Thursday, February 28, 2019

Interview with Tim Burlingame

Interview with Tim Burlingame
By Chelsea Morning

Find out about Hoodoo folklore, rare mojo bags he’s made, and if he would get on a Wheel of Death

Authentic as the stones, roots, and bones of the earth, Tim Burlingame, brings with him a presence of kindness, realness, and a genuine warmth. Surrounding himself in an environment of plants, elements, animals and lore, he is a curios, a talisman, a walking, talking, breathing charm of good luck, protection, and prosperity. Self-taught, knowledgeable, and skilled in the practice of rootwork, he’s a maker, not just of Mojo Bags, but of customs and traditions, carrying on the stories and magic of the our past, and distant lands, connecting us to an array of spirits and the elements of our earth. I was so curious during this interview, that I was on the edge of my seat, waiting for the answers to all of my questions, and Tim, a true folklorist, doesn’t disappoint.

When and how did you start getting interested in herbs and their magical properties?
It's all pretty mundane, actually. Probably ten or eleven years ago, I had seen several movies and television shows with plots involving Hoodoo, and was curious about what it was and the authenticity of its presentation. So through the internet and library, I gained a basic understanding of Hoodoo and its principles. For fun I started making mojo bags for my friends. Eventually I started stocking up on Hoodoo and African American folklore books, learning as much as I could. Hurston, Hyatt, and Yronwode were my main sources, but my library is becoming fairly extensive. I've actually become a bit of an amateur folklorist, with a primary focus on African American and slave culture.

Your mojo bags are based in Hoodoo folk magic, can you tell us about the cultural influences and the basic spiritual beliefs of Hoodoo?
Hoodoo has a long history of assimilation. It is an eclectic blend of the beliefs of many cultures, all adapted for use by common people with little money or property, to exercise control over their lives.
The basic concepts of Hoodoo are that there are spirits that can either help or hurt us, depending on the will of the practitioner, and that certain objects have magical attributes that can be used to these ends. There is no strict morality enforced in Hoodoo, but most practitioners tend to be moral people, only working to better the lives of themselves, friends, and family.
Africans brought their religions of ancestor worship and root magic to America on slave ships. To hide these beliefs from their masters, who disapproved of and punished their practice, they integrated Catholic ritual and Mexican Santeria into their own magical system. Many of their traditional roots had to be replaced with those of the native plants, and the use of bones, minerals, and animal curios were adopted from Native American Animism. European green magic, Hebrew Kabbalah, and Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-wow magic were later integrated into Hoodoo tradition through various grimoires and pamphlets from mystics, travelling salesmen, and mail-order catalogs.

The Mojo Bags we carry at Chicory Hill Herbs are: Money Drawing, Keep-Away, Love, Protection, Favor & Success, and Good Fortune. Would these be considered to be authentic vegetable and mineral Hoodoo curios? Can you explain what vegetable and mineral curios are and how they are effective in helping to attain success or improve the lives of those who carry them?
They are authentic, made in the Hoodoo tradition. Everything I use in my mojos can be found in a book, article, or essay from reliable sources. I take pride in this, as you will often find sellers online who blend Hoodoo with Voodoo or Wicca, or even make things up completely, and claim authenticity.
What we call curios are simply objects that are believed to hold their own inherent power to magically help or harm. They can be roots, herbs, minerals, seeds, et cetera. Their powers or affinities can be based on folktales, behavior or attributes of their source, or sometimes simply what they look like. In most cases, any curio can stand on its own as a charm, but several items with similar abilities will work together for stronger results.

I’ve read that Mojo Bags shouldn’t be considered to be inanimate objects, but rather a spiritual ally. It's also been stated that mojo bags should be given a name, just as we all were when we were born. Do you feel this is important or not important to the potency of the bag?
Yes, the mojo is treated as a living thing; a beneficial spirit that should be nurtured and cared for. Some people like to share a name with their conjure hand. I might call my mojo for favor "Little Timothy" so there is a more direct connection between the bag and myself. To gain a stronger bond with the object of my affection, I would name a love bag after him or her. I leave this out of the instructions in my mojo packaging because there is limited space and I try to keep it as simple and user-friendly as possible for the new practitioner. I include more in-depth instructions with custom orders.
Naming your mojo isn't strictly necessary. Care and feeding, however, is. Oils, perfumes, and contrary to some people's sensibilities, urine or sexual fluids, are all ways to empower any Hoodoo charm, be it a bag, doll, petition paper, or spell.

You also do special orders! Will these often incorporate rare or more difficult to obtain items? What are some of the more in-depth mojo bags you’ve created?
They can, as there is more flexibility with price and the amount of time I have to make them. Another liberty I have is the use of animal curios. I avoid their use at Chicory Hill out of respect for their beliefs, but they are an important part of some Hoodoo work. Of course I discuss options with the customer beforehand.
I put together a "fiery protection" mojo, which reflects psychic and magical attacks back to the sender. Among other items, it contains a ling nut, also known as devil pod, which is difficult to find in the United States at a reasonable price. My favorite though, is what I call "The Winning Hand". It's for skill with the hands, either at work or while gambling, and I've only made one so far. It contains five hand-related curios, the rarest and most unique of which is a human finger bone, legally obtained of course.

10 Little Questions (because it’s the little things that mean so much)

What’s your favorite sound?
The crackle and roar of a fire.

What smell do you love?
The exceedingly mild aroma of the flower that blooms on our cactus once or twice a year. Its rarity makes it seem so much sweeter.

What animal would you like to have a conversation with?
A cat.

Would you ever agree to being secured to the Wheel of Death, while an expert knife thrower, threw knives at you?
Absolutely, without a second thought.

Where’s your happy place?
On the couch with a cat and a book.

What are you currently reading?
The Bartitsu Compendium: History and Canonical Syllabus

What’s your favorite herb?
Tobacco. It holds a sacred place in Native American beliefs, and I have always found a pipe to be meditative, in much the same way, I hope, as it is for them.

What’s your favorite essential oil?
Black Pepper.

What gemstone do you love?

What is the universe trying to tell us?
That things can be right again if we change our course now.

You can contact Tim for questions or special orders at:

Crystal Grid for Luck & Abundance

"To receive is to radiate."
Pyrite: Creates a "can do" attitude; good for manifestation, creativity, overcoming fear, taking action to reach goals and create abundance. The reflective nature allows one to "see themselves" illuminated and inspired. Square crystals consolidate energy within their form. Useful for anchoring intentions or for grounding. Naturally occurring squares can also draw off negative energy and transform it into positive.

Citrine: Removes obstacles and the feeling of unworthiness. Helps one find persistence to "make it happen"; allows for visionary perspectives, opening one to conceptual and imaginal processes. Purifies the manifestation channel connecting one to the Divine energies of intent and action.

Carnelian: Brings one into alignment with courage to "take the leap" and reminds us that "spirit helps those who help themselves." Allows one to see the right choice of action and how to set aspirations into motion. Stone of success.

Aventurine: Can assist in attracting luck in situations where one does not control the outcome. Refreshes perspectives on the mundane, lending growth and vitality to the things that make up ones' expanding reality- opening doors and encouraging one to "venture" with a zest for life.

Apophyllite: Helps to increase one's inner vision; offers renewed vision to those who have become discouraged in their spiritual growth so they can go forth with courage and purpose.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

GRAPEFRUIT: Essential Oil of the Month

Grapefruit was first recorded in the eighteenth century and scientists believe it developed as a mutation of the pomelo fruit. Grapefruit essential oil is made by pressing the peel of the fruit. The seeds produce grapefruit seed oil, which is sometimes used in cooking, and seed extract, which is antifungal and often used for issues like athelete's foot. Grapefruit essential oil can help with nausea and indigestion (used externally or diffused). It can also help with lung congestion. It is antibacterial and antiseptic and a nice addition to cleaning products. The scent is uplifting and refreshing and can sharpen the senses and improve mental clarity. Because it increases energy, it would be a helpful ally to diffuse in an exercise room. If applied to the skin, grapefruit oil should be diluted in a carrier oil, as it is slightly drying and is phototoxic (avoid direct sunlight exposure after applying).

by Kristy Baird

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

RED CLOVER: Herb of the Month

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) dots the fields of many of our memories, as it grows wild all over North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It has quite a few medicinal actions and makes a very tasty tea. The Druids believed it to ward off evil, while medieval Christians associated the three-lobed leaves with the trinity.
Most often, we hear about red clover in use as a "women's herb". It helps to balance hormones and lower the symptoms of menopause. It also improves the mineral density of bones. It is one of the world's most well-known herbal treatment of many varieties of cancer. Breast cancer, in particular, seems to benefit from red clover. Herbalist Matthew Wood describes how using red clover can cause a membrane to form around tumors, slowing their growth until they can be removed.
Men and women alike can appreciate red clover's cardiovascular benefits. Regular use of this blood purifying herb can correct deficiencies in the circulatory system and lower cholesterol. It helps to thin the blood and reduce the risk of clots and arterial plaques.
If you're feeling under the weather, you can glean the benefits of red clover's respiratory actions, as it fights infections and inflammation and stops the accumulation of mucus in passages. It's inflammation-fighting extends to that of skin irritations, helping greatly in the treatment of psoriasis and eczema. If used for several months, it can greatly benefit the mood, libido, energy levels, scalp & hair health and sleep.
In conclusion, red clover is a safe and effective herb that works quickly and brings positive health changes. Next time you come across a field of it, snag a few to brew as tea!

by Kristy Baird

Saturday, February 23, 2019

KYANITE: Gemstone of the Month

"Kyanite is a stone of connection, of building bridges of Light between disparate aspects of experience. It can bridge energetic blocks in the aura and emotional blocks between people and can help restructure mental energies and habits that keep one from moving to higher levels of learning. Kyanite's powerful energy creates pathways of energy where before there were none.
Kyanite can assist in negotiations, diplomatic missions, arbitration and other forms of communication between disharmonious people. It acts as an energetic bridge, allowing disparate energies to gently move into resonance and find a common frequency. It can help one find a way to bridge different beliefs and ideas. It can assist one in finding a way to incorporate all aspects of self into a harmonious whole. Kyanite allows one to forge one's own unique path by bringing together one's various interests, skills and knowledge. This aids in seeing one's unique mosaic of gifts and how they can be used for one's Soul path on Earth." -The Book of Stones

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Book Spotlight: I Ching For Beginners

For more than three thousand years, the I Ching has offered guidance to emperors, generals, and philosophers. Amazingly accurate, this ancient oracle anticipates change and recommends timely action in all the important areas of your life.
With clear summaries of each of the I Ching's sixty-four passages, this friendly divination book makes it fun and easy to consult the beloved classic―and all you need is pocket change or a deck of cards. Call upon the wisdom of the I Ching to guide you through life's challenges and rewards:
*Resolve conflict
*Get through difficult times
*Strengthen relationships
*Find and nurture love
*Achieve your goals
*Live your life with purpose
*Experience health and wellness

Spring Allergies: It's Not Too Early to Prepare!

Ah, the glory of spring. Singing birds, new green grass, warm weather; not to mention sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes and depleted energy. If this sounds familiar, then you probably have allergies. You can, however, use herbs to relieve lung and sinus congestion and to build up your immune system.
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system mistakes an innocent substance for a threat and attacks it by releasing histamines that produce inflammation and make your sinuses run and your eyes water. For an herbal anti-allergy program, use natural antihistamines, such as chamomile, peppermint, ginger, anise and feverfew. Combine these with herbs that relieve congestion and stop sneezing, such as elderflowers and yarrow. Echinacea and chamomile decrease the congestion and slow the allergic reaction. You may want to take care with chamomile, as it is in the same family as ragweed and may cause a problem for a small group of people.
Using stinging nettles to treat hayfever is nothing new. In a 1990 study, tablets of freeze-dried nettles successfully reduced symptoms. And getting rid of symptoms is what you want, but it is also important to fix the imbalance that is causing your allergy in the first place. You need to enhance your immune system and Siberian ginseng or schisandra are good choices because they not only boost your immune system but also clear bronchial passages, reduce inflammation and counter fatigue. Dong quai (often mistakenly thought of as a women's herb) is an herb that research has shown to reduce the number of antibodies manufactured by your immune system. Fewer antibodies mean less reaction to allergic substances.
Sinus congestion and allergies go hand in hand, so adding elderflowers, yarrow and peppermint can't hurt. They reduce inflamed sinuses and help drain them. For quick relief, thin congestion with essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint and bergamot combined with steam to help breathe easier. If steaming is not practical, carry an herbal nasal inhaler like one put out by Olbas, (we also make one called Breathe Easy) or make your own from the recipe below.

Homemade Nasal Inhaler
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
5 drops eucalyptus oil

Place salt in a small glass vial (with a tight fitting lid) and add oil. Open the vial and inhale deeply, as needed.

by Judy Burger