It’s finally happening… it’s been a long, long time coming and a lot of seemingly endless work (plus a few minor hurdles brought by the Law of Mister Murphy, as it were) but The Dark Lady of New Orleans is *finally opening*.
The fine shops of the New Orleans magical community have long had an unspoken understanding of what real community means… namely, that if we all succeed, we all succeed. Direct competition like one would expect of other cities where a rich magical community may be found is, here, frowned upon; instead, the retail shops thrive by sharing the weight. If you’re looking for Tarot cards, go to this shop! But if you’re looking for handmade grisgris, go over there! It’s a wonderful environment full of friendly business, where the customer truly gets the experience of different shops working in harmony, each addressing different aspects of what it means to be a magical consumer in this incredible town (even if just for a visit). Push past the surface similarities of the shops all having readers and some similar impulse purchase items, and you see a tight-knit and loving sharing… one that deeply impressed me when I first moved to this amazing town.
The hard part in creating a new business in New Orleans’ magical array of shops has been in setting out for new territory and learning what New Orleans was missing… how to fill a hole in a way to make our community a lil’ more complete. The sheer joy at finding a purpose that fits in the constellation of amazing shops, though, outweighs the time spent imagining just how to make the city’s shopping possibilities and The Dark Lady a good fit for one another. It’s time to reveal the special place occupied by the newest shop on the scene, and to make available the specialty that lies at The Dark Lady’s heart.
Of course The Dark Lady carries the finest in candles, ritual oils, spiritual perfumes, and supplies, and our Readers are breathtaking if we do say so ourselves, but The Dark Lady of New Orleans is, first and foremost, a center for the Setting of Lights. Setting Lights is an old term, meaning a place of working altars dedicated to Candle and Lamp magics. The Dark Lady features three special altars dedicated to the Lwa, the Spirits of Vodou, where candles and lamps are set according to client’s needs and desires and prayed over daily as they burn.
The first altar as you walk in the shop is tucked behind the front door, and is dedicated to Papa Legba, our Gatekeeper. Legba’s altar is our place for petitions asking for new chances, new opportunities, and the opening of doors, and is worked via written petitions community members may write out or email to us, to be placed in a special container for him to watch over. I’d like to begin by extending to you the opportunity to email me with your petition, free of charge, at HounganMatt @ DarkLady . Net (take the spaces out when you do; they’re there just to prevent spam from online webcrawlers) This particular altar service is and will remain free of charge.
The main working altars of The Dark Lady are divided in two, at opposite mirroring sides of the shop’s heart; L’Autel des Morts, The Altar of the Dead, and Le Grand Autel, The Great Altar. (You might remember that here in New Orleans, we’ve got a lil’ bit of a history with French. It’s a thing.)
The Altar of the Dead is presided over by the Barons, the Brigittes, and Papa Ghede, symbolized by a statue of one of his Catholic counterparts and faces Saint Martin of Porres. This altar is for Lights of healing, justice, Court case work, protection of children; Lights in dedication to the Dead and the Ancestors, and any work clients may wish to be performed on the Pwen (the point of focus and power) of the Mighty Dead.
The Great Altar, in shimmering white, silver, and gold, is presided over by a beautiful statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, the Patron Saint of the city of New Orleans (and, to us, a face of the beloved Vodou spirit Ezili Dantor, the Dark Lady for whom our shop is named) and figures representing the other Spirits of Vodou. The Great Altar is the burning heart and soul of the shop, where our Candles and Lamps are set to work for our clients’ needs in all matters.
In anticipation of our Grand Opening, I’d like to open the altars to you by unveiling our Setting of Lights service a few days early. Vigil Lights set and worked at the altars are available now, before our Grand Opening, for a special $15.00 (regularly $20.00, which they’ll return to after our Grand Opening)… the website is still being written, but for now, send an email to HounganMatt @ DarkLady . net (no spaces) with a petition for each candle you’d like set on your behalf explaining what you wish, and I will send you an emailed invoice for payment. No matter where you are, you can join in this wonderful moment by sharing in our shop’s opening, via our Setting of Lights or by a petition to Papa Legba.
Candles for Love, Luck, Healing, Blessing, Money, Work, Justice, Banishing, Hatred, Triumph, Victory, Power… the possibilities are endless, and each Setting of Light is a custom creation based on your wishes and desires, or on behalf of a friend or loved one.
Altar offerings are also welcome, and if you wish a donation of flowers or a bottle of liquor as a gift to the spirits can be made in lieu of a set light. Please email me and an invoice can be created in the amount you’d like to give and your gift of flowers or liquor will be presented to the altar with your name and petition or message to the Spirits.
Please, join us in this celebration as we welcome The Dark Lady home.
Many Blessings to you,