Lucky Maggot Ball Charms!

This is goldenrod (Solidago spp.), an edible native plant that is often unjustly dismissed as a mere weed. Medicinally, it’s been used for a wide variety of things, including the treatment of skin infections, colds, and gall bladder problems. Depending on how it’s prepared, it can also be an emetic or a sedative.

Spiritually, it’s useful for breaking love spells and clearing up crossed conditions affecting your love life. It’s also used in money drawing work.

But when you see one with this bulbous growth, rejoice, for what you have on your hands is the infamous Lucky Maggot Ball charm!

Trim it up, dry it out, and carry it as a charm for money luck, especially unexpected windfalls and gambling success.

(Comments open if you have any ideas about something a little more… palatable… to call these šŸ˜‚ )

Read more entries in the Bayou Hoodoo Herbal, my ongoing collection of herblore from the Gulf Coast of the U.S.

Ascension Day Cleansing/Blessing bath herbs

Get a packet of Ascension Day bath herbs at Seraphin Station.

There’s a lovely Italian tradition relating to the Madonna of the Baths (patroness of the region’s numerous hot mineral springs). This annual blessing and cleansing at the Feast of the Ascension is under her aegis. The Feast of the Ascension is on May 26th this year.

So if you can get your hands on clean, unsprayed, food-grade roses and mint, this is a nice little cleansing and blessing rite you could do with those.

If you can’t get your hands on fresh, organic roses and mint, I have made a blend of dried mint leaves and rose petals available in the shop as Ascension Day Bath Herbs.

The Bath Rite

On the day before Ascension Day, gather rose petals and mint leaves before dark and put them in a bowl or basin of water. Ideally, this would be spring water, but since most of us don’t really have fresh springs anywhere near us anymore, use whatever makes sense to you and is sanitary here. Traditionally, you would invoke the blessings of the Madonna of the Baths, praying and asking her to bless the roses and mint as you added them so the water will bless and sanctify the body.

Leave the basin outside under the sky all night, and in the morning, wash with the water for spiritual cleansing and blessing.

Additional Uses and Considerations

It is nice in a full bath as well, and it can be used in home washing/cleansing, but I will tell you from personal experience that it does *not* keep well AT ALL. If you bring it inside and refrigerate it, you could very well still get mold pretty quickly, so unless you want to preserve it with a sufficient ratio of ethanol or some other real preservative, you should divide it into portions and freeze it if you want some for later. (And frankly, the scent is extremely delicate and light – ethanol would probably completely obliterate it.)

Mint in hoodoo is well known as an uncrossing, purifying, and protective herb that deals with troublesome people and troublesome spirits. But I’ve found that mint is especially good for troublesome thoughts as well — stuff like anxiety loops, negative internal dialogue, invasive thoughts. It can kind of short circuit that stuff.

And rose, although commonly thought of as a love herb, is also an herb of blessing. It’s strongly associated with Mary, and beyond that, has deep associations with many figures of the Divine Feminine in religions and cultures throughout history, across the globe. In some folk traditions, it’s used to clear up negativity and crossed conditions around your love life, and it finds its way into blends for psychic vision, protection, friendship, and general luck, as well. (Though if I wanted to use this for protection or home cleansing, I’d probably add a handful of basil, personally. And if you did that, you’d actually have a pretty good Peaceful Home blend, too, come to think of it…)

It’s especially useful for matters related to *self* love – self esteem, self confidence, and self-forgiveness. As such, it pairs with mint to give you a blend that can help remove negative thoughts and negative influences in the realm of love, absolutely including self-love, self-esteem, internal dialogue, all that kind of thing. And then of course the Madonna of the Baths is associated with healing.

Read More

Read more about the bath herbs, or order some now, at Seraphin Station.

Learn more about the Madonna of the Baths via Storie di Napoli.

Hear a traditional folk song for the Madonna of the Baths (and read a traditional prayer, as well, if you can read Neapolitan) via Italian Folk Magic.

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. BibliothĆØque nationale de France, dĆ©partement 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 Ā© Karma Zain and Seraphin Station, 2020-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this siteā€™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.

American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

American beautyberry (callicarpa Americana) grows like mad around here and is immensely popular with the local wildlife. Its leaves repel biting pests. When I take Roo out to go walkies in the pastures and woods here in what feels like the Tick Capital of the Freakin’ World, I stuff lightly crushed beautyberry leaves into my boots and pockets and tuck a couple under her collar to discourage the ticks. It’s not DEET, but it does help some, and around here, every little bit of help is welcome.

The berries are gorgeous, but they aren’t really the best for snacking on raw (for humans anyway). They make a really pretty jelly, though. Here’s a recipe.

I’m positive that I attempted to use them to stain a table once, and I seem to recall waxing it afterwards to help retain the color. I’m not positive, but I think I recall the end result being pretty disappointing – there was doubtless some chemistry involved that I was ignorant of at the time that might have helped fix the color. No luck with making ink yet, either, but I’ll update if I manage a decent batch or come across any new intel on using it for ink/dye.

In this region, medicinal uses have been pretty varied. The Alabama treated fever, malaria, and rheumatism with it [1], the Seminole used the roots and bark to treat snake sickness (characterized by itching skin, among other things) [2], and the Choctaw used the roots and/or berries to treat various gastrointestinal problems [3].

I don’t know of any traditional uses for it in specifically hoodoo rootwork, but folks in my neck of the woods make a weak tea with the ripe berries for a facewash, the association being with the “beautyberry” name from what I can gather, and use the leaves to drive away pests of the more figurative type, corporeal or otherwise.

So while it probably won’t ever make an appearance in a fiery-wall type of protection formula, it could easily find a home in lower-key work when you have a welcoming smile on your face but are keeping a side-eye out for any pestiferous or weaselly influences that you want to bar the way against. In fact, if you ask me, there’s nothing fiery about it. It’s a pretty “friendly” plant. If it owned a restaurant, it would smile and hold the door open for you. It just doesn’t take any shit, and if you look all weaselly like you’re gonna be annoying or try to worm your way out of paying the check, it’ll make you feel supremely unwelcome.

Part of the Bayou Hoodoo Herbal project.

Last update: 3 Sep 2021.


Sources

[1] Swanton, John R, 1928, Religious Beliefs and Medical Practices of the Creek Indians, SI-BAE Annual Report #42:473-672.

[2] Sturtevant, William, 1954, The Mikasuki Seminole: Medical Beliefs and Practices, Yale University, PhD Thesis.

[3] Taylor, Linda Averill, 1940, Plants Used As Curatives by Certain Southeastern Tribes, Cambridge, MA. Botanical Museum of Harvard University.

Bushnell, Jr., David I., 1909, The Choctaw of Bayou Lacomb, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, SI-BAE Bulletin #48.


Text and photograph Ā© Karma Zain and Seraphin Station, 2020-2021. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this siteā€™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.