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Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by catherine yronwode
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HOW TO USE
SACHET POWDERS

IN THE HOODOO ROOTWORK TRADITION

by catherine yronwode

HIGHLY SCENTED SACHET POWDERS give a purifying fragrance to the room or the person. Powder Blowing is a common practice in the West Indies to rid the premises of foul, evil, or unsavory "presences," to put an end to adverse conditions, and for gaining Luck, Love, Money, or Happiness. Many people in the South sprinkle Powders in the four corners of a room and on the door steps to Drive Out Evil, and we have also known folks to throw Powders in an enemy's yard to Cause Conditions to Occur. Others place a little Powder on the body every morning, sprinkle it in dresser drawers to keep clothes sweet. or pour it in a Flannel Bag which is worn on the person in the belief that it will bring success in Romance, Finance, or Games of Chance. We do not make such claims, but sell these fine Sachet Powders as a curio only.
-- The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue



The picture above shows labels for Lucky Mojo brand foil packs of four typical hoodoo sachet powders: Fast Luck is used in both love spells and money spells and also to bring in the winnings at games of chance. Commanding is used to gain control, to rule, and dominate. Hot Foot is said to make your enemies to wander and never settle in one place. Essence of Bend-Over is alleged to cause your boss or lover to do whatever you will.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The use of sprinkling and blowing powders -- usually called sachet (pronounced "sashay") powders -- has been a part of hoodoo practice for a very long time. It is likely that the use of such powders combines African and European magical traditions. In the 19th and 20th centuries, there have been several different ways these powders are used, and they seem to derive from various strands of African diaspora and European-American folk-magic.

The oldest sprinkling powders still in use are natural mineral and herbal mixtures. Among these the most famous of these are Sulphur powder, Sugar, Magnetic Sand, Salt, Black Pepper powder, Saltpeter, Red Pepper powder, Graveyard Dirt, Goofer Dust.

From the late 19th century onward, the compounding of sachet powders with talc has been popular. The oldest of these "condition" powders are those that derive their strength from natural dusts and herbs: Crossing Powder and Hot Foot Powder, for instance, are old compounded powders that contain sulphur and ground red pepper, as well as other ingredients. The fragrance basis for any compounded Hoodoo sachet powder is typically an anointing or dressing oil. Root doctors traditionally name their oils after the conditions they are believed to cause or to cure. Thus, by extension, Attraction Powder, like Attraction Oil, is said to draw love, luck, and money to the user, while Look Me Over Powder, like Look Me Over Oil, is believed to enhance one's charisma and make one more attractive to onlookers.

HOW TO USE POWDERS IN HOODOO ROOTWORK

In hoodoo terminology, performing a ritual or spell is often called "doing a job." The simplest jobs may involve anointing oneself or dressing an amulet, a candle, or a mojo bag and its contents with a "condition" oil. More complex jobs take on the characteristics of elaborate magical rituals, involving all of the above elements, plus the burning of incense. Powders are used in four ways -- for sprinkling, particularly as a form of foot-track magic (the African influence); for blowing (the Afro-Caribbean influence); as part of a ritual or spell (the European influence); and for wearing or carrying in a mojo bag (African-American).

Here are the major ways to deploy powers in hoodoo rootwork:

Most of these methods of deployment are self-evident, but here are details on a few of the more important variations:

SPRINKLING SACHET POWDERS BY WALKING BACKWARDS

The oldest tradition concerning sachet powders in America is the African-derived custom of working foot-track magic. To sprinkle powders, you must lay them out in a line while walking backwards.

Many years ago while i was in a store buying some sachet powders a fellow customer, an old woman (older than my mother was then, and this was in 1965) asked me, "Do you know how to sprinkle?"

Now, i could have said, "Sure i do," and not learned a thing, but instead i said, "Well, i have been trying to learn how. Can you tell me the right way to do it?"

She then showed me, right there in the store aisle. She said, "Way i was taught, you must sprinkle stepping backwards. If you're not stepping *backwards*, you're not *sprinkling*." She walked backwards, bent at the waist, and mimed a motion that resembled the sowing of seeds in a furrow. Then i tried it. She told me: "Now if you was really doing this, you would take 21 steps as you did it." <> "Why 21 steps?" i asked. "That's three times seven." she said. Then she added, "If it's a small space, though, you can do any odd number of steps, like 3 or 7 or 9. And that's sprinkling. That is the *right* way to sprinkle powders."

Some folks like to say a prayer (or a curse, if doing evil) while they sprinkle powders. To protect a house, they may sprinkle just the door steps or they may go all the way around the building. To draw wealth to a place of business, they will sprinkle a powder such as Money Drawing mixed with sugar (to sweeten the customers) across the doorstep every Friday.

Good luck powders can be used in love spells to draw a lover to your home; bad luck powders can be used to cross or jinx someone or stir up trouble in an enemy's home. To create problems for someone, some folks take an evil powder, such as Crossing, Goofer Dust, a mixture of Graveyard Dirt, Black Mustard, and Sulphur, or Hot Foot Powder and sprinkle it across the enemy's door step or throw it into his yard so that he must walk through the mess. In the old days this was called, "poisoning through the feet." For more about this kind of enemy work, see the page on foot-track magic.

BLOWING SACHET POWDERS

In Afro-Caribbean folk magic, powders are sometimes blown to the four quarters of the compass to rid an area of evil spirits. This has become especially popular in America with the good luck and good energy powders like Blessing and Peaceful Home. You just put a little bit of powder in the palm of your hand and blow to the East, South, West, and then North, saying your prayer or good wish while you do so. This is said by many to bring a pleasant fragrance to the room and settle out any bad conditions.

You may also blow powders toward a person, either present or absent. This practice is found among Spiritual Church members more than other root workers, in my experience. If the person being blown toward is not present, blow in the direction you believe them to be located, or toward their home, if you know where it is.

LAYING DOWN TRICKS WITH CONJURE POWDERS

The practice of laying out protective, destructive, or talismanic designs with sachet powders or salt or saltpeter to accompany invocations or prayers is particularly favoured by root workers who follow the Kabbalist-inspired practice of ceremonial magic. Working powders in patterns differs from sprinkling because the powder-pattern itself is what's important, not that someone will step in or across the powder.

Conjures who perform candle spells and rituals often lay out and appropriate sachet powder on their altar in a design such as a star or cross and place their candles at the vertices of the design.

In the down-home folk-magic tradition, laying down tricks with powders is much simpler than among Kabbalist-inspired practitioners. The powders are usually put down in four inconspicuous little piles in the corners of a room, with a fifth small pile in the center, under the rug, in what is called the "quincunx" or five-spot pattern. If the powders are for love-drawing or marital fidelity, the fifth pile will be placed under the bed instead of at the center of the room. If one is working enemy tricks, four piles of a do-wrong sachet like Graveyard Dirt or Crossing Powder can be placed at the four outside corners of the victim's home, but usually anyone who works such tricks will want to sprinkle the powders for a foot-track magic job too, not just put them into a pattern. In a pinch, loose powdered incense can be used to lay out diagrams and designs after the manner of sachet powders.

Cross-marks, crosses in circles, and "wavy snake lines" intended to hurt an enemy can be drawn with destructive or get-away type powders on a sidewalk or street. They are places in the foot path where the victim will walk and activated by spitting into them while cursing the name of the one for whom they are laid. This is a form of "poisoning through the feet or foot-track magic.

Innocent people who walk over such marks often ask whether they can be affected by such tricks. The answer is complicated: some folks say that such a mark only affects the one for whom it was "called," but most people never walk across such a mess if they see one, because "you never know who it was called for, and you just might get crossed or hurt through your feet anyway."

DRESSING ALTAR CANDLES WITH POWDERS

In some families the dedication to sachet powders is such that all candles are "double-dressed," first with oil, then with a sachet powder. In my experience, the practice of double-dressing candles is more commonly found among women than among men, for what it's worth.

DRESSING MONEY, BUSINESS CARDS, AND JOB APPLICATIONS

When turning in a job application, manuscript for publication, or essay test papers, that is submitted in the form of printed text pages, dress each page individually with Crown of Success and/or King Solomon Wisdom spiritual Sachet Powder. Here's how: On the back of each page, sprinkle Crown of Success Sachet Powder. (You can also use a makeup brush to dust it on.) Drag your four fingers down through the sachet powder, top to bottom of the page, in "wavy snake lines." Then shake off the powder. This is called "dressing a letter" or "dressing papers." To increase the power of the dressing, light an appropriate incense powder and waft the entire set of pages in the fumes before sending it out. This is called "smoking" the letter or papers.

This same technique can used for legal matters -- but with Court Case Powder and Incense instead of Crown of Success. If any papers are given to you to sign, or you get to hold onto any letters that you or your representatives will send in on your behalf, dress them lightly with Court Case Powder, then drag your fingernails through the powder in "wavy snake lines" to mark them, and brush off the excess powder.

To dress and smoke love letters for use in love spells, use any of the love sachet powders, such as Love Me, Come to Me, or Stay With Me, depending on the circumstances, followed by smoking in the appropriate spiritual conjure incenses

When dressing business cards to draw attention to your business and attract paying customers, mix Attraction Sachet Powder with Money Drawing Sachet Powder. Keeping the cards still in their box as you got them from the printer, remove the lid, and use a makeup brush to dust the edge of all the cards with the combined sachet powders, then smoke the entire premises with Prosperity spiritual incense powder and/or light a Prosperity - Better Business Vigil Candle in the place.

WEARING AND CARRYING HOODOO POWDERS

Many people like to dust themselves or their clothing with alleged good luck and love sachet powders, to keep the feeling of good luck and romantic allure with them all day long. A small sachet bag worn in the brassiere -- a "bosom sachet" -- will produce as similar result

In the earlier part of the 20th century, some folks liked to add such sweetly scented sachet powders to their mojo bags, but these days we find that people usually dress the bag with a little of the condition oil instead and dust themselves with the powder.

SNEAKY TRICKS WITH HOODOO POWDERS

In Mexico, dusting one's body with a condition powder is very common -- and since foot-track magic is not too well known there, enemy tricks are often conducted by surreptitiously dusting an enemy's body with a jinxing or dominating powder, such as Compelling or Essence of Bend-Over instead of sprinkling their door step or dusting their socks or underwear as we do in the United States.

In American hoodoo, such sneaky tricks are usually accomplished by sneakily blending spiritual condition powders into a target's personal body dusting powders, particularly foot powders. Likewise, one can put a new label a spiritual supply condition powder and present it as a gift sachet or body powder with the assumption that when the unsuspecting target uses it, he or she will be affected.

AUTHENTICITY

Over the years, as urbanization has driven people farther from the sources of natural magic in their lives, manufacturers of hoodoo products have slowly begun to leave the roots and herbs out of the old root doctors' formulas. Today, few companies sell sachet powders made with actual botanical or mineral ingredients. Even those which should contain relatively easy to obtain ingredients, such as Lodestone Powder, which traditionally contains small pieces of magnetic iron ore, and Lucky Hand Powder, which should contain fragments of salep root, are rarely found to be made with the advertised ingredients. In my opinion, sachet powders, if they are made the old, traditional Southern way, should consist of more than just time-honoured names on packages of coloured talcum powder. They should contain -- they MUST contain -- real herbs, roots, minerals, and condition oils.

I realize that this is an advertisement for my own company, but the powders shown at the top of this page were made by me, and like the rest of the Lucky Mojo line, they contain genuine reputed lucky and magical herbs, minerals, and herbal essential oils. I am not going to list all the ingredients in my products, but, for example, Black Cat Sachet Powder contains black cat hair and Black Candle Tobacco, Stay With Me is made with Rosemary and Bergamot, and Money Drawing contains Allspice and Chamomile. End of advertisement.


Order Sachet Powders from the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

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