Hoodoo Rootworker's Seven-Way Rosary Chaplet, Blessed at Seven Altars
Handmade here at Seraphin Station with a mix of pressed glass and Czech glass beads, each decade being separately attached to the center ring -- a finger rosary -- and embellished with a focal Pater bead of pressed glass, Czech glass, or in one case recycled sandcast glass. Whether you want to see this as a charm collection on a charm hanger displaying seven individual chaplets or single-decade rosaries, or as a sort of deconstructed All Saints' rosary for contemporary rootworkers, this is a striking and unusual piece created by a rootworker with over 35 years of experience working with the roots, rosaries, and these saints in the folk Catholic tradition.
Large, sturdy, colored aluminum jump rings connect each decade to the center ring, so it's possible, should you ever want to, to remove the individual decades and treat them as separate single-decade chaplets. This could be useful if you are working intensively with one or some but not all of these saints or if you're traveling and need to cut down on how much spiritual stuff you're lugging around.
Saints are chosen for their importance in the spiritual landscape of deep South hoodoo rootwork, with an eye towards popularity and contemporary usage (in the sense that while 100 years ago, St. Dymphna was probably not petitioned so often in conjure, today she is an enormously popular saint invoked by folks from all kinds of backgrounds and in all kinds of folk belief contexts. So she's here!)
It's made with strands or decades for the following:
* St. Gerard, patron of pregnancy and childbirth in the Catholic tradition, also represents Baron Samedi of Haitian vodou in some houses and temples. He is the patron of communication with the ancestors and the dead. On the other side of this medal is Our Lady of Perpetual Help pictured with Christ and the angels Michael and Gabriel. OL of Perpetual Help is called on for all kinds of things - in hoodoo in my region, it's often against sickness, income uncertainty, hunger, and unstable households. She's known to help with all of those things. She's also associated in some houses and temples with the lwa Erzulie Danto.
* St. Lazarus is the patron saint of lepers and against leprosy, and by extension against plague and pandemic in contemporary practice. He's also sometimes invoked by beggars, the homeless, people with HIV/AIDS, people with Hansen's disease, and those who have unusually close relationships with dogs. He represents the lwa Legba, the patron of Yoruban divination and master of the crossroads, in many temples and houses, so he's a powerful ally in road opening work.
* St. Expedite is the patron saint invoked for fast luck, for help breaking through obstacles, for help with procrastination, and, increasingly, in desperate cases, much like St. Jude. He's also the patron of computer programmers. In some regions and in some houses, he's associated with the Ghuede lwa who rule the crossroads between life and death, esp. Baron Samedi.
* St. Jude, the patron invoked for hopeless causes, is also called on more generally in conjure for financial prosperity and stability and is a good ally for those whose livelihoods involve working with emotional clients/customers and whose incomes can fluctuate for a host of reasons.
* St. Christopher is the patron saint of travelers, children, and boat captains, invoked for safe travel. In some houses in New Orleans Voodoo, in which Santeria has had a noticeable influence, he is associated with the orisha Agayu. He presents his devotees with difficult obstacles but also grants them the inner power to overcome those trials and grow strong enough to carry all burdens.
* St. Philomena is widely considered a miracle worker invoked by devotees for all kinds of things when other measures have failed. She's the patron of babies and children and is considered the patroness of the living rosary. In some houses and temples, she is a lwa in her own right, seen as a helpful and pleasant spirit who helps those who make their livings as market sellers, removes negativity and evil from the surroundings, and grants the ability to have prophetic dreams.
* St. Joseph is the patron saint of happy death, carpenters, stepfathers, and workers more generally, invoked in all kinds of situations to do with the financial wellbeing of a family and/or household, but especially petitioned by those seeking employment. He's also called on by folks who need to sell their house. He's associated with the lwa Papa Loko, the originary houngan and healer. St. Dymphna is on the reverse side of this medal. She is widely invoked against mental illness, anxiety, and depression, and she's the patron of incest survivors and teenage runaways.
Some of these associations vary by region and the religious background of the practitioner, so I don't mean to imply here that most modern rootworkers work with St. Gerard because of his association with a particular lwa in Haitian sevis. Most rootworkers do no such thing. Hoodoo and vodou are of course two distinct traditions, the former being folk magic and the latter being a religion. In Louisiana, though, especially New Orleans and surrounding areas, there is a strain of practice where the two are often blended to a greater extent than elsewhere as a result of the city's unique history.
I make my esoteric and hoodoo rosaries based in the traditions from the region where I grew up and learned the tricks and tools of the trade (the Gulf Coast of Alabama, with relatives all along the coast from Florida to Texas and a paternal family that had been in New Orleans for six generations before an ancestor relocated to Alabama to seek his fortune in the port of Mobile). This area was much more heavily influenced by Catholicism and saw a much greater percentage of old-school workers who worked with the saints than is typical in other regions. So my hoodoo has lots of saints in it and more than a little influence from the Caribbean.
Furthermore, in the work of occultist, author, and Old Catholic bishop Reverend Dr. Tau Michael Bertiaux, author of the Voudon Gnostic Workbook, Vudu Cartography, and the unpublished Monastery of the Seven Rays material, the systems of hoodoo and Haitian vodou are blended into a dynamic system that offers step by step instruction to the practitioner who seeks access to the Gnosis by means of esoteric prayer. Ultimately, this set of handmade rosary beads is a product of the place where Louisiana culture and tradition meet Franco-Haitian Gnostic Voudon to create good old Big Lucky Hoodoo.
Sometimes called a "medium's necklace" among folks who do this kind of work in this region, this set of beads is ritually created, consecrated, anointed, and censed on seven different altars by a fully consecrated bishop and exorcist in a Gnostic Voudon lineage of apostolic succession (me), and empowered to assist the practitioner in his or her work as a rootworker, serviteur of the spirits, and interpreter of messages from the Invisible World.
You don't have to be Catholic or even Christian to work with the saints in hoodoo, though, fwiw, and lots of folks treat these types of rosaries as ritual items, objects of power, talismans, or pwen cho but do not try to pray the traditional rosary with them. Other folks do use traditional Catholic prayers and practices with my rosaries, or delve into the practices of esoteric Christianity and the traditions of the Seven Rays. And of course it's perfectly fine to just use this as a regular old rosary if you honor and work with the saints but aren't interested in the rootworking and esoteric side of things. There's more info about all of this at my blog, Big Lucky Hoodoo, if you're interested in learning more.
Bishop Tau Michael Bertiaux says of the rosary, in his chapter on Upadhi I in The Voudon Gnostic Workbook, that prayer beads are among the most effective ways to generate spiritual energy and "hook up" to God energy. He conceives of the rosary as a "prayer machine" and emphasizes that the rosary is further blessed and empowered through use. I have blessed and empowered this rosary, but it will absorb deeper spiritual energies through your repeated use.
From top of finger rosary to bottom of medal on longest decade, piece measures 8.75 inches.
Please feel free to leave personalization info when checking out if you'd like me to include any particular prayers or petitions or blessings as I'm preparing this piece for its new home.
HANDLING TIMES: Please note published handling times, which start at 5-10 business days; will be longer for large, customized, and international orders; and are estimates only. If you're the type to leave negative feedback because you think it took too long, you should order somewhere else and not from me. I do custom work, not mass production. I want you to get your order and to be happy with it, but you need to allow me time to do your work properly.
I make all my formulas in tiny batches with personal attention at every step, and I stock only what I know I can use within a certain shelf life. That means I can have unexpected runs on ingredients that I need to reorder or that I have to go to the back two acres and dig up more of a root I need to make your item. Hardly anything is sitting on a shelf waiting to be popped into an envelope. The payoff for your patience is that you get fresh blends and fresh products, made by hand the old fashioned way, by a traditional rootworker with 35 years of experience.
Also, I live in the middle of nowhere and I have to expect time-sucking delays as par for the course, like the internet going down 'cause a cow broke the line, stuff like that. So if you must have an item by a certain date, you need to write me first to confirm I can meet your expectations. In the extraordinarily rare event that your package goes missing, I am generally happy to reship/replace, but I have to put in a claim with the carrier, which I usually can't do before 20 business days from the label ship date. Being rude to your rootworker doesn't help anything and is just not smart.
USAGE: Oils are for prayer and ritual use; they are not cosmetics or perfumes. While some customers do use some dressing oils as anointing oils (which is not the same thing as wearing a perfume or cologne), they are careful to do a skin test first, since they know that all-natural does not equal hypoallergenic. If you need suggestions on how to use condition and anointing oils in the conjure tradition, see the Education link up top.
LEGALESE: As required by law, all items are sold as curios to preserve and teach the traditions of folklore and popular religion. I don't sell anything I don't use myself, though, and quite a few customers over the years have sworn by my traditional formulas since I started selling them in 2002.
MORE INFO / KEEP IN TOUCH: Visit our blog for more information on various spiritual products and their uses, plus over ten years' worth of articles about folklore and conjure. You can also sign up for our mailing list to get the latest news and subscriber-only goodies.
handling times start at five business days minimum for all items (excludes weekends and holidays)
posted handling times are estimates, not guarantees, and will vary depending on order size and amount of customization involved
all sales are final; we do not accept returns
any refunds must be initiated by us; chargebacks are considered theft
we will send a notification email when we purchase your shipping label for your packaged order, so when it's ready to ship, you know as soon as we know
we are not able to provide updates during order processing beyond this notification
any unusual issues affecting handling times will be announced on our website and social media channels
we don't send instructions for anything that doesn't say it comes with instructions
- handling times start at five business days minimum (excludes weekends and holidays); customization generally requires 10 business days minimum
- posted handling times are estimates, not guarantees, and will vary depending on order size and amount of customization involved
- all sales are final; we do not accept returns
- we will send a notification email when we purchase your shipping label for your packaged order, so when it's ready to ship, you know as soon as we know
- we are not able to provide updates during order processing beyond this notification - the answer is always going to be "your order will ship when it is ready"
- any unusual issues affecting handling times will be announced on our website and social media channels and in the shop announcements section
- we don't send instructions for anything that doesn't say it comes with instructions