experiences of having worked with unscrupulous psychic scam artists toward finding recourse.

My hope is resources such as these can go viral, especially during a time of year when people with corrupt hearts prey upon individuals and families in crisis.

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.

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.

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.

New Page: Psychism, Divination, & Spiritual Mediumship

23 Sep

Aunt Caroline Dye

We’ve been developing a growing library of articles pertaining to different aspects of the hoodoo tradition over at Conjure in the City. Our newest addition has been “Psychism, Divination, & Spiritual Mediumship“!

It’s been a pleasure to be able to provide this information to add to the global understanding of this beautiful lineage of worldviews and practices. So far, we’ve written a general overview the tradition in “What is Hoodoo?” and provided a thorough look at one of the most important tenets of spiritual work – spiritual cleansing – and hoodoo’s take on it in “Spiritual Cleansing & Uncrossing in the Hoodoo Tradition.” It includes some great ideas for developing your own uncrossing regimen as well as a quick look at some spiritual cleansing methods found in Latin American traditions.

Overview articles on love and reconciliation, legal matters, money and success, and others are all forthcoming. We’ll continue to keep you updated!

Blessings,
Khi Armand

Have Conjure, Will Travel: NYC & Tri-State Area

10 Aug

Khi Armand - Conjure Doctor

In the worlds of Conjure and Hoodoo Rootwork, one of my specialities is hands-on spiritual cleansing of persons and places. Truth be told, this is also some of my favorite work. Seeing clients experience the visceral change that takes place in their energy fields or in the energy of their homes and workplaces is so fulfilling, and I’m blessed to live a life in which I am able to travel far and wide to teach and perform this work.

For the month of August, I’ll be in New York City and can travel throughout the larger Tri-State area. Book a consultation expressing your interest in having in-person cleansing, healing, and blessing work performed on yourself, a loved one, and / or your home or workspace. Divination will be performed regarding your goals and the best way to help you manifest them.

With the help of Spirit, all things are possible.

~ Khi Armand