Monday, December 30, 2013

ANNIE CHRISTMAS: A New Orleans Voudou Loa, Daughter of the Mississippi and Defender of Victims of Bullies

Illustrators: Leo and Diane Dillon

She emits a foreboding energy to those standing in her presence who have done wrong, and a feeling of safety and security to those for whom she has come to assist. She's a daughter of the Mississippi Delta, born in the city of New Orleans, stronger than any man and a hero to every woman.

It is said she walks with a swagger, displaying a confident knowing of who she is and where she's going. But, she walks without the arrogance of haters and bullies because she is one with righteousness. And no one doubts that every ass she woops is more than justified.

Annie Christmas is a spirit who has not gotten the kind of attention she deserves; yet, I am quite certain she could be of assistance to many people in a day and age where bullies are rampant both online and offline. So if you have not heard of this incredible woman who has been elevated to the status of loa in the New Orleans Voudou pantheon, allow me to introduce you.

Annie Christmas is the epitome of woman power, often referred to as a female Ogun because of her traits. Though she is not an Ogun, she is another of the unique Spirits of New Orleans Voudou with roots in the folklore of the city. She walks alongside Joe Fer (Iron Joe) in the New Orleans Voudou pantheon.

One of the original characters in African American folklore, Annie Christmas is said to have been a woman who worked the docks along the Mississippi River doing many activities typically saved for men during her time. Defying the norms of both a male-dominated workplace and society, Annie Christmas became a well-respected keelboat captain. A keelboat is a shallow riverboat that is poled or pulled along the river. Poling a keelboat is a job that requires a tremendous amount of strength as the boats typically carry people and heavy supplies such as bales of cotton and other items. But, Annie Christmas was a woman with superhuman power. She was stronger than any man and feared no one. She was completely self-reliant and could protect herself and others better than any man could. She was reportedly six feet eight inches tall, and weighed 250 pounds. It is said she dressed in men's clothing typical of the day while at work on the docks, but in the evenings she wore a red silk dress and wore a hat adorned with with turkey feathers. She also wore her hair in an updo into which she would stick peacock feathers. Like Marie Laveaux, she could get away with not wearing the law enforced tignon required by all women of color and if she did wear one, it was because she wanted to and not because some racist society told her she had to.

She was dark as midnight, with beautiful ebony skin and eyes sparkling with Spirit, effectively representing the Motherland. She had the reputation of being an annihilator of bullies; just let her hear or see a man act a bully and he never acted or spoke that way again. She would not only call out the bullies and haters, she would beat them down and make them sorry they ever thought ill about anyone.

Annie Christmas defied social mores by rejecting the usual plaçage arrangement popular during early nineteenth century New Orleans. Wealthy White and Creole men arranged common law households with women of color. These women were not legally recognized as wives but were known as placées, the word deriving from placer meaning "to place with." Plaçage relationships were recognized among the free people of color as left-handed marriages or mariages de la main gauche. A placee could be a girl 15 years old or even younger, placed in a "suitable" relationship after making a social debut in a very elegant ball (Miller, 2013). There were numerous financial and economic benefits from plaçage arrangements, including freedom for enslaved family members. Annie Christmas, however, rejected such an arrangement, viewing it as another male-dominated, racist social institution. Instead, she ran away to the frontier of the Mississippi River.

Annie was a three-barrel flatboat unloader. She could walk a gangplank with a barrel of flour under each arm and one on her head. Once in a fit of impatience she towed a keelboat all the way from New Orleans to Natchez, making her feat the origin of the saying in the river towns, "As strong as Annie Christmas."

Her necklace is a story in and of itself. It is said that Annie had a pearl necklace which she wore to parties. Every bead in it represented a man whose ass she whooped, an eye she'd gouged out in a fight, or an ear or a nose she had chewed off. When she died, the necklace was thirty feet long-a true momento-and it could have been longer, only some of the fights were so easy Annie didn't feel it was honorable to record them.

Annie was never married but had twelve children, all of them boys. Annie was a mean fighter and could hold her own with any man. She was known to have kicked many a bully's ass on the river. Her reputation was punctuated by the red turkey feather she wore in her hat that signified her status as a champion fighter. She even scared off the big, strong patronizing Mike Fink from the docks of the lower Mississippi. She told him in no uncertain terms that if he were to return, she would tie him to the bottom of a keel boat and send him on down the river. In fact, this is how that story went down:

Back when our country was still young, there was a woman named Annie Christmas. Annie lived in the city of New Orleans beside the Mississippi River. People say that Annie was as strong as an ox. She was at least seven feet tall. When she yelled, the ground started shaking. But she did not yell very often. No one dared to bother her, so she didn’t have much to yell about.

Annie Christmas had a boat on the Mississippi, and she worked harder than any ten men. She loaded things onto the boat and took them where they needed to go. Then she’d come back for another load. Night and day she worked, and she hardly ever stopped.

One day, a man named Mike Fink came to town. When he saw Annie Christmas, she was picking up a bale of hay to load onto the boat. Now Mike was a big strong man, but he was not very smart. He looked at Annie and laughed. “Why, Miss,” he said, “you should be home making socks and not trying to do a man’s work.” Well, the whole city went quiet, waiting to see what Annie would do.

Annie stood up slowly and looked at Mike Fink. “Mister,” she said quietly, “you seem to have a lot to say about who should do what and where.” Then she lifted that bale of hay over her head. Everyone thought she would throw it at Mike Fink, but she didn’t. She threw it into the river so hard that it caused a tidal wave ten feet high. That tidal wave picked up Mike Fink and carried him all the way to Natchez, more than 150 miles away. Annie went back to her work, and Mike Fink was never seen in New Orleans again.


Miller, B. (2013) Big River's Daughter. Holiday House.

Annie Christmas New Orleans Voudou Protection Ouanga Fetish

This New Orleans Voodoo Protection Wanga Fetish is made on the point of Annie Christmas to eliminate bullies and haters and to increase and enhance protection, defense, steadfastness, strength and productivity in your life. It combines the magickal powers of colors, herbs, stones, essential oils, and other magickal items such as a buffalo nickel for plowing over enemies and a chicken foot. It has a fabulous aroma, sporting one of my very own signature conjure oil formulas. For more information, visit my store.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Marie Laveaux's Pink Tomb: Vandalism or Devotion?

New Orleans is known as the most haunted city in America, and the body of lore attributed to Marie Laveaux contributes greatly to this reputation. It is said she takes pleasure in haunting those who disrespect her. Sometimes, she simply wants to make her presence known and reinforce the notion that her reign as Voodoo Queen of New Orleans did not die when her physical body passed through the veil. There are frequent sightings of her all around New Orleans taking the form of both human and animals. One legend, for example, tells of a Marie Laveaux who never died, but simply shapeshifted into a large black crow that can still be seen flying over the cemetery (Guiley, 2000).

However, one of the most intriguing pieces of folklore surrounding Marie Laveaux is that of the magickal properties ascribed to her final resting place. Her tomb in St. Louis Cemetery #1, one of three Roman Catholic cemeteries in New Orleans, has become a pilgrimage site for Voodooists and others interested in paying homage to the infamous Voodoo Queen of New Orleans. 

Earlier this month, the Voodoo Queen's tomb was painted a bright pink. Most of the chatter surrounding the event reflects shock and dismay. People are used to white graves, and aside from the multitudes of Xs drawn on her tomb, the only color the tomb has been painted is white. But is pink such a bad color?

While most people I have spoken to have expressed a dislike for the color and disappointment with the apparent vandalism, not everyone shares this point of view. Oskar "Doc Mojo" Yetzirah is among the first to state he rather liked the color, as it reminds him of the colorful tombs in some of the Mexican Catholic cemeteries. And, in fact, he raises some good points. According to Yetzirah: "What is the color pink in conjure work? Pink is associated with friendship, honor, love, morality, affection, spiritual awakening, unselfishness, leadership, femininity, togetherness, unity and healing. Now, this is just to name a few. I am sure you all have items you’d like to add to the grocery list. In the barrio traditions, pink is used to generate great affection. This is why you will see many tombs of grandmothers and mothers painted pink in the valley cemeteries."

Before...Photo courtesy of Jules Moon,

After...Photo courtesy of Dorothy Morrison

What do you think? Read more at the New Orleans Voodoo Examiner.

Find an article in Hoodoo & Conjure: New Orleans all about the Wishing Tomb of Marie Laveaux.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Three Lucky Charms and a Formula for Lady Luck Conjure Oil

Searching for Luck

When I began compiling a list of charms for good luck for an ebook for Creole Moon's Conjure Club, I came across some real doozies. Some of the lucky charms are really old practices and beliefs, and I have no explanation for why they are considered good luck. But they are interesting nonetheless. I have listed three lucky charms and a formula for Lady Luck conjure oil below for you enjoyment. 

Lucky Fava Bean

Here’s an interesting lucky charm to help a friend get good luck for a particular circumstance. Walk around the person three times in a sunwise direction, then give him or her a fava bean on which you have inscribed the number 7. Tell them to make their wish on the fava bean and keep it with them until their wish is answered. Once it is answered, the person should pass it on to someone else in need of good luck by performing the same action - walking around the person in need of good luck and then passing on the fava bean. In that way, it keeps the positive energy flowing with a domino effect. 

Lucky Beef Tongue

It is lucky to carry the tip of a dried beef tongue in your mojo bag. It is said to keep folks from talking smack about you. 

Horseshoe Talisman

To make a good luck horseshoe talisman, take 9 pods of garlic, 9 sprigs of thyme and 9 sprigs of parsley and place in a small brown paper bag and wrap around the bag 9 times with red string, then tie the packet to the horseshoe and hang it over your door (adapted from Hyatt, 1978 Vol. 2).

Formula for Lady Luck Conjure Oil

The formula for Lady Luck conjure oil is as follows: Irish moss, cloves, cinnamon, orange and a lodestone in a base of almond oil. Use to anoint candles, ritual tools, your wallet, purse, anywhere you keep money, playing cards, dice and anything connected to playing games of chance; pour a few drops in your palms and rub your hands briskly together before gambling to sway luck in your favor.

Find a selection of lucky charms and talismans at Medicines and Curios.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Road Opener Conjure Clay Formula for Doll Babies

If you are partial to doll baby conjure, you may find this one interesting. One of the Conjure Club titles is Magickal Conjure Doll Clay Formulas, which is a book with all sorts of recipes for making doll babies out of a variety of magickal clays. The cool thing about this is you can mix up a batch of basic clay and store it to be fixed at a later date, so you can always have some on hand. Here is one for Road Opener Clay.

First, you will need a basic conjure clay. To the basic recipe you add the magickal ingredients. The book has 10 different recipes that you can make as a base clay including clay from sawdust, earthen based clay made from scratch, Pow wow plasters, flour based and more. Here is a basic conjure clay made from cornstarch.



• 2 cups baking soda
• 1 cup cornstarch
• 1.5 cups cold water (makes about 2 pounds – the recipe can be halved)

The combination of baking soda and cornstarch make a smooth, pliable conjure clay to which additions can be easily added. It can be easily colored with food coloring or left natural and painted once it hardens.
Place ingredients in a pan and stir until smooth. Set the pan over a medium heat and stir until boiling. Stir out any lumps and cook until it is the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Turn out onto a plate and cover with a damp, well wrung kitchen towel - let cool. Dust a work surface with cornstarch and knead until pliable. Once it is a nice smooth consistency, you can add your herbs and other magickal additions. When you have formed your doll, leave it to air dry, turning every 12 hours or so. Be sure to store your unused clay in an airtight container.

Now that you have your basic conjure clay, we can move on to making it magickal.


For making doll babies for opening roads, removing obstacles, and clearing the way for new
opportunities to come into your life, add the following ingredients to the basic conjure clay mix:

• 1 Tsp powdered basil
• 1 Tsp powdered Abre camino
• Oil of camphor
• Road Opener Oil

Gradually add the powdered herbs and add the oils a drop at a time when forming the doll baby. After your creation is shaped, bake in a 250 degree oven for several hours to harden. For best results, make
your road opener conjure clay during a full or waxing moon.

Say the one of the following Road Opener Psalms or a heartfelt prayer of your own while forming your doll baby:


Any of the following psalms can work with road opener spells but one may be more fitting than the other for your particular issue so be sure to read them all (I'm not writing out all the psalms as they can easily be looked up with a simple Google search).

16, 21, 23, 25, 119 

For more formulas like this one, check out the 39 page eBook, Magickal Conjure Doll Clay Formulas. In addition to the basic conjure clays, there are directions for making natural dyes for coloring the clays, Crossroads Clay for Decision-Making, Ancestral clay, Sugar Daddy Conjure Clay, Goofer Dust clay and more!


To join creole Moon's Conjure Club, check out the details here.


Article and photographs are copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, all rights reserved worldwide.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Taking a Spiritual Bath: Step-by-Step

Crossroads Mamas' 105 Spiritual Baths for Every Occasion

There are many ways to take a spiritual bath. How one is taken depends largely upon the purpose of the bath. Some are taken on certain days of the week during certain moon phases or time of day. While these specifics make for amplifying the bath’s effects, any of the baths in this book can be taken at any time if an urgent need arises.

There are two methods for taking spiritual baths. One is full immersion and the other is pouring the prepared bath over one’s head while standing. Regardless of the method used, the results are the same.

Here are some basic guidelines for taking a spiritual bath – follow these guidelines if there are no specifics given.

  1. To prepare an herbal bath, place herbs into a pot of boiling water and let them steep for three to nine minutes. Strain out the herbs and add the liquid tea to your bath.

  1. Baths for drawing things to you such as love, success, luck and healing, work well when taken at or before dawn. Wake up before dawn and draw your water. Fill the tub with warm water and wash your body in an upward direction. If possible and you are so inclined, you can take baths for drawing things during a waxing or full moon.

  1. For uncrossing baths or getting rid of negative energies and conditions like anger or anxiety, take your bath at sunset and wash your body in a downward motion. Pour the water over your head 9 times so that the water runs down your body while you are standing. If possible and you are so inclined, you can take baths for removing negative energies and conditions during a waning moon.

  1. Always bless the water before getting into the tub. You can do this through prayer or invocation of the spirits, saints, and orishas of the healing waters in a manner that is meaningful to you.  Alternately, you can use a more general type of blessing. See the water blessings in the next section for examples.

  1. Spend at least fifteen minutes soaking in the healing water for a ritual bath. You may meditate, visualize a resolution of your problem, pray, sing, sit or lay in silence. Do whatever feels comforting to you unless otherwise specified for a particular condition.

  1. Save all or a portion of the bathwater for proper disposal. Some common ways of disposing bathwater include tossing it towards the east during sunrise or leaving it at a crossroads.

  1. Always clean your tub with saltwater afterwards. Sea salt is best, though regular salt will also do, so long as you have prayed over it. Also, be sure to clean any objects used in the tub with saltwater.

  1. As part of preparing your ritual bath, you may light your favorite incense and light a candle in a fitting color to make the experience especially comforting, effective, and enjoyable.

  1. Always take a soap bath prior to or after a spiritual bath. Never use soap, oils, or anything else while taking a spiritual bath unless it is specified.

  1. Never stay in a spiritual bath longer than thirty minutes.

  1. For optimal effect, spiritual baths are taken an odd number of days, from 1 to 13.

  1. Allow your body to air dry to achieve the full effect.

  1. Always dress in fresh, clean clothes and sleep on clean (preferably white) sheets after taking a spiritual bath.

*Excerpted from Crossroads Mama' 105 Spiritual Baths for Every Occasion by Denise Alvarado and Madrina Angelique, Copyright 2012 Denise Alvarado and Madrina Angelique, all rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Lightning Struck Wood

Lightning struck wood is a powerful curio within Hoodoo and Native American traditions. It is typically hard to come by, but I am fortunate in that we live in the High Desert. When the monsoons come, the lightening is abundant and you can see it strike the trees at the top of the mountains. We have ready access to the trees that are lightning struck, and go and harvest some of the wood and offer it for sale at Creole Moon.Lightning struck wood can be added to any magick work to increase its power. It is particularly good for commanding spells, sex spells, and spells of destruction, which draw on its fire energy to destroy. Fire also has a dual nature to transform; hence, its ability to be used in positive works as well.

The temperature of lightning is around 30,000 degrees C or six times as hot as the surface of the Sun. It is believed that sap is one reason trees are common targets for lightening because sap is a better conductor of electricity than air. When lightning strikes a tree, the energy is discharged through the tree turning the sap into steam, which causes the bark to split apart.

Trees that are struck by lightning are not always burned and do not always catch on fire. When harvesting lightning struck wood, we do tend to try to get some of the wood that has been charred.

Our lightning struck wood is from juniper, cedar, and pine trees. We climb up the Granite Mountains -  which is among our locations - over the top and to the other side where we know trees that have been struck by lightning await. We then make an offering to the tree and the Thunder Beings in the Native way, gives thanks, harvest some of the wood, load up our backpacks and make the journey back over the mountain and down to the bottom. It takes several hours to accomplish, but it is well worth it, and our customers know when they order lightning struck wood that they are getting the real thing that is harvested according to appropriate ritual protocol.

These are the mountains we climb to get out lightning struck wood. It is on the other side where it is harvested.

Part of the way up looking down. 

Getting near the top.

Here is my son, ahead of me, of course.

And on the other side where the trees are located.

Different cultures have different beliefs about trees that have been struck by lightning. According to Navajo beliefs, for example, it is not wise to burn lightning struck wood as a source of wood burning fuel as it can cause illness and bad luck. Lightening struck wood is considered the property of the Spirit of Lightning and so it is avoided.

In Chinese folklore, a special divination system called lingqijing uses lightning struck wood as the material from which to make the divinatory objects. The word lingqijing consists of three characters – ling means 'magic' or 'spirit' or 'supernatural', while jing is simply 'book' or 'classic'. Traditionally, the disks are made from wood taken from a tree that has been struck by lightning, and prepared over a 60-day cycle in a rather involved ritualistic process, with the characters being inscribed with a cutting tool and then filled with red pigment. Lightning-struck wood would indeed be ideal, since lightning is powerfully yang and wood is powerfully yin, and in Chinese mysticism lightning-struck wood is regarded as good for expelling ghosts and malevolent spirits (2003-2006-2011, Yijing Dao).

To consult the Lingqijing you need 12 flat wooden disks. Four are inscribed with the Chinese character shang, meaning nothing more complicated than 'above', four with zhong, 'middle', and four with xia, 'below'. The backs are left plain. You throw the 12 disks to the ground all at once and arrange the fallen disks into a trigraph of three rows, according to their inscribed positions, of which there are 125 possible combinations. (The term 'trigraph' was brought into usage by Ralph D Sawyer, to avoid confusion with the three-line figures associated with the Yijing, the 'trigrams'.)

In Southern Hoodoo, wood from a tree that had been struck by lightning can be used in uncrossings. Find a white oak that has been struck by lightning and get 9 splinters. Follow the person suspected of laying the trick and put one splinter in each of nine of their tracks. Wish, or pray, that if this person does indeed mean to do harm the trick will turn back on them.

Lightning struck wood can be added to mojo bags and gris gris, and it can also provide a serious boost to candle magick. There are two ways it can be used with candles. One way is to take splinters of it and stick it into the candle wax, each splinter representing a specific magickal point in the candle burning. The second way is to grind some of it down to a powder to dress the candles by sprinkling the tops of glass encased candles or rolling altar and offertory candles in the powder.

Lightning struck wood can also be used to enhance sexual nature, particularly with men when combined with 2 High John the Conqueror roots and a pair of lodestones in a mojo bag.

Creole Moon's lightning struck wood comes in two sizes: a small 2x3 bag for $9.95 and a large 4x6 bag for $19.95.  I haven't gotten the curio section of the site completed yet, so if you are interested in purchasing some, email me at orders(at) or leave a message on the comment section below. And as always, there is free shipping, every day at Creole Moon!



Article and photos are copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, all rights reserved worldwide. Do not copy without asking me first.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Crossroads University: Welcome to Our New Blog!

Crossroads University: Welcome to Our New Blog!: It's long overdue, this we realize. But better late than never, or so the saying goes. Welcome to our new blog! Crossroads Univ...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Taste for Nutria: A Cajun’s Tale of the Loup Garou

Image copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved.

There are many reason why everyone should have a copy of the book Purloined Stories and Haunted Tales of Old New Orleans by Alyne Pustanio. She's a fantastic writer and an invaluable asset to the state of Louisiana for retelling classic folklore and contributing to the rich body of literature surrounding the unique history of the state. Her own contributions of supernatural fiction, accounting the stories told to her by others, as well as recording her own experiences with the paranormal in New Orleans are deserving of serious attention and I, for one, am her biggest fan.

But don't just take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. If you are a Conjure Clubber, you will have received the first 12 stories of her book. For those of you who are not Conjure Clubbers and have not gotten the book yet, I am posting an excerpt here for you to read and get a feeling for the kinds of stories it contains. From Werebeasts to Zombies to haunted people and places, the book shares stories of characters unique to Louisiana folklore, including Chicken Man, the Grunch and the Loup Garou. Here is one of her stories.

 Taste for Nutria: A Cajun’s Tale of the Loup Garou

by Alyne Pustanio

Joe the Cajun Indian was a hunter who spent long stretches out in the swamps in search of duck, deer, and nutria – Louisiana’s version of an overgrown rat. In all that time, he said he’d never seen or heard a Loup Garou or anything like it. “There’s always a first time,” I said, and so the tale recounted below was born!

At the end of a long day’s work of emptying traps along the water’s edge throughout the shadowy, winding labyrinth of the bayou, the trappers were gathered together near the camp of one man where they all planned to spend the night. No one wanted to be caught out in the dappled darkness so the little fishing camp known as the “Tide Over” was picked for the overnight stay. With the boats and traps secured at the camp’s makeshift dock, and the nutria safely stowed in an old metal ice chest near the back door, the trappers settled in for the night. Soon the windows were aglow, casting feeble yellow light into the near-impenetrable darkness of the surrounding swamp. Insects buzzed against the window screens and now and then a large moth fluttered in the light before the night sucked it up again. Amid the comforting chirping of the crickets and katey-dids, the familiar snufflings of the raccoon and the possum could be heard; every now and then a little “plunk” from the still bayou water meant a fish was jumping or a frog had caught a meal.

A nutria, also known as a river rat, is a semiaquatic rodent
found all over south Louisiana. Image in the public domain.
The men made a quick dinner of some catfish they had caught earlier in the day and washed it down with ice-cold beer. Soon, the lights were dimmed and the tired trappers contentedly took to their beds. Surrounded by the all-encompassing darkness and the symphony of the swamp, they were soon asleep.

Baudier was the first to wake up, jolted, all of a sudden, but by what he did not know. Blinking in the darkness, he listened. He sat up. He listened some more. And he sat straight up because he heard — nothing. Absolutely nothing. Not a cricket, not a kateydid, not a snuffle or a plunk. He heard nothing.

“Chotin!” he whispered to the man on the cot next to him. “Chotin! Wake up, man! Dere’s sometin’ wrong out dere!” Chotin, a large lump of a Cajun man, sleeping shirtless but in his pants and white shrimp boots (it was these that Baudier saw move first), sat up and looked into the darkness toward Baudier’s voice.

“Maannn! What is wrong wid you?” Chotin droned. “You waked me up from a good sleep, I tell you. Dis better be good!”

“Shhh!” said Baudier. “Listen!” He peered into the darkness until he could make out Chotin’s wide face. “Hear dat?” Chotin listened. He heard nothing. “Hear what?”

But even as he said it, he became aware that he, too, was hearing nothing and he let out a low whistle.

“Chere! Dere ain’t notin’ out dere!” Nearby, Tirout and Gaspard, hearing Chotin whistle, sat up too.

“Maannn, what is you two doin’?” said Gaspard.

“Shhh!” came a hoarse little whisper from Tirout, then, “Listen! What’s dat?” All together they heard it, a THUMP, then another THUMP, followed by a couple of splashes, then two more THUMPS. In each of their minds, the terrified trappers could envision, by the approach of the sounds, just where they were coming from. THUMP and THUMP were on the little spit of land where the traps were set; the splashes put the sound near the boats; the two last THUMPS on the bank near the boats.

Waiting, sweating, not understanding what had them so frightened, but too scared to ignore their gut, the four trappers sat petrified, listening to something approach in the absolute stillness of the night. THUMP. THUMP.

“Gawd!” Baudier choked and in the darkness the round, white eyes of his friends turned to him. “Dat sounds like FEET to me!” The white eyes grew wider and all turned away toward the screened windows and the night beyond.
Just then came three THUMPS in succession, followed by the definite sound of something stepping onto the wooden porch alongside the camp. Though they thought they had been scared before this, the terror level inside the little fishing camp hit a peak as a sniffing, snuffling, snorting kind of sound filled the air. SOMETHING was out there and it was SMELLING for them! Beads of sweat broke on Baudier’s forehead and dripped down into his eyes. He glanced at the windows, illuminated by the faint starlight glinting down from the canopy of cypress and moss; he could feel the others were looking this way, too. That is why there never was any debate on what Baudier must have seen before he passed out, because three other men saw it right along with him!

A huge animal head went past the windows then: like the head of a big dog, blown up to enormous size, the three men who did not pass out saw it in vivid profile against the shimmer of the night beyond. Long, dog-like ears stood straight up to hear every sound; the glassy yellow of monstrous, watery eyes that, had they turned inside, would surely have caused the shaking Cajuns to die on the spot! Drool hung in long, sinuous strings from grisly teeth, and, perhaps worst of all, was the scraping and skittering of what could only be long nails scratching along the outside wall. Suddenly, the creature bent down, probably to walk on all fours because the next sound was like a big dog scampering on the wooden porch planks. The thumping led away to the rear of the camp and suddenly there came a loud metal “CLANG!” The beast had found the
old cooler!  

With growing terror and disgust, the Cajun trappers sat in the darkness of that camp and listened while the horrible Loup Garou devoured every single one of the nutrias they had trapped that day. Guttural gulping and the horrible cracking of skulls and bones filled the men with dread, but they dared not move so long as the Loup Garou was feasting.

Long moments passed that seemed like hours, then suddenly, to their horror, Baudier began to awake and he was groaning loud enough for the Loup Garou to hear!! Now, all the wide, white eyes in the pitch-black room turned upward and each man began to pray, while Baudier continued to groan. Suddenly, the horrible eating stopped. The Loup Garou was listening!

A limp, sad little thud sounded and the men knew the beast had dropped a nutria to the deck; a rustling and clicking noise meant the beast had surely heard Baudier’s pitiful groaning. Chotin, Tirout and Gaspard thought about all the things they would miss in life — boudin sausage and Miller Lite beer, bingo and deer hunting, their boats and watching Saints football, their mommas and their wives—when suddenly, from out in the swamp, they heard a sound that made the hair on their bodies rise and stand straight on end!

“CAAAWWWWW!!” came the horrible noise. “CAAAWWW! CAAAWWWW!”
The noises from the Loup Garou stopped instantly. The thing was wary now, listening. Maybe its yellow eyes were big, too, and peering at the swamp. Stillness descended. Then, suddenly, a cacophony of unearthly screeching and squawking and flapping and howling filled the night air. In the tumult Gaspard, the Cajun closest to the outside window, now summoned up a courage that would become legendary in the swamp, talked about at crawfish boils and fais-do-dos for years to come. He rose stealthily from his cot and sneaked over to the screened window. Looking out he saw an amazing sight: The huge shaggy Loup Garou was covered with angry black crows, all flapping and pecking at the creature.

Suddenly, with a howl, the Loup Garou broke free and in a flash snorting and splashing, it bounded away from the little camp, into the pitch darkness of the swamp with the birds, a cloud of soot and feathers, following. The trappers now clung together, drenched in sweat and shivering with fear in the uneasy silence. They sat like this, holding on for dear life, fearful that the beast might return, until the pale grey light of day could be seen illuminating the sky beyond the mosshung canopy of the swamp. Then, all together in  agroup, like a turtle or a doodlebug with many legs working in unison, they moved toward the back door and opened it.

What greeted them was such a feast of horror that none would soon forget it! Nothing was left of their trapped nutria but some brown fur, some bones and a lot of blood. The men moved around, inspecting the area and found huge prints, like the footprints of a huge dog, all around the camp. It was Baudier who nervously pointed out the bloodstained scratches near the handle of the camp’s door. But suddenly, Tirout stopped.
“Listen!” he called out in a hoarse whisper. They all listened. Out of the silence they heard a single croak, the “caw” of a big black crow perched at the very top of a ragged cypress tree. They watched as the crow spread its wings and flew away, and as it did so, it seemed to the men, that the swamp came alive again. Birds chirped, frogs were croaking, and the incessant song of the katey-dids started up again, as if on cue. “You know what dey say, don’ you?” said Tirout looking thoughtfully up at the crow. “Dey say dem old swamp witches dey go around like big black crows and dey is the only thing what scare de Loup Garou to an inch of his life!”

Chotin whistled again, as was his habit. “Maaannn! You tink dere’s sometin’ to dat?” Just then a cackle, almost like a hoary laugh, trickled down to them from the crow. The men watched as the black bird became a small speck moving in the distance; it wheeled once and fluttered down to be lost among the mossy trees and the grey morning haze.

This last was a sign to the men that it was now safe to move on. Needless to say, not nobody nor nothing had to tell them twice!

And this, they say in South Louisiana, is a true story of the Loup Garou.


This story is copyright 2013 Alyne Pustanio, All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

To Make a Decision

Here's an excerpt from another Conjure Club download, 7 Old School Conjure Works.

If you are in a situation where you have a make an important decision but don’t know what that decision should be, try this fork in the road work. Write down on a piece of paper 2 possible solutions to your issue, in two columns. Be sure to include the best case scenarios no matter what the situation is. Take a red bandana down to the crossroads along with that piece of paper and a brand new nail. Talk to the spirits at the fork of the road and tell them you are looking for the right answer and are leaving the issue with them for a night. Wrap the paper in the red bandana and nail the bandana with the paper wrapped in it at the fork in the road. Leave it overnight. Go and retrieve it the following day. Find a rock about the size of a quarter or so at or very near the fork in the road and take it home with you. Be sure to leave a small bottle of rum as a “thank you” to the Spirits for their help. Unwrap the bandana and flatten it and the paper with your two solutions on a table or other flat surface. Hold the rock directly above the top of the paper and ask the Crossroads Spirits what their answer is to your problem. Drop the rock and watch where it falls. Empowered by the wisdom of the Crossroads Spirits, the best answer will be given to you.

If you are an information seeker, an academic interested in the inner workings of southern conjure traditions, or a practitioner of conjure yourself, you will love our Conjure Club. Each month you will receive on the average 3 to 4 digital downloads and ebooks full of information about traditional conjure workings, working with Catholic saints and folk saints, information about herbs and roots, conjure formularies, various spirits found on the altars of rootworkers all over the South, how to work with lamps, graveyard work, bottle spells, money magic, love spells and much, much more! Go ahead and check it out! Creole Moon's Conjure Club

Article content and document are copyright 2013 Denise Alvarado, All rights reserved worldwide.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Amulets and Talismans

A talisman is a small amulet or other object, often bearing magical symbols, worn for protection against evil spirits or the supernatural. Drawings of special seals and sigils are used as amulets or talismans and placed in mojo bags. In New Orleans, they are often an ingredient in gris gris bags as well. Other symbols, such as magic squares, angelic signatures, seals of Solomon, seals from the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses, magickal alphabets, and kabalistic signs have been employed to a variety of ends, both benign and malicious. All of these can be used as talismans in hoodoo. Even the Buddha has made his way onto the altars of rootworkers, and talismans such as the one pictured above - the Buddha for Peace and Creativity - double as both talisman and a beautiful piece of jewelry.

The difference between an amulet and a talisman is negligible in terms of their effects. In some magick circles it is said that amulets are charged when the moon is waning and talismans are charged when the moon is waxing. 


The Psychic and Magnetic Influence of 

Talismans and Gems

Excerpted from The Book of Talismans, Amulets and Zodiacal Gems

by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, (1922)


From remotest times, back even to the birth of humanity, Precious Stones and Talismans have been held in high estimation by all nations; the former, primarily because of their beauty, and the latter on account of their virtues, as transmitters of good luck and to avert misfortune. The association of Gems with power, civil and religious, has ever been noticeable; and to the fascination of antiquity may be added the allurement of mystery. Moreover, of the many and varied signs of wealth and luxury, jewels have played a most important part in the lives of the great, not only on account of their beauty but because they contained in a small compass the equivalent to a large sum of money and in times of danger could easily be concealed and carried from place to place.

As tokens or symbols they conveyed joy and confidence to their owners, and were thought to give warning of coming events, inspiring courage and faith in the fearful, and the romances and tragedies in which they have played a part, together with their marked influence on the lives of individuals and nations, intensifies our interest in them so that it is little wonder that faith in the mysterious properties ascribed to them should have survived the growth of ages and still find so many believers in all countries. The philosophers of thousands of years ago, understanding their suitability as a medium for the transmission of astral forces and vibrations, invested them with much importance, attributing to them spiritual as well as material powers, special characteristics and medicinal and curative qualities.

In all probability gems had their origin in the very remote period of the Earth's history when it was still in a molten state subject to deluge and fire, before its solidification made it possible for vegetation to appear, and the translucent lustre of certain gems is due to the action of the floods which preceded the fiery volcanic period. The colouring which forms their greatest fascination is due to various metallic oxides in combination with oxygen which in varying quantities gives red,blue, yellow, or green colourings, as shown by the Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Topaz, and Amethyst.

It is most difficult to determine with any certainty in what country Precious Stones were first worn as ornaments, but the consensus of opinion seems to point to India, as far as recognised history is concerned, as their birthplace, for every rare and beautiful production of Nature, Gems and Pearls are associated with the East.

The earliest records of humanity do not, however, stop with known histories, for traces of man's love for gems are found in the discoveries of travellers and the traditions of South America, evidence proving an inheritance from past civilisations of great antiquity. There is an innate attraction to the marvellous in mankind, the imagination leading us to endow the rare and precious with peculiar qualities, particularly when the source of its beauty and rarity is not readily perceptible. It is akin to the extraordinary magnetic influence which one person may exercise over another without any tangible evidence of super-physical powers, or the mysterious attraction which the Magnet exercises over Iron, and establishes the inference that other minerals may be similarly endowed with properties at present unrecognised by our ordinary physical senses.

Seal of the Sun from the Sixth Book of Moses
Modern research confirms the old teaching that the Universe was created from the four elements, Fire, Air, Water, Earth, in the order given, each growing as it were from its predecessor and all animated in turn by the Word breathed upon them at the Creation; this force, or energy, permeates all existing things from man, who is the highest of apparent physical manifestations down through the animal and vegetable kingdoms to the mineral, in which this energy, by reason of its very slow atomic changes, is least obvious. This Force manifests in the form of vibrations moving in waves through every composite part of the physical world, and, according to the condition of its medium, helping and giving power when in harmony, and thwarting or nullifying action when under unfavourable conditions. To this Force, or Etheric influence, is due the law of Evolution, or progress, which operates in every department of the Universe, not being confined to any one kingdom, but harmonising each with the other, being naturally most powerful in man whose evolution is the highest, and forms the medium through which man can act on the lower kingdoms and receive desired vibrations from them. We may thus interpret Plato's statement "that gems owe their origins to the stars" as an etheric influence acting on the auriferous matter which forms their composition.

The origin of Talismans and Amulets is lost in the obscurity of the ages, but as far back as we can trace human records they are to be found; the terms Talisman and Amulet have become from indiscriminate use to be considered synonymous, but in his notes to the Archaeological Journal, the Rev. C. W. King says:--

"The meaning of these two words is entirely distinct. Talisman being the conception in the Arabic tongue of the Greek, meaning the influence of a planet, or the Zodiac, upon the person born under the same. A Talisman in olden times was, therefore, by its very nature a sigil, or symbolic figure, whether engraved in stone or metal, or drawn upon parchment or paper, and was worn both to procure love and to avert danger from its possessor. The latter purpose alone was the object of the Amulet, its Latin signification being to do away with, or baffle, its root being Amalior. Pliny cites the word as the country-folk name for the Cyclamen which ought to be planted in every human home, because where it is grown poisonous drugs have no power to harm, on which account they call it the flower, Amuletum."

If you would like a copy of this book, all 342 pages of it, head on over to the Creole Moon website where you can download it for free.

If you would like to see a large variety of talismans and amulets, head on over to Medicines and Curios. Doc Miller's got a whole slew of amulets, charms and talismans there!