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News — art

Hanging Tree Guitars

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Artist Freeman Vines on the guitars he creates and the wood he makes them with: “The wood, actually everything, is involved spiritually. A little spirit rubs off on everything.” Read more — and you should, you should click through and read the whole thing — at Atlas Obscura, “A North Carolina Artist’s Search for a Lost Sound Uncovered a Dark History,” by Winnie Lee.

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Why Santa Muerte and Jesus Malverde Are Not Just “Narco Saints”

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I can’t count the number of references I’ve seen over the past 15 or so years to Santa Muerte being a “narco saint,” with the implication (or even the straight-up assertion) that she’s a saint for drug dealers, boom, like that’s the whole picture. This kind of statement is incredibly reductionist and oversimplified. It ignores nuance, never mind facts, and it betrays a lack of respect for the (sub)culture(s) from which she springs and a total lack of concern for understanding folk religion – in Mexico or in general. Seriously, it’s insulting and dismissive even if you *are* a drug...

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Quick Little Catholic Iconography Lesson

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Ok, the Pinterest Pedant strikes again. Mary does not have a Sacred Heart. Mary has an Immaculate Heart. This is the Immaculate Heart of Mary: sword, flames, roses. No thorns. This is the Sacred Heart. Only Jesus has a Sacred Heart. Thorns, not roses. Pierced, but with a spear, not a sword. Flames but note the cross in the midst of them. Occasionally the Sacred Heart will be pierced by an arrow instead. This has to do with an idea that we wound Christ with blasphemy and profaning the Sabbath. The Golden Arrow Prayer said in reparation is said to...

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New at website

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Started a page listing out all my formulas by name. Who knows how long it will take me to get everything posted and pretty, but at least folks wondering about such and such formula can get an idea about whether I even make it or not. Still no individual listings on every bath crystal, but you can get at least one option in most categories now, and you can get a full selection of bath crystals in the categories Money & Luck or Love & Lust. And finally got a few candles listed, including some of my not-always-quite-reverent designs for vigil candles with vintage and...

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Elizabeth Cotten and "Freight Train"

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If you're a Southerner and/or a fan of American folk music, you've probably heard the song "Freight Train" before. Freight train, freight train, run so fastFreight train, freight train, run so fastPlease don't tell what train I'm onThey won't know what route I'm going Yet you still might not know the name Elizabeth Cotten, and that would be a damn shame. Elizabeth Nevill Cotten was born in 1893 in North Carolina into a musical family. She was playing her brother's banjo by the age of 7. She had to drop out of school at age 9 to work, and by...

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