Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Importance of Personal Concerns

Think of items that the characters on CSI would use as DNA-bearing items -- hair, saliva, worn clothing. In hoodoo magic, these kinds of items are called Personal Concerns, and are very important when working the magical arts on a specific person.

A spellcaster needs something to connect their spell to a specific person, if indeed they are casting a spell upon a specific target. A name alone can be a fairly powerful link. Many people believe in the power of photographs as a personal link. Hair and fingernail clippings are so traditional that their use goes back to records made in ancient times.

In theory, a very good witch can do a spell without using these items as a link -- however, most people I've talked to agree that their use can improve a spell immeasurably. There are even some types of spell cast I won't do unless a person can provide me with personal concerns for the work.

The fact is there are also some practical matters at work with the use of personal concerns. If you know someone well enough to get their hair easily, odds are better that you have a relationship going on where you can more easily influence them anyway. If you know someone well enough to get their hair with effort, then still that is a sign that the person is close enough in your sphere of influence already that there's good foundations on which the magic can work. If you absolutely cannot get anything belonging to the person, however, you're working from scratch. Relationships usually take time to build, and even if you're not working toward romantic designs, a person who knows you better is easier to influence. A millionaire who doesn't know you from a hole in the wall isn't going to give you money for no reason, but if he knows you (and likes you) he might do so. Most people are turning to magic to cut to the chase, though -- they want those results to be as if they'd had months of relationship building behind them, but instead they want it immediately, with no groundwork.

In short, you can perceive the ability to acquire the hair as being an indication of the established groundwork you've got. You can go to a carpenter and demand "Build me a house on this plot of land I have -- don't excavate anything, don't level anything, just build it." They might build you a house, and if they're very talented it might be a good one. But it's much more likely to succeed if you've already leveled the ground, laid pipes and done preparation.

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