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Monday, December 24, 2012

A Return to Our Friday Readings!

On Tapping the Roots, I did a variety of "undirected readings" on Fridays, in which I would do a general reading, trusting that Spirit would guide whoever needed to see that material to it.

Partially, this was to grant some measure of familiarity to my readers as to what they might expect when getting a simple three-card reading from me as part of a Consultation.

So, I'd like to return to our Friday Readings, only with a different flair this time! I'm going to open it up into a sort of Conjure-flavored "Dear Abby". I'll have folks send me their current problems, questions or concerns.

Then, on Fridays, I'll take one of those questions at random and present it anonymously. You get a free Consultation out of it, and my readers get the chance to see what a Consultation - normally a very personal and private affair - looks like in practice.

I will of course leave out any details that might identify you in some way, so understand that these Friday Readings will not be as in-depth and personal as one of my regular Consultations might be.

If you're interested, send me an email to with the Subject: "Friday Reading Volunteer." State your question in such a way that will allow me to copy and paste it into the post that follows, and we'll go from there!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Buying Graveyard Dirt

Sometimes in the process of your hoodoo work - either as a conjurer or as a client - you're going to need to buy graveyard dirt.

The Best Dirt
Dirt, like herbs, stones, colors and all the rest of the correspondences out there modern occultists use, has associations. There is dirt that good for peace-tricks (hoodoo sometimes calls a spell a "trick"), some that's good for getting rid of people, some that's good for healing powder, and some that are good for goofer dust (a type of cursing that is supposed to result in the death of the one crossed).

How do you know what is what? It's simple: figure out who is buried in it. :)

The fact is, graveyard dirt as an ingredient for hoodoo is based extensively in ancestor reverence. According to folklore, a person stores their knowledge in their bones. Or rather, in their blood, but it accumulates in the bones.

So, knowledge and power is in the blood. This means that you can call on any of your ancestors at any time, and ask them for their help with something, because you share the same blood. You call on your Auntie who was a nurse in a war for help with healing, your Granddad who worked on the railroads for protection in travel, and your dear old dad, the world's greatest fisherman, when you need help getting something hooked on that line on your company fishing trip. No problem. But what if you don't know of any ancestors with the kind of know-how or mojo you need?

Well, the answer is simple. You use somebody else's ancestor.

According to hoodoo lore, as a body decomposes in a grave, its knowledge and mojo passes into the soil it is buried in. Thus, you can garner some of that mojo along with the physical component of the soil itself. It is a means of asking for the help of an ancestor that doesn't belong to you by blood.

But you can't just scoop some up, and then expect to get something good out of it. Like all things in magic, there is an exchange, and it has to be done properly.

Buying Dirt
"Buying Dirt" does not mean "going to a website or shop and purchasing little packets of graveyard dirt," though you can find some places that sell them. There's no mojo in those, I'm sorry to say - even if they did properly buy it at the graveyard, the mojo that's in it is for the person who did so, not you.

That said, buying graveyard dirt is pretty easy. You'll need a little container to store dirt in, something to dig with and two nice shiny (and clean!) silver coins (if in the U.S., you're talking dimes - preferably Mercury's Head dimes, because of associations with that psychopomp, or dimes minted on a Leap Year). If you want, bring along a little bit of whiskey, wine, beer or some other good libation, particularly if you know they liked that drink.

At this point, go to your grave. I was taught to pop the dimes in my mouth (see why you want them to be clean?) while I dug, but that's not ubiquitous to all of hoodoo. If you brought a libation, you take a swig of that liquid, and then pop the dimes in your mouth.

Dig up an amount of the dirt. Don't get greedy - no more than the amount that would fill both cupped hands, at most. Put it in the container, then lean over the hole you made and spit the dimes into the hole, then cover them up with the soil that's left behind. Try and cover the hole up as best you can - remember, the key is respect here, so don't leave the source of your new mojo's grave looking like it's been chewed by moths. If you brought libations, pour a little extra libation, drink a quick toast, and put your gravedirt away.

A Word of Warning: This can be considered defacement of a grave, which is illegal. Also, people can ask some awkward questions of you if they see you just digging up some dirt to take home with you. So, if you don't have the option to do this in privacy (like at night), there is another way, but it'll cost you a little bit.

Stop by a shop and pick up a nice potted plant of flowers to take with you. Then, not only will you be disguising the fact that you're digging up and keeping soil, but you'll also be beautifying the grave, which is an excellent and respectful thing to do. Just save the container the plant came in when you pull the plant out, pile your dirt next to the hole, drop the coins in all sneaky-like, then put the plant in after it, and scoop the dirt into the now-empty pot it came in. Easy, and pretty.

Storing Dirt
Graveyard dirt should be stored in an air-tight container. Make sure to label it, though do so in a way that you know what you got it for. You now have an excellent ingredient used in traditional hoodoo, ready for use in making powders and mojo bags.