The Conjure Woman

The Conjure Woman
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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Proverbs from The Isle of Man

 The pot shouldn't call the kettle black.

Don't go to goats for wool.

Don't tell me who I was but who I am.

Hills can be green ahead of you but baren when you reach them.

To you as you deserve.

He who is not kind to his horse will carry the saddle on his own back.

It's not the man who has little who is poor but the man who wants more.

Empty vessels make the most noise.

Do not judge until you've listened with each ear.

There's much difference between saying and doing.

It's best to quit while you're ahead.

Don't count your chickens before they're hatched.

Wisdom is folly unless a wise man keeps it.

A liar will not be believed though he speaks the truth.

He who lies down with dogs will get up with fleas.

He who hatches tales will be caught by tales.

A wise man makes a friend of an enemy.

A stitch in time saves nine.

A bad reaper never got a good sickle.

Blood is thicker than water.

There is no man so deaf as he who will not hear.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Few Curious Native American Masks

Yupik Shaman

Tinigit Talking Man


Lamar Weeping Eye Mask


Native American Proverbs

Native American Museum, Washington, D.C.
"All things in the world are two. In our minds we are two, good and evil. With our eyes we see two things, things that are fair and things that are ugly.... We have the right hand that strikes and makes for evil, and we have the left hand full of kindness, near the heart. One foot may lead us to an evil way, the other foot may lead us to a good. So are all things two, all two."  - Eagle Chief (Letakos-Lesa) Pawnee

Day and night cannot dwell together. - Duwamish

What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset. - Blackfoot

A pearl is worthless as long as it is in its shell.

All dreams spin out from the same web. - Hopi

We will be known forever by the tracks we leave. - Dakota

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice. - Cherokee

The coward shoots with shut eyes. - Oklahoma

As you go the way of life you will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.

It is easy to be brave from a distance. - Omaha

Those who have one foot in the canoe, and one foot in the boat, are going to fall into the river. - Tuscarora

It is not enough for a man to know how to ride, he must also know how to fall.

It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand. - Apache

Each person is his own judge. - Pima

Don't let yesterday use up too much of today. - Cherokee

If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yoruself. - Minquass

They are not dead who live in the hearts they leave behind. - Tuscarora

A man must make his own arrows. - Winnebago

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf. - Cherokee
The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

You can't wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. - Navajo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How to Make Hex Signs

The origin of  the word 'Hex', to describe these often brightly painted signs is of disputed origin. Some claim it's root is the German "Hexe"/Dutch "Heks", which means witch. Some claim that it derived instead from the word "sechs", which means six. They are believed to have originated in the practice of painting runes on buildings in Europe. Hex signs also believed to be derived in part from Frakturs, documents used to keep track of family histories that were decorated with many symbols found in the signs today, like tulips and birds.

Hex signs adorned not only barns but birth certificates, gravestones, furniture, pottery and textiles.  Each design a sort of painted prayer, with the intent of bringing the ideas expressed in them from the spiritual into the physical realm. In general, they were thought to keep away bad spirits and brought good luck, particularly for crops and livestock. It was common practice to say a blessing over the Hex sign after it was painted.


Some Common Hex Designs:
Rosette: to keep away bad luck and evil.

Eight Pointed Star: goodwill.

Double Eagle: strength and courage.

Daddy Hex: double luck - an outer Rosette with 12 petals, smaller for added luck at difficult times.

Triple Star: good luck and happiness.

Tree of Life: love, happiness, God's abundance.

Daddy Hex

Some Symbols and Meanings in Hex Signs: 

Birds of Paradise - the deep beauty and profound wonder of life.

Circle - eternity.
Crescent Moon- the seasons.

Distelfink - luck, joy; 2 crossing one another, friendship; 2 double luck.

Doves - friendship, peace, joy

Eagle - strength, bravery, clarity 

Heart - love from God, the source of all love; lace around the heart represents marital love

Horse Head - (in a star) protection from lightening, protection of livestock

Maple Leaf - contentment

Oak Leaf - endurance

Pineapple - welcome

Raindrops - abundance, fertility

Scallops - ocean waves, smooth sailing 

Stars -in general good luck, hope, love, peace, energy, 4 points - bright days, 5 points - protection against fire and lightning, protection for animals, 8 points - (most often blue) good omens, light, protection.

Sun Wheel - fertility

Tulips- 3 represent the Trinity and faith, hope, charity; trust in both yourself and your fellow man

Wheat - abundance

Triple Star

Colors and Meanings

Black - protection, binding symbols together

Blue - protection, peace, spiritual strength

Brown - earth, friendship, strength; a brown ring, as above, represents the cycle of life

Green - success, ideas 

Orange - abundance in things that have been lacking

Red - passion, creativity

Violet - indicates things that are held sacred

White - purity, the moon

Yellow - health, connection to God