Sunday, November 30, 2008

And In Uniquely Stupid News Today...

Yeah, you heard me right. Apparently, without my noticing, Hoodoo became the "it" thing. The Crescent Rolls over at Llewellyn have found yet another thing to latch onto and screw up, and are doing so with a vengeance!

Dorothy Morrison has gotten into the action, with a full line of half-baked spell kits, most of which are exceedingly dangerous, and all of which have next to nothing to do with Hoodoo or Voodoo.
Thats right, kids! For the low low price of $12.00 you can invoke Elegba to " achieve great results when using His kit for matters involving luck, success, protection and truth."
If he doesn't eat you first.

Diasporic gods are really tricky to work with. They don't enjoy being pulled from a table of correspondence at your whim (like any deity does). They like their worship to follow precise patterns, have precise offerings, and initiated (or at the very least respectful) followers. When any of these are missing, they are more than happy to let you know. And they don't give second chances unless they really, really like you.

While some experienced root workers give friends or clients instructions on how to work with a particular god or saint (usually for a VERY specific reason), it is at the behest of their patron saint/diety.

Well, at least her spell kits come with pennies. Charged and blessed pennies. You guys know my take on buying charged objects.

If you had any magical talent, you would be charging it yourself. If you had the ability to charge it yourself, you could feel whether or not it had been charged. That being said, most charged objects are fraudulent.

Nothing against Ms. Morrison, its really just another symptom of the glut in the New Age market. Serving up all the McMagic you can chew!!!!!

Giggle with me at the Marie Laveau and Oya invocation kits, and let us dream of better days!

-Carmin (a.k.a Madame Curare)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Show and Tell

Ugggh. Weird void-of-course Moon seems to be tossing my mind about like jelly. I had actually looked forward to a WHOLE day I could spend in the workshop, making ceramics (playing in the mud). The clay just isn't talking to me today.
Made a fresh batch of Confusion Oil, though. It seemed like a good day for it, lol.

As you may or may not know, I love giving big-ups to fellow talented Pagan artisans, and since anything else productive seems unlikely today ;P here are a few links that you guys might like:

Senjo Clothing: Very elegant, slightly twisted Pagan and Fae wear. Definitely NOT the tired Ren Faire garb or sarong (so-wrong) mess that's become standard. I know you're sick of seeing it, 'cause so am I!
You can only get whiplashed from so many over-strained corsets, or beaten up by one too many bustles before you go bat-shit crazy and torch every piece of purple velvet in a half-mile radius. Yeah.

Osseanna has a nice podcast over at GetWitchified. Its become my afternoon routine to load up her latest podcast while I'm making stuff for the shop. She is hysterical, warm, grounded, and takes a lovely intimate tone with her audience. Definitely worth checking out!

The Anti-Craft , for my beloved fellow DIYers, they have brilliant patterns and instructions for all sorts of fiber arts, with a very magical bent.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A moving opposition to Prop 8

This is the most sincere and moving testament in support of gay marriage I have seen thus far.

Thanks to beweaver for posting the video. Thanks to Aunt Pam and Auntie Jill for setting a good example of what a loving, committed relationship can be; those are few and far between.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I ran across a couple of great sites, and wanted to share with you guys :)

One from a brilliant Pagan artisan, Don Waterhawk. His work is thrilling; graceful, elaborate and delightfully barbarian. The drinking horns look like they belong in the hands of kings. Jaw-dropping, and definitely worth a look-see! It is very encouraging to see Pagan artisans strive to this level of perfection.

An excellent Hoodoo blog from NinjaCat: her take on magic is daring, funny, and incredibly down to earth. Even if you have no interest in that particular path, she gives excellent advice and insight for Occult practitioners. A thrilling reprieve from the light-and-fluffy.

Sorry for such a short post, I've got wax on the stove and candles to pour!

'Til next time,
-Carmin (a.k.a Madame Curare)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pagan Plagiarism

"The Bewick Thief" courtesy of Wikipedia commons

Dear f!@#ing gods, how much longer is this going to continue?

Yes, I found yet another Pagan merchant who has plagiarized my writings. I should just start a running blacklist, but being fairly certain that it would be a 9-5 job to keep up with all the thieves in the Wiccan community, I must be content with outing them here.

All right, here's the deal. I logged into Etsy (a nice handmade website) looking for Yule gifts for fiends, friends, and family :)
I found a listing for "Command & Compel Oil" (not a terribly common condition oil to find on the open market) from Magickal Enchantments(Johnston, Rhode Island). I'm always interested in fellow herbalist's and root-workers take on a formula, so I clicked it. Only to find that my description and usage had been stolen, word for word. What she didn't steal from me, she stole from Lucky Mojo Curio Shop.
While it is quite flattering to be placed on the same level as Cat Yronwode (Hoodoo Goddess that she is!), it is, once again, enraging to find that someone claiming to follow a Pagan path would stab a fellow Pagan in the back.Of course, I wrote the shop owner, as follows:

"Hi, while I was browsing Etsy, I noticed your Command and Compel oil. After reading the item description, I realized that it bore a remarkable resemblance to the one on my website. In fact, an entire paragraph was taken, word for word, from my website, While I have had certain problems with other Pagan shops stealing my work (one memorable case in which a vapor-ware seller stole my Witchvox announcement, word for word), I cannot believe that this is a coincidence. I'm giving you the option of changing your item description, and if I see my original writings attached to your shop again, on or off Etsy, I will bring the full force of the legal team of TTR Group down on you like a ton of lawyers. Are we clear? Perhaps you should consider living up to the Pagan title you so proudly proclaim."

Dear Carmin, I never copy anything from anyone else and I would appreciate it if you didnt threaten me either. I tried the link for your store and it wouldnt come up so I cant see your item description. I have no problem changing the wording in my item description if it is like yours however I will have you know that I got my description from my book, The Book of 5,000 spells. Perhaps that is where you got yours as well? I tried the link and it didnt work. Is your website down right now? As I said, I have no problem changing anything that is exactly the same as yours but please understand that I in no way copied your item. I am pretty sure I have never been on your site as it doesnt ring a bell. Let me know when your site is working so I can change the wording that is the same as yours...I finally got to your shop by using google, for some reason the web address wasnt working for me. I am sorry, but I really dont see how your wording is anything like mine at all. Maybe I am on the wrong site? I copy and pasted what I found under your listing of the command and compel oil and posted it below. Am I on the wrong site? This doesnt sound like anything I have on my listing of this oil. I did put the listing as inactive until this is settled. I have had people copy my work and understand how frustrating that is and I would in no way do that to others as I know the law of karma quite well(emphasis mine). I am all set with getting into that area. So let us work this out as adults. With that said, please tell me where you see the same wording in our listings. Thank you, Brightest Blessings, Kat

Now, my fellow root-workers probably (hopefully) know that the Book of 5000 Spells, while entertaining, is NOT a great formulary.In fact, it looks a bit like Herman Slater's (prolific plagiarizer and owner of The Magickal Childe). Judika Illes comes a lot closer (for one, she doesn't put lavender and honeysuckle in every formula, or melon oil in D.U.M.E),and her spells are well researched, but if this is Kat's formulary, she's got more than a few things wrong. Of course, listing High John root, cherry tobacco, and mace as components in her "old family recipe" were a dead give away too.

My response:
Dear Katherine Cotoia, "As an anointing oil and spell powder, it can be used to boost your magnetic qualities and inspire confidence. Excellent for strengthening the Will." That was taken, word for word (excepting "spell powder")and placed on your listing. You didn't even change the capitalization or punctuation. No, it was not taken from Judika Illes' Book of 5000 spells, she doesn't use that phrase anywhere in the description. I'm looking at it right now. It is MY original writing, in MY distinctive style. For another, our tracking software is showing a hit (from Johnston, Rhode Island), on the 24th of October (same day you listed your oil), using the keyword "Command and Compel Oil", and landed on "Counter Oils". The click through display is also showing that you clicked "more" to arrive at the full description and usage page.
1.So it is very clear that you DID visit my site.
2. It doesn't appear in your supposed source material.

3. You say that you wouldn't take anything from anyone, but you stated yourself that you may have taken it from "5000 Spells", obviously contradicting yourself.Published works are still subject to copyright, and if you had ever actually used the oil, you wouldn't need to steal someone else's words.
4. No self respecting root-worker would ever put High John(or half the other ingredients you list) in Command and Compel, and stating that it is an "old family recipe" is clearly a falsehood. Especially when you have revealed the source material in your letter.
5. The phrase "like many other ipomoeas, some of which are psychedelic..." etc, is stolen straight from Lucky Mojo Curio Shop. Who exactly do you think you are fooling?

Your lack of honor and honesty goes without saying; It has been revealed in your every word and deed. I'm sure if I went through all of your listings, I would find another half dozen people you have ripped off. Karma indeed.
Take my description of off your page, and it will be considered 'substantial compliance'.

Oh, btw, I found her full name on her Witchvox account, we can't (and won't) track our visitors to THAT degree :P
It's been 2 days. She hasn't responded yet. Big surprise.
Scared that she was caught in the act? Who knows. I have spent too many years collecting, experimenting with, and refining formulas to have them stolen off my back. If someone actually had experience working with a particular formula or ingredient, they could relate personal experience/notes. Shouldn't a merchant (any merchant) have familiarity with their own product? Since then, she has removed the item from her shop. Meh.

In Black Magic pt. II, I related that I had a feeling that two issues, "Pagan Plagiarism", and "What Wicca can learn from Hoodoo" would be tied together. I guess this was just the manifestation of that intuition.

So, I honestly want feedback, why is plagiarism so rampant in the magical community?
Nearly every website listing magical herbs stole the correspondenses from Cunningham's "Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs", without a word of credit or source material. Sirona Knight was convicted of plagiarizing Freya Aswynn's work for the "
Little Giant Book of Runes (her response was hysterical, read it, please). Let's not forget the nonsense of Y Tylwyth Teg, who stole the bulk of their material from Francesca deGrandis, while simultaniously offering sex tours to Thailand.
It isn't just in the rarified world of Llewellyn authors (*cough*), but is plaguing the local levels as well.

The pattern that I'm noticing, honestly, is that the first people to scream "The Rede!!!" or "Karma!!!" or "The Secret!!!" are the most likely to perpetuate this, the greatest threat to our community, ever.
Think I'm exaggerating? Consider this: Imagine that you've spent the majority of your life sincerely pursuing a path, deeply studying and practicing it. You've written something original to help others on the path. And someone cashes in on your work, waters it down, and combines it with 'Egyptian Shamanism' and their channeled spirit guides (i.e, the voices in their head told them to do it), or something equally trite. What is the point of being original or creative if someone is just going to steal it a month later!?

And this is how we die as a community. This is how we come to distrust one another, because so many are not worthy of trust.
This has been a very long post, and for that, I apologize. If you have read this far, I thank you. Something had to be said, and something has to be done.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

In Betweens

I'll be checking in later for a longer post (finishing up Black Magic), but I found a great article on Reiki, sans fluffy-fake-mystic-love-donation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

That Old Black Magic, Part II, well, not really.

Sorry it took so long to get back to this. Its been a tumultuous few days. My cat Aine got outside (her first time) and I spent the day wandering the neighborhood, trails, and deer paths calling her name. Enlisting the aid of the entire town, some construction workers, and possibly a few squirrels. Its all a bit fuzzy :)
After finally collapsing at home to wait, I did a bit of bibliomancy. The question: "When will she come home?" The answer: "The light".
Sure enough, she came prancing home at the first grey light of dawn. Safe and sound.

I'd love to finish up the post on black magic, its just a bit stonewalling at the moment. I believe that they have a value in the practice of the modern magician. What can hurt can heal, what can heal can hurt, as the old adage goes. With so many curses having their own signature points of manifestation, it's good to know what's being aimed at you, at least for the sake of uncrossing.

So that post is going to sleep for awhile. There are two articles I'm currently juggling, and it looks like they are going to be intertwined with this post, and each other. 1. The rampant plagiarism within the Pagan community(not a CATCHY working title) 2. What Wicca can learn from Hoodoo. It'll be a grand adventure ;)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

That Old Black Magic, or " A Long Hard Look at Wiccan Ethics" Part I

"Saul and the Witch of Endor" Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Now that I have your undivided attention, I'd like to address that most taboo of subjects within the Wiccan and Magical community. As Azzerac deftly pointed out, we have suffered as of late from an extremely Westernized, watered down ethical system poorly extrapolated from Mahayana Buddhism that has little to nothing to do with Wicca, Witchcraft, or Paganism.
Ethical and religious systems that cannot survive contact with the physical world are to put it bluntly, useless. If it doesn't meet physical and emotional needs, it is highly doubtful that it can meet the spiritual needs of its practitioners, yet another reason in a LONG list why more people are turning away from "traditional" religious ideologies.

So, black magic, then. The slightest whisper of performing bindings, curses, or what is perceived as 'controlling' magic is guaranteed to bring a gale-force sized petulant verbal slap of: "but the REDE SAYS...! Never mind that Rede doesn't mean law, but instead "good council", and is meant to be an easily remembered set of advice. Disregard that these are the same people who cannot say more than "Harm None" from memory; convinced that a coven must have "perfect love and perfect trust". That last bit of advice refers directly to the Rede, not to covens or any other group of practitioners. ( "Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust"), yet seem to entirely overlook this bit of good advice: "with a fool no season spend, lest ye be counted as his friend". Nope, just Harm None.

Part of me wonders if this isn't a nasty side effect of the "look normal for the Christians" movement of the '90's, when every author from coast to coast made sure to include a section in their article or book that we don't eat babies or wear black makeup, as if the two were synonymous! Geez, I still remember the pressure within the community to denigrate any practitioner who looked counter-culture. These were popularly perceived as newbies, or doing it for the rebellion factor. But when you meet an old school punker with a mohawk bigger than he is, that has been practicing for twenty years, well... I doubt he was still rebelling after 160 Sabbats.

The modern spillover effect: more and more high profile members of the community are actually trying to convince the Mundies that we don't cast spells! The worst bit is that real practitioners are actually starting to believe this, or at least repeat it en mass, at high volume. In an attempt to be accepted within the mainstream, the cries of 'we are all safe, suburb-living- khaki-wearing-PTA-attending-bake-sale groupies' has done nothing but water the Wiccan community into a fluffy bunny hypocrite parade that is MOCKED within not only the mainstream culture, but the metaphysical and Occult communities as well. When acquaintances learn that I'm Wiccan, its invariably followed by a long pause, and "you don't look Wiccan". It isn't just a few people. This is a wide sampling of people, of very different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnic makeup, professions, etc. From the deep South to the Pacific Northwest, a score of Brits, a handful of Europeans, Jamaicans, Russians, and New Zealanders; it has been determined almost universally that the stereotypical Wiccan is a 400lb emotionally crippled doormat with poor hygiene.
Before you launch a tirade at me, remember I am one of you. I love my Pagans and Wiccans. I have watched this problem grow from inside the community. Let me give you some more stats. We at Lodestone & Lady's Mantle offer free classes, one of which is geared toward improving health and physical activity."Power-Walks: Magic in the Great Outdoors". To date, it has received 90 views on Witchvox. Compared to our other free class, Occult sciences 101 (454 views). Both posted at the same time, with the former being more well advertised. Goddess forbid a member of a Nature religion actually go outside, or apply their ethical system to their own bodies, or their own lives! Like I said, fluffy bunny hypocrite parade.

Those of you that insist on rubbing our noses in the Rede, or your convoluted and ill-researched version of it do not get a vote in this.

That was a huge lead-in to this: I am currently working on an article about what Wicca can learn from Hoodoo. What it all boiled down to was this. Hoodoo practitioners expect their workings to, well... work. None of this mucking about with "I move the Universe with my WILL alone, well, no, that's not right, but I can affect the universe around me with a change in consciousness. Well, a little bit. Not really. Umm.. sometimes I have dreams and stuff. Wanna see my new crystal?"
No, Hoodoo spell craft and formulas have the weight of centuries of practitioners using them because they work, in the real world, and meet physical emotional, and spiritual needs.

Wow, this has gotten to be a rather long-ish rant. To be continued on the 'morrow. :) Sleep well, my pretties!