not-BS spotted on tumblr: lab-grown gems with a side rant on so-called “closed practices”

I have an entire category on this blog for “BS spotted on Pinterest,” under which I also post BS spotted on tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, etc.

Tumblr has lots of BS. I’m especially (not) fond of the posts about hoodoo that copy/paste or screenshot or quote a portion of a book and then close with stuff like, “remember, kids, if you weren’t born into this culture/aren’t the right race or ethnicity/are trying to be a convert/whatever, it’s appropriation: Do Not Touch because it’s a closed practice” and similar such BS bits of racist, essentialist, historically ignorant, anthropologically blind, genealogically clueless posturing, gatekeeping, and virtue signaling.

(Clue brick: an entire culture can’t be a closed practice. That doesn’t even make sense. Unfuck your muddy thinking and imprecise language, or you are just part of the problem. Full disclosure: If I never see that bullshit neologism “closed practice” again it will be too soon. I especially don’t want to hear it about hoodoo from non-Southerners, ’cause those folks tend to get the South wrong all the damned time.[1])

But tumblr has some not-BS occasionally, and it’s only fair that I point that out every once in a while, too. So here I bring you some not-BS from tumblr.

I posted the whole thing so you’d have the context, but the spiritual folks and magicians and such reading along should have a pause and think about this last bit I’m emphasizing here. I’m not telling you what to do – I’m just suggesting we all give the underlying principles at work here some genuine thought. Resist sloppy thinking and false dichotomies and think about your theoretical underpinnings as a practitioner.

(And, you know, your ethics.)


[1] Yes, cultural and religious appropriation is a thing, and it’s a thing we should care about. I’ve written about it here and especially on Big Lucky Hoodoo. But this BS, ignorant, imprecise bumper-sticker preachy virtue signaling crap I see on tumblr constantly is just ridiculous, and it’s so incredibly off-base sometimes as to actually contribute to the freakin’ problem. More on this in the near future.

cut-up technique with Carolina Dean

This is a petition paper crafted by Carolina Dean using the cut-up technique that I’ve been meaning to bring y’all’s attention to. He’s done quite a few of them but this is the one that caught my attention at first and prompted me to ask if I could quote and use it as an example.

I love this so much, as a rootworker and as a former literature professor. I think the technique is really powerful on a number of levels. Of course it’s a petition/prayer and depending on how you structure it, an affirmation. And the construction of a petition paper is a ritual in itself, of course.

Now a lot of people don’t see it that way because it’s (apparently) simple, and to their minds, “real” spells and rituals are “fancier” than that. Like so:

“I need a spell to use this oil in.”

“Dress a candle with it and set it on a petition paper.”

“But I need a spell.”

“Sweetie, that *is* a spell.”

“No, you know, a *real* spell!”

“Fine. Hot glue a quartz crystal to your forehead, anoint both elbows and one foot with coconut oil, sacrifice a bouquet of kale with a plastic sword toothpick (must be red), and read the first three and last two stanzas of this Emily Dickinson poem. Widdershins.”

“Is this voodoo?”

“Yes, baby, it’s voodoo.” [thud]

So a petition ought to take a while. It ought to take thinking. It ought to need more than one draft. And this technique builds in that thinking time and the act of selection and all the other elements that it ought to have anyway but often doesn’t.

And then less obviously, perhaps, it can itself be instructive, even oracular, as we search for the “found elements” that will make up our petition/prayer. I mean, sure, you can think of the process as related to bibliomancy in a way, but think about this, too: How far did we have to go to find the right words? Are we surrounded by them in our homes and spaces? Did we have to look far to find the right words, or were they already around us? *What are we surrounding ourselves with already* right now? What are we reading? Repeating? Internalizing?

And then there are the messages/words/statements/prayers that aren’t purely from a separate source and aren’t purely our conscious creation but are a result of the interplay between both – something new. Exactly like writing a poem or writing fiction, we can surprise ourselves with what we put down on the page when we get rolling if we just get out of our own way. We might discover an angle of something we hadn’t been consciously aware of before, or we might even answer our own questions sometimes.

Are there any messages *for* us in what we’re creating? Any new perspectives or avenues emerging that we couldn’t see or hear before?

And a lot of folks have a lot of trouble making space in their lives to sit and create in that open-ended sort of way where it isn’t all deadline- and goal-driven, end-product-driven. And I think not having at least a little regular space for that kind of expression in our lives is soul-stunting (and thus – ultimately – prosperity-stunting). So this can be a therapeutic practice as well as a magical act/process even while it’s also artistic and creative in its own right.

In other words, I think it’s a brilliant technique.

He’s got a video up at youtube where he goes into this technique, its background and history, and how he personally uses it. (And yes, if you’re thinking all of this could get into William S. Burroughs, tools for altering consciousness, and methods for jailbreaking restrictive paradigms of perception, you’d be right, so there’s something potentially useful for you here even if you’re 1000% allergic to contemporary discourse around “law of attraction” stuff. Like me lol)

Response to an email asking me to “prove I’m for real”

Big Lucky Hoodoo

…Or why legit workers aren’t even slightly interested in doing Psychic Pet Tricks for free to convince you to be their client, and what you should do instead of playing Test the Psychic.

Q: I was wondering if there was a way you could help me to prove you are genuine by maybe stating something about me that i have not told you. I want help, but I am tired of encountering all these fake psychics when i search.

A: [Name], what you need to do is not search but *research.*

There is a lot of good advice out there to help you avoid getting scammed. There is also a lot of bad advice, given by scammers themselves on their scam websites and ads. Then there’s a lot of well-meaning advice that is inaccurate, biased, or just plain ignorant. So it’s hard to sort the wheat from the chaff when…

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spiritual bath instructions, possums, farm dogs

Those wanting hardcopy instructions for spiritual baths can now get them by downloading a PDF version at the Spiritual Baths page listed in the Rootwork Topics Index at the Big Lucky Hoodoo blog.

In country living news, we’re currently down a bathroom because it’s housing a shell-shocked chicken. Said chicken was apparently traumatized by a possum in the chicken coop which we fortunately heard the chickens making a ruckus over at about 2 a.m. before it could eat any of those chickens. I don’t think she’s hurt but I want to look her over more closely here in a minute.

Miraculously, Mike was not bitten while getting the damned possum out of the coop.

Roo helped. Her version of helping mostly consists of her getting poised to pounce and us saying “leave it” and her sitting down again, repeat ad infinitum. But it was still quite exciting for her, I think.

I saw her catch a rat once. She didn’t know what to do with it after she made it squeak and she kept looking at me to tell her, I guess, but we don’t have a command for “for the love of God, kill it quickly and put it out of its misery” worked out yet.

So she was a little puzzled/confused about how much fun it apparently wasn’t after you bit it; the rodent was probably in agony; I concluded that Roo is many things but a ratter is not one of them; and I decided that I don’t want her scrapping with rodents and vermin unless it’s truly an emergency. She loves to chase them; she just generally doesn’t catch them. She’s a big, heavy dog. Her mama was definitely not a terrier.

Roo, all 70+ pounds of her, perched on the back of the sofa like she’s a kitten, which…she’s definitely not. Pictured here with Eevee-Bug, who now runs the woods in Louisiana with my cousin and friend Julia, whom I’m dying to interview for this blog one of these days soon.

Believe it or not, this was once a reasonably nice sofa :/

St. Martha, from Gospel Figure to Medieval Legend to La Dominadora: Sources, Resources, and FAQs

St. Martha in Scripture

st martha woodcut
Woodcut by Jacobus de Man, haven’t tracked down the specific publication yet, but it’s late 1600s, early 1700s and public domain. [1]

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.”
– John 11:5

The Gospel of Luke tells us how Martha invited Jesus to her home in Bethany. She cooked and cleaned and catered while her sister Mary sat at Christ’s feet and listened to him speak. Martha pointed out that Mary wasn’t pitching in.

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:41, NIV)

Christ’s point is that in the grand scheme of things, your eternal soul is more important than social conventions and what people think about your housekeeping. But we need to understand this in context. It’s not that Martha had no imagination or faith or respect or that she was too small-minded to want to sit at Christ’s feet, too.

In Martha’s mind and in her culture, these were her duties, and her performance of them comprised her reputation, value, and trustworthiness as a member of her culture — in a society that valued hospitality quite highly, that in fact didn’t even work as a society without hospitality as a huge part of the glue that held it together.

She wasn’t saying nobody should value hearing him teach. She also wanted to hear him speak; she was also his disciple and believed in him. She was just pointing out that people needed to eat and wash and sit, and somebody’s efforts had to make that happen. (You can imagine that Jesus was accompanied by an entourage, too, all of whom also needed to eat and wash and sit.) She was determined to do her duties well for such an esteemed guest as Jesus, but she wasn’t a doormat. She was pointing out that she was not the only one who could be doing these things, that she *could* be sitting at Christ’s feet right now, too, if she just gave off doing the less glamorous stuff. But somebody has to do it. Dramatic events are unfolding, but somebody has to make the setting they’re unfolding in happen.

In John 12, Christ is in Bethany again before Passover at a dinner in his honor. Lazarus is reclined at the table with him. Word of his resurrection has spread like wildfire; Jesus’ followers are increasing and so are the machinations against his life. Mary makes a spectacle of herself pouring half of liter of precious perfume on Christ’s feet – worth a year’s wages – and wiping them with her hair. Christ is constantly, increasingly aware of the massive cosmic drama he’s part of and what’s right around the corner, his every action and word heavily symbolic. Every step he takes is under the weight of prophecy and its fulfillment, is part of a massive dramatic ritual. In this play, Christ has simultaneously the perspective of the main character and the omniscience of the author. The drama in John’s portrayal is thick indeed.

Martha during all of this? John writes only, “Martha served” (John 12:2).

Continue reading “St. Martha, from Gospel Figure to Medieval Legend to La Dominadora: Sources, Resources, and FAQs”