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A Materia Magica of African-American Conjure
by catherine yronwode


The picture above is taken from a circa 1900 packet of SCABIOUS,
packaged by S. W. Gould & Bros. Botanic Garden, Malden, Mass.

The text below is from "Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic" by catherine yronwode.
copyright © 2002 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

DEVIL'S BIT Compositae
Scabiosa succisa

SCABIOUS has a very short, bitten-off-looking root. According to old European legend, it was so useful to mankind as a tea for coughs and fevers and in ointments for the treatment of skin diseases that the Devil, consumed with anger over the plant's many virtues, bit its root half off, but God allowed it to thrive with a stumpy root anyway. DEVIL'S BIT root is said to put a stop to any evil directed toward you.

Protective Mojo, Sprinkle, and Incense: DEVIL'S BIT root chips can be added to any protection mojo bag, in conjunction with herbs like Rue and Agrimony. To keep away evil and to return tricks an enemy may try to lay, you may sprinkle DEVIL'S BIT chips outside your house or place them beneath the floor or under your rugs. It is said that if you burn DEVIL'S BIT on charcoal at high noon, the fumes will destroy an enemy's power to harm you. Some people mix DEVIL'S BIT root chips into commercial incenses like Fiery Wall of Protection, Run Devil Run, or Uncrossing and burn them to shield themselves.

A "Devil Hand" for Protection: Combine a whole DEVIL'S BIT root, nine pieces of Devil's Shoe Strings roots, and a Devil Pod in a black leather bag. On a small piece of paper, write the Name of the person from whom you want to protect yourself, cross and cover the Name with your Name written three times, and fold the Name-Paper around a pinch of Devil's Dung, folding away from you each time until it is a small packet. Dress the packet with Run Devil Run Oil and place it in the bag. This is among the strongest reversing hands that can be made, but you may have to find and dig your own DEVIL'S BIT, or grow it in your garden, for the whole root is not always available in commerce.

To Quiet House Spirits While Renting Out or Selling Property: Wash the premises from back to front with Chinese Wash and Ammonia in water, then place a small wrapped and tied bundle of DEVIL'S BIT roots dressed with Van Van Oil under the doorstep. This will keep out any wandering spirits that might make prospective renters or buyers uncomfortable, and also to drive off evil-intentioned renters or buyers who do not mean to keep the contracts they sign, as well as trashy renters who might vandalize the property. Follow with a money-drawing wash inward at the door to draw in good renters or buyers.

Additional magical uses at: Boldo

Medical uses: SCABIOUS is an ingredient in ointments used to treat a variety of skin disorders. Boiled into tea, it makes a good hair rinse for dandruff.

Botanical notes: The common name DEVIL'S BIT has been applied to a number of otherwise unrelated herbs. Three genera in the Lily family (Aletris, Helonias, and Chamaelirium spp.) are grouped together in this book under their more popular name Unicorn Root; one of these species, Chamaelirium, is generally called DEVIL'S BIT in the United States. Additionally, several herbs in the Aster family (Liatris spp.) are also sometimes called DEVIL'S BIT; they are listed here under their more common name Button Snake Root. The SCABIOUS is the herb with the oldest, best, and most visually logical claim to be called DEVIL'S BIT, and so it is awarded that name here.

Further botanical notes at: Button Snake Root, Unicorn Root

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copyright © 1995-2003 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.
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