Tuesday, September 10, 2013


The legendary Vodou Queen of New Orleans

Marie Laveau, famed Vodou priestess of New Orleans
On September 10, 1794 in New Orleans - 219 years ago today - Marie Laveau was born.  Her father was a prosperous white planter who served in the Louisiana state legislature.  Her mother, like Marie herself, was a Creole free woman of color, a gens de coleur libre

In 1819, at age 24, Marie married Jacques Paris, a Haitian immigrant, one of many Haitians who came to New Orleans following the Haitian revolution.  Their marriage was short-lived,  as Paris died in 1820.

The label of my fragrant tribute to Marie Laveau
Marie Laveau worked as a hairdresser following the death of her husband, eventually taking a lover, Louis Christophe Dumesnil de Glapion ("Christophe").  They lived together in her mother's home in the French Quarter until he died in 1835, and had many children - some reports claim 15!  

There are many stories about the occult power of Marie Laveau.  During her lifetime she was a Vodou practitioner - a priestess, or mambo - of high renown,  In the manner of so much of the African diaspora (which often confuses some people with whom I speak), she remained staunchly Roman Catholic until she died.  She was well regarded throughout her life, reserving her curses for those whose unkindness and ill-treatment of others was unrepentant and extreme. Her ability to wield effective curses generated fear in others, however, her kindness and willingness to help those in need was equally legendary.

This interesting article about Marie Laveau was published in the New York Times on June 23, 1881, a few days following her death.  As always with such period pieces, remember the different sensibility of the times.

Jasmine grandiflorum
I am lighting a candle for Marie Laveau, and offering her some champagne and something very special -  a new perfume!  I am launching, today, a pure botanical perfume formualted in her honor:  La Belle Reine Marie Laveau

As with all of my formulas, this perfume is deliberately enchanted, spending time on my altar before making it's way to your home.  This is a gorgeous, rich botanical perfume..  Unlike my Spiritual and Conjure Oils, which are subtly fragrant, the aromatic profile of La Belle Reine Marie Laveau is highly saturated.  As with all pure all-natural perfumes, the scent blooms close to the skin, and the sillage  remains intimate and close to the body.  I truly believe la belle Marie would be pleased.

The all-natural fragrance notes of this perfume include rich, creamy vanilla, deep, sacred woods,  dark honey-sweet labdanum, tobacco blossom, and piquant black pepper, over which floats a beautiful, transparent, fresh jasmine in a base of organic jojoba.  The balance of the green jasmine and deep, translucent amber notes is wonderful.  The jojoba has been infused with magically potent secret botanicals:  this perfume is designed to draw luck, positive attention, and love!

Wishing you all good magic,

Dara Anzlowar
September 10, 2013 - the birthday of Marie Laveau

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Sunday, September 8, 2013


THE BEAUTIFUL SPIRIT OF THE SWEET WATERS                            

A peacock fan for the beautiful Oshun
Today is September 8, which is the Feast Day of La Caridad del Cobre.  La Caridad is Our Lady of Charity, the Patroness of Cuba.

In the early 1600s, three Cuban boys were at sea in a small boat, gathering salt.  The weather suddenly turned, and they found themselves in mortal danger, about to be overcome by a furious storm. As they prayed for their lives, a statue of the Virgin Mary, holding the Christ child in one arm and a cross in the other hand, appeared, floating on the rough seas towards them.  The storm calmed and the skies cleared: the boys were spared.

As legend has it, written on the platform or base of the statue was “Yo soy la Virgen de la Caridad”  - “I am the Virgin of Charity.”

This statue of La Caridad came to me on her Feast Day, long ago

There are many miraculous stories associated with this statue. Since 1916, La Caridad del Cobre has officially been the Patron Saint of Cuba. She is adored by Cubans everywhere, and by people around the world. Her feast day is September 8 - today!

La Caridad del Cobre is syncretized in Afro-Caribbean religions with the lovely
Orisha Oshun and with Mama Chola, the beautiful Congolese Power of the sweet fresh waters, the world's streams, creeks, and rivers.  In relation to these powers, La Caridad’s special provenance is love, beauty,wealth, and luxury. She sparkles in the fresh waters, dances sinuously in rivers and streams, and beautifully reveals herself in the rainbow mist of waterfalls. Appeal to her to bring your loved one to you, to draw to yourself new love, and to experience all that is sweet and rich in life!
Beautiful Oshun!  From my Pure Spiritual Mist label

 Hoodoo Roots beautiful, pure and fragrant
La Caridad del Cobre Spiritual Oil, Spiritual Bath, Spiritual Sachet Powders and our amazing Oshun Pure Spiritual Mist are all meticulously formulated with the intention of pleasing and honoring the lovely La Caridad del Cobre, a Roman Catholic Marian figure who is syncretized with the beautiful Orisha, Oshun.

 Anoint yellow, copper, or golden candles with Hoodoo Roots brand La Caridad del Cobre Spiritual Oil, drawing the oil up the shaft of the candle towards you. Luxuriate in a La Caridad del Cobre Spiritual Bath, surrounded by beautiful dressed candles. Offer her a gift - perhaps honey and flowers - by the riverside, with an open and appreciative heart.  Ask for your good to come to you.

Hoodoo Roots La Caridad del Cobre Traditional Spiritual Supplies are made of the finest herbs, roots, flowers, pure botanical essences and absolutes that I am able to source from harvests around the world.

Hoodoo Roots Spiritual Supplies are as pure as can be!
These beautiful LA CARIDAD DEL COBRE products contain pure, beautiful neroli from Tunisia and real, golden honey, as well as organically grown or conscientiously wildcrafted spiritually potent herbs, roots, and flowers with a specific tie to La Caridad and the beautiful Oshun.

I personally love La Caridad and Oshun, and find her to be uniquely beautiful. Both my La Caridad del Cobre formula and my Oshun Pure Spiritual Mist are made with real love for her, and with the intention of offering her the very best.  I have determined to provide the absolute unstinting best products for her devotees and those who ask for her aid.   I am confidant that you will find my formulas to be very fine, and that they will meet your spell-casting and other magical needs!

Purchase Oshun Pure Spiritual Mist here

Purchase La Caridad del Cobre Spiritual Supplies

La Caridad del Cobre is one of the Roman Catholic saints who have had an increasingly strong presence in hoodoo over the past 30 or so years.  Devotions to her, and requests for her aid, did not originate in hoodoo, but reflect the growing influence of Afro-Caribbean practices in the United States and around the world.

May you all be blessed!

Dara Anzlowar
September 8, 2013
The Feast Day of La Caridad del Cobre

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Fan image:  detail from La Grande Odalisque, 1814.  Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, French.
Oil on canvas, 36" x 63" (91 x 162 cm), (Musée du Louvre, Paris)

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Friday, July 19, 2013


Hoodoo and Numbers:   

Ingredients, Timing, Hours, and Duration

Numbers have some significance in hoodoo spellwork
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This morning, someone on my Conjure yahoogroup (which you are all invited to join!) asked an interesting question about the use of numerology and numbers in hoodoo.  I do find this topic interesting, have mused about it from time to time.

Traditionally, hoodoo doesn't involve numerology per se.  There is very little done with common numerological techniques, i.e., the reduction of numbers to significant single digits which are then analyzed, etc.

With that being said, however, numbers are not altogether missing in hoodoo, and there is traditionally often some correlation between some numbers and larger issues or desired outcomes. Numbers may be preferred in relation to the quantity of ingredients, the frequency of ritual performance, or the time of day.
Clover's three leaves mirror the Holy Trinity

One is relatively unusual in hoodoo, though of course a name may be written only once in some rites.  The most common form of this is when a name is inscribed on candle - one time, barber-pole fashion - or when the name is written once on a small piece of paper, dressed with a variety of substances depending upon the worker's intention, and inserted into the worker's shoe for the purpose of controlling that individual.

Two is relatively unusual as well, though of course there may be two candles, two lodestones, etc, each representing one half of a couple, for instance.  However, ritual preparations such as baths, and ritual items like mojo bags which contain only two ingredients are very unusual.  Most will contain at least three separate ingredients or substances.  Two o'clock is not particularly significant in terms of traditional spellwork timing.

The number three is very frequently used in hoodoo in various ways.  Most significantly, this reflects the holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost (or Spirit).  The Trinity is invoked ("In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit") on a near-universal basis, strongly reflecting the living Christian culture to which traditional hoodoo belongs.

Ritual baths virtually always require at least three, and fairly frequently just three, ingredients.  Similarly, mojo bags are generally constructed with at least three distinct elements.
Often the best time is NOW!
Further, three o'clock  (as well as nine o'clock) may be regarded as showing the horizontal axis - the plane of the world - at it's point of intersection with the vertical axis, the plane of spirit.  Traditional hoodoo spells may specify working at three o'clock in spells which require repetitive ritual timing, along with six, twelve, and nine o'clock.

Four is occasionally encountered in hoodoo, usually referring to the four corners the world or the four ends of the earth.  That four hasn't a more pronounced presence in hoodoo is a sign to me that Southern Native American tribes (to whom the number four is foundational and sacred) had a fairly limited influence on the basic beliefs and practices of hoodoo beyond, of course, contributing strongly towards hoodoo's understanding of the uses of and powers ascribed to native plants.  This is not to say that individual workers may not have learned from and perhaps incorporated other aspects of Native beliefs - we know that some did.  However,  this influence was not universal to hoodoo to the extent of having this number, so important to Native culture, be more emphasized.

A lucky, protective quincunx pattern
Five is the number of the quincunx, the corner-marked square with a mark in the center.  This correlates to the four corners or the four ends of the earth, with the worker or worked site at it's center.  This configuration is regarded as a mark of luck, power and protection, but can be employed in other ways as well.  For instance, one function of the quincunx can be to draw people from far away to return to the one employing it.  Overall, it has many functions in spell work.

Some spells are done at 6, 12, and 6:00
Six is sometimes seen in spell timing:  six in the morning, six in the evening; usually paired with noon and/or midnight.  In other words, an act may be required to be repeated at those times of day for the spell to be complete.  This requirement may last only one day, or it may go on for several more.

Seven is generally regarded as a lucky number, though it's appearance in hoodoo is usually limited to ingredients in a spell.   Spells may also be required to be done for seven usually consecutive days, though I have seen this less frequently than one might think.

The number nine is generally regarded as a number used for endings, diminishment, curses, and destruction of various sorts.  Nine also correlates to the West, where the sun sets; to the graveyard and thereby the spirit world; and to the waning moon, especially when nearest dark (moon phases are not necessarily used in hoodoo, but are not particularly uncommon, either).  Note that not all endings are curses, and not every diminishment is for an unkind or unwholesome purpose.

The Exhortation to the Apostles. James Tissot, 1886-94
Nine is also frequently encountered, both for good and for ill, in the timing of rituals:  going to the crossroads or to the graveyard for nine consecutive days or nights is common in traditional spells.

Eleven is encountered in hoodoo primarily due to it's connection with the holy apostles (minus Judas Iscariot). We see this in certain court case spells, for instance, where the eleven names are written on a leaf of sage and worn in one's shoe to a court appearance.

Here is an interesting spell, collected by Harry Middleton Hyatt, an Episcopal priest and avid folklorist, some 75 years ago from a rootworker who lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  This spell is unusual in that it requires ritual anointing of an object (the silky, flat bow from the inside back of a hat) for twelve days.  In hoodoo, the number twelve much more commonly refers to the time of day or night.   This spell appears in Volume 2, on page 1692 of Hyatt's Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft, Rootwork:

"Yo' kin take de bow out of de back of a man's hat an' take an' tie on dere left side, a woman can, or either a man kin do a woman's de same.  Tie it on de left side an' take an' yo' git a bottle of Hearts Cologne an' take an' anoint it fo' twelve mawnin's with dat.  An' whenevah dey anoint it fo' twelve mawnin's, den take it an' wear it on de right side fo' twelve mawnin's.  An' dat'll tie dis person [to you]."

The hat bow is located inside, on the interior band of the hat
Twelve noon and especially twelve o'clock midnight are significant in terms of spell timing.  Twelve noon is sometimes required, particularly in spells which are to be repeated during a day, for instance at six in the morning, twelve noon, and six in the evening.

Twelve midnight may also be part of this category, but it may also be encountered as a powerful liminal time to initiate work, including going to the crossroads or the cemetery.

Thirteen is not often seen and tends to be one of those idiosyncratic factors in hoodoo, with some workers using it and finding it beneficial and lucky.  I am amongst them.

Multiples of three and, rarely, of seven are sometimes seen in spells and in the timing of spells.

This brings up something that I have heard many folks repeat as if it is gospel.  It is not.  Some who are relatively new to hoodoo have the notion that a spell must show signs of working within three days, movement within three weeks, and that if it does not deliver your result within 3 months, it is not going to work.  Please understand that this is an example of one worker's personal and idiosyncratic belief rather than a universal truth in hoodoo.  Sometimes it will hold true, of course - but certainly not always.

Crossroads work is often done at 12 AM or before sunrise
For good or for ill, the world is more complex than that, and this is simply not a consistent enough measure by which to gauge your spell's effectiveness.  The truth is that there is a great deal of variability.  Some spells work as you perform them, that second, and the change you desire is immediately manifest (we all love those workings!).  Others may take many weeks and sometimes even months to come to full fruition.   Some may take even longer, though I generally suggest for your own good that you reserve those longer spells for ongoing and increasing success in your life, and for major undertakings involving the development of your own abilities and goals (like finishing college, for instance) rather than those spells which attempt to control others or deliver them, lovesick and panting, to your door. 

The concept of diminishment or increase is also seen in some written workings, which involve writing a goal or a word considered to have magical power over and over, each time increasing or decreasing it's appearance by one digit or letter, in accordance with one's purpose.  However, these types of written spells more frequently have letters than numbers, and are generally recognized as originating in cultures other than that of hoodoo.

Wishing you all well,

Dara Anzlowar                                                        Return to HoodooRoots.com
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Photo of five-spot die courtesy Wikipedia
Photo of Tissot's painting courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum

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The material on this site may be not be reproduced in print, electronic or broadcast media, and may not be mirrored in whole or in part on any other internet websites, nor reprinted for distribution in any format.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day Greetings

Fireworks, July 4, 2013
Happy 4th of July!                                     Return to HoodooRoots.com
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Wishing everyone a wonderful Independence Day!
I am a first-generation American.  My parents were happy and proud to be here, to be making their way in a strange new world after losing their families and their family lands and homes in the turmoil and devastation of Europe during World War II.  While I know this country is not perfect, and while I am grieved by some of the trends I see in politics and economics these days, I still love this country with all my heart. 
The Star-Spangled Banner
I have so many good memories of this day:  sitting in the field behind the high school to watch the stars explode and fall from the sky; participating in the block party my street always held; watching my
not quite two-year-old son's rapt face turned to the dazzling sky; sitting on a blanket with my mother and my son, waving sparklers wildly to make crazy glittering magical patterns in the dark air, laughing madly and loving one another; walking home with my family and friends under the indigo sky, everyone sunburned, happy, still dazzled by the fireworks.  And the parades!  Winding noisily through the heart of the town, with antique cars, floats, firetrucks, marching bands, and clowns tossing handfuls of candy to the watching crowd.  I remember marching in the parade with my Brownie troop - what had seemed very glamorous in theory quickly became less fun than it looked, as mile after mile of parade route was traversed.  And later, great pots of steamed clams, grills full of hotdogs and hamburgers, potato salad, tomato salad, ice cream cones, and all kinds of patriotic cakes with strawberries and blueberries galore, in the company of my family and all of my neighbors.  Wonderful times!
Nocturne in Black and Gold.   J.A.M.  Whistler, 1875 

I know that this all sounds rather idealized, like a Norman Rockwell illustration - corny even, but this really is the way it was for me, and it was lovely.  July is a beautiful month, hot as blazes, and incredibly steamy where I grew up (where the atmosphere was as dense and hot as Venus) - but still these are some of the best memories I have.

Yet all of these lovely memories are pinned upon an awareness of history, and the cost of liberty, and the wisdom of a middle path, and the dangers of not just communism or even socialism, but also of capitalism run amok.  There is a bullseye in the middle, in which the culture can thrive in all it's diversity.  More folks have to be committed to making ours a truly civilized world.  I am a believer in the Golden Rule.  I think most people are, as well - so I am hopeful.  Here's to a better tomorrow!

May you all make wonderful memories for yourselves and for your loved ones today!

Lady Liberty

Dara Anzlowar
A starry night in July

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Fireworks photo © S.M.Thomsen

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Monday, June 24, 2013


WATER, FIRE, AND THE MOON                                           Return to HoodooRoots.com
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A Walk at Dusk.  Caspar David Friedrich, 1830-35
The huge, beautiful full moon shone down as I sat at the computer last night, writing about St.John's Eve and St. John's Day.  I was almost ready to post when the lights flickered and dimmed.  Gadgetry turned fitfully off and on and off again, madly beeping and clicking. Then all went dark.

From Solvang to Cambria, a huge swath of the central coast of California was lit only by lanterns, candles, starlight, and the moon.  I spent the remainder of the evening with a candle and book, luxuriating in the 19th-century calmness which descends when one is completely unplugged.   Note to self:  once a week, when evening comes, unplug and return to the 19th century to calm and center.


A Midsummer bonfire in Scandinavia

Today is St. John's Day!  I hope that some of you were out reveling the night before, singing, dancing, and leaping bonfires under that magnificent moon.

Some bonfires are kept burning through the daylight hours, as well.  Midsummer Eve applies both to the night before the Summer Solstice and St. John's Eve, which is June 23rd.  In many countries, this remains an important holiday, especially in Northern Europe and the Baltics.  Bonfire celebrations on this day are Pre-Christian in origin. Most frequently the sites chosen for these fires are very near to water, for it's spiritual impact.  St. John the Baptist's Feast Day is celebrated on June 24th as well, and overall, the two traditions are strongly braided together.

Although specifics vary a bit from country to country, there are many constants.  The Midsummer tradition of leaping over the fire is said to remove bad luck and ensure a good future.  The fire itself is said to ward away bad spirits, to ward off sickness, to protect homesteads and farms from fire (indeed, not lighting a fire on Midsummer is considered by some to be an invitation to a burnt home at some point during the year), for good luck and an abundant harvest.   Many also regard Midsummer as a highly favorable magical time for those hoping for love and fertility.

Infant Christ Offering a Drink of Water to St. John.  Murillo.   


John the Baptist was born to an elderly cousin of the Virgin Mary, Elizabeth, who long believed herself to be beyond childbearing years:  a miracle in itself.  It is often thought that St. John the Baptist was born about six months prior to the birth of Jesus - hence, St. John's Day to Christmas, Midsummer to Yule.

In AD 27, John, who some believe may have been the reincarnation of the prophet Elijah, began baptizing people in the River Jordan,
to cleanse them of that which is unwholesome, to acknowledge their repentance of sin, and to ritually prepare them for the coming of the Messiah.  John baptized Jesus Christ..  

The Baptism of Christ.  Guido Remi, 1622-23
King Herod married his brother's wife, Herodias.  St. John objected to this marriage as unlawful.  Herod, miffed, responded by having him imprisoned, where he remained for the rest of his life.  Herodias harbored a grudge against the John the Baptist, and conspired with her daughter, Salome, to find a way to have him killed.  At a feast, Salome danced for King Herod, so pleasing him and his guests that Herod offered to grant her any wish, even unto half of his kingdom.  Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  Though this displeased Herod, who privately knew that his prisoner was a righteous man, her wish was granted.

June 24 is the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.


A tradition, especially in (but not restricted to) the New Orleans area, is to collect St. John's Water every year on St. John's Day. This water is protective; it wards off evil and keeps the one who collects and keeps it secure and safe from harm.

River in Midday.  Oil on canvas.  Ostroukhov, Russian.  1892
Take a clean glass bottle with a lid.  A dark colored bottle is best.  I prefer dark blue, but brown will do.  Wash the bottle and lid with hot soapy water and rinse thoroughly, adding a little ammonia to your rinse water.  Allow to dry.

Carrying your bottle, go to a river in your area.  Here on the central coast of California, this means climbing down into an arroyo, full of patterns in the sand from earlier floods, scrub brush, and animal tracks.  At this time of year, though the water is still flowing,  the stream is shallow and narrow.  Rivers are the right body of water to use.  We are, after all, dealing with St. John the Baptist, who baptized in the Jordan River.

The beautiful Wissahickon River
 Recite your prayers, asking for the blessings for the year to come.  The Lord's Prayer is a powerful and very traditional prayer to use at this time.
Ask for the help and the blessing of St. John the Baptist, he who was so intimately aware of the spiritual power of rivers.  Fill your bottle, cap it, and take it home with you.

Set this bottle on it's side by the hinge side of your front door, so that it is a bit hidden from those who come to your door.  Make sure that the neck of the bottle is facing the door.  Keep the bottle in this position throughout the year.

If anyone comes to your door who you do not wish to deal with, anyone who may make life difficult for you  - or even if you are just worried that they may come to trouble you - simply roll that bottle with your foot Roll it back and forth on the floor, as you concentrate on exactly what you want.  Then roll the bottle right back into it's original position, where it will continue to guard and defend your home for the remainder of the year.  As always when requesting the aid of any saint, thank St. John the Baptist for his assistance.

Renew this every year on St. John's Day.



St. John's wort - Hypericum perforatum
Herbs like St. John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), which come into bloom in midsummer, have long been harvested on St.John's Eve and St. John's Day.  I myself have gathered it on this day, in gilded fields awash with sunlight.  Midsummer-blooming herbs which are harvested today are believed by many to be imbued with special healing powers.  The fresh flowering tops of St. John's Wort, when macerated in oil, produce a bright, blood-red medicine which is a joy to behold.  Tinctures and teas of the dried flowering tops will also turn beautifully red.  The deeper the red, the stronger the medicine tends to be.

St. John's Wort - Hypericum perforatum - has beautiful yellow flowers with little dark dots about their margins.  The leaves have tiny, translucent glands which look rather like perforations when held up to the sun.  Some say that if a sprig of St. John's Wort, harvested now, is placed under your pillow, you will dream very vividly, perhaps of St. John himself.  St. John's Wort is believed to dispel evil in all it's guises.  To protect your home from wicked practitioners of malefic magic and drive away evil, hang sprigs of St. John's Wort over your doors and windows.

Rue.  Ruta graveolens, the Herb of Grace

St. Johnswort sends internal devils packing too:  it is a wonderful plant for mild to moderate depression and for for irritable and jangled nerves.  Paired with cornsilk and uva ursi, it is helpful for urinary tract infections.  St. John's Wort oil is a healing oil par excellence for bruises, sprains, and scrapes.  It helps to regenerate nerves and is useful in cases of peripheral neuropathy, numbness or tingling of the extremeties, etc.  It helps to heal fresh scars.  It is wonderful to use externally for a painful back.  It is anti-inflammatory, good for joints, wounds, and sores.  It even helps to overcome bed-wetting.

Other plants mentioned in pre-20th century European herbals for harvest at Midsummer for their magical and physical curative properties include fennel, rue, vervain, birch, calendula, rose, and others.   I personally feel that this small window of time right around the Summer Solstice and St. John's Day is one of the very most blessed and magical times for collecting botanicals for medicine-making, whether for conjure oils or for teas, tinctures, poultices, and the like.   I know that my products are made with these deep traditions in mind.


Finally, after all this talk of jumping over fires, herbs, rivers and the moon, one spectacular poem:

On The Origins Of Things

                                 by Troy Jollimore

A Carnival Evening.  Henri Rousseau, 1886
Everyone knows that the moon started out
as a renegade fragment of the sun, a solar
flare that fled that hellish furnace
and congealed into a flat frozen pond suspended
between the planets. But did you know
that anger began as music, played
too often and too loudly by drunken performers
at weddings and garden parties? Or that turtles
evolved from knuckles, ice from tears, and darkness
from misunderstanding? As for the dominant
thesis regarding the origin of love, I
abstain from comment, nor will I allow
myself to address the idea that dance
began as a kiss, that happiness was
an accidental import from Spain, that the ancient
game of jump-the-fire gave rise
to politics. But I will confess
that I began as an astronomer—a liking
for bright flashes, vast distances, unreachable things,
a hand stretched always toward the furthest limit—
and that my longing for you has not taken me
very far from that original desire
to inscribe a comet's orbit around the walls
of our city, to gently stroke the surface of the stars.

© Troy Jollimore

Troy Jollimore is the author of two books of poetry, 'At Lake Scugog' and 'Tom Thomson in Purgatory'.  He is a 2013 Guggenheim fellow. Now in California, he grew up in Nova Scotia.  I am in awe.
Moonlight.  John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1871
Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Wishing you all all that is good,

Dara Anzlowar
St. John's Day, full moon in Capricorn 

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The photo of the Wissahickon is © Dr. Eoghan Ballard.
The photo of the bonfire is courtesy of Wikipedia, altered by me.

© Dara Anzlowar and HoodooRoots. All Rights Reserved.
The material on this site may be not be reproduced in print, electronic or broadcast media, and may not be mirrored in whole or in part on any other internet websites, nor reprinted for distribution in any format.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Midsummer Night's Eve, 2013


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  Midsummer Eve, June 2013                                                             

Midsummer's Eve.  E.R. Huges, 1908
Tonight is Midsummer Eve, the night before the Summer Solstice.  It is midnight here on the beautiful central coast of California.  The moon is a cool, gravid curve in the glimmering dark.  It will be entirely full within two days, on St. John's Eve.

Outside tonight, the entire natural world seems to me to be especially alive, aware, waiting, intelligent, and hushed in anticipation, almost as if it is holding it's collective breath, yet still joyful, exultant and lush. There really is an incredibly strong sense of magic afoot tonight!  All the natural world remembers, even if people forget.

In years past, when living on the East coast where the woodlands are green, moist and leafy, I was blessed to be in Summer Solstice ceremony with others I loved, praying, singing, fasting, and strongly building community.  I remember my old friends, still tonight fasting, praying, and truly in a holy and altered state, with love and admiration.  Prayer of this sort strengthens the world, and helps to ensure the ongoing of all that is good.

Tonight's Midsummer moon, as seen from my house
My strong feeling is that this is a very special time, a doorway through which we can walk.  Tonight is full of magic, a time when you can pray, do ritual, dream, or remain awake and aware of the natural world and all the spirits.  They surely are aware of you.  I encourage any willing to sleep out of doors tonight, and over the next few nights.  Some of you may be doing as your ancestors did, and enjoying Midsummer bonfires.

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, the point of greatest light. I believe that this is prime time to come into balance with anything in your life which is not quite right.  If you have fallen out of balance with another for whom you care, or have been neglecting something which you know you should attend to, or in some other way are not in right relationship with the world, there is no time like the present to cleanse and renew.

A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Henry Towneley Green, 1895
This is best done via a ritual bath very early in the morning, as the sun rises.  Bathe by pouring a solution of spiritually active ingredients (Hoodoo Roots Spiritual Cleansing Bath is a wonderful choice!) over yourself while standing in a small tub or in your bathtub, with the drain plugged.  Think hard on what you need to change, and vow to do so.  Pour the solution over yourself, letting it sluice down your body from head to toe.  You may do several pours.  Focus intently, then step away from the tub.

Allow yourself then to air-dry.  Scoop up a cup of the bath-water.  Dress in clean clothes.  Carry your bath-water to a crossroads.  Stand, and cast the water towards the rising sun.  Then turn around and go back home without looking back either figuratively or literally.  Enjoy the beautiful day!  Be outside and be joyful!  Celebrate the beauty of the world.  Be good to others, and reach out in loving greeting to those you know!  It is a new world and a new life.  Remember your vow, do your best, and know that the world conspires towards goodness. Change has come.

Bonfire on St. John's Eve (Ivan Kupala).  Henryk Siemiradzki, Polish, 1880.  St. John's Eve is June 23.

I also feel strongly that the Summer Solstice is a fantastic time to ritually and respectfully harvest plants for herbal medicine, whether for physical or for subtler emotional, mental, and spiritual purposes.  Remember that a plant's life force is strongest in the flowers when it is in bud and flowering; in the leaves when leafing;  in the fruit, if it is fruiting; and in the roots when it has died back for the winter.  Harvest with this in mind.

Sunflower.  From the Hortus Eystettensis herbal, 1613
Avoid harvesting from areas close to roadways, close by agricultural run-off, and other sources of pollutants.  Always ask permission from the plant prior to harvesting.  Never take more than you need.  If you have a specific problem you are harvesting the plant for, express your need and ask for it's assistance.  Wait until you are sure that you have received the plant's agreement that you may continue.  If not, do not harvest, for what you take without permission will not work well for you, especially on the subtle levels.  Worse, the plant will remember your misbehavior, and will tell all of it's relations.

 I will be harvesting roses and other plants and flowers on the Solstice, myself. I will also prepare some potions and some flower remedies.  I have made flower remedies on the Summer Solstice in previous years, and have always felt that those remedies had a noticeably potent vibe.  These are very easy to make, and I will post soon about how I do this.

Midsummer Dance.  Anders Zorn, 1897

The radiant Summer Solstice is a day of joy and celebration the world over, and it should be part of our awareness as well.  Cultures from every corner of the earth have long celebrated this night and day!  No matter what race you are, no matter from which tribe you come (and everyone belongs to a tribe, or tribes), the overwhelming likelihood is that your ancestors were aware of this night and day, and at some point, celebrated both.  Dancing (often about an erected pole, like the interesting traditional Swedish Midsummer maypole, shown in the painting to the right), singing, bathing in natural waters, and large bonfires are common threads in Solstice celebrations.  Make them yours as much as you can, and mark the beautiful turning of the year with reverence and full enjoyment!
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Wishing you all the blessings of the season.
Happy Summer Solstice!

Dara Anzlowar
Midsummer Eve, waxing gibbous moon in Scorpio

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