A spell to navigate this threatening new world

Out Of The Broomcloset photo by Leon Calafiore
Out Of The Broomcloset photo by Leon Calafiore
Out Of The Broomcloset

My dears, we continue to live through interesting times. While there was, to be sure, political activism entwined with the newly formed stands of pagan revivalism in the 1960s, in the United States (who can forget the attempt to levitate the Pentagon?), things certainly seem to be moving along at a smarter clip these days.

I never thought I’d live to see the day when a binding ritual was publicly performed on a sitting president. You will recall my last column, of course, and I hope that some of you participated.

Now that we’re moving into warmer temperatures, and inclined to be out and about attending to our daily tasks, it seems a good time to go over some self-defense, like it or not. While we all wish to shine in our own special way, attracting the attention of others as we make our progress through the world, and fame certainly has its (uncertain) benefits, various branches of law enforcement have been emboldened to challenge the natural desire to go through one’s day-to-day activities without fear of harassment or incarceration, or to be asked for one’s papers.

A fellow citizen was just threatened with deportation for “looking Mexican” (the fact that he was born in Puerto Rico being inconsequential). Muhammad Ali Jr. and his mother were detained when returning from a trip to Jamaica, our government agents being confused about the origin of his last name. While I’m all for standing up to the abuse of authority, everyone can reach the point of fatigue in dealing with this much stupidity, and desire a break.

This brings us to the idea of invisibility; even the most fame-seeking among us occasionally desire to pass unnoticed in the crowd; this is not the same thing as blending in or passing.

Unfortunately, there are no invisibility cloaks lying around to provide cover. There are several rituals that purport to provide invisibility, but as they involve finding a skull, burying it with beans, watering it, letting the beans sprout, and then testing them by putting them in one’s mouth, I don’t see many of you attempting this (but I do see a few of you doing so; and so, I’m not including any of the ritual).

There are some materials, adapted from Hoodoo, Rootwork, Conjure, which I am happy to pass along today, that will assist in deflecting the unwanted (and unwarranted) attentions of the authorities, by putting together a small amulet, or mojo bag, on “hand.” The ingredients listed below are all put into a small drawstring bag, the sort you’d find in a gift shop or craft supply outlet. Color doesn’t much matter, but you should use a brand-new one, and it should be solidly woven, so the contents don’t pass through the weave.

Then, you need to get yourself four Indian Head cents, which are the design previous to our current Lincoln cents, and actually do not depict an Indian, but rather a head emblematic of Lady Liberty, wearing a version of a Native American headdress, but the 19th-century nickname has stuck, so there you have it. If you don’t have any around the house, they are inexpensive to purchase, either at a coin dealer or online, and these acts as guardians, or “scouts” in Hoodoo work–watchdogs for their possessor.

Next, you need a small piece of old red brick, poppy or black mustard seeds, and oregano. These need to be pulverized, and the resulting powder is put into the bag, along with the Indian cents. If you can’t find a crumbly bit of brick, red ocher (an iron oxide, used as a pigment for tens of thousands of years) or dragon’s blood resin (used as an incense) may be substituted. All are red, and all have been used as an activating principle in various magical work. They substitute for and act as blood, which empowers the other ingredients.

Finally, you need to add a few tansy leaves (available from better herbalists everywhere, unless you have some growing in the garden), and some bergamot (bitter orange, used in perfumery) essential oil. Place a few drops of oil on the leaves and put them in the bag; draw the strings tight and tie them with seven knots. Carry it daily, and it should not shown to others nor allowed to get wet.

While not a substitute for common sense (or a good lawyer on retainer), this should assist in passing a bit more unnoticed when need be, as we all navigate this new and more threatening climate.