Roots and Stuff

Abramelin Oil or Oil of Abramelin
"Abramelin Oil," also known as "Oil of Abramelin," is a magical oil mixture written about by "Abraham the Jew" in the medieval grimore, Book of Abramelin. Supposedly, the mixture known as "Abramelin Oil" is one form of the Jewish recipe for Holy Oil. (See Moses Oil.)
In truth, there are a number of different recipes depending on who is using the oil for what purpose. "Abramelin Oil" is used by ceremonial magicians, gnostics, Kabbalists, and some hoodooists.
Here are two commonly known reciepes Abramelin Oil which are used by some hoodooists.
Abramelin Oil recipe #1 contains one part myrrh essential oil, one part cassia essential oil, one part calamus essential oil, one half part cinnamon essential oil, and seven parts olive oil.
Abramelin Oil recipe #2 contains eight parts cinnamon essential oil, four parts myrrh essential oil, two parts galangal essential oil, and seven parts olive oil.
In hoodoo folk magic, Abramelin Oil is used for simple consecration of talismans, candles, mojo bags, etc. to be used in spell work. Both olive and myrrh oils are sacred unto the LORD God. Cinnamon, however, draws money and luck. Calamus is used to sweet control of others. Thus recipe #1 can be also be used to counteract evil influences or control from others. Recipe #2, containing galangal (aka Low John), is used in protective work, especially that involving court cases, contacting spirits during rituals or as an incense to sanctify the altar or magical tools. Abramelin Oil may be used for anointing altar candles in spirit work--especially if Abramelin Incense is also burned.
Adam and Eve Root (Aplectrum hyemale)
Adam and Eve flower is a species of orchid, which is also known as "putty root." The name "putty root" comes from the thick, gluey fluid which can be removed from the crushed roots. This mucilaginous fluid was used by early American settlers to repair broken pottery. In hoodoo, the root is used in marriage magic. Adam and Eve Root is used by both men and women to draw a potential spouse to be a "help meet," by reciting Genesis 2:18, "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him," and adding "Bring me one who is destined to be flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone." This root is often as an ingredient in mojo bags by women, usually wives, to cement their marriage relationship by reciting Genesis 2:24 over the root: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (I'm guessing it could make a useful protective charm for handling a mother-in-law who is over-possessive with her son.) Likewise, if a woman wishes to attract a wealthy man for prospects of marriage, she can tie Adam & Eve Root, Jezebel Root, orrisroot, dried rose buds, sweet flag, and catnip into a red flannel bag. She should dress the bag with a little Jezebel Oil.
All Saints Oil
The formula, "All Saints Oil," is said to bring blessings and success. It is used for petitioning the saints in heaven. It can also be used on the Feast of All Saints, November 1. The oil includes the following botanicals: gardenia (Gardenia angusta formerly known as Gardenia jasminoides), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), vetivert (Vetiveria zizanoides), patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), and cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, or Cinnamomum burmannii) which are mixed into a base of sweet almond and jojoba oils.
aloe vera (Aloe vera or Aloe barbadensis)
Aloe vera is now an item commonly sold in mainstream drug stores. A gel from the leaves of this desert plant may be applied externally for sunburns and mild burns. It may also be applied externally to topical bruises or inflammation.
Common names include "Indian aloe," "burn aloe," "Babados aloe," "First Aid plant," and "zabila." Early records of the use of aloe vera appear in the Ebers Papyrus in the 16th century bce. This papyrus had twelve formulas for use externally and internally. Aloe vera was definitely a sunburn cure in Texas-Mexican folk beliefs and may have been absorbed into the collection of African American folk medical practices in Texas.
Many botanists agree that the aloe vera plant originated in the warm, dry climates of Africa. In the USA it is cultivated in Texas, Arizona, California, and Florida.
Some health stores sell aloe vera for internal consumption as a laxative, but its laxative properties are very powerful. It can give diarhea and gas. It is probably best not to use it internally.
alum powder (hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate)
Alum is a naturally occurring mineral substance also called "potash alum" or hydrated aluminum potassium sulfate. Alum powder has numerous uses.
Alum powder is found in the spice section of many grocery stores. It is popularly used in many pickling recipes, particularly cucumber pickles.
About 1/8 teaspoon of alum powder put in an empty muslin tobacco-sack with a piece of brown paper that says, "All Those Who Maliciously Gossip About Me," will stop gossip. Because of its use as a pickling agent, a bit of alum causes the mouth to pucker--affecting speeh. Hence, this charm bag will silence gossipers by puckering their mouths.
Alum powder is also a home health cure for foot odor. The powder will neutralize the growth of bacteria that causes most body odor. Alum has also been applied to small cuts to prevent infection due its astringent qualities. A pinch of alum powder is an excellent home remedy for aphthous stomatitis, commonly known as "canker sores," when applied to the affected area. It is also used as an ingredient in some cosmetic recipes. Alum is also one of the mineral ingredients of Three Ingredient Bath.
Alum powder has long been used to treat water. When added to water, small particles of pollutants present in water tend to stick together, forming colloid particles, and sink to the bottom. The pure water can be separated out after the heavy colloid particles get settled down at the bottom of the container.
American sweet flag (Acorus calamus)
American sweet flag is a wetland plant native to the northern USA and Canada The foliage has a citrus-like spicy aromatic quality, and can be used to flavor beer. It is sometime used in mojo bags for love which call for sweet flag or calamus.
angelica root (Archangelica officinalis)
This root is used in some mojo bags for protection and uncrossing. If it is sprinkled in the four quarters of the home, it can provide powerful protection from negative influences.
ant bed
Those who have breast fed know that the more gradually a woman weans her child from breast feeding, the less likely her breasts are to become sore and engorged with milk. Often it takes about seven to ten days for a woman's milk to dry up. Clinicians will suggest cold compresses to help with the discomfort during this time period. It is said that applying raw cabbage leaves, chilled in an ice box, to the breasts reduces milk production and helps ease discomfort of engorgement. (Naturally, if someone has an allergy to cabbage or sulfa drugs, she should not be applying cabbage leaves to her breasts.) Occasionally, during the weaning process, women are advised to express a small amount of milk to ease the discomfort of the engorgement. According to West Florida folk wisdom in the 1950's, the "best" way for a woman to "dry up" her milk after her child has been weened was to go into the backyard at high noon and express a little bit of milk over the opening of an "ant bed." She can repeat this action only one or two days. In theory, it should be done only once. (Interestingly, the species of ant did not seem to be important, but there was some disagreement among locals as to whether the ants should be black or red.) The woman could also drink an infusion of sage tea, maybe with a little honey, as well.
Apache Tears
"Apache Tears" are small naturally formed droplets of obsidian or nodular obsidian (volcanic black glass) that range in color from black to smoky brown. Such nodules are also known as "Obsidian Pearls" or "Obsidian Drops," but throughout the USA Southwest they are known as "Apache Tears." Not surprisingly, these nodules can be found in locations where Apache Indians lived, especially Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. The San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona, USA, is a famous source of Apache Tears as is the area surrounding Apache Leap Mountain.
The name "Apache Tear" originated from a legend relating to the Apache tribe. According to the story, a band of seventy-five Apache warriors rode their horses off the edge of Apache Leap Mountain to their deaths in order to avoid capture by the US Army. When news of their deaths reached other members of the Apache tribes, the tears that were shed were turned into the obsidian Apache Tears which are found in the surrounding area in abundance. Allegedly, this sorrowful tale took place in 1875, but historians say there is no genuine historical basis for this story.
Nevertheless due to the legend, Apache Tears are said to remove pain and relieve grief. They are good luck stones and are said to bring good luck to anyone who has one. That is because the Apache have shed enough tears already, and no more need be shed. Magically, Apache Tears serve as healing black obsidian stones. These stones are apparently used by some hoodoo practitioners who live out in the western states of the USA.
Apache Tear gemstones appear to be opaque by reflected light, but are actually translucent if held up to the light.
All obsidian is naturally occurring volcanic glass, not actually a true mineral. It can be found in places where volcanic activity occurred, including Mexico, South America, Japan, and Afghanistan. The hot lava forming the obsidian cooled rapidly within the earth.
Apricot kernel oil (Prunus armeniaca)
Apricot kernel oil is cold-pressed and refined from the dried kernels of apricots. This oil has been tradtionally credited with moisturizing, nourishing, and revitalizing properties. It is a base oil that combines well with essential oils and supposedly is easily absorbed by the skin. Apricot kernel oil is often recommended as a beauty treatment for dehydrated, mature, delicate, or sensitive skin and for damaged or dry hair. Since it is used for beauty treatments, this oil is a key ingredient in the hoodoo recipe for Cleopatra oil.
arrowhead root (Sagittaria graminea)
Arrowhead plant grows wild in shallow water from Eastern USA to Texas and is found in ponds, ditches, wetlands, canals, and slow rivers. The roots were cut up and strung in a circles on a cord to draw pain and fever out of a child during teething. Arrowhead root can also be mixed with good luck herbs in gambling powder to reinforce the mojo. Arrowhead roots, when dried and ground into powder, are sold as "arrowroot powder." Arrowroot powder can be mixed with gambling powders, or fast luck powders. It can also be used to dust a lucky rabbit's foot. Lottery tickets can be blessed with a mixture of arrowroot powder and lucky powder and the set next to a green candle annointed with a lucky oil like Fortuna Madama. In cooking, arrowroot powder is a thickener used in place of flour or corn starch. Hence, arrowroot powder can also act as a thickener for luck.
asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida)
Asafoetida, also spelled asafetida, is commonly known as "giant fennel," "stinking gum," and "devil's dung." The asafoetida plant has a hollow stem and roots which contains a milky substance that is rich in organic sulfur. This flowering perennial plant, which is native to the Middle East, grows about six feet tall.
The gum comes from the dried sap extracted from the stem and roots. It is greyish-white when fresh, but is a dark amber color when dried.
Raw asafoetida has a pungent, stinking smell, which is the origin of the the names "stinking gum" and "devil's dung." It was used as spice in Roman and Indian cuisine and once cooked in Indian ghee or oil, its odor becomes much milder and more pleasant. It is said to be something like sautéed onion and garlic. Asafoetida must be stored in airtight containers in order to avoid contamination of other spices. It is commonly sold as food in speciality shops in spice bottles as a fine powder which is compounded asafoetida--containing 30% asafoetida resin, along with rice flour, and gum arabic. Asafoetida powder is also known as "Hing."
Asafoetida has a long history of medical use. It was believed to be good for digestion, flatulence, asthma, bronchitis, and painful menstruation. It does have antibiotic properties which check the growth of microbes. Thus, asafoetida has been used as a preservative in pickles and sauces. Since asafoetida has an unpleasant smell, it has been used as a natural pesticide.
In Maryland folk medicine, asafoetida was worn about the neck in a little bag to drive away disease, like the cold and flu. In the practice of Jamaican Cumina, asafoetida was traditionally applied to infants in order to prevent spirits--like malevolent "duppies"--from entering the children and making them sick. In the African-American hoodoo tradition, asafoetida is used in magic spells as it is believed to to protect against disease, as well as certain malign spirits--like Boo Hags. It is sometimes employed in spells to drive way, or jinx, a specifically named individual.
basil (Ocimum basilicum and Ocimum tenuiflorum aka Ocimum sanctum)
The common culinary herb, basil, is a magical or sacred herb in numerous cultures. There are numerous varieties of this plant. Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is one of the widely used varieties. In India, tulsi or holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum aka Ocimum sanctum) is associated with various religious rituals.
In hoodoo, apparently both of the above and possibly other kinds of basil are used by practitioners in their personal recipies. Dried basil is sometimes sprinkled on the kitchen floor and then swept up and carried out to "drive away evil" and increase peace and happiness in the home. The green herb, basil, can also be used to draw prosperity. Basil water, traditionally made by soaking the herb for three days, can be sprinkled around a doorstep to bring success and money. Basil oil, particularly "sweet basil oil" (Ocimum basilicum) can be used to draw sweet green cash to someone rubbing it on a mojo bag for prosperity or a dollar bill, particularly if the bill is wrapped around a High John the Conqueror Root (Ipomoea jalapa). See basil oil.
basil oil, basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum)
Basil essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and the flowering tops of the herb, sweet basil. Basil essential oil is usually the 'basil oil" used by sundry magical practitioners; however, culinary basil oil can also be used. See basil oil, culinary basil oil
basil oil, culinary basil oil
Culinary basil oil is used mostly in food preparation and is usually made with sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), but other varieties can be used. The culinary oil is made by steeping two cups tightly packed chopped sweet basil leaves in one cup mild olive oil for seven days in the refrigerator or cool spot. Basil essential oil is usually the 'basil oil" used by sundry magical practitioners; however, culinary basil oil can also be used for rootwork purposes. See basil oil, basil essential oil (Ocimum basilicum)
bat nut, bat head (Trapa bicornis)
The seed pod of Trapa bicornis is known as the bat nut, bat head, ling nut, ling ko, lingjiao, devil pod, goat head, bull nut, and buffalo nut, water chestnut, singhara, or pani-fol. The seed inside the pod is edible when cooked. In China, the edible nut is known as the ling ko or lingjiao. In Chinese lore, the seed pod is said to resemble a bat or bat's head. In China, the bat is a lucky animal, because the the word for "happiness" (fu) is also the word for "bat" (fu). The ling ko or lingjiao is considered a lucky food to eat.
The unusual shape of the bat nut's seed pod and its rarity in the USA have resulted some of the other colorful names, including "devil pod," "goat head," etc. Some hoodoo practioners use it to ward off evil and is included in mojo bags, such as "Keep Away Enemies." For protection placed above a doorway, facing outward or hung on the wall. The bat nut or bat head is used by some for increased psychic awareness.
bayberry candles (Myrica cerifera or Myrica Pensylvanica)
Southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera), which is most common in peninsular Florida and on the coast of the Southeastern USA, can be described as either a large shrub or small tree. The evergreen narrow leaves are aromatic when crushed. Southern bayberry is also known as "wax myrtle," "Southern wax myrtle," "dwarf waxmyrtle," "bayberry tree," "candleberry," "waxberry" and "tallow shrub." It is adaptable to many habitats, including fresh and brackish water banks, savannas, swamps, pastures, and woodlands. It has a moderate tolerance of salt-spray and an ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen in the soil. The waxy berries serve as winter food for many different types of native and migratory birds.
Southern bayberry or "wax myrtle" was cultivated for medicinal purposes in the USA South. In 1722, it was reported that colonists in Louisiana drank a mixture of wax and hot water to treat severe diarrhea or the "bloody flux," which was accompanied by fever and abdominal pain. The Choctaw Native American Indians in Southeastern USA had boiled and used parts of the plant as a treatment for fevers. The Seminole Native American Indians supposedly fermented leaves into a medicine for stomach aches, fevers, and headaches.
The Southern bayberry has also been cultivated as an ornamental plant, as well for candlemaking. As an ornamental plant, it creates wildlife-friendly screens and hedges. It was planted around homes to keep fleas out and likewise placed in closets to keep cockroaches and other insects away.
The common names "candleberry," "waxberry," "wax myrtle," and "tallow shrub" particularly relate to its use in candle-making. Four pounds of berries yield about one pound of wax. The small bayberries were crushed before being boiled. The candlemakers skimmed off the waxy residue that floated to the surface. This residue was heated and strained again. The sage green colored wax candles burned much more cleanly than animal fat tallow candles, with a more pleasant scent. Bayberry wax candles burn longer than beewax candles. Though it was time consuming to make, wax from the native bayberry was initially more economical than beeswax. Yet, bayberry wax is more brittle than beeswax.
The Southern bayberry (Myrica cerifera) is closely related to Northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica), which loses its leaves in winter, bears much larger berries and has wider leaves. Both species overlap in Virginia and some of the surrounding states
The Northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica) is native to eastern North America. It is found in North Carolina to Ohio and up to Nova Scotia and Ontario. The leaves are dark green and leathery and aromatic when crushed. Northern bayberry is used in candle-making and is also commonly known as "bayberry" and "candleberry."
The berries of the Northern bayberry, like the Southern bayberry, are bluish-black encrusted with a whitish, waxy coating, which is used to make bayberry wax candles.
According to the National Candle Association, American colonists discovered the use of bayberries for candle-making by boiling these fruits from a squat bush growing in the sandy dunes of the New England shore. The fruit of the Northern bayberry was preferred over Southern bayberry simply because its berries are much larger.
Hence, bayberry wax was the Colonial American contribution to candle-making. Bayberry candles became traditional American gifts of prosperity and friendship.
"A bayberry candle burned down to the socket,
brings food to the larder and gold to the pocket."
--New England traditional rhyme
With the onset of the industrial revolution, many attempted to come up with quicker, cheaper ways of producing candles. During the late 18th and 19th centuries, other materials were discovered/experimented with for manufacture of candles: spermaceti wax, Colza oil, stearin, Paraffin, etc. The bluish-white Paraffin wax created inexpensive candles that burned cleanly and with no unpleasant or little odor.
Bayberry candles were extremely time consuming to make due to the difficulty of extracting the wax. Increasingly during the 19th century, time was money. Slowly bayberry candles were used less for daily illumination and became reserved for special occasions. Eventually in New England, bayberry candles were especially associated with Christmastime and New Year's traditions. In particular, bayberry candles were burned on New Year's Eve for prosperity during the coming year. Sweethearts could burn bayberry candles for love on Christmas Eve, especially if they had to be separated that night. A Christmas legend said that the holy family sheltered under a bayberry tree during a winter storm.
Interestingly in the USA South, the custom of burning bayberry candles exclusively for the midwinter holidays never took root. Bayberry candles and bayberry scented candles might be burned at almost any time of year--if an appropriate occasion arose. Quite probably the year around use of bayberry candles may have been related to its use as a medicinal plant.
In Southern hoodoo tradition, bayberry candles were also associated with prosperity. Indeed, here are two other versions of the bayberry rhyme.
A bayberry candle burned to the socket
Draws luck to the home and wealth to the pocket.

A bayberry candle burned to the socket
will bring joy to the heart and gold to the pocket.

In hoodoo, bayberry candles are burned in spells for all sorts of financial needs. Bayberry can work as a catalyst. A "Lucky Bayberry Candle," which is a bayberry scented devotional seven day candle, can be burned to unblock winning lottery numbers. The bayberry candles in jars can also be used to remove any jinxes or hexes. Any bayberry candle can be burned to change luck for the better and draw money to whoever is setting the light. Bayberry candles can be burned to spur a debtor into repaying a loan--particularly if he is able to do so and the one burning the candle needs the money. As a single bayberry is used to attract good luck, it can also be used to attract a lover. A pair of genuine bayberry candles are said to bring joy and luck to a couple or family.
Bell Witch
The "Bell Witch" is an early 19th century legend of a poltergeist spirit from USA Southern folklore, involving John Bell and his family who had moved to an area later known as Adams, Tennessee, from Edgecombe County, North Carolina. The poltergeist activity was viewed as inexplicable "witchery" and the story became known as "Bell Witch."
In 1817, John Bell, Sr. encountered a strange animal, which had the head of a rabbit and the body of a dog in a cornfield on his farm. He shot the strange creature, and thereafter the family began to experience poltergeist activity. They heard sounds of gnawing and knocking. Objects moved about. Family members were assaulted. Eventually, voices were heard singing hymns, quoting scripture, and speaking to people. John Bell, Sr. died on December 20, 1820, allegedly poisoned by the poltergeist.
benne wafer
Among the Gullah peoples, benne wafer is a cookie made with sesame seeds and eaten for good luck. These cookies were introduced by slaves from West Africa.
Bentonite green clay (Aluminum phyllosilicate)
People from all over the world have used a wide variety of clays for healing, body purification, beauty treatments, etc.
Green clays have historically been known as popular healing or medicinal clays. Montmorillonite green clay from the Montmorillon area of France is another medicinal clay.
Bentonite green clay has be used as a cosmetic preparation to treat acne and oily skin. By applying wet clay topically to the skin as a poultice, green healing clay has been used to treat infections, and other medical problems. Green clay is said to be especially good at drawing toxins out.
This absorbent clay was named Bentonite by the American geologist, John Pascal, who discovered it in Wyoming and Montana around 1890. Pascal apparently coined the name Bentonite after Fort Benton, Wyoming. It was found in upper cretaceous turf near Fort Benton, Wyoming. The largest of Bentonite deposits come from Wyoming and Montana.
Medicinal clay is typically available in health food stores as a dry powder. "Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay" is a specific brand of 100% natural bentonite clay from Aztec Secret Health & Beauty LTD, P.O. Box 841, Pahrump NV, 89041. "Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay" is collected from the sundrenched Death Valley, CA, and is an economical clay that can be used to beautify and refresh skin in traditional recipes, involving rose water or apple cider vinegar using ceramic, glass, or wooden bowls and spoons.
The savy spiritual shopper should not purchase clay products that are sold in unsealed containers, as the clay may be contaminated during shipping and storage.
Beth Root (Trillium erectum/Trillium pendulum)
Beth Root is the root of a plant native to the east and north-eastern areas of the USA. This plant is also commonly known as "Bethroot," "Birth Root," "red trillium," "purple trillium," "Jew's harp plant," "rattlesnake root," "Wake-robin," "Squaw Flower," "Indian Balm," "Indian Shamrock," "Ground Lily," and "Stinking Benjamin." The plant grows well in the shady places, in damp soil. The name "Wake-robin" relates to the fact that it is spring-flowering plant with a deep red flowers and a stout simple stem bearing a whorl of three ovate leaves. The plant blooms as early as April in some areas. Hense, "Wake-robin" is like the bird, robin red breast, which appears in springtime. Yet, these deep red flowers have the smell of rotting meat which relates to the common name, "Stinking Benjamin." The blossoms are pollinated by flies who attracted by the odor. The three ovate leaves are probably the reason for the common name "Indian Shamrock." It is a member of the Lily family which is why this plant is also known as the "Ground Lily."
Some of the reasons behind some of the common names of this plant eluded me, like "Jew's harp plant."
The dried root has been used in folk medicine. Beth Root has been used as an astringent and antiseptic. It was also used as an ingredient in recipes for poultice for ulcers, bleeding, and excessive menstruation. The common names "Beth Root" and "Birth Root" were apparently related to the root's supposed beneficial effects on the female reproductive system as well as allegedly treating post-partum hemorrhage. Supposedly, some "Native American tribes" used this root to "aid in birth." I must state I was unable to find out which "tribes" used it.
Duncan's Botanical Products stated, "Pregnant women should not take this herb." Star Child Herbs likewise specifically stated about Beth Root, "Avoid during pregnancy. Do not use continuously." Star Child Herbs also added, "Pregnancy is a very special time. If chosen wisely herbs can give tremendous support throughout the entire process. However, due to the vulnerability and sensitivity of the unborn child it is especially important to make sure that the herbs you are using are safe. (This also applies during the time of breast-feeding as all substances ingested by the mother are processed and passed on with the mother's milk). Many herbs may be useful during the latter stages of pregnancy or during labor, but could be dangerous during the first few months. Inform yourself - don't risk regret."
The leaves and smelly flowers may NOT be used in any herbal remedies. In particular, the leaves contain crystal raphide and calcium oxalate crystals, and thus should not be consumed by humans.
In Southern folk magic, the plant is fequently refered to as "Beth Root." Beth Root has been used for luck, love, and protection of family.
A whole Beth Root may be carried for luck or tied in a woman's nation sack. To increase a woman's enjoyment of her own marital sex-life, a small piece of Beth Root could be tied into a muslin bag and tossed in the laundry with married couple's bed clothes. As a charm to bring marriage, pieces of Beth Root could be tied in a red bag with dried violet leaves and/or violet flowers, along with a lodestone and some magnetic sand. The root of the "Squaw Flower" was believed to be one of the more potent native roots for women. The dried root could be tied into women's magic to balance a menstrual cycle, draw upon its aphrodisiac qualities, or for her own general good health. Likewise, Beth Root is a powerful addition in protection charms to keep away malign energies from a home.
A piece of Beth Root can be also suspended from a cord so that it can swing freely and thus be used as pendulum by a women for divination.
Interestingly, in the USA Southern hoodoo lore, this root is sometimes also known as "Southern John Root" or "Dixie John Root." In that case, it can be used in mojo bags as a substitute for "Little John" (Alpina galanga), which is also known as galangal. However, "Beth Root" or "Southern John Root" (Trillium erectum/Trillium pendulum) is not the same plant as "Little John" (Alpina galanga). "Southern John Root" or "Dixie John Root" must not be chewed. See Little John.
Beth Root is now an endangered species in some states and should not be gathered from the wild.
black-eyed peas (Vigna unguiculata subsp. unguiculata)
The black-eyed pea is really a type of bean. It is used for prosperity and general good luck. Three dried black-eyed peas can be tied in a mojo bag with a silver coin, such as a "Mercury" dime, to draw money. This favorite of USA Southern cooking is traditionally served in the New Year's Day dish, "Hoppin' John." Black-eyed peas swell when they cook and thus magically represent abundance.
black river stones
Black river stones are good for grounding negative energy.
black sand
Black sand can be used in protection, grounding, and jinx removing. Sprinkle just a pinch. It can also be faintly sprinkled along property lines to strengthen boundaries. (A person told me about the uses of black sand. The uses of black sand are similar to the uses of black salt).
blue jay, jaybird (Cyanocitta cristata)
The blue jay can be found from southern Canada through the eastern and central USA south to Florida and northeastern Texas. The "coastal blue jay" (Cyanocitta cristata cristata) is found on the coastal USA from North Carolina to Texas. The "Florida blue jay" (Cyanocitta cristata semplei) is found in Southern Florida.
Blue jays are corvids, or members of the crow family, and like crows and ravens they are intelligent birds with a bit of the mischievous trickster in them. This bird is sometimes a thief, and will snatch brightly colored or reflective objects, such as pieces of aluminum foil or bottle caps and carry them around until they lose interest. Reportedly, they will make off with wooden match sticks that have bright red match heads. The blue jay is sometimes also called a "jaybird." The avian's name derives from its loud call and bold and vocal nature.
Blue jays are fearless when it comes to protection and are well known to attack anything that threatens their nest. I've seen them dive bomb cats, children, and even adult humans. I was told the jaybirds were crying "Thief! Thief!" when protecting young whenever they spotted a cat.
In Southern African American folklore, the jaybird was said to fly to the devil's house each Friday. According to one version, the jaybird goes down to hell on Friday to have his blue crested head combed. In fact for this reason, it was said that someone was unlikely to see a blue jay on a Friday. Children were cautioned that jaybirds will carry tales to the devil each Friday about all the bad things that they have done and said during the week. (Interestingly, the loud and chattery blue jays are known to mimic the sounds of other birds and sometimes even humans.)
A different bit of folklore said jaybirds once sold themselves to the devil for an ear of corn and now must fetch something for the devil on Fridays. Different variations claimed he was fetching sticks as kindling, matches, sand, or a drop of water down to hell. Indeed, he was so chirpy and happy on Saturday as he was relieved to have returned.
Yet although the blue jay is chattery and extremely foolish, he is sometimes described in the folklore as benevolent. The drop of water he sometimes fetches to hell is brought to comfort a poor soul, and the grains of sand are brought to abate the fire.
Any jaybirds who remain on Friday are checking up on what people are doing.
I haven't located a specific hoodoo use for blue jay feathers, but as a child I was certain the naturally shed feathers I found under trees certainly should be used for something.
Invented in the 1970's, Blu-Tack is a specific brand of a versatile, reusable pliable and semi-elastic adhesive, which is commonly used to attach papers to walls or other surfaces. The orginal Blu-Tack manufactured by Bostik was blue colored; many different colored variations have since been made. It is less likely to damage prayer cards when the cards are temporality attached to the outside of jars, glasses of water, picture frames, etc.
Boo Hag
A Boo Hag, also known as known as a Hag spirit, is a type of haint well known throughout Southern folklore, particularly in the folklore of the islands off of the Carolinas.
These malicious invisible spirits usually dwell among the trees or in swamps, where they hide in daylight hours. Reciting Psalm 121 is said to a good protection against a Boo Hag for someone outside after dark. Sometimes such a spirit will silently drop from a tree attach itself to a person who is outside in the dark, thus gaining entry to a home to torment its occupants. Still, almost any favorite piece of scripture could be carried in one's pocket while walking at night as an effective protection from any Boo Hag. Likewise, fervent and sincere prayer is said to be a good protection against this haint.
Sometimes a Boo Hag will hide in clean clothes, if they are left outside on the line overnight, in order to be carried into the house. Therefore, all laundry should always be taken inside before nightfall.
Hag spirits attack a person at night while the victim sleeps by "riding" that victim. This spirit could enter through the keyhole of a closed door or another crack. Then, the spirit would sit on the victim's chest and steal her/his life-breath. A person who has been hag-ridden all night wakes up exhausted and often looks "haggard." If a Hag spirit rides the same person several nights in a row, the victim may appear gaunt, wasted, or worn.
To protect people sleeping indoors, many folks set a broom across the door. No Boo Hag will pass a broom placed by the door. Blue painted window sills and door frames may keep a Boo Hag out. Boo Hags do not like the smell of asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida) so some folks wore bags of asafoetida. Others sprinkled salt on the floor. Boo Hags also do not like sulfur. Thus, if one puts a matchstick in one's hair before going to bed, the Boo Hag will stay away, because of the sulfur in the match head. Some folks claimed they kept a loaded gun at the head of their beds at night, because Boo Hags are also terrified by the smell of gunpowder. Others say that to help keep the Boo Hag out of one's home, one should not disturb any mushrooms, known as "Hag stools." Supposedly, a Boo Hag may settle down on the mushrooms to relax and "read the newspapers."
Boo Hags, likewise, are responsible for stealing horses and riding them at night. If early in the morning a horse has a lather, or is acting especially skittish and tired, or its tail and mane is all knotted, those are signs that a Boo Hag has been riding the animal. It has been said a Boo Hag can keep riding an animal or person until s/he finally drops dead.
A Boo Hag is sometimes said to be the ghost of an old woman, whose spirit is still here. Yet, other tales indicate the Boo Hag is something that was never human.
Sometimes a Boo Hag will move into an empty shack or house and pretend to be human. In the daytime, this Boo Hag will look like just another person. Yet at night, the Boo Hag peels off her skin like a corn shuck or a snake shed and travels about as an invisible malign spirit. By daybreak, the Boo Hag must go back to the skin it has left behind. If someone discovers he that is living with a Boo Hag that sheds her skin, he can put salt and pepper into the empty skin and that will be the end of its malevolent activities. A Boo Hag will perish in daylight without its skin.
Some dogs are said to be able to sense a Boo Hag, whether as a spirit or in human-disguise. Dogs that sense this haint will bark or howl. Crows are said to recognize a Boo Hag and cry out whenever one passes.
Among the Gullah people of the Carolina Sea Islands, it is generally said that Boo Hags often pretend to be women, but can also pretend to be men. According to Llaila Olela Afrika in The Gullah: People Blessed By God (2000) "If someone stays in your house, eating up your food or talking a long time, or seems to be wearing out their welcome, they may be a Hag." (p. 72) There were tests to determine if someone was actually a disguised Boo Hag. Sometimes folks would set the household broom behind the door and the suspected Boo Hag would suddenly make an excuse and leave. Sometimes folks would secretly drop a just few grains of salt onto the shadow of anyone suspected of being a Boo Hag. If that visitor is really a Boo Hag, the person will act uncomfortable or nervous because of the presence of the salt.
brown paper
In hoodoo, spiritual petitions are traditionally written on pieces brown paper, cut into squares from "kraft paper." "Kraft paper" is strong and relatively coarse paper, produced from the chemical pulp of softwood processed in "kraft pulping." It is usually left a natural brown color, though "kraft paper" can bleached white. "Kraft paper" is now used for paper grocery bags, multi-wall paper sacks, and heavy envelopes. "Kraft paper" is sold in long rolls. Originally, it was used by merchants and butchers for the purpose of wrapping items for customers after the merchandise was purchased. It was also commonly used for wrapping and shipping packages. Hence, "kraft paper" is known as "butcher paper," "shipping paper," "brown mailing paper," and "wrapping paper."
Pieces of this brown paper would have been easily obtainable in the late 19th and 20th century USA, possibly as leftover scraps, or even acquired specifically for the purpose of writing a spiritual petition or creating a charm.
Nowadays, "kraft paper" rolls can be purchased in craft supply and office supply stores. It can also simply be cut from a brown paper grocery bag or brown paper sack.
buckeye nut (Aesculus octandra)
If carried in the pocket, a yellow buckeye nut, also known as "big buckeye," or "sweet buckeye," is said to be a powerful charm for drawing more pocket money. Wild animals do not use them for food because the yellow buckeye nuts are poisonous. They contain a poisonous glucoside aesculin.
The term "buttermilk" refers to more than one type of dairy drink.
Originally, buttermilk was what was left behind after churning butter out of cream, i.e. milk left over from the butter. This type of buttermilk is known as "traditional buttermilk" or "old fashioned buttermilk."
The term buttermilk also refers to a range of fermented milk drinks, common in warm climates, including the Southern USA and India, where unrefrigerated fresh milk can sour quickly. This fermented dairy product produced from cow's pasteurized whole milk or skim milk is known as "cultured buttermilk." Cultured buttermilk has a yogert-like or slightly sour taste caused by lactic acid bacteria. The formation of buttermilk is caused the fermentation by the starter bacteria which turns milk lactose or milk sugar into lactic acid. The acidity of buttermilk also explains its long shelf life in a modern refrigerator.
Southern USA buttermilk has its place in Southern folk medicine. Christine Muhlke's article Got Buttermilk? in the, April 22, 2009, stated: "Like its cousin yogurt, buttermilk has gastrointestinal benefits." In the same article Cheri Cruze stated, "'It's grandma’s probiotic...'" My own family believed it was the best cure for a queezy stomach. It's also believed to be good for curing a hangover.
calamint (Calamintha officinalis or Calamintha nepeta)
Two varieties of calamint are "common calamint" (Calamintha officinalis) and "lesser calamint" (Calamintha nepeta). Adding to the confusion, there are actually about eight species in the genus Calamintha, apparently all of which could casually be refered to as "calamint." (This confusion underscores the need for using the Latin botanical names.) Other common names include "mountain mint," "mountain balm," "mill mountain," and "basil thyme." The "calamints" are native to the northern temperate regions of the USA, Europe, and Asia.
The common calamint (Calamintha officinalis/Calamintha sylvatica/Calamintha sylvatica ascendens) is a low-growing plant with a minty smell and light blue blosoms. Common calamint prefers alkaline soil. The leaves can be used to make an infusion. Lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta/Calamintha nepetoides) also has a minty smell and light blue blosoms. Lesser calamint also grows in very alkaline soil. It is used in Italian cuisine where it is called mentuccia, nipitella, or nepitella.
Traditionally, people took calamint for colds with fever and respiratory illnesses. It was believed to loosen chest congestion and promote sweating. Calamint flower tops make a "pleasant cordial tea," which was formerly taken for "weaknesses of the stomach" and "hysterical complaints." Neither plant is suitable for use by women when pregnant, as both common calamint (Calamintha officinalis) and lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta) reputably cause miscarriage.
The name of the genus, Calamintha relates to the magical properties associated with the plant. "Cala" is derived from the Greek kalos meaning "excellent, beautiful, admirable, precious," relating to the ancient belief in the herb's power to drive away serpents, including the dreaded basilisk. Hence, calamint is used as an ingredient in some magical incense formulas to drive away malign spirits.
calamus (Acorus calamus)
Calamus, commonly known as "sweet flag." It is a tall perennial wetland flowering plant with scented leaves and more strongly scented root. Its root is "anodyne" and was once used as an aphrodisiac. It is an ingredient in some love spells. Because of its scent, calamus essential oil is still valued in the perfume industry. In 1968, the USA Food and Drug Administration banned the use of calamus and products derived from calamus, including its oil, as food additives and medicines.
calendula (Calendula officinalis, Calendula arvensis, or Calendula maritima)
Calendula is the name of several species of flowering plants in the daisy family. It is known by the common names "summer's bride," "sunbride," "little clock," "husbandman's dial," "ruddes," "roligold," "holigold," and "goldbloom." The bright yellow calendula flowers can protect against malign magic. Garlands of calendula were hung over entry doors. Petals were scattered under the bed for protection while sleeping and for prophetic dreams. To dream of calendula foretold one should receive a large sum of money sometime in the future.
The orange-gold blossom has the common name of "marigold." There is southern European belief that the Madonna wore a calendula on her breast. If a woman rubs calendula petals on her bare feet, it was said she will understand the language of the birds
Due to its association with the Virgin Mary, the blossom represented fidelity. The yellow flower was sometimes carried in bridal bouquets. A powder of dried calendula flowers, marjoram, thyme, and wormwood could be used supposedly to learn about one's future spouse.
Calendula (calendula officinalis)was often called "pot marigold" because it was grown in pots to be used as seasoning. It was a substitute for saffron by those too poor to afford this expensive spice and to enhance the color of yellow dishes. An infusion made from calendula blossoms is said to help with digestive problems if drunk as a tea.
Calendula plants should not be confused with marigold plants from the Tagetes species. Calendula officinalis is commonly known as "pot marigold," Calendula arvensis is commonly known as "field marigold." Calendula maritima is commonly known as "sea marigold."
Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp in Cassadaga, Florida
Cassadaga is a small Southern unincorporated community located in Volusia County, Florida, just north of Deltona. It is home to the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp, established 1894, and has thus been colorfully called the "Psychic Capital of the World." The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is one of the older Spiritualist camps remaining in the USA South.
In 1875, trance medium George P. Colby came to the wilderness of Central Florida on the advice of a spirit guide who instructed him to found a Spiritualist community in the South. Colby homesteaded land here. On January 3, 1895, Colby signed a warranty deed to the newly incorporated Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp Meeting Association for thirty-five acres.
Spiritualism is not hoodoo. The official website of the Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp specifically stated that neither "witchcraft" nor "black magic" is part of Spiritualism. Spiritualism is a religion which professes the "survival of the personality after death." However, the African-American practice of Spiritualism certainly influenced hoodoo and African-American religious practice.
cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum)
Cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum) is an ingredient in recipes such as Moses Oil, Abramelin Oil, etc. Cassia is sometimes used as a spice substitute for "cinnamon" (Cinnamomum verum) aka "true cinnamon."
Castile soap
Castile soap is a vegetable-based variety of mild soap made from olive oil and sodium hydroxide. The name "Castile soap" is used in English-speaking countries to indicate a style of soap similar to the soap produced in Castile, Spain. "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps" are a specific brand of Castile soap often sold in magical shops catering to root workers and such. "Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps" product labels are crowded with statements of Bronner's philosophy, which he called "All-One-God-Faith" and the "Moral ABC," doubtless the labels add to the appeal of a family-operated soap company founded in the USA in 1948.
cat (Felis catus or Felis silvestris catus)
The domestic cat is viewed with some ambivalence in hoodoo. No doubt this ambivalence is due to the long and mixed history involving the animal.
Cats are commonly believed to have been domesticated in Egypt as early as 4,000 years ago. In ancient Egypt, cats were sacred and identified with the deities Ra and Bast. In the form of a cat, Mau, the sun God, Ra, slayed his enemy, Apep, the serpent of darkness. Bast (Ubasti/ Bastet/Baset) was the cat Goddess of fertility, dance, and wine. The Egyptians mummified their beloved cats for their journey to the Afterlife and sometimes entombed them with mummified mice. They were valued for their ability to kill vermin. Bast's fertility aspect related to her protection of the grain from mice and rats.
The dread of cats began in parts of Europe during the middle ages. Even today there are people who view certain cats, particularly black cats, as unlucky.
In Islam, mistreating a cat is regarded as a severe sin. The prophet Muhammad was fond of cats. Muhammad once cut off his sleeve rather than disturb his sleeping cat, Muezza, when it was time for the prophet to attend to prayers. Before he left for prayers, the prophet stroked his cat three times. It is said that for this reason, cats were ganted by Allah seven lives as well as the ability to always land on their feet. Hoodoo folklore has been influenced by small portions of black Muslim lore. Some Muslims are said to view the cat as a lucky animal with seven lives, and the black cat is credited with magical powers. However, interpreting a cat as an omen or magical charm would be the sin of "Shirk" in Islamic terms. Attention to "lucky charms" or "talismans" contradict a genuine faith in Allah's rulership by attributing power to an object or animal to cause good fortune or misfortune.
In Christian Europe, barn cats, farm cats, ship cats, etc. were still used to effectively control vermin. Yet cats in late medieval Europe were also identified with witches, sorcerers, and heretics. An unknown, stray cat wandering around in an area might be either an ordinary stray cat, a witch's familiar, or a witch in disguise.
The French theologian Alain of Lille, (Alain de Lille or Alanus ab Insulis) (c. 1116/1117–1202/1203) sought to refute Christian heresies, specifically that of the Waldensians (vaudois) and Cathars (cathares/catharisme). Alain believed that "Cathar" derived from cat (chat). He explained that origin of the name is Latin "...from the cat [Latin: catus], because, it is said, they [Cathars] kiss the posterior of the cat, in whose form, as they say, Lucifer appears to them." Descriptions of Cathars kissing le derriere d’un chat were recycled into descriptions of gathering of witches and sorcerers, as noted by Jeffrey Burton Russell in Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. In Germany about three decades later, papal inquisitor Conrad of Marburg dealt with the Luciferan heresy, with the blessing Pope Gregory IX. According to Conrad, Luciferians worshiped both the Christian Devil and a diabolical black cat. In the thirteenth century, the German ecclesiastical authority worked in union with the civil powers. (Accused Luciferians either a) confessed their guilt and their their heads were shaved as a penance, or b) denied their guilt and were delivered to the secular arm as obstinate heretics to be burnt at the stake.) Gregory IX allegedly issued, either in 1232, 1233, or 1234, a papal bull which condemns Luciferians and black cats. Known as the Vox in Rama (Voice in Rama), some controversy exists over this bull's authenticity.
Eventually, cats were burned with those convicted of the crimes of heresy and witchcraft. In 1630, King Louis XIII of France halted this awful practice of burning cats.
To muddy the issue further--parts of cats--like parts of other domestic animals were used as ingredients in sorcery. The animal's liver, eyes and blood were used in creating some unsavory magical mixtures in some European magic spells. As late as the 17th century, the head of a deceased black cat was burnt to ashes, which were sprinkled into the eyes, thrice daily, to cure blindness, infection, and other eye complaints.
There are refernces to a bone, taken from a black cat in an inhumane and illegal method, which allegedly conferred invisibility.
Catherine Yronwode in her excellent article BLACK CAT SPELLS and BLACK CAT SPIRITUAL SUPPLIES wrote: "The notorious black cat bone charm is a subject with which i [sic] am, frankly, rather uncomfortable. Although it is strongly identified with African American hoodoo, its origins are actually in European grimoire magic."
Indeed, here is an example of a European spell from the English translation by Ray Vogensen from the Portuguese grimoire Antigo Livro de Sao Cipriano:
Cook the body of a black cat in boiling water with white seeds and wood from the willow until the meat is loosened from the bones. Strain the bones in a linen cloth and, in front of the mirror, place the bones, one by one in your mouth, until you find that you have the magic to make you become invisible. Keep the bone with the magic property and, if you want to go somewhere without being seen, place the bone in your mouth. --Spell of the black cat's bone
Catherine Yronwode in BLACK CAT SPELLS and BLACK CAT SPIRITUAL SUPPLIES also wrote: "The African American novelist and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who studied hoodoo in Florida and Louisiana in the 1930s, and Harry Middleton Hyatt, who collected over 13,000 individual spells from 1600 African American informants throughout the South in the same time period, reported at length on the many root doctors who claimed that every black cat has within its body one bone that will either grant the owner invisibility or can be used to bring back a lost lover."
Catherine Yronwode in BLACK CAT SPELLS and BLACK CAT SPIRITUAL SUPPLIES continued:
To secure this bone, they [Hurston and Hyatt] said, a black cat must be thrown alive into a cauldron of boiling water at midnight. The animal dies in agony, and the heartless practitioner boils the carcass until the meat falls off the bones. Some say that the special bone will be the top one left when the water boils away, others say it can only be found by placing each bone in turn beneath the tongue while an assistant stands by to notify the practitioner that he has become invisible, and still others swear that if all the bones are thrown into a stream that runs north (uncommon in most of North America), the desired bone will be one that floats on the water and heads south.
Though both Hurston and Hyatt recorded this superstition, no cat bone makes a person invisible.
Most bones sold as "black cat bones" in mail order are actually from other small mammals.
Catherine Yronwode observed in her article BLACK CAT SPELLS and BLACK CAT SPIRITUAL SUPPLIES: "In bright contrast to this image of the 'evil' black cat, there is a 'good' black cat -- the antinomian lucky black cat of the African-American sporting and gambling world. This black cat does double-duty as a representative of the black arts (including the granting of invisibility and the return of lost love) and as a bringer of money luck."
In USA folklore, it has been deemed particularly unlucky for someone to meet a strange black cat or to have a strange black cat cross one's path. This belief is known among hoodooists.
In order to break the possible jinx of a black cat crossing someone, that person can turn around counterclockwise and spit. Another way to reverse the bad luck is for someone to walk in a circle and count to 13.
A Southern gambler, meeting a black cat on the way to a casino, card game, or racetrack, would have to run around and retrace his steps to home, and then set out toward his destination again. Nevertheless, a gambler may "set a light" of a black cat figure candle at home to increase her/his "gambler's luck" while s/he is at a casino.
Yet on no account should a person kick a cat, especially a black cat. Otherwise, he will develop a bad case of rheumatism in his leg. It is very black luck to drown any cat, or kittens, especially black ones; the Devil will come for whoever does so. In the USA, if someone spots a one-eyed cat, he should spit on his thumb and stamp the palm of his/her hand in order to receive good luck.
In the USA, cats bring good luck to ships and theatres. Stealing a ship's cat or throwing the animal overboard would bring misfortune to all. To cure a stye, one should encourage a black cat to brush its tail against the eyelid with the stye. Stroking a black cat brings health and wealth.
In the south of France, black cats are now believed to bring good luck to their owners, who respect and care for them. This belief is related to the folklore of the matagots or mandragots, which are magician cats, magic cats, or sorcerer cats. See matagots.
Interestingly, spiritual merchants sell a whole slew of magical cat items which can be used in hoodoo--including lucky black cat oil, black cat incense, and lucky cat figure candles in a variety of colors. These may be for countering a jinx or related to drawing on the uncanny power of the magician cat. See lucky black cat oil. See black cat incense. See lucky cat candles.
catnip, dried (Nepeta cataria)
A hot infusion of the dried leaves of the herb most commonly known as "catnip" was drunk for colds, fever, and bronchitis. This herb was also known as "field balm," and an ointment or salve of catnip was used on the skin the skin for mosquitos--a remedy that would be quite useful around the wetlands of the USA South. Catnip was brought to the USA by colonists. It grows well in well drained soil and full sun. "Catnip" is also known as "catmint," and both names refer to the intoxicating effect the dried herb has on adult cats. (It does not have the same effect on humans. In fact, "catnip" tea is said to have a calming or peaceful effect on humans.) Aside from its medicinal uses, catnip is magically used for business success, health, beauty, and peace. It can be sprinkled outside a business or kept in a glass jar. For purely practical reasons it should not be tied in mojo bags, herb pillows, or gloves, and then tucked with clean laundry in a drawer. Due to the effect dried catnip has on cats, almost any household cat will sniff the item out and chew, roll, and play roughly with it. Some modern practitioners burn catnip on charcoal as an offering to the Egyptian Bast, Cat Goddess of dancing, mirth, beer, and fertility.
chia (Salvia hispanica)
Chia is a mint plant indigenous to Mexico. The seeds of the plant are what people grow in those Chia Pet Handmade Decorative Planters seen on Television ads. However, the chia seeds were consumed by the Aztecs for strength. Along with corn and beans, chia seeds were a main staple food. They are still traditionally eaten in the USA Southwest and in Mexico. In hoodoo, chia seeds can also be buned with slippery elm bark on charcoal to stop malicious gossip.
chicken bones (Gallus gallus domesticus)
Leftover chicken bones can be used to make something other than soup. "Casting the bones" is an old form of hoodoo divination. This method seems to be a direct survival of a West African system of divination which uses bones. Apparently, there are several different ways in the USA to perform this practice. Frequently, cleaned and dried chicken bones l have a meaning and the pattern in which they fall will be significant as well.
chicken egg (Gallus gallus domesticus)
An unbroken raw egg can be rubbed over the body to remove all negativity and stress. An individual sometimes uses an egg like this to spiritually cleanse her or himself of ties to a former lover. Afterward the egg is cracked over the bathroom flush-toilet. Then the person flushes away the inside of the egg immediately. The eggshell is squashed, broken into tiny fragments and then disposed of in the next flush.
chicken foot and/or chicken nail/spur (Gallus gallus domesticus)
Down in the deep South USA, chickens are called "yardbirds." During the day, the birds were often allowed to move around unrestricted in the family's yard. A chicken coop or hen house would often be provided for nighttime. In other words, all chickens were what is now referred to as "free-range chickens." The chickens would wander around all day scratching up tiny seeds, tiny bugs, tiny worms, a few roots, and an occasional yummy, fat slug as well as being fed some spilled grain, certain scraps from the vegetable garden, and other chicken feed. Most small farms had only a small free-range barnyard flock.
Barbara Cozzens in Adaptations of Chickens, wrote about chickens and their feet: "Chickens have developed particularly strong feet and toes, an adaptation that allows them to scratch the ground, turn over leaves and rake up dirt to forage for insects and seeds. These strong feet, coupled with flexor tendons in their legs, also allow chickens to perch on roosts, a behavior that protects the birds from predators, particularly at night."
Naturally, folks in the rural South observed all the daily scratching that the family fowl did in the yard. It was a common belief that a frizzled hen, that is a chicken with the feathers turned back the wrong way, could be employed to scratch up--and thus destroy the potency of--any "trick" or "jinxing powders" that may have been secretly sprinkled on one's property by an unknown enemy.
Live frizzled chickens have strong protective power and can "scratch up the goofer" from the yard.
Chickens were raised for both eggs and meat. In the rural South, it was understood one should waste nothing of potential value. The bones from cooked chickens could be used in soups or used to make divination tools. The chicken feet could be dried and used as a charm. The nail or spur could be added to mojo bag.
Karma Zain in on chicken foot charms, now and then, has collected a lot of Southern and other folkore regarding the use of chicken feet.
Zain wrote about his family folk traditions (Florida, Alabama, Louisiana) which she believed were "pretty common." She explained, "One was of the sort of protective variety--you could bury a chicken foot in the backyard to cure what my great grandmother called 'cholera morbis,' which near as I can tell, was a deliberately fancy-sounding term for any number of minor childhood illnesses. I filed that one in the same mental folder as burying the apple for warts and similar tricks--you 'put off' the bad stuff on the item, sometimes by rubbing it on the affected part, and then buried it. (This was the Florida branch of the family)."
I find that Florida tradition particularly interesting because John George Hoffman's Pow-Wows, or Long Lost Friend, (1820) explained that to get rid of warts one should "Roast chicken-feet and rub the warts with them; then bury them under the eaves." Chicken feet are mentioned nowhere else in the little book. In the case of Pow-Wow healing charms, my speculation has long been that the chicken foot is supposed to scratch up the wart. Using the magical "law" of contagion/contact or transference, the wart is dug up by the foot. Then via contact with the foot, the wart is transfered to the roast chicken foot. As the chicken foot rots in the ground, the wart fades away.
According to Zain, there is a tradition around New Orleans that dried (preserved) chicken foot charms are used for protection, luck, and money. In the 1990, Zain learned how to dry and "fix" chicken foot charms from a Voodoo practitioner in New Orleans. These charms "...enjoyed a period of popularity as car protection charms in New Orleans." There is also a tradition of wearing/carrying them as part Mardi Gras ornamentation and dressing up.
Zain provided a 1920 list of ingredients for a hoodoo bag: "...a pinch of salt, a pod of red pepper, a rabbit's foot, a chicken spur, and some ashes." (Dr. Daniel Lindsey Thomas, Kentucky Superstitions, 1920, p. 284) A chicken spur is a claw-like growth on the back of the foot. It is used primarily to save their flock by fighting off predators but roosters will fight each other too. Dr. Daniel Lindsey Thomas, an English professor who was the founder of the Kentucky branch of the American Folklore Society, published his collection of folklore recorded in Kentucky. My speculation is that these items tied up in a six by four inches red flannel bag were used as a protective mojo: salt=protection, pod of red pepper=aggressive protection to burn any enemy, or perhaps strength, rabbit's foot=luck, or perhaps swift flight from an enemy, a chicken spur=fighting and protection, ashes=used as a protective barrier. If it was used as a powerful protection against an enemy known or unknown it likely would have been carried secretly on one's person. Zain speculated that it might have been to cross or jinx someone, in which case it would have been hidden on the target's property. (Of course, if this bag was to cross someone why include a rabbit's foot?)
According to Tayannah Lee McQuillar in her Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money and Success (2003) the nail off a c hicken foot is considered to enhance good luck when placed in a mojo bag for money.
It is significant that McQuillar refered to a chicken "nail" rather than "spur." As stated above, a spur is used for fighting. On the other hand, the nails on a chicken's foot are used for scratching, specifically scratching up something for the chicken to eat. Scratch is an old slang term used to mean "cash money" generally meaning cash that was scratched up to be spent on something--similar to something scratched up by a chicken foraging for food.
chicory root, common (Cichorium intybus)
Common chicory (Cichorium intybus) is also known as "blue sailors," "blue daisy," and "blue dandelion" due to the color of its flowers. Also known as "succory," "radicchio" and "coffeeweed," chicory root has been used in the USA South as a coffee substitute. To prepare the roots as a coffee substitute, they are baked and ground and then steeped in hot water. During the American Civil War, coffee was scarce in the South, and chicory root infusion was frequently drunk as a substitute during the American Civil War on both sides. Since it grows wild on roadsides and fields across North America, chicory root has sometimes been called "poor man's coffee." It is caffeine free. Some people, however, prefer the flavor of chicory root infusion to coffee. It likewise has long been enjoyed as a coffee additive, particularly in Louisiana. Chicory is also a coffee additive in the Mediterranean region, where it is native.
Those allergic to ragweed or other members of the Compositae should be cautious with harvesting common chickory. In rare cases, an allergic skin reaction has been caused by contact with the fresh plant.
"Chicory" is also the common name in the USA of curly endive (Cichorium endivia) and illustrates the reason for also paying attention to Latin names of plants.
cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, or Cinnamomum burmannii)
Cinnamon can be used to "warm-up" luck and gently stimulate sales and business. Sprinkle a small pinch of ground cinnamon outside a shop with a few Florida Crystals (light brown raw sugar) to sweeten and draw customers to the business.
cinnamon, wild (Cinnamomum iners)
Some claim that wild cinnamon (Cinnamomum iners) was orginally native to the Middle East and was the original "cassia." However most seem to agree that "cassia" actually denotes Cinnamomum aromaticum which is sometimes used as a substitute for cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum). Once again, this confusion underscores the need for always using Latin names.
clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
Clary sage is native to Southern Europe and some areas in north Africa. It is commonly known as "clary," "clary wort," "common clary," "muscatel sage," "clear eye," "toute-bonne," and "Oculus Christi." Clary sage has a long history as a medicinal herb. The name "clary" related to that it was once used to clear the eyes. It was recommended for women’s complaints, including menstruation problems and depression. Clary sage has also historically been used for insomnia, stress, anxiety, dry skin, insect bites, circulation, and muscular aches.
Clary sage is currently grown for its essential oil, which is used widely in perfumes.
In hoodoo, clary sage essential oil can be used in money spells to enhance clear sighted wisdom, and give strength to women. The essential oil is sometimes used to draw romance when mixed with the essential oils ylang ylang and sandalwood when used with magnetic sand to dress a candle. Clary sage essential oil is also said to bring vivid and clear dreams. If traveling by airplane, cotton balls dipped in clary sage essential oil and sealed in a ziplock plastic baggie can impart a calming scent.
Pregnant women should avoid clary sage.
Cleopatra oil
"Cleopatra" is a hoodoo recipe for a hair and body oil made with Apricot kernel oil (Prunus armeniaca) as a base oil. It is an exotic fragrance made with the essential oils of cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) , frankincense ( Boswellia sacra, Boswellia frereana, and Boswellia bhaw-dajiana), and neroli (Citrus aurantium ). Some versions use petitgrain (Citrus aurantium ), which is made from the leaves of the bitter orange tree, rather than neroli which is water distilled from the blossoms of the same tree. According to Anna Riva in The Golden Secrets of Mystic Oils, this oil can be worn as a perfume on the earlobes and behind the knees. She also suggests writing a beloved's name on seven squares of parchment, which can be placed beneath lit candles.
This recipe is inspired by seducitve charm and regal mystery that surrounds Cleopatra VII, the last divine pharaoh of Egypt. Many beauty treaments have been inspired by the legends and history surrounding the Egyptian queen, Cleopatra. (Her milk baths--allegedly camel milk--are also famous.)
Born in Egypt, Cleopatra VII was of Greek Macedonian ancestry from the Ptolemies, who ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great. The dynasty of the Ptolemies adopted many Egyptian customs. As an Egyptian queen, Cleopatra was venerated as the living Isis. However, Cleopatra was the only Ptolemic ruler who learned to speak the Egyptian language. The Ptolemies, throughout their dynasty, spoke Greek. Cleopatra came to power in Egypt (51-30 bce) at the age of 17. Cleopatra VII was an accomplished linguist, administrator, and diplomat. She was able to capture the fascination of two powerful Roman leaders, Caesar and Mark Antony. Cleopatra oil can be used to bring back an errant lover in the same way she is supposed to have recaptured the attentions of Mark Anthony after he returned to his wife in Rome. Her life continues to inspire artists, playwrights, movie producers, perfumers, and cosmeticians.
cloves, whole (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata)
When whole cloves are tied in a square cloth and hung in a corner of a room, they promote peace and prosperity.
coffee (Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora)
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted seeds of the coffee plant. Coffee seeds, more commonly called "coffee beans," are produced by several species of small evergreen bush of the genus Coffea. The two most commonly cultivated coffee plants are Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, though there are several other species which can be used.
Originally coffee beans were roasted over a stove, ground in a mortar and pestle, and then boiled in water on the stove until done. In the USA south, it was the mark of a good woman that she knew how to brew a decent pot of coffee.
James Mason patented the first American coffee percolator in 1865. In 1886, Joel Cheek named his popular coffee blend "Maxwell House," after a hotel in Nashville, TN, where it was served. The American Prohibition (1920-1933) helped boost the popularity of coffee. Americans became used to drinking coffee several times a day. During World War II, coffee was sharply rationed in the USA.
In 1945, Americans happily went back to enjoying a hot "cuppa Joe" several times a day. Drip coffee makers finally appeared to usurp coffee percolators in the 1960's. American coffee was served in the morning hot and fresh, either black or with cream and/or sugar. Americans enjoyed midday coffee breaks, as well as afternoon coffee and sometimes after dinner coffee. Throughout the 20th century, the USA was unquestionably a coffee drinking nation.
In New Orleans, Louisiana, coffee is a mixture of coffee and chicory. Known for its intensely dark color and thick consistency, Louisiana coffee is called “cafe noir.” It has a distinctive chocolate-caramel flavor, and lower caffeine content than regular coffee from a modern drip coffee maker.
Cajun coffee is often served up hot, strong, and sweet, mixed with molasses, nutmeg, and a dash of good Caribbean rum. Often topped with a thick dollop of whipped cream, Cajun coffee is nothing like the French cafe au lait.
Among coffee drinkers, coffee's stimulating properties are highly valued. Medicinally, a hot cup of coffee was commonly recommended to ease wheezing asthma.
In some African-American folklore, a woman could supposedly spike a man's coffee in order to "hoodoo" him, that is to enspell him and keep him from getting interested in other women. (Although, I was born in the South, I didn't know any woman who would risk ruining a good cup of coffee by putting dubious substances in it.) Due to its stimulating qualities, coffee is sometimes claimed to be an aphrodisiac.
In a New Orleans folktale, a kitchen maid saved everyone in a household in which a robber had lit a "hand of glory" in order to make all in their beds sleep like the dead. It was clear that after he had bagged all the valuables he could carry, the robber planned to slit every throat in the household. In desperation, the kitchen maid tried to douse the cursed light with water, milk, and finally some leftover Louisiana coffee, which was described as "black as sin and stronger than hell." Only the coffee succeeded in extinguishing the flame before the robber could murder anyone.
In Africa, supposedly coffee beans were frequently used in magic and in fertility rituals.
Due to an aura of magic associated with coffee, there are a number of coffee brands and blends using descriptive terms like "Black Magic," "Mojo," "Raise the Dead" etc.
"cola" carbonated beverages
According to anthropologist Alfred Metraux in his book Voodoo in Haiti, (1959), Haitians offered "cola" carbonated beverages--such as Coke Cola--to the loa spirits, because they were sweet, caffeinated, and the Haitians thought the drinks were delicious. It is probably true that Haitians enjoyed drinking the USA "cola" carbonated drinks, but the key ingredient of such beverages are the kola nuts, which were used in Africa as an important part of traditional spiritual practices. See kola nut (cola).
corn kernels, dried (Zea mays)
Dried kernels of corn, particularly the varieties of corn known as "popcorn" (Zea mays everta) or "flint corn," (Zea mays indurata), also known as "calico corn," "Indian corn," and "ornamental corn," are sometimes used in money spells.
Court Case oil
“Court Case oil” is a traditional hoodoo formula used to either dress a Court Case candle, anoint the corners on legal letters, contracts, and other legal documents, and/or worn on the body while in court. There is apparently more than one formula but often involves galangal root (Alpina galanga),  cinnamon oil (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, or Cinnamomum burmannii), calendula oil (Calendula officinalis), and a piece devil's shoestring root (Viburnum alnifolium).
In the early 19th century, African Americans were often disempowered or cheated by the legal system. Courts favored the rich and powerful, who were generally white. Magic to influence judges and juries, or the outcome of a trial, was important in the USA folk magic system of hoodoo.
cubeb essential oil (Piper cubeba)
The cubeb berry plant is native the Spice Islands, including Indonesia, Java, and other parts of the East Indies. It is a commonly known as "cubeb berries," "false pepper," "Java pepper," "tailed pepper," "tailed cubebs," and "cubebs." This spicy berry is also now cultivated for its fruit and essential oil in several other tropical areas, including Southeast Africa. Cubeb essential oil with its spicy woody scent is used as an ingredient in soaps and fragrances. In hoodoo, cubeb essential oil is often incorporated into sex charms to draw passion and love. The cubeb berries have the nickname, "love berries."
Curanderismo is a system traditional Mexican or Mexican-American folk magic and folk medicine combining indigenous folklore, Spanish folklore, a knowledge of local herbs, and a strong belief in the curative powers of the Catholic saints and God. Some aspects of Curanderismo have wandered into USA hoodoo practices.
cypress, Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
The "Mediterranean cypress" is a medium-sized columnar evergreen tree, a species of cypress that grows around the eastern Mediterranean region. It is often said to be native to Northern Egypt, Western Syria, Lebanon, Northeast Libya, and Israel. It is also commonly known as "Italian cypress," "Tuscan cypress," "Columnar cypress," "common cypress," "graveyard cypress," and "pencil pine." The species has been and continues to be cultivated as an ornamental tree in numerous areas, including Tuscany, Italy, Southeast Greece, Crete, Cyprus, Southern Turkey, and southwest South Africa. In the USA, it is also grown in California, Arizona, and Florida.
The Mediterranean cypress is a tall, slender, almost pencil-shaped tree, hence the common name "pencil pine." Its foliage is needle-like and dark green at all times of year. According to George & Audrey DeLange, "It is very long-lived, with some trees having been reported to be over 1,000 years old."
The trees is known for its very durable, scented wood, which the ancient Egyptians used to made their sarcophagi. Perhaps the long life of the tree connected it with the concept of eternity and, thus, the continuance of the soul after death. In Athens, households in mourning were garlanded with boughs of cypress. Cypress was used to fumigate the air during cremations. Up through Victorian times, it was associated with funerals and mourning, and it continues to be planted in graveyards. Hence, the common name "graveyard cypress."
The ancient Greeks and Romans considered the cypress sacred to Artemis, Hecate, Pluto, and Silvanus.
Cypress oil is usually made from Mediterranean cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). In aromathereapy, the scent of the oil allegedly sooths stress and anger. It restores calm and rejuvenates the body and soul.
devil's shoestring root (Viburnum alnifolium)
The roots of devil's shoestring are used for protection against malign spirits. These roots can also be used to bring luck to gamblers, when carried in the gambler's pocket.
Dia de la Candelaria
In Mexico, the “Dia de la Candelaria” (Candlemas) is officially known as the “Fiesta de la Candelaria” (Feast of Candlemas) or “Fiesta de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria” (Feast of Our Lady of Candlemas) which celebrates the appearance of the Madonna as Our Lady of Candelaria in Tenerife, Canary Islands, in the southwest of Spain. Celebrations, which commonly take place on February 2, mark the end of the 40 day period after the Nativity, which was when the Virgin was officially purified after giving birth—as required by the Old Testament law--and also later marks the official presentation of Jesus at the Temple of Jerusalem in the liturgical calendar.
In Mexico, there is a custom about the person who found figurine of the infant Jesus, called “el nino,” in the “Rosca de Reyes” cake made for the January 6 celebration of “El Dia de Reyes” (Day of the Kings).
The person who found the figurine of “el nino” in her/his piece of “Rosca de Reyes” cake incures the duty to provide tamales and atole for a party after the “Fiesta de la Candelaria” church service.  As both tamales and atole are corn-based dishes, this Mexican tradition also has been speculated to have pre-Hispanic origin tied into the agricultural cycle involving corn. Many villagers used to bring their corn to church on February 2 in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds. February 2 also marked the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar.  See Mardi Gras king cake and Tres Reyes Magos.
dragon's blood ink (Daemonorops draco)
According to Tayannah Lee McQuillar in Rootwork: Using the Folk Magick of Black America for Love, Money and Success (2003) the magical ink made with the red resin, commonly known as "dragon's blood," can be used to enhance written spells and magic seals. A traditional dragon's blood ink recipe involves 1 part dragon's blood resin (Daemonorops draco), 1 part gum arabic, and 15 parts alcohol. Magic seals have been used by rootworkers since the middle of the 20th century as a direct influence from books like the Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses and other grimoires. There are seals associated with different saints, angels, planetary spirits, etc from numerous souces. They may be hand drawn onto paper--traditionally with a quill feather pen. The completed seals are placed into a mojo bag, carried in the wallet, set next to a lit candle like a prayer card, etc.
dwarf palmetto (Sabal minor)
It is native to the southeastern USA, from Florida north to eastern North Carolina, and is one of Louisiana's most widespread native plant species. The dwarf palmetto can be found deep in the swamp encircling isolated high ground. The dried leaves were made into crosses and placed in the house to ward off misfortune.
fairy cross, fairy stone (staurolite).
These stones are a naturally occuring cross shaped stone. Natural staurolite, which normally forms just a bar shaped earth colored stone, sometimes fuses two bars together forming what is commonly known as a "fairy cross" or "fairy stone." These fairy crosses or fairy stones are sold as good luck stones and can be worn on jewelry (ie charm braclets) or carried around in a pocket.
A popular Christian tale is that at the time of Jesus' crucifixion, the fairies shed tears that crystallized into crosses as they fell to earth. The crosses come in three different shapes: Roman Cross, St. Andrew's Cross, and Maltese Cross.
According to some practitioners, the fairy crosses are occasionally used in charm or mojo bags in Virginia. The natural cross shape is viewed as a good luck talisman and is a classic example of "reinforcement."
"Reinforcement" is when two separate charms/blessings/prayers are used together to "reinforce" and enhance the effectiveness of the outcome.
Fairy crosses are one of the few stones, other than lodestones, that are used in mojo bags.
According to Judika Illes in The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells (2004), the twinned staurolite crystals allegedly also protect against car accidents, if one is kept in the glove compartment or if it is worn as a charm.
There is a Fairy Stone State Park in Virginia.
feather, black chicken
A feather from a black chicken can be used in a protection spell to dust off jinxes.
feather, chicken
A man can use three naturally shed rooster tail feathers to gain the love of a woman. The color of these feathers is unimportant, but they must be from a "cock of the walk" barnyard rooster, who has a harem of hens.
feather, pigeon
Pigeons (Columba livia), also know as "rock pigeons," "rock doves," or "feral pigeons" are found in large numbers in towns and cities all over the world. These birds have a variety of plumages and feather colors. Some feathers dropped from these birds can be used in magic. However, the feathers should be steamed or sterilized in some way to prevent any spread of disease. Pale grey or white feathers from pigeons can be used in spells for peace.
feather, turkey
The modern domesticated turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) descended from the American wild turkey, also known as the "huexolotlin," (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo). The turkey bird has nothing to do with the country of Turkey. There are at least six recognizable subspecies of American turkey birds (Meleagris) which are all native to North America. The "huexolotlin" (Meleagris gallopavo gallopavo) was one of the first animals to be domesticated in the Americas. In 1519, the Spanish Conquistadors discovered the Aztecs in Mexico were raising "huexolotlin"--Mesoamericans having already domesticated this subspecies. The tail feathers of this large American bird are earth-tone shades of brown, bronze, and black.
Magically, the brown, bronze, and black colored turkey feathers are ideal in blessings involving planting and healing. Some say these dark colored feathers can be used in summoning rain clouds during a dry spell. Although brown, bronze, and black feathered domesticated turkeys are raised, a great majority of domesticated turkeys are bred to have white feathers. The white tail feathers can be used in magic for purifications and to promote peace. Turkey feathers can also be used to fan incense burning on charcoal.
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin considered the turkey--not the eagle--as a fitting emblem for the Great Seal of the United States.
Arts and Craft stores often sell white turkey feathers with the ends dyed black as substitute eagle feathers. The Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 prohibits the taking of, transport, sale, barter, trade, import and export, and possession of eagles, making it illegal for anyone to collect eagles, eagle feathers, or other eagle parts--without permits. Genuine eagle feathers are used in traditional Native American Indian spiritual practices. Complicated provisions have been made in the law for Native American Indians. However, African American hoodoo is not part of traditional Native American Indian traditional practice. Rather than use dyed turkey feathers as a magical substitute eagle feathers, I personally advise anyone using turkey feathers in their magical work to use turkey feathers as turkey feathers and recognize the actual type of American bird they came from--whether these feathers are solid plain white feathers, white feathers with the ends dyed black, or beautiful, natural shades of brown, bronze, and black feathers.
feathers, Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) feathers are a light grey and brown, with a muted color. The birds have a lighter and pinkish hue below. Their wings have black spotting. Mated pairs will often preen each other's feathers. Both Mourning Dove parents incubate and care for the young. The species is generally monogamous, which makes them a symbol of fidelity and love. See Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura).
Florida Crystals (sucrose)
"Florida Crystals" are a brand of coarse-grained light brown sugar, which is made from juice extracted from the sugar cane, and then crystalized through evaporation. "Florida Crystals" are a type of "raw sugar," because it is a natural, unrefined sugar--unlike white sugar.
"Florida Crystals," as well as other types of raw sugar, are used in a number of hoodoo spells to attract or draw something towards a desired end.
Florida panther (Puma concolor coryii or Felis concolor coryii or Puma concolor couguar)
The nocturnal Florida panther is a large, long-tailed, tawny brown cat that grows to six feet or longer. It is an endangered, unique type of North American cougar which lives in the swamps and forests of southern Florida. This same species is known as the "mountain lion," "American lion," "mountain screamer," "mountain wildcat," "deercat," "puma," "painter," "cougar," "caracajou," "sneak cat," "king cat," "fire cat," "ghost cat," "shadow cat," or "swamp lion." On the east coast, these large cats were known as "Eastern panther." In Florida, the cat was known as the "Florida panther" or "panther." Smaller than their western cousins, the Eastern panther has a smaller bone structure than western cougars and more distinct facial colors.The panther has been protected from legal hunting in Florida since 1958. The number of living panthers has been estimated to be between 80 and 100 in Florida.
In 1982, the Florida panther was designated as the state animal of Florida. Panthers hunt white-tailed deer, wild hogs, raccoons, and rabbits.
The spirit of the Florida panther is very elusive and solitary. Much folklore surrounds these seldom-seen, alluring animals. Its high-pitched scream has earned the animal a place in folklore. The Cherokee in the USA South referred to this large cat as Klandagi, "The Lord of the Forest." The Creek Indians called them Katalgar, "Greatest of Hunters." To the Chickasaws, they were known as Koe-Ishto, "The Cat of God." Images of Florida panthers can be used in magic, but actual pieces of fur, bone, etc. are not used. There is persistent USA Southern folklore that claims black-colored Florida panthers or spirit cats haunt patches of trees and underbrush, particularly in Georgia. However, the Florida panther does not have black coloring.
Florida Water
"Florida Water" is a 19th century formula for a commercially-prepared type of inexpensive perfume known as "toilet water." Toilet water generally contains 1 to 6 ounces of essential oil per gallon of alcohol. Florida Water blends an array of floral essential oils in a water-alcohol base and there are several different formulas. Most seem to contain some sort of orange citrus scent along with other floral scents and spices. It is traditional to dye Florida Water a pale aqua-green. According to Catherine Yronwode, "The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth said to have been located in Florida."
In hoodoo, Florida Water is used in spiritual cleansing and home protection. Its scent rids an area of bad spirits. A rub-down with this toilet water is used to refresh those who are suffering from psychic distress. It can be added to bath water for a cleansing. Likewise, Florida Water can attract good spirits. Bottles may be set upon altars as offerings. A few drops can also scent bowls of water set out for the spirits of the dead.
Florida water is NOT drinkable, and it is not intended for animal or human consumption.
Frankincense (Boswellia sacra, Boswellia frereana, and Boswellia bhaw-dajiana)
Frankincense, also called olibanum, is an aromatic resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia which was burned for thousands of years as incense, particularly in religious rites. It was one of the gifts the three wise men, Melchior, Gaspar, and Balthasar. It is used to answer prayers, to gain favor from all good spirits, to create a hallowed atmosphere.
A gad is a type of protective magic (a "magical shield"), often set up by the front door. The term, "gad," may be from the French "garde," meaning guard, protector, or warden.
galangal essential oil (Alpina galanga)
Galangal essential oil is a spicy, gingery, oil which is steam-distilled from the galangal root (Alpina galanga) from Indonesia. Galangal essential oil is used in hoodoo as a protective oil, especially in legal matters. See galangal oil and Little John.
galangal oil
Galangal oil is often sold with pieces of genuine galangal root (Alpina galanga) in the bottle. This root is also known as "Little John," "Low John," "Lo John," or "Chewing John," and has long been associated with success in court cases. Thus, the oil could simply be bits of the root floating in a base oil, such as peanut oil. However, the term "galangal oil" could also refer to an essential oil, "galangal essential oil." Traditionally, galangal oil is rubbed on one's feet and forearms before court cases, so that the judge will likely rule in one's favor. See galangal essential oil and Little John.
gardenia (Gardenia angusta also known as Gardenia jasminoides and Gardenia florida)
Gardenias are semi-tropical plants, originating in China. Stephanie Rose Bird refered to gardenia as a "balenced scent." It is one of the the important ingredients in "All Saints Oil."
garlic (Allium sativum)
Though the magical use of garlic to ward away evil originated in European magical practices, the use of garlic has been absorbed into some African American practices. For example, three slices of garlic is added to a mojo bag to get hired for a job. Protective, powerful, and delicious, garlic is also added to season some of the Southern recipes for Hoppin' John. This root is also an ingriedient in Four Thieves Vinegar. In Curanderismo (Mexican folk magic), fresh garlic or ajo is also viewed as a powerful healing food, which is believed to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Garlic cloves are sometimes mashed and then mixed with honey to apply to open wounds to promote healing.
gator foot (Alligator mississippiensis)
A small alligator foot can be a powerful protection as well being used for prosperity. According to Aeryck de Sade in his Youtube video Gator and Animal Curios: Their Uses In Hoodoo and Rootwork, when a small gator foot is used to draw prosperity often a coin will be tied into the gator foot with red thread. Frequently, an Indian head penny will be used in such a prosperity charm. On a key chain, a small gator foot can draw luck for gamblers. Larger gator feet can also be set up on an altar to draw prosperity, frequently with dollar bills tied into them.
gator head (Alligator mississippiensis)
A small alligator head could be set on a shelf near the front door with its mouth open as a protection for the household. These are sometimes used in Florida and Louisiana. As such, this item is called a "gad."
gator tooth (Alligator mississippiensis)
An alligator's tooth is sometimes worn by women and men as a pendant around the neck for protection. Interestingly, the pendant should not be worn near large bodies of water, such as a river or swamp, as the pendant will loose its power. The tooth of an alligator may also end up as an ingredient in some mojo bags.
gator, white or white alligator Alligator mississippiensis
Like other alligators, white gators come from southeastern USA freshwater wetland areas, rivers, lakes, and small ponds.
White gators are very rare in the wild, because they tend to get eatten by predators when still small. The white coloring is due to a genetic condition. There are two types of white gators,"leucistic alligators" and "albino alligators."
Leucistics have electric blue eyes. Albinos have pinkish-red eyes. Leucistics are strong gators, with nasty tempers. Albinos tend to be more phyically fragile.
Leucistics are like white ghosts in the water.
Recently a bunch of small leucistic white gators were discovered in Louisiana in 1987.
According to local Cajun lore down in parts of Louisiana, managing to look directly into the blue eyes of a live white gator is powerful good luck.
ginseng root (Panax ginseng or Panax quinquefolius)
Both Asian ginseng roots (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng roots (Panax quinquefolius) are used in traditional Chinese medicine and in the USA can be found in Chinese herbalist shops, healthfood stores, and even some spiritual supply stores.
Traditionally, the roots are used to balance the cool and hot energies in a patient. Both Asian ginseng and American ginseng roots are taken orally. According to Chinese medicine, ginseng boosts the immune system as well as improves overall health. It is a healthful stimulant and regarded as an aphrodisiac. The root is often sold dried, frequently as root shavings, sliced roots, or root powder. Other ginseng products include tea, carbonated bottled beverages, energy drinks, ginseng extract, ginseng capsules, candy, and chewing gum.
The English word "ginseng" derives from the Cantonese jên shên and the Hokkien jîn-sim. The Chinese term literally means literally "man root," which refers to the plant's forked root shape, resembling a human with legs.
Asian ginseng grows in northern China, Korea, and eastern Siberia.
Native to North America, American ginseng, commonly known as "sang," grew in full shade in wooded regions underneath deciduous hardwood species from Quebec to Minnesota and South Dakota and down into Georgia. It was also found in Louisiana and Oklahoma. The plant root was definitely used in folk remedies in the Appalachian mountain range [including the Blue Ridge Mountains (Maryland, Virginia, & West Virginia)] and Ozark regions.
In American folk medicine the root has been used to make a tonic, as well as a treatment for hives and inflammation. The root has been chewed to sooth a "tickling" throat.
Since the 19th century, the roots have been collected by "sang hunters." Harvesting wild ginseng was called "goin' sangin'." Due to over harvesting, American ginseng (Panax ginseng) is now an endangered species. In the 21st century, ginseng is available in cultivated form.
The plant's forked root and leaves were traditionally used for medicinal purposes and/or for sacred ceremonies by several Native American East Coast Indian tribes. It was used as a natural restorative or as a love charm. The Pawnee, Delaware, Fox, and the Appalachians, all used ginseng as an aphrodisiac. The Menominee employed ginseng to strengthen th mind. The Iroquois used it for upset stomach.
In Maryland folklore, four cups of American ginseng (Panax ginseng) tea drunk daily will cure almost anything. The forked root, like mandrake, was supposed to be a potent aphrodisiac and a charm against negative energies. A Maryland high woman, or root doctor, might use it in a charm bag. Also, it is used in an herbal cure for inflammation. Much of the wild American ginseng that was harvested from the Blue Ridge Mountains was actually sold to Chinese or Hong Kong traders for use in Asia. It is now illegal in Maryland to harvest wild ginseng,--as it is many other states.
Much of the ginseng, both Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) and American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), produced in the USA is now cultivated.
grits (Zea mays)
Native American in origin, "grits" is a food of coarsely ground corn that is common in USA Southern cooking. It is sometimes added to a charm to "feed" it.
The "Gullah" peoples are a group of folks of African descent who live in the Sea Islands and coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and northern Florida. "Gullah" is also the creolized language of the Gullahs, based on English and several other African languages and spoken in Sea Island communities.
High John the Conqueror Root (Ipomoea jalapa)
This root is carried in the pocket or as an ingredient in a mojo bag. It is a powerful magic root in hoodoo practice. Women, as well as men, can carry it. However, High John the Conqueror is sometimes considered a "man's root" and is sometimes associated with male virility and power. High John the Conqueror is a strong protective root that assures confidence and strength. It is believed to be able to remove obstacles and achieve goals. High John the Conqueror Root is also commonly sold as John the Conqueror Root, High John Root, and Hi John. It is sometimes known as John de conker, John Conjurer, High John, or Juan the Conquistador. High John the Conqueror Root is not edible and it is never eaten or chewed.
honeysuckle essential oil
Genuine honeysuckle essential oil has a sweet floral aroma. This essential oil might be made with any of the varieties of the Lonicera species. Pure honeysuckle essential oil is expensive and often difficult to purchase, as the blossoms of honeysuckle do not produce large quantities of essential oil. As pure honeysuckle essential oil is not intended to be used as a perfume straight out of the bottle and because it is so expensive, most references to "honeysuckle oil" in hoodoo practice do not refer to pure honeysuckle essential oil. See honeysuckle oil, honeysuckle/trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), and honeysuckle/white honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
honeysuckle oil
In hoodoo, "honeysuckle oil" is said to aid romance, love, and sexual relations between married partners, and to encourage fidelity in marriage. Rubbed on the cash register, this scent is also said to attract business. A drop can be rubbed under the eyes to increase intuition, etc.
The buyer should be aware that several different types of products labeled "honeysuckle oil" are available on the spiritual supply and aromatherapy market.
According to Sharon Falsetto, Essential Oils and Honeysuckle, "The Health Care Center website states that most honeysuckle essential oil is blended with other oils. In addition, what is marketed as honeysuckle essential oil may actually be an absolute or an infused oil, meaning that additional chemicals or substances have been added to it. Infused oils or absolutes do not hold the same therapeutic properties for aromatherapy practice as pure essential oils."
Most "honeysuckle oil" for sale is likely already blended with a "base oil" or "carrier oil" and can be safely applied for perfume or massage purposes. Because it is expensive, it usually is sold in a oil blend, sometimes with other essential oils. For example, jasmine oil is often blended in with a minuscule amount of genuine honeysuckle essential oil to create a lovely floral scent.
Some "honeysuckle oil" is a blend of essential oils and absolutes created to resemble the scent of honeysuckle. One old recipe named "honeysuckle" contains rose, neroil, vanilla, violet, and a bunch of other good smelling stuff in almond oil, but no honeysuckle essential oil.
As always, the savy spiritual shopper should read the lables carefully. See honeysuckle/trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), honeysuckle/white honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica), and honeysuckle essential oil.
honeysuckle/trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
Trumpet honeysuckle is a species of honeysuckle native to the eastern USA, down into Florida. Common names of the Lonicera sempervirens honeysuckle include "trumpet honeysuckle," "woodbine honeysuckle," or "coral honeysuckle." Its showy, trumpet-shaped flowers are bright red to pinkish-red and are the reason for the common names "coral honeysuckle" and "trumpet honeysuckle." These coral colored blossoms are a favorite of hummingbirds (in Spanish, chuparrosa). It blooms mid-spring and intermittently into the summer. Not surpringingly, the flowers attract bees and butterflies, as well as hummingbirds.
In USA Southern folk magic honeysuckle vines are used to magically bind lovers together. Its floral aroma is a popular scent. Dried honeysuckle blossoms, rose petals, and a cherry stone, can be bound in a red cloth to sweetly scent a romance between two lovers. Other herbs, like red clover (Trifolium pratense) or Queen Root (Iris fulva), might be added into the packet. This mojo could be with with a suitable oil.
In USA folk medicine, the Trumpet honeysuckle leaves were traditionally applied to bee stings after being ground up by chewing. An infusion of the flowers was used to make a "hot tea" for sore throats. See honeysuckle/white honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
honeysuckle/white honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)
White honeysuckle is a species of honeysuckle vine native to eastern Asia which has become naturalized in much of the USA. This fragrant flower with honey sweet nectar often has both white and yellow flowers blooming on the same plant. Flower production occurs from late April through July, and the vines are glorious around mid-summer in June.
Common names of the Lonicera japonica honeysuckle include "white honeysuckle," "suikazura," "jinyinhua," "Japanese honeysuckle," and "Chinese honeysuckle." In the USA white honeysuckle is classified as a noxious weed in Virginia and Texas, and has been placed on the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council’s list of invasive species. Since white honeysuckle is an agressive and invasive species, there are few restrictions against gathering its leaves, blossoms or vines.
Perhaps because of the creamy golden and white coloring of these blossoms, dried white honeysuckle has been used to draw prosperity in a business.
In traditional Chinese medicine, white honeysuckle has several names, including jin yin hua ("gold silver flower"), and is used to release poisons and heat from the body. See honeysuckle/trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), honeysuckle essential oil, and honeysuckle oil.
Hoppin' John
Hoppin' John is a traditional New Year's Day dish with black-eyed peas, rice, red onion, and pork served throughout the USA South, which is thought to bring luck and prosperity for the new year. The black-eyed peas are set to soak overnight on New Year's Eve and then the water is poured out. Both black-eyed peas and rice swell when cooked, symbolizing prosperity and abundance. The pork can be either the Christmas ham bone, ham hocks, or bacon. Red onions are often used in luck spells. Of course, there are many variations to this basic recipe. Some call for spicy red peppers or tabasco sauce. Fresh baked cornbread often accompanies this New Year's meal, as do collard or turnip greens. The greens are said to symbolize money. Some folklorists have speculated that the name Hoppin' John relates to the Southern folk hero, High John.
Iron is a highly magical substance and the iron horseshoe has long been associated with magic and luck. According to Catherine Yronwode, "...the most commonly encountered lucky charm in modern North America is the horseshoe." As working animals in a rural society, domestic horses needed extra protection for their hooves. Certain type of dangerous spirits do not like iron. Miniature horseshoes made of silver, gold, or another metal have become a gambler's lucky charm, particularly with horse-racing.
horseshoe nails
Iron has a long magical history, and it was definitely a symbol of power and strength. According to historians, iron horseshoes and horseshoe nails were introduced around 200 bce. The good luck charm of a ring made from an iron or steel horseshoe nail became something of a fad in the 1970's. Likewise, horseshoe nail cross pendants, some wrapped with either green, blue, or gold colored craft wire have been sold to draw luck and blessings. Iron nails may also be added to bags, spell bottles, etc.
hyssop water/herb hyssop infusion (Hyssopus officinalis)
Hyssop was known as "holy herb," and was once used to purify places of worship. It does have antiseptic properties and can be used as a purifying wash. Supposedly, one should steep one teaspoon of dried hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) in warm water for 10 minutes and then remove the herb. One can then add the infusion to bath water, reciting Psalm 51:7: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Pregnant women should avoid use of hyssop. Children should likewise avoid use.
indigo dye
Grown on plantations, indigo (Indigofera tinctoria) was a major cash crop for South Carolina between 1740 and 1790. In the pre-industrial age, the indigo crop was grown for making blue indigo dye. This dye was historically extracted from plants cultivated by slave labor.
An "infusion" is obtained by steeping or soaking a substance (usually in water) to extract components and "infuse" them into the water. Often the goal is to draw medicinal or herbal qualities from the flowers, leaves, fruit, or stems of a plant into water--scenting or flavoring the water. As the term "infusion" was not originally used in hoodoo, the "infusions" are often called "waters," "teas," or "herbal teas."
Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus , also Gracilaria)
Irish moss is a species of red algae seaweed (Chondrus crispus) which grows abundantly along the rocky parts of the British Isles, Atlantic coast of Europe, and some places in North America. It is also commonly known "carrageen moss," "pearl moss," "seamuisin," "curly moss," "curly gristle moss," "Dorset weed," "sea moss," "white wrack," and "jelly moss." The substance "carrageenan" in Irish moss is used as a thickener and stabilizer in dairy products. In Ireland and parts of Scotland, Irish Moss is boiled in milk and strained, before sugar and other flavorings such as vanilla, cinnamon, brandy or whisky are added. The finished dish, which is somewhat similar to tapioca, blancmange, or a white pudding, is said to be a kind of jelly--hence one of the the common names for Chondrus crispus is "jelly moss."
Irish moss has also been used to make a popular beverage in the Caribbean--which is called "Irish Moss." The Jamaican drink Irish Moss was made by boiling the Irish moss for about an hour in water. Flavorings may be added--along with milk or sweetened condensed milk, rum, linseed, and spices. The resulting Jamaican drink is very thick and is usually served chilled. According to folklore, this traditional rum Jamaican drink has beneficial aphrodisiac qualities, particularly for men. According to practitioners of Jamaican Kumina to ensure or increase virility, men drink Irish Moss and linseed.
A bottled Jamaican-style non-milk, non-alcoholic white thick sweet drink called, "Irish Moss," is available in speciality food stores in the USA.
The "Irish moss" seaweed now used in the Caribbean might be from another genus of red algae seaweed, Gracilaria, which can also be used as a thickener and stabilizer.
Sun dried "Irish moss" is sold as a good luck plant. Some hoodoo practitioners use it. Irish moss is carried on trips, particularly across waters, for protection and safety. Some folks place the whitish brown seaweed under rugs to ensure steady flow of money and luck into a household like waves from the ocean. The seaweed is also an ingredient in some mojo bags for money with a drop of luck oil to increase its strength. It can be used in a spell jar in a business to bring in customers. Some say it is an excellent gambler's herb.
In Trinidad and Tobago, the Jacakalantan is a mysterious light that appears to folks, then suddenly vanishes after misleading them to a desolate spot far from their intended destination. See Jacky-my-lantern.
Jacky-my-lantern is a spirit who is said to haunt the USA southern wetlands. His tale is told throughout the South and can be heard in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. According to the story, the Jacky-my-lantern spirit is condemned to wanter betwixt and between the worlds. A light from a Jacky-my-lantern can compell a traveler at night to follow it, causing the traveler to become hopelessly lost. See jacakalantan.
Jezebel oil
Jezebel oil is traditionally made by placing a Jezebel Root (Iris hexagona, Iris fulva, or Iris foliosa) with jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinenis) and either sunflower oil or castor oil. This traditional recipe also contains essential oils of myrrh, frankincense, bergamot, and amyris. Using castor oil is for sterner commanding spells. To seduce a lover and intensify and relationship, a woman will mix the jojoba oil with sunflower oil. She will dress a purple candle with the jezebel oil mixture and roll it in powdered cinnamon and ground rose pedals.
Jezebel Root/Queen Root (Iris hexagona, Iris fulva, or Iris foliosa)
Jezebel Root or Queen Root can be the root of one of at least three different varieties of plants of Louisiana Irises. "Dixie iris" (Iris hexagona) grows in wet spots. Its beautiful blue blooms can found in ditches, swamps, and slow moving shallow streams in either full sun or half shade in the USA Eastern South. It is the oldest recognized species from the Louisiana iris group (Hexagonae), having been named by Thomas Walter in his book Flora Caroliniana (1788). Like other irises in the Louisiana series, "Dixie iris" inhabits wet spots. It is found in ditches, swamps and shallow slow moving streams in either full sun or half shade. The Louisiana iris, "copper iris" (Iris fulva), is found in wet areas in the Mississippi Valley and as far north as Kentucky and Ohio. The wildflower blossoms are usually a rusty red color, brownish orange, and rarely a yellowish hue. It was catalogued in the New Orleans area in 1812. The Louisiana iris, Iris foliosa, also known as Iris brevicaulis, is commonly found growing in swamps and wet meadows. This species ranges north into Ohio and west into Kansas.
In American hoodoo folk magic, Jezebel Root is a woman's root and is used to empower many women's spells in hoodoo. Small pieces of Jezebel Root may be tied in in mojo bags for several reasons. A small piece can be tied in a red flannel bag with orrisroot, dried rose buds, sweet flag, catnip, and Adam and Eve Root to attract a wealthy man as husband. Tied in a green flannel bag, Jezebel Root it can help women get raises from bosses. A woman's nation sack may or may not contain one large piece or some small, chopped bits of Jezebel Root. In Southern magical folklore, Jezebel is envisioned as a powerful African queen, capable of commanding respect and obedience from men, as well as from other women. This magical root is also commonly sold under the name "Queen Elizabeth Root"--as Queen Elisabeth I of England was also a powerful woman in history.
Nowadays, "orrisroot," "orris root," or "orris," which is the root of the "Florentine iris" (Iris florentina or Iris germanica, Iris germanica florentina) is sometimes used as a substitute for Jezebel Root, although occasionally both will be used together. (Ground orris was used in the feminine pharmacopeia for making perfumes, makeup, and medicines. Possibly, the roots of the "Dixie iris" and "copper iris" were more commonly used in the USA South in women's magic, because they grew wild in the wetlands rather than the root of "Florentine iris," which hailed from Italy.)
Job's tears (Coix lacryma jobi)
"Job’s tears" is an annual grass the produces a fruit shaped like a tear drop. It is said that the biblical Job shed many tears. "Mine eye poureth out tears unto God." Job 16:20.
This grain-bearing tropical plant has been naturalized in the Southern USA as well the Western hemisphere tropics. It is a common weed in USA, but is grown for its pearl tear-shapped seeds. It was orginally native to Southeast Asia.
The common names of this plant include "Job seed," "seed beads," "Job's-tears," "job's tear beads," "tears of Job," "lacrima di Giobbe," "tears of Jesus," "lacrime di Gesu," "tear grass," "larmilles," "Mary's tears," "Juno's tears," "lagrima de San Pedro," "tears of Saint Peter," "larme de Job," "larmes de Job," "lagrimas de Job," "millet," "Chinese pearl barley," "coix seed," "coixseed," "coix," "coix lachrymal," "coix ma-yuen," "coix stenocarpa," "jali," "hanjeli," "yi hato-mugi," "yi yi," "yi yi ren," "dehulled adlay," "adlay," or "adlai."
In hoodoo, seven Job’s tears may be carried in one's pocket to avoid tears and bring luck. They can also be strung to together as a good luck necklace, but around Catholic Cajun Louisiana They are most often strung into Job's tears rosaries. See Job's tears rosaries. See tears of San Pedro memorial rosary (santo rosario luto de "lágrimas de San Pedro").
The fruit shaped like tears have been used for beads throughout history. In India, archaeological digs have uncovered strung Coix lacryma jobi dating back to 2000 bce. They have been used both as beads for good luck necklaces and rosaries. The grain is a rare natural bead, perfect for stringing. At its tip is a hole that allows the flower to emerge. When the fruit is picked off the stem, the rounded end breaks off, leaving a hole. The inside is easily pierced. The seeds when ripe are often a lovely pearly gray.
The grains were once an important source of food. In the Near East, Coix lacryma jobi ranked along with wheat and barley. In the Americas, it ranked beans, corn, squash and pepper. In Asia, it was one of the earliest domesticated plants, along with rice. The seeds, called "adlay," are still eaten as a cereal in parts of Asia.
In Africa, under the pillow, these seeds would promote children's sleep. West Indies a decoction of crushed seeds is used in cases of measles for its diuretic properties. The leaves have long been chewed to soothe toothaches. The pearly gray seeds are used in teething necklaces (le collier de dentition). The teething necklace is believed to be most effective at relieving or suppressing a baby's tears due to a first tooth appearing.
Job's tears rosaries
According to Keagan LeJeune, Job's tears rosaries are traditional in Catholic Cajun Louisiana. These roseries are often given and received in connection with kinship ties and important family events/rites of passage. LeJeune wrote in Binding a Family: Examining Job's Tears Rosaries as Artifacts of Kinship, (1999-2012): "For many, rosaries are common gifts for first communion, confirmation, and marriage. People often pray the rosary for an expectant mother and her child. The saying of a rosary holds an important position at a funeral wake, and often someone, an established member of the church parish who is noted for their particular skill at saying the rosary, will be called in to lead the prayer."
The seeds of the grass species, Coix lacryma-jobi, are idealy suited to stringing as beads or roseries, because of the tear-like shape of the seeds. In English, the seeds are called "Job's tears" because few have shed as many tears as the biblical Job. ("Mine eye poureth out tears unto God." Job 16:20.) In French, they are called Larme-de-Job (tear-of-Job), larmes de Job, larmilles, or graine chapelet (seed rosary). The seeds ripen in late September and the plant is cultivated by Cajuns specifically for the purpose of getting seeds to make rosaries. The rosary makers whom LeJeune interviewed "...consider the uniqueness of the plant and the specificity of its use as an example of God's divine planning....The holes present in each seed, the varnished look the seeds gain after being prayed, and the variety of colors indicate an amazing, divine design for many rosary makers."
jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinenis)
"Jojoba oil" is a botanical extract of the seed of the jojoba tree. Technically, "jojoba oil" is not an oil, but rather a liquid wax with a golden hue. The jojoba tree is a small shrub native to Arizona, northern Mexico, Southern and Baja California. Jojoba has long been used as an ingredient for beauty hair and skin products. Thus, jojoba is also used in a number of hoodoo reciepes.
king cake
See Mardi Gras king cake
King Solomon Wisdom Oil
This traditional hoodoo formula is often made with  Solomon Seal Root (Polygonatum multiflorum, Polygonatum  odoratum), or Solomon's Seal Root, American (Polygonatum biflorum), Hyssop, and Rose. See Solomon Seal Root.
kola nut (cola)
Kola nut is a nut-like seed that grows on one of several evergreen kola tree species in the genus Cola. These seeds are also known as "cola seed," "cola," "cola nut," and "guru nut." Kola trees (Cola vera, Cola acuminata, Cola nitida) are native to the tropical rainforests of Africa. The kola tree bears fruit that is shaped like a star. Inside the fruit, about a dozen round or square seeds can be found in a white seed shell.
Kola nuts are chewed in many West African cultures to restore vitality, combat fatigue, and ease hunger pangs and and thirst. The kola nut has a bitter flavor and contains a high amount of caffeine Kola nuts and kola extract are the key ingredient in "cola" carbonated drinks. Coca-Cola and Pepsi are two of the most well-known "cola" carbonated beverages.
Many Africans consume kola nuts on a regular basis for their medicinal effects: stimulant, anti-depressant, digestion aid, and, allegedly, an aphrodisiac.
When fresh, kola nuts are pink, red, or white, but become brown and hard once they have dried.
Kola nuts have long been an important part of the traditional spiritual practices in West Africa, particularly Nigeria. Kola nuts are used in a traditional divination system. Kola nuts are also offerings during prayer, honoring nature spirits, and ancestor veneration. They are used as gifts at significant life events--including naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals.
Apparently the traditional divination system using kola nuts, called Obi divination, is presently increasing within parts of the USA and the Caribbean. Kola nuts are an acceptable offering for many of the orishas. See "cola" carbonated beverages.
Kumina, also known as Cumina, is a creation of the rich culture of Jamaica. Jamaican "Kumina" refers to a type of Afro-Jamaican syncretic religion. "Kumina" also refers to an art form of music and folk dance. Within the religion of Kumina there are apparently two different forms, Obeah and Myal. Apparently, Obeah relates more to the practice of folk magic, sorcery, and spirit work, and Myal relates more to dance, music, and spirit possession. Some Jamaican folklore seems to have influenced some USA East coast Southern hoodoo folklore. Some Kumina or Obeah folklore involving roots and herbs seems to have been absorbed into USA East coast Southern hoodoo. Tales of Jamaican "duppy" and the USA South "Boo Hag" may have had some influence on each other.
lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
In European magic, the calming scent of lavender is used for love and friendship. Lavender is an ingredient in one of the the hoodoo formulas for "All Saints Oil." However, lavender water, perfume, and scented oil was considered an aphrodisiac by some Western herbalists. According to Stephanie Rose Bird, lavender essential oil was used by some hoodoo practitioners to attract the attentions of those of the same gender.
lily essential oil (Lilium candidum)
The white lily, commonly known as the "Madonna lily," grows throughout Mediterranean regions and western Asia. White lilies bloom from May onwards. Although often cultivated as a garden plant, it can be found spontaneously growing in the fields around gardens and country houses. The essential oil is used in the perfume industry. Parts of the white lily plant have been used in healing cream recipes to treat skin wounds. Mixed with olive oil or another base oil, the essential oil from the Madonna lily can be dedicated to Blessed Mary.
"Blessed Mary oil," according to Anna Riva, can be applied to the inner wrists and temples prior to prayer: "Blessed Mary, Mother of God in my hour of need I call upon you. Enfold your humble child into your love; strengthen me so that I might conquer this harmful and burdensome condition."
Little John, Low John, Lo John, Chewing John (Alpina galanga)
This root is also known as galangal. It is chewed as part of spells for justice and seeking victory in court, as well as magic that is intended to protect against hexes and jinxes. See galangal oil and galangal essential oil.
lodestone (magnetite)
A lodestone is a naturally occurring magnet. Lodestones, or naturally magnetized pieces of magnetite, attract small pieces of iron. Interestingly, only a small amount of earth's magnetite is found to be naturally magnetized as lodestones. Lodestones were viewed as marvels by various ancient cultures. In the 6th century bce, they were studied by the Greek philosopher, Thales of Miletus. The ability of a lodestone to attract iron likewise intrigued the ancient Romans. In modern folk magic, they are used to "attract" or "draw" love, wealth, etc. According to Catherine Yronwode, lodestones are a "vital ingredient in African-American hoodoo practice." Lodestones are used to "charge" magical oils. They may be placed singly, or in pairs, in mojo bags. Lodestones are supposed to attract power, favors, and gifts. They are often "fed" ground iron filings, known as "magnetic sand." Lodestones can be used to attract just about anything you want. Lodestones are often blessed in hoodoo with Psalm 23 (KJV)
A 21st century word of caution about lodestones: keep lodestones away from computers and magnetic storage media. Their magnetic fields may be strong enough to damage your equipment.
Louisiana magic lamp
The Louisiana magic lamp was an 18th century style hurricane lamp, kerosene lamp, or oil lamp. The lamp is fueled by castor oil, olive oil, and/or kerosene. These magic lamps are used in spellwork, spiritual petitions, and divinations. In lampadonmancy as well as other lamp work, attention is paid to the shape of the flame--whether it burns high, bright, low, dim, smokes, etc.
The Louisiana magic lamp is still used by some practitioners of hoodoo today. Some prefer using the magic lamp, rather than the more well known candles.
Lucky Black Cat oil
No felines are harmed in the making of this oil. Lucky Black Cat oil, also known as Black Cat oil, is a traditional hoodoo recipe combining the essential oils of bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), and clary sage Salvia sclarea) in a base oil of either castor oil or sweet almond oil with steel wool and iron shot. Traditionally this oil is used to break hexes and other negative conditions, as well as protection if castor oil is the base oil. It can be sprinkled at entrances to the home to reverse and remove malign influences. However, if it is to be used to draw luck, especially in attracting the opposite sex, the base oil is sweet almond. See cat. See Lucky Cat candles.
Lucky Buddha Candles
Spiritual supply stores frequently sell candles in typical devotional glass jars labeled "Lucky Buddha," depicting a laughing, bald, seated Asian figure in an oriental monk's robe. (I spotted these back in the mid 1980's). This image is sometimes said to be Maitreya, the "Buddha-yet-to-come who brings prosperity." According to Judika Illes, Encyclopedia of Spirits: the Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods and Goddesses, the Future Buddha, Maitreya, is the essence of compassion and loving kindness. This image is known as the "Lucky Buddha," the "Laughing Buddha," the "Fat Buddha," or "Budai." This Chinese figure is a spirit of luck, happiness, laughter, and the wisdom of contentment. He is usually depicted seated, but sometimes standing, always with a laughing facial expression and large ear lobes--carrying a linen bag which may contain rice, coins, candy, or other wonderful things. He is frequently carrying children. His big belly is a symbol of abundance, luck, and generosity.
This symbolic Chinese representation of the forthcoming Buddha is well known in the USA. There is a belief that if you rub his belly, it will bring good luck and wealth. Small figurines are sold in Asian shops. Larger representations are seen in Chinese restaurants and businesses in Chinatown. His image is found in numerous amulets. He is sometimes depicted riding on a magical creature, such as the Dragon Turtle. Many Asian people also believe that this image is useful in the practice of Feng Shui, as the proper placement of an auspicious symbol may bring good fortune.
Budai is a Chinese folkloric deity and, according to legend, was an eccentric Zen Buddhist monk in China (907--923 ce). He is depicted wearing a voluminous robe and carrying, or wearing, prayer beads. The name "Budai" means "Cloth Sack," referring to his bag. As a wandering monk, Budai is said to travel, sometimes giving candy to poor children. He has also been incorporated into a number of Chinese Taoist folklore traditions.This same Buddha depicted standing with arms raised is probably the Japanese, Hotei. Hotei is one of the Shichi Fukujin, the seven Japanese Shinto-gods of luck. (Budai is not the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, the Supreme Buddha, who was a spiritual teacher from ancient India.)
In any case, since the practice of hoodoo has never operated in a cultural vacuum, African-Americans watch Asian movies, eat Chinese food and fortune cookies, etc. Hence, the Chinese spirit of luck and wealth has manifested the hoodoo practice of calling upon the "Lucky Buddha" for favors Supposedly gamblers would set a light that they win by the help of God with a "Lucky Buddha" candle. Alternatively, one might speak aloud the petition, "With the blessing of Old Buddha, I'm going to be lucky tonight," while lighting the candle.
Spiritual supply stores now sell "Lucky Buddha" figure candles in a variety of colors and sizes.
The green "Lucky Buddha" candle is for family, harmony, health, longevity, peace, and well being. The gold/yellow "Lucky Buddha" is lit to draw wealth, prosperity, and strength. The pink "Lucky Buddha" candle is burned for love, reconciliation, and romance between husbands and wives.
According to Buddha: "Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."
Lucky Cat candles
Figure candles in the form of cats are popular items sold at spiritual merchant shops. They can often be purchased in a variety of colors. Dressed with the proper oils, red cat figure candles are used in romance and sex. Green cat candles can be used to draw luck and specifically money. The black cat candles are used for a variety of purposes to draw powerful good luck, as well as repell jinxes, hexes, bad luck, and evil intent. Gamblers, for example, may dress a black cat candle with Lucky Black Cat oil, galangal root oil (Alpina galanga) or a similar luck drawing oil.
Lucky Rice/green rice/fixed rice
Rice (Oryza sativa) is the staple food of more than half the world's population. It symbolizes sustenance in Asia; the word for rice is the same as the word for "meal" in China, Japan, and Vietnam. Rice has come to symbolize prosperity and happiness in many parts of the world. In the USA, handfuls of white rice are thrown at newly wed brides and grooms. Rice which swells when it is cooked is part of the USA South New Year's dish, Hoppin' John, symbolyzing adundance for the coming year.
Though rice is not native to the Americas, it was introduced to the Caribbean and South America by Europeans. It was a traditional food plant in Africa, and was recognized by those brought here during the African Diaspora. Rice grows best in wetlands and swamps.
Because of its association with prosperity and happiness, all rice could be considered "lucky." However spiritual supply stores sell packets of green-dyed rice known as "Lucky Rice," "green rice," or "fixed rice." This green colored rice is used in money drawing magic and is not intended for human or animal consumption. It is generally made with white rice, rubbing alcohol, water, and green food-coloring. In modern Southern spiritual traditions, green tinted rice can be used in a number of ways. It can sprinkled in front of one's business to bring in trade. It can be stored in a tightly lidded glass jar with coins to draw prosperity. It can be displayed in small packet on the wall with a green stone. Some practitioners claim that to be really effective "Lucky Rice"/"green rice" "fixed rice" ought to have a shredded dollar bill stored with it. Others claim that a variety of different coins is sufficient.
Mardi Gras king cake
In New Orleans, Louisiana, people bake ring-shaped cakes which are served as part of the Mardi Gras celebration. They are called "king cakes." Traditionally, each cake contains a figurine of an infant, hidden inside. The one who finds the small infant figurine in her/her slice receives good luck, but traditionally incurs Mardi Gras duties for the next year. In 21st century king cakes, the figurine is usually replaced by a tiny plastic dolly.
In Mexico, people bake ring-shaped cakes in honor of the "Tres Reyes Magos" who brought gifts to the Christ Child. These cakes are called "Rosca de Reyes" and they are served as part of the celebration of "El Dia de Reyes." Traditionally, each cake contains a figurine of the infant Jesus, hidden inside. It is considered good luck to be the one to find the figurine. Whoever gets the figurine in her/his slice is supposed to take the figurine to the local church. S/he will provide the tamales and atole for the Dia de la Candelaria (Candlemas) feast in February. See Tres Reyes Magos.
marigold (Tagetes erecta)
The marigold, which is also known as the "Mexican marigold," "Aztec marigold," "cempasúchil," and "Flor de Muertos" (Flower of the Dead), is native to Mexico and Central America. The blooms are naturally bright yellow, golden, or orange colors. The Spanish name cempasúchil or cempazúchil is dervived from the name from the Aztec language, Nahuatl. The Nahuatl name "zempoalxochitl" for this plant literally translated as "twenty flower."
This plant was regarded as the flower of the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico. The flower is commonly planted in Mexican cemeteries. The yellow blossoms are used during Los Dias de los Muertos (October 31, November 1, and 2) and are said to be sacred to La Santa Muerte.
This marigold may help protect garden plants from certain pests, as will some of the other marigold plants from the Tagetes species.
The plant has long been gathered and cultivated for numerous purposes. Its petals are used as natural dye.
Because of the flower's coloring, it's often used in magic to draw wealth. The common English name, "marigold," derived from "Mary's Gold," due it association with the Virgin Mary. If the dried petals are burned on charcoals, they can be used for clairvoyance or to communicate with spirits. Divination items can be consecrated in the smoke.
The Tagetes erecta marigold is only one of several varieties including Tagetes lucida, Tagetes patula, Tagetes tenuifolia, and Tagetes minuta.
Marigold plants from the Tagetes species should not be confused with "pot marigold" also known as "calendula" (Calendula officinalis).
In the south of France, black cats are now believed to bring good luck to their owners, who respect and care for them. This belief is related to the folklore of the chat d'argent, matagots or mandragots, which are magician cats, magic cats, or sorcerer cats.
The chat d'argent is the "silver (coin) cat" or "money cat." This creature of French folklore is apparently an important influence in the hoodoo Lucky Black Cat. Legends involving the money cat, chat d'argent, matagots or mandragots, are also tied into sorcellierie, witchcraft and superstitions regarding the black cat.
The money cat [chat d'argent/silver cat/silver (coin) cat] or matagot is always black. This cat is often in service to either a sorcerer or witch. Stroking a money cat/matagot brings health and wealth. A money cat should be fed with the first bite of the meal at dinner. A suitable box should be provided for the money cat to sleep in. Finally, the cat must be given on to someone else before his master's death.
In Gascony, the money cat (le chat d'argent) is called a "mandragot." In Provence, the money cat is called a "matagot." The name "le chat d'argent" is mostly used in Brittany. An interesting connection to USA hoodoo lore is the mention of crossroads as the place to go get a money cat, (le chat d'argent), matagot or mandragot. It is likely that Francophone folkore brought stories of this creature to Louisiana. A more detailed account of the money cat folklore is at Matagots.
mimosa oil
"Mimosa fragrance oil" is described as having a delicate floral scent which lifts the spirit and sooths worries. Nine drops of mimosa fragrance oil, added to a warm bath soak on a Friday night, will help someone find the answers regarding romance during dreams. What is often sold as "mimosa oil" is a "fragrance oil."
It is also possible to purchase "mimosa essential oil" (Albizia julibrissin) which is used by aromatherapists for "protection, purification, and prophetic dreams." See mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin).
mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin)
The beautiful mimosa tree has many common names: "silktree," "powderpuff tree," "silk acacia," "Lenkoran acacia," "pink siris," "Japanese mimosa," and "bastard tamarind." This tree is NOT the same plant as "flowering mimosa" (Acacia dealbada) in spite of the confusion caused by similar names "silk acacia" (Albizia julibrissin) and "flowering mimosa" (Acacia dealbada).
Originally from China, the lovely mimosa was introduced to the USA in 1745. It has been cultivated since the 18th century primarily for use as an ornamental tree, due to its attractive fern-like leaves and fragrant and "pom-pom" silky-looking thread blossoms, which range in color from deep pink to pale pink to white. The tree flowers in June and July. The blossoms grow in dense clusters arranged on stems on the branches in a tight cluster of stamens 2–3 inches long. These delicate flowers are attractive to butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. Not surprisingly some people still grow an ornamental tree for its beauty.
Unfortunately, the mimosa tree has become an "invasive plant species" or "weed" in the USA. Mimosa adapts to almost any well-drained soil. Mimosa has a tendency to readily establish itself in the wild after escaping from cultivation. It grows rapidly. The tree is often seen along roadsides and open vacant lots in suburban and urban areas. It can become a problem along banks of waterways, where its seeds are easily transported in water. Mimosa is a strong competitor in open areas or forest edges due to its ability to grow in various soil types, its ability to produce large amounts of seed, and its ability to re-sprout when cut back or damaged. After the flowers fade, the tree grows hundreds of 6-inch long, bean-like, brown seed pods, which hang on the tree through winter. These pods almost look like tamarind seed pods, hence the name "bastard tamarind." The seeds have impermeable seed coats that allow them to remain dormant for many years.
Mimosa is now considered an invasive plant species that is disrupting native plant communities in most of the USA Southeast, including Florida, Georgia, and as far west as Texas.
I recount all the above information so that folks will understand that mimosa is not an endangered plant nor is it legally protected in the wild in the USA South. Hence you can cheerfully gather all the seed pods for magical purposes. Magically, the seed pods are used in spells for abundance and psychic dreams, and relates to the ethereal beauty of the tree and its blossoms. It is said that mimosa aids someone to find the answers s/he seeks.
These pods can be tied in bags, stored in jars, etc. I remember playing with the seed pods in Florida as a child. The red bean-like seeds are extremely poisonous to animals and should not be ingested by either human or animals. The pods should not be buried as part of any spell, same with the seeds.
The Chinese name for the mimosa tree is hehuan. Hehuan translates as "shut happy." At night on cool evenings, the leaves of this tree fold up. The name supposedly symbolizes a happy couple in bed.
In Spanish, the word mimosa (feminine)/mimoso (masculine) means "affectionate." The feminine form, mimosa, also has several shades of meaning including "beguiling," "playful," "snuggly," "coquette," frolicsome," "pleasing to touch (hug)," "cuddly," and "endearingly soft." Hence, the pink mimosa tree blossoms and green leaves are especially used in ingredients for mojo bags involving love and romance. See mimosa oil.
mojo bean
Sicilian immigrants brought the March 19th tradition of St. Joseph's Day altars to New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. A "mojo bean" is a dried fava bean (vica fava). Fava beans are traditionally placed on St. Joseph's Day altars and given to people as good luck charms. Supposedly, carrying a dried fava bean ensures that one will always have the essentials of life. In light of this tradition, fava beans have become one of the items found in the contents of mojo hands/mojo bags. Mojo beans are also called St. Joseph beans.
mojo bag/mojo hand
A "mojo bag" or "mojo hand" is also known as a "hand," "conjure hand," "lucky hand," "conjure bag," "prayer bag," "trick bag," "root bag," "gris-gris bag," "gri-gri," "charm bag," or even more euphemistically as a "sachet." ConjureMan Ali in The Conjurer's Secret Weapon commented: "I was raised calling them conjure hands, prayer bags, and spirit bags." A mojo hand or mojo bag is a flannel bag containing one or more magical items in African-American hoodoo magic. It is very similar to the Caribbean "oanga bag" or "wanga bag." The mojo is most probably an African-derived practice.
Many "Southern style" conjure bags or mojo bags are made of red flannel. (Interestingly, red flannel charm bags are often used in the Blue Ridge Mountains' folk magic.) However some practitioners use certain colors of cloth for the bag, relating to the bag's specific purpose. Green flannel cloth might be used to make a "money mojo" or "money charm." Blue flannel cloth might be used to make a "peaceful mojo." Etc.
What items a mojo hand contains will depend on the purpose of the bag. According to Catherine Yronwode, a mojo hand to draw money might have a John the Conqueror root wrapped up in a $2 bill, a silver "Mercury" dime, a lodestone, and a pinch of brown sugar, all tied in a flannel bag. Someone might also add three black-eyed peas or a "mojo bean" to the contents. This bag will need to be rubbed (anointed with) with lemon oil or Van Van Oil from time to time.
There are similar practices in traditional European and British folk magic which may have grown up independently of each other. Likewise the "mojo bag" and Native American "medicine pouch"/"medicine bag" are similar practices, but likely grew up independently of each other. African-American "mojo hands" are usually made of cloth. Native American "medicine pouches" are usually made of leather.
Moses Incense
"Moses Incense" is sometime called "Holy Incense." According to Catherine Yronwode, "Moses is an old hoodoo formula for oil, incense, sachet powders, and bath crystals that are intended for the use of those who wish to work with the spirit of Moses for protection, justice under the law, and freedom from oppressive conditions." Naturally there exist several versions for the powdered incense recipe for this old hoodoo formula. For example, Lucky Mojo Co. sells Moses Powdered Incence which is Catherine Yronwode's own secret blend of this old hoodoo formula. Victorie Inc. also manufactures their own blend which they dubbed "Holy Incense."
A description of this incense can be found in Exodus 30:34-37. And the LORD said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the LORD. Exodus 30:34-37 (KJV)
Below are comments and speculations the ingredients likely used in a Moses Incense recipe.
Frankincense: Frankincense resin (Boswellia sacra, Boswellia frereana, and Boswellia bhaw-dajiana) is frequent still used as a "church incence." It has been burned as a holy offering to sundry deities for thousands of years. Frankincense resin is also known as levonah zach (Hebrew), olibanum, and dhoop.

Disclaimer: The creators of "That Hoodoo..." accept no responsibility for effects or consequences of casting spells or making magical charms found on this website. One should not consider any of these traditional charms, remedies, or folklore a substitute for modern medical care nor a substitute for visits to a licensed medical practitioner. Create your own magic responsibly.


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Psalm 23 Mojo Bag
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