Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to wiggle your nose or wave a magic wand and have your troubles instantly vanish? I always envied Samantha on Bewitched for her ability to make an annoying person disappear or instantly clear away the dirty dishes. And the way I Dream of Jeannie’s Barbara Eden could simply fold her arms and blink her eyes and whatever trouble she had accidentally conjured up would immediately vanish . . . very impressive. If only we all had genies and magick lamps! (Denise Alvarado, The Voodoo Doll Spellbook 2014)
The belief in crossings is a core psychological component of African American folk magic, as well as indigenous spiritual systems and European-based witchcraft. In each of these traditions the effects are the same; but, the causal effects are labeled differently. In African-derived traditions such as Voudou, Hoodoo and conjure, for example, to be crossed is to have something bad “put” on you by (usually) an external, supernatural force. This condition is typically believed to be the result of witchcraft in Native American cosmologies. In European witchcraft, to be crossed is to be hexed. Whatever label is applied to experiencing unfortunate circumstances and negative conditions, the feeling is the same to the affected person, no matter what culture or religion they belong to.
In the context of New Orleans Voudou, the terminology for crossed conditions is the same as in Hoodoo, not surprisingly. To be the recipient of negativity by an external force is to be crossed, fixed or jinxed. The belief in supernatural causes of circumstance can be traced to African cosmology:
African theories of illness and death developed within the context of religious belief systems. The cause and treatment of illness were believed to be determined by sorcery and the actions of spirits. Even though the people taken to these shores in the Atlantic slave trade were from many different belief systems and regions in Africa, they had shared perceptions about the relationship of ancestors with the living, the influence of the gods and spirits on the living, and the belief in the potential for good and evil within the spirit world (Schick, 1986). Because illness is believed to have a spiritual basis, medicine alone is unable to treat it. (Alvarado, 2011, p. 142).
Without a doubt, there is a strong psychological component to the mere thought of being crossed or hexed. For the one doing the crossing, the effects of seeking revenge through supernatural means range from light-hearted fun to extreme catharsis. Typically, people who resort to sorcery as a means of gaining some power and control often feel they have been stripped of their will regarding a situation or condition. For the intended target, however, just the suggestion of being crossed is enough to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, if you believe things will go wrong, they often will.
Indeed, feeling as if you have been crossed does not mean that this is the case. In fact, most of the time people cross themselves as a result of self-defeating mindsets and attitudes towards the challenges faced in life. Everyone experiences hardship, everyone is faced with difficult decisions, everyone experiences loss, the death of loved ones, cuts in pay, increases in expenses – these events are not unusual. They are part and parcel of what is called life. What makes one person different from another, and what makes that person seem as if they are “lucky” and “have it easy” is - 9 times out of 10 - their attitude, how they perceive what lies in front of them and what they choose to do about it.
That said, whether you are the source of your own unintended crossing or the supernatural target of an enemy, you can still uncross yourself through ritual action. Human beings are very ritualistic in nature and many times performing a symbolic action that represents a desired change will often, and quite naturally, result in the desired change. That’s why rites of passage are so important. They define important moments in life where the individual moves from one state of being to the next. Whether it is moving from childhood to adulthood, graduating from high school and going to college, going from being single to getting married, from being childless to having a child, or from being crossed to being uncrossed, all of these events are usually celebrated as important events in time, punctuating their importance in our life’s journey.
Uncrossing Crossed Conditions with a Double Action Uncrossing/Road Opener Candle
Uncrossing spells are those that are intended to remove the effects of a negative spiritual attack. When a person is uncrossed, they are restored to a natural state of being by virtue of a spiritual cleansing. Negative energy is removed and there is no longer an unnatural emphasis of negative experiences in life. The uncrossing ritual is the necessary medicine for the spiritual disease that is being crossed.
As Maya Angelou once said, “If you don’t like something, change it.” To change something, we must take action. And so it is with hoodoo and New Orleans Voudou; it is an action-oriented approach to life, a way to master one’s own fate with the help of the spirits.
The work described in this section is a little different than what you might find described elsewhere. In commercial hoodoo, you will find double action candles that are red and black, with the red on top and the black on the bottom. The candle is supposed to be turned over and butted; that is, carved to expose the wick so that it can be burned in reverse action so as to trick an enemy. This is the popular reversal action. The red/black candle turned upside-down does what it implies - it reverses curses and sends evil and negativity back from whence it came.
This work, however, uses a red and black glass encased candle and is not used as a reversal candle. This candle work uses the red and black glass-encased candle as an uncrossing candle and road opener candle. The goal is to remove negative conditions so that the road to opportunities may open. The color associations are identifiable as those associated with Ellegua, the Guardian of the Crossroads and Opener of Roads and hence, the doors to opportunities. In New Orleans Voudou, Ellegua walks alongside Papa Legba in the Order of Service as the young child next to the old man, the balance of youth and old age, trickery and wisdom, student and teacher.
Road opener works typically begin with an uncrossing of some sort. Once negative energies are removed, the roads are open for new and positive energies to enter. The path of life is clear so we can forge ahead. When there are too many things standing in the way, change and advancement becomes impossible because we are expending all of our energy on the crises and distractions. This is how we become and stay stagnant. We feel overwhelmed, can’t think clearly and feel unable to make a single, sound decision.
So, what kinds of obstacles can be cleared away with uncrossing and road opener works? Virtually any kind of obstacle can be eliminated, whether it is internal or external. And, what kinds of doors can be opened? Well, the sky is the limit!
This is what you need for a simple, yet extremely effective, uncrossing/road opener ritual:
- Chicken foot
- A fixed double-action uncrossing/Road Opener candle
- Uncrossing oil
- Written petition
- Blessed salt or Kosher salt
Write your petition on the piece of paper. You want to include your name and the condition you wish to eliminate and the results you wish to see. Be as specific as possible with this petition and should only be one or two sentences. Anoint the paper with the uncrossing oil 5 times - once on each corner, moving counterclockwise and once in the center. This is referred to as "five-spotting." Place the petition under the candle.
Using the chicken foot, brush yourself in a downward motion, starting at your head and visualize any negative attachments being scratched off of you by the chicken foot. Chickens, especially the variety known as frizzly chickens, are infamous for the reputations in conjury as removers of jinxes. They are kept in the yards of rural believers, allowed to continuously scratch at the ground, potentially digging up any conjures that are buried on a person’s property. Anoint yourself with the uncrossing oil at the top of your head, your heart area and the bottoms of your feet.
Place a couple of drops of the oil onto the top of the candle and spread it around the surface in a counterclockwise direction. Light the candle and say a heartfelt prayer of your own. You may say a prayer to St. Jude, a favorite Saint of New Orleans known for helping people in the most dire of circumstances. Though, novenas to St. Jude often utilize a dark green candle, this is not written in stone and any saint may be petitioned at any time with only a heartfelt prayer.
O most holy St. Jude, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, you are known universally for your patronage of hopeless cases and for your willingness to help those in despair. Pray for me, St. Jude, for I feel so helpless and alone. Please bring me quick relief and the help of heaven in all my tribulations and sufferings, particularly (state your request).
I promise, O blessed St. Jude, to be ever mindful of this great favor, to always honor you as my special and powerful patron Saint. I promise to gratefully encourage devotion to you by publishing this request. Amen.
A prayer may also be said to the Holy Child of Atoche, who is syncretized with Ellegua in Santeria. Though the work presented here is not Santeria, as stated previously, any saint may be petitioned at any time whenever intercession is needed. Thus, if you prefer to ask The Holy Child of Atoche for assistance, by all means do so. Here is a popular prayer found on votive candles to the Infant Jesus:
Gracious Infant of Atocha!
Infant of a thousand wonders.
I salute thee and glorify thee on this day
and offer this prayer in memory of thy tender love
that was always evident to your sainted mother and father.
Look favorably on this favor and request and
Grant that which I humbly solicit. Amen
(Concentrate on your petition.)
Once you have done this uncrossing road opener ritual and said your prayer, take a cleansing bath consisting of a handful of blessed salt (either kosher salt or salt that you pray the 23rd psalm over), a handful of hyssop and a handful of rue. Just toss it all in a warm bath tub and soak for 15 minutes. Pour a little of the water over your head seven times. Allow the water to drain and save a cupful. take the cupful of water and throw it to the West, so your crossed condition will be removed as the sun sets. Do this bath on the first, third and last day of the candle burning.
The candle should be allowed to burn until it burns down completely. Use the chicken foot each day to uncross yourself. Be mindful of saying your prayers every day at the same time. Once the candle has burned down completely, place it in a brown paper bag and throw it away, along with your crossed condition. The roads will now be open for you.
Ideally you want to carry a mojo bag that has been prepared for you for protection after the ritual as well. Anoint yourself daily with the uncrossing oil and anoint your mojo bag weekly.
You can find fabulous double action uncrossing/road opener candles that have been fixed, meaning they have been empowered by a priestess for their specific purpose, with herbs and oils at the Ritual Witch Shoppe on Etsy. They come with a real chicken foot. The bottle of uncrossing oil come with a cute little chicken foot charm I’ve never seen anywhere else before.
Alvarado, D. (2014) The Voodoo Doll Spellbook. San Fransisco, CA: Weiser Books.
Alvarado, D. (2011). Mississippi Death Conjure and Killing Hurts. Hoodoo and Conjure Quarterly, Vol.2, p 142-143.
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