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GRAVEYARD DIRT

IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN HOODOO ROOTWORK TRADITION

" GRAVEYARD DIRT has been used by many people for the purpose of Causing Unnatural Illness to their Enemies. People familiar with such matters tell us that they have mixed GRAVEYARD DIRT and Sulphur Powder with an enemy's hair or private bodily concerns, put the mixture into a bottle with 9 pins, 9 needles, and 9 nails, and buried the bottle under the enemy's Door-step or Pathway as the moon was waning in order to hurt them or cause them to pine away. Others claim that they have put GRAVEYARD DIRT into an enemy's shoe and then marked a trail from the victim's home to the nearest graveyard, sprinkling a pinch of the dirt at every Crossroads along the way to lead the enemy to take that path. We do not make any supernatural claims for GRAVEYARD DIRT, and sell it as a Curio only." lucky-mojo-curio-co-logo-255-pixels

-- The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue


Lucky-Mojo-Curio-Co.-Graveyard-Dirt-Magic-Ritual-Hoodoo-Rootwork-
Conjure-Powder

Lucky-Mojo-Curio-Co.-Add-to-Cart

pookline

RITUAL COLLECTION OF GRAVEYARD DIRT

Methods by which one pays for graveyard dirt vary from worker to worker, but the principle is always the same. You have to get in touch with the ancestral spirit and make a respectful application and payment. Beyond that there are numerous details -- whose grave, the kind of death they died, where the grave is located with respect to the cemetery gates, whether you dig from the head, the heart, or the feet, whether you leave dimes or pennies or whiskey or a combination, and how you place the with respect to the grave.

Because i collect graveyard dirt quite often, i have had the opportunity to try each of the different forms of the ritual that i have been taught -- and i have found them to be equivalent in practice, with one exception: i have come to appreciate the advice to get dirt from the grave of a soldier, because such dirt is from the grave of one who was unusually strong and obedient.

pookline

GETTING TO KNOW THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD

I believe that you will learn more and do more effective spiritual work if you do not think of what you plan as "capturing" graveyard dirt but think of it by the term that it generally called, namely, "buying" graveyard dirt.

There is a huge difference between capturing a person / spirit (which is unlawful enslavement) and offering to pay for the person's / spirit's services (which is an honest transaction of employment).

I recommend that after you enter a cemetery, if you have no particular grave in mind to visit, that you let yourself be spirit-led to the grave that attracts you. If you wish to learn more about the spirits in a particular graveyard, i suggest that you go to each grave site in turn, individually and respectfully. I would place a small offering of flowers first, keeping other offerings, such as coins, in reserve for possible use. I would speak to the spirit, *listen* deeply to what was offered or denied, and then i would comply with the wishes of the deceased, which may differ from grave site to grave site.

pookline

HOW TO USE GRAVEYARD DIRT IN SPELL-WORK

There are basically three ways that Graveyard Dirt is employed in hoodoo:

Despite its inclusion in such harmful formulas, graveyard dirt is not evil per se, and it has uses all its own that reflect its venerable stature in the African religious practice of ancestor veneration.

In African-derived magic such as hoodoo and Obeah, graveyard dirt is an important "magical link" (in the Crowleyan sense of that term), because of the powerful cultural beliefs centered around the role of the dead in rituals of invocation. This was and remains especially true in the Kongo, from whence most African-American slaves came, and in West Africa, where most Afro-Caribbean slaves came.

(You may find veneration of ancestors rather misleadingly called "ancestor worship" by earlier Western scholars, and you will often see it referred to in that way in books published in English prior to the 1990s, but American and European scholars have recently come around to using the more accurate African term "ancestor veneration," due to their contact with Africans who have entered academia and gotten on the internet .. and still practice ancestor veneration.)

In Palo Mayombe, a mostly Cuban and Brazilian survival of Kongo religio-magical practice sometimes admixed with Catholicism, the dirt from graves is kept in a "prenda" on an altar.

In hoodoo, as in African magic and in Palo, graveyard dirt can be used for good or for ill. There are several well-known protection spells and love-spells that utilize graveyard dirt, and just as many spells to hold someone down or restrain them in some way (what British people might call a "binding spell."

In hoodoo, the ritual of collecting graveyard dirt -- by the practitioner him- or herself -- is called BUYING graveyard dirt. The usual payment in the US, since the 19th century at least, has been a silver dime, and in the old days, this was preferably a Mercury dime. Customs vary, but although payment may be offered to the dead in the entire graveyard, it is more commonly offered to the specific spirit from whose grave one will dig the dirt.

This practice of the individual buying dirt from a graveyard led early on in hoodoo to the root worker / herbalist buying the dirt and then re-selling it. No stigma is attached to this practice, but the re-seller may be questioned closely as to whether the dirt was properly "bought and paid for." I have ads in old catalogues in my collection dating back to the 1920s in which graveyard dirt was offered for sale to the African-American community, so this is not a recent phenomenon. -- like most of the mercantile aspects of hoodoo, it arose as urbanization made the personal gathering of symbolic ingredients difficult to achieve. The price of graveyard dirt is usually nominal -- it's dirt cheap.

Neo-pagan authors such as Scott Cunningham have written that graveyard dirt is "just code" for certain herbs, such as mullein, but this is easily proven untrue by simply asking the average root-worker. In the African-American community (if not the Wiccan community) graveyard dirt is dirt from a grave that's been ritually "bought and paid for."

pookline

WORKING WITH THE SPIRITS OF MURDER VICTIMS AND THOSE UNJUSTLY EXECUTED

Lucky

It is important that those who propose to collect dirt from the graves of murder victims and those executed for crimes they did not commit understand that when dealing with the spirits of those who were unjustly put to death, there is no "one size fits all" approach that can be applied.

Some such spirits may seek vengeance -- especially against people of a particular surname, occupation, class, race, social position, etc. -- and they may be willingly employed as spirits of vengeance.

Other spirits may be filled with a strong desire to see that people currently alive -- perhaps their lineal descendants or people of their own former occupation, class, race, social position; or perhaps all people -- do not suffer injustices as they did, and they may be employed to bring justice to present cases.

Still other such spirits may be filled with the nectar of forgiveness and compassion and may be employed to bring harmony and unity of purpose to difficult situations.

Unless the spirit of a grave mentally reaches out to you first -- which often happens -- the only way to learn what that spirit will or will not do for you is to approach the grave, state your proposal, and *listen* to what you are told.

pookline

HARMFUL AND COERCIVE SPELLS EMPLOYING GRAVEYARD DIRT

If one wishes to do harm, or to force or coerce someone to act in a certain way, one might buy the dirt of someone who "died badly" -- before their time, through execution, or so forth, because their spirit, once invoked, would be inclined to perform evil deeds or to seek very strong justice with little compunction.

Graveyard Dirt -- along with powdered sulphur, salt, powdered snake heads or snake skin sheds, red pepper, black pepper, powdered bones, powdered insects or snails, greyish herbs such as mullein or sage, anvil dust (the black iron dust found around a blacksmith's anvil), and magnetic sand -- is a common ingredient in Goofer Dust, and thence in Hot Foot Powder and Crossing Powder, all of which are materials used in harmful tricks.

In some Graveyard Dirt spells -- like similar tricks involving Goofer Dust, Hot Foot Powder, Jinx Powder and Crossing Powder -- the intent is to harm someone, and the graveyard dirt is used to symbolize death to the enemy. For instance, spells in which a doll-baby representing the enemy is placed in a miniature coffin and buried in a graveyard fall into this class, as do spells in which a black candle symbolizing the enemy is deliberately extinguished by turning it upside down into a saucer of graveyard dirt.

These harmful graveyard dirt spells are often quite African in character, deriving from African foot-track magic, a form of sorcery in which one "hurts" or "poisons" a victim "through the feet." Undoing such a walked-upon jinx may involve ritual bathing, floor washing, or sweeping to remove the mess. Sprinkling Jinx Killer Powder, Fear Not To Walk Over Evil Powder and/or salt in the corners of the house is also an antidote.

In harmful spells like the above, the dirt is best collected from the grave of a sinner or someone who "died bad," that is, a criminal or the victim of a violent death. Some people like to use dirt from the graves of soldiers for such work, too, because they say that soldiers are brave and follow orders.

pookline

GRAVEYARD DIRT FOR PROTECTION

If protection is desired, one might buy dirt from the grave of a soldier, policeman, fireman, or strong family member.

The deployment of graveyard dirt in protection spells may specify that the dirt come from the grave of a family member or a friend. In these cases the spirit of that person is protecting you or your home. This is again a link to ancient African beliefs and practices, in which ancestor veneration is a key component of how one relates to the spiritual world.

When purchasing or buying dirt for protection, if the spirit is a deceased relative, it is customary to give him or her a token in addition to money, based on what he or she loved in life -- coffee, whiskey, tobacco, candies, or flowers, for example. If a soldier's spirit is being appealed to, then in addition to coins, it is common to add a tipple of liquor, on the assumption that most people in the military will appreciate a drink of whiskey.

pookline

A GRAVEYARD DIRT SPELL FOR A FAIR INHERITANCE

If money, goods, or a piece of land has been left to a family to divide after the death of an elder member and, either because no valid will was found or because family members are contesting the will or seeking to go against the equitable division or sale of the property, you will want to call upon the spirit of the deceased to mediate and bring peace to the situation.

Get the names, photos, and birth dates of each party to the inheritance and bind them together, as follows:

Copy a small photo of each person who stands to inherit land or money from the sale of land, and write his or her name on the back of the photo, with the birthdate.

Next, get as many dollar bills you have photos. Paste or glue each photo on one of the dollar bills. In the USA, all of our dollar bills have the face of George Washington on them, so you cut out each photos into an oval shape and glue each face over his face.

Now you should have a stack of money with all your living relatives, and yourself as well on the money.

If the inheritance consists in part or whole of land, get some dirt from the land. If only money is involved, just skip this step.

Next, since the division of money, goods, or land, including the matter of selling or dividing the land concerns your deceased relative's will or stated wishes, you will need to get dirt from his or her grave. If only money is involved, just use the graveyard dirt. If land is involved mix it half and half with the graveyard dirt. Be sure to pay for the dirt with three coins. Speak to your deceased relative and ask for fairness and harmony in the family.

Mix the dirt (wither half land dirt and half graveyard dirt, or all graveyard dirt) half and half with sugar to which you have added a small amount of cinnamon powder. You will need enough of this dirt and sugar mixture to about fill a one pound metal coffee can.

Roll the stack of bills into a big fat bank roll, with the faces inside. Tie it round and round with red sewing thread, making knots and praying over the knots. These are half-hitch knots. You work with the sewing thread loose at both ends (not with one end off the spool) and you tie regularly, but not each time, that your ends cross. You only tie around the cylinder, not over the top of the cylinder.

You don't need to count the knots, just make a lot of them and pray over each one. If you like, you can make one knot in the name of each party to the will, but if there are only a couple of parties to the will, you will want to make a lot more knots than that, working until you have used up all of your length of red thread.

Once you have made your roll, you set it upright in the coffee can, on a nice thick bed of the prepared land dirt, graveyard dirt, sugar, and cinnamon powder. You want the roll about centered in the can, both side-to-side and top-to-bottom. Then you pour more of the dirt and sugar mix in and around the roll. Be sure to get some inside the roll, of course. Shake it or vibrate it to pack the dirt and sugar in tight. Top it up with the mixed dirt and sugar.

All the time you are packing the roll in the coffee can, keep on praying. You should have started praying when you started tying the thread up and knotting it and you should be praying non-stop until you put the lid back on the coffee can. You can pray in your own words, or do like most folks do, and pray Psalms 28 for inheritance issues.

Psalms 28
 
[1] Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if
thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit.
[2] Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.
[3] Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.
[4] Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
[5] Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.
[6] Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
[7] The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
[8] The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
[9] Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up for ever.

Now take the prepared coffee can to the land and bury it there. Pray over it one more time as you do so, asking for harmony and a fair distribution of benefits.

If you cannot take the coffee can to the land, or if the inheritance does not involve the distribution or sale of land, then bury the can in the grave of the person who left the inheritance, so that his or her spirit will oversee the fair distribution of the money, goods, land or the profits from the sale of the land.

(At this point, folks who know me and my writings will know that, yes, this is a spell from the middle aged woman i met in a candle shop on Maxwell Street in Chicago in 1965, who gave me a bunch of spells that employed red sewing thread -- she was a treasure of information, and i regret that i cannot recall her name. She shared plenty of other tricks, but the first time she mentioned red sewing thread and pointed to the store that was across the street, where i could buy it, i asked her if she knew other uses for red sewing thread, and the entire discussion went in that direction. She is the woman who also taught me the justly famed Love Me Or Die spell, which also includes graveyard dirt or, alternatively, Goofer Dust.)

pookline

A GRAVEYARD DIRT LOVE SPELL FOR ATTRACTION

If one wishes to bring about love, one might buy the dirt from someone who loved one in life (a relative or a deceased spouse, for instance) because their spirit, once invoked, would be inclined to help one achieve lasting love.

Some workers prefer dirt from a baby's grave, because they say that the spirit thus invoked is lovable, malleable, and biddable; but others say it is too weak, being young, and will not prove as effective as dirt from the grave of an adult.

Some recommend that those who wish to perform love spells use only dirt from the grave of someone who loved you, in order to ensorcel and enthrall a living lover.

In 1998, Dana (missdanaj@geocities.com) posted this love spell to usenet:

You need green paper, vandal root, and dirt from a graveyard. You write your name and the guy's name on the paper, put the vandal root and graveyard dirt in the center of the paper, wrap it up and leave it under your bed.

I got this spell from a spell book published by Baron Blanc in Sydney, Australia. Please understand that (in the book's words) "it is one of the most powerful love spells and should be undertaken only after other love spells have failed. Not for the faint hearted."

Miss Dana's post provoked long discussions in usenet concerning why someone would use graveyard dirt in a love spell , so i'd like to add some commentary:

I myself have never used this love spell , but i can tell you that it does have quite a bit of historical basis behind it and there are people who say that it has worked for them. The trouble is, the spell as related in Miss Dana's book just calls for any old graveyard dirt, and the way i was taught, that is not quite right.

The man who gave me my version of the Graveyard Dirt Love Spell -- and he was no "Baron" from Australia, but an African-American candle store owner in Oakland, California, back in the 1960s -- said to use the dirt from the grave of someone who had loved you in life. He said, "Your grandmother, mother, father; your lover, husband, or wife who passed on before you -- you get dirt from THEIR grave only, and not from anywhere on the grave either, but from over the HEART."

When i told him that all my relatives who had died were buried far away and i could not get to their graves, he said, "Everybody has had at least ONE person to love them, even if it was just a little yellow spotted dog." I told him i had once had a cat who loved me and that i knew where she was buried. "Then you can use the dirt from her grave," he said. I never did it, though.

The idea behind this spell is that the dead one who loved you will work on the live one who does not love you yet, and will set their mind to thinking of you. That's why you want the dirt from over the heart of one who loved you -- you want their spirit on your side, working on the mind of the one you love.

The vandal root called for in the spell is a root with alleged powers to aid in establishing contact with the dead and it is said to create spiritual contacts with the other world. This reinforces the idea that the graveyard dirt should be from a grave that holds meaning for you, not just any old grave.

In the 1930s, Harry M. Hyatt collected information about hoodoo from 1,600 African-American informants, and one of them gave him a variation of the Graveyard Dirt Love Spell. It is simpler than Baron Blanc's version, in that it does not include the Vandal Root, but it is also much more direct because rather than hide the materials under your bed, as Baron Blanc suggests, you sprinkle the graveyard dirt on yourself when you go to be near the one whom you wish to attract. This is the way i was told to do it, too.

You can find this 1930s version of the spell collected by Harry M. Hyatt -- in the informant's own words -- on my web page about goofer dust. It is spell #659, but i suggest that you read the entire page first; don't just skip to that part.

Incidentally, the person who gave this love spell to Hyatt noted that it only works as long as you keep using the Graveyard Dirt. In other words, it only works while the spirit of the dead person is helping you.

In fact, the use of Graveyard Dirt to force someone to love you is so well known in the black community that it was specifically described in the blues song "Conjured," recorded by Wynnonie Harris on August 6th, 1964 in Chicago, Illinois. Here are the lyrics, transcribed by Eli Marcus (emisme@inter.net.il).

CONJURED
by Esmond Edwards
as recorded by Wynnonie Harris
Chicago, August 6, 1964 (Chess CHV412)

You said it was love made me stutter when I talk,
But is it love that makes me stagger when I walk?

     The Gypsy woman told me, "She's got you conjured, son"
     Well, somebody's lyin' -- you are that Gypsy one.

You said I was jealous when I didn't go to work,
You sprinkled my shoes with graveyard dirt,

     The Gypsy woman told me, "She's got you conjured, son"
     Well, somebody's lyin' -- you are that Gypsy one.

The whiskey you bought me, I was afraid to unscrew it,
The Gypsy woman told me it was embalming fluid
You got a Black Cat Bone and a Buzzard Feather,
A John the Conquer Root and they're all tied together

     The Gypsy woman told me, "She's got you conjured, son"
     Well, somebody's lyin' -- you are that Gypsy one.

(repeat last verse and chorus)

A more coercive love spell using goofer dust or graveyard dirt to force a person to love you is called "Love Me or Die" -- and it does not specify that the dirt must come from the grave of a loved one.

So, you see, although these are unusual love spells that not everyone could or should use, they have a long and legitimate history in African-American folk-magic. The origin of these spells lies in African religious beliefs about the dead, especially beliefs that came from the Congo, where contact with the spirits of the dead is strongly emphasized and their help is sought on behalf of the living.

pookline

FAKE SUBSTITUTES FOR GRAVEYARD DIRT IN THE WHITE COMMUNITY

For reasons of cultural incompatibility, the use of graveyard dirt in folk magic spells can be quite upsetting to some people of Northern European and Native American ethnicity. This is because their cultures teach that the remains of the dead are taboo, frightening, or unclean. This has led to laws against "graveyard desecration" in some areas. When Anglo-American spiritual suppliers are asked by African- Americans to supply Graveyard Dirt, some of them -- either afraid of legal reprisals or squeamish about dealing with the dead -- provide substitutes in the form of talcum powder or powdered herbs. Some of them have even claimed in their catalogues that these substitutions are traditional, when in fact they are anything but.

Additionally, some Anglo-American authors have promoted these substitutions in books about herb magic or folk magic, even going so far as to claim that the term "graveyard dirt" is an ancient European witchcraft code term for powdered mullein leaves. For instance, in the year 2001, a woman named Connie Gilbert posted the following to a usenet newsgroup:

Merry meet all, [...] In old spells, usually ingredients are in code and usually the ingredients are really herbs. Graveyard dust can be powdered Mullein or Mugwort. Graveyard dust is not really dirt.
With no intent to offend, i must object. Mullein is known as "graveyard torches" or "witch's candles" because it grows well-spaced in dry, waste ground and if dipped in oil or lard, the stalks will burn like torches.

BUT MULLEIN IS NOT GRAVEYARD DIRT.

That story was started in the 1940s by suppliers who wanted to make money but were afraid to violate the laws regarding tampering with corpses or graveyard desecration, especially in interstate commerce. The earliest catalogue in my collection that mentions mullein as graveyard dirt dates to World War Two. By the 1960s, when i was coming up, you could still buy real graveyard dirt from any small occult store -- but ALL the mail order houses and the stores that stocked their mass-produced products sold you either talcum powder or powdered mullein leaves for graveyard dirt.

The commercially-originated falsehood that "graveyard dirt" is somehow an old witchcraft code term for mullein was later picked up and carried as an urban myth extensively in the white Anglo-Saxon neo-pagan community. It actually forms part of the myth of the "burning times" in that it perpetuates the historically discredited notion that witches must speak in code or risk death. (But if you are trying to avoid being burned at the stake, why use something ILLEGAL like graveyard dirt as code for something innocuous like mullein leaf???) This myth of a witchy "code" is still perpetuated through the books of well-meaning but ignorant people and it is just ... well, not true.

pookline

OLD-TIME AFRICAN AMERICAN SPELLS EMPLOYING GRAVEYARD DIRT

Against a few modern white authors claiming that "graveyard dirt" is a secret code for mullein herb, we have evidence that the folklorist Newbell Niles Puckett interviewed a number of black rootworkers during the 1920s and the folklorist Harry M. Hyatt interviewed more than one thousand black people in the late 1930s. These informants told Puckett and Hyatt the proper ways they knew to collect and pay for graveyard dirt -- and NONE of them mentioned mullein.

Take the dirt from the seventh grave from the gates, they said, or from the third grave on the left, or from any grave; make sure you get it from the grave of a murderer, from the grave of a baby, or from the grave of someone who loved you; collect it at the foot of the grave, the head of the grave, from the head and foot both, from over the corpse's heart; pay for it with a dime, with three pennies, with a measure of rum, with a measure of whiskey; dig it with a silver spoon, dig it by hand only and use no tools -- their instructions vary, but they ALL are speaking quite frankly of literal graveyard dirt -- some even calling it "that old yellow graveyard clay."

Harry Hyatt collected his interview material and eventually published it in six very large books on magic and herb lore as it existed in the early 20th century, before the onslaught of the mail-order houses and the neo-pagan fad for cutesy rewrites of traditional witchcraft as a form of goddess-worship. These books as a whole comprise a grand total of 5,500 pages on which are printed 23,000+ individual magical spells collected during interviews with about 2,300 actual practitioners of witchcraft and magic. Harry M. Hyatt made up nothing. He preserved the TRUE SPEECH of our elders -- and all the contemporary book authors in the Llewelyn stable with their mullein and mugwort cannot erase those words.

The following documentation on the varied rites for collecting and using Graveyard Dirt comes from "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork," a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt, primarily between 1935 and 1939.

IMPORTANT: If this is the first time you have encountered Hyatt material
at this web site, please take a moment to open and read the supplementary page called
"Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork" by Harry Middleton Hyatt.


GRAVEYARD DIRT TO CAUSE LAMENESS

Volume 2 pg. 992: Dey take yore left-foot track on a rainy day an' take a han'ful of graveyard dirt an' turn it bottomwards in de earth; an' yo'll die with a lame foot, if it's nevah discovered whut's wrong with yo'.

(You have to take this left-foot track. How do you mean they turn?) Well, yo' have to take it with somethin' dat's able tuh pick up de track [shovel, shingle, piece of tin]; den yo' take a han'fula graveyard dirt an' put it ovah dis yeah dirt whut chew pick up with the track. Yo' turn it bottom upwards in de earth, undah de earth - jis' as though yo' was buryin' somethin'.

(Here's the track and this track is down like that.)

Dat's right - turn it down - open a space in there - open a hole - open a hole the length of the foot an' bury that track.

[Memphis, TN. Informant #926 and #1538
(this is one informant, two different interview dates);
B45:19-B51:1 = 1503-1509 and D96:1-D110:2 = 2779-2793.]
Volume 2 pg. 992;
MADAM MYRTLE COLLINS


SHOE - QUICK SILVER - GRAVEYARD DIRT IN - TO MOVE

7897. Well, they take the shoes and quicksilver and chip [stir or mix] it up together, and sprinkle it in their shoes and that will make them walk away. I have heard that. A fellow told me they done him thataway and he walked away.

[Brunswick, Ga., (1224), 2030:3.]


LETTER - DRESSED WITH GRAVEYARD DIRT - BRINGS BACK LOVER

7819. Well, just like she gets a letter from him. All right, she'll take the letter and she'll go to the graveyard and get some graveyard dust. And she'll dress it with the graveyard dust and mail his signature back to him. That what they tell me. [After machine turned off informant added bring him back.] (That will bring him back?) That will bring him back.

[Savannah, Ga., (1264), 2145:11.]


GRAVEYARD DIRT HOW TO BUY, FOR HOME PROTECTION AND LUCK

1310. Ah hear about dat too an' ah knows of it. But chew have to pay three pennies but chew gotta go to someone's grave dat chew knows well. Jes' lak, yo' know, some of yore family dat's been buried an' yo' go to de head of dis grave an' yo' pay dat dead man or dat dead woman - whoevah yo' knows - de three cents. An' den yo' take some of de dirt an' den yo' tell dem to give yo' luck, don't let nobody harm yo', an' yo' bring dat graveyard dirt - git a bah'ful of de graveyard dirt an' bury it undah yore steps. Bury it undah yore step an' den nobody can't do yo' no harm cause de dead will pertec' yo'.

[Sumter, S.C., (1348), 2330:8.]


GRAVEYARD DIRT, SULPHUR, RED PEPPER - PAY WITH 13 PENNIES - TO GET MONEY OWED TO YOU

Yo' take graveyard dirt -- jes' lak yo' wanta bring a person to yo'. Listen at me good, now. Yo' git dat graveyard dirt -- yo' go dere -- gits thirteen pennies an' yo' walk roun' dat grave three times.

(You walk around the grave?)

Three times. Yo' [are] tuh de right side right to de haid, an' yo' walk roun' dere tree times an' make yore wishes, an' say, "Kind spirit of de daid ah come heah, dere somepin ah wanted from yo', an' ah'm goin' pay yo' fo' it. BY DE HE'P OF GOD ah want chew tuh do dis work fo' me. BY DE HE'P OF GOD ah wants tuh bring a person dat owes me some money." Jes' lak if anybody owe yo' or yo' wants some money, say, "Ah want me some money, an' ah want luck to git me money." Yo' go dere an' yo' take dat dirt from de grave, jes' grab it -- don't have to dig hard -- from de head. Yo' take it out till yo' git wrist-deep. Den yo' go down an' yo' git thirteen handful -- jes' lak how many stars are on a dollah, dere thirteen stars on a silver dollah. Yo' git chew thirteen handful an' yo' pay a penny to de handful -- dat's thirteen cents. Then yo' got de dust. Then yo' throw dat thirteen cents jes' dere. "Ah lettin' [leaving] dat wit chew fo' whut ah take away from yo', yo' see." an' yo' put dem thirteen cent in dere an' yo' cover dat hole up good, an' yo' git up, yo' say, "now, ah set dese down dere fo' what ah ask yo' tuh do fo' me, makin' mah good luck prosper, In de Name of de Lord." Den yo' say, "Now, ah'm leavin' all mah trouble wit chew. Ah want chew to bring money to me, luck an' prosperity." An' walk off.

Yo' take dat dust wit chew home an' yo' git chew holt of a screen wire, git chew holdt of a halfa pound of sulphur an' two box of red pepah, an' two box of fresh table salt dat haven't been used outa. [Three ingredients.] Yo' take dat sulphur an' dat pepah an' dat salt an' put 'em all together an' take about two quarts of dat dirt an' put it into dat screen wire an' sift it through dat screen to jes' lak a powder. Yo' see. Yo' take it an' yo' put it out -- lay it where it wil dry where de sun at it, or put it in de stove in de bottom place, yo' know, an' let it dry to a powder. Den yo' burn it in de fire an' make yore wish for whut chew want an' it will burn jes' lak a dust would. An' it bring all de luck together fo' yo' whut chew want.

Florence, South Carolina, Informant #1312;
C644:2-C655:2 = 2225-2236.]
Vol. 2 Interview 5. pg. 1024; A DOCTOR AT EASE


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