I kiss your soul, and I hug your heart precious man under this eternity of full moons.
Türkiye and Syria
Under the harshest conditions of deep winter in snow and artic blasts, the magnitude of the devastation that both Türkiye and Syria are experiencing is simply beyond any words that can be spoken. I watch on with horror and a gaping sadness at the overwhelming reality of humanity. We have known to expect darkness, in these times, but were we expected to feel so small against the plight of suffering and hopelessness. The pain is deep, the breath shallow as we realise how inadequate are the attempts against the monstruous unstable rubble entrapping millions.
Grit, determination, and miracles are needed. Egregores of energy manifested and sent consciously to these zones is the very least we can do, please give your ALL in magic.
Honouring Papa Joe Davis – Southern Root Worker & Vodou Priest
On the 1st of February 2023, in Raleigh, North Carolina USA, after some illness Papa Joe Davis passed to the other realms.
I came to know of this man through my partner Artist, Ismaila Putuenchi in Foumban Cameroon, they had become good friends, for over 20 years and we spoke fondly of him both feeling the burden of his illness, which I saw and named before it was actually given to me. Papa Joe was a true and talented hoodoo magician, voudon priest and root worker of real southern American vodou.
Papa Joe was firstly bought up in the southern hoodoo tradition, in rural North Carolina close to the border of South Carolina. His godfather was a root doctor and a conjurer, a spiritual worker. His dad was a believer in the power of hoodoo and his mum was a Christian in the Pentecostal faith.
He moved to work in the oldest “financial section” of New York. He became involved with a Pentecostal church in Harlem, where he became a reverend, and later in the Bronx he found his way to Vodou. He returned to North Carolina, and set up several of his “Planet of God” temples on the outskirts of a county housing development in Raleigh where he worked as a African-American vodou priest, not Cuban, Haitian or NOLA, but true African-American Vodou.
A much-loved healer that spent his maturing years travelling, he spent time in Western Africa, exploring his native religion at its roots, and discovering this and its history. His favourite places were Benin and Cameroon, where he made lifelong friends and associates. He will be missed and leaves behind a true legacy of his work in African American Vodoun, Hoodoo and Conjuring.
Rest in Peace Papa Joe, we both share a love of the root work from the South, I honour you today on this page, and share a little part of my journey below….
I truly thank the generosity of German photographer Daniel Elke for his wonderful photos here of Pappa Joe and his permission to share them, you can find more of his work here: Daniel Elke Photojournalist
In the late 1990’s I became very aware of all the specialities Papa Joe practised, and the uniqueness of Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork practises of African American Folk Magic. I was in relationship for a few years with a blues singer, journalist and actor from Texas, his grandaddy had a large farm on the outskirts of Centerville, Texas, and one of his farm workers was the legendary bluesman Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins, at 8 years of age my bluesman became obsessed with Sam’s playing and the African American culture of those early mid 1950’s. Two years later at just 10 he begin his career as a chanteur of the blues, while shining people’s shoes. He wrote a song called “Shoeshine Charlie” a great little swing-shuffle. (I must put his songs on you tube as a legacy!)
It was on his personal altar in his home in Austin, Texas and his gift packages I received in the mail to Australia, that his practice of Tantra, Hoodoo and Witchcraft were all shared with me. At the time I myself was a practising witch, and living with a yogi, hoodoo was of great interest and fascination to me, this was 25 years ago now. For the last 23 years I have supplied roots, powders, oils, amulets and animal parts in my online store to spiritual communities worldwide, I love my conjuring work, and so thankful to my now dead (2005) bluesman that introduced me to southern folk magic. I have fond memories of his last released musical CD in 1999 with 10 original tracks one being “Voo Doo Chickin’ Blues” very hoodoo for a white fella!
When I returned to America to live in 2000 the bluesman was touring New Zealand. I was lucky to land in one of the “Southern States” Delaware with my partner we ran a construction company, I was a property manager, and together we also ran several companies for a cartel in Sydney Australia, buying, selling, renting and maintaining properties for them. Most of our labourers were African American, we would give a leg up to men just out of prison, picking up workers each morning from the mission in the back of our blue Ford 500 pick up truck. We paid them more than the locals did, (double actually) also supplying water and a hearty meal for lunch to keep them going. Our decision was to give African Americans that had been incarcerated a decent wage, great working conditions and second chance in society, a few got third, fourth and fifth chances too with us. We also lived in the danger of the “hood” in Wilmington, and later Edgemoor Gardens which had its challenges, but the idea had been to immerse ourselves in the culture, offer homes to the African American homeless, so we literally did. This is where I lost all my fear, (the best thing to happen to me) and became a true warrior! I could tell you many scary stories, and how I cried so much at first, sleeping on the floor of the pickup truck one night, because I could not go home, terrified someone would see me. Another night spent sleeping in the snow, with only my bunny to keep me warm. The sound of gunshots, the smell of ice, crack cocaine, and the crazed people high on it. The endless days in court, fighting against pathological liars. Stop Astarte lets not reverse down that rabbit hole! Let’s just go shopping at Harry’s.
My spare time was all about my personal craft, attending workshops, sabbat rituals, pagan potlucks, a witchcraft night club, and one of my favourites was visiting Harry’s Occult Shop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. and all that section of South St, which felt like you were transported I imagined to a part of Africa. My white friends warned me away telling me that area was very dangerous. I personally loved it as did my partner from Australia, it was full of African culture. Articles in my home are from South St, as well as my huge cast iron cauldron, so a part of that small glimpse of Africa has stayed with me all these years, shipped home in a container.
Harrys was daunting to me at first, like nothing that existed in Australia, and I’d earned a living working in a few occult stores as a reader. But Harry’s was something else, I felt a mixture of ignorance on my behalf but also excitement as this was the stuff, I wanted to get my teeth into, Americas own authentic African folk magic. Harry’s Occult Store was founded in 1917, it originally began as a traditional pharmacy. However, many of the first customers that came into the shop were Black southerners, who would repeatedly ask the owner Harry for various powders and oils of an “occult” nature. The southerners came up to the north bringing their Hoodoo, traditions with them, and a consumers demand for the appropriate powders, roots and oils was listened too. Harry took it so seriously the pharmacy was transformed into an occult store, sadly closed now. That’s Harry below.
I bought myself a huge two storey, seven-bedroom farm house in the county of New Castle on the outskirts of the city of Wilmington in Delaware near the Delaware River, it was 300 years old with many huge rooms in the basement, one had a tunnel to the river, and this home, later a Manse, was part of the underground railway, in the freedom of slavery. Here the enslaved could escape upriver to Pennsylvania, which was a free state and later in 1821 they could simply cross the river to New Jersey, when it became a free state too. Delaware remained an enslaved state where all forms of forced labour were finally ended by the Thirteenth Amendment in December 1865.
I loved owning a home where its history was rich in freedom, and a safe underground passageway, where the stolen generations from Africa and their children could live as humans should. For many months I dropped one of my African American workers and my cat off of a morning to work on the house, because I lived in the city in an apartment my black cat Harry would wander the neighbourhood, and I’d pick them both up at the end of the day. One day a white woman from across the road approached me, and asked me if coloureds were moving in? She was so racist and concerned, my experience where I lived, was a racism that was blatant, it disgusted us both.
So, let’s get back to Vodou, which is so misunderstood, with so much commercialism most believe its simply about poppet dolls and pins! Vodou is a religion – it’s about servicing, assisting, and helping people, giving them confidence in their life and the strength to move on through the cycle’s life takes us through. This is what I also do every day, yet I’m not of African descent, but I use some of the tools, I’m simply a luciferian witch, who practices my ancestral Anglo-Saxon craft, with the practises I’ve learnt after Indigenous initiation here in Australia, with a strong emphasis on medicine, and what I’ve learnt from Hoodoo in America, it’s a potent mix for sure.
Vodou is a native religion that is practiced in Western Africa, which has also found its way into the contemporary USA through the spiritual heritage of the African American community. Hoodoo, Conjure, Rootwork, and similar terms refer to the practice of African American folk magic.
Hoodoo is an American term, originating in the 19th century or earlier. One of its meanings refers to African American folk magic. Others believe Hoodoo consists of a large body of African folkloric practices and beliefs with a considerable admixture of American Indian botanical knowledge and European folklore, that is simply not true, it stands alone from Western Africa, and is practiced by African Americans. There is now a rather popular contaminated and commercial version called NOLA Voodoo, the two are very different, as New Orleans Voodoo also includes Catholicism.
Although most of its adherents are black, contrary to popular opinion, that it has always been practiced by both whites and blacks in America. Other regionally popular names for hoodoo in the black community include “conjuration,” “conjure,” “witchcraft,” “Rootwork,” “candle burning,” and “tricking.” The first three are simply English words; the fourth is a recognition of the pre-eminence that dried roots play in the making of charms and the casting of spells, and the fifth and sixth are special meanings for common English words.
A professional consultant who practices hoodoo on behalf of clients may be referred to as a “hoodoo doctor” or “hoodoo man” if male and a “hoodoo woman” or “hoodoo lady” if female.
Hoodoo has its own cultural repertoire of tools, spells, formulas, methods, techniques, and beliefs. Within that cultural repertoire, people make their own choices of how to conduct themselves and how to create a work of magical intent — but they remain within the cultural repertoire as they do so.
Any practitioner of conjure who did not grow up within African American culture just like me is either a guest and should have the good manners of a guest, or has joined into the culture in some way and to some extent and should therefore be ready to defend African American culture, including hoodoo, against the redefinitions, reworkings, and appropriations that outsiders continually seek to inflict upon it.
In other words, if you cannot respect hoodoo as it is and for what it is, then please, do not mess with it at all. And please stop calling it Voodoo!
In deepest respect, Papa, thank you for the old memories, and thank you for letting me put things straight for you. Seems we also both had a thang for pigeons too! as they say down south.
© Astarté Earthwise
There is nothing wrong with you. You have patterns to unlearn, new behaviors to embody and wounds to heal. But there is nothing wrong with the core of you and who you are. You are unlearning generations of harm and remembering love. It takes time.”
Jake Stratton Kent
Under the waning crescent you took the underworld path following the leathery padded paws of the fox as she danced through the night leaving her vestige deep in the dirt.
Her signature says once again, I was here but you did not see me, for I am the country road and paddock stalker in the shadows, for I am the gatherer under obsidian skies and I keep the company of owls and hares.
Rest in Peace dear man, just like the fox your impression remains deep in our hearts 🌹
Let go….release…shed…surrender…its time to cross the threshold…the holy summons…separating…stepping into the Elder…stepping forward… towards… severing from old ways and states of being…separating from crisis…open to the opportunity…feel it in the belly…your soul is longing to grow…leave behind the worn out ways…your heart is expanding…you don’t have to remain stuck in the land of the hunters and the hunted…breathe yourself up to your fullest height…step into your shoes of confident compassion…step forward into the unknown…the magic…the blue flame…even when terrified…ask yourself… what is it we’re being asked to separate from… What shapes do you need to leave behind…immortal being…embrace your enlightened journey…your ladder awaits…eternal one…stepping up…
— © Astarté Earthwise 20 January2023
ME/CFS Myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome
“I am a vulnerable being living with ME/CFS who is currently surrendering…allowing grace, love, ease, fluidity, forgiveness, and kindness into this space between, the intersection of acceptance and change…on my journey there will be “in between times” of transition… At these times I often feel lost, angry, confused, frustrated, unseen and empty… I promise myself to not confuse these times of transition as a forever state of being or being broken… I am simply breaking away from what was, creating space to welcome what will be”.
— © Astarté Earthwise
Yesterday I threw a real pity party for myself, after so many setbacks this week, I felt so overwhelmed. I’m exhausted on many levels; I am currently fighting a serious neuro immune illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME). It’s truly taking its slow yet steady toll on me for the last 3 years now, each day I understand it a little more, I have to accept and surrender to its callous claws that grip so tightly and keep me currently bedridden for 98% of my time. Sadly, there is no cure.
Some days I struggle more than others to remain above the waters of this disease that wants to take me to the obsidian darkness, smash its chards of pain and nausea into my weakened body and chain me in its gloomy depths. Yet I continue to unshackle myself, and swim to the light of the surface amongst the dirt, dust, and disgust of my surroundings. I remain hopeful placing my faith central to the belief that awareness will continue to grow. There are 250,000 people in Australia with this.
Doctors, nursing staff and carers around the world compare living with ME with the last stages of cancer, they say it’s worse than the last stages of renal failure or HIV Aids, yet we live years just like this. The depth of my soul and positivity keeps me going, I am forever grateful for my inner strength ❤ I hope that my fellow sufferers find their inner strength too, I wrote the quote above for all of them, as they are my sisters and brothers on this complicated journey ❤
Ancient serpent, Goddess of fire,
Fullness, dreaming tracks, forward moving.
Compassion, love and transformation,
You are deeply in me fanning my fires.
Seeing that things change for the best,
You burn and singe and destroy.
Yet you give life and renewal once again,
Your flames surround me.
I fall into their soft warmth,
Your warmth Amaterasu.
And in my letting go and my breathing out,
I pour forth the out dated.
Seeping out through the pores of my being,
Goddess Sun is working through my veins.
Keeping the flow happening,
Keeping the cycle moving.
Death, despair, resurrection, renewal,
Held in the arms of the gentle mother.
Surrounded by her fires of love,
And her tears of heartfelt compassion.
I ride the two headed dreamtime serpent,
Across the valleys, up the mountains.
To the depths of the ocean floor and beyond,
As the scales peel back, and are left behind.
I too leave behind my old skin,
I bow to the Sun goddess at the peak of her fullness.
I breathe in the fire of Her wisdom,
I knowingly journey safely ahead.
Forward I move as the peak has now passed,
Light dwindles, days shorten.
I am at peace, the pace is slowing,
The fire is burning in my heart and in my hearth.
The smoke dances with the winds and the trees,
The flame is a glow, burning brightly.
Within me and without me,
I am full and I am empty.
The paradox is the mystery,
I embrace it, and ride my initiation.
~~ © Astarté Earthwise. April 2015
Beltane Thoughts from 16 years ago…..
“As the wheel turns… Flourishing life, sap rising, maturing, strengthening. Fledglings leave their nest and crops make promise of the harvest to come…”
Now we approach Beltane, also known as Walpurgis Night and May Day to those who follow the Olde Ways, it is the height of spring and the flowering of life. Here the land is full of the gifts of nature.
The night air has a sweet scent and growing warmth about it, the darkness of winter is over and it’s time to be greeted by the rebirth of the earth itself: bulbs come up and bloom, filling the air with their heady, tempting fragrance; birds chirp and sing as their fledglings cry to be fed, as they stretch their wings and take their first brave flights from the safety of their nests. All around us are symbols of fertility, growth, warmth and light. It is the perfect time to celebrate the end of winter hibernation and to reconnect with your friends and loved ones.
Here in Australia, the spring Maiden and the young Lord of the Bush clumsily tumble from the windy and heady heights of the Eastern Hill they roll down the hill in a rush and surprise into the Beltane paddock now littered with spent wattle, callistemon, grevillea and soft rich grass. It is here they finally give into their Beltane desires. With the sap rising strong in the bush, and the birds and the bees, chirping and buzzing, Beltane is a time of rich sexuality. The earth pulses beneath them and their union, the land is transformed, across the top end the rivers, creeks and waterfalls flow, they also are transformed, He is King and She becomes Queen. Now together, transformed and powerful they dance in the footsteps of their ancestors across the rainbow serpent tracks of the dreaming. They are magnificent and terrifying all at once; this union is full of passion and creativity, joy and inspiration, as they sway and swirl over this red earthed sunburnt country.
Together we will dance and weave our way around the rainbow serpent, connected by ribbons, and we will build energy, we will focus on transformation for ourselves, and for our precious land to be free of the current drought. Though a fire festival, we will be using our inner fire due to fire restrictions at this time of year.
Your Personal Declaration
You might begin the celebration of Beltane, by gathering flowers in Nature prior to the circle, these are an offering to both the God and the Goddess to empower our circle. Each flower that you gather is a flower of creativity and inspiration for the transformation. As you select each flower consider how each one reflects your inner changes, and inner desires.
This is a time to consider your new growth too, to delight and celebrate in the changes that you have bought forth, to celebrate your own maturing into further wisdom, your responsibility for all of your actions, and to celebrate the transformations of self as you journey around the wheel, in peace and love. A celebration of Nature in all her beauty.
Work on transforming what is slowing your progress, what is negative and out dated, what brings you pain and discomfort, this is the time for Change.
Could we work on out compassion? Or our respect? Our service to community and humankind? Search through the things that are important and your actions on the social/ political/ecological scale as well. Bring back something with you to place upon your altar or sacred place.
© Astarté Earthwise 2006