From Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers
Once spiritual supplies have been prepared, they may be utilized by a practitioner who is working on or for a client, or they may be given out to a client for use in prescritive work at home. Prescriptions for spiritual supplies are usually accompanied by simple instructions for the client's use, including prayers to be said, the timing of the work, and the number of repetitions recommended.
Magical Hoodoo Roots and Herbs
Herbal preparations are nature's gift to all of us and embody, in concentrated form, the wonders of the Spirit world in which we live. Herbs, roots, and living plants are employed in a number of ways by hoodoo rootworkers and their use is a fundamental part of conjure practice.
Plant species often gain their reputation for magically influencing situations through the Doctrine of Signatures, which holds that the appearance of a natural curio points the way toward its use in magic. A great example of this is the use of violet leaves in love work. Why do we use them? Well, it certainly is partly because they are heart shaped and when we do love work we want to influence someone's heart!
Famous hoodoo formulas like Love Me, Crown of Success, and Van Van are based in specific leaves, roots, and flowers and the magical properties attributed to them through experience and tradition. Herbs that are grown or wildcrafted by spiritual workers may be harvested at specific times and prayed over both prior to and after harvesting has taken place.
The leaves, roots, stems, seeds, and flowers of magical plants are usually dried after harvesting, and in that form they may be used in the crafting of spiritual baths and floor washes, mojo bags and jack balls, condition oils, for compounding incense, they may be placed in a bowl to attract or dispel spirits, to dress candles, or to treat certain conditions both internally and externally. Often whole roots and nuts will be prepared for use as talismanic curios by being anointed with oil and blessed.
Herbal infusions, decoctions, teas, and poultices may also be used for spiritual and medicinal purposes, as well as in conditions which have both physical and spiritual components. Herbs are also used by some root doctors and candle ministers in the preparation of candle spells.
Many people who perform cleansings with an egg like to offer the egg to a large or powerful tree at the conclusion of the rite; likewise, petitions and prayers are often hidden in the crotches of old trees.
Hoodoo oils, often called conjure oils, anointing oils, dressing oils, or condition oils, are crafted for virtually every circumstance. Authentic condition oils will be made with natural ingredients, herbs, roots, and curios that had been added to a carrier oil and mixed with appropriate essential and in some cases fragrance oils. Hoodoo root doctors may compound them as needed or purchase them from a reputable supplier and dispense them to clients as necessary. Rootworkers who specialize in one or two areas of Conjure may keep larger bottles on hand into which they have pre-mixed several different oil formulas for the same condition, such as three love attracting oils, or four money drawing oils.
Condition oils can be formulated to alleviate suffering, to spells remove or reverse of crossed conditions, curses, or jinxes, for protection from enemies, or to draw specific changes and experiences to the client. Many of the old formula names clearly state the oil's purpose, like Pay Me, Crown of Success, and Love Me. Hoodoo oils are used for anointing candles, mojo bags, talismans and enchanted jewelery, money, doll babies, roots, and one's own body. They may be added to magical bags, jars, bottles, petitions, and amulets. Conjure oils are also used in the preparation of other common ingredients found in hoodoo like sachet powders, incense, and baths. They can be used to scent these preparations and also to determine the condition that they are focused on. Essentially, they may be used in virtually limitless ways.
Spiritual incense has a long tradition of use in hoodoo. Incense can be burned during altar work and prayer as well as while spell casting. It can be burned on its own to spiritually cleanse of clear a room of negative energy or bad spirits.
The most common types of incense that root doctors prescribe for their clients are natural tree resin and dried herb incenses to be burned on charcoal and compounded self-lighting incense powders that contain spiritually powerful herbs, roots, and essential oils in a wood-powder base. Additionally, hoodoo practitioners may also work with and prescribe Indian stick incense, Asian coil incense, or Native American herbal smudge incense, according to their own inclinations.
Loose powder incense -- also known as condition incense because each formula is named for the condition which it is intended to address -- is composed of five elements. These are the base, which is finely ground wood powder; a colouring agent or dye; the scent, which comes from essential oils; s selected blend of magical herbs, roots, and minerals; and a chemical agent that helps the wood powder to smoulder without bursting into flame. In a well-made powder incense, every one of the five elements -- and most especially the colour, scent, and natural herbal component -- is selected with knowledge of hoodoo herb and root magic.
Compounded self-lighting powder incenses may be custom blended by a rootworker for a client, but it is usually purchased from a reputable spiritual supply manufacturer and prescribed to the client. No matter what form of incense a conjure practitioner puts together or prescribe, the ingredients are selected with reference to the client's personal needs, whether for love-drawing, reconciliation, money-drawing, spiritual protection, court case and legal matters, or aggressive work against an enemy.
To burn self-lighting incense powders, you may use a small candle snuffer as a cone-shaper. Scoop out and pack the powder tightly into the snuffer, then invert it over a heatproof surface and light it. Another old-type method is to form a cone-shaper by cutting a small piece of paper into a half-circle shape, then rolling the paper into a cone, packing it with incense, and turning it upside down on a heatproof surface; the paper will unroll as you let it go, and you can easily pull it off the freshly-made cone of incense powder.
In addition to being burned to suffumigate, cense, or “smoke” a room, a person, a petition paper, or a mojo bag, loose powder incense is a traditional part of the stuffing that goes into many a doll baby, it can be scattered and swept up as a quick-fix floor sprinkle to cleanse a room;, and it may be dusted onto oiled candles to fix them for use.
Hoodoo Sachet Powders
Sachet powder or dusting powders are compounded blends of powdered mineral and vegetable starches such as talcum or arrowroot, along with finely powdered herbs and essential oils.
These powders can be used in personal care, as bath powders, or to surround the client with the aroma and intent for which the powder was created.
Powders may also be blown about a room or other area. They may be blown with intent in the direction of the person one wishes to affect.
They may be sprinkled where they will be walked through, or into sheets, clothing, or shoes. They may be used to dress cards, letters, or paperwork, thus affecting the recipient of those papers.
Sachet powders are especially useful in the deploying of many sneaky tricks which are effective in part because they are done in secret. The use of oils to dress certain objects, especially paper objects like money or legal documents, is limited because oil shows up on paper. Lightly dusted sachet powder however leaves no visible trace of itself on paper and is often used to dress letters, money, and documents of all kinds for this reason.
Sachet powder can also be sneaked into the personal dusting powders of a lover and the user of the powder may never know the difference. Since many folks use talcum powder to keep their feet dry, workers get the added bonus of some powerful foot track magic.
Two special kinds of powders used in Hoodoo are Hot Foot Powder and Goofer Dust. Both powders are usually proprietary blends composed of minerals, spices, herbs, roots, and occasionally biological material, like snake sheds or dried scorpions. Sulphur is a common ingredient found in both mixtures as is pepper. Hot Foot powder is used primarily for getting rid of unwanted people and Goofer Dust is used to kill, hurt, or cross an enemy.
Spiritual Bath Crystals and Herb Baths
Spiritual bathing is one of the oldest rituals in the world. We find many different religious traditions advocating the use and benefits derived from consistent spiritual bathing. In Hoodoo, we use spiritual bathing to remove jinxes and crossed conditions, to cleanse our bodies, minds, and spirits and open the road for us, and to draw certain desired conditions like more money or a new love.
Hoodoo and conjure bathing supplies may be composed of mineral compounds like salt and Epsom salts; herbs, roots, and flowers that can be brewed and made into a bath-tea; crystal bath salts that have been dressed and scented with appropriate condition oils, or a combination of all of the above. There are many effective, traditional baths for different purposes and conditions.
Some spiritual workers prepare bath mixtures for clients at certain times of day or on certain days of the week. Most practitioners recite prayers or petitions over the mixtures while compounding them, as they deem appropriate to the condition or situation in which the supplies are to be used.
If the client and the rootworker can get together physical, the worker might prepare the bath on location and offer hands-on bathing. Alternatively, the client may request a proxy ritual of spiritual cleansing at a distance. However, in most cases, the spiritual worker will prescribe a specific form of bath and send the client the ingredients needed, along with directions on how to perform the rite of bathing, including what prayers are to be spoken during the work. The root doctor may also prescribe herbal and mineral bath salts to be used in the laundry as rinse additives so that the vibration of the preparation will cling to the client's or clients family's clothing or bed linens.
Special Washes and Waters
Washes and waters are preparations used for cleansing, protection, drawing love, increasing money-luck, and getting rid of crossed conditions. As their name implies, water is often the primary ingredient in these preparations, but some are based in ammonia, alcohol, or concentrated liquid soaps; the latter often include herbs and essential oils and are diluted with water before use
Some spiritual waters, like Rose Water, Willow Water, and Orange Water, are simply derived from a single ingredient. Others are traditional formulas containing a number of ingredients that are used to bring about a definite condition. Perhaps the two most famous of these formulas are War Water and Peace Water.
One of the most common uses for these preparations is as a floor and wall wash during the spiritual cleansing of a physical property. Some people use magical floor washes on a daily or weekly basis, accompanying their use with the recital of appropriate Psalms. Floor washes are believed to be especially effective because of the role that foot track magic has in hoodoo. When used to lightly dampen clean swept rugs, they can dramatically change the vibration in a home or place of business. Many of these washes are prepared to clean, purify, and open up a space, but a root doctor may prescribe floor washes for the fulfillment of specific desires, like bringing money into a retail shop. Specialized herbal or mineral waters, as well as holy water from a church or water from a sacred spring, may be used to clean a home or a client, can be placed on an altar as offerings to ancestors, spirits, and spiritual allies.
Some waters and washes are also used as ingredients in spell work, to dress mojo hands, conjure bags, and other objects, and to sprinkle over objects on the altar. Rootworkers who do hands-on cleaning of either people or physical places will often incorporate a water or wash into their work. Spiritual waters and washes are available commercially, but some rootworkers also make their own for clients. As with all preparations, your worker should include instructions on how and when you are to use the wash.
The tradition of ritual bathing has ancient roots in folkloric magic, but even the most dedicated client does not usually have time to take a full-scale spiritual bath every day. This is where spiritual soaps come in. They carry the energy of the spell work, but in a handy, convenient form that can be used daily or while travelling.
If properly made, spiritual soaps should contain a measure of the traditional magical herbs, roots, and essential oils appropriate to the condition for which they are prescribed. If your worker prescribes a spiritual soap for you to use after a large-scale spiritual cleansing bath or between weekly or monthly cleansing baths, you can be assured that the soap, if used with attention and focus to your goals and desires, will assist you in carrying the good work on.
Spiritual Perfumes and Colognes
Perfumes and colognes are alcohol-based liquids scented with floral and herbal essential oils.
Perfumes and colognes are worn on the person as a magical scent, used to feed mojo hands and jack balls and keep them working, and, in some cases, they are appropriate offerings to ancestors and other spirits.
Some spiritual practitioners make their perfumes and colognes up from scratch for clients, but most root doctors -- at least since the 19th century -- have relied upon commercially purchased colognes and perfumes that are scented with magically active flowers, herbs, seeds, and roots. Among the most popular of the commercial perfumes and colognes are Hoyt's Cologne, Hoyt's Bergamot, Florida Water, Jockey Club perfume, Double Luck perfume, Kananga Water cologne, Rose Cologne, and Orange Blossom Cologne.
Many perfumes and colognes have long standing reputations in the Conjure community for the effectiveness in drawing or getting rid of a specific condition, Hoyt's cologne for instance, is used for drawing luck in gambling as well as love, Kananga Water is used in ancestor work, and Florida Water is considered an all-around altar offering that can be used to cleanse, protect, or bring peace to a location of a person. A reputable conjure worker understands the varied purposes ascribed to these different products, whether they sell the commercial varieties or make their own.
Although colognes and perfumes are ready to use straight from the bottle, there is also a strong tradition of "doctoring" them with added ingredients, to enhance their energy for magical purposes. For instance, Hoyt's Cologne may be given a lucky money-drawing boost with added pieces of golden pyrite gravel, while Rose Cologne may be enhanced with pieces of lovage root, spikenard root, and Queen Elizabeth root to bring out its love-drawing abilities. Your rootworker may fix and prepare a commercial cologne for you, or instruct you to place certain herbs, roots, flowers, minerals, or other curios into a bottle of a specific brand of perfume or cologne, as he or she deems appropriate to your case.
Herbal Poultices, Liniments, and Ointments
Herbal poultices, plasters, liniments, and ointments may be used by those suffering from both spiritual and physical afflictions. Poultices are generally supplied in the form of compressed dry ingredients to which water is added to make up a thick mixture that is applied to the skin. Commercially prepared herbal plasters are generally sold in flat sheets that stick to the body. Liniments are typically herb-empowered liquids that can be rubbed directly onto the afflicted part of the body. Ointments are stiff compounds of herbal ingredients, oils, and waxes that convey herbal ingredients to the skin and coat it with a protective or medicinal layer of materials.
Workers who fashion their own poultices, plasters, liniments, and ointments often do hands-on healing work for their clients. In this fascinating intersection between magic and medicine we can see the double meaning in the term "root doctor."
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