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This online presentation of
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by catherine yronwode
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6632 Covey Road, Forestville, California 95436
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Sonny Boy Products
at the

EGYPT CANDLE STORE

In 1996 i ran into an almost archaeological stash of incredibly great ancient hoodoo good luck stuff -- pre-zipcode through 1985 Sonny Boy Products canned incenses and anointing oils, still for sale as new in the old, dusty Egypt Candle Store in Oakland, California. The early ones were manufactured in Miami, Florida, the post-zipcode ones in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is still in business, but the proprietor of the store says, "You can't get them no more." She sells the pre-zipcode items at the same prices charged for contemporary Indio and Anna Riva products.

My friend Bob Beerbohm, whom i know through the comic book business, turned me on to this store. He was listening to me rave about old hoodoo products and labels and, being a paper ephemera collector himself, he knew how difficult it is to find these things. He told me that his ex-partner Nancy Turner, the mother of two of his three children, is a hoodoo practitioner. He said he found out about this when she brought home a bottle of Follow Me Boy Oil and he realized it was meant for him...

Anyway, Nancy had grown up in East Oakland, California, and she always patronized this particular shop, the Egypt Candle Store. Bob started going there with her and conversing with the proprietor, an elderly woman named Ms. Whyte, a Bishop in the Spiritualist Church. After Bob and Nancy broke up, Bob never went back (he moved to Nebraska, among other changes), but he volunteered to drive me to the site, so we could see if it was still there after 10 years. It was -- but it was closed. We tried again about a month later and it was open. It seems that Ms. Whyte had been in the hospital, but one of her associates, another elderly woman named Betty, was keeping the place open for her.

Despite a rather run-down exterior, the business was active and ongoing, with new Lama Temple brand candles being delivered and customers in and out frequently. Conjure work, called "consultation," was done on the premises. I saw one man writing out a name many times on a piece of paper to give to Ms. Whyte, presumeably so she could perfom a ritual involving the paper (it might be burned, or it might be placed beneath a candle to be burned). If you buy a candle, Ms. Whyte or Betty would dress it with one or more specially formulated oils, according to its intended use. A few complete ritual kits dating from the 1970s were for sale in the back, including "The Blue Penis." This contained a blue penis-shaped candle, various oils, powders, and incense, and instructions for use. The ritual involves stealing a man's "nature" so that he cannot be unfaithful.

All that aside, for me the major charm of the store was the Sonny Boy products that were still available as "new old stock." Supplies of these items were limited, of course. As they ran out, they were being replaced with brand new Indio and Anna Riva products. I advised folks who were interested in old stock labels to limit themselves to one of each item so that others who come after them could enjoy the thrill of buying these blasts from the past.

Of all the pre-zipcode Sonny Boy products i bought at the Egypt Candle Store, my favourite is Sonny Boy's Special Brand Incense, depicting a 1920s-era telephone, off the hook, with cryptic Policy players' numbers on the dial face! Shades of Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson:

I just
Talked to my baby
On the telephone
She said,
"Stop what you're doin' and
Come on home"
I can't hold on;
I can't hold on too long --
I get a real good feelin', baby,
Talkin' to you on the phone.

Second fave-rave: Sonny Boy's Lucky 13 Dream Brand Incense, showing a black man in a WW II era uniform, eyes closed, conceiving of multitudes of numbers in a thought balloon.

Another couple of good ones: Sonny Boy's Alleged Lucky Dream Brand Brand [sic] Remembering Incense, because it is so "brand conscious," and Sonny Boy's Grandma's Lucky Hand Alleged Indian Grandma Brand Incense, because it is so "Grandma conscious."

Although none of the new-old-stock Sonny Boy products i saw contained real herbs, roots, or minerals, the Egypt Candle Store also had some Papa Jim oils that contained a genuine root or herb. "Papa Jim Court Case Root in Oil," to give one example, contained shaved roots steeped in oil. The label was typewritten and applied with scotch tape; the oil itself had a lovely aroma.

In addition to oils, sachet powders, and incenses, Ms. Whyte stocked baskets filled with roots (High John the Conqueror, Adam and Eve, Lucky Hand, etc.) and a bowl filled with lodestones basking in magnetic sand. Red flannel bags were also for sale, for those who wished to make their own mojo hands.

1999 UPDATE: Alas, in 1998 Bishop Whyte passed, which is very sad news indeed.

2000 UPDATE: The Egypt Candle Store was kept up for about a year by Bishop Whyte's successor, Betty, but in 2000, it closed its doors permanently. I wish you could have seen it -- but now it's gone.

2006 UPDATE: Hurray! The shop has been reborn as the Phoenix Candle Shop, operated by Spiritual Church Bishop Keith Williams. Hours are 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuedays through Saturdays.

2008 UPDATE: Sonny Boy Products are available retail online thorough their own web site. Check them out!

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LUCKY MOJO is a large domain that is organized into a number of
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HOODOO IN THEORY AND PRACTICE by cat yronwode
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Here are some other LUCKY MOJO web sites you can visit:

OCCULTISM, MAGIC SPELLS, MYSTICISM, RELIGION, SYMBOLISM
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by cat yronwode: a materia magica of African-American conjure
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy and sacred geometry
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
The Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive: captured internet text files on occult and spiritual topics
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, and more
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races

POPULAR CULTURE
Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics: transcriptions of blues songs about African-American folk magic
EaRhEaD!'S Syd Barrett Lyrics Site: lyrics by the founder of the Pink Floyd Sound
The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: Dr. Strange Comics as a magical system, by cat yronwode
The Spirit Checklist: a 1940s newspaper comic book by Will Eisner, indexed by cat yronwode
Fit to Print: collected weekly columns about comics and pop culture by cat yronwode
Eclipse Comics Index: a list of all Eclipse comics, albums, and trading cards

EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course with cat yronwode: 52 weekly lessons in book form
Hoodoo Heritage Conjure Workshops: hands-on rootwork classes, lectures, and seminars
Lucky Mojo Community Forum: an online message board for our occult spiritual shop customers
Lucky Mojo Hoodoo Rootwork Hour Radio Show: learn free magic spells via podcast download
Lucky Mojo Videos: see video tours of the Lucky Mojo shop and get a glimpse of the spirit train
Lucky Mojo Newsletter Archive: subscribe and receive discount coupons and free magick spells
Follow Us on Facebook: get company news and product updates as a Lucky Mojo Facebook Fan

ONLINE SHOPPING
The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.: spiritual supplies for hoodoo, magick, witchcraft, and conjure
Lucky Mojo Publishing: books on magic with herbs, roots and candles, sugar spells, bone divination, and more!
Herb Magic: complete line of Lucky Mojo Herbs, Minerals, and Zoological Curios, with sample spells
Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop: antique, vintage, and contemporary fortune telling tea cups

PERSONAL SITES
catherine yronwode: the eclectic and eccentric author of many of the above web pages
nagasiva yronwode: tyaginator, nigris (333), Haramullah, nocTifer, lorax666, Troll Towelhead, !
Garden of Joy Blues: former 80 acre hippie commune near Birch Tree in the Missouri Ozarks
Liselotte Erlanger Glozer: illustrated articles on collectible vintage postcards
Jackie Payne: Shades of Blues: a San Francisco Bay Area blues singer

ADMINISTRATIVE
Lucky Mojo Site Map: the home page for the whole Lucky Mojo electron-pile
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How to Contact Us: we welcome feedback and suggestions regarding maintenance of this site
Make a Donation: please send us a small Paypal donation to keep us in bandwidth and macs!

OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
Arcane Archive: thousands of archived Usenet posts on religion, magic, spell-casting, mysticism, and spirituality
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: psychic reading, conjure, and hoodoo root doctor services
Candle Ministry: Missionary Independent Spiritual Church deacons will set lights for your petitions and prayers
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic, plus shopping
Crystal Silence League: online prayer request network; upload your prayers here and pray for the welfare of others
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Hoodoo Psychics: connect online or call 1-888-4-HOODOO for instant readings now from a member of AIRR
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith; prayer-light services; Smallest Church in the World
Mystic Tea Room: tea leaf reading, teacup divination, and a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Satan Service: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including ex-slave narratives & interviews
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective, plus shopping
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Yronwode Institution: the Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology

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