Spirit Boards and How To Use Them

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SPIRIT BOARDS AND HOW TO USE THEM For this month’s lesson on divination we will be looking at spirit boards, one of my favorite subjects, and appropriate following our last lesson on how to work with one’s ancestors. When it comes to reading the signs for this particular form of divination it couldn’t be easier, given that letters literally spell out the answer for you, making it one of the easiest form of soothsaying available. The ease with which it may be used is why it has remained popular for well over a century. Clearly, not all conjure workers use a spirit board, indeed, many are of the opinion that it is dangerous, an invitation to consort with devils. If this aspect of work does no appeal to you, then skip it; there will be several other methods of divination that we will explore throughout this course. I have spent the last decade designing and manufacturing talking-boards for my company Carnivalia, and long before then was an enthusiast of the Ouija, an admirer of its functional artistry and amateur folklorist of its legends and practices. Past articles that I have written on the subject have covered its history and [...]

The Golden Wheel Fortune-Teller

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From: The Golden Wheel Dream-Book and Fortune-Teller Published by Dick & Fitzgerald, 1862 THE GOLDEN WHEEL OF FORTUNE. This singular wheel was much consulted in the middle ages, and la said to have been used by Cagliostro to aid him in his divination I have selected it from an old Latin manuscript on Astrology, and translated it into English for the benefit of those of my readers who cannot read the former language. THE GOLDEN WHEEL OF FORTUNE SHOWS: I. Whether you shall obtain the favor of the person you desire ? II. If the querent shall meet with the preferment he wisheth for ? III. Whether a sick person will recover ? IV. If the said sickness will be long or short ? V. Shall your expectation or wish succeed ? VI. If it is good for you to marry, or otherwise ? VII. Whether the friendship of a certain person will prove advantageous or not ? VIII. Whether a person shall be rich or poor ? HOW TO TELL FORTUNES BY THE GOLDEN WHEEL The person whose fortune is to be told, must place the wheel of Fortune face downward, prick into a number (it is better [...]

Hell Bank Notes

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Excerpt from A Course In Modern Conjure Lesson 35: From the Chinese tradition of burning joss papers resembling money as offerings to the dead emerges Hell Money (aka Hell Bank Notes). Whether by syntax, miscommunication, or malice on the part of the printer, the origin of the word Hell on these papers is uncertain. Some suggest the name is a purposeful attempt to translate into English the concept of an underworld prison—Diyu—where the dead await judgement (and apparently do a spot of shopping). Above ground these bills were being bought from religious goods stores that serviced urban Chinese Americans, and which were frequented also by African American conjure workers who adopted these exotic bills into their practices. Hell Money appears in various methods of conjure work, such as in mojo hands, or set beneath candles as prayer papers, or under lodestones on money altars. Some contemporary bills have replaced Hell with Heaven or Paradise, and these are also used, though for my money Hell will always hold a bit more allure than Heaven. SaveSave SaveSave

Hell Money: Queer As A $3 Bill

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Excerpt from A Course In Modern Conjure Lesson 35: From the Chinese tradition of burning joss papers resembling money as offerings to the dead emerges Hell Money (aka Hell Bank Notes). Whether by syntax, miscommunication, or malice on the part of the printer, the origin of the word Hell on these papers is uncertain. Some suggest the name is a purposeful attempt to translate into English the concept of an underworld prison—Diyu—where the dead await judgement (and apparently do a spot of shopping). Above ground these bills were being bought from religious goods stores that serviced urban Chinese Americans, and which were frequented also by African American conjure workers who adopted these exotic bills into their practices. Hell Money appears in various methods of conjure work, such as in mojo hands, or set beneath candles as prayer papers, or under lodestones on money altars. Some contemporary bills have replaced Hell with Heaven or Paradise, and these are also used, though for my money Hell will always hold a bit more allure than Heaven. The bill pictured above is not indicative of the style common for these papers. It was designed specifically with our queer ancestors in mind, and is intended [...]

How To Predict Time Using Tarot

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Phew! The reading turned out positive, with the querant relieved to know that she and her sister will eventually reconcile. Next, she asks the question that many tarot readers dread; “When?” Many readers not only cringe at the question, but altogether avoid answering it. The general script among such readers reads similar to this, “Well, the tarot can only tell you what is likely to happen, however the future is not set in stone and we all have the ability to change our destiny, so we cannot truly say when something will happen or that it will happen for certain, only that it is very likely to happen based on the energies currently involved.” While this view of destiny is common, and one that I myself subscribe to, in regards to divining time it is a classic cop out. For readings that reveal a negative outcome one wishes to let the querant know that a change in behavior may positively change the outcome. Unless the querant is on a quest for disappointment there would be little reason to consult the cards were there no hope of making things better. Still, having a certain time frame is helpful. While a reading may [...]

Law Keep Away

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We have yet to come out with a line of Law Keep Away products here at Modern Conjure, but this piece is currently inspiring us to do so. The verses are  tongue-in-cheek, especially “An honest life you need not abide, if in a conjure bag these herbs you hide.” Although Law Keep Away is often used to conceal some shady business, it is also used without guilt among minorities who fear being profiled. When my lovers travel through certain parts of the country I feel safer knowing that along with some general curios for protection they also have a bit of Law Keep Away to protect them from officers who don’t take kindly to Queer Californiay Warlocks. Also, it’s a good thing to have if your spiritual practices involve activities that the law has come to frown on, such as going to beaches or graveyards at night. If you take advice from the spell above there are a couple additional rules to follow. First, be sure to ‘feed’ your conjure bag at least once a week. This can be done with a bit of cologne (I suggest Hoyt’s), applied to one or both sides of the bag in a [...]

A Happy Home Spell

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Our home is our castle, right? That place where we can put all of the stresses of the day behind us and just relax, secure in the knowledge that we are safe, surrounded by family and friends who love us. As idyllic as that sounds, the reality is sometimes far more harsh; disagreements even among loving family members can turn ugly… issues among roommates can escalate into arguments or worse. Where do you turn when your safety zone is not so safe? This has been a problem since about that time in which people began cohabitating. I’m sure that there were many disagreements in the caves that sheltered early humans which necessitated some form of domestic problem solving (or at least a club to the head). In modern and polite society we frown on angry bludgeoning to solve our problems, making the magical alternative somewhat more attractive (or at least legal). To this end, enter the Happy Home Spell! For this spell you will need the following items: -A Blue candle -Some “Happy Home” conjure oil (Alternatively you may create a mixture with olive oil and herbs such as basil, cornflowers, rosemary, and lavender) -Some dried “Happy Home” herbs, such as those [...]

Completing the Candle

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Completing the Candle Bringing Resolution to Unfinished Glass Encased Candles Those of us who set lights with glass encased candles and study ceromancy with their remains are at times beset by residual wax that lends a negative interpretation to the work. A candle that does not burn completely can indicate a lack of resolution in regards to what it was lit for. Of course we know that not every magical act results in immediate resolution and that patience can be as necessary an ingredient in magic as anything found on the apothecary shelf, yet some needs are immediate, and a tenacious worker will not stop until every magical trick has been employed in order to accomplish a swift result. Fixing a despairing candle of this sort, as with any act of alchemy, relies on heat; in my practice this takes the form of a hot tea that I pour into the candle glass to loosen the stubborn wax and make it rise to the surface. The type of tea depends on the manner of work to be done. By ‘tea’ I do not necessarily mean something you yourself would drink; feel free to use whatever herbs are aligned with [...]