James Duvalier

author, spiritual counselor & paranormal researcher

Spring Garden Magic

, , | Garden Magic | No Comments »

It is no coincidence that mMarigolds Garden Magicany witches and other spiritually attuned people are also master gardeners.  This comes as a natural and blessed consequence of being in touch with the seasons and the Earth’s cycle.  Not to mention the fact that herbs, flowers and roots make up the vast majority of the ingredients used in our spells and rituals and there is no denying that the plants grown or gathered by oneself are much more economical and several times more powerful than those bought at a grocery store or spiritual supply shop.  Plants that are started from seed, tended all season with patience and love and harvested with the intention of spiritual use are charged with such incredibly energy that makes for the most powerful and impactful of spells.  I have also noticed that witches’ and voodoo practioners’ gardens tend to be more fertile and lavish than those tended by non-magical people because we are in the habit of infusing our plants with magic during every stage of their development.  I have briefly blogged about garden magic in the past, but today I would like to discuss more in depth the types of plants I grow and their spiritual uses.  I have also shared some photos today of plants that I’ve started from seed and I will post updates periodically throughout the growing season.

IMG_2432In early spring, I start my herbs inside in flower pots and seed trays and as the weather warms I place them outside in the sun.  I keep the herbs and flowers that I grow in the room and on the balcony where I do my daily prayers and rituals and they definitely soak up the spiritual energy and grow at a faster rate and in a more abundant way than is typical of most plants.  I grow several herbs such as thyme, basil, abre camino, yerba bruja, rompe zaraguey that I use to prepare spiritual baths and gris gris charms as well as flowers that I burn as offerings in dried form at my annual Halloween and All Saints’ Day service.  In addition to growing plants myself, I also gather several herbs and flowers of Saint John’s Night (June 23rd-24th) for spiritual uses.  In various spiritual traditions, Saint John’s Night is the most powerful night of the year for doing spiritual work and the herbs, flowers and water gathered from natural sources on that night are extra powerful.  I currently live in a city apartment, so I’m limited to what I can grow on my balcony, but in years past when I lived in a more rural setting my favorite thing to grow was pumpkins which I would tend with care all summer and then carve at Halloween to light the way for visiting good spirits and ancestors and frighten away all negative spirits and energies.  This year I have decided to grow sunflowers in the communal garden space of my building and use the petals in a new spiritual bath I’ve developed and present the seeds as an offering to the earth and ancestors at this fall.  I have the sunflower seeds started already indoors and will be transferring them outside soon. This is definitely a very exciting time of year when everything starts to grow and bloom as spring gets into full swing and heads into summer.

IMG_2425I hope you have enjoyed this brief discussion on garden magic and as always I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings!


Spiritual Techniques for Dealing with Negative People

, , | Spells | No Comments »

honey2It has always been my philosophy and practice to emphasize the positive in life and to tackle and move past uncomfortable situations as quickly as possible, but it is an unpleasant reality that in life we sometimes find ourselves in situations where we are forced to temporarily interact with people that make us absolutely miserable.  For example, we might encounter a nasty coworker who makes our job harder by shirking their own responsibilities and forcing us to pick up the slack or spreading workplace gossip about us that paints us in a less than favorable light.  We also may find ourselves forced to put up with certain annoying or downright infuriating people because of their association with people that we love or care about.  The best remedy for these types of situations is to deal with the people in question head on and remove them from our lives as quickly as possible either by changing our circumstances or calling them out on their hateful, offensive, injurious or possibly downright illegal behaviors.  This may not always be possible immediately as there are times in life when perhaps for financial or personal reasons we cannot rock the boat or cause too much upheaval even when it’s warranted, so today I’ve decided to share two spiritual techniques that can provide instant relief when dealing with the troublemakers that we occasionally encounter in life.

This first simple spell I learned in Spain almost twenty years ago.  It was my first year in college, and as part of the program I was attending I had to live with a Spanish family.  In my case, I was assigned to live with an older woman who I found quite disagreeable at times as well as intrusive and judgmental.  One day at the university, I was talking to a woman who worked in the admissions office who was originally from Cuba and familiar with Santeria and Espiritismo and I was telling her about my frustrating living situation.  She asked, “Have you frozen her yet?”  I asked her what she meant and she shared with me a simple yet highly effective spell that has served me and others incredibly well over the years and which I am happy to share with you now.  Whenever you are forced to interact with someone you find less than desirable, simply write his or her name on a piece of paper and place it in the freezer.  That is all.   I have seen this simple spell stop workplace and neighborhood gossip and get otherwise nasty and intrusive people to back off.  You can leave the name in the freezer as long as you feel the person in question is an issue.  Another version of this spell from southern Hoodoo takes the process one step further and involves writing the person’s name on paper and pacing it in water in an ice cube tray or another container, filling it with water and then freezing it into a block of ice.  You then take the ice to a nearby river, stream or the ocean and toss it in.  The idea is that the flowing body of water will take the unpleasant person out of your life and he or she will no longer be your problem.  I would like to clarify that these spells are not meant to harm, injure or cause pain and tragedy to rain down on the person in question, but simply to remove him or her from your path and put an end to whatever trouble he or she is causing.

The second type of spell is a simple honey sweetening.  Sweetenings are popular in southern Hoodoo and we have discussed the honey jar and its uses in love magic.  The following sweetening is milder than a honey jar and is meant to make a person more polite and kind during the period in which you are obligated to interact with him or her and not be drawn to you as a love interest.  Simply take a piece of paper on which you’ve written the person’s name or a photocopied or printed photo of the person and place it on a dish.  Drizzle honey or molasses over the name or photo and light a yellow candle next to the dish.  This simple spell should provide immediate relief and you should notice the person in question being more polite and courteous during your interactions.  The sweetening may be repeated whenever you feel it’s necessary.

Hopefully you will never be in a position where you need to use these spells and by far the best approach to dealing with negative people is to refuse to have them in your life, although this may not always be possible so the two spiritual life hacks we’ve just discussed will come in handy for such unpleasant situations.  Generally speaking, I find that the more we focus on the positive the more nice, helpful people we attract so it’s always important to make good decisions that build us up and empower us in all aspects of our lives and this will naturally limit our interactions with people that hold us back.

I thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and as always I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings!



The Miraculous Life of Saint Barbara

, , | Saints and Spirits | No Comments »

St-BarbaraAs a spiritual worker, I petition and work with many saints for myself, clients, friends and family.  Many of you who have been following my blog will know that Saint Martha is my personal patron and most beloved saint.  Another saint I greatly admire is the 3rd century martyr Saint Barbara about whom I have blogged before.  Recently, I have been working with her more and more and find her to be a fierce protector and advocate.  I have also been learning about Saint Barbara’s following in Eastern Christianity and the many traditions and devotions associated with her that I find truly fascinating.  I would like to share some interesting examples of the graces, blessings and protection that Saint Barbara bestows on her devotees as well as a prayer to invoke the aid of this beautiful and miraculous saint.


stbarbaraThe life of Saint Barbara has long been a source of inspiration for me and a shining example for how a person can stand up and defend all that is good and holy.  Barbara was the daughter of a powerful Pagan chieftain named Dioscuros who had a fierce hatred of Christians.  Barbara began to associate with local Christians who taught her about Jesus and His message of peace, love, hope, charity and eternal life.  In secret, she accepted the faith and was baptized.  Upon hearing of his daughter’s conversion, Disocuros was enraged and ordered that she be imprisoned in a tower until she returned to her Pagan roots.  While imprisoned, Barbara held tightly to the Christian faith and even converted her father’s workers and asked them to build three windows into the tower representing the Holy Trinity-The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  This was the final offense for Dioscuros and he sentenced his daughter to death, himself carrying out the sentence taking a sword to her neck.  Up her execution a lightning bolt came down from the heavens and struck Dioscuros dead and for that reason Saint Barbara is associated with storms and invoked for protection against them.


04224dccfb9efc2b826268b71c4d9f69Even more than the amazing supernatural occurrences that are associated with Saint Barbara’s life, her example of charity and absolute dedication to her ardent faith are what touch me on a deep level.  Many miracles are brought about through the intercession of Saint Barbara in the lives of her devotees.  Recently I have learned of an icon owned by a Greek family with roots in Egypt that now lives in London.  There are at least two documented cases of spontaneous cures of cancer associated with the veneration of this particular icon and there is an account of a girl from Greece who received great spiritual blessings after she came to venerate the icon after receiving a personal vision of Saint Barbara.  On December 4th, the feast day of Saint Barbara, the family that owes the icon invites the faithful into their home to venerate the icon and a priest blesses Saint Barbara’s devotees with the oil from the lamp that is burning constantly before the icon.  I am definitely very interested in making a pilgrimage to see this miraculous icon in London.  I’m going to research when and how this will be possible, and of course if I do go, I will document the experience here.


Saint Barbara remains a popular saint among Arab Christians in Lebanon, Syria, Israel and parts of Turkey.  Her feast day, December 4th, known in Arabic as Eid il-Bubara, is celebrated much in the same way as Halloween is in Western countries.  Children wear costumes and go door to door seeking treats singing songs about St. Barbara fleeing from her father Dioscuros.  This tradition has its roots in the legend of Saint Barbara donning several different disguises to preserve her anonymity while she fled persecution.  A traditional treat served of Saint Barbara’s day is called Bubara, named after the saint herself, and consists of boiled wheat flavored with dried fruits and sugar.  This treat commemorates another legend surrounding Saint Barbara that states that she ran through a freshly planted wheat field while fleeing her captors and the wheat grew instantly to cover her tracks.  In remembrance of this miracle, it is a custom to plant wheat or similar grains and legumes indoors on St. Barbara’s Day that are used later in the month to decorate Christmas nativity scenes.  Upon hearing of these traditions, I was so happy to learn that devotion to St. Barbara remains so strong in the Eastern Church.


Throughout much of history Saint Barbara has been known as a great protector of her devotees.  There have been accounts of her stopping plagues and various natural disasters.  In Ukraine, where devotion to Saint Barbara is strong and her relics are housed, it was a common practice to wear a blessed Saint Barbara ring as protection against witchcraft.  In the west, she is commonly invoked for protection against storms.  There is no doubt that this miraculous saint is kind, loving and protective to those who are devoted to her.  I am happy to share the following prayer that may be used to see the blessing and protection of Saint Barbara.


St Barbara,

You are stronger than the tower of a fortress and the fury of hurricanes. Do not let lightning hit me, thunder frighten me or the roar of canons jolt my courage or bravery. Stay always by my side so that I may confront all the storms and battles of my life with my head held high and a serene countenance. Winning all the struggles, may I, aware of doing my duty, be grateful to you, my protector, and render thanks to God, the Creator of heaven, Earth and nature who has the power to dominate the fury of the storm and to mitigate the cruelty of war.

St Barbara, pray for us.



I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope that you include Saint Barbara in your spiritual devotions.  If you have any experiences involving this saint’s workings in your life, I would love to hear them.  As always, I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings!

Nowruz and the Spring Equinox

, , , | Holidays | No Comments »

Nowruz1Anybody who knows me or who has been following my blog long enough will know the autumn is my favorite season with its crisp breezes and cool air perfumed by the colorful falling leaves, but as a spiritual person I do understand the importance of being in touch with all the seasons.  I do in fact enjoy the spring when the cold sharpness of February melts into the milder days of March and April and Earth once again becomes green.  It is a season of rebirth.  In ancient times, in Germanic lands, it was a time to honor the goddess Eostre or Ostara who was associated with rebirth and renewal.  From the name of this ancient goddess and her festivities we get the name of Easter which is itself a celebration of resurrection and new life.  By the 8th century in the British Isles, Ostara had been almost completely replaced by the Christian celebration of Easter which retained much pagan imagery related to spring and rebirth such as eggs, rabbits and flowers that are present in modern day Easter celebrations.  Today Wiccans and other Pagans still celebrate the vernal (spring) equinox as Ostara which ushers in the fullness of the spring season.  I have a Wiccan friend who gives chocolate eggs to her coworkers, family and friends on Ostara to symbolize rebirth and the coming warmth of spring and summer.  I have blogged before about Easter and the Pagan rites of spring, but today I would like to talk about an ancient Persian observance marking the beginning of a new year which is celebrated even today in modern Iran and neighboring countries.  This is the beautiful and fascinating holiday of Nowruz.

Nowruz 2What I find most fascinating and befitting about Nowruz is that it falls exactly on the spring equinox symbolizing the beginning of the New Year when visible signs of life and fertility return to the earth as opposed to western New Year and Chinese New Year which fall during the bitter cold months of the year.  It makes perfect sense that the New Year be a time of rebirth that is visible in nature. Nowruz is celebrated in Iran and surrounding central Asian countries such as Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.  The name literally means “New Day” and is an ancient holiday dating back 3000 years to ancient Persia before the Islamization of the region in the 5th century AD.  The symbolism of fire, the sun and warmth returning to the Earth was very important in the ancient Zoroastrian faith, the religion of ancient Persia, and still figures into the modern celebration of Nowruz.  Modern day Zoroastrians still observe Nowruz as a religion holiday, but it is mostly regarded as a secular celebration by the Shia Muslim majority of Iran.  After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, manly clerics moved to ban the celebration of Nowruz as they viewed it as pagan and un-Islamic, but this was met with great resistance by the vast majority of Iranians for who Nowruz is a very special celebration that connects them to their ancient culture and glorious past. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the celebration of Nowruz has spread widely across the central Asian republics that have historical and cultural ties to ancient Persia.

Nowruz 3In Iran and many surrounding countries, Nowruz is a national public holiday when most businesses and all government offices shut down for the day of the spring equinox and schools and universities have a full two weeks of vacation which allows people to travel and spend time with family.  The Nowruz festivities officially last two weeks.  The celebration of the coming New Year officially gets underway on the night of Charshanbe Suri which falls on the eve of the last Wednesday before Nowruz.  This night is similar to New Year’s Eve on which there are fireworks and large bonfires over which it is customary to jump for good luck and purification.  Jumping over fire is common in many spiritual observances around the world, for example in Hungary on the eve of St. John’s Night.  I’m sure this is due the fact that spiritually speaking, fire is a purifying agent.  On Charshanbe Suri, there exists a custom called Gasog Zani or “spoon hitting” which involves young people wearing disguises and going from door to door banging spoons on pots and dishes and begging for treats.  Gasog Zani bears a striking resemblance to the western practice of trick-or-treating which I find fascinating since Halloween of course is my favorite holiday.  It is customary to perform a thorough spring cleansing before Nowruz as is customary in the west before Easter and in China before Chinese New Year in order to begin the New Year with a fresh start and cleanse away any bad luck that might remain from the previous year.  Many people in Iran buy new clothes before Nowruz and decorate their homes with roses, jasmine and images of fish and other symbols that are known to draw luck in order to the start the New Year on a note of prosperity and good fortune.

Nowruz haft seenBefore ending our discussion of Nowruz, it is necessary to discuss the Haft Seen, which is perhaps the most visible and iconic element of Nowruz celebrations.  Literally meaning the “seven S’s” and haft seen is a home altar erected for the celebration of Nowruz and is thusly named as it contains seven items that all begin with the letter “Seen,” the equivalent of “S” in the Farsi language.  These items are wheat sprouts, samanu pudding, dried fruits, garlic, apples, sumac and vinegar.  Each of these items corresponds to certain planets and stars according to ancient Zoroastrian astrology.  In addition to the indispensable items mentioned, a haft seen may also contain flowers, rose water, goldfish in a bowl, decorated eggs much in the style of Easter eggs and a copy of the Quran.  The building of a haft seen in the home is believed to bring good luck, good health and prosperity in the year to come.

I hope you have enjoyed this discussion of Nowruz and the spring equinox.  Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and I wish you a happy spring.  May your life be filled with happiness and abundant blessings during this season of rebirth and always!





Bath for Lasting Wealth

, , | Herbal Bath | 12 Comments »

Bath for Lasting WealthIn the past I have shared money drawing baths on this blog to help draw quick money.  I have developed the following bath to help drawn a steady stream of lasting income into your life.  I have seen people get new jobs or have their businesses become successful after using this bath.   The herbs included are for steady and progressive wealth as opposed to instant money that soon fizzles out.




You will need:

 Handful of dried rue

Handful of dried sunflower petals

Seven bay leaves


Bring all the ingredients to a boil and simmer of exactly 7 minutes.


Allow the mixture to cool and strain.


Add the liquid to your bath water and bathe as you normally would.


As you bathe, imagine money flowing into your life and creating the lifestyle you would like to live.


Meditate for as long as you’d like and once you’ve finished soaking simply get out of the tub and continue about the rest of your day and allow lasting wealth to manifest in your life.


As side note, if you have sensitive skin, you may wish to brew a smaller quantity of this liquid and sprinkle it around your home or place of business as opposed to using it as a bath.  The spiritual effects will be the same.


I thank you for taking the time to read my blog and as always I wish you peace, happiness and abundant blessings!