Quick Little Catholic Iconography Lesson

Ok, the Pinterest Pedant strikes again.

Mary does not have a Sacred Heart.

Mary has an Immaculate Heart.

This is the Immaculate Heart of Mary: sword, flames, roses. No thorns.

This is the Sacred Heart. Only Jesus has a Sacred Heart. Thorns, not roses. Pierced, but with a spear, not a sword. Flames but note the cross in the midst of them.

Occasionally the Sacred Heart will be pierced by an arrow instead. This has to do with an idea that we wound Christ with blasphemy and profaning the Sabbath. The Golden Arrow Prayer said in reparation is said to heal those wounds.

You’ll often see the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts together, but they are still two different things and not interchangeable.

You may now return to your kitten memes.

All of these images are public domain and are copied/pasted so widely that it would be an afternoon’s rabbit hole to try to source them all, sorry.

Restoring St. Lucy’s simulacrum

A simulacrum is a life-sized wax figure of a saint that serves as a visually compelling reliquary for the saint’s relics. St. Martha’s Guild was part of the restoration process for an 18th century simulacrum of St. Lucy, and they document the process with lots of photos. I don’t have permissions to repost and this was all within the last couple of years, so copyright is intact – you’ll just have to click through to see.

And you should click through if you’re into saints, art restoration, embroidery, vintage/antique fabrics, sculpting, dollmaking, or even just plain weird stuff. It’s weird. Maybe even a little unsettling. But truly incredible restoration work and the final result is beautiful, even if it is a little creepy.

Taking Potshots on Pinterest

Big Lucky Hoodoo

I know it’s too easy and not sportsmanlike and all, and I really try not to reach for the low-hanging fruit *all* the time, for real. But sometimes you just run into stuff **and you have to say something** or you’ll actually **bust.**

Exhibit A:

THE STUPID. IT BURNS.

Or how about the proud declaration of some energetic young entrepreneur:

– After I finish blending my oils, they are charged under a full moon before being sent to you.

– All of ’em, huh? Every formula you make is ‘charged under a full moon’?

– Uh-huh!

-Your Road Opener and your Crossing and your Get a Job and your Hot Foot and your Cancer Zodiac oils, all ‘charged under a full moon’?

-Uh-huh!

-Uh-huh. Well then, that’s certainly something.

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Angelic Protocols

I don’t have time to articulate all the thoughts that zipped through my head reading the first 3/4ths of this, but I think it’s important – in general and in regards to the specific “importance of narrative” thing I’m still struggling to articulate — and I need to come back to it. (Also this is the kind of thinking I very much miss doing, half suspect I’m no longer capable of doing, and there was a good bit of weird mixed-up nostalgia in zipping through this this morning.)

Feather & Scale

angel-1841177

I’ve been knee deep in star magic of late over at Rune Soup, and the tech in question uses Christian prayer to help get things off the ground. Why? The tech continues and builds out of vastly ancient magical techniques. And as I’ve played with it, it works. Meanwhile, Gordon pointed folks to a prayer from ACunning Man’s Grimoire, edited by Stephen Skinner, and I’ve been pairing it with the tech in the Heptameron. Some folks have bristled at some of the phrasings in the Christian prayer tech.

For example, the prayer from the Cunning Man’s Grimoire strikes some folks as, I guess, bad self-care and demeaning to humankind:

I, thine unworthy servant, do humbly implore thy holy, divine, glorious good and merciful majesty, through thine infinite goodness and love and mercy and eternal love of Jesus Christ, our mediator and messiah, that you will vouchsafe to forgive…

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on love binding spells (just gonna leave this here)

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Just stumbled upon The AfroMystic’s article “4 Reasons Why ‘Binding’ a Lover to Yourself is Not Smart.” I’m glad she wrote this. Now I don’t have to. But it needs to be said. Out loud. Regularly.

Now I know not everybody sees eye-to-eye on all the finer points and nuances of potential situations where things like Binding and Intranquility and such get brought up a lot. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with all of my colleagues about every single nuance of this stuff and vice versa. And I absolutely allow that not everybody from every culture, society, or country has the same autonomy, access to resources, and legal status as everybody else (and she touches on this issue as well in her article).

But if you’re a rootworker in the 2000s here, or even if you’ve just been hanging around in rootwork circles long enough, you know…

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Love Spell Course

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Cat over at Cat’s Rants/Original Ninja Cat is offering her course on love spells for the first time in years. Enrollment is open now — and limited.

It covers pretty much everything you could think to ask about practical love magic over the course of 10 weeks. In addition to the weekly course material, you also get a weekly private half-hour chat session with your instructor and access to the course Discord chatroom. Bit more info about materials and access here.

Cat is a plain-talking, straight-shooting kind of worker who calls it like it is. You won’t learn a lot of airy nonsense here where you just glue a quartz crystal to your forehead, smudge your butt with sage, meditate on some kale, close your eyes, and just think positive thoughts real hard, preferably widdershins. She knows her stuff and she has 25 years of professional experience…

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Prosperity Community Honey Jar: PWYC November

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Work begins Monday, November 16th. This service, focusing on goals related to prosperity, work, income, and career, has your name/petition added to a sweet jar with the names/petitions of other community members having similar goals. I work these community jars on my altars for a month, from new moon to new 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.

This is an especially good time for work like this if you’ve been having trouble, because Mars, which has been retrograde for two months, will have just gone direct on the 13th, so you might find that you can gain a stronger or clearer sense of where you want to go and how you want to get there over the course of the coming month.

And…

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Hoodoo Rootworker’s Seven-Way Rosary Chaplet

Big Lucky Hoodoo

Available through Seraphin Station, this rosary is handmade with a mix of pressed glass and Czech glass beads, each decade being separately attached to the center ring — a finger rosary — and embellished with a focal Pater bead of pressed glass, Czech glass, or in one case recycled sandcast glass. Whether you want to see this as a charm collection on a charm hanger displaying seven individual chaplets or single-decade rosaries, or as a sort of deconstructed All Saints’ rosary for contemporary rootworkers, this is a striking and unusual piece created by a rootworker with over 35 years of experience working with the roots, rosaries, and these saints in the folk Catholic tradition.

Large, sturdy, colored aluminum jump rings connect each decade to the center ring, so it’s possible, should you ever want to, to remove the individual decades and treat them as separate single-decade chaplets. This could…

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The queen of the coop is gone

Hi Top was just getting worse. We couldn’t afford it, but we took her back to the vet anyway just to grasp at straws/see if they had any other ideas. I had privately decided they were wrong about the infection and this must be some kind of intestinal blockage or something. And you don’t do surgery on chickens for things like that. Hell, most people wouldn’t shell out $200+ to take a chicken to the vet in the first place. But most chickens aren’t Hi Top.

Anyway, Mike just called to confirm what I feared. She’s not gonna make it. I had taken her out into the backyard in my arms for a few minutes earlier this afternoon so she could feel the sun on her face again. She actually opened her eyes a couple of times, even. But she was barely hanging on even then.

Out of all the damned chickens we have, it just had to be her, huh. This freakin’ sucks so bad. I have a coop full of feathered assholes who don’t pull their weight around here, but it just has to be Hi Top.

Rest in peace, goofy butt. I’m sorry we couldn’t save you. It is never going to be the same without you here and we’re going to miss you every day.

Hi Top and Glenn, the chihuahua of roosters

I sat up all night with Hi Top. I was afraid if I didn’t, she’d die when I wasn’t looking. I can’t think of any metric by which she could be said to be doing well. She’s not doing well.

I force fed her some homemade electrolyte solution a few times. Wasn’t prescribed by the vet but I think she’s probably only swallowing half her meds, if that, and I won’t repeat the smelly details on what’s going on with her – it’s in the last post if you’re interested – but there’s no way she’s not dehydrated.

I’ve also never seen a chicken look at someone with actual hate before, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I got when I maneuvered the medicine dropper into her mouth and pushed the plunger. That or the most iconic “I am so done with you” chicken face ever.

I really need her to be ok, esp. after losing Raven earlier this year. Raven and Hi Top are (were) my two special girls.

Hi Top and partial view of Raven’s butt last year

So I didn’t get caught up on communication last night yet again, y’all, despite pulling an all-nighter. I’m really sorry. I’m just getting pulled in so many directions this week – well, for the last month, I guess. It’s kicking my butt, but I’m still among the healthy and living, unlike plenty of folks who started out 2020 that way but got interrupted, so I complain only sheepishly. But I’m starting to feel a little punch-drunk with the nonstop action lately.

In peripherally related news, when I went out to do dawn chores, Glenn, the black frizzled rooster, was giving the other boys a worse time than usual and generally being a bully. When I catch him doing this, I call this Glenn Needing a Hug; he gets picked up and toted around under my arm as I finish morning chores while I talk to him very calmly like he’s a small animal and make sure all the other chickens can see this happening.

Glenn: 14″ tall and definitely not bulletproof.

I want him to not panic around me or the prospect of being handled, but I also want him to know who’s in charge, what side his bread is buttered on, and that he isn’t actually 10 feet tall like he thinks he is. (He’s also not the head rooster, though he occasionally acts like he is, and Joe, who is the head rooster, is generally too busy doing his job to even take the bait when Glenn runs at him. He just dodges slightly out of Glenn’s way and goes about his business.)

This is Dickhead Joe, who’s the head rooster and who is not a dickhead at all. He’s a very good rooster. That was just kinda where my daughter was going with the chicken-naming at the time.

Well, the little shit took a run at me when I was going to pick him up for his “hug.” This is basically rooster fight mode – they kind of square themselves up and do this sort of flapping little run towards their opponent, chest out, almost leaning back a little as they move forward to make their chest protrude. It might seem kind of cute if you haven’t had to deal with the bloody aftermath of a rooster dustup before – they will eff each other up – and it *does* seem kind of cute when Glenn does it, ’cause he’s like a teacup rooster – at least at first.

We call this one Pretty Boy ’cause I guess we ran out of creative juice that day and, well, he is pretty. He’s Glenn’s favorite target for bullying.

But even teacup frizzled bantams have spurs unless you do something about them, and spurs suck no matter the size. While he kind of seems like a chihuahua – they tend to be forgiven more easily for bad behavior that could get a larger dog in a lot of trouble – the fact remains that bad behavior is bad behavior. Now, he didn’t actually “complete” the forward movement part and run at me – perhaps because I wasn’t responding in kind, ’cause I’m not a freakin’ rooster – but he sure did square up, and he was not cornered, which might have made it explicable.

This is simply unacceptable behavior towards a human being. We have an excellent rooster who is great with people and is vigilant, protecting and warning the rest of the flock from danger and treating the hens decently. We have zero reason to tolerate asshole roosters, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for roosters that are aggressive towards people. There are too many good ones to put up with a shitty one.

But I wanted a black frizzled bantam rooster, and I got a black frizzled bantam rooster, and it’s this little asshole I ended up with. And you can’t just pop down to the pet store in November and go pick up a new one. But I need a black frizzled bantam rooster. He might be a little shit, but unlike most roosters, he earns his keep merely by existing and being a chicken. I use his feathers to create charms, art, and implements for customers; they are ingredients in several of my formulas; and I use them in uncrossing and spiritual cleansing work for clients. I *need* Glenn (at least until I can replace his narrow little ass, if that ends up being necessary).

Now, I will give them a shot at redeeming themselves, and the first step is Rooster Needs a Hug. After a round of that, we see if they try that crap again or if they’re suitably chastened. Actually, that’s the only step, because I’ve never given a rooster a second chance if he ran at a person again after a first round of Rooster Needs a Hug. The one and only time I’ve had to do this before, we rehomed him before we had a chance to really assess a behavioral adaptation. (We just had too many roosters and it wasn’t fair to the roosters or the hens.)

So I’m not sure if Rooster Needs a Hug did any good or not. I kind of doubt it. Glenn is very, very full of himself and he seems to think he’s bulletproof. We’ve been very lucky; our roosters have been extraordinarily well-behaved. They’ve nearly all been home-hatched barnyard mutts, too. Glenn is the only storebought one we have :/ I understand there’s a widowed black bantam hen in Forestville, California, who would probably appreciate Glenn’s company lol… but in addition to that being on the opposite coast from me, practically, I don’t know if the humans involved would be so keen once they learned of Glenn’s appalling manners.

But I’m gonna threaten to put him on a train with a steamer trunk and send him to California every time he pisses me off now, I’m sure – at least until spring when I can shop for a new one and find him a new home if need be. I hope it’s not necessary. But I just had to get the one with “personality.” :/

Ok, time to go get the death glare from a very weak Hi Top 😦

Thea Summer Deer and Wisdom of the Plant Devas, chicken poop, Ghost Pipe, Emily Dickinson

I don’t really have time for a real blog post, never mind a book review [*], but I wanted to make a quick recommendation for Thea Summer Deer’s blog and book, Wisdom of the Plant Devas. This is going to sound like some woo-woo stuff to some folks, and I freely admit to being one of those who was extremely skeptical about flower essences and homeopathy and such for a very long time. And despite my work with and interest in herbs, I don’t write about herbal medicine much because I’m not qualified to and I don’t want anybody taking my advice on anything when it comes to *consuming* herbs. You need to get that information from someone with formal qualifications whom you have vetted. Herbs can heal but they can also kill.

But I’ve taken the long way round to giving some of the more woo-woo-sounding stuff a second, slower look over recent years, and I’ve backed way, way up on my tendency to scoff and think “can’t be bothered” when I encounter it. And I recently stumbled across her blog, and from there her book, when looking for information on the very rare and very weird Ghost Pipe,[**] which my mother recently called to tell me she found growing on her property.

I also don’t have time to quote or really review the book right now, but I’ve never seen anything quite like it. While I regularly bristle at Westerners co-opting concepts like karma and devas and using them shallowly and irresponsibly, what emerges from her work as she’s talking about the spirits of the plants is authenticity, a hell of a lot of knowledge and experience, and a deep, deep respect. She talks about and works with these plants like an old-school rootworker who happens to be conversant in Chinese medicine. Don’t be turned off by the occasional New-Age-seeming imagery or mentions of contemporary Wicca-esque stuff. This book is a lot deeper than its cover. She cites her sources even on the blog like an actual scholar instead of a typical lazy blogger, though both are very readable and never stuffy or dry; the blog has lots of thought-provoking and free info; and the book itself is surprisingly affordable.

Definitely worth a look if you’re into this kind of thing at all.


[*] Still scrambling to deal with twingey back, hurricane recovery, communication backlog, order backlog, injured rooster (who hates people), sick hen (whose most visible symptom is extraordinarily stinky and runny poop, and the chicken hospital is inside our house, so I’m scrubbing in there multiple times a day), a partner who’s thrown *his* back out now, the usual everyday garden/land/home maintenance, my own trainwrecks of grief (please, loved ones, stop dying), and supplier issues (when pandemics, hurricanes and such happen, the stuff I need to make the things folks order doesn’t always show up when it’s supposed to, or at all in rare cases, and this is an aspect of my shipping/handling times, too).

Sorry there’s poop in the picture, but she did that after I stabilized the camera but before the photograph was actually saved on my phone. And it startled me, and I unstabilized the camera, hence the lousy photo quality. But Hi Top the Usually Genial, Now the Seriously Grumpy Mascot of Seraphin Station lives. Not exactly in splendor at the moment, but God willing, in gradually improving health. Really, really smelly gradually improving health.

[**] Also known as ghost plant, corpse plant, or Indian pipe, it seems like kind of a wildflower and kind of a fungus. In fact it’s technically a mycotrophic wildflower, which exists only in a three-way symbiotic relationship. It has no chlorophyll but gets nutrients from tree roots, but it does so indirectly via myccorhizal fungi growing near the roots. It’s ghost white, but if you pick it, it will turn black. Basically, it’s weird as hell and extremely cool. Read more about its medicinal uses at American Herbalists Guild. Emily Dickinson even wrote about it in an unpublished poem you can see at the Morgan Library and Museum’s website. Read a bit more at the blog Emily Dickinson’s Garden. For a scientific but very readable explanation of how the nutrient situation shapes up, see Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for October 2002.

glimmer? thud.

Hi Top was not eggbound, thank God, but she’s got some weird infection and some sort of fluid retention thing going on. The vet did not say the words “vent gleet” or “prolapse” so that’s good, but she has two meds, is in isolation, and is not any better (or any happier) and there’s still plenty of worry mixed in with my relief that she wasn’t eggbound. I got to kind of enjoy that mingled relief/anxiety thing (mixed with a little nausea over what we had to pay for this diagnosis) for about 20 minutes.

Then I got the news that two family members just died this morning from COVID, within an hour of each other.

I have one grandparent left, and she has no idea what’s going on. I don’t know if it hurts her feelings that none of us come in and hold her hand anymore or not, but it seems like it would have to. And it’s hard to explain why we can’t from the other side of a thick sheet of plexiglass. I don’t know what’s going through her head, but I know what this pandemic is doing to our elders is just especially cruel and it breaks my heart.

But as much anguish as it gives me to think of all the people dying without any family gathered around them, I’m grateful for the caregivers and medical professionals who are doing their best and risking so much to do it. This has to be horribly difficult for them as well. They have my thanks and my prayers.

Everything about this sucks.

(deep breath)

I am in the middle of two consultations that I should have delivered last night, along with posting a custom listing, finally getting the incredibly patient E. her light setting report, and making a big dent in the emails.

Since 8 p.m., I have had three hours of sleep, one unexpected visitor who stayed a while, one rooster with a bloody foot who is very human-averse and hard to catch and who I’ve so far only managed to hit with Blu-Kote from a distance, four (yes, 4) separate hawk sightings necessitating installation of new hawk deterrent measures over three acres, and a hen who is still acting weird on day 3 and who might be egg bound, which means she has to go to the vet *today.* (The condition is fatal if untreated, and this is Hi Top, the ISA Brown whose face greets you when you see a mailing list signup form. She’s not just any old hen.)

Hi Top as a teenager with her sisters Freddie and Starbuck in the background and some random chicken butt I can’t confidently identify from this angle

I’m freaking out a little. Both our vehicles are out of commission and we have access to a borrowed one, but it means only one of us can knock out errands and neither of us can go finish this painting job that the customer wanted finished last week. And my back is still pretty twingey.

And then two adults here need to vote today somewhere in all of this, and meanwhile murder hornets, civil unrest, and mutant crawfish in Europe who can reproduce by essentially cloning themselves. If this were a screenplay, nobody would buy it because it’s too unbelievable.

Meanwhile, I have a case of the ass about some shitty feedback on Etsy for shipping time from buyers who didn’t read the shop policies and/or didn’t think giving me a chance to respond should happen before shitty feedback. Now that kind of thing is going to happen when you do this – I should know, I used to sell on eBay – but my anxiety brain doesn’t care and wants me to go into “sky is falling” mode.

And the housemate we had to evict who turned nasty on us is heading over here right now to get the last of her things.

So a couple of things:

One, if you have a moment and grok how a chicken can be important to somebody, Hi Top could use some prayers.

Two, I pretty much reserve coupons/specials for mailing list subscribers only, but I’m making an exception today. If you’ve purchased from me this year and have NOT been AN ASS and left negative feedback about delivery times recently, esp. considering we’ve had THREE hurricanes and a death in the family in 6 weeks, I’m thanking you with a discount on your next purchase. If you haven’t made a purchase before, you’re welcome to use the code, too — as long as you read the TOS/shipping info and aren’t AN ASS about delivery times 🙂 Coupon code is NOTANASS and it’s good at the Etsy shop and at the main shop through 11/30.

Three, I’m also going to give away at least one email reading/consultation this month. I’ll post details in a separate blog post. Staying busy and helping people is one of the best cures for panic and self-pity that I’ve found, so that’s gonna be my MO. That and breathing.

power’s back on

And I’ve thrown my back out.

2020 is trying for a technical knockout. But there’s no ref to call anything, nobody but me. And I might look pretty beat up right now, but I’m not staying down, if only because people I love and admire haven’t given up yet. Well, and the chickens. Somebody has to feed the chickens.

But make no mistake. This is and has been a battle of endurance, maybe even of brute stubbornness. We all have to pace ourselves. And calling a little encouragement from ringside has never been amiss. So I’m gonna hang in there. Y’all hang in there. If you need to hear this, keep breathing and drink water, and I’m rooting for us all.