Back to My Root(work)s

Other than (obviously) not getting much writing done, quarantine has not been a bad experience. The company I work for is considered an “essential” business, but most of the admin team has been working from home, and the majority of our client meetings have moved to web platforms, so I pretty much have the office to myself. The Forge made the jump to online sales and curbside pickup and seems to be doing fine — I haven’t clocked in there since all of this started, but I will luckily have a place to go back to once the restrictions ease up. And although we don’t have access to the studio, Robert and I have been recording segments for the radio show via Zoom, so we will be on the air well into the forseeable future.

Without retail or bartending nights, my evenings and weekends have been blessedly free of obligation, and after spending a couple of weeks stretched out on the couch watching every horror movie I could think to stream, I branched out into light housework, eventually getting around to dusting my altar.

Altar
Putting the Her in Heretic since 1995.

Turns out, a simple cleaning spree was all that was needed to get my Witchcraft juices flowing again, and within a day or so, my apartment was reeking of seven-day candles and incense matches. [Ed. note: If you have limited ritual space and/or fundamentalist smoke detectors, incense matches are the freakin’ bees’ knees.] There was spellwork I wanted to do, but it required specific herbs, so I started digging through my kitchen like, “Let’s see, what will coordinate with bergamot and licorice? Calamus? Perfect! Too bad I don’t have a good anointing oil, though. Wait, don’t I have a recipe for that?” And then I was all, “But if I’m going to make an oil, I might as well find a use for this lemon verbena. And this angelica root. And these rowan berries. And whatever this malevolent-looking seed pod thing is.” So now…

I’ve got Special Oil #20 steeping and a Van Van concentrate blended together, the remnants of which will be made into Chinese Wash. Up next is a batch of Hot Foot Powder and a big bottle of edible Four Thieves Vinegar, and then I’ll be pulverizing a couple of red bricks, by which time the ingredients for Cast Off Evil oil should have arrived. And since I already have graveyard dirt, I may get ambitious and whip up some Goofer Dust too, except I found a lodestone under a bunch of stuff while I was reorganizing my supply cabinet last night, so I’ll probably just bang out some Attraction potions instead, since I’m more likely to need fast cash or quick favors than for my enemies’ legs to mysteriously swell.

I don’t know how long this obsessive interest in Hoodoo is going to last — thanks to ADHD, my fixations tend to be cyclical, and at any moment I could suddenly switch focus and get lost in a labyrinth of geomancy or notary law or the proper care and feeding of domestic fancy rats. But while I’m right in the thick of it, I’ll tell you this:

Roughly thirteen years ago, I signed up for the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo and Rootwork Correspondence Course. The class itself is only supposed to last twelve months, but my studies got derailed by alcoholism and neurodiversity, and I drunkenly drifted away before finishing. However, I am delighted to say that despite how long it took me to get back on track, I’ll be dropping my last two homework assignments in the mail next week. I don’t know if I’ll get a certificate of completion or anything at this point, but just the fact that I’ll actually be completing it is enough to make me burn a candle or two in my own honor.

Assuming that my anointing oil is ready.

Look! Fancy rats!

ETA: Anyone who uses a mortar and pestle to hand-grind the components of Four Thieves Vinegar without wearing a protective face mask gains automatic immunity to COVID-19. Ask me how I know. Just let me shove a cork in my sinuses first.

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