USPS rates, delivery times, and holiday season shipping

Shipping Rates and Delivery Speed

First, the USPS raised its rates effective October 3rd until December 26th, 2021 for the 2021 holiday season, and it has adjusted its expected delivery times.

  • First class package postage went up 30 cents; Priority Mail went up 75 cents; Priority Mail Express is up by $1.50-$5.00 depending on weight and zone.
  • First Class Package and Priority Mail services will take at least 4-5 days to be delivered within the U.S. and will probably take longer than that, getting worse the closer we get to Christmas.
  • Limited air transportation has resulted in most international shipments being transported by boat, which can extend your shipment’s expected delivery by several weeks.

What this means for you:

You need to expect delays and weirdness and you’ll need to be patient, because your packages will almost certainly take longer than you expect the closer we get to Christmas.

I don’t want to take away the flat rate shipping I’m able to offer at my website. I haven’t even temporarily raised my site shipping rates to recoup the postage increase. I am absorbing the extra cost at Seraphin Station (Etsy shipping has always been and still is calculated based on USPS-provided current rates).

And I don’t want to take my business elsewhere when the USPS needs it. But the high weirdness at the USPS last year cost me hundreds of dollars and a ton of stress.

What makes the stress worse is people who bug me about where their packages are when not enough time has elapsed for me to put in a trace request. The Terms of Service are still the same and you are agreeing to them when you place an order. The FAQ is still the same. There’s a convenient link to them in your order confirmation email as well. So please read the TOS and Shipping/Handling info you’re provided and please follow the directions. If I have to run around pulling my hair out staring at an email inbox full of shipping freakouts, I will just have to switch to UPS and $5 domestic shipping will be a thing of the past. (UPS pretty much starts at twice that amount.)

If you are prone to anxiety about where your package is and what the tracking page is saying, you might consider upgrading to UPS when you check out, because USPS is only going to frustrate you. Tracking is NOT real time. Updates are NOT always immediate. And in the holiday season, your package could take the scenic route – really, really scenic. I’m not even kidding – I was flabbergasted by some of what I saw last Christmas. It was *weird.*

I expect — and I encourage you to be prepared for — any or all of the following:

  • delivery delays
  • slow tracking updates
  • unreliable tracking updates
  • packages kicked back or marked “refused” for no reason
  • packages taking the scenic route and going to weird hubs along the way
  • random rejection of refund requests when packages are not delivered
  • adjustments forced onto my account for errors on their part, accompanied by bizarre tracking updates
  • carriers who can’t tell you jack or squat about what is going on
  • Priority mail will NOT be any better/safer than first class mail and it will NOT get there much more quickly

If you shop at Etsy:

Etsy shipping rates are currently calculated automatically by the Etsy platform itself based on real-time info from the USPS, so you are already seeing the postage increase when you check out.

Alternatives: No other shipping carrier is “plug and play” on Etsy. So I’m happy to ship your item UPS instead, but you’ll have to ask for a custom listing unless I find some other workaround.

If you shop at SeraphinStation.com:

U.S. orders: Flat rate postage for the default of first class mail is still live and the cost has not gone up. I’ll absorb the temporary increase. But you need to expect delays and weirdness and you’ll need to be patient, because your packages will almost certainly take longer than you expect the closer we get to Christmas.

Alternatives: I have contracted with my shipping platform to get a “bulk shipments” discount on UPS shipping. I believe it’s the lowest possible negotiated rate for bulk UPS discounts; it’s certainly the lowest one I can get right now, not being exactly the world’s biggest business. While the lowest rate for UPS will be several dollars more than the flat rate for USPS, I’d encourage you to invest a couple of extra bucks for the peace of mind if your items are gifts, are fragile or perishable, are worth more than $100, are custom or otherwise not replaceable, or if you would be seriously upset if the package spent a month in transit. (That last would be quite rare, but it did happen more than once last year.)

No matter where you shop:

Extended shipping times and weirdness affect the handling times for orders, too, because the materials I need to make your stuff are shipped to me by my suppliers. So this affects everything, and handling times will almost certainly get longer the closer we get to Christmas.

And just for your convenience, here is an excerpt from the order confirmation email you get when you check out:

Questions/additional info: If you have any questions about your order that are not covered in the FAQTOS, or Shipping/Handling sections of the website, please reply to this email to ask them without changing the subject line. (Questions like “when will my order ship” are covered in the TOS that you indicated you’d read and agreed to before the system would let you check out.)

And here’s an excerpt from the Shipping/Handling page at the shop:

Trace Requests, Claims, and Orders in Transit

Accidents in transit are actually very rare. Most significant delays are due to customs or address inconsistencies and thus are not within the control of either your seller or the postal service. But if you have not received your domestic package within 20 business days of the shipping date on the label (30 for international), I’ll be happy to put in a trace request and/or claim so that I can reship, if possible, or refund, if that’s the best option. See your order acknowledgment email for instructions on how to request this. Be aware that international orders that have left the US cannot always be traced (see International Buyers section above).

I have to put in a claim before I can reship/refund, and I can’t do that before 20 business days from the label ship date have elapsed. But after 20 days, I’m happy to pursue the matter if your package has still not arrived and get your order refunded or reshipped if the USPS cannot deliver it.

Fortunately, this practically never happens, though – excluding the absolutely unprecedented Christmas season of 2020 when all bets were officially off, domestic packages have always turned up by the 20 day mark, either at the customer’s mailbox or back in mine for being undeliverable due to address problems, with one exception when a customer had a neighbor stealing mail. (If you have a mail thief, you are going to have to handle that on your end by putting in a search request and filing a report with the postal inspector. Let me know, though, so I can help you hex the thief, if you like.)
 
We do not have any further information about your package or any way to track your package other than the USPS link which you get as well, so we can’t tell you anything more than that website is telling you.

If you have not received the shipping notification email, then your order is still processing, and we will send it as soon as it’s ready. 

Please note that due to COVID and the USPS being especially beleaguered right now, delivery times in transit can be longer than usual and updates to online tracking can be slower than usual. USPS is still incredibly reliable, though, so don’t panic if you don’t see your package “moving” in the system – updates are really not real-time, but the USPS is really pretty great about not losing packages.

Now having said all that, the USPS is still a good and affordable option – at least 10 months out of the year, for the most part. So don’t be afraid to use them. Just remember you do have to be patient. 🙂

October Protection/Reversing Community Altar Service (begins Thursday the 21st)

This service focuses on goals related to protection (both spiritual and physical), deflecting negativity, and in cases where someone is aiming something at you personally, returning that crap right back to the sender. 

Your name and petition/intention will be added with those of other participants to what is basically a protective container spell – a sort of spiritual and energetic fortress, if you will, with watchful and powerful guardians encircling you. I work these community rites on my altars for a month, from (just after) the full moon to full moon, with special attention to pertinent moon phases, astrological transits, holy days, etc. as applicable. Participants receive a link to my client calendar detailing the work over the course of the month and are invited to a private Discord chat for participants.

There are Pay What You Can options for this community altar service.

In many cases, this service lends itself especially well to the construction of protective charms, amulets, mojos, pakets, etc., and you can opt to have me make and send you one.

You can also opt to add a “care package” tailored to your situation, to have me ship you hand-selected and hand-blended spiritual baths and other supplies useful your particular situation.

Learn more or book now at Seraphin Station.

Double rewards points now through Oct 24th.

Questions you’ve asked: St. Cyprian for love work

A reader asks,

“I would like your guidance on getting the right St. Cyprian oil for myself. I have been working with the same . . . brand for years. . . . [but] I’m unfamiliar with him assisting in love work. What aspect of that does he help in? Or how does he help with that? Which type of oil should I get?”

Answer:

As to love work, what you’re missing is the entire Spanish grimoire tradition, which is the base off of which many of the folk magic practices of the Spanish-speaking world are built. And that’s not some gap in your education you should feel weird about if you don’t speak/read Spanish. There are lots of overlaps with American and Mexican folk magic, but they are definitely not simply interchangeable, and this is one of those areas where there’s a whole distinct field that hasn’t trickled over into the English-speaking world so much, where St. Cyprian is primarily known for being the patron of magicians.

And what you have in this tradition is a very longstanding practice of invoking St. Cyprian in the same way you might invoke St. Martha (often in her dominator aspect) and/or Santa Muerte (in her red aspect) in work designed to call or keep a lover – and if you’re familiar at all with that type of thing, you know it’s often got a lot of that binding/commanding/urgency stuff tied up in it that merges very quickly over into the Intranquility side of things: e.g. may he not sleep until he is by my side, may he be on fire for me, blah blah blah. That Intranquility stuff is *ancient* and has been an unbroken practice in the Spanish-speaking world for I don’t know how many centuries. Lots 🙂

You can see an example of the type of prayer/spell I’m talking about via The Coptic Magical Papyri: Vernacular Religion in Late Roman and Early Islamic Egypt site, in a manuscript that dates from between 1001 and 1100 CE. There’s a bit titled Love Spell of Cyprian that includes some of these elements.

There’s also an Intranquility-style prayer from Mexico at the main St. Cyprian resources page at Big Lucky Hoodoo.

Now that is not to say that you can only call on St. Cyprian for dominating/intranquility type love work. He’s just like any other saint – folks who form a relationship with him call on him for all kinds of things that may or may not have anything to do with the precise stuff he gets mentioned in books/on websites and on prayer cards for. That’s kinda how patronage works 🙂 So if you’re not looking for Intanquility-flavored stuff but you want to work with St. Cyprian on love matters, you should feel free.

His popular hagiographical story has this whole business starting because he, as a pagan, tried to cast a love spell on St. Justina, who deflected it with the sign of the cross. Cyprian figured he’d just run into something more powerful than his magic – which he’d studied his whole life – so he needed to reassess which side his bread was buttered on. So that’s what he has to do with love magic.

Read more about St. Cyprian at Big Lucky Hoodoo.

So to some, he might seem like a weird choice to tap for love work, esp. considering no love spell ever worked on St. Justina and instead she and Cyprian both remained celibate and in the service of Christ for the rest of their lives, but nonetheless, he’s been called on for love work for ages and ages 🙂

The oil you have at home is probably most similar to my regular St. Cyprian oil, the not-seasonal one. It can be used in any kind of work with, or even as an offering for, St. Cyprian.

However, if you did want to get an oil that was made with an eye towards doing effective love work specifically, then version B of the seasonal oils would be your best bet. You can use any of the seasonal oils for any type of working, though – they’re all “keyed” to St. Cyprian beyond just one certain type of work.

Lots more info at Big Lucky Hoodoo.

A 16th Century Catalan Prayer of St. Cyprian

Big Lucky Hoodoo

S. Cyprien et Ste. Justine, martyrs (St. Cyprian and St. Justina, Martyrs), September 26th, from Les Images De Tous Les Saincts et Saintes de L’Année (Images of All of the Saints and Religious Events of the Year), by Jacques Callot, 1636. Public domain. Courtesy of The Met.

This is direct quotation of a small portion of a larger published work which the author has released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (see Smid 309). This prayer, recorded in the Catalan language and transcribed and translated by Smid in the cited article, comes from the Inquisition records housed in the Barcelona City Archives, from the 17th century trial of a hermit named Jacinto Garcia (Smid 291). Garcia had it from a small book published in Barcelona in 1557 (Smid 291). I applaud the generosity of Bernadett Smid in making this work freely available to non-academics via open-source publishing.

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October Saint of the Month Box

Saints of the month for October are St. Teresa of Avila (a mystic author and Doctor of the Church, invoked against headache and heart attack, feast day Oct. 15) or St. Jude (neglected apostle, invoked for hopeless causes, feast day Oct. 28).

Looking to spruce up your altars, add to your chaplet or holy card collection, or just learn more about saints and spirits in folk Catholicism? The Saint of the Month box gets you a hand-picked and handmade bundle of saints’ goodies selected for you and shipped to you.

Whether you’re just starting to learn about saints and spirits in the hoodoo rootwork tradition or you’ve been working with them for years, I strive to delight you with something new and covetable to add to your collection with every box. (I have some pretty neat stuff squirreled away.)

This gives you a chance to get something new for an altar or to be introduced to a saint you haven’t worked with before, and it gives me an excuse to do things I’m always wanting to do but end up putting off, like taking an afternoon to design a new chaplet I’ve been wanting to make for a while.

The standard box includes, at a minimum, a bottle of oil, a candle, a holy card or mini prayer booklet, brief history and recommendations for working with the saint or spirit, and a charm, medal, or curio. The deluxe box adds a fixed, dressed, and decorated glass-encased vigil candle and a handmade chaplet, rosary, or necklace. Very unlikely that any two will ever be identical or that all of this stuff would ever be available to purchase individually.

Saints and spirits may be chosen from the traditional Catholic “roster” or may come from various folk traditions. If you have suggestions or requests for particular saints or spirits to feature, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line from the contact form or just leave a comment somewhere.

Read more or order your Saint of the Month box at Seraphin Station.

Thank you, St. Philomena

A client shares her thanks to St. Philomena:

I wanted to offer thanks to St. Philomena and to Karma for performing the community altar service. I prayed for assistance with my father’s medical problems and we are seeing progress that he hasn’t seen in years. He has found two really good doctors who are taking a proactive approach to his care. Not only that, but they are on the same page with each other and want to try approaches that complement each other. My mother came back from one of the doctor’s appointments with my dad and said, “This is too good to be true!” So I am really grateful to see these positive changes in his care, which should lead to better long-term health solutions.

– E.S., 2021

I am really glad to hear of the positive changes in his care, and thank you for sharing your experience with St. Philomena! She really does earn her title of the Wonder Worker, and she’s a generous saint who is very understanding and gentle. In other words, she *isn’t* one of those saints with a reputation of being “hot” or hard to handle or demanding things be “just so.” If you can’t afford elaborate altar setups, she’s ok with a simple candle and flowers. If you can’t afford or find real flowers, she’s ok with those made of crepe paper or fabric. If you can’t afford even that, she’s ok with a sketch or a photograph. I’m not kidding. The point is just “do your best.”

About St. Philomena

St. Philomena was martyred in the early 300s in Rome when she was only about 14 years old, as the legend goes. Her relics weren’t discovered, and thus her public veneration didn’t begin, until the 1800s. But her popularity has grown in leaps and bounds ever since with no signs of slowing or stopping.

Known as the Wonder Worker, she’s invoked by devotees for all kinds of things when other measures have failed and it seems pretty much hopeless. Some call her the patron saint of the impossible. In that respect she’s become something of a companion saint to St. Jude in contemporary folk practice.

Those who have formed a relationship with her have sought and received her help with everything from the conversion of unbelievers to fertility problems, healthy pregnancy and delivery, cure of mental illness, attraction of a spouse, and the sale of real estate. She’s said to have effected miraculous cures of injuries and illnesses ranging from heart defects to cancer. But officially, she’s the patron of babies and children and is considered the patroness of the living rosary. Padre Pio called her the Princess of Heaven.

In some houses and temples in traditions of the African diaspora, she is known as a lwa in her own right as the helpful and pleasant Filomez. She helps those who make their livings as market sellers, removes negativity and evil from the surroundings, and grants the ability to have prophetic dreams.

Resources

St. Philomena oil at Seraphin Station

Read a whole lot more about St. Philomena at Philomena.org

A novena to St. Philomena at Our Catholic Prayers


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Mercury Retrograde Remediation Service – Sep 26-Oct 18

If there’s one bit of astrology beyond sun sign that everybody knows about, it’s probably Mercury Retrograde. This infamous event happens three times a year, and since Mercury rules things like communication, travel, negotiation, legal stuff, contracts and agreements, it can wreak havoc on all kinds of important areas in your life. So stay in bed, wear fuzzy slippers, don’t sign anything or buy/sell anything, don’t start any new relationships or go on any trips, and for the love of God, don’t touch a computer, or Mercury will nuke your life.

Or so the popular wisdom in some circles goes, anyway 🙂

Not only is that not even possible or practical, it’s also not even necessary. Frankly, I’ve always thought the uproar over Mercury retrograde is way overblown in the “public imagination,” and as with anything astrological, how much it affects you and how will depend on your personal natal chart and what areas in it Mercury RX is affecting.

Having said all that, I still probably wouldn’t buy a new computer while Mercury is retrograde if I had a choice 🙂 But Mercury RX does affect some of us more than others and will sometimes affect us more than usual, and we very often do not have a choice when it comes to things like contracts, technology, court dates, travel, etc.

If you find Mercury RX tends to wreak havoc in your life, or you have an important Mercury-ruled event coming up during the retrograde period that you cannot control the timing of, or you just want a little added peace of mind during this transit, that’s what this community ritual service is designed for.

Ritual service involves setting of dressed, fixed lights, among other things, and these generally burn for about 5 days. If you’d like to have lights set continuously during the period of Mercury retrograde, you can book the additional lights as an add-on. Or if you’d just like an offertory or votive light set for a shorter duration, perhaps right before an important meeting, you can do that, too.

Please note that community altar work services do not come with individual readings/reports, though I will post at least one photo of the work to the Discord “forum,” which you’ll receive an invitation to after you book if you’re not already a  member.

Learn more or book your spot now at Seraphin Station.

medieval prayer to St. Michael; on petitioning saints; books of hours

An article I originally posted in 2011 wherein I explain why punitive miracles (i.e. saints smiting people) and coercion of saints (i.e. people smiting saints) are both things; briefly describe liturgical hours; cover the concept of intercession; and mangle an ut clause translating a 15th century Latin prayer to St. Michael.

Big Lucky Hoodoo

I’ve translated a prayer to St. Michael from a mid-15th century Book of Hours, and I thought I’d share it in between typing light setting reports.

Books of Hours were very popular in medieval Europe.  While few laypeople would be able to own, never mind read, a Bible for much of the Middle Ages in much of Europe, a lot of people owned Books of Hours (comparatively speaking).  They are so named because they are built around the hours of the day – not the 24 hour setup we know, but the monastic and ecclesiastical hours that the day of a monk or nun or priest was divided into.  These “hours” (sometimes called “offices” today) are Matins (basically the first chunk of prayers, at rising or dawn or however you have your day sorted), Lauds or Prime (about 6 am), Terce (about 9 am), Sext (noon), Nones (about 3 pm), Vespers…

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internet update + Protection/Reversing community altar service

Just got internet back yesterday afternoon after the latest round of the neverending dance with what must be the worst ISP in North America. So even casual, irregular readers probably know the chorus to this tune by now: “I’m working on getting caught up” and “sorry I’m posting this so late.”

I’ve been wanting to offer something like this for a while, and I finally have a space cleared to dedicate an altar to it full-time. This way, I can offer it as a regular, ongoing service every month that people can drop into as the need arises without having to book anything.

There are Pay What You Can options for this community altar service.

Purpose/Goals

This service focuses on goals related to protection (both spiritual and physical), deflecting negativity, and in cases where someone is aiming something at you personally, returning that crap right back to the sender. The nice thing about reversing work is it just bounces things back – if there’s nobody to bounce anything back on, no harm done, but if there is, well, they set it in motion and your conscience is clear.

Your name and petition/intention will be added with those of other participants to what is basically a protective container spell – a sort of spiritual and energetic fortress, if you will, with watchful and powerful guardians encircling you. I work these community rites on my altars for a month, from (just after) the full moon to full moon, with special attention to pertinent moon phases, astrological transits, holy days, etc. as applicable. Participants receive a link to my client calendar detailing the work over the course of the month and are invited to a private Discord chat for participants.

If you have questions about any of this work, you can ask them and I’ll answer them in our private forum, where you can also trade ideas and perspectives with other participants if you want to. For instance, you might want to time a spiritual bath to coincide with a planetary day/hour or astrological event or saints’ day. I will occasionally make suggestions for things like this, too, if there’s anything interesting happening in the astrological or liturgical calendar.

At the conclusion of the service, I will ritually deploy or disperse the materia magica used in the working as appropriate to your petition/situation. 

Please note that community altar work services do not come with individual readings/reports, though I will post at least one photo of the work to the Discord “forum,” which you’ll receive an invitation to after you book.

In many cases, this service lends itself especially well to the construction of protective charms, amulets, mojos, pakets, etc., and you can opt to have me make and send you one.

You can also opt to add a “care package” tailored to your situation, to have me ship you hand-selected and hand-blended spiritual baths and other supplies useful your particular situation.

Read more or book your spot at Seraphin Station.


Community altar work services focus on a particular goal or area and have a limited number of “seats” for each working. They are a great compromise between big workings open to any number of folks (inexpensive but with little customization available) and hiring a worker to do 100% custom, private services just for you (completely tailored to you but often considerably more expensive since the costs of time and materia magica are not being shared by more than one person).

St. Cyprian Service Starts Tonight

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Nine-day novena and chaplet service for the Cyprianic Holy Days begins tonight.

Petition St. Cyprian for matters related to the black arts (including necromancy & ancestor work), uncrossing, protection, psychic vision and divination, and yes, as all the old grimoires mention, love as well.

Or just introduce yourself if you don’t work with St. Cyprian but have been feeling that you’re called to.

Learn more or book now at Seraphin Station.

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Oh ffs – Jezebel root PSA/rant + crash course in rhizomes

Iris fulva, one of the species whose rhizome is called Jezebel root. Public domain. [1]

This post represents stages of my research today to figure out where the hell something crazy came from. Watch the crazy unfold.

You keep using that word…

Jezebel root is not this…whatever this crap is. Pro tip – the stuff in that picture isn’t a root at all.

Reportedly???

Jezebel root is not “reportedly related to the Iris flower.” It IS the root of an iris flower. But the stuff in that picture? Is not the root of an iris flower. Matter of fact, it looks like that same crap in the first picture. I’m beginning to think an entire segment of the “occult world” has been using tree bark for Jezebel root for a whole generation now.

Pro tip: don’t buy herbs from places where nobody knows what a root looks like.

Least they got the genus right:

But Jezebel root is not orris root.

Version?!

The plot thickens:

Abies means this comes from a fir tree. This makes so little freakin’ sense it just blows my mind.

Let’s consider this Curse of Jezebel, in which one is supposed to hold the root – not a piece of the root, the root – in one’s hand for an extended period of time. The root of a big old honkin’ fir tree. Come on, now. Pro tip: don’t buy herbs from people who obviously don’t research and perform the spells they’re writing about.

But yeah – there’s a whole segment of the population who apparently accepts that some part of a fir tree that doesn’t look like a root is legit a “version” of Jezebel root. Never mind that I have never, ever heard of any tradition associating the fir with cursing or with attracting a man who’ll spend money on you or any of things that Jezebel root is used for. Have any of y’all?

Where are people’s brains?

Oh, now this is some convoluted stupid.

Ah, the plot thickens some more. According to these folks, it’s not just any of a number of possible abies – it’s Pinus abies, aka Norway spruce, and it’s “commonly used” when real Jezebel root is “out of season.”

Okay, just stop. The audience here is people who buy dried herbs from online suppliers, presumably because they can’t get them locally in season or at all. Drying an herb removes considerations of season from the freakin’ table, ffs. Also, that passive construction “is commonly used” is weaselly as hell. Commonly used by whom, exactly? (Answer: by people who don’t use their brains.) Most herbs are freakin’ seasonal, ffs. That’s why we freakin’ dry them.

And anyway, this rationale makes absolutely no sense. We’re talking about roots – or actually, we’re talking about rhizomes, and that’s important. We call it a root, but it’s really not. A rhizome is an underground stem that can produce the root and stem of a new plant and that stores nutrients to help the plant survive in case the growing conditions are unfavorable one year. That’s right, one year – only perennials have rhizomes (plants that live for at least two years). And irises can live for up to about 20 years if they’re well taken care of. That means you can dig up the root any old time.

This is what you’re looking for – you should see little ridged scaly-looking segments on an unpeeled rhizome (right), and whether peeled or unpeeled, you will probably be able to see little stringy looking roots, or at least holes where those roots used to be (left).

And mind you, these folks claim true Jezebel root is one of the Louisiana irises, which is kinda half true (but not every Louisiana iris species is Jezebel root, and Jezebel root is not only Louisiana iris species).

Well, in places like Louisiana, it doesn’t always get cold enough for the plant to even die back completely for winter.

So somebody please explain to me in exactly what way, in exactly what sense, Jezebel root can be said to be “out of season” and therefore “commonly” need substitution?

This is some absolutely bugshit crazy rationalization.

Y’all – use your brains. And don’t buy herbs from idiots.

(OMG, I’m gonna have to do one of these on corms and Adam and Eve root I think, too…)



Part of A Bayou Hoodoo Herbal.

[1] Annales de Flore et de Pomone ou Journal des jardins et des champs, October 1834. Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Sciences et techniques, S-16469.

Pokeweed (phytolacca Americana)

Pokeweed root, aka cancer root, chou-gras, inkberry, poke salat. If you’re familiar with this plant, phytolacca Americana, you probably either love it or hate it. It can arouse strong feelings and incite epic comments-section battles – about whether you should eat it, and if so how to prepare it, and whether you can/should use any part of the plant except the youngest leaves and shoots — even whether it’s safe to handle the fresh root without gloves and safety glasses.

I’ve heard of Native American tribes using it for love work, but not, I think, in this region. And I’ve heard of people using it for courage, but again, not in this region. Around here, it is and has been overwhelmingly used as pain medicine, esp. for rheumatism, and for uncrossing and protection, and then the young leaves and shoots cooked and eaten as a sort of spring tonic. (Please do not eat pokeweed without doing your research first.)

Historically, the root’s been a prized ingredient for spiritual baths to take off unnatural illness and crossed conditions. But it is true that it’s quite toxic and that some people can be esp. sensitive to the sap, and its bevy of poisons includes proteinaceous mitogens, which I don’t love, so I don’t *personally* use the root in baths for clients. Long tradition of it, though!

The purple berries make lovely ink. The internet says ferment the juice and the ink will be brown but it will stay. But you can get a decent red if you fix it with alum and it will last a while.

Part of A Bayou Hoodoo Herbal.


first draft: 10 Sep 2021


Text and any uncredited photographs © Karma Zain and Seraphin Station, 2020-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Karma Zain and Seraphin Station with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

St. Bartholomew crosses delivery update

Folks who ordered a St. Bartholomew’s cross talisman to be created during the course of their booked St. Bartholomew altar service:

If you recall, these come in drawstring bags that hold the handmade cedar cross along with some other required herbal ingredients.

Well, the crosses turned out fine. The handsewn bags made of delicate and slippery material? Not so much. These just do not lend themselves to hand sewing easily. They looked like crap 🙂

My amazing mother, God bless her, is bailing me out on these. She picked up the fabric and is going to machine-sew them. They’re gonna go out later than I expected, but they’re gonna look *way* better! So I appreciate your patience with these, and I think you’ll find it pays off.