Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Uncrossing, part 1

Have you ever been under a crossed condition?

I have, and I can tell you being crossed really sucks.  Late 2009 and all of 2010 were already one of the absolute worst times of my life, with economic woes (read job-loss) and a slew of misfortunes.  The latter half of 2010 saw me in a heart-breakingly uncomfortable living situation, and I fell into a deep and severe depression.  Nothing went right.  Anything good was accompanied by something equally bad.  I had streaks of freak bad luck, and I just couldn't seem to get my life together.

Not even my magical practices were safe.  A working I did to combat the streaks of bad luck reversed, turning my life into its own personal hell.  When I began to come down with something and did a working for healing to combat it, I came down with a fairly severe and painful viral infection that left me with after-effects which I still have.

In short, I was crossed.

The term “crossed” comes from Hoodoo, referring to a spiritual condition where the person afflicted is continually in a jinxed and blocked state.  The condition can affect the person in general, or it can affect specific aspects of their life, according to Brother Moloch in his article on Uncrossing(1).  One of the first signs, according to Jason Miller in his book Protection & Reversal Magic, is that the person will feel out of step with life and will be unable to do things like show up on time(2).  In my opinion it’s not a far stretch to add that the person afflicted will often seem unable to do anything right.  At least, that’s been my experience with my own crossed condition.

In addition to affecting potentially different aspects of life (or life in general), a crossed condition can change severity.  Generally it seems to get worse and worse, but mine seemed to lessen and worsen from time to time.  Brother Moloch defines three stages of a crossed condition:

  • "First: Slight feelings of disease, nervousness and a desire to short circuit oneself in a particular area. Feelings of inferiority and insecurity. An all pervasive sense of anxiety but still capable of functioning in day-to-day activities. Strange or compulsive activities. Depressed while having feelings of entities being around or watching you. Odd people approaching you on the street. Trouble in minor areas of your life, for example - getting the wrong change at a store, getting the wrong order at a restaurant, and etc. Little things start malfunctioning and you cannot concentrate on daily business matters. 
  • "Second: You receive very negative messages from people around close to you. Very often, the nervousness and self-abnegation have turned now to actual physical symptoms resulting either in frequent illnesses or the contraction of a chronic, long term illness. Nothing works out well in your life, but you're still able to force yourself to function in daily life. You now have a general feeling of listlessness and withdrawal, a state of constant insecurity or fear of being hurt or failing in some way. One feels at odds with one's universe, like a stranger in your own life. You start to fall fast at this stage and you need to take control now or risk serious damage to your mind and body. Your life is Hell and it won't get better unless you take positive action now. 
  • "Third: Total incapacitation whether through physical illness or psychological to stress. Now you are in BIG TROUBLE. Violent fits of temper followed by a total lack of energy. Inability to hold a job or support oneself in any meaningful way. Delusions of grandeur accompanied by deeply rooted feelings of inadequacy. Paranoia arises threats are viewed in all directions. Possible attempts at suicide or strong thoughts abut doing it. Depression, which seems will never end. Headaches, chest pains, stomach ailments, etc. You're at the end of your rope. You feel like you are losing mind. If you allow yourself to reach this point, you'll have a great deal of work ahead of you to bring yourself back to normal.” (3)

Going by that, a crossed condition can become quite severe, indeed!  Aside from further magical or spiritual attacks, I sometimes wonder what mundane things can make it worse.  Looking at my own bout with being crossed, it seems as though depression can definitely worsen a crossed condition, either directly or indirectly.  I try to avoid the notion that emotions = energy, but the excessive negativity from my depression did seem to progressively make things worse until I reached my breaking point.   And once I started recovering from that depression (and did a certain other spiritual operation which I may talk about some other time), it seemed has though the condition weakened.

As for generally falls under the category of large amounts of directed negativity.  First and most obvious, a magical practitioner could easily cross someone.  Many seem to have a natural tendency to cast unconsciously, so when there’s someone they are angry toward over a period of time, sometimes the object of that anger will become crossed.  In more deliberate efforts, there are a plethora of spells, especially in Hoodoo, to cross others and bring them under the condition.

And just as living, human people can cross one another, the less-physical denizens of the world can do so too.  Spirits offended by the actions of humans in their territory are fully capable of spiritually attacking that person(4).  Likewise, spirits summoned and sent to attack a person can have the same affect.  Either way the result is the same: the victim becomes crossed.

In Protection & Reversal Magic, Jason mentions that one possible source of spiritual attack could be the “occult ambiance” of a place(5).  In this case, either the afflicted person disagrees with the energy of a place, or that place has such a heavy, negative, and sinister influence to it that one can go into it and walk out energetically/spiritually “stained”.  And of course like attracts like, and soon the negativity builds up.

So far, things outside of the afflicted person have been discussed as causes of a crossed condition.  There are more internal things that involve the afflicted themselves that cause it too.

I mentioned before that it boils down to large amounts of directed negativity.  If it comes from oneself, then it is more of a matter of built-up negativity.  This is what I suspect caused my own condition, but I have yet to confirm it through divination.  If a person is in a very negative mindset and either can’t or won’t release it, it can build up to where they become crossed.  Likewise if a person is around negativity that doesn’t get released from them afterward, either through catharsis or by spiritual cleansing and practicing psychic hygeine, Devi Spring puts it like this:
“You can think of it just like you do about regular cleaning – if you don’t shower regularly, you will start to smell, and all kinds of bacteria and viruses will build up on the body. Your state of “stinkiness” causes people to start avoiding you, talking behind your back, and it could even get you fired! You may find yourself acting angry and short with these people as you react emotionally to their poor treatment of you, and this anger may carry over into your close relationships until even those begin to crumble. Being unclean can also make you more vulnerable to becoming infected by all the germs growing unchecked on your person, and you could become very sick, or small scratches and scrapes could become seriously infected.” (6)
Once again, it builds up until the person is crossed.  (Side Note: The thing is, though, I hate referring to it like negativity you can pick up that needs to be released through catharsis and such.  It just seems too easy to take that and treat people who are simply depressed or going through a rough spot as if they’re evil and trying to hurt you with their “dark energy”.  I’ve known, and hate, people who do that and I tend to avoid them.  This is why I think the notion of emotions=energy always needs to be kept closely in check.)

There are, however, things resulting directly from a person’s actions that should be taken into consideration, especially if the person afflicted is a magical practitioner.

Many magicians and occultists have heard of a magical vow or oath.  This is an oath taken under the witness of different deities and spirits.  Those spirits, as well as the higher aspects of yourself, are expected to hold you to that oath.  If you break the oath, the conditions set forth in the oath itself will occur.  For example, a magical oath might be:
“I, so-and-so, being of sound mind, do hereby vow to keep secret all knowledge I have gained in walking the magical path.  I vow not to lie, or steal, or betray those whom I love.  Should I break this magical oath in any way, may the guardians of my tradition smite me and harry me, and may all my magical implements turn against me.  May all my abilities be null and void, until such a time as I make amends.  This I swear, by the names of the Gods themselves.”
On the surface it seems blatantly idiotic to take magical oaths, but they do have great benefits that make up for how hazardous they are.  That’s neither here nor there when it comes to this post, however.  In Protection & Reversal Magic, Jason relates about what happened when he broke part of a magical oath he had taken(7).  Sure enough, he began to suffer from the symptoms of a crossed condition.  Of course, in a case like this, a lot of it is the action of spirits in accord with the oath.

So, at this point we know what a crossed condition is and what causes it.  But what are you supposed to do about it?  You have to get UNcrossed!  Most sources I’ve researched on the topic of uncrossing have a central method in common that takes place in three stages:

1. The Spiritual Bath
Spiritual baths have a long history of traditional use in systems of folk magic, especially in Hoodoo.  Herbs and other ingredients numbering 3, 7, 9, or 13 are added to boiling water and brewed into a tea-like infusion, and then allowed to cool.  Before being added to the water, the ingredients are traditionally prayed over, and then after the infusion is created, it is prayed over as well.  The usual bathing method is to pour the water over yourself, starting from the head and going down to the feet.  The water is wiped along the body downwards(8), and on the arms it is done toward the hands.  I consider the motions akin to wiping dirt off of oneself.  While bathing, prayer for lifting the crossed condition is repeated over and over.

After bathing in the water, an amount of it is taken to a crossroads and thrown over the left shoulder.  Afterwards the person walks away from the crossroads without looking back.

2. Candleburning/Incense Smoking
From the sources I’ve read, this is often more like an addition to the spiritual bath.  Before bathing, candles dressed in uncrossing oil are placed at both ends of the tub so that the person walks between them like a door.  They’re walked between the same way at the conclusion of the bath.  Traditionally, the person will let themselves air dry, and will waft themselves through the smoke of an incense known for uncrossing.  After all this, they anoint themselves with the same uncrossing oil used to dress the candles.

Also, other types of candles can be burned during the length of the operation.  A separate offertory candle per day can be dressed in uncrossing oil and burned.  Even glass-encased vigil candles are used as well.

3. Home Cleansing
This is mostly done through the use of a floorwash, another traditional technique in Hoodoo.  The floorwash is made from ingredients also numbering 3, 7, 9, or 13.  In a house or apartment that has hardwood or other types of flooring that can be mopped, the floorwash is used as mop-water.  Traditionally, the person would mop from the back of the top floor of the house to the front door.  In a home that’s carpeted, there are various ways to utilize the floorwash, the easiest being to put it in a spray bottle and spritz the carpets in the same pattern.  And naturally, one would be continually praying while doing this.  The remaining floorwash is then disposed of similarly to the bathwater.

Just as the big cleansers used in the above stages have 3, 7, 9, or 13 ingredients, two or three of the stages themselves are traditionally repeated for the same consecutive days in a row.  I’ve seen one or two sources instruct to repeat all three stages everyday, but most have simply instructed to do stages 1, 2, and 3 on the first day, and then stages 1 and 2 everyday after that.

I guess it just depends on preference.

After everything is cleansed away, what do you do then?  Is there a void left behind to be filled?  Some seem to think so, some don’t mention it.  Dr. E, for example, has several blog posts related to uncrossing different aspects of one’s life.  His approach seems to be:
  1. Cleanse
  2. Protect
  3. Generate a positive condition

This is especially so in his post on reversing bad luck.  The cleansing part of course is what I outlined above as the uncrossing operation.

As for protection, Dr. E gives a good procedure, but I would add some more direct personal protection such as an amulet or talisman of some kind.  The cleansing and protection combined sound to me like an excellent strategy.  I would even go so far as to do a warding on the home.  Just as you cleanse yourself of the condition and then move on to cleanse it from your home, why not do the same with protection?

Generating a positive condition, it seems to me, could entail any number of operations and really depends on the condition one is trying to create.  In the aftermath of the uncrossing operation given above, for example, one could create a general good condition by performing a house blessing, such as the one Devi spring demonstrates in this lovely video.  If your crossed condition was over one aspect of your life, then after uncrossing you could do a working aimed specifically at that aspect.

And that, dear readers, is a nice summary of what I’ve been able to learn about the topic of crossed conditions and uncrossing.  I’ve kept it rather general, and even vague in some areas, because it’s a decently broad subject, and I have limited experience with this.  Just among spells to cross someone, there are so many different ways to do it.  Likewise, there are many ways to become uncrossed.  I’ve simply outlined a method that’s more traditional from Hoodoo practices.  Some practitioners include other elements, like the egg cleansing done by The Unlikely Mage, or calling upon various spirits to assist with the uncrossing (like Dr. Raven does with St. Cyprian).

And also...I never actually lifted the crossed condition I’ve been suffering under.  Although it’s rather weak overall right now, it’s still there blocking up things in my life and generally being a pain in the ass.  I’ve been managing and combating it when needed, and will continue to do so until, in the very near future, I get certain supplies I wish to use in my own uncrossing operation.

And that’s another reason I kept this post vague on technique and materia: it’s paving the way for me to write about what I did to kick my crossed condition!  For a couple weeks now I’ve been putting together information in order to formulate a solid plan of attack, and I just about have it all mapped out before me.

Upcoming posts on this particular topic will detail my progress toward getting everything I need together for this operation, and after performing it I will post the details.  And hopefully after that I will be posting about how effective it was!

There are several sources I cited and linked to in this post.  One BIG useful one that I did not link to is the Lucky Mojo site's article on Uncrossing.  Anyone seeking to learn more about uncrossing would do well to read through it.

Cited Sources
(2)  Miller, Jason. Protection & Reversal Magic. Pompton Plains, NJ (New Page Books, 2006).  Page 29
(4)  Protection & Reversal Magic, pp. 19-21
(5)  Protection & Reversal Magic, pp. 21-23
(7)  Protection & Reversal Magic, pp. 23-24

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Out of Jail -or- Why Improv Is Fun

I've had my first successful spell in months!

Wow, it's sad that I'm saying that...

Anyway, without going into too much detail, someone near and dear to me got arrested last week and put in jail.  It was a crazy circumstance, and all parties involved knew better but had a serious lapse in judgment.  Well, due to the near-and-dear status this person has in my life... I've been stressing out over it.

Unfortunately, to make matters worse, the penal/legal system tends to really drag its ass.  Thus, this person ended up not just staying in jail for 24-48 hours...they ended up staying there for almost a week...until tonight, in fact.  The frustrating thing is, it was all about speeding violations.  Nothing else, no serious crime.

With the information I had, things looked very bleak.  In fact, I doubted that I would see this person again for months!  My arrogance kicked in and labeled this situation "Unacceptable".  Completely unacceptable!  So, over the weekend, I finally put a few things I've learned from Sorcery into play.

Before I did anything, I made the Gesture of Offering from Jason Miller's book "The Sorcerer's Secrets" to the usual gamut of spirits I offer to daily, asking that if there was anyone willing to help me in this working, to please do so.  The rest of the working went like this:

  1. Not having any personal effects from this person other than my relationship to them (trust me, there's enough there to use), I took inspiration from Hoodoo and made a "name paper" of them.  Or, at least, I did the best I could with the knowledge I have.  So, I took a piece of paper about 4"x5" and wrote their name 7 times.  Then I crossed their name with a brief statement of desire ("Out of jail, home safe and sound") 7 times.  I folded the paper 3 times and sat it in the middle of my altar.
  2. Not having any appropriately-colored 4" candles, I grabbed a plain white tealight.
  3. Next, I performed the Universal Center from "The Sorcerer's Secrets".
  4. After I was centered, I performed The Pillar & The Spheres, another exercise from "The Sorcerer's Secrets" (hereafter referred to as TSS).
  5. Now, centered with power running through me, I lit a special candle I have dedicated to my Daimon, and recited The Invocation of the Agathodaimon from, you guessed it, TSS.
  6. Having worked with Ganesha before, I lit his candle on my altar and recited his main mantra for a minute.
  7. Then I got down to business.  I took the tealight and, not having any court or legal oriented oils, I anointed it with my holy oil.  I did it counterclockwise on the candle because I wanted this person out of jail.  Then, I set the tealight on top of the name paper.
  8. With all these in line, I used the Gesture of Conjuring that Jason posted on his blog over New Year's, invoking general forces involved with the legal system in the name of IAO.  The request during it was that this person be out of jail ASAP or within 2 weeks, whichever came first.  I ended the gesture by directing the force into the candle.  During the invocation I added that any bail amounts must be low.
  9. I lit the candle.

That's it.  No muss, no fuss, no circle, no quarters.

At this point, though, I must say this spell was incredibly mix & match and full of substitution.  If I had the appropriate supplies at the time, I would have done it MUCH differently.  But overall, I think this spell was solid for the improv-job it was.  Here are a few points to consider:

  1. The basic technique, as adapted as it was, has elements of traditional Hoodoo in it if I'm not mistaken.  I've seen it (or versions of it) used in workings posted by conjure workers and root doctors across the blog-o-sphere, and it seems like a solid technique.
  2. I made sure to first have the backing of my Daimon/HGA, thus the Invocation of the Agathodaimon.  Often if a magician has that, he might as well have the very power of God behind him.
  3. As the Opener of Ways, Ganesha seemed perfect to petition for aid.
  4. My holy oil is a recipe I made myself, out of oils relating to each of the four elements, plus others known to be spiritual.  Thus, in a pinch it could do as an all-purpose oil.  Oddly enough I've also heard this about straight olive oil...
  5. Speaking of all-purpose, the tealight seemed fitting.  It's funny, years ago when I worked with candles, I inwardly scoffed at tealights and those tiny 4" candles that you have to get the equally-small holders for.  I was always a 6" taper kinda, that sounds dirty.  ANYWAY, white was the all-purpose part of the candle...and as they say "When all else fails, use white".  Well, I *think* they say that...something like it at any rate.
  6. Last but not least, I was DAMN focused on my goal!  I was not fuckin' kidding around, man!

And I did it all without a bunch of opening and closing frame rituals.  I didn't cast a circle, I didn't call the quarters.  There were no geometric shapes traced in the air and there was only one name that was intoned.  Okay, two!  Overall the spell was solid, and while I'm not going to repeat it exactly, I will keep the general technique in mind in the future.

It just now occurs to me that this spell may very well have been a slightly-glorified setting of a light (a Hoodoo technique). HA!

As is traditional, I observed the candle's flame for a bit afterward in a kind of divination.  The flame seemed small, but it was solid and stayed that way until it burned out.  From what I know, that was a good sign.

Today, although it was delayed, the person in question had an equally no muss/no fuss hearing and was released on a low bail amount.

I decided to consult my pendulum to see if my spell contributed to this.  The pendulum seemed to confirm a "yes" answer.

Overall, I call this one EFFECTIVE! So, I gave a nice big offering to the spirits who helped me on this one.  They're currently supping on some delicious Southern Comfort, and some of my favorite Nag Champa incense.  They did a great job and I'm really thankful.

I got to talk to my Valentine tonight.  :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Magic like a Project

In addition to following the Strategic Sorcery approach in my magic, I think it will benefit me to work through it as a process, in the same way Rufus Opus presents in this blog post, Magical Projects.