Thursday, January 15, 2009

Buying Graveyard Dirt

Ah, Graveyard Dirt ... the magical ingredient that so many authors of modern "magical" books get wrong. Graveyard Dirt is, plain and simply, dirt that is bought from a grave and used in magical workings to employ the assistance and power of a spirit in whatever magical working you are doing.

Some authors have claimed that graveyard dirt is either ground patchouli or ground up mullein. This is a patent falsehood based around their own cultural fear of the dead inherited from European magico-cultural systems. Hoodoo, by contrast, inherited the typically West African value systems where the dead are venerated and treated as magical allies to help fight the good cause for you on the other side.

Graveyard Dirt is used in everything from Love Spells to Crossings. You can sprinkle a mixture of graveyard dirt, sulfur and red pepper in someone's tracks to curse them. You can sprinkle a little graveyard dirt (obtained from the grave of someone who loved you) on someone's hair to make them fall in love with you. You can add graveyard dirt to mojo bags to gain the assistance of a spirit in accomplishing your goal. You can even put some graveyard dirt along with snake sheds and horse hair into someone's food to put "live things in them"! The uses are limitless.

But whose graveyard dirt do you use?

Picking the right grave is important, because you want to choose the right spirit for the right job. Some folks say to buy the graveyard dirt of a soldier's grave because they are strong and know how to take orders. Others say to use the graveyard dirt of a very young child because they are easily manipulated to do your bidding.

I think the important thing to consider is your magical goal and how to accomplish it. You wouldn't want a soldier working to get you your perfect mate. Similarly you wouldn't want to involve your mother's spirit in the cursing of an enemy.

Consider the following examples:
  • Using the graveyard dirt of a lawyer to win a court case
  • Using the graveyard dirt of a detective or police officer to expose a rapist
  • Using the graveyard dirt of a dockworker to get steady employment
  • Using your grandma's graveyard dirt to get your perfect mate
  • Using graveyard dirt from a doctor to help you overcome illness
How to obtain Graveyard Dirt

Graveyard Dirt must be purchased. It is obtained through a contract with the spirit of the person that was buried there. There are just as many techniques for buying graveyard dirt as there are ways of using it, but I will give my own two versions I use here.

Supplies Needed:
  • A trowel
  • A plastic bag
  • A small bottle of whiskey (like the kind they give out on airplanes)
  • A mercury (silver) dime
  • 9 pennies
  • A bouquet of flowers
  • A candle and some way to light it
  • A label or piece of paper and a pen to write with
I personally like going to cemetery to get graveyard dirt on the dark moon, but any time at night is fine. Have all of your supplies in your plastic bag and the flowers in hand (so that folks think you are just going to visit a grave and clean it up. If anyone asks why you are there at night, tell them that you just got off work and wanted to pay respects to your grandmother on the anniversary of her death. That's enough to shut most folks up.

As I reach the gates of the cemetery, I leave 9 pennies in honor of the spirit who owns and guards all cemeteries. I ask for her permission and protection while I do my work and then I proceed in.

Finding the Live Grave:
I start in the center of the cemetery, walking on foot and hold the lit candle in my hand. I reach out with my thoughts and talk to the spirits of the graveyard telling them the work that I wish to accomplish with my magic and asking who among them will assist me in my work. I wait for a tug leading me in the right direction and I proceed slowly, feeling my way toward the grave that calls to me. When I get there, I place the candle on the grave and sit on top of it and meditate/pray with that spirit for a while explaining my situation. I ask for their permission and assistance and if I get an affirmative, I then begin to buy the dirt.

Buying the Graveyard Dirt:
I tend to take dirt from the head of the grave. Others say to take dirt from the head and foot of the grave. Still others say to take dirt from the right hand side of the grave. If it is a love spell, it will be the grave of someone I love, and I will take it from over their hearts. I cut out a small plug in the sod, dig down about 6 inches into the dirt with my trowel. I put the dirt in my plastic bag. I them drop the silver dime into the hole in payment for the dirt, thanking the spirit and saying "As I have paid you in silver, so shall you pay me in labor!" I then pour the bottle of whiskey into the hole, and I replace the plug of sod to cover the hole. I write down the name, birth and death dates of the grave on a piece of paper or label and affix it to the bag. I then hold the bag of dirt in my hand and pray hard and loud for the spirit of the grave to come with me, that he has work to do, and that it is through his work that his spirit will be elevated and redeemed. I leave the candle to burn on the headstone and I place the flowers at the grave. (I was once instructed to leave the flowers at the neighboring headstone and then discovered that the neighboring headstone was that individual's wife. So it's always good to have flowers on you.)

Leave the grave knowing that you have that spirit's assistance and his power in his grave's dirt. Don't look back. Leave the cemetery and go home by a different route than the one you came by. I usually lay out the dirt on a piece of foil to thoroughly dry out. Once fully dry, I sift the dirt to remove any roots or rocks, and store the dirt in a bag with the name, birth and death dates on it.

Every time I use the dirt, I call the spirit by name and command it to assist me with my work by the contract we made in the cemetery. This is powerful, old-time hoodoo, and it's a trick up your sleeve that not many magic crafters ever expect.


Livia Indica said...

Question about the candle: Don't you worry about the fire hazard of leaving a candle unattended? That would worry me to no end. Otherwise I like your style.

Dr. E. said...

No worries there. I usually use either a tea light - they are in small tin cups thus mitigating the risk, or a jar candle - again so they are contained. If it breaks and the flame spills out, it wouldn't light the moist, well-watered grass of a cemetery. And, what's the worst that could happen? The lawn burns. No one will die, right? hehe.

Anonymous said...

It would be wise to research the laws in your area. Back in South Carolina it's illegal to even be in a graveyard after the sun goes down, it's considered trespassing. Also, removing dirt from a grave is considered desecration in some areas.

Hmmmm, makes you wonder exactly WHY they wrote those laws huh? Something to think about.....

When we used to go ghost-hunting back home we'd call the local police and get permission. It settled with them better if we told them it was a "scientific" study, rather than an occult one and they left us alone.

Carolina Dean

jcs101mission said...

Why do you pay the spirit with a dime? Also, what is the ethics of saying you're paying it with silver and the dime not being made of silver? I'd be concerned about lying to a spirit about what I'm giving it when I'm asking for its help.

Dr. E. said...

Silver dimes are use because of their rarity, and the symbolism attached to them as being amulets that attract wealth and luck. Silver dimes - also known as "Mercury Dimes" are INDEED made of silver. They were only minted between 1916–1945. A silver dime from a leap year is considered the most valuable and powerful amulet for gambler's luck, money draw and general good fortune. You can learn more about silver dimes at wikipedia's entry explaining their appearance and rarity. They are used in many hoodoo/conjure recipes.

Dr. E. said...

Oh, and Carolina Dean's comment is right - check your laws before doing anything. But then again, I don't have much need for abiding by laws when I'm doing conjure. Laws also tell us that leaving anything on the street is littering and we can be fined for it, and yet many spells' remains are left at crossroads or thrown into the wild. It reminds me of an adage I once heard back in the day: "If you ain't willing to take a risk, then it ain't that important to ya, is it?" (But that's just my own personal practice of conjure - I'm willing to take risks - others aren't. I'm just reporting what is traditional in conjure.)

hoodooswampwitch said...

well said Dr.E i like your style

misty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
misty said...

I was planning on nailing down my fiance's house to stop the bank from taking it. I was going to use the grave of my mother and grandmother. Should I put alcohol in the grave of a religious person when paying for dirt? Also, I have Mercury dimes to put on the railroad spikes and I noticed that one of the years is a leap year after doing research. Should I put the leap year coin in the grave of my family as payment for dirt being that you mentioned that it is powerful or should I put it on the railroad spikes at the house? Thank you.

Unknown said...

Dr. E. I'm new to the forum but love all the great advise. In regards to the graveyard dirt spell. I purchased the dirt from over the heart of my grandmother's grave who loved me dearly when she was with us. A couple of things, I purchased the dirt during the day using a regular dime. Will the spell still work or did I waste my time? Also, the spell I'm working calls for vandal root which is also called valarian root. but could not find the actual root but have the powder from capsules, will this work or I need the actuall vandal root? Thanks for your time.

EelKat said...

RE @ jminator2002

I don't know what Dr. e would recommend in your situation, but I can tell you of a similar situation I have done.

Where I live, cemeteries are gated and locked up every night at 6PM (sunset) and open again at 7AM (sunrise) (yes our days are shorter up here in the North). what that means is, there is no such thing as getting graveyard dirt after dark because it is illegal.

Secondly, it is also illegal to leave things in cemeteries (including coins, tea lights, flowers, etc). However it is not illegal to leave small food items (as bugs, slugs, birds, and squirrels will eat them within a few hours).

So in my area, we have to work around the law.

I often use dirt from my grandparents graves, and leave a favorite food. For example, Grammy Eva loved tomatoes, she used to buy huge bags of them, and eat them raw like apples. So when getting dirt from her grave I always leave her a big ripe tomato. Also, my grandmother had a deep dislike for wealth and money and actually would be offended if someone left coins on her grave. So don't think of it in terms of "buying" dirt from them. Instead think of it as leaving an offering of something they enjoy as a thank you gift for letting you gather the dirt.

And as Hoodoo is all about using what you have (if you live in Maine you use ONLY local plants grown in Maine, you DO NOT mail order plants native to Georgia!) substitution is the RULE not the exception. What this means is, ask yourself WHY you are having a hard time finding vandal root? Answer: because it's not locally grown! When you are doing herbal medicine you need the exact item, but in Hoodoo it's not about the physical makeup of the herb, it's about the type of energy it gives off. For example Vandal Root is used to for protection and warding off evil, so it can be substituted for any other herb that does the same thing; these include: Aloes Wood, Barberry, Boldo, Broom, Butterfly Bush, Devil's Pod, Knot Weed, or Salt.

Hope that helps.

Dr. E. said...

Just to clarify, Hoodoo is based in African American folk lore, not Northern folklore. It is traditional in hoodoo to buy graveyard dirt with a coin and whiskey. It is not traditional to leave food offerings. You can buy graveyard dirt during the day - sure. I like buying it at night and I have a cemetery in my area that is open at night so it is possible to be done. If you can't do it during the night do it during the day.

As for substituting plants, that is also not traditional hoodoo. Plants have spirits that are unique and different. I don't recommend substituting plants without a deep knowledge of their uses and their applications. If you are doing a curse spell use cursing herbs. Vandal root is a cursing herb. It is not a protective herb, and it is certainly NOT used to ward off evil. In fact it is used in Black Arts oil and Crossing Powder to afflict someone with curses and evil. So you can substitute with other herbs that do similar things like Devil's Dung or Mullein, but don't make the mistake of thinking for a second that Barberry, Broom, Butterfly Bush, Devil's Pod, or Knot Weed do the same thing because they don't. Those ARE protective herbs, but Vandal Root is NOT a protective herb. Because such details and fineries are often lost on those who are not well-trained in hoodoo, most rootdoctors will simply tell you "Follow the spell and don't change it".

And you can buy vandal root (Valerian root) on any online herb vendor's site.

Unknown said...

how did I get rid of graveyard dirt if I don't need it