Many months ago in the early hours of the morning we began a séance with some friends in the Saint Martha Botanica. We had some friends staying and we wanted to speak to previous occupants and some of the spirits of the building. The séance was a complete success as at the end of our session Marie Leveau took full possession. What was interesting was that before she did we noticed the spirit of a man pacing the room with his back to the wall. During her possession another member of the group was possessed by a spirit who went about the room performing a cleansing and making gestures in the style of a Native American.
When asked who this spirit was Marie responded “his name is Black Hawk, that is what you would calling him”. The spirit of Chief Black Hawk is found heavily employed in the Churches of New Orleans spiritualism.
Black Hawk or “Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak” to use his native was born in 1767 in Saukenuk in Illinois. There is very little known about his youth, his Father was the medicine man of the tribe who died when Black Hawk was about 19 from fatal injuries gained from a battle with the Osages. During the war in 1812 Black Hawk fought on the side of the British. He is most famous for the “Black Hawk war” which was in effect a war against the territory laws drawn up in 1804 and went on for 4 months during the year of 1832. Black Hawk lead masses of troops into skirmishes and massacres. During what is traditionally known as the Tour of the East Black Hawk was captured and held in prison for a number of weeks before his release. He recounted his life to many people and died in his 70’s on October 3rd.
During the rise of spiritualism in the early 1920’s Mother Leafy Anderson opened her spiritual church and Black Hawk became one of her guides. As a spirit guide he served the congregation well. He was a hard working powerful spirit who was later aadopted by Anderson successor Mother Catherine Seals. When Seals died Black Hawk became elevated to a powerful spirit who could aid those in need of his help.
I have only very recently installed Black Hawk in the store. Traditionally the tools to work with Black Hawk are placed in a bucket of sand or dirt. Some workers say that there are special blends of dirt that must be adhered to whilst others say that it should just be filled with sand. I have gone for a combination of both. One thing remains true regardless of what base you chose to use, where that dirt goes Black Hawk will follow. The dirt or sand can be employed in the same way as graveyard dirt, sending the spirit to where it is scattered.
On top of this is placed an image of him, I am not a fan of the Cherokee style statues as Black Hawk fought against them and as a result my partner very kindly made me the statue you see in the picture. Black Hawk is given tools to empower him, A knife, a pipe, an axe, shells, stones and other items to give him strength. The bucket is somewhat like a Nganga in Palo, work is done in it, tools go in to it and it becomes a spirit house for him.
Offering for him include fruit, red beans and rice, tobacco, beads and water. He is called upon for many different matters but specialises in protection, cleansings, legal matters as well as controlling and guarding your perimeters.
We will be adding Black Hawk to the shrine pages on our website and people are welcome to make offerings to him in store.