I sell my Hoodoo product line in a few select stores. One day I was in a store taking inventory, when I glaced up and saw a woman at the other end of the store with one of my washes in her hand. I knew what was coming. Suddenly I was in one of those slow motion sceens where as she is unscrewing the top off the bottle I am reaching out toward her and trying to stop her as I called out to her, "Nooooooo!"
Too late. She opened the container and took a big whif and she got a snout full of ammonia.
For some reason folks think they should open bottles and jars and sniff. I do it myself. I blame the purfume industry.
People, this ain't aromatherepy!
Many Hoodoo/Conjure concoctions have unpleasent or pungent smells. Some have nice smells and some have little or no scent. I tell everyone, "When a recipe comes out smelling nice, it's a happy accident." You have to understand; the herbs, roots, and the bases that are put into a recipe are chosen for their magical properties, for what they will do, and because they work. Not because they smell good together. Aromatherepy and purfumery are exactly the opposite, in the purfume and essential oils industries the oils and scents are chosen so that they will please the nose.
Washes and Waters might be made with ammonia, Pine-sol, swamp water, or even urine (no products in my line are made from urine, but some may instruct you to add you own.) Some will contain perfumed oils or waters and smell guite nice. Some will smell of vinegar or camphor (which smells like Vicks Vapor Rub™). But if you are new to Hoodoo you might not know, by the name of the product, which are going to smell nice and which will be pungent.
A rule of thumb to follow, which usually works, is: if the product is used in “enemy work” or to hex, lay a trick, jinx, cross or otherwise involve a form of “hard work” or baneful magic, it will usually be pungent, stink to high heaven, or in general be unpleasant.
If the product is meant to work on a love condition or is meant to bring luck, happiness, or peace it will usually smell nice or neutral.
The name on the product will sometimes give you an idea if the product is going to smell nice or nasty. Products with traditional names like, “Come here” or “Follow Me Boy” or Kiss Me Quick” are used for love and will either smell nice or not at all. Products with name like “War Water” “Crossing” or “Cut and Clear” might smell horrible or pungent.
However, there are many products with traditional names that may not clearly tell you what type of scent you might encounter. For example: Florida Water. Many folks unfamiliar with this product may assume it is names for the state of Florida. But both the state’s name and the product’s name allude to the Spanish word for floral or flowers, and Florida Water smells like a floral cologne.
Hot Foot Powder or Hot Foot Oil does not advertise the fact that they have a variety of peppers in them. Boss Fix is another example of a product that makes it tough to guess if you will have a pleasant olfactory experience or not.
There are many more products that serve a wide variety of conditions and have a wide variety of scents ranging from non-existent to, “Oh My God.”
The main point is that the scent is the result of using the ingredients to meet the needs of the condition be it love, revenge, peace, protection or whatever; and it is not always going to be sweet or pretty. Do you want it to smell good or do you want it to work? Life isn’t always sweet or pretty and this ain’t aromatherapy!
In the four years since I started Cajun Conjure I have had the pleasure of working with several amazing apprentices. Some have been with me for a year or more, some stayed for only a few months before life got in the way. Others come and go as work and school allow. One has moved away, and another arrived to take her place. They have all been wonderful blessings in my life. They keep me on my toes, they make me laugh, they keep me in line and usually on-time.
This once a month blog post dubbed "Apprentice Corner" is so you can see what goes on behind the scenes. These are their words and they have promised to tell tales. So let me introduce you to...
Tina, Charlie, G.G., Ash, I'vee (pronounced Ivy), Lexa, and Danielle.
Tina: "I met Hexeba a few years ago through Pagan Night Out. I was searching for a Wiccan/Spiritual Teacher. I was looking for guidance and wanted to join a group of like minded people. I was excited for our first meeting and I just loved her when I met her. I joined her eclectic circle, and when the opportunity presented itself, I became her apprentice. We've had a fun if not sometimes turbulent (what happens when two strong women are together???) relationship and I adore her. She has been a wonderful teacher and fabulous friend."
Charlie: "I'm Charlie. I met Hexeba at Pagan Pride a few years ago after some unsuccessful searching for a group on WitchVox and MeetUp. I was interested in learning more about the Plant People and how to work with them. Being a student was an enriching experience in a season of learning for me."
G.G.: "I was at our local metaphysical store one night when Hexeba came in. As she was putting up product I was told who she was and what she did and what her product was about. I was intrigued. "Come on I'll introduce you," I was told. I shit a brick as I thought to myself, "Dude she looks scary and can probably turn me into a toad and throw me to the alligators."
I was introduced, we talked and she told me she had a class coming up that Friday. She seemed a tad less scary and I was like, "Eh why not."
Two days later I was at my first class. Five minutes later I was completely sucked in. Brought me back to my roots, similar and yet different. By the end of the class I knew this was were I needed to be and I was laughing at myself for thinking she was as scary as I thought she was.
It has been downhill since my first class. Since that first meeting I have been to all of her classes (Hoodoo, Wicca 101, Coffee and Conjure and at Pagan Pride and Pantheacon). I have learned so much about Hoodoo and Wicca and the various uses of her products, laughed at crazy stories and enjoyed the sense of belonging.
I was fortunate to be able to help Hexeba and become an apprentice during a rough patch in my life. I have cherished the time I have spent with her and the other apprentices. I have learned and laughed more and have even enjoyed being 'crafty'. Time spent with her has allowed me to see my path more clearly.
I do believe that people come into our lives for a reason. Words can not express how grateful I am to have the 'boss' in my life. Hexeba has been a rare gift in my life. She has gone from a super scary witch that may throw me to the gators to the funniest, most loving person that I am ever so grateful to call my friend.
I look forward to more busy days, laughs and learning.... On another note.. I am a sarcastic pain in the ass, she may still turn me into a toad and throw me to the gators. Lol"
Ash: "Hello. I'm Ash. I've been Hexeba's apprentice for about a year and a half. We met almost two years ago at a local festival. I attended a class of hers and asked her how I could become an apprentice shortly thereafter. I have smelled and tasted some rather "wonderful" things since then. I've thoroughly enjoyed learning from Hexeba. I'm looking forward to sharing some of our great stories with all of you. "
I'vee: "I finally decided to open and be myself, so late 2017, I went to a Book of Shadows Scrapbooking Class with Hexeba. She told me something that I needed to hear, "You're a witch, so do something about it." (insert: Hi this is Hexeba...just a clarification...I often tell folks that if something is not right in their lives they have the power to change it...however, it often comes out of my mouth, "You're a Witch, damn it, fix it." ...back to I'vee's story...) A month following that date, I asked to help with Cajun Conjure and so now I help where I can and I've learned the need of aprons."
Danielle: "Hi my name is Danielle and I have known Hexaba for close to 3 years now. I met her at a community get together and she’s been my Witch Mom ever since. At first I began studying with her but when she began transitioning into her Cajun Conjur business I spent most of my time working in her witch room stuffing doll babies and hot gluing juju dolls. I have since taken a break from apprenticing because life and grad school took up most of my time but have always been happy to help Hexaba when she’s in need. I have loved watching the evolution and expansion of Cajun Conjure over the last few years and am excited to see where it leads to next! Hope to see you at the next fair! "
Lexa: "My name is Lexa and I worked with Hexeba for a little under a year about two years ago. I so clearly remember the first time I saw her speak, I was terrified of her. Her class was on Village Witchery and I went into it thinking it would be a relaxed class, and I imagine for everyone else it was, but I knew I wanted to work with her and I was so scared to even talk to her I don’t think I absorbed half of what she said. It took me a whole year to get the courage to ask her if I could work with her. It came out as me, a 6-foot-tall red headed giant, just walking up to her and perhaps a touch too loud announcing “I WANT TO WORK WITH YOU” and she took a moment, looked up at me and said, “yeah sure e-mail me”. I had no idea that my religious practices, life and sense of self would be changed so drastically from that moment. I ground down bricks, organized shelves, laughed till I cried and learned magic that connected me to my blood in ways I never expected (practicing hoodoo as someone of Cajun blood but not raised in it), and I was right Hexeba is terrifying, but also funny, warm and the best teacher I’ve ever had the privilege of working with."
I am Hexeba Theaux. My family has been in Louisiana since the 1700s and most of them still live there. Good Cajun folk. Heck, if you throw a rock in St. Martinville, Louisiana you'll probably hit one of my cousins. I have practiced Southern Folk Magic since I was a child. These are my thoughts on what is called Hoodoo or Conjure. I own and operate CajunConjure.com.