a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


The Carroll, Cat, and Nguyen Troll Club

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: The Carroll, Cat, and Nguyen Troll Club
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 09:59:06 GMT

Old Coyote wrote:
> "Tom"  wrote 

> > The most prominent example
> > of her maintenance of deniability is her blanket
> > claim that she sells these trinkets "as curios only".
> Yes, I noticed that. Honestly though, I can't see how what she is doing
> is different than any other occult shop owner.

The use of that terminology "sold as a curio only" is as deliberately
retro-deco as the labels i create for the spiritual supplies we make.

Such disclaimers used to be required by law in some states -- but since
the days of deregulation and wide acceptance of spiritual claims of all
sorts, they are no longer needed. I added those antique, quaint words to
my labels in homage to the wonderful and mysterious conjure shops of my

It's like playing an acoustic guitar -- ya know? I mean, they have
electric guitars now, and synthesizers that almost sound exactly like
electric guitars ... but some folks still play acoustic guitars. Why?
Because they want to. Some of them even play old songs -- songs written
a hundred years ago ... or more!

Tom has been told this often enough, but every few months he pretends to
question why i make my shop look old and the labels look old. It's art,
you know. Just art. 

Tom repeatedly claims that i "cynically" sell spiritual supplies that i
have no faith in or use of. If i see his posts embedded in the posts of
someone whose messages i read, i generally take time to comment that i
do indeed believe in natural magic and practice it. I shall now go to
google and dig up the same old same old post where i first answered
Tom's question: 

It dates from November, 2002, but you will find it posted a few more
times since then, because he keeps on forgetting it. 


> Either you're cynically selling crap you feel to be 
> inherently worthless or you really believe that 
> it has the power it's said to have.  

The latter. As i have stated many times for your benefit. 

You can save yourself a lot of repetition by clipping this out and
copying it to your desktop and referring to it when you have questions
about my beliefs. 


Cue the music.

I, catherine yronwode, do solemnly swear that i, 
Do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart,
having had personal experiences with magic, witchcraft, 
How the music can free her, whenever it starts?
hoodoo, root work, and conjure, and being a practitioner of magic, 
And it's magic, if the music is groovy
witchcraft, hoodoo, root work, and conjure of many years standing, 
It makes you feel happy, like an old-time movie
believe that certain roots, herbs, seeds, stones, minerals, bones, 
I'll tell you about the magic, and it'll free your soul,
zoological curios, words, prayers, psalms, hymns, chants, talismans, But
it's like trying to tell a stranger 'bout rock and roll
pentacles, seals, veves, firmas, diagrams, angelic writings, 
If you believe in magic, don't bother to choose
divination systems and devices, numeration and numer-symbolism, 
If it's jug band music or rhythm and blues
candles, oils, incense, powders, floor washes, colognes, 
Just go and listen; it'll start with a smile
amulets, prints, posters, statues, cards, prayer wheels, 
It won't wipe off your face no matter how hard you try
body fluids, personal concerns, deities, saints, fetishes, dolls, 
Your feet start tapping and you can't seem to find
discarnate spirits, ancestral spirits, and spirits of the dead
How you got there, so just blow your mind
do contain, or are embued with, or can be embued with magical 
If you believe in magic, come along with me
and/or spiritual energies or forces perceptible to the gifted  
We'll dance until morning, 'til there's just you and me
or trained mage, witch, hoodoo, root worker, or conjure and  
And maybe, if the music is right
that these objects of nature and artifice may, by will and skill, 
I'll meet you tomorrow, sort of late at night
be used by a gifted or trained mage, witch, hoodoo, root worker, 
And we'll go dancing, baby, then you'll see
or conjure to achieve physical changes in the world 
How the magic's in the music and the music's in me
through non-material means. These several beliefs 
Yeah, do you believe in magic?
are the result of my personal experiences, but although i am  
Yeah, believe in the magic of a young girl's soul?
well satisfied with these beliefs at present, 
Believe in the magic of rock and roll?
i do not seek to impose or inflict them upon others 
Believe in the magic that can set you free?
by any rhetorical means, including argument 
Ohh, talking 'bout magic
by presumed authority, ridicule of opposing beliefs,  
Do you believe like I believe? Do you believe in magic?
or extended debate about the nature of magic,  
Do you believe like I believe? Do you believe, believer?
witchcraft, hoodoo, root work, and conjure, 
Do you believe like I believe? Do you believe in magic?
or the nature of belief itself.

> So, either your a conniving huckster or
> you're trying to deny the religious nature of your beliefs.

I have never denied my beliefs. The fact that i -- and others -- clearly
distinguish religiosity from spirituality has nothing whatever to do
with what i -- or they -- personally believe. Likewise, knowing that
someone equates religiosity with spirituality tells me nothing about
what they personally believe. 


cat yronwode 

[song credit: "Do You Believe in Magic" by The Lovin' Spoonful]


Despite that post (and repost) Tom comes back again with the same old question:

> > How can we assume that she truly believes that these
> > products can do she says they can when she is very 

> > careful to keep the door open to an official denial 
> > that they are anything but trinkets? 

See, it doesn't matter how often i tell him what i believe and practice,
he waits a few months and then starts in on this same rant. 

I believe in and practice magic. 

I also grow and sell herbs and herb-based spiritual supplies used in
folk-magical practices by people of European, Asian, Indigenous
American, and African cultural descent. I sell candles, too, and books
on occultism. I import and sell religious iconography, statuary, and
jewelry as well, from a variety of religions, including Buddhism,
Christianity, Islam, Judaism, "Hinduism" (a catch-all phrase for
Shaivism, Shaktiism, and Vaishnavism). I also import and sell small
charms and amulets used by people in many cultures around the world,
some of which are ostensibly religious and others of which are
ostensibly magical -- with the commonality among them all being that
they are primarily examples of folk-art as well as of exemplars of
spiritual beliefs. 

There are about 2,100 separate items in my catalogue. 

Obviously i do not practice all the religions whose goods i import, nor
have i performed every type of magical working mentioned in the books i
sell or indicated for use in the lore and legends surrounding the oils,
powders, and incenses we compound on the premises. 

But i believe in magic and practice it and have no trouble stating as
much in usenet or anywhere else i am asked. 

> I suppose she could simply be a very mercenary person who 
> has researched a market in detail, and is providing service
> to that market in a very cold way, but her enterprise just
> doesn't have that feel. That's why I don't have a problem 
> assuming she believes in it, the breadth of information 
> available on her site suggests a lot of research, which 
> generally, uninterested parties won't bother with.

Thank you for noticing, Old Coyote. I could practice magic and write
about it without owning a shop -- and i did so for many years, of course
-- but creating the Lucky Mojo Curio Company has proven to be one of the
most satisfying decisions i ever made. 

Here's why i did it:

In the first place, my parents owned a wonderful antiquarian bookstore
and i grew up working in it, so i love being a shop keeper in a great,
dusty, colourful, walnut-shelved, hodge-podge storehouse of old and
fabulous and strange treasures available to those who seek them.
Furthermore, i love living in the country and having chickens and a
garden, so growing herbs is a pleasure to me. In other words, i have
created a space to work in that i love, that uplifts me, and that allows
me to enjoy myself every day. 

Second, as a young woman i loved buying my personal magical supplies in
old conjure shops and hoodoo drugstores, and i was saddened to see them
slowly disappearing from the scene and being replaced by New Age,
Neo-Pagan, and Wicca shops. That's why i decided to recreate a fully
functional 1930s-1960s era conjure shop from scratch, keeping every
aspect of the shop as authentic to the aesthetics i first discovered in
such shops as a teenager in 1964. The labels, catalogue wording, and
overall style of the shop are important to me as an artist -- but i have
even gone so far as to revive old patterns of figural candles that had
fallen out of manufacture over the years and to carry old-fashioned
household goods like laundry sprinklers and hair brilliantine --
because, just because. Recently my artistic efforts were rewarded when i
was hired to outfit a complete conjure shop for an upcoming Hollywood
movie. Obviously someone at Universal Pictures had noticed and
appreciated my artistic talents, and even though the scene is a short
one and not central to the plot of the film, i am happy to say that
hundreds of carefully selected and beautifully hand-made Lucky Mojo
spiritual supplies will be seen on screen. 

The emphasis i place on artistry in ad copy and label design and on
hand-made folk-art supplies is personal and has only tangential
reference to my interest in and practice of magic. However, it is
precisely in my artistic recreation of the old conjure shop aesthetic 
-- the "sold as a curio only" tag line-- that Tom Schuler finds the fuel
for his continual personal attacks on me. He's been told why the tag
line is there, but he doesn't seem to understand or care. Thus we see
again and again his raving about how it constitutes "deniability" -- 

> > [...] unless they maintain some kind of deniability, as Cat does.

-- but it's not about "deniability" -- it's about my homage to Morton
Neumann and the Valmor / King Novelty Co. / Famous Products catalogues
of 1937. Some people still like to play acoustic guitar. Get it? 

> > > I couldn't see any pricing on her website that indicated
> > > she was charging anything for supernatural properties.

That is true. We do not charge for spiritual properties. 

> I think the critical issue is, 
> *how much* money is she making? I know it seems banal, but it is
> important to understand, under a cost breakdown, where the money goes
> when one buys her products.
> The reason for this is, the actual magic is understood to be generated
> by the customer. Cat is really only charging for the materials, and the
> labour required to assemble said materials into formats suitable for
> the intended purpose.
> If she were applying a surcharge for supernatural properties of her 
> products, then she would very definitely be guilty of what you accuse 
> her of. As it is, she doesn't seem to be doing that. 

Again, thank you for noticing. At Lucky Mojo, herbs are priced according
to the time spent growing and harvesting them, or by their cost to us if
we cannot grow them. Incense, powders, bath crystals, and oils are
priced according to the cost of ingredients plus packaging plus the
labour time spent assembling them. Candles, holy cards, statuary, and
amulets are marked up according to the same principles of
non-chain-store retail marketing you will find anywhere. The fact that
we pray over the products we make (or "charge them" or "empower them" to
use common Neo-Pagan terminology) is not accounted for in the cost. If
requested, we also dress candles with oils and herbs and pray over them
-- at no extra charge for the oils, herbs, or prayers. 

> In my mind, this dovetails quite well with her (often publicy stated)
> background in comic books. Which may be irrational, but man I read a
> lot of comics when I was a kid.
> Do you remember X-Ray glasses? I am certain that she is not
> misrepresenting her products to anywhere near that degree, but
> nevertheless I get a similar sense from her catalog.

X-Ray Specs advertised by the Johnson-Smith Novelty Co. in the comics
were not magical in nature -- but Johnson-Smith did indeed sell lucky
rabbits foot charms and many styles of magical talisman rings, as well
as cheap English-language reprints of German grimoires like "The
Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus." 

However, i think what you have identified here is the overall retro-deco
aesthetic i was describing earlier. I am, indeed, deliberately
patterning my catalogue art and copy writing on both the magical ***and
the non-magical*** catalogues and magazine ads of the 1930s, including
Sears, Montgomery Ward, Johnson-Smith, Valmor, Lucky Heart, King
Novelty, and so forth. If you were to send for the paper version of the
Lucky Mojo catalogue, to visit the shop, or to see the labels on the
products we make, this would all be quite clear to you. 

> > > As I said above, if she actually believes those things, then she is
> > > certainly free to advertise her products that way, provided she
> > > doesn't charge a premium.
> >
> > As I said above, there is good evidence that she does not in fact
> > believe those claims. 

That's a bizarre statement from Tom, given my 7-year usenet history of
posting and writing about my belief in magic and my practice of magic. 

cat yronwode
photo-tour of the Lucky Mojo Curio Co, Occult Shop:

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races