Many of my clients have some experience in magical work, and know exactly what to do when I tell them to dress a candle or make a doll baby. But when I prescribe work for them to do at home, I always have to ask: “Do you have a good botanica or candle shop near you?” Often, the answer is no. Then we must get creative and find our magical treasures wherever we can.
The mail-order spiritual supply house is the most obvious solution and has the best variety. For generations, the back pages of popular newspapers and magazines were full of their advertisements, as the Internet is today. Of course there are shysters and hucksters, but there are also honest and skilled traditionalists — and honest and savvy innovators, too. (Some of the most popular magical tools — the colored, glass-encased candle, for instance — are only about 50 years old.)
Because the making of spiritual supplies, and packing and shipping, take time. And you may not have time.
Check Your Kitchen First!
Many of the herbs used in conjure are edible. You probably have more of them than you realize:
- Bay leaf (one of my favorites) brings wisdom, attracts friends, and conceals you from your enemies
- Red pepper is protective and can be used to punish enemies
- Salt is versatile — it is a cleanser and protector
- Basil keeps the home happy and prosperous and breaks jinxes
- Cinnamon protects, cleanses, and brings money and love
- Oregano will keep the law away — and troublesome in-laws, too
Let us pass from single herbs to commercially available edible blends:
- Thin red hot sauces of the Tabasco or Crystal type are an easy way to get the effects of red pepper. Let a drop fall onto a petition paper; whisper a fervent prayer into a hot and spicy dish. You might even pour a little hot sauce onto a square of foil and write a sternly worded command with a toothpick — then gently fold one edge of the foil so you can pour it back into the bottle. Whenever your target seasons his food, he is eating your command.
- Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning is one of the tastiest protective herbal blends I have ever come across. At the above link, you will even find a picture of the ingredient list. It is composed largely of salt, red and black pepper, garlic and onion powders, and chili powder.
- Chili powder itself usually contains cumin (keeps bad luck away and lovers faithful), oregano and bay leaf (discussed above) in addition to red pepper.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice consists of popular love and money spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and others. A word of prayer will make your next pumpkin pie a Prosperity Pie.
You’ll find many other possibilities at www.herb-magic.com, and further inspiration in Hoodoo Food! The Best of the Conjure Cook-Off and Rootwork Recipe Round-Up.
Generations ago, I could have directed my clients to the local drugstore, which would have carried medicinal herbs and maybe even a few actual hoodoo-ready powders, oils and bath preparations in the back. Nowadays, though, the magic has faded from the drugstore, along with many of the herbs. Science has displaced them — great news for diabetes and pneumonia, but frustrating for Stop Gossip or Money Drawing.
A few herbs are coming back into drugstores — as nutritional supplements and alternative medicines. The Rite-Aid near me sells capsules of echinacea (which we know as Sampson Snake Root) and Black Cohosh (which magicians also call Black Snake Root). I believe I have seen Coltsfoot there, too, which is a good “co-worker” for other herbs used for psychic perception or mental healing.
The Health Food Store
Health food stores, of course, have a generations-long tradition of carrying herbal medicines and supplements in much wider variety, and they go far beyond bottles of capsules and pills.
First, though, I just have to show you the coolness of our health food store, Mariposa Market. I took these photos in October a few years back:
But I digress.
My point is that health food stores have plenty of herbal teas, and some of these are suitable for conjure work right out of the box! Here is one example:
Traditional Medicinals’ Throat Coat:
- licorice root: used in controlling work.
- slippery elm bark: used to quiet quarrels, slander and gossip.
- marshmallow root: Another name for Althaea officinalis, long used to soothe and heal, and by magicians to attract benevolent spirits to the home.
- wild cherry bark: used in many kinds of love work.
- bitter fennel fruit: conjure folks usually use the seed (which would be found in the fruit), for protection, to keep the law away, and to strengthen the courage of women.
- cinnamon: widely used in many kinds of love, money and protection work, and as a spiritual cleanser.
- orange peel: a classic marriage herb, as exemplified in the long association between weddings and orange blossoms.
So, while you might buy a box of Throat Coat to make soothing tea during the cold and flu season, you can use it as a bath tea, a floor wash, a food additive (in very small quantities), and right out of the teabag as a candle dressing, to strengthen and sweeten your marriage as well as make it more egalitarian.
Similarly, you could use:
- Gypsy Cold Care tea to protect yourself spiritually and to attract friends;
- Just about any tea containing gravel root (also called Joe Pye root or Joe Pye weed) to get a job.
- Yogi Breathe Deep tea to protect yourself spiritually, calm your mind, and assure sufficient income for your daily needs.
There are many more possibilities than I have suggested here. The easiest way to discover them is to look up www.herb-magic.com on your phone, go to your drugstore or health food store and stroll down the tea aisle, reading ingredient lists.