22.6.10

Review: The Conjure Cookbook by Talia Felix



I found this little gem because the Rev. Jim from the Church of Good Luck mentioned it on a yahoo group. I respect Rev. Jim so I picked it up based on his recommendation and I must say it really hits the spot for me. The Conjure Cookbook (by Talia Felix) includes 200 conjure formulas which itself is a rather rare feat considering the secrecy with which most manufacturers shroud their recipes. Miss Felix admits that at least half of these formulas, even though based on traditional products such as Crown of Success or Black Cat, have been invented or mimicked based on her knowledge of hoodoo and occult formularies. And she does a very good job where she has done that, in my opinion. What's more is that with every formula she includes she provides her source and some information in the back, which is very interesting and helpful.

But what is worth the price of entry alone is the substitutions list, which is very cleverly crafted and based on hoodoo herbal lore so that one can intelligently substitute using the traditional magical properties of the herb or root in question. Additionally she offer a substitution list by frangrance! Her introduction is clever and she points out there are almost no 'one true' formulas, but that manufacturers and practitioners all have their own methods for deriving even commonly found condition blends.

This is a well researched little book and what I love about it most is that it will encourage practitioners to make their own stuff, and in a handy way has offered a toolbox that will undoubtedly aid anyone in doing just that - which in my opinion empowers spiritual workers. Not everyone will want to do this but everyone should at least know they can.

My only quibble is that Miss Felix offers no pointers as to how would-be spell crafters might go about enlivening their own creations through prayer or ritual, and whilst it is true that in conjure the roots and herbs are understood to hold their own power there also is a tradition of blessing and empowering oils, powders and other formulas to fully potentize them. This is another good reason to make ones own stuff when ever possible or practical, because you know for sure that you have prayed over that oil daily for a week (or however long it might be), whereas if it comes from a shop or botanica there is no certainty as to the quality of herbal ingredients much less the spiritual preparation of the product.

This little niggle aside, I am very pleased with this book and it already has proven to be very useful and happy addition to my library.

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review! I just ordered and was worried that it wouldn't be worth the price because there were no customer reviews on amazon. Your review makes me feel that I made the right decision by purchasing this book!

    Carolina Dean

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  2. Thanks for making us aware of this, Frater!

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  3. I'm actually very excited for this review, St. B. The idea of a "formula book" made me wary. With the naturally close-mouthed tendency of manufacturers and the typical laconic nature of "family secrets" such an idea seem a bit far-fetched. It is totally on by list to buy now!

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  4. You've mentioned this practice of "praying over" materials several times before, and now you take Ms Felix to task for neglecting to talk about it in her formulary. Perhaps it's time you wrote a posting about how one "prays over" materials. (How's that for a hint about as unsubtle as a buffalo stampede?)

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  5. Well, I hardly took Ms Felix to task. simply pointed out a something I would have liked to see in an otherwise great book. But sure, I will post something about magical prayer.

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  6. Actually I have to say that I was disappointed that it was mostly just cut and paste info from other sources. The first few pages of how-to and substitutions were useful, but I wish I didn't have to buy the whole book just for a few useful pages.

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  7. Sister Serpent, I am not so sure about the cut and paste assessment considering at least of these formulas are Felix's own creations, so at least half of this wont be found elsewhere. Additionally, the true strength of the book is in that you get a clear insight into why she combined certain ingredients to get to a certain condition blend's constitution. This is very helpful and interesting if you are going about creating your own blends. Further, I think anyone will find a well researched catalogue of 200 conjure formulas in one place pretty useful.

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