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Dr. John Montanee

A New Orleans Voodoo Grimoire

Gris Gris Lamp for

Doctor John Montanee


© 2014 Denise Alvarado


Doctor John Montanee is the Father of New Orleans Voudou, the loa of drummers and rootdoctors, and patron to male Voudou practitioners and female rootwomen.


This magic gris gris lamp was given to me by Doctor John in a dream along with a box of other mysteries. It was a typical sweltering hot day and I was sitting on my front porch in the French Quarter. Rather unusual, because I lived most of my life in the suburbs of New Orleans, though my first apartment was on St. Ann Street smack dab in the middle of the Quarter. Anyway, I was sitting on the front porch of what was apparently my house with a bucket of scrub water and a broom. I was alone, and I remember I was sitting on the top step basking in the sun, thoroughly enjoying the heat and the sun’s rays on my face. It was a different time period, sometime in the past; I assume it was in the 1800s. I was thinking about my herb gardens in the front yard that were planted between the azalea bushes and camellias, contemplating what else I was going to grow. I remember a strong fragrance of magnolia blooms, my absolute favorite flower of all times. It was a perfect dream that was about to get exponentially better.


In the distance I could hear the sound of hoofs clattering on the street made of bricks. Eventually, I could see over the bushes and through the trees that camouflaged part of the street a horse and buggy. There was a man at the helm, and he pulled right up to the front of my house. He climbed off of the wagon and reached into the back pulling out a box, and started walking up the sidewalk towards me with box in hand. I recognized him. It was Doctor John, the infamous Gris Gris man, rootdoctor and healer.


In my dream, it felt as though I did not know him, but knew of him, as most people at that time did. He stood in front of me at the bottom of the steps and said in a deep voice “Good day. I believe this is for you.” He held the box out to me and I walked down the steps and took it from him. I said “merci” and he winked and chuckled, turned and walked away. He got back in his wagon and drove off while I stood on the bottom step watching him.


I walked back up the steps and again sat on the top step and opened the box. Inside the box were a number of things and among those things was a bundle. I unwrapped the bundle and there was a small hurricane lamp, some herbs, roots and some other ingredients for making a magick lamp.


There were no written instructions but I knew what it was and what it was for. The creation of magick lamps in hoodoo is utilized by old-tyme rootworkers because they understand the power and effectiveness of magick lamps and how quickly they produce results. The reason they produce quick results is because they are hotter than candles and can be mounted by the Spirits. Once you recite a Saint’s novena or utter the secret words of a Spirit over the lit lamp, you draw that Spirit down onto the work.


Here is the lamp given to me by Doctor John in my dream. Make this lamp when you are seeking healing, a business boost, protection, or help with drumming skills.


 • Hurricane lamp

 • Mineral oil

 • Liquid camphor

 • Lemon balm

 • Sage

 • Cloves

 • Sassafras root

 • Piece of leather

 • Pipe tobacco

 • High John root (the one in my dream was round)

 • Bear root


For this lamp, you are going to write your petition on the piece of leather and attach it to the bottom of the wick with a safety pin. While lamps can be made using any number of receptacles, I use an actual hurricane lamp since that was the kind of vessel given to me in my dream. Focus on your intent and place a pinch of each herb and spice into the lamp, followed by the roots, pipe tobacco and liquid camphor. Fill the lamp 3/4 full with the mineral oil. Pull the wick about an inch clear from the receptacle and light. Adjust the flame to your liking and put the glass top onto the base. Ideally the lamp should be left to burn until your petition is realized. If you can’t leave it lit, be sure to light it each day until your petition is realized. Top up the lamp with mineral oil each day. After nine days and after the work is done, you can take some of the oil in the lamp and use it as an anointing oil in rituals.


Note that many Hoodoo lamps involve the recitation of specific Psalms in their construction and activation; however, Doctor John was not a Christian (as far as I know) and so no Psalms were given. Feel free to use one if you wish; I don’t think he would be offended.


This lamp can be tweaked to amplify a particular purpose by choosing herbs and roots with the appropriate associations. Below are some suggestions for ingredients commonly used in Southern rootwork. You may use some or all of the ingredients listed and add to the above lamp. Note that after nine days, you can fill a small bottle with some of the oil and use as an anointing oil in rituals, to anoint altar items, instruments and Self.




 • Azalea flowers

 • Five finger grass

 • Parsley

 • Alfalfa

 • High John root

 • Sassafras

 • Ginger

 • Cloves

 • Cinnamon

 • Brown sugar

 • Maple syrup

 • Molasses

 • Cowry shells


Better Business


 • Any of the money herbs and ingredients

 • Lodestone

 • Magnetic sand

 • Silver dime

 • 15 cents

 • Dollar bill or other money

 • Pyrite

 • Brown sugar

 • Almond oil

 • Petition written on your business card




 • Bear root

 • Red brick dust

 • Rue

 • Hyssop

 • Grave dirt from an ancestor or policeman

 • Dirt from a police station or military base

 • Evil eye bead

 • Small mirror

 • Snake sheds

 • Ironwood

 • Spanish moss

 • Sage

 • Cedar

 • Alligator tooth

 • Crab claw

 • 23rd psalm written on parchment or torn out of a



For Drumming or Other Musical Skill


 • Crossroads dirt

 • Chicken bone

 • Guitar pick (for guitarists)

 • Piece of written tablature folded three times towards


 • Snake sheds

 • Piece of leather or goatskin

 • Magnolia leaves and bark

 • Lightning struck wood

 • Red palm oil

 • Dragon’s blood resin

 • Hard wood such as ironwood, oak, pine, cypress, maple

  or a piece of wood of the same type as your drum


Create this lamp with the lamp sitting on the Voudou vévé for drumming.




 • Lavender

 • Purple Coneflower

 • Yarrow

 • Bay laurel

 • Roses

 • Quartz crystal

 • Lemon balm

 • Pine resin

 • Copal

 • Myrrh

 • Frankincense

 • Petition written on parchment paper


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