Tales from the Hoodoo Trenches #2


Tales From the Hoodoo Trenches is my attempt to save some of you, out there, from learning some hard lessons and to assist you in getting things right the first time. I shall pause for a moment, here, as I review the old saying, “Never give advice because the wise don’t need it and fools won’t heed it.” Well, maybe I just like to hear myself talk or read my own writing. (I think I’m pretty good at both.) Whatever the case, on we go!

If You’re Afraid To Make A Mistake, Or Worse, Afraid to Even Try

I cannot tell you how many feverish, angst-ridden posts I have read, and people with whom I have conversed, who are up on a ledge about how they absolutely screwed the proverbial spell pooch. They forgot this or that, they said the wrong thing, or said it in the wrong way, or they did it at the wrong time—you get my drift. Here’s the thing; we all start somewhere. Most of us are still alive and with most of our stuff still attached. Take a breath!

Now, I have always been a bold, devil-may-care kind of gal. So, when it came to spellwork and apparently, my first marriage, I was all, “Let’s light this candle!” I did not suffer the pangs that many of you will or have had. Now, I’m not saying, “Do as I did.” No, I’m saying, “Do better.”

However, first, you have to muster some faith. Second, you need to start small. Third, you need to learn to plan ahead.

If You Are Working For Perfection

There is no such thing as perfection. It doesn’t exist. Get over it. Moving on…

If You Aren’t Planning Ahead

Having said that, let me stress this—you cannot overplan your spellwork. You vastly reduce the opportunities to make a mistake when you spend time plotting and planning what you are going to do. This means spending time on thinking about your true motivations for doing the work, thinking about what your ideal outcome would be, if that ideal outcome is really worth any risks, thinking about if there’s something that might be preferable or just as rewarding, considering the right techniques and spiritual allies, perhaps studying those techniques and allies, just thinking about all of it. Make notes, follow-up on things, let some time pass, if possible. Talk to others with more experience, check back in with yourself, consider the timing. Once all of that is done, perhaps the problem has changed. Perhaps you feel differently. Maybe now, it’s not even something that requires spiritual action. Whatever the case, thinking about what you are going to do should take up the most time and is the most important part of the work. Crazy, huh? But so worth it.

Another way to plan ahead is gathering all of the things beforehand and then, like a good chef, utilizing mise en place. Mise en place is a French culinary phrase which means “putting in place” or “gather.” It refers to the setup required before cooking, or in this case, spelling. Get all of your ducks in a row, your poop in a group, your cats rounded up and heading in the right direction—set the scene! (Mise en place is also a term used in film making.) You will be less likely to forget something or make a mistake if everything you need is right out before you. Don’t forget a pen and a piece of paper to make quick notes. Don’t forget a print out of any prayers, scripture, words of power, or incantations you want to use, as well. A lot of people get stuck just getting the words right. Don’t rely on your ability to speak extemporaneously (at least not a first), or being able to remember just what you want to say. Take it easy on yourself, points will not be deducted. You will not be judged, “less than.”

If You Aren’t Tracking After

So, you went through it, you got it done. Time to celebrate, right?! Celebrate, yes, but also time to start documenting. Make notes about what happened during the work and what happens after the work. Make notes about dreams you have, odd occurrences, intuitions, feelings, synchronicities, small developments, setbacks; whatever sticks out to you as important. This aggregation of intel will let you know what was successful and what wasn’t and also why. It will help inform any next steps you may need to take and will also clue you into what does and doesn’t work FOR YOU. You will, in essence, be learning about how YOU DO that hoodoo. Once you learn those things about yourself and your practice, it makes it easier to adopt new things and new ideas from other’s practices. It also gives you a basis from which you can help others.

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