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To: alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi,alt.magick.chaos,alt.usenet.kooks
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Nomination for idiot sock of the month: Nagasiva Yronwode
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2003 22:53:26 GMT

Christopher wrote:

> Ive never understood this vicious hate-on for the yronwodes. Its quite
> disturbing, acctually. They are put down and insulted because of
> different methods and different beliefs. Ive noticed some people get
> extremely irritated at them, almost to the point I think its biggotry.
> Im not into folk magic really either, but Ive at least learned that we
> are much better off together as brothers and sisters, than apart.

Thanks for the liberal viewpoint. By the way, although folk
magic is my main interest, i do have a background in the
study and practice of Golden Dawn style work, Jewish
Kaballah, "modern" (e.g. 19th-20th century Euro-American)
astrology, and other Western Esoteric Tradition theories and
methods. My husband siva is equally familiar with and at
home in discussions of Thelema, Goetia, Tarot, and he is a
member of the O.T.O.

The question of "bigotry," which you raise her, is a loaded
issue. When i first began posting about hoodoo, circa 1994,
i did receive a lot of flak from uninformed Euro-style mages
who simply could not believe that something called "Hot Foot
Powder" or "Goofer Dust," for example, could be the
legitimate product of centuries of magical work in the
African tradition of herb and mineral based natural magic.
Based almost entirely on the NAMES of these items, they
claimed that they were "fraudulent" or "fake" and that they
had no "legitimate" use in magic at all. (Not surprisingly,
they did not know that the word Goofer is African in origin,
and so thought it was a silly ad hoc name affixed to a
spurious formula.)

At that time i was so inundated with cries of "What is this
shit?" that i actually wrote a form letter (posted to usenet
a few times as well) titled "Names Sound Fake?" in which i
explained that if hoodoo recipes, formulas, potions, oils,
powders, floor washes, and other products were fairly
compared to medieval herbal magic of European origin and
their neo-Pagan derivatives on the basis of ingredients and
manner of employment rather than NAMES, it would be found
that, aside from slight variations in the botanical
materials used which could be attributed to locale as much
as anything, there is a VAST overlap of ingredients,
beliefs, and practices. 

I also pointed out (in usenet and eventually in the
introduction to a book i wrote on the subject of hoodoo herb
magic) that hoodoo contains much material gleaned from
Native American magic. Few Euro-style mages trash THAT,
considering it a viable form of shamanism. The implication
of their respect for Native American shamanism and
disrespect for hoodoo is clear to me -- it's "cool" to have
Cherokee or other Native forebears (many "white" Americans
do) and to study their shamanic form of magic, but it's not
so cool to have African forebears or to study African forms
of magic -- at least not if you consider yourself "white." 

Another area of contention with which i have been involved
is that of the part played by traditional Jewish magic in
the Hermetic or Western Esoteric (largely Christian)

For one thing, i am one of those people who believes that it
is necessary to acknowledge that what is called Kaballah in
the Hermetic tradition has been appropriated from Jewish
sources. At one time, just stating that obvious fact could
lead to flame wars. These days i think the idea has settled
in -- and so we see people deliberately distinguishing
Jewish Kaballah from Christian Cabala and Hermetic Qabala. 

Then again, returning to the subject of folk magic, i have
ruffled a few feathers by noting that there is a strong
similarity between ancient Egyptian, Jewish, and African
American hoodoo spells, especially with respect to bathing
practices, but also when it comes to highly specialized
magical ingredients like the magical uses of eggs, black dog
hair, and black cat hair. These African / Jewish cultural
resonances do not sit well with certain "white" people who
already have trouble recognizing the African origin of our
species, and they also stoke the fires of hatred among those
who believe that Jews are not "white" in the sense they use
the term. 

However, i am happy to say that as time has gone by -- after
almost 10 years in usenet on my part and the creation of
hundreds of web pages demonstrating my theses -- the racial
bigotry and mocking that used to accompany my posts about
folk magic have almost disappeared. Familiarity eases many
people past their initial xenophobic tension, contempt,
rejection, and fear of "others." These days i only have to
send out the "Names Sound Fake?" form letter once a month or

As for the activity of habitual trolls and flamers who
attack me -- that is another matter, and has little to do
with their beliefs about social mores, magic, and cultural
material in general -- which are irrelevant to the study and
practice of magic. 

In fact, i'd go so far as to say that people like that --
especially the flame-war initiators who betray their agendas
by calling me by my husband's name and vice versa, using
scatological epithets, posting sexual innuendo and other
trash, and resorting to childish tactics like making puns
from my name -- are not fueled by hatred or bigotry with
respect to me or to magical practices. They are just passing
through the magical and spiritual newsgroups trying to raise
sand, and they resort to a limited variety of shop-worn
tactics to try to raise my ire, a thankless task, but one to
which they appear hideously chained by the bonds of heir own

> Lets say he has a bunch of different identities? 

Actually, he doesn't hide behind identities. They are not
sock puppets. He always gives his true and current email
address -- which at the present time is nagasiva at yronwode
dot com or nagasiva at luckymojo dot com. The nyms he uses
are of such long standing that some date back to the late
1980s and he is so open about them that they appear in
online descriptions of his web site. Each nym relates to the
topic of conversation. Lorax666 of the evul wikkans is a tag
he uses in posts to wiccan newsgroups in which he takes a
renegade and anti-hierarchical stance. Flufwikn is the nym
he makes when posting to wiccan newsgroups and endorsing the
Wiccan Rede and Wiccan standards of kindness and good will.
Boboroshi appears on his posts to Buddhist newsgroups or in
discussions of Buddhism. Blackman99 can be found in his
posts about hoodoo with respect to the "devil" (black man)
at the crossroads and other dark aspects of folk magic. SOD
of the COE (Satanic Outreach Director of the Church of
Euthanasia) is seen in his posts made with reference to
euthanasia and suicide as valid choices for
life-termination. And so forth... 

> At least he contributes
> what he can from his perspective, and often times the topics he 
> posts have to do directly with interesting occult work such as the
> Goetia, which is more than I can say for 99% of this group. 

I am not sure which group you are posting from (this message
was cross-posted), but, yeah -- he does post about occultism
and magic.

> Between Golden Dawn Fecal fights
> and constant ego battling between the long time users, very little magic
> ever gets discussed here.

Use killfilters to delete the noisemaking non-contributors,
those hostile to magic, and the trolls and you will find a
much smaller, but much more interesting usenet, in my

cat yronwode 

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

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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
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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
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