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Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
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  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
  • Load image into Gallery viewer, Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards
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Black Herman Fixed Candles + Fixed Prayer Cards

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25% of the purchase price of any Black Herman card or candle goes directly to purchasing a cemetery memorial monument for Black Herman - legendary Harlem Renaissance entertainer, mystic, and conjurer.

 

The Story

Last year, I got it in my head to try to find the grave of the legendary conjureman, Black Herman.

I tracked down old news articles that mentioned the cemetery he was buried in. I reached out to their record department with his government name, dates of birth and death, and everything else I found in my research. About a month later they got back to me with the certificate showing his burial site.

The cemetery was in the Bronx, so naturally I reached out to @bronxwitch. I asked if she could help and she accepted the mission with gusto. I sent her the info and some silver dimes for offerings and she went out to seek the grave of Black Herman.

The story of her journey is pretty amazing - you can check it out on the live we did. When she returned, she sent me a bag of dirt bought from Black Herman's grave on my behalf. She shared the story with me and mentioned wanting to perhaps memorialize the unmarked grave of a legend.

I was curious if Black Herman would want that, so I sent the dirt to @khozmiq to engage the spirit and divine on it. The divination revealed that Black Herman wanted to have a marker for those who went there seeking him. He indicated he didn't want charity - he wanted to work for his reward. And he didn't want the location of the grave announced - he wanted people to have to come looking.

Khozmiq sat in ritual with the spirit and powdered the dirt of Black Herman's grave with bone of a black cat, bone of a black chicken, lightning struck wood, magnetic sand, and powerful old-school curios. He prepared a powder with these phenomenal materials, and we used them to dress these Black Herman cards and candles.

The image is adapted from two well-known Black Herman images, intended to bridge his two worlds. It depicts Black Herman sitting on top of a globe with his feet on a stack of books and the Rod of Power grasped in his left hand. He's dressed in long ministerial robes and festooned in beads and amulets as he appears in photos in his private temple.


About This Project:

The grave of a supernaturally powerful person is traditionally believed to hold that person's power. When properly invoked, conjured and motivated, the power of the deceased may be placed at the disposal of the living.

In West-Central Africa, this often took (and still takes) the form of gathering the remains of the deceased, enshrining them, and working with the spirit of the bones.

We see variations on this theme throughout diasporic conjuring traditions: from the New Orleans Voodoo tradition of marking crosses on the grave of Marie LaVeau to the creation of the nganga in Afro-Cuban Palo (in Bakongo, Nganga is a spiritual priest or man of power; while these days ngangaleros typically work with whatever human skull they can, traditionally it would be the remains of a person of supernatural power - hence Nganga).

In hoodoo, we do occasionally work with the bones and skulls, but even more commonly, we work with the dirt of the grave. As a result, prudent conjurers often wished to have their graves left unmarked, with some, like the famous Doctor Buzzard, going so far as to set up decoy graves to throw off those seeking their assistance without adequate resolve.

Collaborating with conjurers in New York and South Carolina, we tracked down the unmarked grave of the elusive Black Herman, and performed the rite of buying his grave dirt for silver coins.

These cards and candles are prepared with a spiritual powder prepared from dirt bought with silver coins from the grave of the legendary Black Herman.

About Black Herman:
Black Herman made a name for himself as an illusionist and stage magician in black and white communities across the country during the era of segregation. His book, Black Herman's Secrets of Magic, Mystery and Legerdemain curiously blends tricks for stage magic alongside spiritual wisdom and classic hoodoo tricks. He was a man walking between worlds - rubbing elbows with Harlem dignitaries, moving across the color line, and blending illusion with classic hoodoo. In his personal practice, photos reveal he was unambiguously a spiritual conjurer, performing workings on behalf of clients without the fanfare or the audience.

When I first encountered his book at the local public library as a youngster, I was totally perplexed by this blending of stage conjuring with spiritual conjuring - in fact, it turned me off to the whole book!  Over the decades I've come to learn how closely entangled these arts have been since our earliest ancestral records. In West Africa - as well as ancient Egypt, the ancient Near East, ancient Persia, ancient Babylon, and beyond - the conjurer is entrusted with mysteries of all types, natural and supernatural. 

Realizing the breadth of his knowledge of mysteries, I've developed a truly profound appreciation for this conjurer - a man who utterly shattered the boundaries and constraints of his time, and who mastered both the mundane and the mystical. 
As I researched Black Herman, I found a few of his private photos. Much to my great surprise, these didn't show him  on stage before blended and often incredulous audiences. They showed him in his element as a hoodooman - in small sessions with two or three devoted clients - holding his rod of power and working juju in his sanctuary.

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