Friday, September 24, 2010


I've been wroking on this for a few weeks, but got stumped on the right wing about two weeks back. Just couldn't get it right, so kept redrawing it. However, today I decided enough was enough and worked on it most of the day. Finally got it finished. Oh, it's Archangel Michael :o)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Changes to HLMS

A lot of changes have been made at The Hobthrust Lodge Magick School, and I thought I should let everyone know. First of all, all the lessons and courses are now free, and I am hoping to keep it that way, depending on the response I get and the traffic that goes through the site.
Secondly, I have included a Chat facility, a Yahoo Group, and my favourite being the HLMS Community which is a social networking site (but seriously needs some members and activity, especially seeing that it was only launched today...please, I'm feeling lonely).
Now, just to make things clear about how the HLMS courses function. There are no exams, projects or certificates. The material you will find on the site is for personal spiritual development, soul alchemy and to perfect your Arts as a Magician or Witch. You are responsible for your own progress and the development you want to attain, and therefore there is nobody who can test you, but you, and there is no peice of paper that will qualify you to become Enlightened.
Each course opens into a new window so you don't have to leave the main site, and each lesson or chapter is presented as a web page. I will be creating a paperback version of each course for those who would like to sit down with a book in their hands, but everything is available through the site.
So, take a look and have fun -
Best Wishes,
Lee 'Red Oak' Johnson

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Your Spirit in a Hand

You may have heard of the mojo bag, which has nothing to do with Austin Powers by the way, although I suppose if you have your mojo, you are quite safe. The Mojo bag is a small material bag that contains particular items to draw something to you or for protection, depending on your purpose. These bags are often referred to as "hands", and the mojo hand is not the only one of its type. We also have Nation Sacks which are specifically for women, and in New Orleans you may find gris-gris, but what I want to talk about are those hands called Jacks, otherwise known as Jack Balls or Lucky Balls.
The items that go into a Jack can vary from person to person and conjurer to conjurer, but there are some common elements such as a name paper for the person it is made for, a personal effect, usually a small snipping of the person's hair and some roots and herbs. This is all bundled together into a ball of wax and then wrapped in string, yarn or thread to form a nicely packed ball with a length of the string extending from it. This Jack is then put into a mojo bag and carried with you at all times.
But what is its purpose? Everything really, to protect you, to bring you good fortune and luck, all the positive things you could think of. However, the aspect which I became most curious about was the inclusion of the spirit. When constructing a hand, whether it be a Jack or a Mojo, breath is used to enliven it, so either the conjurer creating the Mojo for a client will breath into the bag, or the client, i.e. the person it is designed for will be the one to breath into it. Breath is connected to the spirit. We find mention in various religions and spiritual paths of prana or some other equivalant, which is connected to the spirit. Apart from that, breath is life. By breathing into the hand we breath the "breath of life" into it, which is why it becomes enlivened with the spirit. This spirit we talk about is usually considered the spirit of the person that the hand is intended for. In the case of the Jack Ball we have an account by Mary Alicia Owen in her book published 1893, Voodoo Tales as Told Among the Negroes of the Southwest, Collected from Original Sources. Mary Owens had decided to go to a particularly renowned conjure doctor of the area to have a Jack Ball made for her mentor, Charles Leland, who was at that time overseas in Copenhagen. After creating the ball, the "king" (King Alex, as he was known) spoke to the Jack in the following manner:
"Now," said he, addressing the ball, as he dangled it between his thumb and finger, "yo' name is Leland, Charles Leland. Ise gwine ter sen' yo' er long way off unter er master, er mighty long way off, 'cross big watteh (the ocean). Go out in de woods an' 'fresh yo'se'f fo' yo' staht. Go 'long! Do ye' hyeah me? Is yo' gwine? Is yo' gwine way off? Is yo' climbin'? Is yo' climbin' high?"
Apart from the purposes of protection, luck and good fortune that the Jack is intended to bring, it is also used as pendulum and can be taken out from time to time and consulted, which is obviously why we also have a length of string which the ball dangles on.
However, concerning the spirit that goes into a hand, it may be considered that it is a thought form of some kind and the hand is a fetiche, but this is not necessarily the case, which is why I now bring to Kabbalah. The Lower Soul or Self of a person, as explained in Kabbalah, is called the Nefesh. If you have read any of my other scribblings, you may have come across some where I mention this, but for those that haven't, an explanation is worth repeating. The Nefesh is that part of our soul that operates much of our base instinct and our experiences with the world through the five senses. It is not the rational part of our soul or our being, but it is that which retains memory, and this is the important part in this little discourse. The memory it retains is not only that which you experience on a day to day basis, but ALL memory. It is directly connected to everything in this regard, and can access memory that is past, present and future. Some may call this the Akashic Record, and they would be quite right in terms of the Akashic being that which holds all knowledge. If we can therefore access our Nefesh directly, we have the means to access all knowledge and can therefore become knowledgable of all things, which is where the pendulum part of the Jack Ball comes in.
Unfortunately the Nefesh, not being a rational aspect of ourselves, does not communicate with us directly through language, and so we have to rely on visions, dreams, ideas, impressions, etc. However, one of the ways I was instructed to communicate with the Nefesh was via a pendulum. The whole process to create that bond takes about three weeks as I was taught by Jacobus G. Swart, who got the same instruction from his mentor, William G. Gray. Start with week one by sitting in front of a mirror and just talking to yourself. As mentioned the Nefesh experiences the world through the fives senses and so by doing this you are talking to your Nefesh through sight and sound. Once or twice a day just sit in front of the mirror and talk, tell your Nefesh about your day, about any frustrations or just chat as if you were talking to a friend. During week two you allow the Nefesh to communicate with you, and this is done via dream, so each morning note any dreams you had, and if you wake up with the lyrics of a song in your head, repeating over and over, take special note. Quite often this communication will be through memory and so you may find that the dreams are of things which have happened to you, and can get somewhat disturbing at times as it is almost like a cleansing in a way. Just work through it, those memories may be something your Nefesh needs to release to you so that you can deal with past issues. Then, during week three, you take a pendulum and communicate directly with your Nefesh, however, this process needs to be programmed. By the way, by this stage you should have a name for your Nefesh, either given to you by the Nefesh, or one you have chosen and agreed upon by the Nefesh, so you can speak to it directly and call it by name. It is very similar to a child's imaginary friend, which makes you wonder if such a friend is really "imaginary" or whether a child knows something which we have forgotten. Start your pendulum practice by telling your Nefesh which swing is yes, no and maybe. When doing this make sure you tell the Nefesh which is which, and get it to respond. If it gives you the wrong swing when you tell it to give you a yes, then just gently, but sternly say, "No, that was wrong, this is a yes answer" and keep repeating it until you get the correct swing. Then start asking questions, but be careful not to repeat yourself in a testing manner because if the Nefesh decides you are being a nuisance and not trusting it, then it will just shut down and not give you any answers. Don't ask stupid questions like, "Am I male/female?", as you already know the answer to that and the Nefesh will look at you as if you are an idiot.
So why am I mentioning all of this in relation to the Jack Ball? The "spirit" that is connected to the ball, in my understanding, is your own Nefesh, and so in regards to it being used as a pendulum, you have what I would consider to be a very powerful tool at your disposal. If I make a Jack for someone, I would actually suggest they go through the process I mentioned above, but unlike a pendulum you may find in a shop and use from time to time, put down and forget about for a few hours or a few days, the Jack is with you constantly, keeping guard, bringing positive things to you. It is like a friend in your pocket, which it really is as your Nefesh is your best friend, it is you after all. So what you ultimately have is an object which has a direct energetic connection to that part of your soul which has all the answers.