About the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
From Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
The Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers (AIRR) is a gathering of professional practitioners of African American folk magic (hoodoo, conjure, rootwork, etc.) who provide psychic reading and spiritual root doctoring services to the public. AIRR promotes quality service and ethical conduct by means of accreditation and evaluation of our participants. Unlike commercial online psychic reader services, AIRR is a participants-supported non-for-profit directory listing that receives no fees or kickbacks for referrals.
Twentieth Century Roots
In his extensive survey of rootworkers during the early 1900s, Harry Middleton Hyatt recorded an interview in which the quadrennial meetings of a group of African American Spiritualist psychic readers were mentioned, but details about the organization are not found in Hyatt's records aside from the mention that his interview subject said that the famous Arkansas hoodoo rootworker Aunt Caroline Dye had been a member and that the next meeting was to be held in New Orleans in 1936. (Dye was immortalized in song with the lines, "I'm going to Newport News just to see Aunt Caroline Dye; she's a fortune-telling woman, she don't tell no lie.")
The 20th century saw the gradual loosening of laws in the U.S. that had restricted occult practices for hire. The increased freedoms permitted to those who performed divination or magic for hire led to a renewed and open engagement of the public through frank discussions about occultism and, especially within the African American community, a resumption of the practice of these types of spiritual services.
During the 1990s, catherine yronwode laboured to produce a reflection, both in her books and as part of her instruction, of the conjure practices she had learned from the proprietors and customers of her local candle shops, as well as the numerous rootworkers she interviewed during her life. She also sought to promote, through the vehicle of her Lucky Mojo Curio Company and her published books, a high quality of magical goods for use within the hoodoo tradition, effectively not only preserving its lore but also its traditional content. Her popularization of the work through the Internet combined with, and contributed to, the burgeoning popularity of occult practices and the numbers and types of hoodoo services for hire at the opening of the 21st century.
MISC and the Founding of AIRR
During the early years of the 21st century, people associated with Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, Four Altars Gospel Sanctuary, and catherine yronwode's Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course began to seriously consider the complaints they were hearing about unethical conduct among readers and root doctors who advertised on the Internet. They discussed whether a means of providing assurances as to the quality of services rendered or the opening of mediation when clients felt that they were unfairly treated would be valuable to the hoodoo community.
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church was founded on June 6, 2006, and held an official consecration of its new church building on May 12, 2007. Candle services for the public, which had formerly been held at a cooperative occult shop space on behalf of the church, were finally relocated to the church building at that time, and the space was also made available for the use of mediums, diviners, and readers who served the public.
Six months later, during a Board Meeting of the church in November 2007, catherine and Dr. Christos Kioni presented their ideas about the need for a psychic readers' and hoodoo rootworkers' organization that could vouch for the authenticity and the ethics of its members. One of the concepts they agreed upon immediately was that a prerequisite for entrance into such an organization of readers and rootworkers would be that applicants had graduated from Miss Cat's Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course. Another prerequisite they agreed upon was that applicants would be examined and certified for professionality by Elders of the church.
In November, 2007, the church board passed a decision to found AIRR -- then called UISP (The Union of Independent Spiritual Practitioners) -- as a church committee, and to fund its development as part of the church's ongoing mission of education and outreach to the public. In the minutes for the board meeting of November 21, 2007, it was stated that
It is resolved that one part of the activities of MISChurch, to be conducted by the church Elders, shall be the examination, credentialing, endorsement of, and oversight of members who function as Practitioners, issuing recommendations and guidance to them, as well as facilitating a recourse for clients who feel that they have been ill-served by spiritual workers of any type.
This body shall incorporate all creeds and doctrines, making its membership truly ecumenical in the widest sense. All members of this Union shall be graduates in good standing of catherine yronwode's Hoodoo Rootwork course, and at a minimum shall demonstrate their proficiency by giving a spiritual "test reading" for an authorized examining Elder, and providing client references as to their quality.
The evaluation of prospective members shall include the "test reading", a separate oral examination, and a visible inspection (on the premises or via photographic relay) of the altars employed.
The Union shall maintain a web directory of all endorsed Practitioners for the use of the general public. Yearly dues shall be charged to participant Practitioners in order to sustain the administration of the endorsement program and web directory site.
(The full text of this board meeting is available online in MISC Newsletter Vol. 2 No. 6, November 30, 2007. )
A year passed, during which time the church grew, continuing its candle ministries and expanding its membership. In May of 2008 the church, under the leadership of Robin York, undertook to sponsor its first Annual MISC Convocation and Spiritual Training Workshops, featuring hands-on educational programs on the basics of hoodoo rootwork, spiritual candle services, and the arts of divination and mediumship. Funding for this event was raised from the "table fees" that readers at Missionary Independent Spiritual Church paid for the use of church space while conducting readings for clients.
The May 2008 MISC Convocation and Workshops was a one-day event that took place in Alameda, California at the Home of Truth Church and featured presentations by Dr. Christos Kioni, catherine yronwode, Robin York, Dara Anzlowar, and Tanisia Greer.
Early in 2009, members of the church board, acting on the ideas approved a little over a year earlier, set about making the vision of a professional organization for hoodoo practitioners into a reality, under the technical guidance of Leah Rivera, Art Roberts, nagasiva yronwode, and catherine yronwode and with the assistance of numerous volunteers, all of whom were graduates of catherine's course of instruction on hoodoo and had been hand-picked by the MISC board to function as founders of the AIRR development committee. Founding members included Robin York, Prof. C. D. Porterfield, Dara Anslowar, Sindy Todo, Lukianos, Dr. Christos Kioni, Susan Diamond, Starr Casas, Mother Mystic, and Miss Bri. This website, its content, and the standards and procedures for application, are a direct result of the efforts of these founders of AIRR.
With the establishment of a Code of Ethics and an admission procedure, AIRR formally inaugurated its web site in May of 2009 during the annual MISC Convocation and Workshops, which took place over the course of two days in Forestville, California at Missionary Independent Spiritual Church and featured presentations by Prof. C. D. Porterfield, Leah Rivera, Starr Casas, catherine yronwode, James Dotson, and Carin Huber.
AIRR opened its rolls to new applicants for participation on June 6, 2009, the third anniversary of the founding of the church. The current list of active members can be found in the column at the left of this and every page at the AIRR site.
The development of the educational aspects of this site is a collaborative work, reflecting the contributions of many volunteers. Full credits for the texts and photographs on these pages can be found at our page of Site Credits.
Participation in the AIRR Tech Team -- including the contribution of collaboratively researching, writing, and illustrating AIRR web pages that describe historical and contemporary worldwide traditions of religion, divination, seership, spirit mediumship, and magical spell-casting -- is limited to professional psychic readers and rootworkers practicing in the folk magic tradition of hoodoo and conjure who have agreed to abide by the Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct of AIRR.
Qualifications for Joining AIRR
The psychic readers and hoodoo rootworkers' of AIRR are known for their authenticity and high ethical standards. All AIRR associates are graduates of catherine yronwode's Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course, have been practicing for clients for a minimum of two years, and have been examined and certified for professionality by Bishops of the church, by the chairwoman of the AIRR Committee of the church, and by a representative Associate of AIRR.
We accept applications for Association with AIRR from practitioners whose training, skills, and ethical standards are commensurate with our requirements. If you think you might qualify, you may review the application form.
Associates are Sponsors
The maintenance of the AIRR web site as a free public education and outreach service does entail financial outlay for internet connectivity, domain registration, and technical consultancy, so in addition to providing volunteer labour, all of the AIRR Associates are also site donors, each contributing $100.00 per year to support the site. As site sponsors, these volunteer-donors are entitled to a name listing on web pages throughout the site and a link to their own site.
AIRR Associates also donate a free advertisement of the AIRR site at their own sites, which leads interested people to the AIRR site, where they can read about folkloric divination and religion traditions. Some practitioners have donated literally tens of thousands of page-impressions of the AIRR logo for the benefit of this site.
AIRR Tech Team volunteers meet once a week to update and improve the AIRR web site, writing new pages and revising extant page to provide an ever-growing source of reputable information about hoodoo, psychic readings, conjure, divination, rootwork, spiritual practices, and religious organizations of all types. AIRR Tech Team volunteers maintain an AIRR Facebook Page, where new additions to the AIRR site are announced to all of our facebook followers.
Benefits of Association
The benefits of becoming an AIRR Associate include the opportunity to support the free distribution of knowledge about contemporary and traditional spiritual practices with a world-wide audience, and being listed on the AIRR website with a standing endorsement as a reputable and ethical reader or root doctor.
AIRR also provides Associates with the services of an Ombudsman who will mediate and attempt to resolve cases of complaints by clients who have been disappointed with the service which they were provided.
Welcoming Donations of Money and Labour
As an educational and charitable project of Missionary Independent Spiritual Church, AIRR is wholly supported by the generous donations of our Associates, their clients, and the public at large who appreciates and would like to support this worthy enterprise. Should you decide that you would like to make a contribution to AIRR to assist in covering our continued operating expenses, please contact our Treasurer, Christy Porterfield, via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), and inform her of your charitable interests or donate to the Church for AIRR site maintenance or for the AIRR Pro Bono Fund via Paypal
If you have skills and time that you would like to donate for the benefit our association, such as technical expertise in the operation and construction of websites, Media-wiki software, or other features which may serve our membership, whether or not you are already affiliated with AIRR or intending to offer reading or rootwork services to others, please contact us via email, with an explanation of how you would like to participate.
Pro Bono Fund
The Pro Bono Fund collects and distributes goods such as spiritual supplies, and services, including readings, altar work and prayers, and various forms of root doctoring, to indigent clients. It operates under the direction of a volunteer Chairperson, who is solely responsible for the coordination of volunteer donations of goods and labour, and for the distribution of these to indigent clients.
If you, as a satisfied Client of AIRR, want to give a thanks-offering for the successful outcome of your petitions or prayers, we encourage you to make a small donation via Paypal to the AIRR PRo Bono Fund -- the only fund of its kind, a Reading and Rootwork Fund that helps indigent clients receive professional spiritual help at no cost or at greatly reduced cost. If you have been helped and want to help others through the AIRR Pro Bono Fund, please fill out the Pro Bono Fund Donation Form.
These pages tell you all about how things work at the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers, AIRR:
- About the Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers (AIRR)
Public Education and Outreach
Our Spiritual Mission
These pages tell you about how the AIRR site developed within the educational and spiritual outreach program of the Missionary Independent Spiritual Church movement:
- The Crystal Silence League, a free prayer network sponsored by Missionary Independent Spiritual Churches
Brought to You By ...
As a non-profit service, AIRR is supported by the following individuals, groups, sponsors, and underwriters -- and by the generous contributions of readers like you:
- The Researchers, Writers and Photographers of AIRR: Past and present AIRR Associates who have contributed to this site
- The AIRR Tech Team: A volunteer group that meets weekly to assist in ongoing site development and maintenance
- Meet_the_Associates_of_AIRR The Associates of AIRR: A worldwide network of authentic and traditional spiritual practitioners]
- Hoodoo Psychics.com: Ethical psychic readers, conjure doctors, spirit mediums, root workers, and spell-casters
- Donations to MISC: You can contribute to this AIRR site, the Crystal Silence League site, and the AIRR Pro Bono Fund
Forms and Documents
These pages contain the forms and documents used for communication within AIRR, and are posted here for the use of our members and in the interest of transparency to all members of the public who are searching for honest psychic reading services: