Doctrine of Signatures, Belief and the Collective Unconscious.

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The Doctrine of Signatures : Every plant put on this Earth by God, is here for the use of Humanity (Genesis 1:29), and the value of each plant to mankind will be revealed to the discriminating herb doctor by the shape and/or colouration of the plant itself, its spiritual “signature”.

Such is the basis of all magical herbalism – be it traditional European herbal magic, ‘Wiccan’ herbal magic or Hoodoo herbal and root magic. Like herbal medicine, there is also the benefit of trial and error – but magic is tragically subjective and vague when it comes to a precise cause for an effect.

Chaos Magic, as envisioned by Peter Carrol, doesn’t dabble with roots or herbs intrinsically, but may secondarily if a magician chooses try on such a paradigm.

With the Doctrine of Signatures laid bare – many ‘psychic censors’ could be set off. We understand from our experience and from science that looks aren’t everything, and therefore if the Doctrine of Signatures provides a magically effective foundation – surely it’s a function of belief or faith, not supernatural spiritual essence of the plant, mineral or curio.

And, indeed, when buying herbs and materials from occult resources, sometimes you will get any old brown thing for the brown herb you ordered, on the understanding the magic is a function of belief, not the specific herb. Here’s where I’ll plug http://luckymojo.com, the owner, catherine yronwode, is an expert gardener and author of the excellent Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic – providing a resource for the ordering of authentic herbs, roots and forumulas in the Hoodoo tradition.

Now, the Occult shop selling you the wrong herb, they are not wrong. If you accept the wrong herb as the real thing, your belief alone can work very effective magic. But if the herb had been the real thing, do we know the magic wouldn’t have been that much more effective?

Plants, after all, are alive. If we accept the conceit that people have souls and magical potential, it’s not much of a stretch to believe animals and plants that are alive as we are alive are similarly spiritual and magical.

Lastly, the Collective Unconscious, theorized by C.G.Jung, has life in magic theory. Being that the beliefs of our predecessors are still potent on the domain of collective unconscious. So if you’re working with a magic herb (or any magical idea) with some history, the collective unconscious – perhaps it’s backing up your belief with the momentum of tradition giving your magic even more power.

Why Hoodoo?

The European magical tradition  makes things more difficult than it has to be. There is method to this madness, if you believe an herb must be harvested during a speficic phase of the moon else it’s worthless – it’s going to prove more effective for magicians that need to work hard to believe magic can work. There’s a lot of other Euro-baggage suggesting, more or less, that your magic had better be ‘white’ and ideally, ‘high magic’ else doom is sure to follow.

Hoodoo is African American folk magic, herbs are considered whole and as God intended them however they are harvested, magic isn’t divided into ‘black or white’ so neatly – depending on the circumstance a ‘black’ magic act could be for the greater good.

I came to Hoodoo early in my exploration of magic, and dismissed it as foolish folklore. Only after being exposed to Chaos Magic did I realize I could relinquish my prejudice and look at Hoodoo with new eyes.

Hoodoo has two key advantages in my opinion. It’s AMERICAN, which means, as an American – most or all of the herbs and roots are available, many grow locally. Second, Hoodoo is regularly structured in terms of a business. That means if a forumula doesn’t work, you’ll have an unsatisfied customer. A solitary magician working with herbs and roots may always be successful due to his will alone. Working with non magician customers gives you a superior way to evaluate the effectiveness of specific herbs, roots and formulas.

If you are interested in working with a professional Hoodoo Rootworker, I can recommend Dr. Kioni of http://drkioni.com

To be honest, I don’t know that when herb and rootwork is effective, exactly why its effective. If you’ve read my blog you  may suspect I’m using Hoodoo for the formulas using candles, incense and so forth – and you’d be right. It’s a beautiful tradition, a unique American hybrid of African, European and American Indian magical traditions.

To learn more, http://luckymojo.com is the resource I use other than books. It’s a site very dense with some of the best Hoodoo info you will find anywhere online.  LuckyMojo.com will also provide you with with traditionally formulated oils, powders and so forth, very afford-ably.

From cat yronwode’s book, Hoodoo and Root magic, here’s a list of herbs, roots, minerals and curios associated with attracting paying customers to a business:
  • Agrimony
  • Alfalfa
  • All Spice
  • Benzoin
  • Buckeye
  • Cinnamon
  • Coral Root
  • Dirt Dauber Nest
  • Earth Smoke
  • Five-Finger grass
  • Frog
  • Gall of the Earth
  • Ginger
  • Gunpowder
  • Irish Moss
  • Jezebel Root
  • Lodestone
  • Mace
  • Magnetic sand
  • Personal Concerns
  • Pyrite
  • Red Brick Dust
  • Sassafras
  • Sqill
  • Sweeteners
  • Tobacco
  • Vetiver
  • Yellow Dock

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