questions you’ve asked: dressing vs. drowning candles, cinnamon, BS spotted on Pinterest

Q: Not a real question but a PSA on dressing candles.

Y’all got some real pretty dressed candles on Instagram and Pinterest, folks. Some of y’all got some real pretty big ole fire hazards up on Instagram and Pinterest. Look, those big old chunks of rose petal and various herbs look really nice for the camera, but that shit is a straight up fire hazard and it’s interfering with your candle work. The candle cannot do what it’s supposed to do when you choke it out with huge globs of herbs. Y’all don’t need to be playing like that, especially not with glass-encased vigil candles.

And are you interpreting every pop and shudder of the flame and bit of soot as information about your candle work? Well, that’s not the spirits telling you anything. That’s your candle flame sputtering and choking ’cause you crammed too much shit into your candle wax. You are interfering with the candle’s ability to report on the very work you’re asking it to do.

Q: Can I use cinnamon oil as a substitute for Come to Me oil?

A: Well, that’s kinda looking at it the wrong way, hoodoo-wise. See, Come to Me oil is not one single herb/essential oil. It does other things besides just put a fire under somebody’s ass to get them over there to see you. I mean, it’s a great ingredient for “heating something up” but in a positive, attracting way (versus, say, cayenne pepper, which also heats things up but without the sweetness that cinnamon has). But a straight-up substitute? I’d say no.

I mean, aside from the fact that one single herb/oil is pretty much never gonna be a real substitute for an entire compounded formula, there’s also the matter of how formulas are traditionally compounded in hoodoo, and that’s almost universally going to be a basis of at least three ingredients. The oldest and simplest “recipes” nearly always call for a three-ingredient basis. There’s a lot about hoodoo that doesn’t have to be “just so,” so you must do this on this day of the week when the moon’s doing this. Hoodoo doesn’t fool with a lot of that. But the odd-number ingredient thing is deeply, deeply traditional.

I’d look for at least two additional ingredients to include that told the cinnamon where to go and what to do. By itself, cinnamon doesn’t command “come to me.” It just suggests you get moving. The whole thing needs some sentence structure, not just cinnamon as a verb hanging out by itself, if that makes sense.

Q: stfu spell. lemon?

A: yes.

Q: alum?

A: yes!

Q: pins?

A: Sure!

Q: lavender.

A: say what? er… and you’re putting it with the alum, not a separate spell or something and you forgot to explain that?

With the alum, huh.

No, I wouldn’t hit a hog in the behind with that recipe.

Q: I saw it on Pinterest.

A: Of course you did. Bless your heart, darlin’.

Man, there sure is some kind of stuff on Pinterest.

Flash Bonus Rewards Points + New Stuff

Earn 2X rewards on all purchases made through midnight. Read more.

Recently Added:

Chuparosa – Hummingbird Oil

Chuparosa formulas made their way into hoodoo from south of the border, and this delightful oil is named for the hummingbird as a symbol of serious, committed, faithful love. The hummingbird has long history in Mexican folk magic, one that once involved using actual hummingbirds. The hummingbirds didn’t come out the other side of this intact. Read more.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help tinwork altar ornament

This handmade ornament is intended to evoke the Blessed Mother’s elegance and grace but without removing all the rough edges and scuff marks that are part of this icon’s history and that characterize the fabric of her devotees’ genuine lived lives. Read more.

I hate the new block editor in WordPress. It took me a whole 24 hours to get this post finished. It keeps eating my captions when I adjust images, and i have no idea how to get things where I want them. The things i want are always grayed out or don’t work. Yes, I read the freakin’ instructions. Right now this caption is twice the width of the image, which I cannot move or adjust for some reason. Not a fan.

services and stuff update, N.B. 2015 folks

Oils and Other Formulas

I’ve been able to order some essential oils and herbs and they should be getting here any minute now. So I’m getting pretty close to being good to go on a full range of regular condition/dressing oil formulas.

Same with common bath/floorwash crystal mixtures, and this will enable me to make a decent range of mojo bags and pakets, too. It’ll probably be a minute before I’ll be able to have a dozen of every type of whole root in my cabinets ready to go on a moment’s notice — who knew it then, but those were the days! — but hey, one foot in front of the other, right?

Getting there on the vodou oils, but not quite there on all the specialty/esoteric oils. Some of that stuff costs a stupid amount of money and/or effort to source and I figure I better get the basics going strong before I focus on things that have a narrower appeal. (I doubt I ever sold even 50 bottles of Damballah oil in 13 years, you know?) In some cases, if there’s enough request for a certain formula and I can get a couple of y’all to maybe commit to purchase within a certain timeframe or something, I might be able to get it going sooner. But like I’ve been saying, just write me if you have any particular requests and I’ll prioritize it if I can.

I’ve had a few inquiries about Cool Heads, Warm Hearts, which is a type of specialty peace water for the home that is made with Maggie’s Cleansing and Blessing Water [*], and I’m actually dying to make this water again because I want it to have around for myself, too. But since I last made this, I’ve learned that not every supplier is as scrupulous as they could be about using proper preservatives in their hydrosols and/or labeling clearly as such and/or making that information available to their buyers.

So in addition to sourcing the essential oil ingredients, I’m still researching the best way to formulate this so nobody ends up spraying sweetly-scented mold water around their house. I’m looking at suppliers for hydrosols and their track records, and I’m looking at paraben-free preservatives, but I haven’t ruled out just changing the formula to an alcohol-based one, either. But then by the time I do all of that, it’s quite possible that this stuff would cost so much nobody would ever buy it, because I am not and do not want to be in the business of buying and storing 55 gallon drums of anything, but sometimes you really have to buy in serious bulk to get prices that make the product worth fooling with.

And then if it’s alcohol-based, I’m not sure what the selling point is to recommend it over just buying a bottle of Lanman & Kemp, you know? (sigh) In any case, I’m looking into it. I’m definitely not ignoring y’all that have mentioned it, but I want to do this right. [**]

If you guys expressing interest in “Cool Heads, Warm Hearts” and/or “Maggie’s Cleansing and Blessing Water: *compare to Murray & Lanman Florida Water” have any input on this formulation question, chime in!

Ā Altar Work and Consultations

I am offering consultations again and some altar work services now that I’ve mostly got all the usual herbs and oils and such lined up. I do not have an extended selection of every whole root under the sun, like I was saying above, but I’m aiming to keep at least a couple of everything on hand in the very near future.

2015 Clients

I also found most of the readings/consultations and reports that are likely to have fallen between the cracks in 2015, I believe. I know what folders i need to go through anyway as I check each one, and I do need to check each one. In some cases I’ll have to ask you if you ever got the report, though, ’cause Lord knows that filing system fell the hell apart there at the end and just ’cause something *says* it was delivered doesn’t guarantee it got where it was supposed to go. :/

If I owed you a service report or consultation and you still want it — though obviously for a new issue most likely (grimace) — email me and I’ll bump you to the top of the list. We can even do it via phone if you prefer, if our schedules are compatible.

Or if you’d like a store credit or gift card instead, I can do that right away, too.

If I owed you a service report or consultation and you just want a refund, I understand, and I am still doing like I outlined in the “2015 reparations info page” – going down a list, figuring out what’s what, and reaching out to folks one order at a time.

It is NOT going quickly, but I have been making progress. People have received refunds. I can only send out what I have, though, so the speed of this endeavor is directly tied to how quickly I can get the new shop self-sustaining. And I’m working very, very hard on it.


[*] In the past, I called this “Maggie’s Florida Water Spray” or the like in print at least once. I swear I checked before I did it, but I must have been looking at the wrong column or had the wrong tab pulled up or just gone cross-eyed, because I was sure I had managed the name in a way that was not a trademark violation. And I was wrong. I even had a customer mention it and I reassured them. I don’t remember who that was, but if you’re reading this, you were right lol…

Lanman & Kemp does own the rights to the name “Florida Water” with or without the word “cologne” even though the recipe predates their freakin’ existence as a company. Or, rather, the rights once owned by Lanman & Kemp and then by Murray & Lanman are now owned by Lanman & Kemp-Barclay & Co. (That might have been the source of my problem – I might have looked at an out-of-date company name and seen that the registration was dead and not considered that it was alive under a later iteration of the company name. Either way it was a stupid mistake on my part.)

And while it’s true that other companies manufacture something they call “Florida Water” that is a cologne just like this, they aren’t U.S. based companies, and that right there is the rub.

So anyway, this isn’t Florida Water. This is my mother’s cleansing and blessing recipe from back in the day that you will find smells and works a lot like Murray & Lanman Florida Water. šŸ™‚ But it’s not! It’s Maggie’s Cleansing and Blessing Water.

Dear Lanman & Kemp-Barclay and Co. et al: please don’t sue me. I couldn’t pay anything you’d win in court anyway. I’d just have to go out of business and then you’d have to fight with the student loan people over my pathetic mortal remains to get any cash out of me.

[**] This has also occasioned my spending an awful lot of time on various suppliers’ forums and message boards, and let me just say that there are a ton of people out there making bath and body products who have no freakin’ idea what they’re doing and it is terrifying.

Folks, don’t be afraid of preservatives. I know we’ve all been told thousands of times how bad preservatives are blah blah blah, but don’t just let those mantras occupy your consciousness so you have a knee-jerk reaction to them. Sure, there’s such a thing as *food* that is over-processed and “full of preservatives” and is generally just all-around crappy. I don’t think anybody on the planet needs *more* sodium nitrite in their diet.

But that doesn’t translate in any way, shape, or form to cosmetic or body products or, really, any kind of thing you’re gonna spray around your house or on your linens. This is apples and oranges. And if you have a product you’re going to put on your body or spray all over your clothing or bedding and it contains water, it needs a preservative. Not just an antioxidant, a flippin’ preservative.

Preservatives are how you make sure your nicely scented, boutique, organic facial toner doesn’t turn into a very expensive bottle of boutique microbes. Preservatives are how your body wash and shampoo aren’t full of Pluralibacter gergoviaewell, hopefully. You see a face cream for sale at the flea market made with fresh pureed pumpkin and spice, and there’s a big sign saying “organic” and “all natural” and “unprocessed” next to it in Crayola marker? And you pause and are actually considering it? God, I hope you know how to read your cosmetics labels. And people. And that you don’t get tempted by some half-baked ideas about “organic” and “all natural” always being better. You know what else is organic? Freakin’ botulism.

Preservatives are not inherently evil.

All-natural is not always better.

Don’t fall for dumb shit.

(Credo Beauty has a good blog post about what they call FOP, short for Fear of Preservatives, why we shouldn’t succumb to it, and what we should do instead.)

Image credit Skitterphoto | Pixabay.

Flash Bonus in Seraphin Station Rewards Program

flash sale jpg 221x315Ok, I think I finally figured out how to make the loyalty rewards program app thingie at the Seraphin Station storefront do most of what I wanted it to do. I had to get a little creative with one of the rewards and I don’t actually know if it’s gonna work the way I have it set up or not.

And that’s why I need testers. So I’ve slapped a whole ton of bonuses and freebies on this thing to try to lure some folks in there so I can get some insight into what is all screwed up and what is working ok etc.

So you show up on the site and you should see a widget for the program. It will invite you to sign in/create an account and it will give you points for that.

Then you should see a notification that there’s a “Flash Bonus” for points earned through purchases from now until 11 a.m. 11 p.m. on 6/29 (I extended it – well, tacked a second identical one onto the end of the first one to run another 12 hours ’cause this never cross-posted to social media — there’s still something wrong with my WordPress connections to FB etc, sigh).

So during the bonus period, you get whatever points you would normally get per dollar spent but you also get 50 bonus points on top of that if you spend $20.

Then it will give you the option to get a bunch more points for filling out a profile, visiting a web page, stuff like that. Just takes a few seconds (at least the ones I tested only took a few seconds).

So yeah, it’s one of those things where you earn points for dollars spent and can cash them in for goodies, but it’s *also* set up to give a whole bunch of points for stuff that does not require spending money. ‘Cause I need y’all to go up in that thing and push buttons and try to break it, ’cause if it’s gonna break, I want it to be now and not later lol

But you should be able to get enough points for stuff like free shipping easily, without having to spend money. Plus one of the signup thingies gives you a percent off coupon right away even if you don’t feel like pushing all the buttons to get all the points. And you can also get points for referrals and for Etsy purchases

So this should legitimately feel like an actual bonus or reward or cool thing and not just some pain in the ass bunch of hoops you have to jump through for no good reason.Ā That’s the goal anyway. And I don’t have anything set to expire, so you don’t have to be in a hurry to use them.

I ordered a bunch of essential oils, by the way, to replace stuff I had to throw out, and they should come in a day or two, so I should be having a lot more formulas available very soon.

So go play with the new loyalty rewards app thingie if you feel like it and do let me know if you see anything funky that I need to fix.

questions you’ve asked: bunch of folks should just stop using the word “karma,” period

Aaaand here we go again, folks. Some of this is part retread, but since the two-blogs thing is confusing AF and I probably need to edit and consolidate comments on the Big Lucky Hoodoo blogs (plural) and then just post the edited updates here as new posts…, I guess I might as well just answer some of these again lol

But the first ones are new.

Q: Are you going to have _______ for sale soon?

A: I am still just going one thing at a time as I locate, clean or dispose of, and set up or replace one batch of ingredients at a time. Turns out I do have a few candle-making supplies still. The issue there is not even knowing where to start. Should I pick a formula out of a hat or should I wait until somebody asks for something in particular? (I’m pretty much waiting until somebody asks for something in particular lol)

It turns out I have *way* more materials to make bath/floorwash crystals than I even imagined, though, as I discovered today, so some of those will be going up at the shop soon. Which ones I post first, though, could be up to you if you have a preference.

I do have a few chicken feet. Later this summer,Ā  I’ll have some more that I am *very* excited about, because they will be coming from a source I know firsthand to be cruelty-free and devoted to humane practices. I know for a fact these chickens have as good a life as it is possible to have as a chicken bred for meat. And I know they are slaughtered cleanly and quickly with skill and compassion. They do not spend their final moments in terror. Matter of fact, they are *individually prayed over,* I shit you not, and individually thanked for the gift of their life that in turn sustains other life. This is no assembly line anything. These birds’ lives are not taken for granted.

And while I totally get that not everybody is comfortable with materia magica like that, for those who do participate in the carnivorous economies and want to use these quite traditional curios, this is the most ethical way I can even imagine to obtain these things. And I am really, really grateful to be able to source them from a place like this – from someone i know to be a person of real compassion who is powerful in prayer and deeply, deeply connected to the life around her and the land under her feet. (I actually want to interview her for this blog one of these days when some of the dust has settled around here. She’s really, really freakin’ cool and she has taught me *a lot* about living life “out here.”)

Q: Are you taking clients for spiritual work?

A: Apparently I am. I hadn’t planned on hanging the shingle out just yet, but someone wrote and asked, and it was the kind of case you help with if you can. So I kind of took that as a sign. It may well be one client at a time for a while, though. Not all services require that formal situation, though. Light settings, e.g., you can just book. More info’s available on the Services page of the shop.

Q: Can I burn frankincense and myrrh together?

A: Yes. What are you thinking here that makes you question whether you can do this? I worry I’m not understanding the real question.

Q: I read that Black Arts oil is used for karma. Can it cleanse my karma?

A: OMFG. No. The short answer is no. If you do traditional Southern spiritual rootwork, you just take you a big old marker (mentally) and mark out the words “karma” (mentally) and anything that suggests karma can be “cleansed”- esp. with something you buy. Cross ’em out real good, okay? There. Now try to forget you ever heard ’em. And think about who you want to be giving your hard-earned money to when you’re reading crap like that on the internet. You deserve better.

Continue reading “questions you’ve asked: bunch of folks should just stop using the word “karma,” period”

Karma Zain Customers from 2002-2015: FAQ

under construction;Ā last edit 4/28/20

Edit 5/19/20: I’ve updated this a bit and turned it into a page so it would be easily navigable in the sidebar, and I’ll be updating that page in the future rather than this post.

I’m putting something here because I need to address this up front, but this is still a draft/work in progress right now and progress is slow. One of the many things that’s changed pretty drastically for me over the past few years is that I now live in the absolute middle of nowhere, no kidding, just outside a small fishing village on the bayou at the Alabama/Mississippi border. You can get exactly one brand of internet out here, and it’s DSL, and it’s slow as shit, and it regularly goes out when it rains, when a truck drives over a cable that an animal dug up, or when you don’t hold your mouth right.Ā  So getting all this going has been painfully, glacially slow, and I can spend days at a time with no internet, worst case scenario.

Throw in a little global pandemic and the concept of schedule starts to look kinda meaningless after a minute. But I will come back to all this, for those of you it might have some bearing on.

What happened?

A bunch of things, kind of all at once, that completely overwhelmed me and my ability to take care of myself and my family, never mind take care of my clients and customers. I’ll add some detail but try to do it succinctly in the coming days/weeks, but in the meantime, this post pretty much covered everything, though I have a few insights to add from just the last few weeks, too (warning: it’s very long). Might make for an informative “how not to run a business” or “how to crash and burn as a single parent” series down the road? Heh.

So the worst part of all is that some of you had orders and/or services in the queue when I had to pack everything up and move. And it was all packed up a lot longer than I could *ever* have imagined. I not only didn’t have my own roof to work under for a while – I didn’t have any roof at all. At least not until we literally built one with our own hands.

cabin trusses sep 2016
And this was it – our roof, over a one-room cabin

Losing my house and being homeless was ugly and awful and it kicked my ass and did a number on my head. And I was already feeling pretty done for after two years at that disastrous teaching job where they worked me to death, didn’t pay me enough to pay my utilities, and threw me under the bus at the drop of a hat.

I hadn’t found a magic bullet to raise the funds back up to refund you folks who had services pending, and I no longer teach or tutor or work in academia, and I’d convinced myself I could never show my “face” online again after everything exploded. But there aren’t a lot of jobs out here in the middle of nowhere, teaching or not, and you don’t usually get recognized and promoted posthaste to the C Suite with full benefits based on how well you dazzle with the broom or calculator or whatever, so I ultimately worked my way around to something like this:

Yes, maybe absolutely every single customer you ever had hates you now. Or maybe your perception and thinking have been skewed because you’re massively depressed because of numerous major life upheavals all kinda happening at once and things aren’t quite like you’ve made them out to be in your head. But you’re miserable hiding under a bed out here not doing work that feels particularly meaningful or that you’re particularly good at. And you aren’t coming up with the funds to pay back what you owe doing it.

So you should probably just face the music and let them tell you if they hate you and are coming by to throw rocks before you just decide that for them. And if Martha Stewart can get out of prison, do her mea culpa interview tour, walk out onstage onto a brand new show with an audience packed to the rafters, joke about being in prison, and start hanging out with Snoop Dog, well, you didn’t screw up **that** badly and you should really just suck it up and get back out there. (And as a friend pointed out, if somebody owed me something and disappeared, I’d rather dislike them while knowing they’re trying to do something about it than dislike them and feel like they crawled off the face of the earth and aren’t aware/don’t care that they owe me something.)

Y’all that i owe something to? I’m aware. I’ve thought about it at least twice a week for the past 3+ years. It weighs on me very, very heavily as the biggest professional failure I’ve ever managed. And I’m not even close to having it all sorted out, all the info located, and any means by which to wave a wand and fix any of it. But I’m going to even though it might take even longer than it already has, which is a really, really long time. I can’t live under that weight anymore and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna risk getting taken out by some global supervirus and never even managed to make it out from under the bed before I croaked. Going out with a whimper is just so not my style.

But there is a lot of paperwork to go through. I have only just now climbed out from the under the bed, so to speak, to start going through said paperwork, too, so I don’t even know the extent of it and how jacked up the records are.. It’s going to take time to get all the records straight. Beyond that, it’s going to take time to generate the funds to be able to pay back everybody I need to pay back, but I’m going to make it as right as I can make it and keep apologizing ’til I do.

In the meantime, if (for some reason I cannot fathom) you still want any of the products or services you’d wanted before or anythingĀ  , I’ll bend over backwards to get you whatever you need, as that will be the fastest way for me to get right with you. Otherwise, there’ll be a plan and a timeline coming and I’m so very, very sorry and embarrassed.

EDIT: you can keep up with updates on my reparation plan at the Karma Zain blog. Just follow the 2015 reparations tag to find the relevant posts.

What the heck is a Seraphin Station?Ā 

Seraphin Station is our farm / studio / workshop / home. A sketch of what we do out here will be emerging over the coming days and weeks as I populate this site and various platforms.

Are you still doing business as Karma Zain Spiritual Supplies?

I’m not sure about Karma Zain – somebody in Malaysia or something appears to have bought the domain name since it expired when I was broke and still hanging out under the bed. Plus I’d really rather not run that name up the flagpole until I can hold my head up and say I fixed my messes and made them right, even though it took me a few years.

I do still have a few things with Karma Zain branding, like some oils and incense powders that do not go bad in storage lol, and that’s the username on some old seller accounts that I’ll keep because why not, but Seraphin Station is the official deal these days. That’s the best email to contact me, too. (I didn’t check the Karmazain at gmail account for three years. Anything you send me there could get lost pretty easily! It’s total chaos in that account, really.)

Are you still making formulas/oils/etc?

A very few. As to how many more I may add back to regular rotation gradually as I can afford to buy the ingredients, I don’t know. I was carrying too much inventory for stuff I didn’t make very often before. I gotta cut down and not have so much money just sitting on shelves, and that means narrow narrow narrow.

For starters that means sticking to the basics, which for me are gonna be traditional rural Deep South bayou conjure, including work with the saints, and remembering the whole point was what made sense to use regionally and seasonally and wasn’t fancy stuff you could only get mail order. That means some of my Biblical oils with more obscure ingredients, like Song of Solomon, are probably off the menu for now.

It also means soaps and candles are probably off the menu, too. The costs of the ingredients have gone way up since I last bought them, I’m not sure I can purchase in the quantities I’d have to to be able to recover my costs yet, never mind make a profit, and anyway, when I started making them it was really damned hard to find them. You couldn’t go just anywhere and get a Road Opener soap or poured candle (not just a fixed vigil but a poured Road Opener candle.) But now you can swing a cat and hit a bunch of ’em — in fact, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a shop selling hoodoo stuff these days, seems like – so I’m not going to rush on getting them back on the virtual shelves.

And with bath crystals, if you have the oil, you can really make your own. And few people used powders all that regularly that weren’t raised with them, so they did not fly off the shelves. We’ll just see, I guess, as things unfold.

Can you make X formula still?

If it’s not listed yet at one of the shops, I probably don’t yet know or it’s in the “can’t afford to make it yet” pile. But if you have a request for something you’d like to see come back in rotation, by all means, please say so. If I’m not sure whether I canĀ  make it, I can move it to the top of the list to investigate. If I can make it and just need to order an ingredient, I can move it to the top of the list for ordering. Otherwise I might just throw darts to make up my mind what’s next, so speak up šŸ™‚