Just shut up and take that bath!

Spiritual baths are a practice. One can be tempted to come to them in a perfunctory or impatient way. It's the thing you do because your spiritual worker or godparent insisted and, well, you have to get it out of the way. A chore. But, really, they are a practice. In santeria (and by extension espiritismo cruzado) all important rituals are accompanied by the ritual washing of something, be they objects or people. These washes are lustral herbal waters that cleanse and prepare but also infuse the object or person with power and blessings. Similarly, in hoodoo spiritual baths figure as an important part of the spiritual workers repertoire of prescriptions for many of the same reasons.

To wash oneself spiritually is a sacred act.

It develops one spiritually. It cleanses and it feeds your spirit. If you want to get into african-derived traditions and you groan and moan implacably about taking a spiritual bath then I have news for you!

You know what? The people who complain the most - the ones that resist and rationalise their way out of baths incessantly - need them more than anyone. There is something about that state of spiritual grubbiness that wants to defend itself. Sometimes it's a spirit that has attached itself to the person and it's whispering in their ear.

Similarly, people sometimes ask how they can develop their mediumship or other spiritual abilities. The best recommendation? Prayer and a routine of spiritual baths. After this particular recommendation one will often get a blank stare, or there will be an awkward pause, and then they ask: but is there a visualisation or an amulet or something?

No, just prayer and spiritual baths.

If the power and efficacy of these are not apparent to you yet, then you should try them as a practice and see what it does for your spiritual development. See what it does for your emotional well-being. Discover for yourself how it enhances your spiritual protection, and your clout as a magician. It is the african magical practice par excellence. There is a good reason for that.


progress mini-readings available by e-mail

My regular clients will know that I don't offer full spiritual card readings or rootwork consults by e-mail. In part because my reading method is interactive; but also because I like speaking with clients directly during a consult. Resultantly, I only offer in-person, phone, or skype spiritual readings and rootwork consultations - and that stands. That's the way I like to work.

I am making an exception to my rule, however. I am introducing an additional e-mail support.

Progress Readings ($15)

Progress readings are short, cheap e-mail updates/readings for people who have already had the initial rootwork consult and have contracted me to do spiritual work for their case. This is so clients can check-in and get a three card reading about something relevant to their case. This can be useful in the event that there has been some new development or complication pertaining to your case and you would like to take a quick look at with some divination. When you order a progress reading for your case I'll write up your short reading and then send it through to you by e-mail. Once again, you will need to have ordered spiritual services with me to be eligible for these mini-readings.


Saint Joseph's Day

Happy and blessed Saint Joseph's day to all my readers! May this most wondrous of saints and patron of workers, bless you with good employment - so that as he was able to provide for the Holy Family - you too are be able to provide for yours.

This saint has blessed my household in many different ways. If you feel so moved you might want to light a candle and say a prayer in honour of him on this, his feast day.

We are having a small party for him in Amsterdam this evening followed, in all likelihood, by a misa (at Yanu's place, for those local friends who are reading).

The Prayer of Saint Joseph

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your devine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesusasleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me.

This prayer was found in the fiftienth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, not shall posion take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle.
Say for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail, so be sure you really want what you ask.


madamas, gypsies, indians and other spiritual guides in espiritismo cruzado

There seems to be some confusion on the internet about the nature of certain spiritual guides that populate the afro-Caribbean varieties of spiritism. For the record: when I talk about espiritismo on this blog I am always talking about my experience in espiritismo cruzado, because that is what I have worked in over the last few years.

It is important to note that there are quite a few different forms of espiritismo in the Caribbean. Just in Cuba alone there are a variety of forms. We find for instance purer kardecian scientific spiritism; then there is espiritismo de cordon; and then also espiritismo cruzado which functions more closely alongside the African-derived traditions such as palo and santeria. Puerto Rico has its own unique forms of espiritismo, where espiritismo and brujeria are very popular and widespread. That's without even going into spiritism in the Dutch Antilles or Brazil! There has been a lot of exchange in those regions too which makes the topic even more complex.

It's good to be specific and mention which stream of practice I am talking about because when we say 'espiritismo' we could be talking about a variety of creolized Kardecian-derived practices - and while they are part of continuum it certainly cannot be claimed that they are a single thing. There is a great deal of variance in practice even though they tend to follow a similar pattern with similar Kardec-inspired themes.

So to get back to the issue I was mentioning; there seems to be confusion about the role and nature of the madama, gypsie, arab, congo, indian etc spirits. It seems worthwhile to present the explanation as I have been taught it in our line of practice with regard to the nature and role of these spirits in espiritismo cruzado.

Firstly, these spirits are considered to be a class of egun, which is to say, the spirit of someone who used to be alive at one time but now works in the spiritual world as guide for the living by bringing their own unique stream of wisdom to the white table. Elevated dead people. So, when an espiritista is talking about 'their' madama spirit they usually mean that they have a muerto that has certain characteristics that allow it to be categorised in that grouping of spirits. They aren't necessarily talking about a single entity called The Madama.

Similarly, you might have a spirit that was a gypsy in life and therefore an espiritista will talk about 'their' gypsy (or their indian spirit, or their arab spirit and so forth). They are usually referring to individual spirits of the dead that fit into that stereotype with whom they are working. These spirits work in their charge's spiritual framework in order to develop themselves spiritually. It's symbiotic. Each person is understood to have network of spiritual entities that have been chosen to guide and protect the medium. And one can and should develop, elevate and expand that network by working with it in a skilled and dedicated way.

As I have been taught you definitely cannot pick and choose these guides. They choose you. What's more; there is a degree of protocol for identifying which spirits reside in your spiritual framework. This usually takes the form of an  'investigation' which is a special misa focussed around a single medium. The other mediums will then spiritually 'investigate' the medium for whom the service is being held to inform him or her about the constitution of their spiritual framework, thereby identifying which spirits they have and what they need to do for them in terms of spirit dolls, offerings, implements, pots and so forth.

This is to avoid self-delusion and the medium getting tricked by evil spirits that want a free ride. Just because you have strong draw to a certain kind of spirit doesn't mean you have that kind of spirit with you. Just because you find a pretty doll doesn't mean you should stick it on your altar and feed it! This is a distinctly inadvisable course of action.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that espiritistas will say that this is dangerous when considering that espiritismo traces almost all illness, variances of fortune or well-being to the influence of good or bad spirits.

That's why it is called spiritism after all.


How I read during my consultations.

I recently received some advice from an elder that it might be helpful to show the actual process and card layout that I use when I read for clients to give prospective clientele a visual and tactile sense of what the table looks like during my telephone readings. 

Here we go:

I have developed a reading routine that involves three divination tools; the tarot (usually the Rider-Waite); the Lenormand oracle (the classic Blue Owl deck); and the obi. I combine a three card tarot layout with a freeform Lenormand spread. I then will clarify certain points with the obi shells. I tend to use the obi sparingly, usually to confirm certain spiritual indicators or advice - and to 'close' the reading.

I first start with the tarot to derive the general theme and advice for the reading by laying down three cards in a rough triangle, as pictured above. It gives a nice overview of things, I find. Those three cards stay at the top of my reading area and I will refer back to them during the course the consultation as a thematic anchor. The card at the top of the triangle is read as the 'issue'; the card to the left is the 'challenge'; the card on the right is the 'resource' or 'what helps'.

The lenormand oracle is dealt beneath the tarot spread (the smaller cards), and is laid out in a linear sequence using a particular 'key' card to hone in on specific questions. During the course of the reading I will do several freeform Lenormand spreads like this to clarify different aspects of an issue asking a new question for each spread - in this way building up a well rounded picture of situation. To do that I take an appropriate key card and pray over it so as to 'charge' it with the question. I then shuffle it back into the deck and then I search through the deck to find it - and a string of cards that accompanies it. I read that string of cards as it appears on either side of the key card.

Why do I use two decks?

Well, I find the tarot and the lenormand oracle each speak with a different 'voice'. The tarot gives great advice, and the Lenormand has a way of really nailing details. The combination of those two voices creates a nice wide spectrum that I've found really gives a nice well rounded picture whilst also being able to drill down into specific details as needed.