Friday, December 31, 2010
This Christmas my husband and I traveled to his hometown where his grandmother was celebrating her 100th Christmas!! The grandkids had all pooled money and donated 101 gifts to the fireman's toys for tots program in her name, and the family gathered from all over North America to party with Lily. There were 18 great-grandchildren present, as well as all the grands plus spouses, and her own children and their spouses. It was a lovely way to honor a lady who I personally feel embodies the true spirit of Christ and Buddha - loving everyone equally and having compassion for all without judgement.
After a few days of happy familial chaos, we returned home. Being from a very small family myself, large family gatherings really wear me out - so I was happy to be home and able to unwind. My waistline was also grateful to be relieved of the constant temptation of mountains of freshly baked cookies and candies that my mother-in-law always has piled on every available surface of her home during the holidays!
The next day was very sad, as my elderly bearded dragon, Little Man, began displaying troubling symptoms and was obviously uncomfortable. That trip to the vet ended up being his last, as it was determined the most compassionate option was to let him go. Although he did not actually display any symptoms of being towards The End until then, I had been intuiting for the past few months that he was ready to move on - just a very subtle shift in his energy and demeanor. When he showed those symptoms I knew in my heart it was his time.
I'm very sad to have lost him, but happy to have been able to release his spirit. I know he is being well taken care of on the other side. He was almost 12 years old, which was quite an advanced age for a bearded dragon (the vet says on average they live 6-8 years, though of course they can live longer with proper husbandry). So, he did have a long life. He will be missed dearly. However, he is on a very exciting adventure for this New Year and I will think fondly of him often.
So, for our own celebration, we're just going to sit down with some Guinness and some movies to make us laugh. I can think of no better way to ring in the New Year than cuddled on the couch with my husband and my pup, Voodoo.
One of the movies we will be watching tonight is Sita Sings the Blues! It's a fantastic and unique film that is freely distributable...so I will be embedding it here as a New Years gift to you!
On the business front, readings, consultations, and product orders will resume starting on Monday!
Thank you so much for reading this past year, and I hope to see more of you in 2011.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
The Memorial Prayer for the Suffering of Souls in Purgatory I really like because you connect with so many different souls from all walks of life and pray for their wellbeing.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Lately I have been getting asked or running into questions being asked about incorporating the Hindu deities into conjure. Because I have worked with them for the better part of 10 years now, I do have a set method of working that has been extremely successful for me, and which I’m happy to share. It is a way of working that respects the cultural tradition from which they spring, and acknowledges their roles as full-fledged powerful and compassionate deities, and not just spirits that we can treat as totems for quick money or the like.
I had previously written an article about using mantras with spellwork, which introduces the topic of petitioning Hindu deities for magical goals in a very basic sense. People have been requesting more detailed information, which I applaud, and so I’m happy to provide my perspective. I am in no way saying that this is the only manner of working with them, I am just presenting what has worked for me and how the Hindu deities have guided me to work with them. Once you develop a relationship with them, they may guide you differently.
So without further ado, here are some of the most common questions and concerns that I run into regarding blending work with Hindu deities into a rootworking or other folk magic context.
So without further ado, here are some of the most common questions and concerns that I run into regarding blending work with Hindu deities into a rootworking or other folk magic context.
HOW DO I WORK WITH THEM FOR MY SPELLS?
While they are certainly happy to aid with your day-to-day mundane problems, they do have a much more expanded view of life and are more anxious to aid you so that you can develop spiritually, then they are to just give you stuff because you want it. Ultimately they are most concerned with maintaining the dharma, the right way of living. If helping you will help you be a better person and live a better life, then they will most likely be willing to lend aid. However if your goal has no real positive value, then you may find yourself unaided.
Taking the time to develop a relationship with them shows that you have a vested spiritual interest in them and the disciplined commitment to some form of spiritual practice to be deserving of their attention and open to their positive influences.
Spend time reading up on the various myths and scriptures associated with that deity – that way you can learn their personality, as well as their likes and dislikes, and in what ways you can expect them to work with you. Set up an altar space for the deities you wish to work with, and make is beautiful and welcoming. At least burn some incense and a candle at the altar daily, while spending some time calling out to them and inviting their presence into your life. I recommend that you perform a small simple puja for them each day, and spend time chanting their mantras. As I spoke of in the other article, mantras are extremely potent and powerful and call in the attention and energies of a deity very quickly.
You will want to make sure that you have successfully called the deity’s presence into your altar image before petitioning for specific requests. There are rituals that one can perform to establish the deity into an image, however this generally requires an established relationship and connection between the deity and the person doing that ritual. So those first starting out would most likely not be able to accomplish them. However, daily devotions done at an altar will result in the deity being called into that space and establishing a presence there, if the devotions are performed with consistency and sincerity.
SO HOW DO I DO A SMALL PUJA?
Puja is ritual devotion. If you look up traditional Hindu pujas that often look very intimidating and require many items that, unless you live near an Indian market, it will be unfamiliar to you and difficult to acquire (although online shopping has made it easier to get them). However, you don’t need to offer all the various things that are culturally foreign to you. You simply want to offer something from each of the 5 elements, and that is sufficient.
Each day offer a small amount of food (Earth element) for the deity to take prana/energy from, some cool water (Water element) for them to refresh themselves with, some incense to sweeten the air with (Air element), some light in the form of a ghee lamp or candle (Fire element) for them to warm themselves with, and your mantras, hymns, and prayers of devotion and respect (Spirit element).
Flowers are another common offering if you have them readily available, they are a nice addition; however if you do not have a garden, buying flowers daily can be cost-inhibitive, so this can be an options offering for special occasions. Another nice touch which you can experiment with is ringing a small bell as you make the offerings – as bells are considered to bring the deities attention to the altar and cross through the various planes of existence. Generally speaking bhajans (hymns) to the deity will be sung while the offerings are being made. Most of these are in Hindi or another Indian-language, however you can easily find them for download online (I like eMusic.com for this), and it’s become common practice in modern times to simply play bhajans on a stereo during puja. This is what I generally do, though because I’ve listened to them for so long I now know the words and can sing along. But it is nice to have the musical atmosphere. Again, the bhajans and music are optional. These are elements which can be added once it seems natural to do so, and needn’t be seen as a requirement.
When you present the offering to the deity’s murti (image), it is traditional to circle it in front of their image 3 times in a clockwise motion.
After presenting the offering, spend time praying and chanting. I recommend chanting the mantra at least 108 times, which is one round of mala (Hindu rosary), and then spend a few moments just speaking from the heart. It’s easy to find mantras to the various deities through Google searching. But just in case you get confused, here are some simple ones for some of the more popular deities for your reference.
Ganesha – OM GAM Ganapateyei namaha
Lakshmi – OM SREE Mahalakshmiyei swaha
Durga – OM DUM Durgayei namaha
Kali – OM KRIM Kalikayei namaha
Krishna – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna
When you are finished chanting and communing at the altar, then partake of the food and water offerings that you made. In Hindu practice this is called Prasad, or grace – the deities has taken what it wants from the offerings, and in turn has bestowed special blessings and energy onto them. Partaking of the offerings is a way of accepting the blessings of the deity and internalizing their presence and energy. This is similar to the Christian communion.
If you would like to view a nice video showing a simple puja so that you can get an idea of how it is done in a more traditional Hindu context, you may enjoy the following video. Remember, you do not need to do a fully traditional Hindu puja to develop a relationship with the deities, but it is good to be somewhat familiar with what is done to honor them in their home culture. It will also make the instructions that I’ve given above make a bit more sense.
SO HOW DO YOU DO THE CONJURE PART OF THE WORK WITH THEM?
I don't really change too much about the conjure itself at that point, except I use mantra instead of Christian-style prayer and of course I'm asking for their aid and not any other spirit from any other tradition. So however you would normally go about dressing and working your candles, or making your mojo bag or bottle spell, or whatever you may be doing, you basically do that the same way.
What’s fantastic about incorporating mantras into your conjure, is that you can chant your mantra at any time and be working for your goal. Just hold your petition/intent firmly in mind as you chant. This can help you work towards you goal throughout the day. Even if I have completed the ritual part of my conjure, for instance I am done with my 7-day prosperity candle ritual, I will still chant at the altar each day for my petition. This continues the work and helps infuse me and my space with the energy of that deities aid for my case.
As an explicit example of my blended “Hindu conjure” work, let’s take dressing a glass encased vigil light. I have all my conjure supplies at hand, and then perform the puja. Once the puja is complete I speak from the heart asking for the deities blessing and aid in my need. Then I begin preparing the candle – dressing with oil, inscribing names/petitions, etc. I speak and pray from the heart to the deity while I do all this. Then I take the candle into my hands, and holding the candle in such a way that my breath will fall onto the top wax, I begin chanting 108 of the appropriate mantra for that deity and my petition. As I chant, I strongly visualize that deity aiding my cause and my petition being granted. When I am through chanting, I knock the candle on the table 3 times to seal it, and then light it to set it to work. I place the candle on the deity’s altar, and then partake of the offerings while offering my sincere thanks for their aid, and for the blessings received through the prasad.
One other thing that you can do is use the water portion of the prasad to sprinkle around your home or add it to a spiritually cleansing floorwash to bring in the blessings that way. However, I still recommend taking at least a small sip to take into yourself those blessings as well.
When your goal has manifested, I recommend preparing a puja with more elaborate offerings (within your means) in thanks. Go out of your way to find out what exact foods and flowers are especially favored by that deity and offer them. Ganesha is particularly fond of sweet balls, called modaka or ladoo, but any sweet will do. Saraswati likes yellow sour candles, and yellow foods in general. Coconuts (and coconut water and coconut milk), mangoes, honey, fruits in general, and rice are always good offerings if you're not sure what else to offer. Try to include flowers in a thanksgiving puja as well, as well as some traditional music.
WHAT CONDITION PRODUCTS (OILS, INCENSE, ETC) DO I USE WHEN WORKING WITH THE HINDU DEITIES?
I use the same products that I would normally use for that condition. If I’m working to draw money, I’ll use Money-Drawing, if I’m working to open my way I’ll use Road Opener or Van Van, if I’m working for success I’ll use Crown of Success, etc.
If I have a specific image of a deity that I maintain on a separate altar, as in not an altar exclusively for them (for example the Ganesha and Lakshmi that I keep on my prosperity altar), I will anoint it with an appropriate condition oil at least once weekly. This helps keep it specifically attuned to the intent of that altar space; but I still understand that the deity in question in much larger and multifaceted than simply that one particular aspect that I call upon at that altar.
Also, Lucky Mojo does make a fantastic line of Hindu Deity condition products that can be incorporated into that work. I like to use the Lucky Mojo Hindu oils in my puja, and then blend some of the Hindu oils with the appropriate condition oils for my conjure for the actual spell work. So blending my Road Opening with Ganesha oil is pretty standard fare around my conjure studio, as is blending Lakshmi oil with
As for general devotional work with the Hindu deities, sandalwood incense is always a great choice. Again, theLucky Mojo Hindu incenses are a fantastic choice as well. If you do have an Indian market near you, you can find other incense blends that are made with a specific deity in mind. Generally these are all synthetically fragranced, though, so I don’t use them in my conjure very often. But they can be nice altar offerings.
I’VE HEARD I HAVE TO HONOR GANESHA, EVEN IF I JUST WANT TO WORK WITH LAKSHMI?
This can be easily accomplished by saying his mantra OM GAM Ganapatayei namaha once while intending that he hear and open the ways for your devotions and work.
It’s a tiny amount of effort to respect that spiritual protocol and reap the benefits of following it.
AM I SUPPOSED TO KEEP GANESHA BY MY FRONT DOOR?
Ganesha does serve as guardian of the thresholds, and so is often kept by doorways in Hindu practice. Keeping a statue of Ganesha by the front door is something that I first learned from an Indian furnace-repairman that came to our home early last winter (can you guess why he was there – LOL).
I have a very small Ganesha statue that I used to keep by my computer. When we moved into the new house, he got packed away, and when I finally unpacked that box he ended up going onto a shelf with some other small statues that I had in the basement. As the repairman was leaving he saw the Ganesha statue and turned to look at me, re-noticed that I am definitely not Indian, and asked who else lived here. I answered just me and my husband. He looked puzzled and asked why we have a Ganesha statue (he hadn’t walked through any of the rooms where my large altars are, or he would have gotten an eyeful of all kinds of Hindu deities and Christian saints). I said that I’ve honored Ganesha ever since I studied Hinduism in university. He nodded and said, “You should really keep him facing your front door. He will bring blessings and guard the home. But he must face your front door!”.
I thanked him for telling me that as he left. I now keep my large stone Ganesha statue facing my front door on my prosperity altar in my living room – and my blessings have definitely increased!
You don't HAVE to keep Ganesha near your front door, it is just one folk practice associated with him that I have adopted. For most of the time I've been a devotee of him he had altar space in a variety of different places in my home and our relationship was fine. So don't feel obligated to keep him near your door - it is just one way that you may do it.
If you would like to develop a relationship with Ganesha, I would recommend that you start by reading one of the best resources available on the topic, Loving Ganesa, which is available online for free!
WHAT PSALMS DO I PRAY WHEN WORKING WITH HINDU DEITIES?
That is a generality to keep in mind, not a hard and fast rule. Jesus is often worshipped alongside the Hindu deities on some Indian altars. In my healing studio, St. Michael and Durga share a space on a protection altar. They actually get along fairly well, as both are divine figures who actively fight demons! However your Durga may feel otherwise – so make sure to ask, or at least make adjustments if you feel that two spirits from different cultures aren’t fairing well sharing space.
I do know that some people still pray psalms when working with the Hindu deities, and their work is successful. That is fine – if you wish to try it, go ahead. For me it just feels “off”, and so I do not do that when I work with them. The energy is just too different for me. But if you feel drawn to try it, please feel free to experiment.
If you do like having scripture to read as part of your work, I encourage you to look up the scriptures of the deities you are petitioning. Most of them will have many different texts associated with them that you can find online or at a good library. There are truly stirring pieces of sacred literature and devotional poetry that make excellent additions to ritual work with them.
One example is that you should never have Lakshmi and Saraswati on the same altar together unless you put someone else there as well to mediate - usually you'll see Ganesh in that role, though sometimes you'll find Durga playing go-between. (This isn't universally practiced, because Hinduism is far too big of a tradition for that. But it is present in some regions, so if you find your Lakshmi and Saraswati not getting along, it's something to be aware of.)
In some traditions, Ganesha and Shiva do not like tulsi, so never use tulsi malas (commonly used in devotion with
Finding out the likes and dislikes of the deity you're working with is definitely part of the reason you should do some research into their myths and scriptures and traditional worship. It will only help deepen your relationship with them to take the time to do so. And always listen to the deity! They will speak to you and let you know how best to serve them.
SO, HINDU GODDESSES DON’T GET ALONG THEN?
It's not goddesses in general that don't get along, it's specifically Lakshmi and Saraswati. In the Shakta traditions they are considered sisters with Durga as their mother. In those areas Durga is the mother of Laskhmi, Saraswati, Ganesha, and Murugan; and Shiva is a mostly absent father who spends all his time away from home smoking hashish and hanging out the ghosts and ghouls. Durga becomes more like a struggling mother who tries to keep peace among her family in those traditions, which are very folk based and speak to the experience of many poor rural women. Laskhmi and Saraswati have a fierce sibling rivalry, and so simply cannot be in the same space together alone without huge fights breaking out - so to keep the peace there must always be a third between them. Generally you see Ganesha, as he is their brother, and peacekeeper, and mediator of the gods; but sometimes you'll find Durga since she is their mother.
You'll also find many tree spirits and other nature spirits being honored, as well as trees and rocks that are believed to be manifestations of particular goddesses and so provided with devotions.
Those folk traditions are much more shamanic than mainstream Sanskritic Hinduism, and share a good deal in common with indigenous spirit-working traditions around the globe, including the African ones.
Generally speaking though, this is not a common event even within Hinduism in India. It is a fairly localized phenomenon.