When it Looks Like a Curse, Don’t Go to a “Lightworker”

The only thing more pathetic than the term, “spiritual entrepreneur,” is the individual who describes him- or herself that way. It may seem a bit ironic that I’m saying this, given that I practice public sorcery and charge for such services. But there is definitely a difference between a “spiritual entrepreneur” and a “spiritual worker” as the terms are commonly understood and used.

A spiritual worker is a magical individual (rootdoctor, sorcerer, Reiki master, herbalist, card reader, etc.) who provides a set of spiritual services to a community. These days, that includes an online community. This person may work through various established spiritual traditions and usually tries to educate and counsel his or her clientele. For example, my Black Snake Conjure is not only dedicated to conjure, evocation, and Reiki. It’s also committed to fostering multiculturalism, tolerance, and sharing across ethnic and spiritual boundaries. I do this work not just for my own monetary benefit but also to teach the art of magic and, in the process, to make the world a better place.

Conversely, a spiritual entrepreneur may or may not be a magical individual but will try hard to seem like one (using the most trendy suburban Wiccan* or new age styles, keywords, and assumptions). This person promotes a spiritual technique, product, or service, relying heavily on e-marketing, focused spam via “newsletters,” usually a content-lite YouTube channel, and niche customer targeting to generate as much passive income as possible. A spiritual entrepreneur’s focus is on his or her multi-platform business first, then content, then the clients. For this person, it’s all about the “brand.” If you go to YouTube and type in one of the key words associated with spiritual entrepreneurialism, “witchy,” you will get a veritable phone book of unimaginative cliché examples. After watching one or two of those videos and looking at the linked websites, you wouldn’t be wrong to wonder whether we need another post entitled “Six Signs You Might Be a Witch” or “Crystals Dealing with Toxic Family Energy Over the Holidays” or “Working with Angels and Spirit Guides.”

In the 1990s, more serious (or at least more style conscious) magical people coined the term “fluffy bunny” to describe Wiccans who pretend that they only work with love and light (with an equally pretentious subsequent reaction, “dark fluff”). And many spiritual entrepreneurs still believe that a generous helping of fluff will more easily part a certain type of customer from his or her money. But spiritual entrepreneurialism isn’t about love or “ascension” or, actually, anything at all beyond branding. It’s the most cynical commodification of spirituality available in the West and we see it everywhere. It’s the reason why occult publishers like Llewellyn and Weiser have taken so much criticism from real practitioners over the last 20-30 years, even though they’ve published quality work along with poorly researched, padded, repetitive trash.

Most of what I’m saying here is obvious and anyone who spends time looking through social media and reading Tumblr will quickly come to these conclusions.  As in all things Theodore Sturgeon’s “garbage theory” applies: 90% of a given set of things is crap to support the 10% that isn’t. All well and good. However, it’s not so good when we need spiritual services that actually work.

Uh-oh. Maybe you’ve been cursed. What then? If you think only members of certain ethnic communities worry about curses, you’re dead wrong. Every culture has them. And I can tell you confidently that if you haven’t been the target of a curse or some other form of psychic attack at least once, you will be someday. It’s part of life.

Now imagine you find yourself in a situation where a highly suspicious chain of nasty events is taking place in your life. Maybe you’ve also come down with a case of heavy depression and insomnia. You’re having reversals and problems at work and at home. And all of this happens to coincide with a falling-out you’ve recently had with someone or with some envy-inducing advancement, like a raise or a new relationship or a financial windfall. You say to yourself, why would anyone want to curse me? I haven’t done anything wrong! But curses don’t just work for justice. You can get crossed up by any individual who resents your happiness enough to do something about it.

Most of us, if we’re leading adult lives and not living in a cave, have a sprinkling of enemies who want to see us suffer. Often, a few of those people will either have some metaphysical aptitude or will be willing to go to a sorcerer-for-hire. And many times those people will be very close to us—ex-lovers, family, or coworkers. If you’re a decent person, like most people are, you won’t want to believe it. Jane from accounting?! She’s still bitter about me turning her down but, really, is that enough for her to pay a hoodoo worker to fuck up my life? Sure. Why not? You have no idea what’s going on in her head. She may just frown at you and avoid eye-contact when you pass her in the hallway, but maybe she’s lurking on your Facebook page, spending a lot of time fixating on why you turned her down, etc. With that in mind, do you think it’s so far-fetched that if she has a few books on magic, she might try something? Maybe she starts searching for “love spells” and comes across a professional’s website. And the rest is, as they say, academic.

In a situation like this, do you want to go to a spiritual entrepreneur who charges you $300 to change your vibration with a $10 quartz crystal and some essential oil? Do you want to go to a cute-as-a-button Wiccan girl on YouTube who says she can sage the bad juju away? Really? How about getting a reading from a teenager on Tumblr who snaps it out in just 20 minutes? Because I’ve been contacted by people who’ve taken that route at first. They nearly always write the following: I’ve gotten burned by workers before. Paid a lot of money and nothing happened. Or got a tarot reading and it made no sense / was totally vague. Or so-and-so cursed me and now my life is in tatters and Jenny the Lightworker told me my chakras were just out of balance. And then I have to clean up both the mess that their lives are in and whatever half-baked work the spiritual entrepreneur did (if anything).

All the new-age stuff, all the Wiccan stuff, all the watered-down pop-occult techniques and Law of Attraction and “abundance manifesting” can work. I don’t want to give the impression that “my way is the only way.” The problem is not actually with the techniques. It’s with the branding and the people who think they can make a living off of others by doing very little beyond curating their feeds and smiling into the camera. Most of the clients I get are desperate and sometimes locked in life-or-death circumstances. Many of them have been victims of baneful magic or a deep run of crossed-up luck or some force, whether human or otherwise, holding them down. They have been unjustly harmed and they feel like their options have become very limited. Understandably, they have no sense of humor about this stuff. They’re not playing. They need help and they need it yesterday.

My recommendation is that if you are one of those people in need, do not waste your time on someone surrounded by a lot of slick e-commerce because that’s where all the energy is going. Instead, look for three qualities in a worker: (1) reasonable rates; (2) professionalism (i.e. scheduling, doing a small diagnostic reading in the beginning, providing updates, not seeming money hungry, ethical); and (3) doing more than just protecting and curating their brand / internet presence. It’s important to keep these things in mind if you want to avoid throwing your time, money, and emotion away on someone who doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

 

 

* I actually love Wicca. I’m not putting it down. I’m putting down those who cynically use it to hook customers in support of a superficial brand.

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I’d like to feature this blog post from Ray “Dr. Hawk” Hess.  I’ve enjoyed his book, Backwoods Shamanism, quite a bit and think he makes a lot of sense here when he’s talking about the idea of paying for spiritual services.  Obviously, I agree with his conclusions, but sometimes it’s good to present a perspective that comes from a different voice with different experiences.  To that end, I suggest you click on this link and see what he has to say: https://doctorhawk.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/on-monetary-compensation-for-spiritual.html

I also highly recommend his book, which can be purchased here: http://a.co/9gb6JU3

 

Source: On Monetary Compensation for Spiritual Services…

Recommended Spiritual Worker: Madame Pamita

I’m been enjoying Madame Pamita’s insights and comments for a long time.  She’s great.

I like to recommend magical colleagues who I think are particularly talented, smart, and / or skilled.  I am approached by more clients than I can take.  And so, rather than being competitive (a negative characteristic of many public occultists, especially conjure workers), I try to serve the Art by bringing people together.

Love Magic

 

I have a theory about love magic: most people don’t know how to work it because they don’t know what love is.  In the occult world, you generally hear two things about it: “it’s hideously dangerous—avoid it at all costs” or “this is how to do it.”  Some public magicians won’t do that kind of work no matter how much money they’re offered.  Others specialize in it.  Why do such extremes exist?  The answer may be that people go to extremes in love and magic because they’re not making informed decisions about how to feel and what to want.

In my opinion, unconditional romantic love is very rare—the kind that wants a partner to be happy with no strings attached at all.  Most romance has strings: I want X to be happy as long as X makes me happy; I want to make X happy as long as X signs a paper that legally commits X to serving my physical and emotional needs for the rest of his/her natural life; I want X to be happy as long as X wants what I want; I want X to be happy as long as my friends approve of X; I want X to be happy as long as X is making a certain amount and we’re living in a certain place, etc.

Is it love when a client comes to me and says, “I need to get my ex back”?  And I say, “Okay, we can look into that.  How long has it been since your ex left?”  And s/he responds, “15 months.”

15 months?!

You’ve been sitting at home, stewing, sweating, fuming, calling, analyzing, suffering, worrying, and regretting for 15 months?  And now that you’re desperate enough, you come to me and ask for magical help?  Why didn’t you come to me after 3 weeks?  Ah, it must be because you had to get desperate enough that you were willing to hope that magic wasn’t all fakery and BS.  Should I—someone who does this as a professional—feel insulted?  Probably.

Instead, I ask the inevitable follow-up question: “Have you spoken with your ex at all in these 15 months?”

“No.  But I know s/he still loves me and can’t live without me.  S/he just has to realize it.”

Uh-huh.  Righto.  S/he just has to realize it.  

There is a simple diagnosis for your situation: you are deluding yourself.  I know it sounds harsh.  It sounds like I am heartless, but that is not true.  My heart goes out to all those people so confused that they don’t know why they’re feeling what they’re feeling or how to fix things.

The real answer, the difficult yet honest truth, is that someone wasting away for an ex has many strings attached to their concept of happiness and love.  They are operating on an “only then will I be happy” model: only when s/he comes back to me will I be happy.  Only when I get my way will I be happy.  They rarely consider the other person’s happiness.  Unconditional love never enters into it.

But I’m not passing moral judgment on anybody.  Sometimes, bringing an ex back is the best thing to do because the ex doesn’t know what s/he is doing, either!  This is why I do a tarot reading every time.  You’ll tell me that your baby daddy vanished after you got pregnant and even though he’s now living with Lana and Donna in the Bahamas, you know he really secretly wants to move back into your broke-down basement apartment in Queens and support you in your time of need.  And you might be correct, as improbable as that may seem on the surface.  Maybe he just needs some time and space to figure things out.  I make no assumptions.  And the cards will tell me the truth every time.

So when the cards indicate that it would be a good thing to do love magic, reconciliation magic, or lust magic, I have no problem with that.  And I cannot say categorically that it’s good or it’s bad without looking at the particular situation.  I’ve brought all kinds of people in all kinds of circumstances together and back together.  And it always makes me happy when I can help them work out their differences (and satisfy those “only then” requirements).

When witches (usually inexperienced Wiccans, but I hesitate to generalize) conclude that love magic is 100% harmful and interferes with the will of those involved, I gently point out that it doesn’t always have to be that way.  Love magic is like any other kind of magic—neutral in its morality.  Like a gun, a scalpel, or a law, it’s a tool.  In the hands of a hurtful or stupid person, it’s an evil tool.  In the hands of someone skilled, it can save lives.

Being a Spirit-Led Conjure Worker

A long time ago, when I decided that it would be a good thing to offer reiki and ritual services, I knew nothing about working for clients apart from doing public tarot divinations.  I already had a lot of magical experience, but it was mostly through doing work for myself, close friends, and family.  I had yet to discover the ins and outs of working for positive change in the lives of complete strangers.  But I would soon learn that there are many hidden lessons in this line of work.  It changed my magic.  It changed my outlook on the world.  And it wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.  It was a crash course in interacting with the human condition as well as in the complexities of sorcery for hire.

The first lesson I ever learned was that everyone is sincere—even the most acerbic doubting Thomas.  Everyone, without exception, who contacts me for conjure or reiki on some level wants the benefit of my services even if they are too nervous or shy to allow themselves to fully admit it.  Strangely enough, the doubters are the ones who want to believe the most.  And it’s really good to doubt if you’re going to give a complete stranger your money in exchange for a spiritual service.  You should be thinking critically about this person: is he acting professional?  Is he clear?  Is he responding intelligently to your situation?  Critical thinking comes from doubt.  But we also know that you can have too much of a good thing in this case—too much doubt gets in the way of the entire experience.  So from the very beginning, the client and I walk a fine line of trust.  The client evaluates me and I evaluate him.  We enter a sincere partnership and do everything we can to create change.  Learning to trust complete strangers meant I had to mature in ways I never anticipated.

Another key lesson I learned was that no situation is simple—every life is hard; everyone’s doing the best he or she can with available tools and resources.  If someone comes to me, they have a problem that they haven’t been able to solve through mundane means.  Their lawyer stole all the money.  Their fiancée ran off with the neighbor.  Grandpa went missing in the park.  Maybe they got assaulted and are having a hard time healing from lingering psychological and physical pain.  Maybe their career is stalled.  Maybe they just need to have a spiritual experience, something completely alien to them because of the way they were raised.  Whatever the case may be, they’re suffering on some level.  Learning to understand and appreciate the suffering of others meant I had to get over myself and learn compassion.

A huge lesson I learned was that the magic doesn’t come from me—it comes through me.  This is the “spirit led” part.  A sorcerer or reiki practitioner who “tries to do things” fails a lot.  Beginning practitioners often mistakenly think that if they just concentrate hard enough, if they just WILL something into being, the world will respond.  This can work sometimes, but grabbing the world by the throat and shaking it more often results in nothing or even in the opposite coming to pass.  Instead, through a lot of grimoire work—by seeking out both human and non-human mentors—I quickly came to understand that the most powerful work has a spiritual origin, not a human one.  I started to relax and let my spirit guides, spirits of divination, familiars, and other contacts do their jobs.  This is the secret to my success.  It’s not me.  It’s spirit working through me.  Learning to trust my connection to spirit meant I had to develop a large amount of faith in a world I could not see or touch.  Paradoxically, doing so eventually helped me see it and touch it, but that took time, belief, and the willingness to be patient and practice the art while not having all the answers.  I still don’t have all the answers.

One lesson I had to learn multiple times in multiple ways was that people in pain are often very unpleasant to be around.  We all know this to some extent.  But doing conjure is sometimes like working in the customer service section of a department store.  People are angry, sad, bereft, despairing, or even suicidal before they even speak to you.  You have to be ready with mundane solutions as well as spiritual ones, keeping a suicide hotline number handy, having online links to addiction recovery centres, women’s shelters, walk-in clinics.  Learning about my community so that I could help others made me a better spiritual worker.  It also meant I had to get out on the street and pay attention.  Now very few things escape my notice in my spiritual or physical environment.

These are only a few of the important lessons that have come from this work.  One of my teachers used to say that “many are called but few are chosen.”  And I wouldn’t truly understand what she was saying until I actually set up my website, made business cards, started doing community reiki, sorcery for hire, and counselling others.  Then I understood what “gifted for the work” really meant.  To be chosen for something like this means you have to have skills that others don’t—not just the ability to perform effective rituals, but a whole panoply of hidden qualities that enable you to thrive in this field.  And if you don’t have them right off, you learn the hard way whether you can find them in yourself.  But I wouldn’t trade those experiences, even the painful ones, for anything.

Seeking Justification in Spiritual Workings – Crescent City Conjure

I have always admired the work of Sen Elias at Crescent City Conjure.  He’s the real deal, in my opinion.

For my view on doing readings before workings, check out “How to Read Cards Regarding Magical Work” on this website.  And go visit Crescent City Conjure at https://crescentcityconjure.us

Know That You are Loved

If something works for you, it’s yours.  Use it.

I’ve kept this blog going, in one form or another, since the early 1990s.  And two types of feedback have been consistent: people who want to connect and add to what they believe / know by discussing, agreeing, or disagreeing with something I’ve written, and people who want to tell me I’m an idiot, damned, deluded, or all three.

This morning, contemplating my 7 Practices, the first of which is to “live and let live,” I thought of these types of feedback and smiled.  The first (positive, constructive) type is most welcome.  I always enjoy fellowship with others, coming together to push the boundaries of the known.  But I also welcome the negative attacks because there is nothing that forces us to grow more than adversity.

Therefore, in my spiritual exercises today, I have sent blessings to all those who have interacted with me in my capacity as a spiritual writer and a sorcerer for hire, whether or not the interaction has been positive or negative:

May you remain on the path of wisdom.
May the light of truth shine upon you.
May spirits guide you on the way.
And may you know always that you are loved.

The sigil below contains the essence of this invocation.  The mantra used to activate it is “Ueykenvah,” pronounced OO-EE-KEN-VAH.  Those who gaze on this symbol and repeat its mantra until they feel it is right to stop, will carry such blessings for 24 hours.  This can be done daily as many times as desired and the effects will increase.

It is my wish that you attain self-realization.

S+A