The Conjure Woman

The Conjure Woman
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Friday, July 12, 2013

Blues & Workshops at the Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival

I will be both playing music and leading workshops at the Western Kentucky Hoodoo Rootworker Heritage Festival September 18-21.  Come not only hear music from 'The Female Robert Johnson' (Southern Fried Magazine) but learn about the Crossroads and how to communicate with spirits through Automatic Writing.

More details soon. Meanwhile, check out the Festival website:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Book of African Divination

This book is awesome. It is, in fact, one of the coolest things I've seen in ages.  More than just a deck that's an unique divination tool, it's a book filled with a host of new ways to apply your intuition to the future.  In addition to five different types of African fortune telling, the book includes chapters on divination itself, Africa and it's cultures and African divination specifically. It's wonderful as both an introduction and guide.

Written by Raymond Buckland, (who has specialized in and written about  Romani (Gypsy) divination) and Kathleen Binger, who a has similar background in African traditions. Her research has included correspondence with diviners in various parts of Africa.

The cards included with the book are her own, based on a system used by the Tikar tribe. The backs of this beautiful and innovative deck feature a spider. This is an attention getting nod at the traditional Tikar method, which uses marked plum leaves and a real spider.

Nearly every chapter introduces you to a new set of tools you can create for yourself. Paint a bowl to emulate one method of the Venda and cast 'bones', (dice can be used), in it. Create 'tablets' with wood, (you can even use popsicle sticks) or stones to try another of their ancient practices. Make a set of Zulu 'bones' with shells, bone and stone to toss onto a mat marked with a pattern reminiscent, in ways, of the I Ching. Create a Yorbua divination board... Last, but not least, the book includes a guide to the wonderful deck.

If you already read tarot, you'll love discovering a new, card-based method of reading. It can, in fact, be used to enhance tarot. One of the fantastic things about this system, however, is you don't need to already know tarot to use it. Highly recommended for everyone with interest in the past, present or future.

Buy The Book of African Divination

Tarot and Fortune Telling, Online Course

Deck Review: The Light and Shadow Tarot

I love reading with both over-sized and black and white decks, (I've found my readings are more accurate when I switch back and forth from a vividly colored deck to these). So, I was excited to discover this striking Tarot.  The deck's illustrator, Michael Goepferd, describes himself as, "An artist who has found in the iconography of the Tarot all the great themes of life and art." His block prints engagingly reflect the deck's concept, contrasting light and shadow to form images that are perfect for meditation and otherwise increasing focus.

In the deck's book, by Brian Williams, we discover this is not a deck of good vs. evil. The approach to light/dark we find here is a more blended, Eastern one. The contrast and inter-relation of the two extremes takes center stage here. This provides an interesting angle to read through. It can add a layer of comparative focus to readings; giving the up/down side of situations and people, for example.

"The Light and Shadow Tarot" is great for both beginning and advanced diviners. The cards and their meanings are traditionally focused and won't give you a whole new set of meanings to learn. They'll be easily recognizable to readers used to the Rider Waite deck. I think it absolutely helps readers at all levels to try with a black and white deck; you almost always pick up slightly different elements of situations.

There are some unique differences in the symbolism chosen for the cards. For example, the Fool has a crystal ball, the Wheel of Fortune is a Tibetan mandala and Death is "The Endless Dance of Death". Others, like The Moon, Judgment and many of the Court cards, are nearly identical to the Rider Waite.

This is a fun, eye catching and positive deck that I think everyone can enjoy.

More about/buy "The Light and Shadow Tarot"

Sign up for my Online Tarot and Fortune Telling Class

Reading the 'Light and Shadow Tarot'
photo by Sydney Tyler Lofton

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Conjureman's Tale - The Ballad of Frankie Silver

Frankie Silver killed her husband with an axe one winter's night. Seems he was in all likelihood extremely abusive and she did it in self defense but it got pretty gruesome. She either hacked him to pieces or had her mom and brother help her do that - no one's sure which. They then hid him in various parts in various places, from the fireplace to beneath the floor. What I found most intriguing about the story is the history says they called a conjure man in to find the body. In fact, he found it and was the cause of her hanging. So, I wrote a new ballad based on him:

Sheriff Joe called Conjure Jim. 
"Bring your witchin' ball", he told him.
"Bring your hoodoo roots
and your juju juice.
No one's sure what Frankie Silver did.
Come conjure out whatever it is she hid."

Old Counjure Jim said, "Sheriff man,
I'm not really sure I can.
Snows blowin' high.
There's a darkenin' sky.
I don't care what Frankie Silver's done.
Just 'cause you call don't mean Old Jim runs."

There's chickens in the storm.
There's coyotes in the barn.
There's a murder of crows clawin at the trees.
Frakiie's cryin' alone on snowy knees.

Conjure Jim said, "Sheriff Joe,
how much will you pay me?
Let me make sure 
I won't get more
from that cryin' lady.
How much will you pay me?"

"Name your price, just show us what she hid.
No one's sure what Frankie Silver did."

There's chickens in the storm. etc.

He came and spit some whiskey on the floor.
He scratched weird patterns on the door.
He tossed his witchin' ball all too and fro.
Soon Frankie Silver's hangin on the gallows.
'Cause before too long they knew what Frankie did.
Old Conjure Jim won't let nothin' stay hid.

Blood rose up from the dirt below.
Bone shards crackled in the ember glow.
When he rolls his witchin ball across the hearth
you ain't keepin' nothin' in the dark.
Her innocence became real hard to swallow.
So, Frankie Silver's hangin' on the gallows.

There's chickens, etc.

More about Frankie Silver and a link to the original ballad: