Death & Love. We often think in opposites. Black and white, male and female, moon and sun, light and shade, day and night, death and love....
Conjure, like most things, is a great deal more grey than black and white. Death and love are not opposite ends on a spectrum, rather they blend, balance, and can be bent together to the same ends. At every point in the history of conjure, they have taken root together, in the presence and sometime in the guise of each other. This entry I'd like to show you some of the death in love and some of the love in death. My first professional job as a Hoodoo was death work done to service love.
My first paid work was to attend the funeral of a local man I never knew. My job was just to sit beside the window. Many older people came over to me and touched my head. Laid their hands upon me. Just rested their knarly work weary hands upon me, gazed at me with sadness in their eyes and moved on. I stayed about two hours, I guess maybe more, maybe less. Why? Because I am a twin but I have no sibling to prove it. My people told me that I had another in my mother's belly beside me and I ate her. Some others of my people say I just absorbed her into my heart. She was light and I am dark. I was born three days into January and because I was a dark twin, I never left the other side behind - not completely. One of the many veils between the worlds resides inside of me. Many old people in my cultural area and the diaspora believe that if they lay their hands upon me in the presence of death (the body or a cemetery), the departed can reach them and they can reach the departed. Like a sort of doorway; like a threshold, neither party can cross. But since within me there is this through way; this veil, and no solid door, they can hug, kiss, they can reach through; they can say goodbye. They hear each other, glimpse each other, feel each other's breath. So, I sat in that chair and wished I could make everyone's sadness go away. But what stays with me still is the feeling of the flow of pure, raw, unedited love, made reckless by grief. I am a dark twin but it's always darkest before the dawn. I was born to be the journey, not the reward. I am darkness and I am witness. Still, if some of the elders are to be believed, I am light too. At least, I absorbed it in the womb. I think it is my lightness that keeps me hoping. So, when I need hope, my twin is with me still. For my funeral work, I was given one new white handkerchief. So that was the love in death.
There is a working to make one person (A) fall in love with another (B). The death in love bit comes in when the one made to fall in love is Goofer-ed into it. This is done using grave dust. And a few other ingredients. The victim in this working is actually Person "B", Person "A" is the tool. And is also collateral damage. So death dust is used to "make" love. The point of this working was that person "A" was always understood to be undesirable, specifically because of his or her personality. They were understood to be unpleasant AND of a possessive or obsessive nature. A very nasty trick indeed. There are nicer examples of Death in Love, but this little over 40 year old one came to mind. I say approximately 40 years, it may indeed be older than that. But that's when it entered my family in that form. Why would someone want to do that?! Well, "alls fair in love and war" isn't a popular quote for nothing. It's a nasty trick but a good one.