Ask Your Mama

January 1st, 2010

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

Ask Your Mama

The What, When, Where, Why, How, and Who of

Ceremony & Spirituality


©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Spell Casting

Dear Mama Donna,

This has been a nightmare year for me. One terrible thing after another has been happening. My whacko neighbor keeps hinting that she has put a spell on me. Things have been so incredibly horrendous that I am beginning to believe her. I am totally spooked. Can you put the spell back onto her?

-Helpless in Brooklyn

Dear (Not-So) Helpless,

No, no, a thousand times no!

Your question is one that I receive fairly often, and the answer is always, “Absolutely Not.” Ritual magic is not meant to manipulate others, but to tranceform one’s self. We all need to assume personal response-ability for our own thoughts and actions, our point of view, our path.

There is plenty that you can do for yourself to alleviate, mitigate, make sense of, and maybe even completely alter your current situation — from the inside out. And I would be glad to work with you to that end.

We could purify you from the all the pain and disappointments you have been suffering. We could cleanse you of your paranoia and sense of persecution and defeat. We could begin to repair and enrich your sense of center, of confidence, esteem, and autonomy. We could ceremonially re-claim the sovereign power over yourself that you have given away to this person.

We could work to exercise your will — the will to will your will — to maintain a positive and self-nurturing mode of living. We could create affirmations, blessings, amulets, altars, prayers, protections, and ceremonies for you so that you feel completely safe and free from negative influences — especially your own. We could find creative ways to identify, focus, dedicate, manifest, and project your desire and hopeful intentions for meaningful change.

But we cannot work on your neighbor, or anyone else, without her awareness and permission. We cannot, without consequence, interfere with someone else’s fate. If it gives you any comfort, remember that all things that go around, have a tendency to ultimately come around — all in the course of the cycles and without any interfering help from us!

If she is indeed sending you hateful energy, that is on her, as they say. What you need to deal with is: What is on you?? If, after consideration, you truly want to cast a spell on someone, there are individual (not necessarily representative) unscrupulous practitioners* of every stripe and persuasion who will perform any spell you want for as much money as they can squeeze from your desperation. But then, that is on you.

You mention feeling helpless. We are all helpless to a certain degree in this life. Things happen. Shit happens. Bad things happen to good people every second of every day. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to rise to whatever the occasion in the finest way that we can. To adapt. To expand. To evolve. To grow. To know. To thrive. Cause and effect, guilt and blame are completely beside the spiritual point.

We can choose to accept adversity as a life lesson — not a punishment, mind you — but as an instructor. A very scary, mean one whom we will never forget. A strict disciplinarian with a sick sense of humor and a wooden ruler. The hardest of times teach us the most about our essential selves; and if all those old wives are right, what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger. Who ever said it was going to be easy, anyway?

The ability of making the best of things is probably our most noble and powerfully human attribute. When life serves us lemons, we can, like Dolly Parton, make lemonade. Or lemon meringue pie. Or lemon furniture polish. Or we can paint lemons, or compose lemon odes, raps, sonatas, arias. Sing the sad songs of lemons. Meditate on lemons, keep a lemon journal, or take a lemon bath.

We can work on developing the trust that everything that happens, happens for the ultimate good. Karma, Fate, Tao, Dharma, synchronicity, serendipity, don’t march in a straight line. The patterns of connection aren’t necessarily clear or obvious or immediate. But in this complex web of a universe of ours, one thing ultimately does lead to another, and it is at our discretion what to do when it does.

Yours for every positive possibility,

Mama Donna

* Certainly most practitioners are well intentioned and completely ethical. But there are always exceptions. As always, use your judgment and trust your instincts.

**Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at:

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