The Witch, the Cunning One and the Famulus

A Review of:

Steve Patterson’s book is based on the exhibition in the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle with the same name and using this historical depiction of a cunning woman’s kitchen/workspace Patterson is leading us into a greater presentation of folk magic and cunning practices in the West Country commonly ascribed to the wayside witches by Cecil Williamson. Also found here is Old Joan’s Book of Spells, a collection of spells demonstrating the art practiced by the wayside witches at the sea shore of the West Country since the 18th Century.

Patterson is in this presentation of spells and arsenal also occupied with time and world view and is using this presentation to also enter into the significant historical transition that marked the modern idea of Witchcraft through the friendship and eventually alienation and parting ways between Cecil Williamson and Gerald Gardner. Patterson is merely highlighting the differences of perception and vision between the two men as explanatory for the modern day continued discourse and disagreements concerning witchcraft and what a witch truly is.

And it is in this depiction and description of the wise woman’s cottage and the book of spells Patterson allows the image of the wayside witch to rise and take form as a contrast to the idea of the witch embodied within Gardner’s religious child, Wicca. In doing this Patterson contributes clarity to our understanding of what a witch is and for him the integral and vital part is, as it was for Cecil Williamson, about the familiar or famulus and this is in truth an element of vital importance for the witch and in highlighting this factor it also makes it more understandable to understand where the dividing lines between the witch and the cunning one is to be found.

And speaking of the famulus, Troy Books also released Giles Watson’s A Witch’s NaturalHistory in 2013, which I will also comment on in extension of the familiar. The essays in this book were originally published as a series in The Cauldron and were such refreshing and stunning account of exactly the many familiars of the witch. Watson takes us through crows and slugs, bugs, veneficum and adders analyzing behavior, virtue and meaning in cunning depth. In doing this he give voice to the secret movements of nature and enables a deep and marvelous understanding of nature, her works and her inhabitants.

I adored these articles when I first read them and it was the same pleasure in reading them again, this is simply one of those books that is amazingly rewarding to read due to how it expands your horizons and deepen your understanding and provides avenues for magic and mystery in how we look at nature after the pages has ended in such way that we are more able to marvel in the mysteries of nature possessing these perceptions Watson has shared with the reader.


A Bouquet of Charms and Spells

A Review of:

This compilation of spells and charms is a treasure-trove in two senses. Firstly by being a compilation of spells and charms covering all possible areas, it be about curing animals, love charms, protective charms and spells or for healing.  In this way it serves as both preserving legacy and also invite in inspiration for how to deal with particular issues grounded in traditional folk magic.

Secondly the treasure in this little book is found in the spread of spells and charms from the use of Solomonic elements and practical contemporary use exemplified in spells to bring misfortune to Hitler during the WWII there is also an impressive timeline here that embraces spells and charms dating back to the 9th Century and up to WWII, this spread across this timeline is in itself something that makes the book impressive as it allows us to see consistency and difference across time and place and in this clearly see the constant presence of vital elements involved in given workings.

Amongst the many curiosities I will mention only one, a bone mending charm from the Merseburg Cathedral Library in Germany (page 111)dating to the 10th Century which translated from high Germanic reads as follows:

Phol and Woden were riding in the woods
And Balder’s foal twisted its ankle
Then Sindgun and Sunna, her sister,
Chanted a spell over it:
Then Frija, Volla’s sister chanted a spell over it:
Then Woden chanted a spell over it as well as he could:
Like the sprain of the bone
So the sprain of the blood
So the sprain of the limb
Bone to bone, blood to blood
Joint to joint, thus glued together be!

This way of creating a mythical magical charm involving otherworldly beings remained a popular part of the arsenal of practitioners of folk magic as the many Black Books or Cyprian in Norway and Sweden should testify to where we there find saints and apostles called upon in similar manner for various ends which in itself testifies to the elegant fluidity and adaptability to powers for what they could do was truly a trait of the cunning ones.

In TheBritish Book of Spells and Charms Graham King have in his own way ensured a transmission of wisdom, a wisdom both practical and inspiring, presented in a most clever and illuminating way. 


The Sinful Books of a Shadow Saint

A Review ofCypriana: Old World Edited by
Alexander Cummins, Jesse Hathaway Diaz & Jennifer Zahrt,  Rubedo Press,2016

This anthology rests on two key texts, the first essay in the anthology which is a translation of Book 1 of the Acts of Saint Cyprian and Saint Justine dating to 450 CE. It is a remarkable text in many ways and as the translator, Matthew Barclay, comments: “(it is) giving us a glimpse into the marketplace of occult services that existed in the ancient world.” Not only this, in being the earliest account of St. Cyprian and his conversion, giving ample room to Saint Justina, it naturally served as an influence and inspiration for other hagiographic renderings through The Golden Legend and to the Faustbooks and Cyprians of Scandinavia and Iberia.

The dynamic of interaction, the very inconsistency that has moved the ‘Cyprianic Tradition’ is well discussed in  Alexander Cummins key article, ’ In the Manner of Saint Cyprian’ that uses the little grammar of magic known as De Nigromancia, attributed to the 13th Century friar Roger Bacon as the pinnacle for painting the Cyprianic vortex of change, flux and transformation ending up with bringing form to St. Cyprian as the lusting saint and divine sinner as an idea and reality not in need to be supported by material history per se. In this way we realize that St. Cyprian is as much about a spiritual concept, the man at the crossroad, the shadow saint that in the way of any St. Thomas or St. Iscariot questions the limited understanding of divine depths and poke our prejudices and pre-judgments, our moral and sense of right and wrong, the sin and the forgiveness.

To support this foundation and core for the anthology, the book spreads its wings to Iberia and Scandinavia where we find Johannes Gårdbäck giving a detailed account of the earliest and more notorious accounts of St Cyprian in Scandinavia, as a Faust from Thule as José Leitão unmask the Iberian conglomerate of St. Cyprian and his forbidden teachings in his more continental rendering.
In this exploration it becomes evident that St. Cyprian is his own book, the many black books in Scandinavia carrying his name as well as the multiple variations and differences in the Iberian and Brazilian Books of St Cyprian, is simply a testimony to how the idea of a book can be elusive and just as well be written on the pages of a thousand clouds with the ink of sweet sin as with blood and bile on the parchment of a book.   

It is a welcome addition to the growing literature on St. Cyprian and his legacy, an anthology I have no problem recommending. So, visit Rubedo Press and get your copy-


Ifá: A Forest of Mystery

My book about Ifá is finally out – and yes I say, finally. This book took around two years to compose and nearly the same amount of time with the wonderful Peter and Alkistis at Scarlet Imprint to manifest in the form of ink, paper and talismanic design.

It could not have been in any other way. Ifá deems patience as a virtue that lies at the root of blessings and in this nearly 1500 day project patience have been the virtue of writer and publisher alike. And speaking of patience, I met the Araba Olayinka Babatunde Ogunsina Adewuyi for the first time in 2003 and shortly after I started study traditional Ifá with this sage and it was only a good decade later I felt I had some sort of idea of the complexities of Ifá sufficient to write a book about this traditional African philosophy.  Prior to this I went to Cuba and made Ifá there as well, but it was traditional Ifá that captivated me, because here I found philosophy and here I found tradition expressed in a timeless manner befitting every living soul in profound and mysterious ways with the overarching aim of making sense of life and attract good fortune in all its variety. 

In the upcoming interview with Gordon at Runesoup, Gordon pointed out that the marvel with Ifa is not that it is a modus of divination, but a tradition that have a divination system – and the profundity in that observation lies at the root of Ifá as a practical philosophy that includes the invisible realm and the visible realm related to vibration, effect and solution born from knowledge and wisdom. The word Ifá have no straightforward translation but it means ‘to pull’ or ‘to attract’ and if the development of good character is the axis that ensures attraction we will reap blessings or lessons that enables the cunning that turns lessons into blessings.

To develop good character is key here, because it means that character is something that is forged through the journey of life with its pull to do good and its pull to curse, like carbon turns into diamonds under pressure.

The insistence on imperfection and the joy of this imperfection spreads out in Ifá through thousands of poetic meters and proverbs that speaks of situations replicating themselves  in difference and repetition, always aiming towards solutions. These situations and solutions are not bound to Africa or more specifically the Yoruba speaking people, but speak of the human condition at large and touches any and every living being they be on the visible or visible side of the veil that separates the worlds.
I can go on and on with this, but a book counting 400 pages can’t hardly make a blog posting justice to the richness of Ifá, so I will only state that with this book my attempt was to compose an introduction to Ifá that would also benefit practitioners in demonstrating the rhythm and essence found at the core of Ifá philosophy as revealed in its verses that unveil a profound metaphysics as well as a practical wisdom.

On a more personal note this work presents my concept of what ‘tradition’ is through its practical philosophy and I believe this book is ‘something good’, a book that will aid towards making sense of life and also answer the big questions concerning meaning and reason. We are divine beings on a human journey, we are bound to fail and succeed, if character is the goal and if character is what attracts all possible fortune, well you might find something of worth and resonance in the page of this book.

The book can be ordered directly from Scarlet Imprint by a click on the link


St. Cyprian of the Black Cat Bone

Today on the feast day of St. Cyprian and Sta. Justina on the 26th of September Sacred Alchemy Store is offering St. Cyprian of the Black Cat Bone as our offering in honor of this enigmatic and precious saint, patron of necromancy and one of many saints dressing well the garments of folk Catholicism. 

The charge has been made in the course of the nine days of Cyprian, prayers to the left and to the right along with anointments and fumigations at midday and midnight hath been done to bring in the Sun at midday and the Sun at midnight to enforce the feline sorcerous juices resting within this icon balancing the Sun both white and black equally. And in truth the black cat bone is not a metaphor here, but the nail that serves as the axis for this sorcerous offering and carried within the saint.  

St. Cyprian is amongst those powers that those of us from the old persuasion might deem a ‘witchcraft saint’, a terminology that tend to generate a great deal of resistance amongst contemporary practitioners of occultism and paganism simply due to a Catholic bias rehearsed in a disenchanted postmodern reality saturated with opinions and truism that can never hope to be anything but an echo of lies.

Some would argue that Christianity is anti-paganism, yet,  a term like ‘the old faith’ or ‘old religion’ was in truth, as Emma Wilby stated, in her erudite studies about the Cunning folk on the Isle of Albion, a reference to Catholicism in the time of reformation. The Catholic Church or more correctly The Roman Catholic Church was a continuation of Roman ways, mediated this ‘new’ vision ascribed to Ieshua then adopted as a prophet for a particular way of interpreting theology and theophany in a Catholic or Universalist way. Certainly a lot has changed since then and the Roman Catholic Church went through several schism and reformations in itself. 

Christian saints might be seen as similar to the sadhus of India and the prophets of Islam and Judaism pertaining to the Christian mythology, where saints continued metaphors, allegories and teachings either born by their own example or continuing legends like genii loci related to the magic and mystery of a specific location.  A saint is not ‘something Christian’, a saint is also something dead, something vibrant, and something that holds a particular virtue – and in the case of St. Cyprian wespeak of the virtue of necromancy and magic. The magic of the Eucharist, of sacred and barbarous words, the virtue resting in plants of healing and how to raise the dead to speak, in the manner of Ieshua himself allowing Lazarus to raise from the grave in the manner of St. Cyprian rising the dead and cause death to speak. 

Beneath the Christian veil, a saint will always carry a naked truth, a virtue that can be recognized for what it is, no matter if the virtue is dressed in a bishops cloak, the rags of a beggar or the leaves of nature. A saint can be ancestry, virtue and genii loci, metaphor, allegory and memory. For more about this, please do read the article about Sorcerous Saints.

 And so, it is with great pleasure we offer 2 – two - St. Cyprians which will be finalized in this night up for sale. This St.Cyprian carries a powerful and unique sorcerous charge utilizing the black at bone as vehicle for its necromantic potency. Along with the saint comes a guia of Exu washed in honour of the ‘left’ and a black rosary, this one dedicated to another sorcerous saint, São Bento, that mimics the mystery and shock embedded in the icon of St. Cyprian and a secret prayer bringing in a strong Saturnine river to this Sun at Midnight.

Please visit Our store to browse for this spectacular St. Cyprian and other products and services of interest at sacredalchemystore.com



The Devil’s Plantation

A review of Nigel G. Pearson: The Devil’s Plantation (Troy Books. 2015)

“Traditional Witchcraft” is gradually being turned into a catch all phrase for any folk tradition believed to be non-wiccan witchcraft, a label adopted by anyone believing themselves to work in a traditional way or set out to create their own traditions. A part of me aches seeing this, another part of me just turn a blind eye to it all because after all I am not the keeper of my brother and certainly not the watchdog of tradition.

Good books about what we understand as ‘traditional witchcraft’ are few and rare largely because those truly involved in the witching ways are rarely interested in speaking about their art and craft directly and even more so when we are speaking of publications like a book speaking about the art and craft. The lack of good books on the craft makes a book like Nigel’s The Devil’s Plantation a joy to behold and read. It is a book breaching this field between sharing and keep silent what shall be kept quiet  in a generous and enlightened way, a book of clarity and kindness that maintain the path direct of the traditional torch that sheds light on the nature and essence of the craft.  

There is much good to be said of this book and for me personally the fact that this book somehow follows in the footsteps on a long time favorite book on this subject, namely Nigel Pennick’s East Anglian Magic (Robert Hale. London 1995) just makes me treasure this book even more. Nigel is giving much attention to the devil, to witchcraft saints and in general to how the land itself with its inhabitants should and could be understood and worked. We are speaking of dual observance, or the worship of both hands as an integral mystery of the very understanding of the art that so naturally is applied and acted upon by the witch traditional in pact and concord with the blood of its land.

The book is not only a generous sharing of the witching ways with is spirits, herbs and mysteries, both diurnal and nocturnal – but it is also a celebration of a land Nigel knows so well and in this the book becomes a testament giving voice to the mighty dead still alive under rocks and creeks, in wind and leaves in East Anglia and with that I praise myself fortunate to include yet another worthy tome in the library of witchcraft and look forward to Nigel’s next offering in praise of land, spirit and night!


Even monkeys fall from the tree… sometimes

The monkey skillfully climbing a tree and jumping from treetop to treetop using the environment to its advantage like a parkour artist is something we expect to witness. To see the very same monkey fall to the ground in its acrobatic mastery calls upon shock, laughter, bewilderment and what not.

When I witnessed this a few days ago in my own wood clad backyard I didn’t knew what to think really except for a brief internal dialogue consisting in ‘how on earth was that possible’ and sitting there watching the monkey getting up on its feet and disappear in the foliage I stayed there puzzled wondering about this whole event, thoughts I wanted to share as this bizarre incident of a falling monkey triggered a bounty of reflections.

Witnessing the monkey falling from the tree a judgment occurs, instinctively and reactionary where a form of certainty concerning the reasons of the monkeys fall is established in the matter of seconds, a judgment born from preexisting learning and the desire of making sense of what is outside the expected that in turn hatches itself on our prior experiences where our lazy brain makes the most immediate connections possible to present us with some plausible explanation. Just to make sense of whatever happened, hence sense making is commonly a selfish process – and how could it be in any other way – our reference to the world will always be rooted in how we experience the world, our learning and our personal history.

Hence we have an innate tendency to generate rules that validate a behavior or a phenomena that at first is simple response born from personal history and experience that then takes the shape of truth.
And here we are diving into waters most poisonous. To take your judgement of why the monkey fell from the tree as truth would probably indicate that you are in error. The Romans saw truth or Veritas as a maiden clad in white resting at the bottom of a deep well – and truth will always be like that, truth is something we sense, feel and know is true, it is not limited to facts and behaviour, axioms or possibilities. Truth is not what is statistically secure or relevant; truth is always elusive and subject to perspective and placement. The quest for truth gave us postmodern philosophers like Deleuze, Lyotard and Derrida in recent years who in their enquiry of situation, location, time and space related to meaning can be summarised in Derridas observation, here paraphrased,  that ‘facts proves or explains nothing, we always give a voice to the facts we observe’.

And so, let us return to the monkey that fell in his jump, to some extent we can perhaps agree that falling in your self-confidence is a result of hubris, it be in the form of a debilitating character trait or as a consequence of some error. If so, this brings us back to the concept of judgement.

We judge constantly, if you have no idea about how much we judge every day, set a goal of avoid judgements for one day, just to see how much you judge everything in a self-referring way constantly.
If we look at Dante’s Divine Comedy we find that hubris is that sin that throws you in the deepest pit, in tartaros, what is above here is people of treachery and fraud, flatterers, hypocrites and oath breakers. Lucifer always served as the great example of hubris in that one thing of believing that he knew better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter if he did or not, what matters is his attitude, namely over confidence born from an exalted idea of self-importance and so in the case of the monkey falling from the tree and those judging it we are perhaps speaking of the presence of hubris on both the part of the monkey and those who judge the reasons why and declares truth.

In analysing hubris I have found that there is some difference here between the English ‘pride’ or ‘vainglory’ in how hubris was understood in Antiquity. Commonly hubris was ascribed to the Olympic gods and to rulers and political advisors from Aristotle to Seneca to Machiavelli was always warning against the consequences of hubris, it would always lead to fall, lest the erroneous trait or attitude was recognized and altered. Sun Tzu advices in his the art of war that if your opponent suffers from pride or believes himself to have to upper hand, feed his arrogance so you can strike like thunder in the blackest night.

Like monkeys sometimes fall from the trees we also fall in the journey of life, we commit errors and mistakes, some born from foolishness and others from hubris. The corpus of Ifá is full of stories about orisas committing mistakes of both sorts, it be about refusing to make the sacrifice necessary because they find it unnecessary or because they know better. Hence we find the orisa of purity, Obatala in complicated and demeaning situations as we do with the majority of the orisas. Somehow it seems that the only one not prone to hubris is the orisa Esu, the man at the crossroad, Lord of transformation, choice and opportunity.

Errors committed in hubris must always been corrected and this ranges from the simple things like let us say you stopped smoking and in turn you demand your partner to cease the habit as well. You do this from the best of reasons, yet since you are over confident and portray yourself to know better this might be an act of hubris performed in such situation. From such small matters as this to the wide array of aesthetic, and political opinions, judgements, bickering and fights for truth and right in opinion, verdict and judgement of all kinds.

From the perspective of Ifá hubris is considered a trait or attitude born from praise and flattery, success and increase in social station and not necessary as a character flaw. The orisa of justice, Sango, being the power often used to represent the downfall of hubris. In the case of Sango it all starts with good intention, he came from the invisible realm wanting every human being to be rich. Finding human beings to be fickle and inconsistent, prone to quarrel and judgement he interfered because he knew better the ways of abundance (and indeed as the author of abundance he knew what he was speaking of) – yet imposing his supremacy led to his downfall. 

Judgement is another form of hubris and I feel the story from sura 18 in Al Quran where Khidir meets Moses is illustrative in this regard. Briefly told the sura speaks about how Khidir met Moses at the junction of two seas and intended to teach him ‘the right knowledge of what he has been taught’. Khidir asks from Moses that he must have patience and avoid questioning his actions. They set out on the journey and enter a boat. Here Khidir when they are out on sea damages the boat so it will sink. Moses shocked by the saints behaviour questions him and is immediately corrected and reminded he promised to be patient and don’t questioning him. After this Khidir kills a young man and after this they arrive to a town where they are denied hospitality, here Khidir restores a broken wall for the villagers. Moses in shock of his conduct breaks his oath on all three occasions whereas Khidir tells him:
“Many acts which seem to be evil, malicious or somber, actually are merciful. The boat was damaged to prevent its owners from falling into the hands of a king who seized every boat by force. And as for the boy, his parents were believers and we feared lest he should make disobedience and ingratitude to come upon them. God will replace the child with one better in purity, affection and obedience. As for the restored wall, the Servant explained that underneath the wall was a treasure belonging to two helpless orphans whose father was a righteous man. As God's envoy, the Servant restored the wall, showing God's kindness by rewarding the piety of the orphans' father, and so that when the wall becomes weak again and collapses, the orphans will be older and stronger and will take the treasure that belongs to them."

My point being an act with its judgement is often rooted in hubris, a hubris born from a desire to understand how something not in conformity with what we assume or think is the logical or correct way or outcome of a situation. It is Moses in bewilderment not figuring out the reasons for a saint to behave ‘unsaintly’ or a monkey falling from the tree judgement always occurs and this judgement is instinctive and born from our personal history and expectation. And so if my judgement of the monkey falling from the tree is because he is stupid or bad – well maybe I am wrong – maybe he was just in error and took a jump on a broken branch. We always confer judgements and judgements born from jealousy, envy and self-hatred always lead to gossip as judgement born from bitterness and hubris lead to slander… and still monkey’s will from time to time fall from the tree and we will keep on wondering why and pass our judgements.


A Quimbanda FAQ

In this article I will try to answer some questions concerning Quimbanda that surfaces with frequency. Questions concerning how to work this cult solitary and somehow dislocated from the cultural climate of understanding here in Brazil are frequently asked as are questions concerning the magical tools, such as guias, patuás and statues, available to the general public.

I want to be initiated in Quimbanda, how do I proceed with that?
When we speak of initiation in the perspective of Quimbanda we are speaking of a true and intense merging with spirit that involves a pact/agreement, a spirit vessel (assentamento), ordeal and oath. There are elements used in this process that are common to every house/terreiro/cabula/lineage of Quimbanda that reveals a common origin. There are different varieties of Quimbanda in Brazil, and the expression of the common root, will always depend of the constellation of spirits we find in the tronco. In other words, a ‘Casa de Exu’ that is dominated by Exu Mor, Exu Morcego and Pomba Gira Maria Padilha will most likely express itself differently from a ‘Casa de Exu’ where we find Exu Lucifer, Exu Tranca Ruas and Pomba Gira Cigana taking dominant positions.

In addition we have the issue of pedigree and also the orientation of the people involved that generates an even deeper nuance of the specific house coloured by the human factor. It is in this field we find the frequent quarrels and disagreement between houses typically mediated by ‘truth-holding’ that is imposed on those that do things in different ways. We need to keep in mind that we are, when speaking about Quimbanda, dealing with a ‘living tradition’, which means that we are dealing we actual spirits, souls and intelligences that we interact with and that influences us as we influences them.  This means that at the end of the day what matters is the connection with spirit being true – and this is revealed in the capacity of the practitioner to merge with his or her Exu or Pomba Gira – in a truthful way.

Initiation, or to have your Exus and Pomba Giras fully seated and be made Tata/Yaya at the feet of the Maioral is for the majority of people pointless, a charge to heavy, a burden that overcomes the vessel and so Quimbanda should not be perceived as a hierarchical ladder, but as a cult design to facilitate communion with spirit and enhance your natural mago-spiritual power, self-understanding and understanding of your spirit mirror that you find amidst your Exus and Pomba Giras.

This means that for most people a solitary and personal practice focused on communion with one’s personal spirits will be sufficient. What we have done in the case of our Cabula is to isolate some parts of the full cycle of seating spirit and turned this into a ‘Quimbanda baptism’ (massange), where the candidate is going through ritual steps that fortifies the bond with ones ancestors, the kingdom of the Cruzeiro (roughly the Quimbanda ancestors ruled by Exu Omolu) and is exposed for ritual actions that are basically a baptism of fire both by ‘fiery waters’ and fire itself.

Going through this ceremony we deem the person a Quimbandeiro proper at this is in truth as far as need to be going on this path for the majority of people. The divide is between those who are destined to guide themselves and those who are destined to also guide others. For those destined to guide others, lay down in anticipation of death at the feet of Exu Mor, might be the road to take, but for most, it is really not necessary.

Can I purchase a guia, patuá or statue even if I am not initiated?
Guias, patuás and statues are charged objects that hold the virtues of particular spirits. In my case I do offer these items quite freely for whoever is in need of them, expecting that some discernment and consideration has led the person to seek to acquire an object of power. In the past I was far more restrictive with these power objects, but in questioning myself to what extent I was my brother (or sisters) keeper, I decided to make this option more open and less restrictive for those in need. This is partly rooted in the realisation that we are dealing with living spirits capable of guiding us in ways as mysterious as the ways of whatever god.

A guia is a specially prepared necklace. It is made under ritual circumstances in such way that the process of beading is made with the attending spirit present. Then the guia is washed and left with the Exu/Pomba Gira it is made to attract for three nights. In this process the guia is then turned into holding the virtues of the spirit guide and can be used in ceremony or when situations of guidance in the world are desired.

A patuá is holding a similar direction as the guia, but with the addition of more materia magica that typically gives it a more solid rooting in a given kingdom linked to beast, mineral and herbs of a specific virtue and attraction that turns the patuá into a charm linked both to spirit and kingdom that should be carried on the body when need be and when not in use be left in the firmeza or tronco.
In the case of guias and patuás it is good to offer them cigar fumes and spray them with strong alcohol from time to time to maintain their vigor and attention.

Statues are the most dramatic access point to spirit we offer to the general public. Our statues are charged, washed and crossed and in practice it means that they are filled with what would go into a patuá as well as other secret ingredients connecting the particular Exu or Pomba Gira to the charge. They are then washed in herbs and are presented for offerings to invite in the spirit to be naturally attracted to its magically embedded form. 

This means that these items provide access to spirit in a personal way and can constitute a personal firmeza or shrine dedicated to one’s personal spirits.

If we accept the premise that we are here dealing with daimonic spirits that are naturally inclined and tied to us in unique and mysterious ways there is really no need for initiation as such to work with them as our personal Exus and Pomba Giras will behave in a way similar to our ancestors, namely in being tied to us by natural affinity and in this opens for direct access.

How should I work with Exu and Pomba Gira?
In this it is only about understanding how to work them, how to approach them and how to work this bond in a healthy and true way. I believe in simplicity and I believe in communion being the better way of approach in this level and I will here give the basic guideline for approaching them here:
The Exus and Pomba Giras are nocturnal spirits, so we will always work them after dark and all tools of power should be held away from direct sunlight.

Friday, Saturday and Monday are the nights when they are most commonly worked in Brazil and working on these nights will enable you to tap into periods when they are naturally more active and agitated. Even if certain nights is considered more auspicious for Pomba Gira and others for Exu it is perfectly fine to tend to them both on the same day and if one day should be chosen as being preferred it would be Friday. Friday night is the natural night of joy in the world. The work week is over and the leisure and spirit of feasting enters the world and generate a natural bond with the spirits of Quimbanda.

Offerings of cigars, cigarillos, red wine, absinth, whiskey, cognac, cachaça and vodka are all good and in its most simple form a glass is served to the brim with a lit cigar crossing the glass in front of the image. Pontos are sung and as the atmosphere shifts direct communion takes place ruled by the interaction between man and spirit.

Simple offerings of beef and peppers can be given to Exu as seven thornless roses can be given to Pomba Gira. Candles, red and black is offered and allowed to burn out by themselves and offerings are dispatched of after one or three nights in front of spirit either on the ground or at a crossroad.
A more full explanation is given in the following article: http://www.starrycave.com/2014/05/the-firmeza-of-quimbanda.html

Why is Exu and Pomba Gira presented in diabolic forms?
We should keep in mind that Exu and Pomba Gira is commonly referred to as guia or guide and it is in inviting them in as guides we make the greatest work with them and will see natural positive effects in our lives. This means that they are first and foremost teaching spirits and they teach often by challenge and ordeal, which is quite obvious if we pay attention to the accounts of human incarnations they tell us. Their stories are always about struggle and misery, abuse and injustice. It is about the all too human response to challenges, such as anger, vengeance, gossip, deception, hatred, violence, murder and whatnot – and so these spirits in being vice itself – is also giving us the option of seeing ourselves in this ugly mirror they hold up to us so we can see in our Exu and Pomba Gira the same challenges they had as we have and in this they try to teach us not to do what they once did – but instead choose the better way, the way of laughter, serenity and joy of accomplishments. 

For some the diabolic features of these spirits and their attachment to the darker strains of life evoke the idea that these spirits are prone to violence, murder and negative spellcraft. Due to their deep understanding of matters human they are able to assist in such undertakings, but we should also keep in mind that the very word Quimbanda is actually a kimbundo substantive, defining a person who heals with the help of spirit, and certainly if we look at the area of healing from an amoral and value free perspective the act of removing or murdering something in order to maintain health is a part of the design not different from the annihilation of virus and bacteria in order to maintain the health of an organism. Yet at the end of the day we are speaking of a cult of spirits with great healing properties that are natural guides in the human journey.

The diabolic imagery serves to remind us that every saint has a past, every sinner a future and that wickedness can be easily tempted out, hence they serve as guardians of the crossroad of choice and present themselves as both guides of goodness and devils of destruction and in this they sum up the human constitution. 

For the full range of products offered by Sacred Alchemy Store, please visit us by a click on the link. 


Orisa statues and Spiritual Consulting at Sacred Alchemy Store

Sacred Alchemy Store is now offering a new service and a new product, Orisa Statues and Spiritual Consulting

We are now offering statues of orisas modeled on the Afro-Brazilian perception of orisa and their attributes. As with all our products these statues have also been subject for spiritual and magical treatment to ensure a given ray or vibration being emitted and attracted in accordance with the dynamis of the spiritual dignity it represents. In the case of the statues they have been washed in proper omi ero (herbal bath) and been subject for proper oriki (prayers) and orin (songs) so the statue itself becomes more than a decoration, it becomes a form that attracts a specific vibration.

These statues can be placed in shrines and be used as focus for veneration as they can be placed in specific locations with the purpose of attracting a particular energy.

In the picture from left to right: Ogun – Yemoja Mother of Pearls – Obatala – Yemoja - Esu

We are currently offering sixteen different orisas

Yemoja (mother of pearls/white hue)
Ologun Ede
Nana Buruku

This service is aimed towards giving guidance and counsel in your spiritual and/or religious practice.
It is a service for those who find themselves stuck in their practice, for those experiencing periods of confusion or disillusion, it is religious or spiritual, as much as for those who have many doubts and questions they seek answers to. This means that this service can be about assisting you in your practice, helping you to establish a healthy practice or finding solutions to whatever blockages or problems you might be experiencing as it can be about general help in obtaining clarity.

We will do these sessions through Skype and the duration is up to 60 minutes pr. session.

Please, prior to ordering the service do write us at sacred.alchemy.store@gmail.com and present us with the issue at hand. As with all our services our seal of secrecy and anonymity is always guaranteed.

Please visit our store at the following link: Sacred Alchemy Store, (http://sacredalchemystore.com/)


The Magic of Love and the Mystery of the Erotic: I

“A person desires things of this world- but where is the difference of desiring the "Supreme Bliss"? Which is the more selfish? Which is nearer you? Which pleases the Creator more? Are you certain of the Creator's will and are you sure of your own desire? Are you the Creator or just yourself, as you fondly imagine your contents?”
AOS – The Book of Pleasure

Works of love, works of binding love, works to dominate a beloved, works to get back lost love are probably the life situation people ask for magical aid in more than any other.

But when we speak of love we need to be more precise, because love is bound in so many different forms of relationships and sentiments. We know the Greeks had at least six words for love and the form of love most praised seemed to be Philia, which is about the love that infuses and defines friendships. The philosophical work of Epicurus are all about this form of love that he praised higher than anything and we find a similar sentiment in Plato’s dialogues. Philia was related to Philautia, or self-love, however, narcissism was not a part of the understanding of what self-love was about, yet the ecstasy of being who you are in calm acceptance and satisfaction along with a willingness to transgress and transform the entire landscape that you are strikes the cords of self-love.

Hence in this landscape if you find yourself void of worth, a lone outcast wolf, a seductress of no victories… do you have sufficient self-love to call upon love?

In this field where the hunger for love is frustrated we nurture desire and we nurture ego and fantasy, it is as Austin O Spare wrote in The Book of Pleasure:  

The Ego is desire, so everything is ultimately desired and undesirable, desire is ever a preliminary forecast of terrible dissatisfaction hidden by its ever-present vainglory. 

And so, when we ask for love, to bind an object of desire to us, to call back a wayward wife or husband, what is the ‘’love’ in this desire we seek to bind?

We can exclude ideals such as pragma, the love that grows over time through deep understanding of one another as we can exclude ludens, the playful flirtatious love of passing moments (yet, at times such moments sow the seed of perpetual desire and haunting memories) as we can exclude agape, the unconditional and selfless love for everyone, due to the person exercising agape being truly full of love and void of self-doubt. Quite often agape is translated into ‘charity’, but I find the word generosity to be a word more proper to describe this form of love most difficult to attain. Generosity is about giving freely and willingly because it affirms Love, and if we are generous we also become kings and queens of love and in the spirit of love we can become architects and masters of our own Fate.

And so, when we think of love in a greater scope, the love between parents and children, between friends, the love in a flirting moment, the agape that happens with nature in meeting with rain and dew, that moment of true connection, passing or lasting, it be in sharing a common understanding, a shared preference… love is like the Devil, it all rest in the details.

And if we pay attention to the details many of us will find that there is much more love going around than what we care to notice because we tend to focus on that primal, passionate love, eros.

Eros, child of Venus, spirit of desire and also the daimon of divine desire was always viewed as irrational and volatile, a mercurial Venus that with his arrows and rosy cheeks could inspire passion and creativity wherever he went. The arrows of Eros piercing Romeo and Juliet led to death and tragedy as it did with St. Cyprian and Sta. Justinia and it is this love, eros, the erotic and sexual passion, that divine glue, that tend to be at work when someone ask for a work of love being done.
In this I would say with Epicur that “It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself.” 

Because if we don’t have Philautia, how can we expect to be the object for any kind of love?

I believe love, no matter the type, is bound by some form of generosity. To be generous is not only about giving because you have; it rests in some selfless nobility that rest in your heart. It is that love that speaks good words to the lover that left you, the love that holds on to what was good in what is not anymore with fond memories, avoiding the abyss of want, desire and depression.

Love is about giving and in giving we attract the same. Desire is about having and in exercising desire we also exercise this very same possessiveness desire is in our want for the other, often because of our own lack of self-love or misplaced love for self that makes us feel unwanted, unsuitable, unlovable and what not.

And so, with love, it is tied in with the mystery of the erotic, which is the enchantment and passion of merging, it is something of an expansive and creative dynamic that happens in the field of eros, but love have at least six heads… the seventh is your own…

And then; when you are there seeking to bind someone, is it an object of desire? Is it a persona filled with love? Why would you bind what is not naturally bound to you?

As a spirit worker, I am so reluctant to make love workings, because they are so often desire workings, and desire is irrational, volatile and floating. We are speaking of eros, not any other form of love. Eros is the cosmic glue, that is true, but the nature of this force makes everything like he is, unpredictable and volatile. Working with desire is a complicated thing and I must confess that magical works tied into the mystery of Eros are amongst the most unpredictable workings any spirit worker can do.

Sometimes it works well, because there is a bond between the one asking for the work and the object of desire, we are speaking of a certain generosity made possible by mutual self-love. Other times the implicated parties rekindle love for some passing moments, just to the dissatisfaction of one or both and there are of course effects like the wayward husband desiring his wife who closed all conversation with him – and after the work is done – he she opens her heart, her door just to be beaten once again by that abusive SOB… And there I am, as a facilitator, knowing very well that Maria Padilha was teaching a lesson… but still… is it love when you want to mark that soft skin purple and blue just because you are in a frenzy of erotic desire that calls the truth out of who you are and what this ‘love’ is about? No, it is desire in its pure and undirected way, it is the frenzy of Eros, unpredictable angel of love and desire that makes warriors sweet with the taste of fervent blood… the same blood that makes a dick hard and the heart to beat faster in the embrace of passion, it be of pain, anger or lust… It is not eros calling upon philia or neither agape nor even ludens, it is love turning into self-hatred exercised in the world, so we can all witness the pain of the desirous one. And there is in this the most common of cases, the lost love returns, but upon his or her return the desirous one don’t want him or her anymore… so in the end, as Epicurus wrote: “why spoil what we have with what we have not”?


We Are What We Are?

We all stand on the shoulders of whoever came before us; we speak of ancestry or land these are our two shoulders. We are the living legacy of the past. We embody and act the blessings and the curses, the lessons and the resistance of everything that made us be what we are today.

We think this is always beautiful when we place the monocles to our life and see our good deeds and wonderful aspirations and it all goes grim when we expand our vision and start feeling hot, heavy and delirious with the condition of the world. In those moments we don’t see how our self-doubt is used to the vantage of the rulers of the worlds that do not want you to be comfortable in your little cave of light and darkness. We are always called out, to give an opinion or a judgment – and if we don’t, life do it for us when we are in any form of cue or exchange any idea rooted in difference and concord.

We start to point fingers to acts generated by bad character and greed, yet we don’t see the character flaws and hidden envy in ourselves. We easily see the wrongdoings done in our society, by the politicians that lie to us and the colliding world views that crash cities and ideas with ideals and promises of holiness and change.

We rarely see these are appeals to our holiness and our thirst for change…

We are all the time distracted from paying attention to our own character, our own deeds, words and actions, but we have no problem striding our own white horse, dress the armour of a rpg knight or raise a cowardly face in an ivory tower of superiority made by our own illusions, fears, dramas and aspirations.

It is all just sad, and it gets even sadder when we glorify our failures and our greed, our envy and our lack in stating we are the loving product of our ancestors... because then we would need to admit that we are not from a perfect pedigree but from shafts of wheat that was not always good nor healthy. Our history as a singular being, our history as a human is never a dance of perfection, rather a kaleidoscope of changing contrasts.

Because we all have bad, rotten and evil ancestors and the vibration and spirit that made them make mess, chaos, bring sadness, war and turmoil to our lives still lives in us as moths and butterflies fighting for the attention of fire and water. It is just the way it is and they find their ways to fire and water more easily when we try to understand why.

To hide an envy or a rotten character behind a slogan of ‘oh, well, it is the best my ancestors could make from me’ is atrocious. It is a defeat and in this we reveal intense fatalist sadness in denying change. It is like saying, ‘oh my Sun sign is Lobster, so you know I am doomed to snap at everyone’…

We can always be better, change is always possible, new knowledge brings to us new perspectives and quite often new tools – the problem is always about the willingness to change, the willingness to silence those complaining ancestors, those guilt ridden and victimized ancestors that inspired you to make the bad choice, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We all have them. They live in Mothers and Fathers perpetuating a dysfunction that denies you happiness in your life. These ancestors are not the best of what you can be, they are forces that should be accepted and acknowledged – but not invited in – because sometimes we celebrate the evil of an ancestor by denying its influence in our life – and in this we start working a peace with the past. This ancestor can be revealed in forms diverse, a trauma, sadness, a negative pattern, a mode of anger or aggressiveness.  Anything we are that holds a negativism might be about you being the one given the power and consciousness to solve some ancestral shit and stop perpetuating it and be the change that appeases your ancestry.

Because we are not a result of the love of ancestor, we are a result of the anger and resent of our ancestors, the compassion and wisdom of our ancestors, the love is ours to understand and forgiveness is ours to give to those who made us and to all those who surrounds us.

The whole idea of having ancestry is not about glorifying anything. It is about understanding where you came from, so you can make a change, betterment or continue what was always good.

These things are so simple, so simple that it is hard to take notice, because while the world is burning, we tend to lose focus on the dots and pawns, the molecules and first breaths that makes up beginnings and continuations. We lose focus on ourselves as we direct all attention to whatever else that has a movement and motion outside of us.

And in this amazing act of turning to the other, so much is about the world at large, we lose our selves and get disillusioned with all the evil and shit we see, witness and experience. So often we get drawn into this and we give back what we see and experience as a negative reaction born from our good heart. It is a horrible circle, a circus of disgrace and yet we stay there, perpetuating those inklings in ourselves that stems from ancestors that seek only iron and clay and makes us sad and we believe our selves to be that sad, hardy resistance we don't want to be anymore.

Like sad, hard and uptight is what we want to be… I believe we all seek happiness, fulfillment and purpose, no matter how dark, drunk, depressed or disillusioned we might be. I believe the root of change lies in acceptance and commitment, in realizing that you are what you are because of those who came before you, because if you don’t like what they made you, in this realization you can alter the current of your life and be you as a knight or dame in truth and of truth, and not a figurehead or puppet in your own life, but the hero in your own life that came to bring a positive change.

To realize that I am such and such because of this and that – this is always only the knowledge you need to understand how you came to your position, to understand is not fatal, it is to realize a crossroad... it is to realize the presence caused by the forces that are tied to your feet, arm, heart and eyes, namely those who came before you. But just because a pattern of dysfunction is realized in this heritage we are not condemned to repeat it, rather, know your story so you do not repeat it and perpetuate what was good in your legacy, because it all lives in you as the living ancestor of what you are, love or regret, hatred of compassion, forgiveness or feud is always left to us to choose...