If Looks Could Kill…..

The evil eye.  Just the mention of it sends shivers to a great majority of people.  Although the old adage says “If looks could kill…”, many people, Pagans and non-Pagans, know that looks can kill–in a way.  If a look is directed at a person with enough malice behind it and with enough frequency, the universe often responds.  How can one protect themselves from these baneful glances?  Evil Eye Magic!

The evil eye motif has become rather fashionable of late as celebrities have embraced this ancient custom by making it chic to wear evil eye jewelry and nail designs.  The design works not only for those afflicted, but for those not yet afflicted as well (and let’s face it, everyone at one point or another has felt the evil eye radiating out from another person’s eye sockets).

How can you tell if you’re under the influence of the evil eye?  According to the Stregas, take a cup of water and some olive oil.  Put the cup on your head (you might need another person to help with this) and drop a little of the olive oil into the water.  If the oil stays in droplets, then you’re clear.  If the oil spreads out in a rainbow hued sheen, then you’re afflicted.  What to do?  Smudging yourself with sage may work, but clearing yourself with a selenite wand or an egg works better.  To do this, take the selenite or egg, and starting with your head, move the object slightly above your skin, in the aura area, letting all the negativity that was aimed at you flow out of you and into the egg/selenite.  Then work your way down, not forgetting to do both front and back.  If after one cleansing you don’t feel clean, then do it a couple more times.  The selenite trick is fairly well known in the main stream Pagan world.  The egg cleansing comes from the Hoodoo and brujeria traditions.

How can you protect yourself?  Use an evil eye!  There are so many variations on this symbol, that the ways you can create one for you is absolutely endless.  Almost every culture in the world has their own version of the evil eye, and volumes could be written on the subject.  Just look on an American one dollar bill.  The “all seeing eye” of Masonic fame?  An evil eye!  The version of the evil eye that most Westerners are familiar with is of Middle Eastern/North African ancestry.  This version, along with the Hamsa hand/Hand of Fatima, spread east some into Iraq and Iran, and very far into the West with the Moorish Invasion.  The Moors took this tradition to Spain where it was brought to the New World and added to the indigenous symbols against the evil eye.  Ever wonder about the God’s eye/Sun’s eye motifs or the crescent symbol often seen in South Western jewelry?  Evil Eyes!

So, now that you have the facts, there are many ways that you can integrate evil eyes into your life.  In today’s world, eyes are always on you, so it pays to have evil eyes everywhere.  If you are crafty and like to stitch, here is an evil eye cross stitch pattern:

http://crossstitch.about.com/od/freecrossstitchpattern1/ig/Evil-Eye-Cross-Stitch-Pattern/

If you like to crochet, here are instructions put together by our very own Ms. Finch:

Terms:  Ch- Chain Stitch; Ch sp- Chain Space; Dc- Double Crochet; Sc- Single Crochet; Sl St- Slip Stitch

This pattern uses the magic circle and tapestry techniques.

You can learn about these here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLuSVyKvoU and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wGsqonuccc

Colors used:  A-Black, B- Multi blue, C- Bone, D Leaf Green

 Pattern:

Using ‘A’, Magic circle, Row 1: Ch3( counts as dc here and throughout.) , 11 dc in magic circle, join with sl st in top of ch3. (12 dc)

Row 2:  Ch3,1dc,ch1 in 1st dc, 2dc,ch1 in each dc around. (12 2dc) Join w/ sl st in top of ch3. Fasten off.

Row 3:  Join B in any ch1 sp. Ch3 2dc (3dc made) 3dc in ea ch1 sp around. Join with sl st in top of ch3. (12 ch1 sp)

Row 4:  Ch3, dc in each dc and ch1 sp around (48 dc) join w/ sl st in top of ch 3.

Row 5:  Ch2, sc in each dc around. (48 dc) join w/ sl st in top of ch2. Fasten off.

Row 6:  Join C in any sc. Ch3, 3dc, ch2 in same sc as join * sk nxt 3 sc- 4dc,ch2 in nxt sc* repeat from * to* around. Join w/ sl st in top of ch 3 sp. (12 ch2sp)

Rows 7 & 8 are done in tapestry stitch.

Row 7:  Sl st to next ch2sp- 4dc,ch2 in nxt ch2sp- 4dc,ch1 in nxt ch2 sp- drop ‘C’. (do not fasten off carry strand along work until needed.) Join ‘D’- ch1- 4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 1 made) in nxt ch2sp- ch2-4dc,ch2 in nxt 2 ch2sp- 4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 2 made)- ch1- drop ‘D’- pick up ‘C’- Ch1- 4dc,ch2 in nxt ch2sp- 4dc,ch1 in nxt ch2sp- drop ‘C’ pick up ‘D’- ch1-4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 3 made)- 4dc,ch2 in nxt 2 ch2sp-dc4,ch2,dc4 (corner 4 made)-ch2- join w/ sl st in top of ch3. (4 4dc with ‘C’, 8 4dc with ‘D’.)

Row 8:  Sl st to next ch2sp- 4dc,ch1 in nxt ch2sp-ch1-drop ‘D’ pick up ‘C’-ch1- 4dc,ch1 in nxt ch2 sp- Drop ‘C’ pick up ‘D’- ch1- 4dc,ch2 in nxt ch2sp-4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 1 made) in nxt ch2sp- ch2-4dc,ch2 in nxt 3 ch2sp- 4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 2 made)- ch2- 4dc,ch1 in nxt ch2sp-drop ‘D’- pick up ‘C’- Ch1-4dc,ch1 in nxt ch2sp-Drop ‘C’ pick up ‘D’- Ch1- 4dc,ch2 in nxt ch2sp-4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 3 made)- 4dc,ch2 in nxt 3 ch2sp-4dc,ch2,4dc (corner 4 made)-ch2- join w/ sl st in top of ch3. ( 4dc with ‘C’, 4dc with ‘D’.)

Row 9:  ch3-*dc in each dc and ch sp to 1st corner ch2sp-dc4,ch2dc4 in corner* repeat from * to * around. Join with sl st in top of ch3 sp. Fasten off.

If you’re not into stichin’ and bitchin’, you can still make cool evil eye items for your home or to wear as jewelry.   The easiest way to do this is with flat blue marbles or blue glass beads and acrylic craft paint.  The marble/bead will be your base.  Then paint a circle of white on your base, making sure not to cover the entire surface.  When the paint dries, paint a smaller circle of blue on the white.  When that dries, paint a small circle of black in the center.  This is the pupil of the evil eye.

 Using blue comes from the Middle Eastern tradition, but blue can be substituted with red or orange, which comes from Hoodoo.  This website has tons of wonderful evil eye items that can be used for craft ideas:  http://www.evileyestore.com/

Nails

I think polished nails are absolutely sexy, and if done correctly, can be quite magical.  There are tons and tons of evil eye design tutorials out there on the Web, but these are my favorite:

http://www.lifestylemirror.com/beauty/nails/ten-best-evil-eye-nail-art-designs/

http://holymanicures.blogspot.com/2012/05/evil-eye-nails.html

http://www.10blankcanvases.com/2012/09/israel-evil-eye-nails.html

http://contributors.luckymag.com/post/how-to-evil-eye-nails

What better way to ward off the evil eye than to be able to flip off the person looking at you with malevolence with a middle finger painted with an evil eye?  To further enhance that magic, henna can be applied to your hands (and other parts of your body), so that you create a living Hamsa hand/ hand of Fatima.

Henna can be purchased loose and then mixed or as a paste.  In a future post I’ll cover all the different magical uses of Henna and my super special Henna recipe.  But for now, if you want to explore Henna on your own, check out http://www.mehandi.com/ and http://www.tapdancinglizard.com/.  These are the most historically accurate sites on henna out there.  Get out your e-reader and have fun browsing around the free books and patterns.  There are evil eye patterns on those sites from all over the historic henna-using world.  I like and respect Catherine Cartwright-Jones’ scholarship enough that I have one of her researched henna patterns tattooed on my body (just a little something to honor a past life spent in an Ottoman harem).

Don’t want any outward symbols but still want evil eye protection?  There’s are options for you, just not at this time of year.  During the Halloween season in the U.S. stores abound with wonderful evil eye options for those who either want to ingest their evil eye or have it disappear into thin air.  Any kind of eye ball candy makes the perfect ingestible evil eye. Before you eat, you can say, “Evil eye inside of me, watch, protect, and discourage for me!”  There’s even evil eye beer!  Bubbles are also a great, invisible evil eye option. Bubbles in eye ball containers can be charmed and blown around the house, person, or car for protection.  In addition to yourself and your home and car, don’t forget to protect your computer.  If you type “evil eye screen savers” into your favorite search engine, a plethora of images will come up that you can use to protect your computer, or you can just steal the image below.

There are tons of options out there for mal de ojo protection.  Don’t get caught unprotected!

These folks will give you the evil eye!

untitled by Conroy Maddox

Mystic Artisanshttps://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans

Passion And Soulhttp://passionandsoul.com/

Tonia Brown:  www.thebackseatwriter.com

https://www.facebook.com/events/442022209256634/

Quadrivium Supplies:  http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com/  

Hyperdreams Interactive Storieshttp://www.hyperdreams.com/

Zora Neale Hurston: Hoodoo Heroine

According to Google, today is Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday, an early popular documentarian of hoodoo, voodoo, and other folk magics.  If you have never read any of Hurston’s delicious stories or anthropological texts, then start Googling.  When I first started down my Pagan path,  I didn’t have access to all these fancy Pagan how-to manuals written by fluffy folks who live in an Azure Green world.  But I did have access to Zora Neale Hurston’s books at the public library.  The first book of hers that I read was Tell My Horse, about anthropological adventures in Haiti tracking down Voodoo practitioners.

As things progressed, I found my way to Their Eyes Were Watching God, which is a wonderful unintentional version of the Descent of the Goddess imbued with sex, magic, and word tapestries.   I haven’t looked at cantaloupes the same way since (put that in your pipe and smoke it!).

Almost all of her books, even her novels, are liberally littered with bits of magic that can easily be incorporated into your current practice.  Look at it like trying a new spice blend on your hamburgers.  if you’re not up for making your own brews, Quadrivium Supplies (http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com/) has several oils listed that are mentioned in Hurston’s books, specifically ‘Red Fast Luck’ oil.

“The way we tell it, hoodoo started way back there before everything. Six days of magic spells and mighty words and the world with its elements above and below was made.”         –Zora Neale Hurston

These folks have the mojo:

Mystic Artisanshttps://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans

Quadrivium Supplies: http://www.quadrivium-supplies.com/

Passion And Soulhttp://passionandsoul.com/

Tonia Brown:  www.thebackseatwriter.com

Hyperdreams Interactive Sex Stories:  http://www.hyperdreams.com/

 

Con Huesos, 3: The Ossuary

Now that you have the bones, what do you do with them?  There are several different things that you can do with the items in your magical ossuary.  For starters, you can make the actual ossuary, which is a decorative box used to hold bones.  Think of it like a tool box or a craft box.  Historically, ossuaries have been made out of wood or clay, but your ossuary could be made out of a Tupperware container.

Now that you have the bones out of the floor, bone magic is the way to go.  In many traditions, certain bones have been thought to be lucky.  In the Hoodoo tradition, black cat bones can be lucky.  According to Madame Dark, the way that the lucky bone is found is by boiling all the bones once they have been cleaned by the weather (http://barbedpentacle.com/2013/05/con-huesos-part-2-the-charnel-house/).  The first bone to float is your lucky bone.

My black kitten bone project after following Lee’s instructions. Everything, almost, has melted into this nasty mess. I guess this is what happens when you do a bone project during the rainy season. I wonder which bone will float or if they’ll all just melt.

Due to the funky smell, you should probably boil your bones outside.

Did your doctor tell you that you have low T?  Do you take Viagra?  Have low sperm count?  Need some luck?  Have a frigid bitch that won’t open up?  If you said yes to any of these, then you need a pecker bone!  Baculums, more commonly called penis bones, are found in many male mammals.  In North America, particularly in my area of North America, raccoon and opossum baculums are easily available.  While you could order one, it’s much cheaper and more gruesome to get one from a roadkill animal or to hit up a hunter friend.  For more information on pecker bone magic, check out this link from the always informative Lucky Mojo folks: http://www.luckymojo.com/raccoonpenis.html

Raccoon Penis Bone

What about all the other bones that aren’t lucky?  Our special friend Amber has the solution:

Bone divination is a very old way of talking to the spirit realm that has ties to a number of the world’s indigenous magical traditions. It has ties to Appalachia in forms of Hoodoo and Appalachian folk magic, but it was also a common practice in the ancient world from Scandinavia to classical Rome and Judea. References can even be found in Biblical passages dating back to ancient Babylon, such as the one in the book of Jonah in which sailors cast lots in order to divine which member of the crew has angered his god and brought bad fortune. Discoveries of casting bones in Paleolithic sites in Spain and Africa, as well as North and South America, have shown that this form of divination may even go back as far as the beginnings of human spiritual experience. 

There are many different ways of working with bones for divination. Some people, like myself, cast bones and read the patterns they form and relay any messages from guides as well. Traditions from Ancient China or from some parts of the Pacific Islands include animal bones being burned and the cracks on the bones read. Other traditions, such as some from Greece and Serbia, have the reader read the patterns on the bones immediately after an animal is slaughtered or after the animal has been cooked (in a similar way to the use of the wishbone in the modern West). In many of these traditions readers may undergo years of training within a specific practice or working with specific spirits. My own practice has been much more self-made and intuitive.

It all began when I lost my beloved cat and familiar Draco. A few months after his death, I saw a few exposed and cleaned vertebrae on top of his grave. Despite several attempts to rebury the remains, they kept reappearing right where I had left them. Finally I took it as a sign, cleaned them, and placed them in a pouch where they stayed for several months. Eventually I took them to a friend and teacher who looked at them and told me that he saw me doing readings with them someday. I didn’t believe him at first since divination with cards, runes, or other symbolic styles has always been very difficult for me.
However, slowly but surely, more objects came to me; simple things that most people would overlook but which spoke to me in some special way. A 20 sided die, two acorns that I found sitting side by side on another pet’s grave (much as with Draco’s bones looking almost like they had been intentionally placed there), a couple of stones, and a charm from childhood. Five other, smaller bones also came to me. Through communication with my guides, I began to put together a casting cloth with symbols that they relayed to me to facilitate communication between me and them.
For me, the bones are an outlet for communication. As I cast them, my guides relay messages to me. I can’t really describe my practice, since there’s not really a practice to describe. The symbols, the bones, the objects, they all have meaning, and the patterns they form have meaning to me as well, but mostly what I get is messages, images, thoughts and feelings… things that sometimes have very little obvious to do with what’s actually going on the casting cloth.

Amber’s cloth

If I had any advice to give, I’d tell people to find something that works for them. There isn’t a one-size fits all method to this. It’s not like Tarot, or Runes, or any of these other things that can be learned through reading a book, since everything you’re doing goes on inside yourself. If you do feel that Bone reading is right for you, just make sure that you do it respectfully. Listen to the animal you’re taking the bones from, and don’t take them unless you absolutely know you have permission. Since you’re communicating at least in part with the actual spirit of an animal who has died, also take care where you are getting your bones from if you buy them. There are many people out there who you can get bones from who have taken them in a respectful and ethical way.

There are a lot of other good sources out there, and I’m sure you can find some stuff on more traditional practices out there. This is just one person’s experience, and if you’re looking to learn more or get started I would recommend looking around. There are also several established traditions out there that have their own way of doing things, and if you want to work with one of those traditions instead of forging your own way, they may be available options to you as well. Always take care, however, particularly with incorporating any sort of deeply rooted cultural traditions into your practice. Many of these cultures have had a long, tragic history of cultural extermination and abuse, and appropriation of their practices can contribute (and has) to this history. In order to avoid misappropriation, I’d highly recommend learning more about the culture you may be drawn to, not just that one technique, but it’s complete context and any taboos or attitudes regarding it. Don’t use it unless you know you have permission to, and sometimes getting this permission may require seeking out that community with respect and humility, and learning from them directly, earning their trust, and becoming a guest or member of that tradition.
Or, if you want, you can cobble together something that is wholly and uniquely you, from scratch.Open yourself up to spirit and see what happens. Whatever you choose, reading bones can be a powerful way to open yourself up to spirit. It’s a way of asking questions of the spirit world that has been around for tens of thousands of years, is still alive and thriving today, and will continue to exist long after we’re gone.

These folks have pecker bones in their pockets:

Mystic Artisanshttps://www.facebook.com/mysticartisans

Passion And Soulhttp://passionandsoul.com/

Tonia Brown:  www.thebackseatwriter.com