Archive for September 5, 2018

My thoughts on Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic & Sen Moise’s Working Conjure

Posted in Magick by Trial & Error on September 5, 2018 by Occult Detective

blackthornWhile we gently slide into the witchy season, what better time than now to talk about a couple of books I had the pleasure of devouring recently.

First up was one that caught me a little off guard. To say that I was pleasantly surprised by Amy Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic is more than an understatement.

In the 40+ years that I’ve been interested in folk magic and the occult, I have read dozens of books on herbalism, potions, oils, and the like.

This one hit that sweet spot, being concise and informative. The author has a smooth voice, coming across friendly but knowledgeable. She’s the neighbor you wish you had.

The book is comfortable to read, with heavier stock newsprint so there’s no glare. Not overly fond of the inserts, but overall the font is relaxed and not hard on the eyes. Us over-50 year olds have to worry over such things ;)

The star of the book is the simple recipes found throughout. This is spellcraft laid out for beginners, but there are plenty of intriguing creations that will entice the seasoned veteran as well.

You can pick up a copy of Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic wherever books are sold, or just click the Amazon link and get it delivered to your door.

conjureAnother fascinating book I had the chance to devour was Hoodoo Sen Moise’s Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic.

I’ve always had a soft spot for traditional folk magic, particularly Southern rootwork that blended heathen magics from Europe and Africa to create something new and wonderful… and downright scary at times.

I was unfamiliar with the author, hoodoo’s not really my scene (I’ve got a thing about chickens), but Sen Moise delivers are well-balanced primer for those interested in dipping their toes into the modern revival of Root Magic.

I see that as the strength and weakness of this book. While the author is respectful of his ancestors, I see this as an evolution of the craft. It’s a bit modern and revisionist, but it speaks to the times we’re in and this is Conjure for the 21st Century, where the old and new find a balance to move forward.

It was certainly an interesting and enveloping read. It was personal, which is a strong point, especially with this flavor of magic. While this isn’t exactly my cup of hoodoo blend, I was better for having experienced it and will certainly integrate aspects of the work, particularly parts of Conjure in the Graveyard, into my own practice.

Working Conjure: A Guide to Hoodoo Folk Magic by Sen Moise is available on Amazon or wherever books are sold.

I make my home in the Haunted Heartland

Posted in Alba Gu Brath, All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives, Writing in Theory & Practice on September 5, 2018 by Occult Detective

I always seem to get more popular the closer we get to Hallowe’en.

Case in point —

heartlandYou can find me in the latest issue of Heartland Magazine in an article titled “Oh, the Horror: Exploring Haunted Places in North Central Indiana”. I had a great chat with reporter Carson Gerber about several local haunts. He’s a great interviewer, always respectful, and a pleasure to just sit and talk with.

Want to see me in person?

I’ll be a guest for the 5th anniversary of the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, Kentucky October 6 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel and Conference Center.

Imaginarium is an amazing convention for writers, filmmakers, artists, musicians, editors, publishers, game designers, cosplayers, gamers, readers, podcasters, pop culture fans and all who love the creative world. It features over 130 panels and workshops, sports a gaming room crawling with table-top games, RPGs, and retro video games, is a book fair and expo, and offers tons of Live entertainment, covering everything from bellydancing, to magic and music, costume contest and cosplay and more.


Weekend and single day passes are available. For more info visit


On October 20th, the Converse Historical Society will be hosting an old school Hallowe’en Festival at the Eastern Woodland Carvers Club in beautiful downtown Converse.

The CHS will have some fascinating artifacts on display, there will be games and refreshments, and I’ll be there giving people guided tours through the upper floors of the historic Oddfellows Building. Never been on a ghost hunt before? This is a chance you don’t want to miss.

Keep an eye on the CHS Facebook Page for details.


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