La Madama spirits are the patrons / matrons of bone readers, playing card readers, psychics and healers. They also know more than a thing or two about folk magic / conjure.
Many professional Root Workers call on the Madama spirits for aid when dealing with clients or performing readings for the public. They are traditionally believed to be the elevated or ancestral spirits of old house slaves, the spirits of old time Conjure Women who now aid the living with their issues and problems. They give advice on all areas of life and are fiercely protective of those they like. Oftentimes they were sought out by rich mistresses for advice on health, wealth or love, and often by businessmen who purchased them as slaves specifically to use their abilities to bring success in business. In return they got access to the best herbs, liquors and remedies which enabled them to help others and gave them a better quality of life than your average slave. Although to be fair this was only marginally better than other slaves.
Madamas look like the stereotypical 'Mammy" image like the one used by the 'Aunt Jemima' brand, but don't confuse the two.
These Mighty Spirits are often shown in art or statues carrying many implements for their work; all Madamas have a broom or brush for cleansing and clearing. This is because Madama Spirits have the power to brush away and remove all curses and / or crossed conditions. These spirits are fantastic at cleansing and work EXTREMELY hard to rid people and places of any negativity or ill. You just have to remember so treat her well and La Madama will take care of you in return.
As the patron / matron of card reader Madamas will carry playing cards (in preference to Tarot - see below for the reason why) to divine the outcomes of situations and to read for their clients. Madamas will often carry a knife to prepare ingredients and some will carry a basket to hold sacred herbs or to collect due payments - something which they are very skilled at. They might also come with a fan and cigar, often tools which are used for exorcism.
As well as being excellent diviners and healers Madamas have many other talents, they excel at making and keeping money, blessing people, opening roads and bringing success.
La Madama will help readers, healers and folk magicians / Conjure People improve their talents and to develop new or previously unknown skills. Just remember to treat her well.
Madama spirits are very plain spoken, and some might say even very "salty" in their language. They will tell you it how it is, and often how to put it right. They believe in tough love when it's needed.
Such is their love of God that Madamas never lie, they abhor lies and liars because God is Truth. This is a good way to test if you are genuinely working with a La Madama Spirit or a trickster. Often they are very catholic in their spirituality - because they would have been so in life, and having passed through death they know what works from the other side for the veil. This can mean that they will reject the Tarot in favour of playing cards or casting lots. They may also reject so-called neo-pagan spirituality and approaches to healing, divination or magic.........I've even known them to scoff at protestant 'Holy Water' saying 'it ain't blessed right'.
So, knowing all this how does one try and work with this most awesome of Spirits?
There seem to be mixed opinions on this, some say that one has to be born with a Madama, others that she comes to you out of a need or out of necessity. Some say that just by touching or being exposed to a Madama that you summon your own Madama. They can be dressed in a variety of colours, often reflecting your personality or life purpose and will come bearing the tools of their trade or the lessons they have come to teach you. It is very important show these hard working spirits great respect (although a bit of banter is par for the course) and with time that will grow into love and a relationship that will last a lifetime because everyone loves their Mammy. And in return, she'll tell you it as it is and work harder than anyone to keep her loved ones safe. She may even teach you a thing or three.
I found this method for working with La Madama on the 'Occult Consultancy's blog: -
"To work with Madama set up a shrine with a white, orange or red cloth and place a doll or statue of her on top of it. Before the statue place a glass of cold water, a vigil candle and one of their favoured offerings. The traditional offerings to the Madama’s are strong spirits, small bowls of brown sugar or molasses, black treacle, bowls of cooked rice, home-cooked meals and black coffee. The Madama’s also enjoy tobacco, so cigarettes and cigars."
Personally I've found they also seem to like wooden beads, particularly rosaries.
Folk tradition is that if you ask La Madama for a favour you should always pay her, it could be from one of the offerings above or in some traditions they say you should give her give her nine coloured silks as payment for her work. Whatever you discern from her she wants as payment (after all you'd pay an electrician or plumber right?) remember that each Madama is different and enjoy different things. As you get to know your Madama so you will come to learn what she likes. You my also be lucky and learn the name of the Madama(s) you're working with. Your Madama is your Madama, and they are not to be lent out like a screw driver. There are potentially unlimited numbers of these Spirits.
Don't forget, Madamas work incredibly hard and should ALWAYS be rewarded for their efforts. Treat her well, little and often and she will look out for you - you never know she may even share with you! I've heard of people who've often shared a glass of over-proof Rum with their Madama.
Blessings and Light to the Holy Spirits of La Madama.