February 15th, 2010

stabat mater dolorosa

on sulphur, cayenne, and other "irritants" in hoodoo

I see this come up occasionally, and I thought I'd repost something I posted on a hoodoo list not all that long ago, in response to someone expressing curiosity over why someone would use sulphur or cayenne in a love spell.  To their way of thinking, sulphur and cayenne are part of the crossing/hexing/icky family of herbs and minerals, from which you see them make occasional forays into uncrossing and protection work, and would thus "make more sense" as part of a breakup spell rather than a love spell.

Here was my response:

I'll tell you my theory on it, which you're free to reject :-)  Where I grew up in Cajun cooking land, you think of cayenne as an irritant first, and then think of different ways to use irritants. One way to use irritants is to heat things up - a little cayenne can be a good thing.  Think of old uses of Spanish Fly - an irritant for an aphrodisiac - or those herbal patches with capsicum in them that my Kung Fu instructor used to give us for healing.  I think of cayenne in the same category as ginger and even cinnamon (only a hell of a lot more irritating).  Then obviously irritants can be used to heat things up for less pleasurable or benevolent things as well (causing fuss and discord, running somebody crazy).

So I would think of it less like "cayenne is for breaking people up" and instead like "cayenne is for heating things up" and go from there in terms of thinking about how to use it.   Is this making sense? I think this is the same way that sulphur can be used in attracting business, even though most folks think of it as a "drive away" or "cause trouble" ingredient.  It's not always, though.  I have a bunch of recipes for business scrubs from Mobile, AL, New Orleans, and areas around and between, that call for sulphur, to raise up attention and get a good crowd at an event or sidewalk sale or barbecue, and at least one "draw a lover" recipe that calls for sulphur, cayenne, and salt.  Now, sulphur, cayenne and salt seem like a good "get the hell away from me" recipe, but at least on the Gulf Coast that same recipe has been used to get somebody to come back.  I believe the principle is that a little irritant can be used to heat things up in a good way, given the larger context of whatever other work you have going on.
stabat mater dolorosa

how to get a lame reading, pt 1 of ?

If you are out to get a reading that does not satisfy your actual questions and concerns, one surefire way to do this is to hide your questions and concerns from your reader.

If you call or write asking, "I just want to know what's going on in my relationship right now," and that is all you want to say, I can lay some cards and hammer out a picture, but it's going to take longer than it has to to get to your real concerns.  If I pull the 8 of Wands and the 7 of Swords for your situation, and I don't know anything else, I am likely to interpret that as meaning that you are in a long-distance or other kind of difficult relationship and the strain is getting to be too much - one or both of you is on the brink of giving up, thinking that the effort invested in maintaining the relationship is not worth the payoff anymore.  But if what's really going on is that you are unhappy about the way communication has been going, and you're wondering what's going on with your partner, those same two cards could indicate that you sent a letter, package, or email and your message was lost, waylaid, eaten by an internet Grue, or stolen by a neighbor.  See what I'm saying?

There's something of a myth in some circles that a "good reader" ought to be able to tell you everything that's going on without you opening your mouth and saying a word. Well, folks, sorry to burst your bubble, but that's a crock.  I'm sure there are some folks out there who can do that, but the majority of readers - of very good, ethical, reputable readers - are going to be able to do a better job looking into your exact concerns if you tell them what the exact concerns are.  A card reader or tea leaf reader isn't necessarily also an empath or also clairaudient or clairvoyant or whatever.  And even a reader who is able to get a bead on the emotional "flavor" of a situation, or on what issue drove you to seek a reading, is *still* going to be able to answer your questions more quickly and efficiently if you tell them what the questions are.

Here's a classic "bad question" - "What's going on with me right now and where are things headed?"

Well Jesus wept.  What *things*?  When I get a question like that, and the client is not face to face where we can go along talking and pulling cards as new things come up and to clarify things that are already on the table, all I can do is an "overview." It will look, in not a hell of a lot of depth, at a bunch of different areas of your life. If this is not what you want, then you'd best tell your reader *what you want.*

This does not mean, "I want to know the hair color, height, date of birth, and city of origin of my future spouse, as well as the name of his college roommate's dog." If you call me with that stuff, I'm going to hang up and refund your money.  But if you have a crossroads in front of you and aren't sure what decision to make, I can do a reading that looks at the "best possible outcome" for several different paths or options, and you can use this information to help you make a choice.  One path might offer more emotional fulfillment where the other might offer more financial security, and once you know what's what, you can factor this info into your decision making process.  It would be much more useful for you to say, "I have a few possible career paths in front of me and I'd like more information on how to choose the best one for me," versus, "I need a reading on my job situation."

So if you want a good reading, work on asking a good question or at least framing a clear issue.

to be continued....