Tuesday, September 5, 2017


Welcome to The Divination Nation blog!
We are Pleasant Gehman and Crystal Ravenwolf, a duo of divination divas, “spiritual sisters from another mister”. We’re life-long Tarotistas, obsessed with all things esoteric and paranormal. Look for our forthcoming book, “Walking The Tarot Path” coming soon!
We’ve created this blog to share our knowledge and to connect with the vibrant worldwide metaphysical and paranormal community. We hope it’s as fun for you to read as it is for us to write!

 We discovered author and cultural anthropologist Tony Kail via his latest book,   A Secret History Of Memphis Hoodoo: Rootworkers, Conjurerers And Spirituals.   Painstakingly researched, this fascinating work documents the   Golden Age of the incredible  spiritual underground subculture that flourished in Memphis,  Tennessee  from   the mid 1900’s up through  the  post World War Two years.  The book  highlights the careers and  lives of  famous root workers  like “Aunt” Carolyn Dye and the  sinisterly named Doctor Scissors, aka Will Self, who became famous as  one of the  top  spiritualist  “doctors” of   Mojo City’s famed  Beale Street, known to many as “Home Of The Blues”. Kail’s research also digs deep into into the connection between the blues and hoodoo, with anecdotes and folklore myths on  renowned blues artists like Lightnin’ Hopkins, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith  and the legendary  Robert Johnson , who is said to have sold his soul to the Devil at a crossroads in Mississipi  in exchange for his prodigious talent.

Kail’s  retelling of these stories makes them come alive… and it’s  no wonder. He grew up wandering Beale Street and recalls  shopping at the landmark Schwab’s Dry Goods Store, and being fascinated with the variety of conjure products they stocked…along with  household goods, long underwear, vinyl LPs.   As a young person and  law enforcement officer,  he also became close with a number of hoodoo  practitioners.

 A former deputy sheriff, Kail has over  twenty five years experience in researching and documenting esoteric religious cultures throughout the U.S. and Africa.  Along with his anthropological work, Kail has provided training and consulting for theFBI, United States Capitol Police, United States Attorney’s Office and the United States Army.  Several of his books focus on the occult, many  written from the perspective a a knowledgable law enforcement professional.  So A couple of  his other  titles include   Narco Cults  and Santa Muerte: Mexico’s Mysterious Saint Of Death.

 Here’s  an interview, in Toy’s own words… enjoy!

 DIVINATION NATION: You are a cultural anthropologist and author with several books specializing on groups of regional or ethnic peoples involved with witchcraft, Santeria, Santa Muerte cults and hoodoo. How did you become interested in these niche subcultures?

TONY KAIL: Growing up in the Bible Belt traditions and practices that were viewed out of the ordinary were considered ‘devil worship’ among most of the local community. There was a period of time in my younger days that I believed the lies and misinformation that most magico-religious traditions were filled with criminals and deviants and that animal cruelty and human sacrifices were a norm among peaceful Neo-Pagan traditions. It took several years and much exposure to actual practitioners of these traditions to create a change in my worldview. The essence of this change came from seeing practitioners of magico-religious traditions as people as opposed to mysterious robed figures in the shadows. The same Wiccans that I was taught to fear loved their children, their significant others, animals and the earth. The same devotees of esoteric religions that were constantly blamed for abuse and criminal activity actually turned out to hate criminal activity and abuse as much as non-practitioners do. As a Freemason I have personally experienced similar allegations. The ‘diabolical’ teachings I have taken from the craft include respect for Deity, love for your family and charity for your neighbor. Not a lot of room for closet sacrifices.   
In relation to African based traditions, I fell in love with these traditions unknowingly at an early age when I started seeing elements of African-American based Hoodoo and folk practices in my local community. Getting to know a root worker firsthand and then later traveling to Africa, I began to truly enjoy the cultural and historical traditions of African diaspora religions. And like many European based esoteric religions, they too had been labeled as ‘devil worship’ and criminal.

DIVINATION NATION: Who did you learn about these traditions from? Was it just something you became interested in during your studies?

TONY KAIL: At first I began to absorb any book or writing I could get my hands on. Then I realized that the only way to truly understand a culture is to get to know practitioners of a culture. I credit a Wiccan priestess named Jaquie who was not only Neo-Pagan but was an anthropologist herself. She took the time to invite me into her home and to break bread with her family. She took time to explain what her tradition meant as well as members of her circle. I began to interview members of various cultures and in some cases attend rituals and ceremonies. And over time began building friendships with members of various faiths who were willing to teach an outsider.

Throughout the years I would get reports of police and first responders encountering artifacts and rituals that they were either frightened of or antagonistic towards. This became an opportunity to teach them or bridge understanding between outsiders and members of various faiths. Let’s face it, being a Santera in the South has its challenges. Everyone accuses you of practicing a demonized version of ‘Voodoo’ or of torturing animals. For Wiccans in the South the fear of ‘witches’ and ‘witchcraft’ among outsiders still remains for many.

Being involved in law enforcement gave me a tremendous vantage point in understanding how police may encounter esoteric groups or activities. Being involved in the Neo-Pagan community gave me insight into how Neo-Pagans may encounter law enforcement. In the late 80’s and early 90’s many police viewed Wiccans as ‘closet criminal Satanists’ who were dangerous and should be treated as such. Many Neo-Pagan communities viewed police as ‘the man’ who was seeking to arrest and hinder civil rights.

There was an encounter back in the early 90’s where a group of Wiccans were celebrating a seasonal rite on private property in a very rural area of Middle Tennessee. A neighbor called the local police and reported hooded figures with knives, swords and children standing around a fire. When the local police showed up they were instructed by a state police officer at the scene that he had received training and that this group was not breaking the law and were not traditionally criminal oriented.

A local supervisory officer arrived at the scene and began to berate the families at the scene telling them that ‘this is no religion’ and “You’re not going to practice this in my damn county!” Needless to say, the families were quick to call legal advisors. With a pending lawsuit against the local officials, I and several local Pagan leaders met and began to formulate a plan to remedy this situation. We compiled a video of interviews of the people at the scene and I traveled around to various local and state agencies showing the video and explaining how this went wrong. We truly felt like there was a way to bring good from this terrible situation. The bottom line is that there was no training regarding encounters with unfamiliar religious groups. Years later we continued to compile educational material for law enforcement in order to explain what they would see at a private or public ritual. In one video a large circle of at least one hundred participants allowed me to walk through the woods as if I was responding to a call and filming the interaction. This video would later be used to show officers what they might encounter as they walked up on to a ritual in progress. It is important that they see something in a controlled environment so that when they encounter it in a non-controlled environment they do not encounter culture shock.

 DIVINATION NATION: You’ve travelled to   many places that are widely considered dangerous for your studies…Tell us about your most memorable experience(s) observing or participating in the rituals you write about. 

TONY KAIL: I feel like I have been truly blessed to be allowed to witness many different rituals and ceremonies of different faiths. I remember my first Wiccan ceremony. I was so nervous and didn’t know what to expect. I remember standing on the outside of the circle photographing the ritual and truly feeling a change in the atmosphere during the ritual. It was very intense. Years later I attended a private ritual being conducted in a very small living room of a priestesses’ home. Because the group was a little large for the space, I was allowed to photograph and video the ritual standing on a chair by the front door. At one point the priestess called upon the Goddess and the moment she does, a very large cat screeched right outside the front door. I almost fell out of the chair. You can actually see the camera jump in the video. Not something I was prepared for.

Years later I was allowed access to observe a Palo Mayombe ritual. The ceremony took place in a small shed where it was very hot and humid. This was the first animal sacrifice I had ever witnessed in person. I remember before the ritual looking into the cardboard box where the chicken was kept and just wondering if he felt like he was on death row. Once the ceremony began a sense of seriousness and sacredness came over the room. As the priest began to recite his lineage I knew that I was in the presence of something very old and very somber. The smell of rum and cigar smoke filled the air and seemed to build the ritual ‘theater’ that would culminate in the offering of the animals to the spirits. At the time it was very difficult for me to comprehend the use of animals in the ritual. Years later when I would travel to Africa I would see that among many followers of African traditional religions, the chicken or the goat may be the only source of food for a family. An offering of this most valuable object that you have in your possession to a deity is truly a sacrifice. In this context, I began to understand why many of the African diaspora religions utilize animal sacrifice. As opposed to popular media depictions of animal torture, animals in most African diaspora rites are treated with respect. Most are killed and later eaten unless they have been used to remove sickness or brujeria.

One of the most disturbing rituals I have observed was the exorcism of a young child in Kenya. The child was being treated by a local religious sect because the mother complained that he was rolling around on the ground, speaking in languages and foaming at the mouth. The child was assessed by a doctor in the city as having Epilepsy yet the local belief was that the child was possessed by a demon. When we encountered the ceremony two priests of this sect had the young boy sprawled out on the ground between candles and were passing an incense burner over his body and chanting and yelling for the spirit to leave. The young boy laid there terrified even wetting his pants out of fear. There was a tremendous dark feeling to this atmosphere and I remember debating picking the child up and carrying him away from this traumatic experience. I wanted to, but where would I go? What would happen to him once he was returned? We were able to connect the child’s mother with a local resource to get the child help and began to explain the physiological aspects of Epilepsy and its treatment. We would later learn that child exorcisms and witch hunts are rampant in many vulnerable African communities.

DN: Some of your work is about current cultures and subcultures   but   your latest book covers the rich history of Memphis hoodoo, from the late 1900’s to the early 1980s and into the present.  Was it hard to find and interview people who were involved in these spiritual practices “back in the day”?   How did you get so many historic photos?

 TK: I love Memphis Hoodoo history. Throughout the years I have gathered materials and information of Hoodoo in this region. Growing up in this area I have known families and clients of rootworkers most of my life. Once I began digging into the history of the oppression and racism geared toward African practices in the Mid-South, the doors began to open. Living in this area I never knew the DEPTH of racism and hate toward African culture till I began to find the reports of attacks on rootworkers, till I began to find the stories of police shaking down traditional healers in the 1930’s and till I heard the testimonies of those who were raised in spiritual temples here in the Mid-South that have been attacked and vandalized.

When I first began to dig into this history I was naturally looked at like “What is this white guy trying to talk about African-American culture?” but over time people would realize that I was not about getting secrets, making money or exploiting their culture. I believed and still do that this is a story that must be told. That the root workers and healers that were treated like deviants and criminals should be recognized for continuing the survival of the African traditions. That root workers who worked to bring health to slaves on plantations in the Mid-South were not street-wise cons looking to sell faux mojo bags and rabbit’s feet. And that Hoodoo in the Mid-South is not simply about black cat bones and crossings but is about the survival of Africans, African-Americans and these African traditions.
I have friends who say that the ancestors are trying to tell their story and that is why the doors are opening on all of this material. I don’t know but I will say that once these doors opened it was like turning over a rock and constantly finding another facet of this history. The information, the photographs and the testimonies just came

DN: Tell our readers why you think spiritual practices such as Santeria, hoodoo, voodoo and other similar sects have remained so strong and traditionally-oriented, many masquerading (or intermingled with) with Christianity.

TK: I think that the essence is the root. The root of Regla de Ocha (Santeria), the root of Los Reglas de Congo (Palo and other Bantu Traditions) and Voudon religions is African traditional religion. The deities from Legba to Eleggua all have an African basis. I think that this speaks to the resilience of Africa. Africa has been ravished by colonialism throughout the years but yet remains Africa. The traditions of art, community and religion all carry that stream of African consciousness. Here in the South you might have to dig to find root workers and healers but anyone can hear Africa in the music of the blues or taste it in the style of the food. One of my daily reminders of Africa is in the yard art of a local African-American family that creates sacred spaces on their lawn laden in heavy African spiritual symbolism. Africa is in the soil of the Mid-South.

DN: Can you illuminate the connections between Santa Muerte and the Mexican/ South American drug cartels?

TK: The use of Santa Muerte by Latin-American drug traffickers is a sad reminder that any religion can be prostituted by sociopaths.

The truth is that Santa Muerte is such a sacred symbol to many people around the world that have nothing to do with the drug trade. One of the reasons that Santa Muerte became so attractive to drug cartels is that the symbol was demonized. A psychologist once said “Once you demonize a symbol or make it evil, you give it a magical attraction”. I believe this to be true. Look at how members of the MS-13 street gang have taken various symbols associated with Satanism and are now using them in graffiti and tattoos. The fact is that MS-13 was born out of regions where Catholicism is very popular and to use anything non or especially ‘anti’ Christian would certainly frighten locals and create this magical attraction.

Some Santa Muerte devotees who are not involved in criminal activities explain that she is available to everyone. As a friend who is a spiritual leader in a Santa Muerte church explains, “It is like a mother who may have two sons. One may be good and obey the law and the other may be a bad kid.”

 In this worldview it is perfectly understandable that some that walk an unconventional and illegal path may seek her protection. It is a terrible injustice that she and several other Latin-American folk saints and religions are being used by criminals who do not care about the majority of law-abiding practitioners nor how the world perceives their faith.

DN: Do you have any spiritual/ magickal mentors or inspirational historical figures you’d like mention?

TK: I have a lot of respect for the work of folklorist Newbell Niles Puckett as well as Harry Middleton Hyatt and the work they did recording the voices of hoodoo in the Delta. I admire the contemporary work that Mitch Horowitz is doing as a historian of esoteric culture and the work that anthropologist Rafael Martinez has done on Afro-Caribbean religions in Miami. Lastly, I want to thank the work and legacy of the late Rev. Velvet Rieth of New Orleans. As a Wiccan priestess, cop’s wife and caring mother she taught beside me for years and worked to make her community a safe place from predators and criminals.

DN: What’s your opinion on the importance and relevance of spirituality, magick these days? It is currently enjoying widespread popularity.

TK: It is an interesting time to be alive. In 2017 there are few religious ‘mysteries’ out there that have yet to be spoken of. The Internet is a double-edged sword full of great information that some people may have never learned of without the Web and then it is also a place where myths and conspiracies are allowed a field to play in. I think that we need to take the time and learn about each other and each other’s spiritual traditions. I think that we have a lot to learn about each other and that education combined with human interaction is how we began to tear down misunderstandings and hate. Someone recently asked me “How do you get people to talk to you about their traditions?”

We begin by treating each other like humans. When I interview someone who is a root worker, they aren’t ‘Ms. Jones’ the root worker. They are ‘Ms.Jones’ who happens to be a root worker. The biggest hindrance to understanding someone else’s spiritual path I believe lies in how you look at other human beings. If you view someone according to the title they wear versus what kind of human being they are, you will never connect with them. You have to care about people to open yourself to learning. 

DN: You’ve written books aimed at law enforcement and first responders who might be dealing with cults and “marginalized” religions like Santeria, voodoo, Ifa, or even Santa Muerte cults.  Would you please share some   advice and/or safety tips for readers who might be interested in seeking out of trying these practices?

TK: After almost 30 years of researching various religious cultures it has become so apparent that it is not a religion that is the danger as it is those who wield it. Back in the 80’s mainstream media depicted coercive groups as being strictly Eastern based, pseudo-Satanic and race oriented. In 2017 we have seen every sort of spiritual tradition in the world appropriated by egomaniacs and destructive leaders. From Christianity to Islam, manipulative leaders and destructive cults come in numerous forms. Regardless of your spiritual path, it is important that we all remember that every spiritual, magical and even political group has the potential to become ‘cultic’ in nature. In 1989 many Americans felt that the biggest threat to physical safety and personal freedoms was Satanism. And there was a time where I felt the same. But the truth is after all these years I would dare say that I am far more afraid of a group of violent drug traffickers that rip off icons of spiritual traditions or a group of racist extremists using the Bible to endorse hate than I am of a group of 16 year olds listening to Slipknot in the local cemetery.

I think that we need to look at how a group allows thinking and criticism. I have talked with members of groups from African to Neo-Pagan backgrounds that have told stories of abuse and cruelty at the hands of clergy. I have sat with members of Christian churches and Buddhist communities that have shared horror stories about how they were emotionally and in some cases physically punished for questioning leadership. If a group or organization does not allow you to criticize or question their techniques or teachings, then I would be very skeptical.

There are many traditions that teach that a particular philosophy or teacher is the only way to spiritual fulfillment. However, when a particular leader or group claims that they are the sole way to spiritual fulfillment there stands a chance for manipulative behavior. Likewise when a group demands you break ties with friends or family and access to dissenting voices, this could also be a definite red flag.

I remember sitting with members of a particular religious community that were discussing among community leaders the issue of abuse and coercion in their community. One of the leaders was very adamant about wanting to address this for the sake of healing for the community and the protection of potential victims of abusers. Other members did not even want to acknowledge the reality of the issue as they believed talking about it would cast a bad light on the community. Until spiritual communities talk about the bad apples in their community and do something about them, we will continue to see abusers and manipulators. We are doing no one a favor by avoiding this subject. Lastly, I have great admiration for those brave individuals who have stood up and said “No More!” in their respected communities. They may have saved some lives.

Author  Tony Kail

 Purchase A Secret History Of Memphis Hoodoo  here:

See the video trailer for the book here:

Tony Kail’s Amazon.com author page:

Crystal and Pleasant, photo: Maharet Hughes 

We’d LOVE to connect with you!
Visit us to book metaphysical and occult workshops, Tarot readings and healings, or to have us come out for a paranormal investigation: https://www.facebook.com/TheDivinationNation?fref=ts
Connect with us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TarotAlimah
To find out more about Pleasant or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://pleasantgehman.com/tarot.html
 For more on Crystal’s background, or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://crystalravenwolf.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Welcome to The Divination Nation blog!

We are Pleasant Gehman and Crystal Ravenwolf, a duo of divination divas, “spiritual sisters from another mister”. We’re life-long Tarotistas, obsessed with all things esoteric and paranormal. Look for our forthcoming book, “Walking The Tarot Path” coming soon!
 We’ve created this blog to share our knowledge and to connect with the vibrant worldwide metaphysical and paranormal community. We hope it’s as fun for you to read as it is for us to write…Enjoy!
Crystal and Pleasant by Maharet Hughes

Whether you’re reading for other people to hone your skills or doing it professionally, it’s imperative that you remain ethical and responsible. There are many considerations-and boundaries- that need to be thought out and put in place. While you’re reading for others, practice neutral positive thinking is a must. Help the seeker know and understand their choices, to help them face challenges and improve their situation.
This list below is just a foundation; undoubtedly, via your own experience, you’ll come up with things add as you continue your journey along the Tarot path.

Before Laying Out The Cards: It’s always a sound practice to ask the seeker if there is a topic that might possibly come up that they won’t want to discuss.  Be sure that they understand that they don’t need to identify the issue to you now, but that they do have the right to tell you when (and if) it arises. If it does, never push the issue!  It isn’t your duty to force them to face a something just because you feel they need to. Your goal as a reader is to have your friends or clients walk away with food for thought…and the necessary tools to improve their lives.

What Happens In The Session Stays In The Session: Always respect your seeker’s privacy in the same way that a therapist, medical doctor or lawyer, would. Anything that’s brought up or discussed   should never leave the reading room. Your seeker trusts you with personal issues and intimate details.  Do not break another person’s confidentiality.
Many people decide get readings when they’re going through major life changes, rough periods or a traumatic situation, but even if the reading is general and positive, you have no business discussing these things with anyone but your client…. or you’ll have no business!

Stay Neutral: Practice being impartial about the seeker’s life or what you may “see” in the cards. It’s hard enough for most people to open up and share their inner selves with others, and they certainly don’t need to be judged in the process. When reading for others, practice neutral positive thinking.  Gently assisting the seeker to acknowledge and understand their choices will help them to face their own challenges and improve their situation.

Free Will: As a reader it isn’t your place to make decisions for another person. Sometimes it might be ok to draw parallels to a similar experience you’ve had, but refrain from telling the seeker what to do. Shedding light on the situations emerging during the reading will help the querent to notice the potential consequences of their choices… but ultimately, it’s their life and their choices, not yours.

You Are Not A Medical Professional: Think twice before reading about diseases, a diagnosis or a death, even if the seeker is pushing you to do so. It’s generally a healthy practice to avoid reading for these issues. Instead, suggest that if they’re concerned, they make an appointment with a doctor.

 Set Boundaries: Though you may feel compassion towards your clients, and it’s perfectly fine to empathize with their dilemmas and emotions, you need to draw a dividing line. Remember that you don’t own the seeker’s issues; what’s happening to them isn’t happening to you! Keeping boundaries firmly in place can definitely be difficult when you’re reading for family or friends, but it needs to be done. When they leave your reading space, you must allow their problems leave with them.

The more you read for others, the better you’ll understand just how important it is to treat people with the utmost respect and kindness. Living by the Golden Rule will ensure you never run out of willing volunteers-or paying clients- eager to have you read for them.

We’d LOVE to connect with you!
Visit us to book metaphysical and occult workshops, Tarot readings and healings, or to have us come out for a paranormal investigation: https://www.facebook.com/TheDivinationNation?fref=ts
Connect with us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TarotAlimah
To find out more about Pleasant or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://pleasantgehman.com/tarot.html
 For more on Crystal’s background, or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://crystalravenwolf.com

WED. AUG. 16: 
Belle, Book & Candle: Bewitching Burlesque And Psychics
“Pray To The Dark Lord”
El Cid Theater 4212 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles  Doors 8pm, shows 9:15 & 10:15
 At this event, Crystal will be reading Tarot & Pleasant is performing
 Purchase advance tickets:

Monday, July 10, 2017


Welcome to The Divination Nation blog!

 We are Pleasant Gehman and Crystal Ravenwolf, a duo of divination divas, “spiritual sisters from another mister”. We’re life-long Tarotistas, obsessed with all things esoteric and paranormal. Look for our forthcoming book, “Walking The Tarot Path”  in 2017.

 We’ve created this blog to share our knowledge and to connect with the vibrant worldwide metaphysical and paranormal community. We hope it’s as fun for you to read as it is for us to write…Enjoy!

 Boss Witch Madame Pamita

 Madame Pamita is a multi-talented, multi-disciplinary magickal badass. She’s a   divination sensation and a  super-alpha boss-lady witch who runs a thriving international  metaphysical business based in Los Angeles.   But that's not all: she's incredibly talented  and very productive in many diverse areas, and wears many  hats -pointy and black, of course!  She’s an accomplished  root worker/ hoodoo practitioner, teacher, blogger, podcaster and  author. Oh yeah… she also a mother of two teenage sons- and a rock ‘n’roll musician. In fact, she’s such a modern-day Wonder Woman; it’s no surprise that her shop is called The Parlour Of Wanders. We had the extreme pleasure of interviewing her…and we know you'll love her as much as we do!

Divination Nation: How did you start out with witchcraft and hoodoo root work?

 Madame Pamita: I started out as a baby witch. When I was ten, I bought my first tarot deck! Even before that, probably at 7 or 8 years old, I remember reading a book of Greek mythology and, despite the fact that I was raised a good Catholic girl, I remember thinking, “Why can’t I believe in multiple gods and goddesses?” It seemed to make so much more sense to me.

When I was going to junior high in Santa Monica, my school library had books by the famous English witch, Sybil Leek, and I would check them out and try to follow all her (very vague) spell tips. There wasn’t a lot of information out there on witchcraft back in the ‘70s, but I grabbed whatever books on magic, the occult, or supernatural phenomena I could get my little hands on, mostly stuff from the public library.

So, to answer your question, I can’t really remember a time where I wasn’t drawn to magic, divination, and spell craft. Remember, this was the time where Bewitched was on TV in syndication, so who wouldn’t want to be able to fly on a broom and clean up an entire house by twitching their nose? I’m still working on that housecleaning spell, by the way. Haven’t mastered that one!

 Divination Nation: Who did you learn from-or did you study on your own?

 Madame Pamita: I definitely was self-taught as a kid, although my mother was never discouraging of my magic. She definitely brought folk magic into my world and would do things like bring me back a wrapped up piece of cake from a wedding and tell me that if I put it under my pillow, I would dream about my future husband. When I was little, in the 1970s, psi phenomena were big and so my mother and I would try to practice ESP and things like that. I definitely grew up in a magical household. Her mother (who died when she was only 17) was definitely a folk magician. She was Ukrainian, and would do things like candle wax readings and so on. Folk magic was never discouraged in my family, that’s for sure.

So, in the beginning, I was learning through books from the library and the practices handed down to me from my mom, but eventually it morphed into a more formal magical education once I was in my twenties. I had a girlfriend who was connected to Circle of Aradia, which was a huge Feminist Wicca coven in Topanga Canyon and she got me involved with them. It was a super righteous mix of riot grrl and Gloria Steinem-style Women’s Lib feminism. I loved it! All women teaching and learning magic! It was great! I practiced candle magic, went to Sabbats, formed a coven, and took classes on magic and divination through them and all of that really solidified my somewhat patchwork training from my earlier years. What I learned with them really set up a strong foundation.

 Divination Nation: Tell us about your influences, mentors and teachers… Did you know this was your calling right away?

 Madame Pamita: I think, as many spiritual people do, I opened up my spiritual understanding and evolved in my practice to make it very personal for myself. A really wise man once said to me, “If there are seven billion people in the world, there ought to be seven billion religions.” This is so true! We all have our own spiritual path (even if that’s no spiritual path) and each of us is unique. So, my spiritual path is definitely singular to me. I don’t believe it’s right for everyone, but it’s right for me. I call myself a New Thought Spiritualist. I blend magic with the Law of Attraction and I have seen phenomenal results from my practice. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it definitely works very well for me.

Throughout the years, I’ve picked up so much from teachers, that I really feel called to teach others. In fact, the Hierophant card is my soul card (in numerology I’m a number 5). So, I was born to be someone who passes on traditional wisdom. I love to show my clients and students what I know so that they can take away what works for them and add it to their own personal spiritual mix.

I’ve learned from real teachers in a formal training setting, such as Ruth Barrett and later Catherine Yronwode. I’ve been influenced by many through books - Judika Illes, Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Starhawk, Diana Paxson, Robert M. Place, Esther Hicks, and Rob Brezsny, for example.

I can’t forget my teachers on the spirit realm. As I’ve opened up more spiritually, I’ve gained so much knowledge through just connecting to my guides. I often go to my Akashic records and just check in with them and they always pull out exactly the right information for me. It’s the best library ever.

 DN:  What were your first forays into your work as a tarot reader and witch… in comparison to what you do nowadays?

 MP:  I started out doing tarot readings only. When I was trained in spellcraft, the way I learned was that it was something you studied, perfected, and did for yourself. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Hoodoo, that I began to channel that energy into doing spells for other people. So, in my practice, I combine those two. I teach people how to do spells for themselves, but support them by doing spell work for them too.

I think my journey as a tarot reader is an interesting one. I was a musician for many years and then I got interested in weird, old-time music from the 1920s and ‘30s. Since I was already reading tarot for myself and for friends, I came up with a vaudeville act: Madame Pamita’s Parlour of Wonders - I would take on an old time fortune teller persona and read people’s cards (with comedy fortunes) and play this cool old music on stage. It was a huge hit! As a result of me doing these readings on stage, people started asking me to do private readings for them or readings for their parties. So, I started doing that part time. Then, my day job as a school librarian (are we going full circle here?) was eliminated and I had to find a new job. So, I decided to give bring a professional reader a go till I figured out what job I would do next. My career as a reader instantly took off from there. In a true spiritual way, my guides opened the door for me and all I had to do was step over the threshold.

 DN: How do you prepare for your work- mentally/spiritually/emotionally/physically- anything specific that you do?

 MP: I always, always, always check in with my guides and connect up with the Akashic records before every reading. This is where I get my information. How do I do that? Well, I have a intentional phrase that I say to the person I’m reading for before every session: “I send you love and light, I open up to divine wisdom, and I set the intention for this reading that it done for the highest good, with the highest love and for the highest enlightenment.” For me, that just opens up the door.

I try to make sure that I get enough sleep the night before a reading day. Drinks are sometimes offered to me when I’m doing readings at a party but I never drink alcohol while I’m reading. That just sends the channel in a completely different direction - party mode versus reading mode. Something else that can be fun and creative opens up with alcohol, but it definitely shuts down the connection to the records.

Other than that, I think living a life that is spiritually awake and aware opens up so much for you in terms of doing magic or reading. I focus on sending out a positive and uplifting energy and keep that a part of my ongoing day-to-day living, whether I am reading and doing magic or just shopping at the grocery store.

 DN: You’ve invented your own form of divination called Numismancy, where you read quarters. Can you tell our readers how long it took you to develop this unique system? Is it particularly good for certain questions or prediction?

Madame Pamita in a  numismancy divination
 MP:  came in a super quick flash. I was doing an interview on the Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour and the topic was about using coins in magic. On the show, I said that a person could get an oracle reading on the fly by looking at the coins that they had in the pocket or coin purse. In particular, a person in the U.S. could get very specific messages by looking at the quarters, because the quarters all have various images on the back side that can be read. Catherine Yronwode was hosting the show and she said that a person could get a whole set of quarters and do readings with those, and I was like, “I could totally do that!” So, coming up with they system was really a collaboration born in about 30 seconds! I got a set of quarters after that started working with them and did readings for people up at the Hoodoo Heritage Festival earlier this year and they were amazingly accurate and insightful. So… that is how a brand new divination system was born! As far as I know, no one else is using quarters for readings, just me.

 DN: You do spell work and divination for clients, teach classes in person and online, you’re a writer and a musician- how does you divide your attention between everything you do?

 MP: When you list all those things out, it looks a little crazy. I do all these things, and even a bit more. I’m a single mom with two teenage sons, I have a band called The Neptunas, I run a store (Madame Pamita’s Parlour of Wonders, I like to create art, I’m a candle maker, I’m an avid reader, I play video games, I am a world traveler, the list of the things that I love to do goes on and on. I have a lot of energy, that’s for sure and a lot of enthusiasm for a wide variety of things in this world. I have a hunch that I must have had a couple of lifetimes on this planet because there is so much that I am fascinated with, so much that is interesting to me, I get frustrated that I don’t have the time to do it all!

So, part of what helps with me doing everything that I do is that I have an amazing team who help make all the stuff behind the scenes happen. Marlene and Bridget are my right-hand women who are 100% there to run my online store, answer client questions and get people the info that they need. With them helping, I am able to focus on performing the spell work, doing the readings, writing books, creating courses, writing blog posts, shooting videos and so on. I am so lucky to have these amazing women working alongside me so that I can do the magic. They are so phenomenal at what they do and they are everything to me.

DN:  Tell us about your forthcoming books …

I just finished a book called “Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot” that will be coming out through Red Wheel/Weiser in spring of 2018. I’ve just started working on a second book on candle magic, with the working title, “Madame Pamita’s Candle Magic” that should be out in 2019. But for people who want a sneak preview of the info I have to share, I have a really gorgeous ebook called “Seven Secrets to Supercharge Your Spellwork” that I would love to give to them. Normally, it sells for $20, but if you go to sevensecretsebook.com and sign up for my monthly newsletter (which always includes some great spell info), you can get it for free! I love teaching people and sharing all the knowledge that I’ve gathered over my lifetime (or lifetimes!), so it makes me super happy to share this free book with your readers!

DN: Do you have any spiritual/ magickal mentors or inspirational historical figures you’d like mention?

MP: So many. I love it that with a world history that seems dominated by men, that magic, spiritualism, divination and the occult seem to be as propelled forward by women as much as men. Some of my inspirations are Pamela Colman Smith, the illustrator and designer of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck; Madame Blavatsky, who really invented New Age spiritualism; Caroline Dye, an amazing African American root doctor; Frida Kahlo, because of her amazing, channeled art; Joan of Arc and all the religious mystics; Dorothy Maclean and Eileen Caddy, who founded Findhorn; the list is really long and could go a lot longer.

DN: What’s your opinion on the importance and relevance of magick and divination these days?

 MP: Magic is everywhere and permeates everything. This I know. People, who are open and attuned, get that. Our capitalist Western culture has disconnected us from this truth, but people are longing for more of that true connection. Divination and messages from the Akashic records are helpful for connecting us on a level beyond what is visible to the rational eye and magic helps us to shape our lives, directing things where we wish them to go.  If we are able to use divination and magic, we can be both the navigator and the captain of our ship.

 DN: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

MP: I love spending time with my sons and my friends. I love playing music and going to see bands. I am addicted to travel and try to travel internationally at least once a year, with stateside trips in between. Travel is definitely a way to open up magic and synchronicities for me. I just got back from two weeks in Mexico City, where I played with my band. While I was there, two witches who own an amazing shop in Mexico City called “Salem Witch Store and Coffee” saw on my Instagram that I was there and invited me to meet up with them at their shop. Of course, I jumped at the chance and I was able to start a new friendship in real life with followers from my Instagram account. How cool is that? The result of that is that I’ll be going back to Mexico City in the fall and teaching a class with them there. That’s Magic and the Law of Attraction in action!

DN: Please share some of your favorite tips and advice for our readers….

MP: Doing magic is bending or shifting things to go in the direction that you will it to go. Having a little extra energetic support, through using herbs, gemstone, candles and so on, gives our intention that extra boost that it needs to get momentum.

Some of my favorite tools for doing magic, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, are magical oils made from real essential herbs. Working with oils is easy and incredibly effective. There are a huge number of ways that you can use them, but the basic way is to say a prayer or intention while applying spiritual oil to your body to surround you with a powerful magical vibration. Apply a few drops of oil in an upward motion (from foot toward head), if you want to bring something to you. Apply them in a downward motion (from head toward foot), if you are working to clear away something unwanted.

If you make or buy a spiritual oil blend that is specifically formulated for love, prosperity, luck, protection, spiritual cleansing or whatever it is that you want to achieve magically, you can really amp up your spell. Even if you are doing bigger, splashier magical work like candle magic, applying magical oil on yourself beforehand will empower you as a magician.  


 Madame Pamita will be  doing Numismancy and Tarot Readings in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 19...joined by our very own Crystal Ravenwolf, who'll be reading too:
Belle, Book & Candle: Witchy Burlesque & Psychics
July 19  doors 8pm
El Cid 4212 Sunset,LA CA
 Purchase tickets on line  here;  http://bit.ly/2sa4ACN

 Find out more about Madame Pamita or contract her for services:
 Check out her informative blog: https://www.parlourofwonders.com/magic-blog

 Her podcasts magicandthelawofattraction.com and free  instructional videos  at hoodoohowto.com  and see what she’s up to with her band The Neptunas www.neptunas.com

   Shop her store: Madame Pamita’s Parlour of Wonders  parlourofwonders.com

And  see what she’s up to with her band The Neptunas:  www.neptunas.com

Crystal and Pleasant photo by Maharet Hughes