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Thursday, August 18, 2011


OVER 45 YEARS AGO,  Richard "Doc" Miller was just 12 years old when he started working with his uncle Dr. (Doc) Donald Miller at Miller's Rexall Drugs, a typical pharmacy located in downtown Atlanta. This was back when drugstores were located on every corner in every neighborhood (almost), when the place to go to get what you wanted was the neighborhood drugstore. Miller's Rexall fit this profile perfectly; it was a family-friendly corner drugstore that, for folks living in the neighborhood, had everything they wanted and needed.

With drugstores on every corner, competition was fierce; it was fast becoming survival of the fittest in the world of pharmacies. Miller's had to find a niche that would set the business apart from the other drugstores. According to Doc Miller, that was a task that wouldn't be as hard as one might think. As a young boy, he noticed that people would come into the drugstore asking for herbs and powders, and things that were not outside of the scope of mainstream pharmaceutical products. Most pharmacies stocked a variety of herbs, oils and botanical essences, things that were the materia medica of hoodoo. What was different was that the customers began asking for natural cures and spiritual prescriptions for making a spouse faithful, attracting love and money, and a variety of other remedies for life's issues beyond health and beauty care. The niche was beginning to define itself. And because Uncle Doc Miller was an astute business man, he took notice and began exploring what it was all about.

The Spider's Web

Back in the 1960s, Doc Miller knew nothing about hoodoo, conjure, or the power of the root. But he would soon learn. One day, the butcher who worked next door came running into Miller’s Rexall after cutting his hand to the bone. Though it appeared that a trip to the emergency room for stitches was necessary, an elderly black woman walked up, took a careful look at the man’s bloody hand and said, “You don’t need no doctor. Wait here.” What happened next would change Doc Miller's life forever.

Doc wasn’t necessarily a believer way back then, but after witnessing what a conjure woman could do with a mess of cobwebs, Doc’s perspective on the world of folk medicine was radically altered. You see, that old conjure woman knew what she was doing.

What Happened

The elderly lady wasn't a stranger to the store. In fact, she was a regular customer. She  used to come into the store with a burlap bag and purchase herbs and such. The young Doc thought she was a little strange, but really didn't give it much thought. That day, the old lady walked over to the mess of cobwebs in the corner of the store, grabbed a handful and wrapped them in the injured man's bloody rag. She then wrapped his hand with the spider web infused rag and told him not to worry, it would be healed by the next day. Sure enough, when the man unwrapped his hand the next day, the cut had fully healed. While the young Richard may have been a doubter before, he was a doubter no longer. This was a pivotal moment in his life;  an experience that would forever change the way he viewed the world. It would guide him on a special path of healing himself. That day, the young Richard became a believer and grew up to be Doc Miller, a well respected conjure man and spiritual doctor in his own right.

Miracle or Science?

Years later, Doc Miller happened upon an article in Scientific American about the healing properties of spider webs. Apparently, a study had been done which revealed spider webs can heal cuts. Doc was both surprised and amazed, and his respect for natural cures and remedies became that much stronger. Today, he leaves the spiderwebs that form in the store because it reminds him of where it all began.

What the old conjure woman did was not a miracle, it was just good old fashioned folk medicine. The old people know many such remedies and though they may not understand why the remedies work from a scientific standpoint, that doesn't matter. Because all that matters is that it works.

But wait! There's more! Read the full story in Volume 2 of Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly.

13 Ways to Survive Mercury Retrograde with a Smile on Your Face

That's right, you CAN survive Mercury in retrograde with a smile on your face..

But let me back up a minute and define "Mercury Retrograde" for those of you who may not know what this means. This is astrology-speak but it also has to do with astronomy...the science of the planets.

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. Appears is the operative word here. You know how when you are driving a car and you look over to the car next to you while you are speeding up and it looks like the car is moving backwards? Or when the car next to you slows down it looks like the car is going backwards? This is the phenomenon of perception. It appears to be going backwards, but the fact is it is not. It is simply speeding up or slowing down. This same concept can be applied to planets in retrograde motion.

That's not to say something different isn't happening. Indeed, something different is happening. It's just not what it looks like. Our minds and the cosmos are playing tricks on us.

Let me break it down a little bit. At 03:50 UT (Universal Time) Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011, Mercury went retrograde in the sign of Virgo, resulting in things seemingly going haywire all around us. People are getting into conflicts over the smallest of things, websites are disappearing for no apparent reason, emails are getting lost in the stratosphere, Facebook is not cooperating, and appointments are getting lost. Those in the know are blaming everything that is going wrong during this time on the Divine Messenger and universal trickster, Mercury. Sounds like a certain Legba I know...

The retro period begins as Mercury slows down and lasts until August 26, 2011. At this time, Mercury begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac. At that time, things will start returning to normal - people will start settling down, misunderstandings will decrease, Facebook will start allowing you to post updates (fingers crossed...there's more than Mercury "at play" here), and emails will be getting through.

Everything finally straightens out on September 9th, as Mercury passes the point where he first turned retrograde. But did you know that Mercury goes retrograde three times a year? And the effects are slightly different each time, depending on the sign in which it happens. Last year, Mercury went retrograde four times, which may account for the seemingly increased difficulties and challenges many of us faced.

In fact, all planets retrograde, save for the Sun and Moon, so it is not an uncommon phenomenon. Mercury is a rather small planet that travels quickly through the zodiac so when it slows down it 's effects are pronounced. Right now, Mercury is retrograde in Virgo while the Sun is in Leo.  It moved into Leo with the Sun on August 8th, but the Sun will move into Virgo on August 23rd. Mercury will then turn direct in Leo on August 26 while the Sun is still in Virgo, but Mercury will remain in Leo until September 9th, when he moves into Virgo again. The Divine Trickster will remain in Virgo until September 25th. Are you confused yet?

Astronomical Explanation

According to Copernicus,  the universe is centered around the Sun (heliocentric), with the Moon orbiting the Earth. His model is based on circular orbits. The explanation for retrograde motion in this system arises from the fact that the planets further from the sun are moving more slowly in their orbits than those closer to the sun (remember the cars?) The following animation shows the retrograde (slower) motion of Mars when the (faster) moving Earth passes by:

Retrograde Motion in the Ptolemaic (Geocentric) System

(This animated gif was obtained from Dr. Stephen J. Daunt's Astronomy 161 

The state of retrograde is an illusion. This fact alone underlines the importance of perception in how we proceed with our daily lives. If something is an illusion, does it really have that much of an effect on us? Does it have any effect at all?

The answer is yes and no. Yes, if we suscribe to the Buddha's "thoughts become things" philosophy. What is thought to be will manifest as such. Yes, if we acknowledge the fact that perception is everything. We all view the world with our own set of perceptual lenses. Our perceptions are our interpretations of the things we see, the events we experience, and the interactions we have with other people. Our actions are guided by our beliefs related to a given situation, person, place, or thing.

The answer is no, if we can separate rational thought from emotional thought. However, this is easier said than done for most of us. For one thing, even if you understand the cosmic concept of retrograde and are fully aware of the illusion, everyone else around you may not be; thus, they will be affected by the retrograde illusion. And just as the earth is affected by the movements of the planets and other heavenly bodies of the solar system, so are we affected by each other in the earthly domain.

So here are a few suggestions for surviving Mercury Retrograde with a smile on your face. If you are proactive and adjust your daily activities and attitude to suit the astronomical energy, then you are not only going to survive Mercury retrograde, you will likely thrive. And wouldn't that be a switch?

13 Ways to Survive Mercury Retrograde with a Smile on Your Face

1. Clear away the clutter. Get rid of any physical obstacles in your way. Clutter is symbolic of the self-imposed limitations and hurdles we place on ourselves. The clearing away of clutter is an effective road opener, allowing us to walk around our home without tripping over ourselves. 

2. Bless your home daily. This can be done in a variety of ways from burning incense, smudging with cedar or sage, spraying your space with Florida Water, praying, or all of the above.

3.  Sweep your front porch and wash your floors with a Spiritual Floor Wash. Wipe down your furniture, doors, baseboards, phones, desk, computer equipment...EVERYTHING. And do it regularly. I would recommend wiping down anything you use on a daily basis every day. I keep a spray bottle of Chinese Wash next to my desk within arms reach and take a moment to spray a little on my desk and wipe it down each morning, and burn Cast Off Evil or some other incense at the same time. I then spritz my home with Voodoo Mama's Eau de Hoodoo or Florida Water. My home smells fabulous and it helps to lift my mood and think more clearly.

4. Finish unfinished projects and business. Whatever that means for you, take note of it and finish it. Make a list of these things and cross them off, one by one. You will be amazed at the reciprocal nature of the Universe. When you finish one thing, another opportunity will come your way. It happens all the time if you look for it.

5. Perception. Is the glass half full or half empty? Adjust your attitude. Turning problems into challenges make them easier to tackle.

6. Don't take things personally. We are inclined to be extra sensitive right now as the Divine Messenger does a number on us. It's not that he wants us to be in conflict; that's not the role of the trickster. The trickster's role is to teach.

7. Don't overreact to people and situations. In fact, don't react at all. Instead, act with intention and clarity. If you are not clear about something, then don't do anything...just sit on it. When the answer is clear move forward. There's a big difference between reacting and acting with intention. It is an exercise in discernment.

8.Don't catastrophize. Everything is not bad, everything is not going wrong, everyone is not against you. Look for the good that is in your life. Even if it is the flower that is in bloom in your garden. Even if it is the knowledge that today you have a choice.

9. During this time, past unresolved issues will rear their seemingly ugly heads. Take this opportunity to work through them. The energy is right to do this; that is why these issues present themselves. Think about it this way, even if it will be painful to work through it, at the end of this cycle it will be done and you will have moved beyond that emotional obstacle, freeing you up to receive more abundance and new and positive experiences.

10. Mercury rules thinkers, critics, gossipers, teachers, salespeople, commentators, consultants, tricksters, and thieves. It rules all means of communication, commerce, education, and transportation.  It also rules thinking, perception, and the processing and dissemination of information. If you fall into any of these categories, you will be affected.

11. Avoid making any major decisions and negotiations at this time. Our mental acuity is not exactly at its best, so if something can wait, let it wait.

12. Be nice to yourself. Don't beat yourself up if you make mistakes, however foolish.

13. Be nice to others. Don't beat people up at this time for mistakes they may make, however foolish. Of course there are exceptions to this, you don't have to be nice to a bully, or an abuser, for example. These folks just get worse during this time; their behavior is not caused by Mercury in retrograde.

The main point here is to arm yourself with knowledge and act with discernment. You have a choice as to how you navigate your life at this time, so do it carefully and with clarity.

Visit for all your spiritual supplies.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Road Opener Spells and Herbs

Some of the most useful formulas to know are the road openers. Many works of conjure must begin with clearing away obstacles and opening roads for new opportunities, and clearing the path in life so you can forge ahead. When there are too many things standing in the way, change and advancement becomes impossible because you are expending all of your energy on the crises and distractions. It’s no wonder you feel stuck.

Road Opener Formulas are in a class of formulas that included Van Van, Cast off Evil, Blockbuster and the like. While each of these formulas is designed to attend to a specific type of obstacle, they all clear something away, leaving the doors open for good things to come.

So, what kind of obstacles can be cleared away with road opener formulas? People, places and things...virtually, any kind of obstacle can be eliminated, whether it is internal or external. Some
examples of obstacles include:
  • Negative outlook on life
  • Naysayers and sabotagers
  • Financial stagnation 
  • Emotional blockage
  • Conflicts with other people
  • Lack of opportunities
  • Bad weather
  • Unemployment Legal problems
  • Confusion and inability to think clearly
  • Writer’s block
  • Evil Eye (Mal de Ojo)
  • Illness and disease 

Ideally, road opener spells are performed during a waxing moon, which is the time when you want to draw in opportunities or during a waning moon to get rid of obstacles.

Herbs and other Ingredients Associated with Road Opener Spells
  • Here is a list of herbs that can be useful in road opener formulas:
  • Lemon balm – clears away negativity and evil influences
  • Lemongrass – clears away negativity and evil influences
  • Abre camino (Eupatorium villosum or Koanophyllon villosum)– Literally means “road
    opener” and is THE herb used in Latin American folk magic
  • Ammonia – the great clarifier.
  • Camphor – removes negative spiritual forces
  • Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)– In Latin American folk magick, chases away disturbances
    caused by the dead
  • Salt – removes negativity and blesses space
  • Citronella - clears away negativity and evil influences
  • Acacia
  • Sage – purifies and makes sacred
  • Cedar – removed negative energy
  • Cinquefoil (Five Finger grass)
  • Palmerosa
  • Vetivert- clears away negativity and evil influences and the great New Orleans secret
    ingredient for strengthening formulas of all kinds
  • Crossroads dirt – opens roads for opportunities and choices 
  • Keys – open doors
  • Basil – clears away obsessive and lingering spirits
  • Pine – cleansing and purifying
  • Saltpeter – uncrossing and removing obstacles
  • Rue – destroys the evil eye, obliterates envy, removes effects of black magic
  • Sulfur – removes negativity

The following prayer is found on the popular seven day glass encased road opener candles. Open
the path to money, health, success, love and happiness with this prayer.

I invoke the sublime influence of the eternal father to obtain success in all the subjects of my life
and to smooth all difficulties that are in my way. I invoke the aid of the Holy Spirit, so that my
house prospers and my company and my person receive a message of good luck, sent by the
divine providence. Oh great hidden power, I implore your supreme majesty so that you separate
me from danger, at the precise moment, that my way is illuminated by the light of fortune. I
shall receive the infinite blessing of the sky. I believe in God all powerful Father, Amen!

Find  a complete Road Opener kit that contains all you need to unblock any problem whether it is money, love, job, or evil in nature at Clear the path to open roads to new and better opportunities. Change your luck now!


Alvarado, D. (2011). The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook, Weiser Books.