Such a small world Los Angeles is. Come to find out, I’ve been living a block away from Botanica El Congo Manuel, the infamous Santería shop of Los Angeles, for several years now. I’ve even dined at the Thai Restaurant a few doors down from the shop, but since the shop is hiding in the corner of the small strip mall, I’ve never noticed it enough to walk by and see its Santería
-influenced window display (which would have interested me enough to visit). The shop is very small and the supply selection is short of extraordinary, however all of the candles and oils needed for a basic Santería ritual are available. The statuette selection is either extremely limited, or they’re hiding all of the good ones in the back of the shop. While walking down the street to El Congo Manuel, I planned on purchasing a statuette of Santa Muerte, however there were only about a dozen figurines of Catholic saints, and nothing much else. There is one wall devoted to oils and incense, and the other wall is shelved with its various candles. That’s basically it. Aside from the limited amount of supplies available at this Botanica shop, I still plan on candle shopping at El Congo Manuel, considering I live so close, to make up for the lost time. Rumor has it that Charles Guelperin, the Santería priest and owner of the shop that supposedly channels a 500-year old Congolese spirit named Manuel, gives initiations into Santería for an outrageously large price. I’m interested in how much he charges just so that he can spray holy water on the participant while rolling his eyes into the back of his head.
I’ve been having interesting encounters involving my alchemical ritual as of late. Peacock feathers have been popping up everywhere lately, and yesterday I bought a set of large matches, but hadn’t noticed that the artwork on the box was that of a large peacock. Also, when visiting Botanica El Congo Manuel to-day, I was recommended the ‘Road Opener’ candle. I bought it of course, but hadn’t really noticed until I returned home that the candle was rainbow and filled with many colours. It is said that the phase in which many colours appear may take place before albedo, whiteness, although some alchemists place it after albedo. I take this chain of synchronocities as an auspicious sign. As it is so be it.