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This article was written about 10 years ago, and I was still pretty new to this particular type of work. I thought I would put it on here anyways though in case some folks get something out of it (because I'm sure the hell not writing about it after practicing such things for this long ;) ).
My interest in HCR started with my interest in Santaria and Voudo. I started out with Ceremonial Magic as a path, but then was constantly drawn to Voudo. I read as many books on Santaria and Voudo as I could. I tried to get ahold of folks on those paths, but being white and trying in the early 90's, no such luck. So I practiced using the books and talking with the Orishas and the Lwa (yes I mixed and matched a bit, it was mostly the Orishas I worked with though since there was more information about them). The spell that I found in the books worked quite well, even though I found out later that the books I was reading were watered down crap LOL. I set up alters for the Orishas (at least this information was accessable), and did offerings for them. Fortunatly I had a cuban store in my neighborhood in which to get supplies from. I did the daily songs to a couple of my favorites, as well as offerings to the others. I had a couple of really neat experiences during this time. I came home one day to find that in an offering dish to Obatala with cornstarch in it, was a smile and two eyes drawn, part of a happy face. At another point, I found a toy on Eshu's alter that I had never seen before. It was red and white though, not red and black. No one could have gotten into my apartment to place these things there, so I thought it was pretty neat. I had not had physical affects like this before with my magics. At another time, I had fed the Orishas in the wrong order (oops) without realizing it. Well my whole apartment felt like doom, mostly like I was doomed LOL. Boy had I pissed someone off. Well I finally discerned what was up and corrected the situation, the overbearing feeling went away. There is nothing quite like a pissed off Orisha!
Well I did finally find a group that was Santaria. They told me the books I had been reading were crap. I now know what they meant. I had a ifa reading which was pretty awesome and suggested I would be on the path for quite some time, as well as gave me a few other hinters. They did tell me that I was not part of the religion because I was not initiated though, and their initiations were pretty pricey (I was a student and working at the time, so not that rich). Well I became very discouraged with that, and moved anyways. I did keep up my practice for a few more months in my new location. Some might find it amusing that I was smoking cigars backwards (don't know how else to describe that) and blowing rum :) For some reason people seem to think women don't smoke cigars. Well I don't usually, but will for the Orishas or Lwa. The Cuban ones aren't too bad actually, those American ones though are pretty bad LOL. Well I went through many many bottles of Florida water, lit many many 7 day candles, tried some spells and was generally enjoying the practice. I was also practicing my Ceremonial Magic. I had not combined the two yet, as I was not sure how to. My CM practice had evolved more into Enochian magic, and away from the standard GD practices as I learned more about the systems. I did avid research and practice with Enochian especially. I then started to bring the Afro/Cuban practices into my Enochian CM work. It worked amazingly well. Neither the Lwa nor the Orishas seemed to mind the Enochian energies.
Over time, I practiced the Santaria/Voudo stuff less and less since I could not really find much information on it. I basically just worked with a few of the Lwa in the end, regularly giving offerings and working magic with them. This was for about 5 years. My spells and magic were becoming more and more of a combination of the two. I then did the Abramelin operation, and mostly stopped my practice of modern CM. I had started on a path of further exploring the old grimoires (I had been doing evocation for years, but wanted to start using the original sources). I started to slowly merge Grimoiric practices, Enochian and Voudo. After I completed Abramelin I did a spell to find a teacher with my interests and a shitload of experience. Well it came to be :) Apparently he noticed my interest in herbs and spells (I had been making incenses, magical homeopathic mixtures, and working with herbs for years). Well he started to teach me HCR. Oh it was SO very annoying at first! The Hoodoo spells worked, kind of. I entirely stopped the CM practice at this point (aside from evocation) to further learn about HCR. I had been used to spells working very easily and what I needed naturally coming into my life. Well I seemed to have hit a year of a dead period as I was learning this new system! I was doing spellwork and making powders regularly, and they worked, but I couldn't bring in money for the life of me! Also, a few other things didn't work magically. It was one frustrating year. After about a year, it slowly, far too slowly started to build. *Finally* the spells started working as they should. Oh that was nice. Why did I stick with it for a year? Well I felt naturally drawn to the working methods and could just tell that this was definatly the way to work magic (well at least for me). Fortunatly I guess I have a stubborn streak somewhere.
Finally there seemed to be a shift, most of my spells worked, I moved to a place I love, I started to actually make money with this website, and my workings with the invisables were improving. I also started to get client work from people online (I had worked for my friends very successfully before this, but not complete (nearly) strangers). Fortunatly during the year and a half before the magics finally started working as they should, I had the spell powders, that seemed to work even when I didn't. The business drawing one didn't seem to work for me, but boy did it change my friend's life around. I beleive I wrote about this in the powders section. Needless to say her income quadrupled. And those compel powders, they were my favorite. They work wonderfully for job interviews, getting apartments, having one's landlord be agreeable, returning items to a store when you have already opened them, and so on.
So it took about 1 and a half years of nearly daily work (I do slack some days) to finally get myself over to the new way of doing magics. It really is different then modern magic. A LOT different. It works differently, you work differently, and you work with different energies. No you do NOT charge the spell powders!!! When you make them, you ask/tell them what they are for and to help you out. The herbs, roots, resins etc. have natural magical properties. They are a living thing (in a spiritual sense), and do not need some magician to grab a bunch of energy from some sphere of the tree of life and try to pump the mixture full of it. Why would we work with certain herbs, if we are just going to try to override their natural affects anyways? Might as well just use talcum powder (that is another rant). Also, one works with the invisables (you know the spirits, those who are invisable sometimes and at other times we wonder why they are called such) a lot more then with modern magic. With the modern magics one calls the presence of the spirits or uses them sort of like a spell component. No relationship is built, nothing is done to strengthen them, and they are worked with very regularly. There is no circle of protection or triangle for them to manifest in, they are just called and asked to help.
When I work HCR magics, I work with the powders that I make. I was given several recipes, and now am working on creating a few of my own with the knowledge gained. I work with my ancestors (have for years) as well as other dead folks. I also work with the Enochian entities. I am sure that this is not a popular take on HCR, but it is how I work, and it works well for me. The Christian aspects of Hoodoo, I swap out for Enochian or prayers to my particular Deities. I strive for using the Hoodoo methods as close to the original as I can find, so that my alterations thereof aren't just added on top of 10 other generations of alterations. For example, some rootworkers work with the Saints and the Psalms. I work with the Enochian calls or prayers. Not that I haven't tried a psalm or 2, but it just does not mesh with me as well that way. Apparently this approach works quite well. I sent a few spell powders to one longtime practitioner of CM, and he said that he was amazed, they worked just as well if not better then a long drawn out CM ritual. He is now experimenting on using them in his CM rituals to see how that goes.
One of my favorite aspects of Hoodoo is those ever so amazing mojo bags! They have worked so well for me and my friends that I started to make them for clients. One lawyer friend and client went from only making about $1000 per month (his was for business increase and winning some court cases) to clients all day everyday and about $1000 per day he works. He lives in a small town, so the business is more difficult to get in his field. I made protection mojos for a family, that is just thrilled with the outcome! The problem they were having with another magician basically dissapated after they started to wear them. It was like night and day for them, and they are still going on about the mojos. I made another one for a client who was living in his car at the time due to lack of funds. Well he made $200 in 2 days after he received the mojo. Before this he was making no money, or barely enough to afford dinner each day. He was also given a free place to stay and do ritual. When I make mojos I always request a bit of hair, a photo etc. to make them. Especially if the client is long distance. I also charge $100 for them. So needless to say, I have only had about 6 orders for them so far LOL.
Another aspect of HCR that I quite enjoy is working with the dead. I have always liked graveyards, and all of my life I have heard dead folks speak to me. This was a little more then unnerving when I was a kid! It is nice to put that talent (odd word for it) to use. I work with local dead folks, ancestors, dead magicians etc. I have gained a wealth of knowledge from my work with them. They can also help out in spellwork, or helping with tarot readings, or assisting with evocation, and so on. That is one thing that seems to be lacking in modern magics, the working with one's ancestors and other dead folks. This is not something written about in books, so I guess that is why. It is not like they are all that difficult to talk to though. Now that I have said that, I also have to say I don't recommend work with the dead, apart from one's ancestors, without some training or know how. Yes, there are dangers to it, check out my necromancy page for more info.
Then there are the baths. Modern magic does not make nearly enough use of baths! There is the cleansing bath, and the salt bath, and a few herbal baths but that is about it. In HCR however there are hundreds (if not more) baths!! For every purpose. The first bath I ever took HCR style was an aura repair bath. Wow, I couldn't beleive it, it was amazing! I felt about 100 times better and oh so refreshed after it. I have also tried white baths, uncrossing baths, money drawing baths, peace bath, uncrossing baths, and so on. They ALL work amazingly well! Who would think that a simple 3 day bath can increase your income dramatically? :) Or that an uncrossing bath can get rid of that much shit. Or a white bath help that much after spending too much time with nasty deads in the graveyard. I highly recommend to everyone to try out the baths. I will have to put up a section for the baths I sell. For now, you can special order my aura repair bath, uncrossing bath, road opening bath, money drawing bath, luck bath, and glamour bath. (they are $10-$50). With the HCR baths, usually, they are boiled or simmered on the stovetop, then dumped over oneself after a shower or regular bath. Then you air dry or put your clothes on while still wet. Some are actual baths though, where you add the ingredients to the bathtub and lay in it. Oh those are sooo nice!
Then there are the crossroads. A place to leave offerings, spells, discard spell components once used etc. Crossroads do definatly have a different and interesting feel about them. Also, different crossroads tend to feel different. A busy crossroad in the center of town, definatly feels different then a back country crossroad for example. Some crossroads just "feel" like a crossroads should to me. I have also built a mini "crossroads" on my property, but that is probably cheating LOL. I just use it for evocation sometimes, or to leave offerings. If one looks at olde manuscripts on necromancy and evocation, you will often find that the rite is done at a crossroads. I have heard them described as the place where the worlds meet, the place between the worlds, and so on. This gives quite a bit of explanation to their nature, and there is much more to them as well. The gatekeeper can also be called at the crossroads.
Spellwork is a large part of HCR. Very handy for practical magics. I use the best herb, root and resin suppliers that I can (within reason), and use fresh products. I also sometimes use fresh if it is in season. Fortunatly it is very wooded where I live, so there are many herbs that grow wild around here. Fresh roots work amazingly well! Some recipes can be made VERY potently with fresh herbs and roots, so spring is a great time for this. A garden also helps. I use the roll the candle in the spell powder method quite often for casting spells. I also use oils on candles, but have found that spell oils made with just essential oils (or even worse the ones made with fake oils) do not work as well. Also, some recipes work better as a powder, and others work better as an oil. The ones that I work with regularly tend to work better as a powder, and there is the added benefit of being able to sprinkle them on the floor, in a shoe and so on.
Well now I still go through bottles and bottles of Florida water, (and rum) but I have started making my own Florida water (unfortunatly this is not for sale, since the ingredients are all pure essential oils, musk and so on; it would be far too expensive to sell). There is truly nothing like homemade Florida water though! The invisables just love it, and I am still wondering if I can afford a bathtub full of the stuff LOL I now make all of my own spell powders, incenses etc. as uposed to purchasing them from your average occult store (most of those products don't contain much more then food colouring and oil or talcum powder). I also work far more with the invisables, and have gotten to know them much more closely. I still experiment a bit, but have settled into combining my Enochian, HCR and other work. After years and years of experimentation this is what I have found to work best. The Harry Hyatt books (and Draja, Zora, and Darren) are my now faves, right up there with the Grimoirum Verum, Agrippa and Dee.