originally published in The Sunday Stew 8/23/15 & 8/30/15
Today we get insight into the world of Hoodoo and Conjure with the delightful Starr Casas.
Hi Mamma Starr and thank you for taking some time out of your very busy day to answer a couple questions.
I love your book ‘Working The Root’. In it, you break everything down so simply, and you made me understand some of the Saints a lot better. There were so many things I tried in the book that were a total success. Do you have a favorite among your books you have written?
Starr-Thank you. I’m not sure I have a favorite among the 12 books I have written each one of them came about because spirit led me to write them. Working With Blackhawk was the only book that I fought myself and Mr. Robert over writing. I wasn’t sure I had the right to write such a book because it wasn’t my culture; but between Mr. Robert and Blackhawk I came around. I was very mindful when I wrote that book to be very respectful. I tried to add as much information as I could to the book.
I read a quote from you about titles where you said ‘I am just plain Starr’. There is nothing plain about you! Meeting you in New Orleans was an added spice, and I thought New Orleans was already magical, but it was even more magical because of the Folk Magic Festival . Whose idea was it anyway and how did it come about?
Starr-It was originally my dream for the Festival, one of my students suggested I invite Sindy Todo to be a part of it and it just snowballed from there. That small seed of a dream I had has flourished into a loving family. We have all made it into the wonderful event it has become and we are a family. So I was double blessed, not only did a dream come true for me but I also got a loving family in with it. The Folk Magic Festival shows the love and joy we hold for each other and the combined knowledge that we are all willing to share with the folks who come to our events. Each one of us brings our own special gifts which make up Conjure Crossroads http://folkmagicfestival.com/.
I love in the Workbook, your quote ‘Conjure/Hoodoo does not require alot of elaborate preparation, expensive tools or specialized knowledge’. What is your favorite, simplest work that you have done on the fly without any prep when you needed it?
Starr-I would have to say the fastest work I have ever done is calming someone down by covering them with the blood of Jesus; when that didn’t completely stop them I covered them with the Holy Trinity too. It works every time and only takes about 15 minutes to see full results or at least that’s what I’ve seen.
I resonate with you because I too love bones, and so enjoyed your workshop on them where we all did readings for each other. What is your favorite form of divination?
Starr-I would have to say the bones. For many years I tried to read tarot cards because no one read the bones or even talked about it. I must say I cannot read Tarot cards I have about 35 different decks I have tried to understand and I have finally come to the conclusion I will never read them. So it’s either bones or playing cards for me.
In your teaching you simplify things and so get in touch with everybody to make it so personal. Did you have a lot of practice, and what do you think made you such an awesome teacher?
Starr-My Mama and all the wonderful elders I have had. To be honest I live my teachings in my daily life. It is my culture and the way I was raised, so it is so ingrained in me if you took the culture away I’m not sure how much of me would be left.
What’s a little-known fact we don’t know about Mamma Starr?
Starr-That I paint in my spare time it relaxes me; also that I usually have 1 to 2 books going at one time.
How do you keep your creative muse going to come up with new ideas for either a book, or a workshop at The Folk Magic Festival?
Starr-The Container book came about because a client asked me to write one. The Bible book was written because I wanted to share how powerful the Bible is in the work. Blackhawk came about because of Mr. Robert.
Is there anything you want to do that you haven’t already done?
Starr-I don’t think so, I think I have achieved my dreams and any other things that happen are bonuses and gifts from spirit.
Between writing your books, teaching, the Academy, doing the Folk Magic Festival in New Orleans along with ConjureCon in Santa Cruz every year, along with your Old Style Conjure podcast and the Conjure Crossroads podcast, where do you find the time to do it all?
Starr-I’ve worked my whole life sometimes 2 jobs at the time plus readings and spiritual work. I guess I don’t know any other way.
You once said ‘Conjure work is now getting the respect that it deserves’. Can you elaborate on this, and what would you like to see change in the Conjure community as well, if anything?
Starr-I’ve said this a few times, I think that now folks are becoming more aware of the ancestors and where the work comes from.