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Invocation with seals only?

To: alt.magick,alt.lucky.w,alt.paranormal.spells.hexes.magic,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Invocation with seals only?
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 08:07:23 GMT

Nocturniel wrote:
> There is a booklet by Anna Riva entitled "Secrets Of Magical Seals - 
> A Modern Grimoire of Amulets Charms Symbols & Taismans." It contains 
> a wide range of magical seals and directions or using them as 
> talismans in the front of the book. Included are the "black magic" 
> and "white magic" Seals of the Spirits from the Lemegaton with a 
> brief description of what they are used for. For example, it is 
> suggested that the black magic seals are to be annointed with the 
> appropriate powder after being inscribed with the foe's name, 
> birthdate and the magician's intention towards the foe, which is 
> then concealed near them. The white magic seals are to be cared on 
> the person, burned, put under a candle, with the appropriate "power 
> prayer" or written petition.
> I don't think that I've ever read on this group or heard elsewhere 
> about anyone using the Lemegaton Seals in such a manner. Most 
> magicians use the circle and triangle of manifestation method, 
> preceded by great preparation and fasting, or the black mirror 
> method. However, I've noticed that even on this group that there are 
> various contradictory opinions as to whether these entities are 
> objective external beings from another dimension or merely aspects 
> of our own consciousness. Btw, I'm sure "folk" magic and ceremonial 
> magic could be mixed, although it is up to the individual.
> Also, I'm not sure they all should be divided into "good" or "evil".
> The appeal of such a method is its adaptability to modern apartment
> dwelling where space is limited.
> It would be interesting to hear others' thoughts and/or experiences 
> in this matter.
> *Nocturniel

My opinion follows -- and it is strictly my own, but i am old enough to
speak with at least the weight of personal memory, if not authority. 

First, Anna Riva's book is in some ways an obvious sham. Note toward the
end of her collection of "talismans" the op-art pieces labelled demon
repellant and such -- these are nothing more than op-art samples cut out
of an article on op-art in a circa 1965-88 era magazine (like "Life" or
"Look"). They have no relaitionship to magical practices of any type. To
present them as such is a fraud, which is a shame, because Anna Riva
could be better than that when she wanted to. 

Next, there is Riva's questionable intent in calling certain practices
good or evil magic or black or white magic. Anna Riva knew her market
well and followed in a certain tradition when she laid down those
distinctions -- as did better-educated and more broad-minded magicians
than her, according to their own lights, including Aleister Crowley. 

Yes, that old "some magic is bad, and some magic is good" pitch predates
Anna Riva and continues to the present. Those of us familiar with the
history of magic can simply discount it as bunk, of course; the harder
work for us is to disabuse sincere newbies who read these polarized,
dualism-bound analyses (and their concommitant, the now popiular
three-fold "rule" or "law", which has excaped the confines of Wiccan
dogma and is to be founf everywhere on the bookshelves of metaphysical
stores) -- and think these opinions are a "truth" of magic  in the same
way that, for instance the law of gravity is a truth of physics. 

Finally, there is the most intersting issue you brought up -- at least
to me -- Anna Riva's conflation of hoodoo styles of working candle
spells with Solomonic talisman magic, including seals from the

Anna Riva's take on candle burning was not pure down-home hoodoo --
rather, it was probably most heavily influenced by her reading of the
1942 "Master Book of Candle Burning by Henri Gamache (in print when she
wrote her books and still in print almost 60 years after it first
publication). Gamache, although a primarily folk-magic scholar, had
himself been influenced by the ceremonial magic of R Swinburne Clymer
and thus by Clymer's mentor, Paschal Beverly Randolph. Gamache's Master
Book" both documented -- and forever transformed -- the practice of
hoodoo candle burning, as can be seen by comparing his semi-ceremonial
approach with the pre-Gamache down-home candle spells collected by
Harry. M. Hyatt from African-American informants throughout the South
between 1936 and 1940. 

Riva was NOT the first person to combine Gamache-style hoodoo
candle-work with Solomonic talismans, nor did she, as a Jewish
occult-supply manufacturer, somehow foist these Hermetic-Kabballistic
practices upon an idelaized "purely African" form of root work. She was
only following in a path well-worn when she wrote up her spells.
Although her cross-cultural style of working was then, and remains, a
minority tendency within the larger body of hoodoo, the root workers who
were her primary customer base had already adopted kabbalistic notions
before she came on the scene. In fact, as i have demonstrated elsewhere
in usenet posts and on a web page that documents the history of hoodoo,
from the late 19th through the mid 20th centuries, hoodoo conjure
doctors had been introduced to Solomonic talismans by the reprint
efforts of L. W. DeLaurence (circa 1890 - 1955) the distribution efforts
of Morton Neumann (circa 1930 - 1965), and the writing Gamache (notably
his "8th, 9th, and 10th Books of Moses," which contains seals lifted
from Gaster's 19th century French translation of "The Sword of Moses").  

Rather than cover this latter ground again, i'd like to suggest that you
take a look at the following web pages i have written that explain the
use of talismanic seals and kabbalistic incantaions of the Psalms by
hoodoo conjure doctors, as well as the role that De Laurence and Neumann
played in the cross-pollinization of African and European magic in
American before World War Two: 

  Hoodoo History:
  Secrets of the Psalms:
  Pow-Wows or Long-Lost Friend:    

A related idea -- De Laurence's influence on Obeah and other forms of
Caribbean folk-magic and folk-religion -- is touched upon in a series of
recent usenet posts by several contributors titled

Trinidad: Orisha Worship, Hindu Deities, Kabbalah, De Laurence 

which is archived at this rather long URL:

(join that into one line if your newsreader breaks it). 

and, if you wish to explore even deeper, use the Lucky Mojo onsite
search engine at the very bottom of the top-level page, 
    Lucky Mojo --
to enter the keywords "kabbalah hoodoo" -- and select the "all words"

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --
Lucky W Amulet Archive ---------

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
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     Copyright (c) 2001 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

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