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Ask Your Mama

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

by Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

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


©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

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.

Dear Mama Donna,

I was in a relationship with a married woman for a couple of years, until several months ago when she broke it off for good. She refuses my calls, returns my mail, and ignores me completely. I desperately want her back. I feel like my life is over without her. I can’t stand it. Can you cast a spell to make her come back to me?

-Obsessed in Florida

Dear Obsessed,

Again, No. For the same reasons as above. You can’t make someone love you. And why would you want to? Why do you want someone who clearly doesn’t want you? How would it make you feel to have to coerce someone into being with you? You have to be careful what you ask for, as Emerson advised. You just might get it.

Someone recently told me about her friend Maria who was totally infatuated with a particular man who happened to be in a relationship with someone else. She was determined to have him anyway. She found a Santeria Priest* to cast a magnetic drawing spell on him. Soon after, this man’s girlfriend was profoundly injured in a terrible accident. In his misery, he turned to Maria for support and succor. The spell worked. She got him. He beats her. She still has him. She can’t get rid of him.

Some things are just not meant to be. Perhaps a more fruitful approach would be to focus on yourself. Your own needs, your desires, your expectations, and how to best fulfill them. Surely you are entitled to be loved by someone who actually wants to be with you. You deserve to be appreciated for your true self. Especially by you. Allow yourself to experience the love that comes from within. The love that reflects self-respect.

Instead of living spell-bound in the unfulfilled past or the unlikely future, why not try to live more fully in the presence of the flux of the moment. Try to relinquish the need to control your circumstances, and instead, embrace the grand mystery. Welcome the element of surprise into your life. As a testament to your love for this woman, release her with respect and best wishes and sincere thanks for the memories, and then, move on.

Reach out to the world with an open heart and embrace the grace that you find.

With much encouragement,

xxMama Donna

Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at CityShaman@aol.com.

For All Your Ritual Needs : MamaDonnasSpiritShop.com

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