Magical Crafts: Guia Necklace For The Tres Potencias

A very special project was finished today – a Guia Necklace for the Tres Potencias, the highest Spirits in my path of Espiritismo. The colours of the Tres Potencias are the same of Venezuela’s flag – yellow, red, and blue, a combination that is not easy to put together when making jewelry. The necklace features a gorgeous moon shaped mother of pearl pendant, Moroccan Blue Czech glass beads, and fifty-two handpainted wooden beads.
Yes, I handpainted each one. Several times XD.
I will use it during ritual, but for now, it is looking quite lovely on the altar, getting filled with energy! If you want to know more about Guia Necklaces, you can do so at this post from last June:

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Visual Inspirations: Spirit Doll Photoshoot

The pictures I posted on yesterday’s post about Spirit dolls were taken at the studio table, which has great light for working, but is not the nicest setting to showcase the work done on this doll. So, today I did a little staging with shells, feathers, and one of my favourite silk scarves, and as you can see, this looks so much better – the early morning light was warm and perfect for the powerful colours of the clothing.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Magical Crafts: Dressing A Spirit Doll

The doll’s headdress features rhinestone chains, beading, tulle flowers, and a lovely paisley print from vintage clothing. The pendant is real silver and moonstone, and it was the gift of a fellow dollmaker. It is entirely hand stitched from start to finish (no glue is one of my work’s trademarks).

In many, many cultures, dolls are seen as talismans and Spirit vessels – many of the religions of the African diaspora use them, and so does Espiritismo. This is a subject I know really extensively, because I have been an enthusiast of dolls and of textile arts for almost two decades, and I am quite an expert doll seamstress.

This year, I wanted to make a new set of clothing for a doll that I share with one of my Spirit Guides. In Espiritismo, dolls can be used as Spirit vessels, but when we speak of Spirit vessel we talk about a physical object that is spiritually owned by the chosen Spirit, and that improves the communication with them. This has nothing to do what people (stupidly) call a haunted doll. There is no such thing in the African Diaspora as a haunted doll, and any resemblance to that is as much a Hollywood invention as Voodoo dolls, zombies, etc. Our dolls are an homage of our love for Spirits, and a gift to them, that we craft to the highest standards.

The beading of the belt. The teardrop-shaped beads were hand dyed  by me, and the lace of the belt is Valencia lace, which is a Spanish type of handmade bobbin lace. Absolutely exquisite!

The same Valencia lace, on the lower edge of the skirt. The patchwork fabric was entirely hand stitched too.

I rarely make fixed sets for my dolls, so what you will see in the pics is how the doll looks as of now – I’d much rather build a wardrobe where I can mix and match, so unless something is made for a specific occasion, clothing sets are always open to change and improvement.

Very often, I work on the headdress while it is on, to place ornaments exactly where they should go. Here, I am affixing the rhinestone chains. As you can see, no glue!

There is no dress code in Maria Lionza’s religion – since many Espiritistas are also Lukumi, dressing in full white is very common, but this is not a fixed rule at all; in a Misa Blanca, you will find a complete rainbow of extremely flamboyant clothing, that depends only on the personal preference of the wearer, and very often of the rule they will carry during the ritual. Mediums that will be possessed by specific entities usually wear fantastic clothing in the colours of their Spirit, so they can dance and show off as they deserve; but those who do the more mundane work (like musicians, cooks, assistants, etc.) wear more comfortable clothing, and just special jewelry.

How the doll looks so far. I really, really love this. The colours are just singing!

So, each one of these pieces is a completely fantasy creation, which shows my love for traditional costume, and for the Spirit who Guides me. Sometimes, I get a direct request for a dress in a colour combination, or for a type of hairstyle – but, most of the time, I do whatever my inspiration and instinct ask me to do, because the doll does not need to imitate the Spirit’s look,  style, or ritual attire. For me, this is a completely sacred work, that I hold as high a standard as any other side of my Spiritual Work – and also, something that ties me deeply to my family heritage, since I am the third generation of clothing makers in my family, and I want to make my Ancestors proud :).

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Magical Crafts: A Home Painting Tip

This week, we have been repainting the altar room, just in time for the Noche De Animas Service – what a difference a fresh coat of paint makes!

Here’s a magical tip about painting your home that came from a very mundane source – professional painters sometimes add a few drops of essential oils on paints that are not new, to ease the smell that paints get when stored for too long. Scents like peppermint, pine and citronella are the most common, because they’re easy to find, and because they are the most used in cleaning products, as they neutralize bad odours.

Of course, as soon as I heard of this many years ago, the Bruja took over – because if you use that choice consciously, you can do a lot of magic this way! Pick the oils according to the use and needs of the room – for example, for the altar room we chose a teaspoon of my own Money Oil (because it’s where I do my business), a teaspoon of my Protection Oil (because it’s my home), and a teaspoon of Citronella Oil (for the good scent, but also for its road opening properties). And yes, it can be done with regular paint for your home, and no, it doesn’t have any effect on the paint.

Wishing you a very Blessed day <3!

To participate in our Noche De Animas Service, click here:
https://www.brujacarolina.com/product/october-31-2017-%E2%80%93-noche-de-animas-service

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Free Printables: Gardening Calendar

Do not download this pic – the downloadable PDFs are at the end of the post!

This two-page printable Gardening Calendar is based on the one I use myself, and will be very useful for beginning gardeners and wildharvesters. I write only the main monthly tasks, and also record what we have wildharvested (and where), so next year I can go back to it, and plan our wildharvesting trips in advance. It is a very efficient way to keep up with the cycles of the year, and once you have filled the first year, it is incredibly easy to stay prepared and organized. Below, you can find two versions for downloading, one in full colour, and one in black and white. And remember, as always, personal use ONLY.

Download The Full Colour Version

Download The Black And White Version (Printer-Friendly)

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Magical Herbalism For Beginners III: Wildharvesting And Guerrilla Gardening

Beautiful mountains in the area of the Valley Of Colino, which crosses our town.

The third post of this series is about herbalism outdoors: Wildharvesting and Guerrilla Gardening. For those unfamiliar with the terms, Wildharvesting is the practise of identifying and gathering herbs that grow in natural areas, and Guerrilla Gardening is the planting of beneficial plants in abandoned urban areas.

We practise both – we live in a quite poor urban area, with very few green spaces and very hard climate conditions; and, since we have only an urban garden on the house’s roof terrace, we need to wildharvest to get plants that we cannot plant in pots. I hope our experience helps you and inspires you!

To read the first and second part of this series, please click Here (Part 1) and Here (Part 2).

Wildharvesting

· Wildharvesting requires the utmost respect for Nature and Her generosity; harvest just what you need, harming the plant as little as possible and leaving enough of the plant for it to regrow and feed the local fauna. If possible, harvest from several plants, instead of from one. Learn how to prune herbs correctly so you encourage growth

· Get a quality hand scythe, and keep it as sharp as possible. There is nothing that causes more accidents than a dull blade.

Our scythe – old, but very loved :).

· Protect your hands with gloves. We use the gloves that are sold for electricians and other construction workers – they are quite thick while allowing excellent movement, and have a non-slip cover on the palm for a better grip.

· For urban wildharvesters, a few ziplock bags and a good pair of kitchen scissors will be enough; for those who wildharvest with a car, and need bigger quantities of herbs, this is our car’s kit: besides the scythe and the gloves mentioned above, we keep ziplock bags in several sizes, trash bags (for actual trash left by others), a couple of big and sturdy plastic bags for bigger amounts of plants, cotton cord, a sturdy rope, water, food, and a small first aid kit.

· And speaking of trash – don’t make any, and if you find stuff left by others, pick it. The land Spirits will love you for it. Become the guardian of the place where you harvest, and you will always be welcome to the land and its secrets.

· Always leave a payment for what you are taking, and thank the spirits of the place for allowing you to find and harvest plants. You can take seeds, fruit, milk, tobacco leaves, honey, bread or cake… the list can be endless. Take something of quality, and only biodegradable items. No candles, plates, or anything that can poison animals like chocolate.

· Do NOT wildharvest endangered species, on public parks, on preserved areas, or private properties. Ever.

· Do NOT wildharvest right off the edge of the roads where there is car traffic, if you have any intention of ingesting the plant, or to use it topically. Those herbs are poisoned by the cars’ fumes.

· And, this is very important: wildharvesting can be a dangerous activity. Don’t be the guy from Into The Wild, please; stay safe at all costs, never go wildharvesting without telling someone, and never ingest any plant until you are sure you know what you are putting in your body. Nature is NOT harmless, and neither are plants.

In this area (I will keep the place private), we have replanted several Dragon’s Blood trees, a Fig Tree, and several Canarian Lavender plants.

Guerrilla Gardening

Guerrilla Gardening is the act of planting useful, edible and endemic plants on abandoned urban spaces. Guerrilla Gardening looks forward to give back to Mother Nature, to make our urban spaces more beautiful and useful, to offer sources of free food for anyone who needs it, to educate others in honouring the Earth, and to give the urban bird and insect fauna more sources for food and shelter.

· We gather all the seeds from our kitchen scraps along the year, extra wildharvested seeds, and any overstock of seeds from our garden, dry them and mix them in a bag – once dry, you can keep a small amount in your purse/backpack in a ziplock bag, and just spread a pinch whenever you have the chance.

· You can also mix your seeds with clay and make balls/discs with the mixture; make sure it’s natural clay with no chemicals added, like potters’ clay, and do not use heat to dry them (in both cases, so you don’t kill the seeds). Once they are dry, not only you can plant them anywhere, they make great gifts for friends and family, or for anyone you want to turn into Guerrilla :).

· Remember not to spread invasive plants, and use only varieties that are native to your environment – this is extremely important! Always choose useful over beautiful, food and medicine over pretty.

· Plants that are butterly and bee favourites should always be among your choices – the more we help beneficial insect populations, the healthier and stronger our ecosystem will be.

Offering of honey and Anise cakes, for a very special Spirit friend in one of our favourite wildharvesting areas.

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My Main Website: brujacarolina.com – Tarot and Spiritual Services

Art And Illustration Portfolio: The Art Of Carolina Gonzalez

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Spiritual Work: Guia Necklaces In Espiritismo

I’m in the middle of a long day of work restringing some of our Guia necklaces – these get plenty of use, so it’s totally normal that need to be restrung and/or renewed from time to time. I took the lovely photo above to document them, and I thought this would make a good blog post for today, giving you an outline of what Guia necklaces are.

Guia necklaces are a very important tool for Espiritistas in Maria Lionza’s religion:

· They keep us protected and grounded during channelling and trance work;

· They protect us from parasitic spiritual entities, a big problem for mediums in training, and a very dangerous one;

· They put us in a constant, and very powerful, connection with the Spirits they represent;

· They deflect negativity and harmful magic from others, and keep our energy and vibration high.

Of course, these have to be made in specific conditions, under the presence of Spirits, and by an initiate. Some belong to the patronage of a specific Spirit, and some to a Corte (group of Spirits). The patterns of colours and beads are dictated by the Spirit or Corte they belong to, and can vary greatly depending on what the Spirits want at any given moment, so there are no fixed combinations. Besides beads, Guías can include shells, wood, talismans, seeds, nuts, bones/teeth of animals, feathers, and all kind of natural elements, depending on the Spirit they serve.

This is not just jewelry making – these must be made in a completely sacred environment, and under the energy of a powerful working altar. Stringing them is only the first part of the work – after creating the necklace, the Guías must be charged through ritual, and must be fed the offerings that Spirits dictate; for as long as they are used, they will be cleansed and re-fed regularly, and kept in the altar with great care when not in use, as the sacred tool they are.

Guías are usually not pre-made or purchased, because it is extremely useful that the Spirit or Spirits dictates what are the signs each practitioner needs to wear. Although each Spirit has favourite colours or ornaments, and it is expected that certain elements will be repeated, others are not. Your Guia necklace should be unique, because you have unique needs, and unique features as an Espiritista. So, it is quite usual that the most crafty person within a Spiritual community takes the role of Guía maker, and makes them only for the community they are involved in, under the guidance of Spirits and of the Banco (the head of the community).

Although it is understood that you will wear them at least once every day, it is not mandatory to wear them at all times. Some initiates prefer to wear them all day, and some only while performing spiritual work; some choose to have an “everyday” Guia that they wear all the time, and keep the rest for Spirit work time – imagine going to the gym with five pounds of fragile, expensive beads on your neck!

Guia necklaces have some rules, and while they can vary from Spirit to Spirit and from community to community, some general rules apply – they cannot be worn when sleeping, and you should not participate in fights or any acts of violence while wearing them. Usually, it is not recommended to have sexual intercourse wearing them, specially if that intercourse is with a non-initiate. When you take them off, you cannot just leave them in a tangle on the bedside table or the bathroom. In any case, the point is not to wear the necklaces in any situation that would diminish their energy levels, because it would be like parking your car and leaving the engine on; after a while, the battery will die and make the car useless.

One last note – while there may be similarities, these have nothing to do with Santería’s Elekes, which are given through specific ceremonies, and that follow an entirely different set of rules. We can, of course, wear Guias that represent an Orisha, because the Orishas are a much loved part of the Spirits we work with, but that doesn’t make them Elekes.

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Spiritual Work: A Few Easy Spells

While it is known that I am a supporter of tradition and secrecy in Afro-Latin Magic being completely respected, and I would never reveal spells that belong only to initiates of any religion of the Diaspora, we also have plenty of what would be considered Folk Magic, and that almost anyone with a little experience with Magic can perform. These spells were first published on my Newsletter in 2012, and come from my learning with my Madrina’s Lukumi community; I’ve re-written the post quite a bit, adding much more content, and honestly, because my English is much better now :).

While I understand that most of my readers are already practitioners of any of the religions of the Diaspora, and will be familiar with most terms, there is a significant percentage that comes from European-based Paganism traditions. I have also added some notes directed at them that I thought helpful, specially about ingredients that may not be of regular use to them.

Spell For Good Luck And Protection

Materials: a square of white cloth, white thread, three garlic cloves, a pinch of Spearmint, a pinch of Parsley.

Make a small bag filling the cloth with the herbs and garlic, and tie it with the white thread, making seven knots. Go to seven places where you can find Holy Water* and, without being noticed, dip the bag in the water asking Obatala to give the amulet power for luck and protection. Do not let anyone see your amulet, and keep it hidden always.

*The water does not need to be Catholic Holy Water, of course. It can even be water from springs or fountains, as long as they hold true spiritual power to you. Also, the pilgrimage to those seven places does not have to be done in one day, but the amulet won’t work until it’s done.

A Spell For Attraction (Of Any Kind)

While this spell is used mostly for attracting a partner, it can be used for other means too; to attract a raise, a promotion, better relations, peace in the family, etc. It can be recharged every full moon, and the colour of the candle can be adapted to the specific purpose of the spell.

Materials: a red candle, a glass bowl, a charm made of pure silver (a coin, a cross, a medal, or something similar – shape is not important, but the material is), Holy Water, orange blossom water, Florida Water*, basil juice**.

Under the light of the full Moon, stick the red candle in the centre of the bowl, and then add all the liquids, about a shotglass of each. Place the charm inside this mix, and pray to the full Moon to attract whatever you need. Let the bowl outside all night, leaving the candle on until it burns off by itself. In the morning, take the charm and wear it as a pendant, or inside a fabric bag next to your skin; the mix of waters can also be used as a personal attraction perfume for a few days.

* Again, the Holy Water does not need to be from a Christian Church, and can be blessed by yourself. Both orange blossom water and Florida Water can usually be found at Botanicas, and should not be substituted by homemade ones, because honestly, the recipes going around on the Internet are a joke.

**Basil juice is made by liquifying fresh leaves and stalks of Basil, by hand or in a juicer/blender.

Remember safety when leaving magical works outside all night. If you cannot assure safety, leave it outside, but turn off the candle when you finish. No Spirit wants you to be in danger!

A Spell To Break A Stagnant Situation

In this spell, I am using the word Potencia, that literally means just Power, but for us in Maria Lionza’s religion, it means the Spirit that owns your head – that can be an Orisha if you are a Lukumi, a Lwa if you practise Haitian Voodoo, and so on. This is not exactly the same as a Patron Deity – there are many subtleties that are lost in translation, and that change from practise to practise.

Materials: A new and unused white handkerchief; five copper coins of the same currency and amount, three candies, seven peppercorns, white paper, green ink/marker, white thread, honey.

Write your petition to your Potencia on the paper with the green ink, and place it on the handkerchief. Place also the pennies, the candies and the pepper seeds above it and, using the thread, tie the handkerchief to make a small packet. Take the bag to your Potencia’s sacred place, feed it with plenty of honey, and leave the place without looking back. At home, light a candle to your Potencia for three days – the candle can be white, or in their representing colour.

A Spell To Protect The Household

Materials: 2 whole coconuts, eight white taper candles and one white pillar candle, rum, honey, cascarilla*, cleansing/protecting oil.

Starting on a Monday, rub a whole coconut with cascarilla, rum and your favourite cleansing oil and place it on a bowl behind your front door. For eight days, you will place a candle on the top of the coconut, also anointed with cleansing oil and cascarilla, and you will offer it to Eleggua. You don’t need to let the candle burn completely if you can’t, but it has to be renewed every day. Each day, ask him to protect the household against enemies, envy and negativity.

On the eighth day, take the coconut (remove wax and bowl) to the woods, and leave it at a crossroad. It is extremely important that you don’t look back when you leave, or you will offend the Spirit. Back home, cut the other coconut in two, and mix the coconut water with lots of rum and honey. Fill both halves of the coconut with that mixture, and offer it to Eleggua along with the pillar candle. Burn it for three days, to thank him for his protection. On the fourth day, you can throw all remains away.

*Cascarilla is a cleansing and blessing staple in Afro-Latin magic, similar to white chalk. My advice is to get it at a Botanica, because despite what is said online, it is NOT just powdered eggshell. Powdered eggshell has its own value, have no doubt of that, but Cascarilla is actually a very complex recipe.

My Main Website (Tarot And Spiritual Services): brujacarolina.com

Magical Crafts: Home Blessing Amulet

This project started with an abandoned display box that Fernando restored and fixed. None of us collects anything that needs display, so the box was unused and looking a bit sad in Fernando’s workshop. But this week I came with an idea for it – since the box had the shape of a house, I would make a non-permanent amulet for the protection of our home.

Although I think the project is beautiful indeed, and I believe beauty to be a tremendous magical power by itself, this is not decoration to make nice Pinterest posts – this is a real magical work, and so, it works, because of the power of each item by itself, and by the power of the chosen combination.

These are all items from my personal collection of amulets and magical items, so be mindful of what you put in your project. When not in use, all these items are kept in my altar area at all times, regularly recharged and fed appropriately, and away from any disturbing energies, so each one of them is at their optimum power whenever they are needed. If you just pick stuff randomly because it looks neat or “witchy”, you’ll have a neat decoration, but nothing more. Not that there is anything wrong with a nice decoration, but as I said, this is a magical work.

Below, you will find a detailed list of what I used and why, but is not a recipe; it’s something you should adapt to your own life, and your own path. So, take this list only a suggestion, and work from there towards your own version.

AND REMEMBER – NO CANDLES. No matter how small the candle is, it can cause the wood to heat until it starts burning. This is an amulet, not an altar, so there’s no need for them anyway.

Left side, from top to bottom:

· Antique keys and a greek evil eye glass amulet, hanging from the house chimney – so the home is protected and “closed” against negativity.

· A holy card of Mary Help Of Christians, patroness of our neighbourhood, so we are always in the presence, and under the protection, of our loving mother.

· A goat horn, an owl feather and a root – for our land and its Spirits, so we stay connected to our heritage and identity.

· A stick of cinnamon for luck and good business, and a stick of Palo Santo for cleansing and protection.

· A bundle of Rosemary from the garden, that will be changed when dry, for protection and banishing of negative entities.

Right Side, from top to bottom:

· A knife and a dog’s jaw bone, to guard the house against burglars, damage from weather, etc.

· Gemstones – choose from your favourites, and for your own needs. I chose Agate and Rutilated Quartz for mental clarity, Citrine for good business, Garnet and Malachite for good health, and Hematite for growth and stability.

· Shells – for the protection of love and family.

· A stack of coins for prosperity – since my customers come from all over the world, the coins are of many different types and countries.

· A glass filled with salt, to absorb negativity. This will be changed for a new one regularly.

· A glass filled with Holy Water, for protection – again, this will be changed regularly.

· A Holy Card of Saint Barbara – I personally relate her to protection magic, so this was a totally personal choice.

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